Signs that the Holy See is prepared to take on dissent and disobedience in Europe

There were two signs this week that the Holy See is at last prepared to take on the culture of dissent and disobedience that is widespread in the Church in Europe:

The Holy See has stripped Fr Helmut Schüller, the leader of the dissenting and disobedient Austrian Priests initiative, of his title as ‘Monsignor’, which accompanies the honour of being named a ‘Chaplain of his holiness’. This stripping of his title is a long overdue recognition that Fr. Schuller, through leading other priests, deacons and laity in defiant dissent and disobedience of the Church’s Magisterium is no longer worthy of the honour bestowed on him by Blessed John Paul II.

And at last a post-Conciliar prefect of the CDF has used the ‘H word’. Archbishop Gerhard Müller has criticised both traditionalists and progressives for promoting ‘heretical interpretations of Vatican II:

‘During his presentation, the head of the doctrinal dicastery, clearly stated that the only orthodox interpretation of the Second Vatican Council is that which sees it as an opportunity for reform and renewal, in continuity with the one subject-Church which the Lord has given us. Müller sees this as the only hermeneutics that respects “the indissoluble unity between the Holy Scriptures, the complete and integral Tradition and the Magisterium, which finds its highest expression in the Council, presided over by St. Peter’s Successor, as visible head of the Church.”

Archbishop Müller contrasted this “singular orthodox interpretation” with a “heretical interpretation” which he identified with “the hermeneutics of a split, both on the progressivist front and the traditionalist front.” According to Müller, what they both share in common is a rejection of the Council: “progressivists want to leave it behind them, as if it were just a phase that should be abandoned in order to move towards a different Church; traditionalists do not want to move towards such a Church, as if it represented the winter of the Catholica.”

Protect the Pope comment: There are increasing signs that the Benedictine reforms have shifted up a gear, and the hopes that many of us cherished on the election of Pope Benedict are starting to be realised. As a member of the post-Vatican II generation that has been cheated out of our heritage as Catholics by schools that abandoned teaching the faith and have been brow-beaten by heretical lecturers, catechists, and, tragically, some clergy, please Pope Benedict speed up your reforms Deacon Nick Donnelly

26 comments to Signs that the Holy See is prepared to take on dissent and disobedience in Europe

  • william weber


  • James Hughes

    Deacon Nick,
    I absolutely concur with your sentiments because I feel desolate about what has happened to the church which Christ left me to help save my immortal soul. My own children were left to the not so tender mercies of the catholic education establishment ,whom I trusted, and as a result the vast majority of my children don’t really believe in god far less go to mass. Thank god for sending us Benedict. I also hope he has tee’d up an equally strong successor so we can get our church back on line. That said I hope Pope Benedict lives for a long time, after all he is only 85!

  • J Hutchings

    “Protect the Pope comment” A big HEAR HEAR to that…..

  • Spesalvi23

    To achieve sustained success, patience is very important.
    Forced reforms won’t win hearts and minds and are only superficial.
    We do have a good combination now. A holy, gentle, brilliant Pope with a vision; and a rather strong willed, confident prefect of the CDF who cares less about provoking strong reactions with his statements.

  • Asrajit

    A few more courageous bishops in the UK ? Another great pastoral letter at the start of Advent from Bishop Mark Davies.

    • rifleman819

      100% bang on target.Now that ARCIC dialogues appear to have become more “arctic” than anything else our bishops can now stop chasing “Will O’ the Wisp” unities with the Church of England;we can go forward.
      William Gardiner (1493-1555) Bishop of Winchester under Mary could have told them all about the futility of dealing with heresy and the deliberate denial of Apostolic Succession brought about by Cranmer’s 1552 Ordinal but Catholics today ,450 years later, have paid a heavy price for “tea and biccies, let’s sweep the doctrinal truths the 40 Martyrs were disembowelled for under the carpet, shall we?”…our own liturgy watered down, our catechisis diluted, relativism flourishing etc.

      The Papal Nuncio knows he has a unique opportunity to restore coherence and leadership to the Church in E and W by endorsing to Rome the names of good , youngish and orthodox bishops to replace those retiring.

      The Diocese of Shrewsbury is very lucky to have such a bishop. The days of the appalling, banal hymns, untuned guitars and cliques of bossy laity are coming to an end. The shades are falling. We are slowly returning to being what we have always been rather good at………you know…..Catholics.

