The comment was:
"Sadly, no one deceives themselves more than the deceiver. How gracious Fr Kennedy and the Sth Brisbane community will be towards Archbishop Bathersby and Brisbane Catholics who won't be able to understand their decision to break with the Church will be the test of their sincerity. There have been other communities who have left the Church and now are back within it - the Tridentine communities. So, we hope and pray for Fr Kennedy, for his parishioners and for ourselves, that we will take Christ at his word and wait for healing and reunion in this matter.
Posted By: Fr Mick Mac Andrew, Bombala-Delegate NSW"
A few vital differences - heresy vs schism
Before getting down to the main point I want to make here - namely that most traditionalists have never left the Church - it is worth noting one other key difference between traditionalists and South Brisbane. It is the difference between heresy and schism.
It is pretty clear that Fr Kennedy and many of his followers are not just acting schismatically, that is rejecting the judicial authority of the Church, but also reject key doctrines (indeed, even the concept of dogma!).
Most traditionalists are not and never have been heretics. They use a rite of the Mass that has been used by the Church for centuries rather than an unapproved, fabricated liturgy as South Brisbane do. They believe what the Church has taught for centuries, not picking and choosing or rejecting outright truths taught by the Church (despite some recent claims to the contrary on which I may comment separately in the near future!) as liberals do.
Reconciliation and traddies - a little history
It is true of course that over time various traditionalist communities who sat outside the Church to various degrees have come back in. Summorum Pontificum has given particular impetus to this, and over the last year several groups of religious (though none in Australia), for example, have reconciled.
And in Australia at an individual level, as more approved TLMs have become available, many individuals have left the SSPX masses they previously attended (often out of desperation!) and now attend mainstream traditionalist communities. That is a positive thing reflecting the concern of bishops and priests for their flock.
Whether or not those who attended SSPX masses were ever strictly speaking in schism probably varies from case to case, since it depends on intention, actions and beliefs - there has some guidance from Rome to the effect that attending an SSPX mass does not in itself make one schismatic. Getting married or going to confession in an SSPX Church (and studying for the priesthood) however, are almost certainly different matters!
But regardless, the reality is that most traditionalists have never left the Church, formally or informally. Rather they are catholics who created or discovered the 'indult' communities that have now been operating with the permission of their bishop for more than twenty years in some cases, or are converts to catholicism (and traditional communities have a high proportion of converts).
A few key points to note:
- in Summorum Pontificum the Pope stated that the Traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated - that is priests always had the right to say it;
- the TLM has long been provided under various official permissions - before Summorum Pontificum in 2007 there was the Ecclesia Dei indult (1988) and 1984 (Quattor abhinc annos);
- and before that some older priests received formal permission to continue saying the older Mass.
The definitive moment in terms of schism is arguably (and I don't want to get into the debate on whether the SSPX are formally in schism or not!) Archbishop Le Fefevre's illicit ordination of bishops in 1988. At this point some traditionalists did split off and effectively became the SSPX communities of today. But all or most of the currently recognized traditionalist communities in Australia (and someone correct me if I'm wrong about this) point to their origin in the 1984 and 1998 indults.
So what should our attitude be to schismatics of whatever colour?
The answer is clearly pray for them to see the truth and be reconciled to the Church!
The implication of Fr MacAndrew's comment is that if they just work hard enough, as traddies have done, the Church will some day acknowledge that they were right. That is clearly misguided and unhelpful and runs directly counter to the line taken publicly by Fr MacAndrew's superior, Archbishop Coleridge.
Guess it just illustrates the size of the clean-up job ahead for the Church in Australia. Maybe we need to institute de-programming workshops (tradition rediscovery/sensitization workshops) for the clergy? Hmmm, I can see a niche market for a consultant here, maybe I can offer my services...