Reform and Rebellion auf deutsch

Time magazine is covering the story now gaining attention around the world of more than 300 priests in Austria calling for open disobedience because of the hierarchy’s refusal to budge on issues such as mandatory celibacy, Communion for the remarried, and advocacy of women’s ordination.

A recent survey shows widespread support in the Austrian population for the rebellious priests – 76.5% support them. 86.8% believe that celibacy brings more problems than advantages. Only 10.4% believe that women are given an adequate role in the Catholic Church. Although 84.4% believe that the priests’ initiative has already done harm to the Catholic Church, almost 2/3 of the population – 64.7% – would personally sign a petition supporting the initiative.

Meanwhile, a survey in neighboring Germany shows that 53% of Catholics are for the abolition of mandatory celibacy and the ordination of women. A further 24% are for at least the abolition of mandatory celibacy. Only 49% of Catholics and 30% of Protestants think it is good that the Pope is visiting Germany this September. Most (75%) think that the Pope’s visit will do nothing to change the deadlock in ecumenical relations – 80% of Protestants and 72% of Catholics are skeptical.

As Pray Tell reported earlier, 240 theologians and 347 religion teachers in Germany have called for massive church reforms, with 296 clergymen in Freiburg signing on to the reform appeal.

The Pope is visiting German September 22nd – 25th.


  1. I’m wondering if this movement toward schism is being spearheaded by a bishop similar to what occurred with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre? So much of what is being touted as reform by these “rebels” was also at the forefront in the late 1960’s and 70’s. There’s nothing really new about it. This schism just seems to be the mirror image of Lefebvre, except progressives can’t agree on any “one” leader to keep them from fragmenting. So I wonder if they’ll be as successful as Lefebvre seeing that this group tends to despise the centralized authority of a bishop.

    1. Actually, fragmentation is not necessarily a liability in this context. Centralization gives a focus to bolts from Zeus, as it were; fragmentation is not only messier to organize, but similarly messier to discipline. To every cloud there is a silver lining, just as to every silver lining there is a cloud….

    2. Fr A. J. McD.

      What a self-indulgent rant and on such a flimsy lack of substance!

      Apart from emotive language, it’s you who are saying nothing – new or old.

      Dulce et decorum est tacere.

      As Chris Grady might ask, are there no sick or indigent in your parish that you could minister to?

      1. I thought from some of your previous comments that you were also a priest. Aren’t there any sick or indigent in the parish where you reside? (Or even if you aren’t a priest?)

        Which is not to say that I agree with Fr. MacDonald. The situation here and with the SSPX is rather different, actually.

      2. Schism!!! that is just the sort of fear-mongering that has kept priests silent and powerless for so long.

        Now we have a church where NO leadership is coming from abov, so if priests do not act collectively pooling their own initiative the ship will just continue to sink.

        The absent leadership may also be less of a blocking force too.

  2. At least there are some clergy who still feel as though they have a right to voice their opionion and are not afraid to express themselves.

      1. More of the typical paralytic clerical thinking here. It is not longer a matter of progress but of sheer survival.

        A silent and fearful clergy is no longer a luxury church or society can afford.

  3. GF – agree and was also going to rant about the rant. But, allow me to state (within the bounds of Paul Ford’s admonition):

    – Lefebre, et alii reject a council of the church and some even reject prior popes beforre VII……to compare the two is ridiculous at this point

    – SPXX was/is in schism over dogmas….to compare to those seriously asking for discussion on key needs and issues in the church completely diminishes these folks by labelling them

    – here is an acknowledged leader of this movement (have you read up on this movement, Fr. Allan?:

    “Dissident leader Rev Helmut Schueller, who as Vienna vicar general was Schoenborn’s deputy from 1995 to 1999 and once led the Austrian chapter of the international Catholic charity Caritas, has said he has no intention of giving up. He says many priests are already quietly breaking the rules anyway, often with the knowledge of their bishops, and his campaign aims to force the hierarchy to agree to change.”

