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Gnostic Twaddle

'Full Communion' and Other Cosmic Connections

Christopher A. Ferrara POSTED: 2/9/11

Archbishop Rembert Weakland: Notorious dissenter from Church teaching, suspected heretic and admitted homosexual—enjoys "full communion" with the Church.

( One of the advantages of being a columnist for The Remnant is the great therapeutic value of a forum in which to vent a Catholic’s frustration over the prevailing confusion in what Italians call il dopoconcilio—the period following the Second Vatican Council.  Who knows how many serious health consequences I have averted by discharging on these pages the burden of angst over so much of what is dopey in the dopoconcilio? It is time to vent again.

Speaking of dopey, the executive producer of has just issued this “official position” concerning the Society of Saint Pius X:  “The SSPX are not in full communion with the Church and are invited by the Church to rediscover this path.” 

Ah yes, that mysterious  “path” to the ever-elusive spiritual goal of “full communion.”  It seems to suggest a neo-Catholic analogue to the eightfold path of Buddhism which, if only SSPX could “rediscover” it, would lead all its adherents to that exalted platform of enlightenment attainable only through a joyful abandonment to the ineffable teachings of the Second Vatican Council: a council the same, yet different, from all the other councils; novel yet traditional; new, yet old; pastoral, yet doctrinal; an opening of ecclesiastical chakras to certain energies of the modern world; an “event” whose meaning can only be intuited, but never made explicit, according to a “true interpretation” that is lurking somewhere, surely, but has yet to be found.  Listen carefully, Grasshopper, and you will hear the Council in soft breezes flowing through poplars on Roman hills. It is the sound of one hand clapping.

Quite simply, have we not had far more than enough of this gnostic twaddle? Let us reason together.  Let us do what traditionalists have always done: confront obscurantism and intellectual dishonesty with a few statements of the obvious.  Right reason, the Jesuits called it, back when they were still in the right reason business. Back when the Church was still in the right reason business. A few statements of the obvious, then.  A dozen, to be exact:

First, thanks to Pope Benedict, the four bishops of the SSPX are no longer under a sentence of excommunication, if indeed they ever were.

Second, the priests and faithful of the SSPX were never excommunicated in the first place, which is why Pope Benedict had no need to revoke any excommunication as to them.

Third, one who is not excommunicated from the Church is able to receive all the sacraments of the Church, including Holy Communion, and no one in the Vatican, much less the Pope, has even suggested otherwise regarding the SSPX.

Fourth, neither the SSPX bishops, nor its priests, nor its religious, nor its lay faithful stand accused of heresy, which would involve obstinate doubt or denial of an article of divine and Catholic faith.

Fifth, one who is (a) baptized in the Church, (b) not excommunicated, (c) able to receive all the Sacraments, and (d) not a heretic, is—I have this on good authority—a Catholic.

Sixth, Catholics are in communion with the Catholic Church.

Seventh, there is no such thing as a “partial” Catholic, and thus no such thing as a true Catholic in “partial communion” with the Church.

Eighth, the SSPX are true Catholics.

Ninth, no one at the Vatican has ever claimed that the SSPX are not true Catholics, but on the contrary numerous Vatican prelates and the Pope himself have declared that they are true Catholics whose organization is in a canonically irregular situation (which could be rectified by an appropriate decree).

Tenth, the SSPX are not non-Catholics.

Eleventh, according to the principle of non-contradiction the clergy and laity of SSPX cannot be Catholic and not Catholic at one and the same time.

Twelfth, according to the principle of the excluded middle, the statement “the SSPX are Catholics” is either true or false, objectively speaking (subjective dispositions of particular individuals being beyond our ken).

Conclusion: the contention that the Catholics of the SSPX are not in “full communion” with the Catholic Church of which they are indubitably members is nonsense.  Just as nonsensical is the idea that the likes of Mahony and Gumbleton are in “full communion” with the Church but not the SSPX bishops, or that legions of pew Catholics every bit as heterodox as the most liberal of Protestants are in “full communion,” but not the laity of the SSPX, who accept every single binding teaching of the Magisterium on faith and morals.