      • rifleman819

        Reference last post to Asarajit.
        Silly error-Stephen Gardiner.OOphs! A great scholar and doughty defender of the Faith.He very quickly saw through the subtle agendas behind both English Prayer Books and those quasi- Protestant ordinations by stealth.
        If Catholic contemporaries of the Reformation 400 years ago could see through the sleights of hand being dealt out before their eyes…. why did the Catholic Church in E and W allow itself to be led up the garden path from about 1965 onwards?
        Well ,in one way we are lucky……the path to ARCIC Junction is soon to be coned-off….with a host of feminine episcopal mitres.Time to re-set the satnav to its proper destination:ROME.

  • Ioannes

    Sorry, it won’t wash. V2 was a rupture, the movers and shakers at the Council intended it to be so, Paul VI admitted as much (before he got cold feet), and no-one at the time was in any doubt. Attempts to interpret the Council in terms of Tradition are regarded by progressives as a betrayal, and they have logic on their side. The ‘spirit of V2′ which means so much to the Tina Beatties of this world was not a liberal construct – it came from the Vatican, and those who demurred got short shrift. Not a single pronouncement from Rome fails to refer to V2 as a primary focus, despite Benedict XVI’s warning that it should not be elevated into a super-dogma.

  • Comte de Frebonius

    Well done Nick! Viva Papa!!!

  • Bob Hayes

    Meanwhile I see that a ‘Call to Action’ dissident meeting is to be held at a Jesuit house in Birmingham on 9 December, according to this report by the dissident Irish ACP:
    I pray for Archbishop Müller in his challenging new post.

  • Bob Hayes

    Furthermore, the ‘A call to action’ forum reports several dissident meetings taking place or planned in various locations.

    And…. the ‘We are Church’ blog features a report of a London dissident meeting at which it was reported:

    ‘Joe Ryan then reported on the meeting he and Pat McLoughlin had had with Archbishop Nichols. The archbishop recognised that something needs to be done, and after a fruitful conversation said he would like to observe and see how the group develops.’

    Was that really Archbishop Vincent’s response?

  • Karla

    Breaking – Pope decrees: Catholic charities must always act in accordance with Catholic teaching

  • Celia

    I think the combination needed is firm action against publicly dissenting clergy and others combined with patient recatechising of those many dissenters in the pews who have been influenced by such as Fr Schuller.

    This week I’ve been treated to 2 rants (I can only call them that) on the subject of women priests and expressions of shock and horror that I as a woman am not supporting the ‘right’ of women to be priests and ridicule for keeping the hour’s fast before receiving Communion (‘Oh, nobody bothers with that. We don’t have to obey rules some old man in Rome has made up. Do you really think God cares?’, etc). These are ‘good’ Catholics, active in the parish &c.

    But it will change!

    • savvy

      I have been subject to the same treatment as a woman who opposes female ordination. Start by asking them why they want a priest to begin with? Tell them that their arguments are political. Also tell them that only Catholics/Orthodox and some Anglicans ordain priests, so ask them what on earth do they mean.

      This will shut them up.

  • rifleman819

    Dear Deacon Nick,

    I read your piece above with some interest. I know there is an axial link between so-called “liberal” Catholics, the BBC ,the Guardian and the Tablet. One of those who has risen to fame via Roehampton University (A powerhouse of the intellectual elite at 88th/116 of universities in the 2013 Complete Univ Guide)is Prof. Tina Beattie.

    I will not go into all the various debates surrounding the good lady but I thought I would “check her out”.

    To my astonishment the one academic degree as listed on her university staff page is a 1998 PhD Theology University of Bristol.

    Yet she is constantly quoted as a “leading Catholic theologian”-but apparently she holds no Pontifical degrees or qualifications in dogmatic theology or religion??

    If my profession was a window cleaner and I was a Catholic and I became perhaps well known in window cleaning circles with propagating new, novel ways of window cleaning…… I “allowed” to market myself as Rifleman “Catholic window-cleaner”?