    – a good theological historian would be able to dramatize the differences between SSPX and those who see actual church needs and are asking to discuss non-dogmatic issues – currently, the curial and institutional church is restricting, controlling, and denying obvious needs and questions around the world church… fact, canon lawyers such as Ladislas Orsoy have shown that the curia and institutional church are breaking canon law via papalization, centralization, ignoring the VII call for collegiality, etc.

    – so, Fr. Allan, why react with such fear and need to dismiss folks that may honestly be trying to live good catholic/christian lives in the midst of great need, questions, and times of change (reminds me of the two French bishops who stomped on Thomas Aquinas – and how did that play out?)

  4. Bill, you bring to my two tiny paragraphs too much of your own agenda and baggage. I simply asked, for I do not know, if a bishop is also joining this “rebellion” as this word along with reform are in the title of the post. I do think that Lefebvre before he was excommunicated had many on his side and his followers still do today and use their position as leverage toward their understanding of reform of the Church today even though their context too is rebellion from the documents of Vatican II and bishops appointed by the Holy Father. The topic of this post’s group’s reform and rebellion is as much about reform as it is rebellion especially when 300 priests are openly defying their bishop which is a grave violation of a particular promise they made at ordination concerning the faith, morals and discipline of the Church and could lead to their excommunication and/or laicization. And many would disagree that women’s ordination is not against the “dogma” of the Church although I recognize some wiggle room for those who rebel in this regard.

  5. Thanks for clarifying. I might suggest that this group is about “reform” rather than rebellion. But, when you are not in power and your efforts to question are repeatedly denied, guess you could call it rebellion but it appears that they are rather seeking dialogue.

    Sorry, your injecting the “old” promise made at ordination to the bishop – well, you also made a promise to follow the gospel; not an institution. Your description – “concerning faith, morals, and discipline” – but how those are lived out in the institutional church is a matter of development from both the bottom up and the top down. You appear to only focus on half the story while skipping over the VII documents that emphasized baptism and rights of all first; the sensus fidelium, etc. Many serious and respected folks are questionning the current structures of power and decision making because it is tilted too far to the institutional side rather than the gospel side. (yes, in my opinion re agenda and baggage, thank god)

  6. The difference, it would seem, between this situation and that of LeFebvre is that in the case of LeFebvre there was the maintaining of positions held by the church (at least formerly) in the face of what seemed to be unprecedented change. In the case of these individuals, there is simply support for positions on issues that the church has never held, calling for change rather than resisting it. As such, the dynamic is totally different. To what do these priests and theologians point to say that their positions are the “correct” positions, other than popular acclaim?

    1. “popular acclaim”, as in 78% of Catholics in Germany favoring optional celibacy for priests. How much authority does a position have once it is held by 78% of Catholics? Is this an example of sensus fidelium, like in the case of the Immaculate conception?

      1. Actually, since celibacy is merely a discipline and not a doctrine, I am not sure if the sensus fidelium is the determinative hermeneutic, one way or the other.

      2. Paul VI put a proposal for allowing married men to be ordained to the Synod in 1971 and to his surprise it was rejected. Why? Paralyzed clerical thinking.

      3. Claire;

        My point is that popular acclaim has no bearing on many issues. If 100% of Catholics believed that Christ didn’t actually rise from the dead, all it would mean is that 100% of Catholics were in error. It may perhaps be a crisis in faith, but it isn’t a repudiation of the truth.

        I have to be honest…I’m not entirely certain what is meant by “optional celibacy”. If Priests were permitted to marry (and I’m not entirely opposed to that idea, by the way), then the assumption would be that they would not be celibate. However, an unmarried priest would be bound by the same, if perhaps not higher, moral guidance of the church as any unmarried person is. Is the suggestion that unmarried priests should be permitted to simply have sex without any marital commitment? This seems problematic on so many levels…

      4. Jeff, I agree that truth is not defined by polls. But when almost everyone assents to something, it is a powerful sign that that opinion might be correct, especially when it represents not an old prejudice but a change. John Paul 2: “The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.”

