Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Mario Palmaro on the Criticism of Pope Francis, the Society of St. Pius X, the Situation of the Church and his Illness
The Testimony of the Traditionalists - Interview with Professor Mario Palmer
Perhaps our readers will be amazed both by the interlocutor as well as about the contents of this interview. The lawyer and bioethicist Mario Palmaro belongs to the realm of traditionalist Catholics. As for what concerns the responses, it would be faster if we say what we share than to say what we do not share. It seems nevertheless appropriate to give to some other ecclesiastical sensibility to the word because, first, the dialogue requires its practical application within the Church and outside, so that the parts of the truth of the other will not be lost, because in the moment, when institutional discussions falter, the communities of faith must accept all. Palmaro, together with Alessandro Gnocchi wrote an article entitled: "The Pope Does not Like Us." We and the Christian people like him a lot. Nevertheless, and this counts, is the view of common faith and pietas before the trials in a life, which he writes about in his last response. (-Lorenzo Press)
The Lefebvrians Missed Opportunity
Professor Palmaro, you (and the Church world that you represent in some way) rightly supported the attempt by Benedict XVI., to bring the "schismatic" Lefebvrian movement back into the comunio. But when the General Chapter refused to give the invitation of the Holy See a positive response in May 2012, then what attitude you have taken? How do you judge the attitude of that movement now?
Although I never followed it, I had the good fortune a few years ago closely to get to know the Fraternity of St. Pius X founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Together with the journalist Alessandro Gnocchi, I made the decision to go himself to see with my own eyes this world and then to describe in two books and some articles. I must say that many prejudices I harbored, proved to be unfounded. I have met many good priests, sisters and brothers who are facing a serious Catholic life and are equipped with a cordial and open humanity. I also was very favorably surprised by Msgr Bernard Fellay, the bishop at the head of the SSPX, a good man of great faith. We discovered a world of laymen and priests who pray each day for the Pope, even though they decided to take a critical position, particularly in the area of liturgy, ecumenism and religious freedom. We saw a lot of young people, many vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and we saw a lot of "normal" Catholic families who frequent the Society. Priests in his cassock pass through Paris and are approached by people on the street, they ask for words of comfort and hope.
We know very well the diversity of the contemporary church in the world, that is the fact that today when someone says to be Catholic, it does not mean that he follows the same doctrine. The heterodoxy is widespread and there are sisters, priests, bishops, theologians who openly attack or deny parts of Catholic doctrine. For this reason, we asked ourselves: How can it be that in the church is room for everyone, except for those in all our Catholic brothers who are absolutely loyal to the 20 of 21 Councils that have taken place in the history of Catholicism?
As we wrote the first book, the news came that Benedict XVI. had lifted the excommunications: a historic decision. There remained the question of the canonical recognition of the Society. Pope Benedict attached great importance to this reconciliation, which has not initially specified. I am of the opinion that in the pontificate of Benedict XVI. there was an historic opportunity for the full reconciliation and that it is really a pity that this train was allowed to pass.
I have always been of the opinion that the SSPX must do everything humanly possible for their canonical recognition, but add that it follow that Rome offer clear guarantees of respect and freedom to Bishop Fellay and his faithful, especially with regard to the celebration of Vetus Ordo and as for the doctrine taught at the seminaries of the Society, which is the Catholic doctrine of all time.
The full support by Benedict XVI. now does not seem to apply to Pope Francis. If one accepts the Popes, or “chooses” one for themselves? What represents the papacy today?
Whether people "like” the pope is completely irrelevant in the two thousand year old logic of the Church: the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth and must please our Lord. This means that the exercise of his authority is not absolute, but subordinate to the doctrine of Christ, which is found in the Catholic Church, in Her tradition, and is nourished by the life of grace through the sacraments. This means that the Catholics may be critical of the Pope himself and criticize under the condition that this is done out of love for the truth and that the tradition, the Magisterium is used as a standard gauge. A pope who would contradict a predecessor in matters of faith and morals should be criticized without doubt. We must be against both the secular logic and suspicious of a pope, assessed according to the good pleasure of the democratic majority, as well as to the temptation of a papolatry, according to a "the Pope is always right". In addition, we are accustomed for decades to criticize destructively dozens of popes of the past, by applying the small historiographical seriousness of the day. So there is no apparent reason why the reigning popes should be immune from all forms of criticism. When Boniface VIII and Pius V is evaluated, why doesn’t that also go for Paul VI. or Francis?
On websites and in magazines that are particularly connected to (recent) tradition, a very aggressive statement is frequently observed. Is that true? What determines this? How do you assess that?
The attitude of some of the individuals or groups connected to tradition is a serious problem and can not be denied. One explanation advanced is that truth without love is a betrayal of truth. Christ is our way, our truth and our life, so we have to take Him as a model, who was unbeatable in the truth, always inflexible, and in love. I think the world of tradition is sometimes pointed and polemical for three reasons: First, because of a certain syndrome of isolation that they can be suspicious and resentful, and it is also expressed by problematic personalities; Second, because of the sincere scandal, the specific directions of contemporary Catholicism provokes in those who know the doctrine of the Popes and the Church well up to the Second Vatican Council; Third, because of the lack of love that is shown by the official catholicity towards these brothers on the day, who are entitled with a contemptuous tone as "traditionalists" or " Lefebvrians”, in which one forgets, that in the Church they are definitely much closer than any other Christian denomination, or even any other religion. For the official Catholic media this reality of hundreds of priests and seminarians isn’t worth devoting a line, while devoting entire pages to some thinkers who have not once said anything remotely Catholic.
