Some Religious Musings

by Bernard Brandt

The good Fr. Hunwicke has again displayed his usual and considerable eloquence, wisdom, and erudition, this time regarding the equal and opposite errors, at least for Catholics of all flavors, of sedevacantism and Fr. H’s useful and amusing neologism of ‘ultrahyperueberpapalism’. One may find his entry here. I was going to comment at his weblog, but the comment got rather too long, and I did not wish to pollute his comment box with anything other than a link. Thus, I am writing this entry.

I come from the perspective of an Eastern Catholic. I therefore eschew the first approximation attempt of ‘Orthodox in Union with Rome’, which I find to be on a par with such contradiction-in-terms as ‘kosher bacon’, ‘halal ham’, or ‘human intelligence’.

I am one who believes that Christendom should be informed by, and guided by, the saving truths of Sacred Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the authority of the Church, as expressed in the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, and by the decisions of that Church as expressed in Her Synods and subsequent Councils. I differ from my Orthodox cousins in that I believe that the primacy of honour, as expressed in one of the canons of the Councils mentioned above, is still owing to the Bishop of Rome. I therefore pray for Him at each Divine Liturgy, and each gathering in which the Great Litany is sung.

As a part of that primacy of honour, I believe that, as with the writings of the Second Vatican Council, as well as earlier Councils, I owe the duty of listening attentively and sympathetically to what His Holiness, the Bishop of Rome, has to say, as expressed in his own writings. I have come to find, however, that the utterances of the modern media have been less than accurate in transcribing what His Holiness has had to say about matters. I therefore prefer to discount that media, and to prefer His Holiness’ official pronouncements.

That said, I must admit to some disappointment in some recent decisions of the Roman Curia, which is ostensibly under the control and direction of the Bishop of Rome. I refer in particular to the decision of that Curia to replace all of the members of the Congregation of Divine Worship and of the Sacraments. It is my settled belief, on the basis of decades of experience, that current Roman liturgical praxis has been profoundly deformed for the last half century, as a result of a settled practice by most Roman clergy which is uninformed by Scripture, Tradition, Church Authority, or even much in the way of common sense. It is also my belief that, in replacing the members of that Congregation, Rome has thwarted most efforts to correct the liturgical abuses of the last half century. I therefore fear that I shall not see any change from the current status quo in my lifetime.

That said, I still owe the Bishop of Rome the primacy of honour. But that honour includes, I believe, the honour that the Apostle Paul displayed to the Apostle Peter, when St. Paul upbraded St. Peter for ‘playing nice’, and thereby departing from the teachings of the Faith.