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SSPX and Holy See talks: new details emerge

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The excellent New Liturgical Movement has a fascinating post on the ground rules for the discussions between the Holy See and the SSPX. What jumped out at me were that both parties are taping and filming each session. This is presumably a precaution in case the talks end in acrimony.

Here’s the full list of conditions:

1) The outcome of the first meeting has been good.

2) Primarily the agenda and the method of discussion were established.

3) The issues to be discussed are of a doctrinal nature to the express exclusion of any canonical question regarding the situation of the SSPX.

4) The common doctrinal reference point will be the Magisterium prior to the Council.

5) The talks follow a rigorous method: an issue is raised, and the party raising it sends a paper substantiating its doubts. The Holy See responds in writing, after prior email exchanges among the technical advisers. At the meeting, the issue is discussed.

6) All meetings are taped by both parties and filmed.

7) The conclusions of each topic will be submitted to the Holy Father and the Superior General of the SSPX.

The timing of these meetings depends on whether the topic is new or is already being discussed. In the first case, it will be approximately every three months. In the second, every two. The next meeting is planned for mid January.

9) The theological representatives of the Holy See “are people you can talk with”, they speak “the same (theological) language as we”. (meaning presumably they are Thomists).

10) Some of the topics mentioned by the bishop in his homily, not exhaustively, are:

a) The Magisterium of the Council and after the Council.

b) The conciliar liturgical reform.

c) Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.

e) Papal authority and collegiality.

f) Freedom of conscience, religious freedom, secularism and the social reign of Jesus Christ.

g) Human rights and human dignity according to the Council’s teaching.

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Written by Luke Coppen

December 22, 2009 at 11:45 am

Pope says media should communicate wisdom

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This is the official Vatican video of yesterday’s general audience.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Obama’s Nobel speech was theologically dubious, says critic

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James Kushiner of Touchstone magazine finds Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech theologically troubling.

In particular, he’s disturbed by the President’s claim that “we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected”.

He writes:

Clever, this. Yes, no one believes human nature is perfect. But can it be perfected? He’s not saying it can be. He’s saying the general human condition can be perfected. So who’s going to do that?

The only way to do this is for some arrangement of human affairs and institutions that in the aggregate allows for a perfection of condition in which imperfect human beings can live without spoiling that condition. And the only way for such a condition to be arranged is for people who are specially gifted to make those arrangements on the behalf of the imperfect, people who see and understand the complexity of the issues, wiser men whom we can trust. Mark well: “The human condition can be perfected.” If that isn’t a utopian dream, I don’t know what is. Those who disagree are obstacles to utopia and will be treated as they have been in the past.

This is an elitism that leads not to the abolition of war by a man of peace, but to the abolition of Man, which violates the Golden Rule, to put it mildly.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm

The Pope’s offer to Anglicans: eccentric or inspired?

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Fr John Hunwicke SSC, a thoughtful commentator on Anglo-Catholic affairs, wonders whether the theology of Anglicanorum coetibus is in fact eccentric:

Archbishop Rowan didn’t – despite the claims of his critics – call the ecclesiology of Anglicanorum Coetibus eccentric. He suggested that there are others who might say it…

His Grace has a point. The ecclesiology of AC does diverge from the norms to which we are accustomed and which he himself has lucidly expounded: that a “local church” is not a denomination or a province but bishop-and-presbytery-and-diaconate-and laos. Perhaps his words indicate that he is going to make one last herculean effort to secure just such an uneccentric provision for us from General Synod. If he is, all power to his elbow…

Where Rowan fails is in not taking account of some aspects of the exercise of Primacy. This was well set out in The Gift of Authority (ARCIC 1999). “We envisage a primacy that will even now help to uphold the legitimate diversity of traditions, strengthening and safeguarding them in fidelity to the Gospel … This sort of primacy will already assist the Church on earth to be the authentic catholic Koinonia in which unity does not curtail diversity … Such a universal primate … will promote the common good in ways that are not constrained by sectional interests …”

It is the ministry of the Roman Church to uphold diversity. Roman Pontiffs have not always done that as robustly as they should; in North America they once were less forthright than they ought to have been in defending the patrimony of Eastern Catholic communities – or even the Poles – against local Irish and German diocesan bishops.

But this pope, as far as one can see, has got a well screwed on head.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Obama, John Paul II and the duty of humanitarian intervention

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President Barack Obama listens to remarks during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in the Main Hall of Oslo City Hall in Oslo (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Many people have already commented on the theological content of Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

I was struck by this section, which seems to echo an idea of John Paul II (who was given a nod elsewhere in the speech):

I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.

In the 1990s John Paul II argued that the international community had a “duty” of “humanitarian intervention”.

In an address to the International Nutrition Conference in 1992 he said:

[T]he idea is maturing within the international community that humanitarian action, far from being the right of the strongest, must be inspired by the conviction that intervention, or even interference when objective situations require it, is a response to a moral obligation to come to the aid of individuals, peoples or ethnic groups whose fundamental right to nutrition has been denied to the point of threatening their existence.

He returned to this point in his World Day of Peace message in the year 2000 he said:

In every case, in the face of such tragic and complex situations and contrary to all alleged ‘reasons’ of war, there is a need to affirm the preeminent value of humanitarian law and the consequent duty to guarantee the right to humanitarian aid to suffering civilians and refugees.

The recognition of these rights and their effective implementation must not be allowed to depend on the interests of any of the parties in conflict. On the contrary, there is a duty to identify all the means, institutional or otherwise, which can best serve in a practical way to meet humanitarian objectives. The moral and political legitimacy of these rights is in fact based on the principle that the good of the human person comes before all else and stands above all human institutions.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

This morning’s Catholic must-reads

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Here are a few interesting news reports and comment pieces to start the day:

Mgr Andrew Faley says incoming Anglicans must not become a “sect” within the Catholic Church.

Senior Irish Church leaders prepare to discuss child abuse with Pope Benedict XVI later today.

The head of the Holy See’s delegation in Copenhagen explains what he hopes the summit will achieve.

The Vatican confirms the programme of Pope Benedict XVI’s May trip to Fatima.

Talks between Israel and the Holy See have reportedly hit another dead end.

Archbishop Chaput explains why he signed the Manhattan Declaration.

Matthew Milliner names the theological book of the decade.

Rod Dreher discovers what St Nicholas really looked like.

And Zenit wonders if cuddly toys might be the solution to the priestly vocations crisis.

Fr Bob Barron: Why Eucharistic Adoration matters

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Fr Robert Barron, the skilled American Catholic evangelist who we recently interviewed, has posted a new video in which he defends the practice of Eucharistic Adoration against its critics.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm