Fr. Jon Sivalon, former Maryknoll Provincial, launches all out attack on Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, renaming it ‘Year of Assault’

Fr. Jon Sivalon, the former Maryknoll Provincial, has launched an all out attack on Pope Benedict XVI’s Year of Faith and New Evangelisation synod published by the dissenting US newspaper, National Catholic Reporter.

The National Catholic Reporter reported that Fr Sivalon’s article was published on Maryknoll’s homepage. Maryknoll has contacted Protect the Pope to state that this is incorrect, and that Fr Sivalon’s article was not published on its homepage. Maryknoll has distanced itself from Fr Sivalon’s article, stating, ‘His personal views are not to be interpreted as the views or opinions of the Maryknoll Society.’

Fr Sivalon wrote:

.’….the action against LCWR  [dissenting and disobedient religious leaders. Protect the Pope]  and the other actions against loyal voices of faithful Christians open to discerning God’s wisdom in modern culture, should be seen as initial forays of shock and awe to soften the strongest areas of resistance, before the actual onslaught begins. That major assault is scheduled for October of 2012, with the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the “New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

This Maryknoll Missionary even goes so far as to obnoxiously rename the Year of Faith  the ‘Year of Assault’:

‘Under the guise of a “Year of Faith,” the Vatican has launched an all-out assault on any theology or interpretation of Vatican II based on what it calls a “Hermeneutic (Interpretation) of Rupture.” This theological assault is articulated in the document known as “Porta Fidei” written by Benedict XVI and further specified in a document titled “Note on Recommendations for the Implementation of the Year of Faith” which was developed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both of these documents are cited by Cardinal Levada in his statement on the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The rationale for that assessment and other punitive moves that have been made in recent months (Caritas International, educational institutes, and the Girl Scouts) must be understood in the broader context of this special “year of assault.”

The former Maryknoll Provincial caricatures Pope Benedict’s purpose in calling for the Year of Faith as seeking to undermine the Second Vatican Council by imposing a ‘hermeneutic of retrenchment:

‘The hermeneutic of retrenchment, on the other hand, sees in the documents of Vatican II the restatement of ossified doctrines in language that can be understood by the modern world. The hermeneutic of retrenchment regards tradition as a wall which functions to deter erroneous understandings. It also tends to see the modern context of the world negatively, often assigning to it labels such as secularism, relativism or pluralism. As Benedict says, “whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, …” The hermeneutic of retrenchment, hence, longs for the past; for an idealized age of Christendom.’

Fr. Jon Sivalon outrageously calls on scripture to condemn Pope Benedict, re-interpreting the Old Testament prophets to be against the Holy Father, using the tired and discredited slogans of liberation theology:

‘in the post-Vatican II period, many theologians from various parts of the world have developed the image of Church as Prophet. They established this vision on a preferential option for the poor, a belief in salvation as liberation and the need to be critical not just of structures of the world but of the Church itself and its role in support of situations of oppression and human denigration. However the assessment document denies any possibility of prophecy aimed at the Church hierarchy itself or separate from that hierarchy. This abhorrent disregard for the Biblical prophets and their strong stance against the priest, kings and empty rituals of faith somehow is not perceived as a rupture with the past or tradition by those operating out of this hermeneutic of retrenchment.’

Fr. Sivalon concludes by condemning the Year of Faith as a celebration of idolatry:

‘As modern Catholics celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, we have entered into a new chapter of church history. The Council that was declared to open the windows is now being reinterpreted as closed shutters, protecting the Church from the gale force winds of a world searching for spiritual authenticity. While said to be a time of renewal, the “Year of Faith” is really dedicated to the idolatry of doctrine, power and hierarchy.’

Protect the Pope comment: The public expression of such rage and contempt by some US religious against Pope Benedict in response to his legitimate exercise of petrine authority and jurisdiction shows us just how bad things have become in some religious communities.

What we see exhibited in this attack on the Year of Faith by Fr Sivalon is the ego and pride that has fuelled the creation of a parallel pseudo-Magisterium that over the past forty years has set itself up in opposition to the authentic Magisterium of the Pope and bishops in communion with him. The tragedy for the US Church is that this state of defiant and prideful dissent has been allowed to go unchallenged for so long.

Fr. Sivalon is right about one thing, the Year of Faith will give ordinary Catholics the education and tools to see through the misrepresentation of the Second Vatican Council that has been foisted on them by the likes of him.

16 comments to Fr. Jon Sivalon, former Maryknoll Provincial, launches all out attack on Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, renaming it ‘Year of Assault’

  • Burt

    How depressing to read that attack on His Holiness from so called Catholics. I was horrified at most of the comments attached by bloggers linked to the article also attacking violently him.
    I hope he sees it. I hope it confirms to him the true fruit that has arisen from Vatican II.
    How far so many are now from the true Spirit of Catholicism.
    I hope it gives him more impetus to correct those who need to be corrected. If they walk away, good riddance.
    The Remnant will remain always grateful for the gift Our Lord gave us in the Petrine office.
    The time is close to decide which side of the fence we are on. viva Papa!

