Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Pope's letter to the bishops

Unofficial translations of the Pope's letter to the bishops on the SSPX affair are now up on several blogs, and it is well worth a careful read.

It is a beautifully written plea that:
  • acknowledges and apologizes for the poor handling of the lifting of the excommunications, including the failure to explain just what the effects of that lifting were and weren't, and to get in front of the Williamson issue;
  • notes that the remaining issues with the SSPX are essentially doctrinal, and gives the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith the overarching role on this, bringing the Ecclesia Dei Commission under its ambit;
  • points out that the doctrinal issues do not lie entirely on the traditionalist side of the equation, with dissent and a hermeneutic of rupture operating within the Church as well;
  • thanks those who have supported his efforts and offered prayers, both clergy and laity;
  • draws attention to the sheer hypocrisy of those who advocate ecumenical care for everyone but traditionalists, reject attempts to avert a schism, and have criticised him;
  • makes a point about the positive impact on the Church of the groups who have returned to full communion, especially from 1988 onwards;
  • draws attention however to the attitudinal problems associated with the SSPX;
  • notes that overall, the key priority for the Church must be to counter the growing de-Christianization that is occurring in much of the world, and that groups like the SSPX can assist in this;
  • makes a pleas for loyalty and support for the Pope in his efforts.

Pretty hard to argue with any of that. You might care to offer your prayers and penances especially for the Pope today, on this feast of his great predecessor St Gregory.


gmck9431 said...

Please! if you come across the full document can you alert us. Doubt if I'll find it in any of our Catholic papers unless heavily edited.

Mary Lou said...

available here