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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Distributed Denial of Stupidity bearing fruit


Mgr Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, has given an extensive interview to Nouvelles de France, published today, in which he speaks of the discussions between the Holy See and representatives of the Society of St Pius X.

Full text in French: Entretien avec Mgr Pozzo, Secrétaire de la Commission pontificale Ecclesia Dei
Extract translated into English at Rorate Caeli: IMPORTANT. Pozzo speaks

In answer to a question about the principal subjects that are under confidential discussion, Mgr Pozzo says:
The themes under discussion are known: primacy and episcopal collegiality; relations between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian confessions; religious liberty; the Missal of Paul VI. At the end of the talks, the results of the discussions will be submitted to the respective authorized levels for an overall evaluation.
I like the idea that the Secretary of Ecclesia Dei would so easily speak of themes "that are known." This is honest and sensible: we do all know the principal points under discussion, and Catholic blogs have helped, I think, in a sort of Distributed Denial of Stupidity by focussing on the real doctrinal questions. Some will offer various possibilities for resolving the questions, others will maintain that they are not capable of resolution. That is the frank discussion that needs to take place with good information driving out bad, reasonable people studying the evidence, and intelligent people suggesting conclusions and ways forward.

Mgr Pozzo deftly introduces a topic that is obviously dear to this blog [my translation]:
It does not seem conceivable that it would be possible to reconsider the Second Vatican Council. So where can these discussions lead? To a better understanding of it?

It is a question of clarifying points that detail the exact meaning of the teaching of the Council. This is what the Holy Father started to do on December 22, 2005, by understanding the Council within a hermeneutic of renewal in continuity. Nevertheless, there are certain objections of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X that do make sense, because there has been an interpretation of rupture. The objective is to show that it is necessary to interpret the Council in the continuity of the Tradition of the Church.
He is speaking of the hermeneutic of continuity in terms of keeping true to the tradition of the Church. Some traditionalists have opposed the idea of the hermeneutic of continuity as a way of insisting that all the reforms and abuses that have taken place since Vatican II must be regarded as "traditional" in some way.

That is what I would characterise as the "glass half empty" version of the hermeneutic of continuity. The "glass half full" version is to see the hermeneutic of continuity as a means of recovering the tradition of the Church which is a fundamental criterion for interpreting the text of Vatican II, and for judging the practical reforms that have happened since then.

(In case anyone is thinking of posting pedantic comments about the need to insert the words "reform" or "renewal" in the expression "hermeneutic of continuity", let me point out that those two words also need to be understood properly, as in getting us back to our roots in doctrine and liturgy, and making all that new again. Furthermore, the Holy Father himself has more than once used the abbreviated version given in this blog's title.)
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