Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pope Benedict addresses the PIUSX controversey

This is a addressing the lifting of the excommunication of the Pius X Society the Pope masterfully takes his brother bishops to a woodshed in a teaching document crafted just for them...we can learn so much from pondering these remarks. You can find the full letter at Magister appropriately titles the article as "If you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another", a quote from the Pope's letter.
Here are some highlights that I found as very poignant.
"The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church."
The Pope clearly explains here what the situation is now and how it relates to the Catholics in the pew.
The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.
Here the Pope addresses the "spirit" of Vatican II quirkey notions of both sides.
3. Speaking to our mission as Catholics:
Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time. A logical consequence of this is that we must have at heart the unity of all believers.
and he defines interreligious dialogue:
Added to this is the need for all those who believe in God to join in seeking peace, to attempt to draw closer to one another, and to journey together, even with their differing images of God, towards the source of Light – this is interreligious dialogue.

4. The Pope goes on to address the issue today known as "Tolerance". So many of us get shut down trying to talk about the truth of moral situations, not be better, but out of true concern for the other (just ask people how they view the responsibility to admonish the sinner). He shows us that he (I would say more than anyone else) deals with this constantly...
And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

Dear Brothers, during the days when I first had the idea of writing this letter, by chance, during a visit to the Roman Seminary, I had to interpret and comment on Galatians 5:13-15. I was surprised at the directness with which that passage speaks to us about the present moment: "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another."
I am always tempted to see these words as another of the rhetorical excesses which we occasionally find in Saint Paul. To some extent that may also be the case. But sad to say, this "biting and devouring" also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom. Should we be surprised that we too are no better than the Galatians? That at the very least we are threatened by the same temptations? That we must always learn anew the proper use of freedom? And that we must always learn anew the supreme priority, which is love?

This is well worth the time to read and then remember to pray for the Pope and our bishops and priests. We need to keep our mission front and center, well watered with charity.

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