        Optional celibacy: I’m assuming that what 78% of German Catholics agree with is the idea of married priests.

      5. Jeffrey Herbert: “I have to be honest…I’m not entirely certain what is meant by “optional celibacy”. ”

        Jeffrey your “honest uncertainty” doesn’t seem either very fair or even quite honest to me. Rather, it seems like willed ignorance and the stubborn refusal to see that this term is never used as you imagine/fear it is.

        Please substantiate your claim that “optional celibacy” includes sex outside of marriage. You’ve said this more than once. And this term has been explained to you more than once — even I have explained it to you, on this blog — yet you persist in making an inference that sexual license is implied by it, thereby denigrating the moral vision of people who say “optional celibacy” is desirable. As far as I can see you are making a completely unsubstantiated, false insinuation, and you keep repeating it.

        No one I’ve ever read or heard, no one, uses “optional celibacy” as you persist in thinking they do. If you have evidence that they do, please produce it. If there is none, let’s put away this straw man and talk about the real issues.

    2. In reply to Jeffrey Herbert on August 31, 2011 – 1:03 pm:

      Another difference is that the SSPX proceded with canonical approval under the supervision of the local Bishop from 1970, until his group’s approval was withdrawn in 1975.

      More generally

      Having looked at the article, the SSPX is relevant for another reason. The article says that this Austrian group is, “significant numbers of priests are refusing obedience to the Pope and bishops for the first time in memory.” For that statement to be true, it needs more qualification.

      1. Samuel;

        I THINK I agree with you. My point was that the situation of these current priests is, in many ways, exactly the opposite of the situation of the SSPX. Rather than seeking to bring the church back to it’s foundational beliefs, this group seems to be trying to coerce the church to change those foundational beliefs. Two very different ideas. Both might be seen as “dissident”, but of two very different varieties!

  7. In the spirit in which I think Fr. Ruff posted this, here is a mind experiement:

    a) article in America by Roger Haight about the “Lessons from an Extraordinary Era” –

    b) there are many similarities between Haight’s analysis and the points and issues being raised by these Austrian priests.

    c) his article speaks to “Hope in the Future” via theology but, using some imagination, you can see that his analysis also highlights issues that are pertinent to both the world church and to the internal church. For him – “….in theology one stage takes the former into itself, slowly widening its horizon and deepening perceptions, allowing a complexification of issues that leads to greater understanding.”

    Transcribing his approach, in the church one structure/law/discipline takes the former into itself, slowly widening its horizon and deepening our understanding.

    d) examples:

    Lesson 1: The house of Christian meaning lies in the experience of the Christian subject. “…….draws out the relevance of revelation for the real questions people are asking.

    Lesson 2. Human knowledge, classic formulations included, is historically conditioned and thus particular. (this would also apply to church discipline)

    Lesson 3. Human knowledge represents group interests and bias.

    Lesson 4. Social practice is an intrinsic dimension of Christian faith from which one cannot prescind. (As Ignatius of Loyola postulated in his Spiritual Exercises, “Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words”. For this love to be effective and authentic, it must be directed against the causes of human suffering. Internal church structures can cause human suffering.

    Lesson 5. Social-ethical considerations are intrinsic to theological understanding…..or to church discipline, sacraments, etc.

    Just my casual ruminations.

  8. The only good priests today are ones who are doing something creative on their own initiative. Any priest who thinks it is enough to keep his head down, say his prayers, and dutifully follow the rails is deluded. Bishops who are merely following the rails are leaving everyone in the lurch, and very few bishops are showing the necessary creative initiative, thanks in part to the paralyzing Vatican centralization and paranoid fear of any independent initiatives. It is very, very late in the day for priests to organize, speak and act, but we may have one last chance.

