Where Is the Ecclesia Dei Document?
Inside the Vatican’s Newsflash
By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome
A very important document was supposed to come out last Friday, June 19.
It didn't come out Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or today.
And behind this delay, there is a story.
What document am I talking about?
Not the long-awaited social encyclical!
The Ecclesia Dei Constitution
No, I am talking about another document entirely: the one regulating the future of the Ecclesia Dei commission (the commission founded in 1988 to focus on questions related to the old Mass and to provide pastoral care for those Catholics attached to the old liturgy).
It's a very brief document, perhaps just three pages long. It is rumored to have been ready for some time. And I was told today that it was definitely scheduled last week for release on Friday, June 19.
But it hasn't come out. Why?
But what about the Ecclesia Dei document?
According to one friend here, "Behind the pretext of changing Ecclesia Dei, and merging it into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope wants to reopen a theological dialogue concerning Vatican II."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"The Second Vatican Council provoked an earthquake in the Church," my friend said. "The clergy, the laity, and the Vatican itself — everything was shaken. And now, 45 years later, there is only one group which wants a thorough debate on the meaning of the conciliar documents: the Society of St. Pius X. And the purpose of moving Ecclesia Dei under the CDF is to prepare the way for a thorough debate on the conciliar documents."
"So what is the problem with that?" I asked.
"Look," my friend said. "The document regulating the role of Ecclesia Dei is all written. It has three parts: 1) some technical points concerning how it will function; 2) some measures about its relationship to the CDF, within the CDF; and 3) an outline of a program for discussing Vatican II and how the Council should be interpreted in keeping with the perennial tradition of the Church."
"And?" I asked.
"That's the problem."
"What's the problem?" I asked.
"Some people don't want these questions opened up again."
What is really happening here?
Benedict, knowing that the Second Vatican Council was a watershed in the history of the Church, and knowing also that the interpretation of the Council has led in some unexpected and erroneous directions, has decided to face the basic problem — the problem of the interpretation of Vatican II — by placing the Ecclesia Dei commission in the heart of the most important doctrinal office in the Church, in the CDF.
And yet, for some reason, the implementation of that decision is being delayed.
Another friend today told me he thinks the visit of the Austrian bishops to Rome last week has not been understood.
"The Austrian bishops, who are they?" my friend said. "They are Schoenborn..."
He was referring to Christoph Schoenborn, the 64-year-old cardinal archbishop of Vienna, Austria, and a former student of Joseph Ratzinger.
"It is significant that the Pope agreed to spend two days speaking with Schoenborn," my friend said. "I think there could be further developments. For example, Cardinal Levada just turned 73 on June 15. The Pope could be thinking of bringing Schoeborn back to Rome, to take Levada's place when he turns 75..."
Combine the highlighted areas above with this post from the Catholic Church Conservation blog, a translation of an article from the French magazine Golias, and Dr. Moynihan's statements above seem more than mere conjecture:
Thursday, June 25, 2009From the paleo-left-liberal, more Tablet than the Tablet, French magazine GoliasAccording to our information, and on the eve of the SSPX ordinations on 27 June in Germany, the Pope wishes to write a second motu proprio in the coming months. The document to be issued this time is not only about the liturgy in Latin, but a more comprehensive reintegration of the SSPX into the Church. This will mean demanding, of course, conditions, but also by engaging the whole Church in this process. Serious!In other words, the bishops will no longer be entitled to express in a too overt manner open reluctantance and even less to slow the return of the traditionalists. One should understand that representatives of these currents regularly complain to the Pope posed about the obstacles placed to their reinstatement by the bishops and their entourage. Until now, Rome and the Ecclesia Dei commission have been bypassing bishops without, however, in general, openly disavow their views.Thus, in 1988, the Commission regularised very quickly and in a very caring manner the Benedictine abbey of Barroux, without informing or consulting the Archbishop of Avignon at the time, Archbishop Raymond Bouchex. More recently, Rome proceeded in the same way with respect to the Institut du Bon Pasteur, without informing the Archbishop of Bordeaux, in whose Diocese it was located. Recently, another signal was given by the Vatican when restoring a traditional parish priest in dissent with his bishop in Calvados, just so as to remind the bishops. Following this Motu proprio, a bishop considered too reluctant to welcome the fundamentalists will certainly have his knuckles rapped.
