Linz nominee withdraws
The latest, and very bad news I think, via CathCon is that the Pope's nominee as auxiliary of Linz in Austria, Fr Wagner, has withdrawn his nomination in the face of opposition, and his withdrawal has been accepted by the Vatican.
Fr Wagner's sins, for those who haven't been following the saga, are, amongst other things, refusing to have altar girls in his parish church, and daring to suggest that Cyclone Katrina might have some relationship to sin in New Orleans. No wonder no mainstream Australian clergyman has publicly dared to suggest any connection between the Victorian bushfires and the recent abortion legislation, whatever they might think privately!
In the lead up to this latest development:
- a number of Austrian bishops complained publicly about the appointment - a meeting of them was to be held today to discuss the matter;
- a group of priests started a 'referendum' to counter the appointment;
- large numbers of the laity claimed to have defected to protestant churches.
Now, one might think that the last two points give it all away really - the objectors clearly really are protestants in all but name (the same old syndrome of people insisting that they are catholics while rejecting everything the name stands for). So on the face of it disappointing, if perhaps understandable, that the Vatican has backed down.
Some reasons why standing firm might not be the best tactic
But I suspect the Pope, while clearly prepared to act (or put pressure on others to do their jobs) in the worst cases, prefers to keep this schism de facto rather than declared not least because it is dying out by attrition. Its followers are mostly of a certain generation - and with a few notable exceptions they are mostly a pretty dispirited lot. The thrashing around we are seeing, it can be argued, really are its death throes. But if it did split off, that would inevitably energize it somewhat, and might start reproducing itself.
Now I'm not totally convinced of this analysis myself - I'm a black and white kind of girl, and prefer to call a spade a bloody shovel (as if you hadn't noticed!).
In the Church, Liberals just seem a menace, making life unpleasant for the rest of us, and I'm not totally convinced that the disruption caused by St Mary-esq affairs breaking out all around the world would necessarily be worse than the regular doses of heretical sermons and liturgical abuses, let alone the fraudulent sacraments perpetrated by the worst offenders, most of us are forced to regularly endure.
Still, the problem facing the Pope I guess, is that while we know the Church would eventually prevail, given a hostile and subversive curia combined with a lack of sufficient orthodox and loyal bishops, it might be a long drawn out and bloody war (Bishop Morris of Toowomba for example apparently has the support of all his Queensland brother bishops and one suspects more than a few other key members of the Australian hierarchy in his efforts to 'get his people used to the idea' of married priests, woman and protestant 'priests', and other creative solutions to the lack of vocations).The Pope however clearly does know the stakes - he has made comments several times about how to avoid a Reformation, and I personally don't think his main focus in reflecting on this subject was really the SSPX. His strategy seems to be to hope that the wider availability of the TLM, the (potential) reconciliation of the SSPX (and perhaps others such as the TAC), together with the weight of demographics, will, over time work to change the dynamic and enable heresy to be combated more effectively. There is something to this, even if it is painful for the orthodox in the meantime!
Still, unless he can get good bishops in place, that agenda is in serious jeopardy.
Hope everyone is saying that novena....
**The commentary on CMR is also worth a read on this - it calls this a pivotal moment.
And please, dear readers, do comment! So long as you give yourself a name, and keep it reasonably polite by attacking ideas not individuals, feedback and discussion is very welcome.