    1. Except when they fail to consult their flock, broadly and deeply, about that creativity. Priests come and go, the flock remains and has to mop up after them, with a bucket. Priests better be damn sure the flock is willing to mop up after their creative mess. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many priests more egoistic in their creativity than that, so count me in the I’m-From-Missouri camp on that recommendation.

  9. Fr. Ruff’s summary: Most (75%) think that the Pope’s visit will do nothing to change the deadlock in ecumenical relations – 80% of Protestants and 72% of Catholics are skeptical.

    Topical article: “Pope wants more time for ecumenism in Germany visit” (Catholic Herald, 10 March 2011).

    Given the overall decline of Christianity in the German-speaking nations and Europe in general, it’s crucial that German Catholic priests and evangelical pastors cooperate pastorally and even liturgically. German television has bridged this gap through informal ecumenism. The German TV channel ZDF has Fernsehgottesdienst (“TV Worship”) every Sunday, with a schedule that rotates between a Catholic church and an EKD (Protestant) church. Couldn’t there be a “joint Sunday service of the Word” with a Protestant pastor and a Catholic priest? I am fairly sure that most Germans, even religiously apathetic Germans, know the difference between the two faiths and the two vocations.

    If Pope Benedict thinks that a Catholic priest preaching alongside a woman pastor will create a great scandal, he should be assured that most people will probably not mind at all. Women pastors are very visible in German TV worship. I suspect that Pope Benedict’s ecumenical acumen is quite myopic when it comes to developments “on the ground”.

  10. I appreciate Jeffrey’s comments above – contrasting past practice with outspoken proponents of radical change.

    This actually reminded me of the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 – one faction clinging to the past and another proposing an unprecedented new approach.

  11. AJMcD: I do think that Lefebvre before he was excommunicated had many on his side and his followers still do today

    Oh yes? He was one of the 4 who voted against Sacrosanctum Concilium as compared with the 2,147 who voted for it. Not many on his side then, I venture to suggest.

    1. Paul,

      In fact, Archbishop Lefebvre did vote for Sacrosanctum Concilium. In my long years of knowing him, Monsignor Frederick McManus recalled this often. Various internet sites confirm Monsignor McManus’s ever-sure recollection.

      1. For a time, Msgr. Lefebvre celebrated Mass according to the 1965 provisional rubrics. He only went back to the 1962 missal after the introduction of the 1970 missal. I suppose that he did indeed say the propers in French from 1965 — 1970, though I wonder if he ever said Mass facing the people (my guess is ‘no’).

        I don’t understand why the conditions of Ecclesia Dei included the requirement to use the 1962 missal. After all, Lefebvre himself followed some of the prescriptions of SC. Then again, trying to ‘read’ the SSPX’s intentions is akin to understanding North Korean nuclear policy.

      2. Mr. Francis, Interesting. I didn’t know that. Perhaps, somebody should remind the frequent SSPX contributors to a number of blogs and their sympathizers of archbishop Lefebvre’s vote. I’ve yet to hear one of them mention that. Perhaps, knowing it would come as a complete surprise to them.

  12. The death knell is being sounded for any form of centralized
    authority demanding unquestioning obedience. The Vatican is the last of the models of absolute power. Its relevance to the life of the Church has been on borrowed time since the end of the 30 years war in the 17th century.

    These priests may be today’s Luthers and Calvins. I’m sure there are other clergy ready to defy the pope throughout Europe and elsewhere? I don’t expect much action from our own clergy in this country or the bishops for that matter.

    A very different papacy and Church governing framework has to be crafted and very soon. No more appeals to history, tradition, or promises to take the Church back to some golden age will cut it now. There are just too many cats out of the bag everywhere. Thanks to journalists who aren’t going to give up uncovering instances of widespread corruption.