  • Spesalvi23

    Got to meet the stereotype- especially ahead of a Euro 2012.
    *booming background music: Wagner’s ‘Ritt der Walküren’*
    Let the assault begin. The sooner, the better!

  • Gurn

    Excommunication please.

  • Burt

    @Spesalvi23 fitting music indeed….. Apocalypse Now! ;)

  • Siobhán

    Lord, have mercy on them. O Blessed Mother, I beg You, please bring them back to the heart of Your Son’s Fold! Let’s be charitable and let’s pray for those who persecute our beloved Papa!

  • Genty

    He’s quite old, doesn’t seem to favour clerical dress. It figures.

  • Teresa

    Blessed is he when they speak all kinds of calumny…

    may the Lord protect our pope and fill him with grace so he may guide the faithful in all Truth

  • JosephMatthew

    The Maryknoll priests were a superb bunch. Many were imprisoned by the Communists. But then, in the sixties, they seemed to lose the plot and they, like the elderly LCWR, are now irrelevant.

  • Ed M of Ct.

    Sad to say the Maryknolls like the Jesuits running amok at so called Catholic Colleges has lost all semblance of the faith and the teaching authority of the Pope and obediance to the Magesterium.The two groups Maryknolls and the college Jesuits need a visitation like the wayward nuns of the LCWR and Pontifical Int. of Peru.

  • Mike

    The Maryknoll Society requests corrections to this story.

    This is the personal opinion of one priest who is a member of the Maryknoll Society. His personal views are not to be interpreted as the views or opinions of the Maryknoll Society. His views were not published on the home page of the Maryknoll website.

    • Deacon Nick

      Thank you for contacting Protect the Pope, and we have gladly amended the post according to the information you sent. The original post was based on information contained in the National Catholic Reporter report.

  • christabell

    vatican 1 or 2 or even vatican 20… who cares? i dont c such stuffs in my bible, the last time i checked jesus was only interseted in us doing just one thing love the lord your God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself, unless that has changed, i think the faithfull should dwell more on this and not too much on the doctrine which would leave them confused and feeling utterly stupid… just like i feel now after reading all these meaningless articles about the maryknoll priest, the vatican and all what not!
    teach the people love…
    it is the only answer,
    truely it is.

  • Dear Deacon Nick,
    As a Maryknoll priest, I applaud your response to my fellow Maryknoller and former superior general. I could not agree with Fr. Sivalon less. It is great to see a Deacon fulfilling his teaching vocation! Thank you. Your article appeared before I could get my own response online (with the permission of my superior, who was none too happy about Fr. Sivalon’s article either). Anyway, please feel free to take a gander at my own response:
    God bless you Deacon Nick, and Our Lady, Queen of Apostles keep us all,
    Fr. Kevin Hanlon, M.M.
    p.s.- I was born on December 6, and you and I both know what that means!

    • Linda Corrigan

      Fr. Hanlon,

      Thanks for your post on this site and the reference to your blog which offers an opposing viewpoint to that expressed by Fr. Sivalon. My husband and I have been supporters of the Maryknoll Priests and Brothers for 20+ years and I was bothered by what I heard from Fr. Sivalon. I appreciate the clarification. It remediated the doubts that were raised in my mind and heart about Maryknoll.

      I have to tell you that I ended up at this site because I googled “Maryknoll Missionaries in trouble with the Vatican.” My reason for doing this was that I was researching the JustFaith program. I saw that Maryknoll was listed as a partner with this organization on thier website. Frankly, I have my doubts about JustFaith. I am wondering how active a partner Maryknoll is with it.

      I was recently told by a person who went through JustFaith at my own parish, that the content of a talk I gave in which I quoted Scripture and the Catechism was in conflict with what he had learned in the JustFaith program. He told me he had to follow what it had taught him as opposed to what I was saying. This made me research JustFaith and much of what I found was not flattering.

      If you have an opportunity, would you be so kind as to give me the Maryknoll view on JustFaith and why you are partnered with it?

      Thanks for listening. Many blessings on you and the Maryknoll order.


  • Robin Leslie

    I was at Maryknoll on the Justice and Peace Associate Programme and it was, arguably, the finest testament to Christian discipleship that I witnessed in my lifetime. So it is with considerable
    sadness that a Maryknoller should feel the need to so brutally contend with the Year of Faith
    as a ‘celebration of idolatry.
    My own view is that Benedict’s approach in Liturgy, authority, priesthood and evangelization
    is a long-term attempt to transform Modernity and end its spiritual and material alienation from nature and from humanity. Far from being a mere reversion to Christendom it assays to overcome
    the failings of both Modernity and Christendom.

  • [...] U.S.  A few weeks ago FCC hosted a day long workshop with a keynote address by Fr. Jon Sivalon, who some Catholics certainly identify as radical. At the workshop, Fr. Sivalon quoted Thomas Merton to call for a lay-centered, ‘Vatican [...]

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