GRIFF RUBY'S EXCERPTS FROM HIS BOOK "THE RESURRECTION OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH" (aug26res.htm)


August 26, 2005
Friday
vol 16, no. 238

Addressing Traditionalist Tendencies Good and Bad


        Excerpt From Appendix B - Questions and Objections in The Resurrection of the Roman Catholic Church

    It is true there is confusion amongst the Traditional Catholic movement as to which group is right. Is it the Independent chapels? The SSPX? The Sedevacantists? The Indultarians? The Home-Aloners? While each group is in full agreement on Catholic Doctrine, when it comes to procedural norms each group thinks they are right in the direction they have taken to safeguard the Faith. The chief obstacle that exists is that no lawful authority exists to rightfully rule universally on who is right in the true Catholic sense. When that is solved, however long that might be, there will be Catholic unity.

      "Drawing from that is also a fear for the future of the other groups, on behalf of their followers. That fear seems to have a certain logic to it. After all, if so great an institution as the visible Church (for which they mistake the Vatican institution) should be allowed to fall so rapidly into error, what is to stop any of these smaller groups from succumbing from the particular danger each of these groups face? What is to prevent the Indult crowd from being swept up into the modernism which is so pervasive throughout the rest of the Vatican institution? What is to prevent the SSPX from coming to believe the heretical position that popes can be routinely disobeyed? How can we know that the sedevacantists will not become so accustomed to functioning without a living pope that they cannot recognize a true, valid, and reliable pope even when one should appear? Each group is aware of the precautions they have taken against their own particular danger, yet they see all too readily the weaknesses in the precautions the other groups are taking. They all lack knowledge of the fact that their stability is guaranteed not by the precautions they have taken, but by the promises of God to His Church, which all traditional Catholics from each of these groups together constitute."


Question Posed:
In defending so many different kinds of traditional Catholic orders and not taking sides in their disputes, aren't you acting just like the Protestants who agree with each other in "the essentials" but feel free to disagree with each other about "the non-essentials;" doesn't that make you therefore a pan-traditionalist?

    When Protestants try to get Ecumenical, since they are not really willing to unite around the true faith of the Catholic Church, they will always have things about which they disagree. Their idea of solving this problem is to settle on a few key doctrines which they see as "the essentials" on which all members must agree, and then allowing them to retain their various opinions about everything else which they label "the non-essentials." One problem with that approach is that often they are not able to agree as to which doctrines or morals are essential and which are not.

    For example, they might all agree that Trinitarian theology, Heaven and Hell, God's creation of Man, the nature of Sin, and the inerrancy of the Bible are all essential, but one will come along and say that Baptism in water is essential while another will say it's not, or one will say that Signs and Wonders (e. g. Tongues, Prophecies, Healings, Miracles, etc.) either must or must not occur while others will say that those things don't matter.

    Another problem with that approach is that one quickly finds that the fewer "essentials" one requires religious bodies to have in order to be a member of their ecumenical club, the more religious bodies one can include in their club and therefore the larger they become. It is only a matter of time before their standard becomes so broad and so general and so vague, their "essentials" so very, very few that practically everyone is by definition in their club and together they have virtually nothing left to say to those few remaining outside it.

    That is not what I have done here. The disagreements which Catholic orders have are quite important. In many cases they are much more important or "essential" than many other minor teachings of the Church (in whatever sense that any teaching of the Church could ever be regarded as more or less important than another). The liberty which the various orders described here have to disagree with each other is solely and strictly based on the fact that the Church has never provided a formal, doctrinal, and definitive answer to these specific questions. There are many precedents of course, but some of these precedents point towards one solution, others towards another, and other precedents toward yet another. When the next reliable Catholic pope answers these questions, all Catholics will submit to his rulings and these disagreements will no longer be permitted.

    It is interesting to note that all of their differences boil down to questions regarding how a Catholic is to respond to the present crisis. All of the older questions have long since been settled by the Church and one finds among the various bishops, priests, orders, and lay faithful of all of these groups a valid Catholic position in total uniformity regarding everything the Church has defined as morals or doctrine. It is that uniformity regarding the established teachings of the Church which sets apart the Catholic Church in all of its present groups from all others.

    I am not a "pan-traditionalist" since there are many "traditional" forms of worship which are not Catholic at all, such as the Voodoo worship traditions of Benin or even the noble traditions of the Jews. Even some groups which try to pass themselves off as "Catholic," such as Old Catholics, the Patriotic Church of China, the Eastern Orthodox, the TFP group, and so forth are still rejected here (although I still harbor hopes for the rehabilitation of the TFP) because of their refusal to adhere to established teachings of the Church. I am not a "pan-traditionalist" but a "pan-Catholic." I believe in the Catholic Church in its entirety, not merely this or that portion.

Objection Posed:
I find it difficult to see any "Oneness" amongst the various groups you write about since they seem to bicker with each other so very much and even say horrible things about each other.

    Remember, the "Oneness" of the Church does not necessarily imply that all Catholics are just "buddy-buddy" pals with all other Catholics. One also has to be aware of the principle of false animosity. If you wanted to make person A and person B enemies of each other, you simply go to person A and tell them that person B has been saying all sorts of terrible things about him. You then go to person B and say the same things regarding person A. Until persons A and B should figure out what has happened, they will be at odds with each other, and indeed may even add to that enmity themselves by actually speaking out against each other. The entire feud is based on nothing and means nothing.