    People are running out of patience with what’s been emerging in recent decades and efforts by Church leaders to obfuscate, delay, and brush matters under the carpet. The outrage and demand for change isn’t coming solely from reformers, but from people who consider themselves to be very ordinary and very pious Catholics.

  13. The death knell is being sounded for any form of centralized
    authority demanding unquestioning obedience.

    This at least is true. But it raises the disturbing possibility (as Foucault pointed out) that power is now decentralized and hidden in disciplinary regimes that are only more powerful because they operate in decentralized ways that are that much harder to resist.

    The centralized authority of the Vatican I can choose to obey or not. But the dispersed and pervasive power of the modern culture industry? The seductive power of the latest technology (even this blog)? It is so much a part of the fabric of my life that I obey without even knowing I obey.

    Somehow, I have a hard time taking seriously the idea that the Vatican is a significant threat to my freedom. I could walk away from the Catholic Church tomorrow with no significant loss of livelihood and certainly no threat to life and limb. Hell, if I flounced big enough they might even make a movie about it and put it on HBO. Now that’s power.

    1. I have to agree with you on what you wrote. While I never would encourage a priest to get married, in my metro area there are about 9 ex priests. Most of them continue to participate in the Church and have had irregular marriages validated. They’ve made a good life for themselves and are productive members of the community. While I suspect they would sympathize with the priests in Austria, the married and not so married priests I know who can no longer function as such are not rattling the “cages” they live in to return to the active priesthood, in fact most are perfectly content with the choices they’ve made and in freedom.

      1. And have you ever sat down and talked with these men and their wives? Have you ever invited them to use their knowledge, expertise, and pastoral experience in your parish?

        They may not be “rattling” their cages but some may be in retirement or semi-retirement and looking to give back to the church using knowledge and skills developed over a lifetime. You too easily make things black and white – either an active priest or no priest……what about all the ministry levels and opportunities in between those two extremes?

        Have found a few pastors/bishops who welcome these men and their skills; but way too many are treated as heretics; seen as questionnable; and restricted from using their skills in the church. The fear around this issue is palpable.

        Would suggest that Austria may be able to teach us something?

      2. Bill, these men for the most part are actively engaged in my parish and I presided at the wedding of one’s son last spring and his dad was the best man and his uncle a former priest too, was present. think before you write.

      3. Fr. Allan – you missed the point I was talking about. Witnessing the marriage of their son/nephew – what does that have to do with my questions and points? They are active in your parish (okay – so you treat them like catholics which they are; but they were/are also trained/educated ministers; do you invite them to minister?) – meaning what…. given the points I raised and the point of this post and the API group in Austria?

        You seem to have changed the subject – in some ways, your comments remind me of JH’s “optional celibacy” comment.

    2. The centralized authority of the Vatican I can choose to obey or not. But the dispersed and pervasive power of the modern culture industry? The seductive power of the latest technology (even this blog)? It is so much a part of the fabric of my life that I obey without even knowing I obey.
      Deacon Bauerschmidt, Which only goes to show how futile it is for Rome to attempt to draw more and more decision-making to itself.

      Because authority is so dispersed and technology so seductive,
      it makes Rome’s imprudent exercise of that authority so much more ridiculous. Today, for most Catholics the pope can be taken about as seriously as Margaret Rutherford was as head of the Duchy of Fenwick. For bishops who want to move up the career scale and the clergy who must report to them, that can be quite another matter. For them the “Mouse that Roared” is he who must be obeyed.

      1. The mention of Margaret Rutherford on PT is as refreshing as it is surprising. What a great Miss Marple she was!

  14. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :

    Only 20 to 25 % of Catholics in this country attend Mass, is this “sensus fidelium” and therefore like the Immaculate Conception?

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    I think it is certainly the Sense of the Faithful that they do not find sustenance at Mass. Instead of pointing to the numbers as proof that ***I*** am right and we need to do more of what ***I*** want, we all need to start asking what is missing and/or offensive to these believers.