As you commented, the Vatican statement for the Franciscans of the Immaculate, they demanded the right to conscientious objection of religious against these liturgical arrangements. How is religious obedience applicable to the spiritual family? How would a conscientious objection be classified in the tradition of the Syllabus?
The matter of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in my opinion is very sad. There is a definite measure for provisional administration of Rome, which was met with unusual haste, and also inexplicable severity. Since I know this good religious family, I consider this decision to be completely unwarranted and I have submitted along with other scholars a kind of appeal to the Vatican. I am reminding with succinctness in mind that this measure “dismissed” the founder and prohibits the celebration of the Holy Mass in the Old Rite for all the priests of the Congregation and this is in open contradiction to what the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI. had mandated. You rightly suggest: the resistance to the lawful authority always provides problems for the instruction of Christians, more so if he is a member of a religious family. Still, in this case there are obviously unacceptable aspects and I am of the opinion that the priests should continue to celebrate among the Franciscans of the Immaculate Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, in the Vetus Ordo, thereby ensuring that bi-rituality should, to the extent I know, be practiced by the brothers. I would add that everything else is as nice, to have to apprehend, how to go with the thousand of a thousand problems and rebellions that shake Church, a Church in which congregations are in glorious dissolution for lack of vocations, one then goes to beat Franciscans of the Immaculate, who have many vocations around the world.
What do you think are the most obvious boundaries of the Catholic "Council"-sensitivity (or "liberal" sensibility, if you prefer)? What are its most visible weaknesses?
The basic problem is in my view the relationship with the world, which is characterized by an attitude of subservience and dependence, almost as if the Church would have to adjust to the whims of the people, as we know, however, that it is the person who is the shall adjust the sake of Christ the King, and the history of the universe. When Saint Pius X. sternly rebuked Modernism, he wanted to beat this deadly temptation for the catholicity of changing doctrine to satisfy the spirit of the world. Since humanity is in the clutches of a process of dissolution that was unleashed by the French Revolution and has continued with the modern and the postmodern, the Church is challenged more than ever today, to resist the spirit of the world. There have been many decisions undertaken in the Church during the last 50 years, however, there are symptoms of resilience: the liturgical reform has constructed a Mass for today's sensibility by the destruction of a rite in force for centuries by an entirely on the word, of the assembly and the was created to trade orientation on participation and pushed back the centrality of the victim; the insistence on a universal priesthood, which emptied the ordained priesthood and led to depress generations of priests and a unprecedented crisis of vocations; the Church's architecture has produced anti-liturgical monster, the de facto abolition of the last things, but where the question of the salvation of souls (and the threat of eternal damnation) this is the only supernatural argument that distinguishes the Church from a philanthropic organization; and so on.
The believers are united in essence, but differ on the issues discussed. But all are called to respect and to accompany those who are marked by suffering and burdens of life. How does one's spiritual sensitivity when suffering - as it happens to you - encounters the violence of our days?
The first thing, is a disease that shocks us, that it falls on us without notice and at a time we do not determine. We are at the mercy of events and can do nothing but to accept it. The serious illness forces us to be aware that we are truly mortal. Even if death is the safest thing in the world, modern man tends to live as he would never die. By disease he understood for the first time that the lifetime is below a breath of wind. You can feel with chagrin, that that masterpiece of holiness God desires could never be managed. One sensesa deep desire for the good, that you would be able to do, or to avoid the evil that you want to have been able to avoid. You look at the cross and understand that this is the heart of faith, that without sacrifice catholicity does not exist. Then you thank God that he made you Catholic, a "very small" Catholic, a sinner, but the Church has a caring mother.
The disease is therefore a time of grace, but often the vice and meannesses remains which has been with us for a lifetime, or even worse. It is as if the agony would have been applied and you fight the destiny of the soul, for their own salvation nobody can be sure.
On the other hand, through the disease I was able to get to know an impressive number of people who want good for me and pray for me, families who pray in the evening with the rosary with their children for my recovery, and I have no words to describe the beauty of this experience. It is a preview of God's love in eternity. The biggest pain I feel, is the idea of having to leave this world. I like it so much, that is so tragic but at the same time so beautiful, to let go of so many friends, my relatives, and especially to leave behind my wife and my children, who are still children. Sometimes I imagine how my house, my empty office and life will go, even if I am no more. It is a painful, but very realistic idea. It makes me understand that I was an unprofitable servant, and I am, and that all the books I have written, all the lectures I held and the articles I have written, are ultimately only straw.
But I hope for a merciful Lord and that other parts of my work, my aspirations and my struggles to pick up and carry on, to continue the eternal duel.
Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Concilio e Postconcilio
Trans: Tancred email@example.com
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