14 July 1980 – L'Osservatore Romano
The following report was certainly very
good news for all traditional Catholics who concurred with Mgr.
Lefebvre’s frequent reiterations concerning the radical
incompatibility between Catholicism and Masonry.
German Episcopal Conference
Forbids Catholic Membership in Masonry
the years 1974 -1980, official conversations took place in Germany
between the Catholic Church and Freemasonry by order of the
German Episcopal Conference and the Grand United Lodges.
attempt was made, in the course of these conversations, to establish
whether Masonry had undergone changes in the course of time
such as to make it possible, from now on, for Catholics to be
talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, characterized by frankness
a careful examination of these first three degrees, the Catholic
Church ascertained that there exist fundamental and insuperable
in its essence, has not changed. To belong to Freemasonry calls
in question the foundations of the existence of Christ. A thorough
examination of Masonic rites and of fundamental considerations,
as well as the objective finding that Freemasonry has not changed,
lead to the obvious conclusion: Membership of the Catholic Church
and at the same time of Freemasonry are not reconcilable.
* * *
“I'm Against all Condemnations”
The Remnant – 18 July 1980
theologians who have earned Rome's displeasure in recent times
are currently making their rounds trying to offset the situation
by public speech-making wherever they go and by the usual self-serving
the Dutch theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, who has been under
fire from the Vatican since last December, was on visit to the
United States earlier this month and, in New York, decried what
he called the “scapegoat role” to which modem-day
theologians are being subjected by the Vatican today. He said
that Vatican condemnations of “innovative thinkers make
no sense in modem times." “There is unrest among
the faithful,” he conceded, “but it’s not
because of what the theologians are saying but because of cultural
change. Without the theologians," he insisted, “it
would still be the same, but some people need a kind of scapegoat
for the unrest," and hence the theologians “are singled
out for that scapegoat role" (Courier-News, N.Y.,
3 July 1980).
cited recent condemnations of Fr. Jacques Pohier of France and
Fr. Hans Kung of West Germany as typical examples of "a
bad situation" in the Church, adding that he is opposed
"to all condemnations” since "it's very dangerous
to do that." He said that most of the Vatican's doctrinal
officials who had questioned his writings" are amateurs"
in biblical scholarship and misconstrued his writings "because
of their scholastic thinking." "They are unable to
understand phenomenological thought," he said. "To
them past statements of concepts are immutable and must be repeated
the same way." Schillebeeckx went on to include Pope John
Paul II as among those who are unable to understand his philosophical
thinking. The Pope, he said, who comes from Poland, is trying
to apply worldwide the "Polish model" of a monolithic-type
Church. “It was the right thing for Poland in a special
situation, with a monolithic-type Church set up against the
monolithic Communist state, but as a model for the Western pluralized
world, it doesn’t work,” he said. With different
church needs and models in the U.S., Africa, Europe and elsewhere,
he said “the Church cannot be monolithic, but must adapt
to many diverse faces.”
Schillebeeckx said that the Pope’s summoning to the Vatican
of the Dutch bishops, and their agreement to restrain various
innovative practices in Holland was another bloc-style move,
but the effect had been completely negative. “It is accepted
by only a small minority,” he claimed. “The Catholic
people are going on as before. The clergy do not accept it.”
if the Pope’s effort tended to reserve Vatican II reforms,
Schillebeeckx commented: “In the Pope’s opinion
it is not a reversal, but I think it is.”
* * *
report is interesting for two reasons. it is yet another useful
reminder for traditional Catholics who see the Pope purely in
Liberal terms that the Liberals themselves consider him to be
a conservative. It also provides confirmation of the ineffectiveness
of the Dutch Synod which had given rise to such a optimism.
A very orthodox Dutch priest had written to me at about this
time giving precisely the same assessment of the impact of the
Synod upon parish life in Holland, i.e., everything had continued
By Father Tom O’Mahony
The Remnant – 18 July 1980
appalling state of decline into which the Catholic Church in
America has fallen is very apparent in the writings and speeches
of professional theologians and Scripture scholars, who go about
their iconoclastic work uncondemned except by small groups of
the laity. Many of these dissenters even teach in seminaries
and Catholic colleges.
Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., to which
all Catholics contribute, instead of being a model for other
Catholic centers of higher learning, has become a symbol of
contestation, a haven almost for those who would change the
defined teaching of the Church.
Charles Curran, Professor of Moral Theology at C.U., is one
of the best known dissenters in the U.S. Yet he was invited
by the Jesuits of the University of St. Louis to speak on the
campus. Since he has published works on every aspect of human
sexuality, no one can be in any doubt that he will attack defined
Catholic doctrine whenever he gets the chance. Why then was
he honored with this invitation? Unlike his brother bishop of
Baton Rouge, who refused to allow Curran to speak at a diocesan
facility, Archbishop May (of St. Louis); publicly stated that
he refused to interfere and that the Holy See has yet to pass
judgment on Curran.
years ago, a Vatican curial official, Cardinal Garrone, said
that nowadays bishops are practising a hands-off policy and
are leaving it up to Rome (to make unpleasant decisions). This
policy, said the Cardinal, is disastrous as, by the time Rome
can get around to the problem, the harm has already been done.