  • Ben

    Spesalvi23, you mean the prefect COULDN’T care less about provoking strong reactions…

  • Karla

    Pope Benedict is on twitter


    You can send him a question via #B16 or #askpontifex and he will answer December 12 when he starts tweeting

  • bill

    The style of the papacy is part of the problem for decades now. It must become a full time administrative office wherein the Pope daily is largely on Skype or the phone to regional Cardinals discussing any oddities taking place in their area and what steps they are taking to fix such things. Right now the papacy is a combination of attending various diplomatic or social meetings, long liturgies for an elderly man, book writing, apostolic letter writing, administrative duties part time. If we want to keep this combination, then we need an assistant Pope who does nothing but police the oddities throughout the universities etc. You have a gay pride club at Georgetown, overnight opposite sex dorm visits at University of San Francisco (Jesuit too) and probably thousands of other oddities worldwide with Catholic media lamenting them for decades but there is no one consistently working against such things 8 hours a day. Canon law says the Pope’s power is “supreme” and ” immediate” over all the churches ( dioceses). That’s how Benedict removed a number of Bishops. But such administrative work is part time within the papacy. It needs to be full time because the problems are many not few. He needs an assistant Pope who does administration 8 hours a day and nothing else or we need a Pope who wants to do admin work 8 hours a day. Search Catholic history. There were Popes who wrote nothing…no treatises, no books etc. They worked full time on problems. Our time calls for that.

    • Eric

      The Pope does have assistants you know.

      • bill

        It has to be someone who inspires fear of losing one’s job. I’ll give you an example. In 1969 the CDF received an audio tape from a layman that recorded Fr. Shanley of Boston giving his pro gay views in a speech. The CDF wrote to the Boston Diocese and asked them if they were doing anything in respect to Fr. Shanley. Boston wrote back that they were keeping watch over any such priests but they did not mention Fr. Shanley specifically…ie they didn’t answer the CDF’s exact question. Nor did Boston fear the CDF sufficiently. Nor did the CDF press Boston to be more specific. About five years later Fr. Shanley was promoted to pastor. Shanley then molested two boys despite a lay woman twice warning the diocese about Shanley being dangerous….and Shanley is now in prison. Had there been an assistant Pope with full powers of job threat without reconsulting with the Pope and had he phoned or better..skyped… not wrote Boston, the results may have been much different and two boys lives would have been much better.

    • spesalvi23

      JP 2 had an assistant Pope called Joseph Ratzinger who was very good at taking all kinds of flak and cleaning house.
      Being Pope is certainly a different pair of shoes. :-)
      I hope AB Müller will turn into an assistant Pope quite quickly.

  • Lionel Andrades

    Archbishop Gerhard Muller,Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican has got it right!

    Traditionalists and progressives are using the same false premise in the interpretation of Vatican Council II: Archbishop Muller seems to realize it.

    Heretical interpretations of Vatican Council II come with a new element added which is not part of the Faith.

    Vatican Council II is not a break with the past unless implicit salvation mentioned in the text, is assumed to be explicit and known in 2012.

    Archbishop Gerhard Muller’s recent statement could suggests that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith(CDF) has tracked the ‘missing link’ responsible for heretical interpretations of Vatican Council II.He seems to have detected the primary cause of Vatican Council II being considered a break with the past.

    It would be clear by now, that there is no text in Vatican Council II, which says being saved in invincible ignorance, a good conscience, elements of sanctification etc are known to us in the present times.No text says that we can see the dead on earth.

    So we cannot imply, as is being done in general, that these cases are exceptions to Tradition i.e the dogma on salvation and the Syllabus of Errors.

    Since there is no ‘known salvation’ mentioned in Vatican Council II the Council is not a rupture with the past.

    The Council no where contradicts Fr.Leonard Feeney’s understanding of the dogma on exclusive salvation.

    If the cardinal who issued the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston assumed that invincible ignorance etc were exceptions to the dogma, he made a mistake.

    The Letter does not explicitly say that Fr.Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for heresy.One has to imply it – and just about every one is doing just this!

    The Letter refers to ‘the dogma’. The text of the dogma does not mention any exceptions.It agrees with Fr.Leonard Feeney’s traditional position. He was excommunicated for disobedience.

    This error from the 1940′s, of the visible baptism of desire, has entered into the interpretation of Vatican Council II, by traditionalists and progressives

    The CDF Prefect realizes that it is heresy to consider the Council as a break from the past.It would be a break, if one used the false premise, of being able to see on earth, the dead, now saved in Heaven.

    The dead-visible is not part of the hermeneutics of continuity.The Council is not neutral it is traditional and there can be only one orthodox interpretation.-Lionel Andrades

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