    1. I agree 100%, but many will disagree on the diagnosis and will fall back on what is believed by the people, or better yet, what loss of faith has taken place. This can’t be called “Sense of the Faithful” for to be that one has to be “faithful.”

      1. Faithful to what or to whom?

        As Rita has said elsewhere“The Church encourages people to not take responsibility for their actions when they make it seem that their only responsibility is to be obedient to authority.”

        It may help to differentiate between faith and belief in this discussion, where the former refers to a person’s relationship with God and the latter to the theological views one holds. Ironically loss of belief in a particular subject may in fact lead to an increase in one’s faith.

  15. Re: Fr. Allan J. McDonald on August 31, 2011 – 7:54 am

    Hate to go back to the top of the thread. Still, this must be said. In my opinion, Pope Benedict is unwise to continue open dialogue with the SSPX and at the same time ignore the concerns of his brother German-speaking clergy.

    The SSPX is the closest analogue in Catholicism to a radical violent fundamentalist group. It’s true that the SSPX does not commit physical acts of violence towards the general public. However, SSPX anti-Semitism, restriction/denigration of women, and fascist political tendencies qualify as acts of violence nevertheless.

    On the other hand, the Austrian petitioners merely wish for dialogue on a matter of discipline (the ordination of married men) and a doctrinal-dogmatic issue (women’s ordination). Why does the Pope coddle extremists and not even coutenance morally and ethically sound arguments which are wholeheartedly supported by many Catholics in the developing world?

    I am flabbergasted by Pope Benedict’s choice of interlocutors. If the SSPX were ever regularized, I might leave the Church in despair. I do hope, as Claire Mathieu mentioned earlier in the thread, that the sensus fidelium sifts the honest wheat (the ordination of married men) from the rank hatred of Econe.

    1. I suspect there has been a dialogue since the 1960’s on all of these things since all of these things were taught in my seminary as things that would been in place by the 21st century. They were wrong of course and all of the theologians back then should return their crystal balls for a refund. After 40 something years of bantering these ideas about some of these are settled from an “authoritative” angle much to the disgust of some who have authority issues. But dialogue there has been, but it seems now that those in Austria are the ones bullying their cardinal-archbishop which is counter-productive to dialogue to say the least.

    2. The SSPX is the closest analogue in Catholicism to a radical violent fundamentalist group. It’s true that the SSPX does not commit physical acts of violence towards the general public.

      Jordan, I know you’ve had some bad experiences with traditionalists, but this is really over the top. Even leaving aside the merits or demerits of the SSPX, there actually have been within living memory a number of different radical violent “fundamentalist” groups that called themselves Roman Catholic.

      To suggest that the Pope is “ignor[ing] the concerns of his brother German-speaking clergy” is ridiculous as I think you’d acknowledge in a calmer mood. (See for instance this.) He’s clearly engaged in the debate, even if you don’t like the answers.

      1. Re: Samuel J. Howard on September 1, 2011 – 12:33 pm

        This is a good point, Sam. Yes, I have had and continue to have bad run-ins with traditionalists (as opposed to modern Catholics who merely prefer the EF, as I am.) I do not think very highly of the SSPX, and find their arguments to be quite flimsy in light of modern biblical scholarship, for example.

        It’s also true that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have supported priestly celibacy. I disagree, but respect their position. My concern is Pope Benedict’s willingness to have periodic meetings with Msgr. Fellay, but not with groups such as the Austrian petitioners. Pope Benedict should give a hearing both to the reactionary right and left. So far, he’s just not willing to give equal time.

      2. My concern is Pope Benedict’s willingness to have periodic meetings with Msgr. Fellay, but not with groups such as the Austrian petitioners.

        The Pope has, as far as I can tell from some quick Googling, met only once with Msgr. Fellay, in August 2005. The following month he met with Fr. Hans KĂĽng.