The SSPX affair demonstrates how the ambiguous conciliar neologism “full communion” and its flipside, “partial communion,” cause enormous damage to the Church. At one and the same time non-Catholics, now hailed and feted at ecumenical gatherings, are no longer viewed as heretics or schismatics because they are deemed to have a nebulous “partial communion” with the Church, while Catholic traditionalists are denounced and ostracized for lacking an equally nebulous “full communion”—denounced and ostracized by the same critics who praise the “partial communion” of a vast array of actual heretics and schismatics that rejects practically everything the Church teaches.

Ridicule is the only fitting response to those who continue to prattle about a lack of “full communion” on the part of Catholics who are keeping the Faith in the midst of what the last Pope, after a quarter-century of celebrating a “great renewal” that never was, finally lamented as “silent apostasy” in a once Christian Europe.  Yet the same Pope—the Pope whose feverish fans demanded his sainthood immediately by popular acclaim—publicly announced the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops who have devoted their lives to reversing the apostasy over which that Pope presided. The same Pope coddled and protected Marcial Maciel Degollado, refusing to hear anything against him despite a mountain of evidence that the evil founder of the “Legionaries of Christ” had committed numerous unspeakable crimes. The same Pope did little or nothing to address rampant homosexuality in the priesthood and a massive collapse of faith and discipline in the Church, while inviting everyone from Animists to Zoroastrians to enact their pagan rituals in the very rooms of the Convent of Saint Francis at Assisi. The same Pope gave us altar girls and attended rock concerts in the midst of ecclesial chaos, while the bishops of the SSPX had to endure for decades the stigma of a dubious technical “excommunication” the next Pope simply reversed with another technical decree. The same Pope kissed the Koran, while permitting the true Scriptures to be bowdlerized by a profusion of modernist and  “gender-neutral” mistranslations.

By the way, concerning the Koran-kissing scandal, one neo-Catholic commentator, having concluded reluctantly that there is no way around it—the Pope kissed the Koran—suggested that “Showing respect in this way could foster world peace and interreligious harmony.”  I happen to agree with this commentator that the gesture may have been impulsive, but it was never repudiated, not even after the Chaldean patriarch, Raphael Bidawid, publicly praised the Pope for having “kissed it [the Koran] as a sign of respect.”

The Church has been turned upside down in the name of an ecumenical council whose “true interpretation” continues to be debated more than half a century after it closed. The Vatican itself has invited none other than the SSPX’s theological experts, and only them, to a series of sessions to discuss with Vatican experts this “true interpretation,” which of course cannot simply be put to the SSPX–or to us, for that matter—in so many words.  For no formula of mere words could ever capture the essence of “the real Council.”

Meanwhile, Catholic churchmen continue their futile post-conciliar “dialogue” with morally bankrupt Protestant clergy, perpetually indignant liberal rabbis, and fiercely fundamentalist Imams.  The whole Western world succumbs to silent apostasy.  No longer facing opposition from pathologically irenic Churchmen who wish only to befriend it, Islam rises everywhere without impediment. It is rising most rapidly in France, whose government, crippled by its own rigid laicism, attempts ridiculous secular countermeasures, such as banning burkas on the grounds that they constitute illegal identity concealment, at the same time it relentlessly dismantles what is left of the moral order in that once most Catholic of nations.

Yet, in the midst of civilizational apostasy and vast ecclesial wreckage provoked entirely by purported “mandates” of Vatican II, the only Catholics accused of lacking “full communion” with the Church are a group of traditionalists who not only had no part in the wreckage but have steadfastly resisted it. The wreckers, on the other hand, are presumed to be in “full communion” with the very Church they have wrecked.

Let’s give the “full communion” crowd what they deserve for their laughable defamation of faithful Catholics: the rhetorical equivalent of a custard pie in the kisser, the classic American way of deflating the pompous and the sanctimonious.  Really. Enough of this nonsense.

There, I feel better now. Thank you, Mr. Editor.

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