Thursday, January 29, 2009
Lifting of the SSPX excommunications
There has been much comment on the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. They got excommunicated by co-operating in their episcopal ordination by Archbishop Lefevre. Since this was against the will of the Holy Father and in defiance of him the automatic penalty was excommunication. The present Holy Father's act is not an approval of their actions but a response to their expressed wish for reconciliation and the Holy Father's own desire to heal the rift and restore the seamlessness of Christ's tunic (see Jn 19:23-24). There remains a lot to be done. Others have said this better than I (see here and here) My only observation is a statement of hope: that this society will now seek to have true dialogue with the Church's teaching as it has unfolded over the last forty years and that it will have the courage to turn away from understandings (e.g. as regards the Jewish faith) which can seem to be little more than thin intellectual camouflage for racism. Many changes wrought after the Council can be legitimately questioned but if the authority of a Council can be so easily set aside where will the Church end up? When a seamless garment has been torn who can restore its seamlessness?