Monday, 19 September 2011

The SSPX Preamble

Messa in Latino has posted what he believes to be the content of now famous Preamble given to the Society of St Pius X to sign.

Essentially, he says, there are two points. The second point is simple; the Society must change its tone and become more respectful to legitimately constituted authority.

The first expands on the different sorts of adherence that a Catholic must give to different degrees of Church teaching, as expressed in Canon 750 and the Apostolic Letter Ad Fidem Tuendam of Pope John Paul II. Solemn teachings of the Church, proclaimed to be divinely revealed, must be adhered to with firm faith; nobody in the SSPX is going to quarrel with that. Bishop Fellay instanced our belief in the Trinity as an example. Then there are the dogmas that are not explicitly in scripture, but which the Church has taught consistently or else proclaimed dogmatically; for instance the impossibility of the ordination of women or the wrongfulness of Euthanasia. Here too the SSPX is not expected to disagree. The third degree, however, regards the non-definitive teachings of the Magisterium of the Pope or College of Bishops, especially where there has been some degree of change, for example over the issue of usury. Since the Council explicitly (in the words of Pope John XXIII, if not Paul VI also) said that it wanted to define no new dogma, and though it makes assertions, they do not have a dogmatic nature of themselves, one may be cut a certain amount of slack.

Messa in Latino adds:

As the official communique of the Holy See reported, the Preamble left 'theological study and explanation of particular expressions and formulations present in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium that followed it open to legitimate discussion.' It should be noted that the object of this discussion, which is expressly termed 'legitimate', is not only about the interpretation of documents, but of the text itself of the documents: the 'expressions and formulations' used in the Council documents. So we are well beyond mere hermeneutics; it has become permissible to scrutinize the words themselves (and not only the significance or interpretation of those words) which the Council Fathers chose when putting together the documents.
If the words used in the preamble and so in the official communique have a meaning, here we have a Copernican revolution in the approach to the Council. That is, a move from a mere exegetical level to a substantial one.… In his discourse of the 15th August, Bishop Fellay said that for Rome the Council was taboo, and therefore one was limited to the discussion of the external wrappings, that is of interpretation. Now, on the other hand, it is permissible to tackle also the heart of the matter. This implies furthermore that the controversial passages, insofar as they may be freely discussed, do not even demand that lesser degree of acceptance described as 'religious submission'.
Having said Mass, I've now reworked the translation, and I hope that it is clearer.Thanks to Eriugena for help with a mystery word!

Well, we must wait and see. But we live in interesting times. 

I don't think The Tablet is going to like this one!

Rorate Caeli now has a fuller treatment of this topic

8 comments:

Fr William R. Young said...

This does sound very hopeful. I wonder if all the Catholic bishops of the world will be invited either to accept the dogmatic parts of this preamble or to seek recourse to the Holy See under Canon 401 §2 and Canon 411. of the 1983 Code.

Trisagion said...

If this is correct, this is indeed a Copernican revolution and opens up the possibility of providing an answer to the theological question Mgr Brunero Gherardini has been asking: what is the status of those teachings of the Second Vatican Council which are inconsistent or incoherent with the formal teachings of the pre-conciliar Magisterium.

Eriugena said...

sindacare v.tr. 1 (controllare) to control, to check; (verificare) to verify; (ispezionare) to inspect; (conti) to audit 2 (criticare) to criticise, to censure; (biasimare) to blame: sindacare la condotta di qlcu., to censure s.o.'s behaviour.

Pastor in Valle said...

Thanks, Eriugena (and what an excellent choice of name). I think that 'scrutinize' probably fits the context best.

AndrewWS said...

I presume 'sindacare' is related to the Italian 'sindaco' meaning 'mayor'.

Woody said...

Looks like Rorate have taken down the entry on the ML discussion of the Preamble, no doubt because it is deemed too sensitive at this time. The Come Previgny post is still up there, though and presents its own fascinating aspects. Of note to me is the quote from then-Cardinal Ratzinger, to the effect that the Council was purely a pastoral one. If I am not mistaken, what characterizes as pastoral undertaking, among other things, is the presentation of the Faith in terms that take into account the signs of the times, i.e., it is by its nature historically conditioned. So even if some of the phrasing sounded dogmatic, what was actually being proposed was pastoral, historically conditioned, and therefore subject to further revision (hopefully to be clarified so as to make clear continuity with the 2,000 year old tradition).

Sadie Vacantist said...

If this was a pastoral council, why were theologians so dominant?

A curious feature of this 1960's shambles was the non-contribution of Dublin's Archbishop McQuaid. This man was the nominal head of an eccliastical empire almost without parallel in World history. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the Irish were the great empire builders during the medieval period as their monks endeavoured to re-educate Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire.

McQuaid's silence between 1962-1965 remains both mysterious and deafening.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that the rumour is true that the main reason for the Holy Father setting up Anglican Ordinariates is a way of creating a precedent for creating another for the SSPX? I keep hearing it repeated everywhere.