More than likely, this was what the Pope had in mind in his
Chicago talk to the bishops last year.
now a new controversy has shaken C.U. The student newspaper,
The Tower, has been announcing the weekly meetings of homosexual
and lesbian students. The paper has also featured articles on
this perversion, and even quoted two priest faculty members
in favor of the view that homosexual acts are not necessarily
sinful in all instances. One priest said it could be a “morally
good thing to do,” according to Paul A. Fisher of The
National Catholic Register. The two priests on the faculty who
refused to condemn as sinful all homosexual activity are Fr.
Robert Kinast, a member of the pastoral staff in theology, and
Fr. Thomas Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Religion Religious
President of the College, Dr. Edmund Pelligrino, has, according
to reports, expressed dismay at the excessive use of alcohol
by students at C.U.
serious matter is that most of the students interviewed by the
student paper admitted that they were either agnostics or practicing
atheists. Yet it was their standard of morality, or more correctly,
lack of it, which was promoted in the editorials.
sign of the times is that the once proud Catholic University
of Norte Dame had hired Fr. McBrien, who has never hidden his
heretical views on the nature of the Church, to be chairman
of one of its faculties.
Hans Küng and Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, who are notorious
dissenters, had told the press that they have been invited (Schillebeeckx
just last week at Berkeley) to speak on Catholic campuses in
the U.S. And, to top it all, we still find the ubiquitous Fr.
Brown, S. S., an avant garde biblical scholar whose writings
are a mere rehash of the condemned Modernist views, is still
invited into various dioceses to speak to the clergy and laity.
Recently he was invited to speak at Religious Congresses in
the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange. When
the laity objected to this by even taking out advertisements
in the papers, Cardinal Manning defended Fr. Brown. So did Msgr.
John F. Barry, director of the Office of Religious Education.
is extremely serious, as Fr. Brown's views are well known, or
should be. Two of his views, concerning the apostolic succession
of the bishops and the nature of the Mass as a Sacrifice, were
attacked by the late Cardinal Sheehan, who was himself a professional
Raymond Brown also denies the Virgin Birth and holds that the
infancy narratives are not history but mere symbols –
a concoction of early Christians. He even holds that it could
be that Christ was the result of a rape of Our Lady by a Roman
are Catholics to conclude from all of this? Some, with an axe
to grind, will welcome these views and follow them on the ground
that the above priests were not only not condemned by the bishops,
but even defended against their critics. Others will write off
the Church as a confused and confusing institution, which apparently
has lost its way; while others still will feel that, after all,
Archbishop Lefebvre is right, at least he is consistent, he
has never deviated one iota from traditional Catholic teaching.
end result cannot but be devastating, as seminarians are exposed
to this theological mish-mash as the "new theology"
and "scriptural scholarship." This is evident from
a statement by Fr. John Meier, Prof. Of Scripture at the New
York Archdiocesan Seminary. Defending Brown and condemning his
critics, Fr. Meier said: “If they (Brown's critics) ever
knew what some of the rest of us are doing, they'd have a heart
may well happen that America will once again become a mission
country, with the missionaries coming this time from the crowded
seminaries of black Africa, according to the prediction of one
of that continent's bishops made during the first synod of bishops
in Rome. Stranger things can happen, because in the fourth century
eighty percent of the bishops fell into the Arian heresy, and
in the time of the persecution of the Church in England, only
Bishop St. John Fisher had the intestinal fortitude and strong
faith to stand up for Christ.
this is where we now are, as the only public statements coming
from the National conference of Catholic Bishops concern the
secular pieties of the age: the Panama Canal, capital punishment,
racism, and other subjects which are the stock-in-trade of professional
Liberals. Not that there is anything wrong with support of such
causes, provided one realizes that in many cases there is no
clear answer to such questions, but there are very clear answers
when it comes to dogma and morals, which it is the sworn duty
of bishops to defend at any price, even martyrdom!
* * *
article appeared originally in the 1 June 1980 issue of Father
O'Mahony's Most Holy Trinity parish bulletin, El Paso, Texas.
Father O'Mahony might also have remarked that there is one man
to whom Catholic University would never open its doors, and
that is Archbishop Lefebvre who has never “deviated one
iota from traditional Catholic teaching.” As St. Basil
observed in the year 372, commenting upon the Arian heresy:
“Only one offense is now vigorously punished – an
accurate observance of our fathers’ traditions.1
See Apologia I, p. 372.