    It is also a fact that exterior factors can put Catholics at odds with each other. For example, if two nations should go to war against each other, and if both have Catholic soldiers enlisted in their armies, you could, and typically would, have Catholics shooting at each other at the command of mere secular rulers. Indeed, the most virulent divisions currently within the Church are similarly traceable to such exterior causes. The division between Catholics who are within the Vatican institution and Catholics who are outside it is directly caused by that Vatican institution because they tell those Catholics within it to "have nothing to do with those who are outside our institution, and in exchange we will allow you to practice your Catholic faith under our roof and with our blessing." Catholics who are outside that institution have quite reasonably and sensibly responded in kind, and thus is created that division.

    Similarly, the division between the SSPX. and other groups operating outside the Vatican institution is based on the hope that they might continue to be defended by the laws of the Vatican institution and therefore in a better bargaining position with the current Vatican leadership, providing that they distance themselves from all sedevacantist groups. In like manner, the division between the SSPV and other sedevacantists, is based on the hope that they might again one day be recognized by the SSPX, providing that they continue to distance themselves from the Thuc-line bishops which Lefebvre had criticized shortly before the division between the SSPX and the SSPV happened.

    Another factor, and the only one which represents a certain degree of true schism within the Church, is the different attempts to understand the nature of the current Church crisis and ascertain just what is to be done about it. While all Catholics must be (and in fact still are in these confusing times) united in belief regarding each and every teaching of the Church as promulgated and defined by the reliable popes, the current crisis has brought up many new questions, and there does not presently happen to exist any Catholic authority which is both willing and able to settle these questions authoritatively. Splendid arguments have been made for all sides of such questions as "do we have a pope, and if so in what sense," "can there be marriage annulments, and if so on what basis, and need the Vatican institution be involved," and "at which point do we draw the line and say that such-and-such an edition of the Roman Missal is the last official one, rendering all previous editions obsolete and therefore seeing all later editions merely as products of the non-Catholic Vatican institution."

    There is also a tendency to react against the false ecumenism of Vatican II. It is important for the Church to avoid all pretense of unity with false religions, as Pope Pius XI taught in Mortalium Animos. However, in the zeal to avoid the false ecumenism of Vatican II, traditional Catholics have sometimes neglected that true ecumenism which is internal to the Church and essential to the principle of the Church being One (along with being Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic). It is not a trivial thing to draw the lines where they truly belong. With the Vatican institution being so lenient with false religions as it is, traditionalists often respond by preferring to risk erring on the side of being too strict rather than too lenient. At least they have the satisfaction of knowing that no one within the circle they draw is not a Catholic. And all would agree that there almost certainly exist some real Catholics outside the narrow circle they each have drawn, even though they might be uncertain as to precisely who. Of their own parish or congregation or society, they can be certain; of anyone else's they can only guess.

    Also, not being aware of the charter and delegated jurisdiction Vatican II granted for Catholic orders to function apart from the Vatican institution, many such Catholic orders tend to feel as if they are functioning in an irregular fashion. While each may be satisfied with the reasons for its own seemingly irregular functioning, they are often uncertain as to the reasons for the similar seemingly irregular functioning of the others.

    Drawing from that is also a fear for the future of the other groups, on behalf of their followers. That fear seems to have a certain logic to it. After all, if so great an institution as the visible Church (for which they mistake the Vatican institution) should be allowed to fall so rapidly into error, what is to stop any of these smaller groups from succumbing from the particular danger each of these groups face? What is to prevent the Indult crowd from being swept up into the modernism which is so pervasive throughout the rest of the Vatican institution? What is to prevent the SSPX from coming to believe the heretical position that popes can be routinely disobeyed? How can we know that the sedevacantists will not become so accustomed to functioning without a living pope that they cannot recognize a true, valid, and reliable pope even when one should appear? Each group is aware of the precautions they have taken against their own particular danger, yet they see all too readily the weaknesses in the precautions the other groups are taking. They all lack knowledge of the fact that their stability is guaranteed not by the precautions they have taken, but by the promises of God to His Church, which all traditional Catholics from each of these groups together constitute.

    Still one more factor to consider is that each faction seeks to unite all Catholics under their opinion. This exactly parallels the situation in the First Great Western Schism when all who favored the Pope in Rome from the Pope himself on down sought to unite all Catholics under their Pope, and at the same time all who favored the "Pope" in Avignon from that "Pope" on down sought to unite all Catholics under their "Pope," and again the same for those who favored the "Pope" in Pisa. Notice that the Council of Constance did not favor one over another but instead elected a new Pope acceptable to all. Nobody had to see their rival win, and every Catholic got what all truly desired. So I am sure it will be with the present situation.

    Finally, one must remember that extremely few ever possess the gift to see into the heart of another. All traditional priests and bishops are quite conscious of their own efforts at remaining orthodox and Catholic in their teaching and practice, but none of them can see within the hearts of the others. When another starts reaching conclusions about the unsettled questions which differ from what one has concluded, it is very easy to suppose that the other fellow has taken an uncatholic turn in his thought processes.

    It is easy to see that none of these "divisions" entail any real long term threat to the unity of the Roman Catholic Church since, when the next reliable Catholic pope rules on the unsettled questions, all Catholics will accept the pope's ruling, and in their union with the pope they shall be united to each other as well. One can properly pray that those who were right will forgive those who were wrong and avoid gloating over them, and that those who were wrong will swallow their pride and accept what is right. Also, as more and more Catholics come to understand the true natures of the Catholic Church and the Vatican institution, the abused authority of the Vatican institution will be seen for what it is and the division between those inside and those outside the Vatican institution will fade along with all other divisions. The Church is eternally One, even when She seemed to be Two or Three, and even now when She seems to be Several.

Griff L. Ruby


Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.


    Griff Ruby's EXCERPTS from his book
    "THE RESURRECTION OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH"

    August 26, 2005
    Volume 16, no. 238