        In the meanwhile, you can’t see the difference in diplomatic approach between the SSPX who organize Rosary campaigns saying how they are praying for the Pope and seek union with him (albeit largely on their terms) and this Austrian group who organize petition drives calling for open disobedience?

        Furthermore, the issues that the SSPX has (Liturgy, Religious Freedom, Judaism) are ones that have been the object of magisterially endorsed development of new positions in the 20th century, which puts them in quite a different place than some of the Austrian demands for lay presidency (maybe? the article is unclear) and the ordination of women, where the Church has tightened down its positions. The institutional Church can see the SSPX as “lagging behind” where the Austrian group’s rushing ahead to places the Church may not (and should not) be willing to go.

      3. SSPX – issues are dogmatic and even to the point of rejecting popes.

        Austrian priest association – you are reading too much into this and trying to make honest attempts at reform of disciplinary decisions into something heretical.

        Your view of obedience and authority is your opinion only and puts a very negative slant on what some of these dialogue requests are about.

      4. SSPX – issues are dogmatic and even to the point of rejecting popes.

        Bill, the SSPX claims that they do not reject any dogmatic teachings of the Church. Neither do they “reject popes”. You may be confusing them with the SSPV and other sedevacantist (or so leaning) or sededeprivationist groups. They hold quite firmly that Benedict XVI is the Pope and recognize the entire line of succesion he claims.

  16. The SSPX is the closest analogue in Catholicism to a radical violent fundamentalist group. It’s true that the SSPX does not commit physical acts of violence towards the general public. However, SSPX anti-Semitism, restriction/denigration of women, and fascist political tendencies qualify as acts of violence nevertheless.

    Hold on. This is unbelievably offensive to anybody who has actually been on the receiving end of anti-woman violence. You obviously cannot understand that. Unbelievably offensive. Please learn an iota about feminism before you try to play one on the internet.

    1. What’s offensive about it? Do you think you’re the only one qualified to have an opinion? Is J. Z. being castigated by you because he’s a man or because you disagree with what he says? In either case, apart from an explosive, knee-jerk reaction, you’re not pointing out anything of substance that is false.

      The comparison of anti-Semitism and fascism with the denigration of women is actually an enlightening one.

    2. Re: Sandi Brough on September 1, 2011 – 12:08 pm

      Sandi, I apologize sincerely for my ignorance. You are right that a man should not comment on women’s issues, full stop. That is only for women to decide.

      I do hold the other two statements to be examples of violence, as one is a prejudice and the other are ideologies that can foster prejudices.

      I am quite sorry that you have been upset by this. That is all I can say.

      1. You fell for her act. If men should not comment on women’s issues, should women not comment on men’s? Silly.

      2. You are right that a man should not comment on women’s issues, full stop. That is only for women to decide.
        Where is that written?

      3. Men can comment on women’s issues, but to a quite limited extent and with great care considering the sensitivity of the issue. Certainly, anyone should have used much more precise language than what I used. I apologized simply out of charity; I believe we are asked to do this as Christians when one of us is deeply troubled or hurt by what the other person says.

        I did not mean to imply that the SSPX is physically violent towards its members. Perhaps a better word or phrase would have been “coercion” or “undue conformity”. I have found that Catholic traditionalism (as opposed merely to Catholics who prefer the EF but affirm Vatican II and attend the OF also) often impose strict dress codes on both men and women, but especially women (i.e. mandatory veiling).

        This is where one of my disagreements and concerns with traditionalism lies. Both men and women are equal in the congregation. We are all baptized according to doctrine in the same way, and individually baptized. Both men and women must be able to exercise autonomy of expression and piety. A person may choose to dress and display piety in a certain way, but that is his or her choice and only his or her choice. The line of autonomy and equality in the assembly is breached when a bishop, priest, or layperson forces another person to dress or display piety in a certain manner. That is what I mean by “violence” (in a non physical sense). However, that was a very imprecise and rightfully misinterpreted way of explaining this phenomenon.