The bishops will no longer be able to express their reservationsBenedict XVI and his advisers intend to enjoy the quiet summer to advance along the path of reconciliation. After the authorisation allowing celebration according to all the old liturgical books (Motu proprio of 2007), after the lifting of the excommunication of the four schismatic bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, a new stage is opening up, more delicate however: one on divisive theological ground in particular with regard to Vatican II and the Magisterium of the recent Popes. One should know that the Pope has chosen the new secretary of the International Theological Commission, the Dominican Father Charles Morerod, precisely because of his sensitivity towards traditionalist interlocutors. In fact Morerod is the author of a doctoral thesis submitted to the faculty of theology at the University of Freiburg, Switzerland, on the master general of the Dominicans, commentator on St Thomas Aquinas, Thomas de Vio Cajetan (1469-1534) and his polemic debate with Luther.Father Morerod for theological agreementBut Father Morerod is especially noted for his work Tradition and Christian unity. Dogma is made a condition for the possibility of ecumenism (Word and Silence, Paris, 2005), and he kicks hard against more liberal ecumenism (fron theologians such as Fries, Rahner or Tillard) in emphasizing the essential nature of a true Catholic thought, which must be truly theological and philosophical.Hence, it accentuates the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism in a way that does not displease the most "tradi" circles. The same Father Morerod sought to comb the thought of a British Liberal Protestant, John Hick and in which work he specifically attacks the relativist spirit. Oh, this reminds us of someone else ... the choice of Father Morerod is therefore not by chance! In very concrete terms, the Ecclesia Dei commission will report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Golias Hebdo n ° 85). There was a question at one time of whether it should be joined to the Congregation for Divine Worship, but this would be to forget that the problem is not solely or primarily liturgical. The new Motu Proprio to come, which will be prepared by the principal drafter of the Motu proprio of 2007, Monsignor Nicola Bux, professor of theology at Bari and advisor of Joseph Ratzinger will justifies the importance accorded to the doctrine of the fundamentalist controversy. The role of Don Nicola cannot be stressed enough.
The Italian prelate Nicola Bux for the new Motu Proprio
Consultor to the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith and waiting for a promotion strategy, Msgr Bux, an Italian priest of 63 years is friendly and discreet, but frighteningly conservative and accurate in his argument, being the determined and tireless craftsman not only of moving towards the integrists but of a restoration of traditional Catholicism as a whole. He drafted the 2007 Motu Proprio on the Mass in Latin. In his latest book, released last October in Italy, The Reform of Benedict XVI, prefaced by Vittorio Messori, Msgr Bux said that rebuilding the essence of the "sacred and divine liturgy”, will not be done with the hands of humanity. Otherwise, it "would serve no purpose other than to represent himself and specifially it does not save the man or the world, it does not sanctify it." He is convinced that the Liturgy of Saint Pius V honours to a greater degree the sense of the sacred than that of Pope Paul VI. He criticizes also quite fiercely the reform named after the Montini, a true "decomposition" of the liturgy according to him, and exacerbating what the theologian Louis Bouyer called the "decomposition of Catholicism."
Indeed, Msgr Bux is not confined solely to the liturgical domain. He denounced the opening to the world that defiles the Christian mystery and censures the relaxed life of priests in particular with regard to private life (célibat. ..). He is also against the fundamental deviance according to him of contemporary theology, which uses an "anthropological turn" (which he also denounced, following Cornelio Fabro, in Karl Rahner). He counter-poses a new turning towards the theocentric and Christocentric as symbolized by the celebration back to the East, his back turned to the faithful. It is easy to imagine the content and tone of the Motu Proprio of the near future with such a writer. Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, who besides health problems is distressed, frustrated and demoralized, no longer has the power to oppose such an ultra-conservative regression. Far from appearing as a defence of the Council, the Motu Proprio will propose a minimalist reading, erasing the new and challenging spirit. In sum, a council "in the spirit of tradition" as Archbishop Lefebvre recognized can be accepted! Is this still the Council whose importance Paul VI proclaimed in 1976 in the face of traditionalist dissent? Nothing is less certain.
Finally, from Catholic Culture earlier this month:
Ecclesia Dei commission to be merged with Vatican doctrinal office?
June 11, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI will soon release a motu proprio making the Ecclesia Dei commission a part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to a report by Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican-watcher for the Italian daily Il Giornale. The Vatican has offered no official comment on the report.
The Ecclesia Dei commission was established by Pope John Paul II to coordinate outreach to traditionalist Catholics. With the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, calling for broader access to the traditional Latin Mass, Pope Benedict XVI fulfilled the key liturgical demand made by traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). However the SSPX remains at odds with the Vatican on theological questions, primarily involving the interpretation of Vatican II. A move to incorporate the Ecclesia Dei commission into the Vatican's top doctrinal body could facilitate the theological dialogue with the SSPX. Italian news outlets have reported that Bishop Bernard Fellay, the SSPX leader, visited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith earlier this month.
Tornielli's story also reports that within a few days the Pope will name Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to become Archbishop of Colombo in his native Sri Lanka-- a move that has been rumored for months. The Il Giornale reporter says that Archbishop Ranjith's place at the Vatican will be taken by an American Dominican priest who is currently serving at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Father Augustine DiNoia.
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