        Again, this is separate from my offense to Sandi, which stands alone.

    3. This kind of histrionic victim outrage is one of the reasons my sympathy with feminism is down to zero. One of the qualities of a functioning intellect is discrimination, the ability to judge the difference between an idea, an attitude and an action rather than simply enacting a tantrum designed to get everyone to placate you. I’ve seen it many times.

      It’s not much different than equating a moral judgment about homosexuality with gaybashing, or the theological judgment that Judaism is an incomplete religion, from a Christian point of view, with the Holocaust.

      I have learned far more than an iota about feminism over the years and I have no use for it. Your manipulative outburst is just one more reason why.

  17. From the Tablet:

    Austrian abbots say Schönborn alone cannot prevent schism in Church

    Tablet editorial:


    But the Austrian abbots and provosts said the positions are now so hardened that a second round of talks could not possibly solve the problems. There are roughly 40 abbots and provosts in Austria and half of all parishes have Religious as parish priests.

    The head of the Conference of Religious Superiors in Austria, Abbot Maximilian Fürnsinn, of Herzogenburg Abbey, said a church summit is called for as certain of the reforms the Priests’ Initiative is pressing for, such as allowing older married men to say Mass, could be taken up and were at least worthy of discussion. Abbot Martin Felhofer of Schlägl Abbey said: “This can no longer be solved by the Cardinal [Schönborn] alone. Everyone – ­bishops, abbots, Religious and representatives of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative – must sit down and discuss the problems together.”
    While Cardinal Schönborn was in Madrid for World Youth Day – where he was apparently repeatedly asked about the Priests’ Initiative by his fellow bishops – and subsequently in Rome for this year’s Schülerkreis meeting, the initiative has continued to make almost daily headlines in the Austrian media.

    Four priests have left the Initiative, but 86 more have joined so that it now numbers 400 priests – roughly one in 10 – and 12,000 active supporters.

  18. If positions are truly hardening beyond dialogue, that is sad.

    Comments made above: “…suspect there has been a dialogue since the 1960’s on all of these things….. After 40 something years of bantering these ideas about some of these are settled from an “authoritative” angle much to the disgust of some who have authority issues.”

    These are opinions that don’t seem to equate to reality as expressed by catholics and priests even bishops around the world. The comments make it appear that these issues are settled.

    We lived through the same approach roughly 100 years ago in the US. Funny how history tends to repeat itself and returns to the past:

    “Pope Leo XIII directed two negative encyclical letters against the Church in the US. One of these was “Loginqua Oceani” (1895) which rejected the American separation of Church and State and made it clear that this is a “very erroneous” arrangement even for the United States.

    The encyclical noted with horror that “State and Church…in America” are “dissevered and divorced.” Leo stated that Rome will at best tolerate this experiment in America but only until Catholic are a majority. At that point, American Catholics must press for a union of Church and State and for the marginalizatiion of all Protestant Churches. And typically, this encyclical called for a “submissive spirit” from all the clergy and for “obedience from the laity.”

    The second letter, “Testem Benevolentiae” (1899) took direct aim at US Catholic culture. It found American Catholics:
    1) too eager to accommodate doctrine to modernity
    2) too willing to think and say whatever they wish and indeed to express these thoughts too readily in print
    3) too individualistic and too willing to rely on the direct influence of the spirit in their spiritual lives rather than following the “well-known path laid out by the Church

    Cardinal James Gibbons objected to the encyclical in a sharp letter to the Pope on March 17, 1899. What interesting parallels.

    1. And typically, this encyclical called for a “submissive spirit” from all the clergy and for “obedience from the laity.”
      Bill, Too bad Pope Benedict and Pope Leo XIII can’t today compare
      notes on how to win friends and influence Catholics. The former
      seems as removed from reality as the latter was when it comes to
      understanding anything about Catholics in America, or perhaps
      anywhere else.

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