Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Tablet on the Filial Correction

I said some time ago that the instinct of conventional Catholic ‘progressives’ would be to ignore the Filial Correction. It is the strange new brand of Ultramontanist liberal who is writing article after article and tweet after tweet attacking it. Compare the response of John Allen (report it as briefly as possible alongside two unrelated issues) or PrayTell (pretend it never happened) with that of the likes of Walford, Fastiggi and Goldstein, Fagioli, and Buttiglione (see this blog passim ad nauseam).

The old-style liberals have spent a life-time criticising Ultramontanism, and many — there’ll always be exceptions — have sufficient integrity (or at least shame) not to use the simple fact that it is the Pope this time who is supporting their views as a reason to dismiss objections. Indeed, the present crisis has made it clear that most at least of their long-standing opponents have, contrary to the liberal stereotype, never been robotic Ultramontanists mechanically repeating the Party Line, but are actually motivated by serious theological principles, and are therefore worthy of some degree of respect.

This week’s Tablet, the premier dead-wood media liberal Catholic publication of the English-speaking world, has published a feature article on the Correction and the Dubia by Richard R. Gaillardetz, who rejoices in the title of the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. This appears to have the function of filling out and making plausible the sketchy response to the Correction The Tablet's editorial page gives in the same edition -- the editorial refers readers to Gaillardetz.

His view of the controversy is rather nuanced:

What we are witnessing today is neither a humble request for doctrinal clarification, nor a stealthily-plotted, mean-spirited assault on the Pope’s integrity. What we are witnessing is the clash of two fundamentally different understandings of how to be a faithful Catholic in the contemporary world and two different understandings of what constitutes the Church’s core mission.

For some, fidelity is ultimately measured more by formal doctrinal assent to the Church’s teaching. These Catholics believe the Church’s mission consists in offering timeless certitudes to a world lost in a sea of relativism. For others, particularly for those who find Pope Francis’ leadership so compelling, fidelity is measured more by the concrete practice of Christian discipleship. For them, the Church’s mission should primarily be directed toward responding to the questions and yearnings of humankind today.

(‘Humankind’: donchalovit?) The implicit claim that taking doctrine seriously is incompatible with ‘discipleship’ and pastoral effectiveness would, I think, have been surprising to everyone of proven discipleship from St Peter to St Maximilian Kolbe via St Francis of Assisi, but let it pass. This is the liberals’ self-understanding. If they admitted to themselves that telling people that they don’t need to be forgiven doesn't often lead them to repentance, there’s no telling what would happen.

What is interesting is that Gaillardetz is not doubting our sincerity or calling for us to be chained up in the Castel San Angelo. He is not saying that we are cruel and wicked people, or even that we victims of pathological rigidity. He seems to be suggesting that we are sincere, consistent, thoughtful, and mistaken.

Over the years The Tablet has been pretty judgemental about those it dislikes. Opposition to females serving at the Traditional Mass, for example, was denounced as misogyny. The Tablet’s opposition to the 2011 translation of the Missal and those who produced or supported it can best be described as ‘spittle-flecked’. Thanks in part no doubt to the change of Editor, when it comes today to a conflict between Ultramontanists who happen to agree with them on matters of substance, and conservatives who do not, The Tablet takes a more eirenic tone. Gaillardetz even calls the former party’s sound and fury ‘manufactured outrage’.

Those pushing the liberalising agenda on Communion for the divorced and remarried may think that Ultramontanism is their strongest card. But actually it cuts two ways. It can be relied on to get the support of senior clergy in Opus Dei, but the liberal Catholic establishment are not riding to their aid. What is even more worrying for them is the fact that, when the official wind starts blowing the other way, as it surely will at some point, Opus Dei spokesmen will without doubt find a way of finessing their position back to orthodoxy. Less flexible partisans of the agenda may find themselves looking rather exposed.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


  1. The schism of doctrine & practice, teacher & pastor: the meta-heresy that permits all heresies?

  2. If The Tablet is so bad then why do waste your time reading it? You could always read Christian Order instead.....

  3. The supposed incompatibility of fidelity to doctrine with discipleship has got to be one of the most absurd false dichotomies which has ever been raised. More proof, if ever it was needed, that the Correctio was both accurate and timely.

  4. This is simply the punishment for laxity, that is for not expelling the modernists fifty years ago. At that time it was still possible to excommunicate them. Now they have won the day and will go on until they have completely destroyed the Church.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. "October 1, 2017 @ 12:40pm
    Meditation Garden, St Rosalie's Parish, Hampton Bays, New York
    Our Lady of La Salette
    My dear son,
    It has been over 170 years since I appeared to the children of La Salette and gave them warnings to the world, particularly warnings concerning My Son's Church.
    Since then I have appealed to you directly, and I chose you, for you had been born on the 100th anniversary of my appearance to the children of La Salette. In 2005, when I first appeared to you as your Lady of Light, I shortly thereafter brought you to the very same location in the French Alps to speak to you, just as I spoke to the children. Your messages from your Heavenly Mother need to be appreciated by your brothers and sisters now in these end times.
    The followers of My Son, Jesus Christ, must recognize that the messages that I have conveyed as the Lady of La Salette are more important now in these end times, because of the crisis that is developing in My Son's Church.
    I had warned the children of La Salette of the crisis within the Church, referring especially to the priests who were 'cesspools of impurity'; a truth that has become known to all of you by the scandals that have ripped apart my Son's Church, since my warnings to the children of La Salette were not addressed by the Church Fathers, then or now.
    So it is now that the Church of My Son is in great crisis, because of the sins of many of the priests, bishops, and cardinals, and the failure of the Pontiffs in Rome to address the scandals properly. But this failure is only one of the failings of the Church in these end times that have come to pass.
    The greatest failure of the leaders and followers in My Son's Church today is the failure to defeat the smoke of satan that has seeped into the Church, stealthily and in secret for decades now. The infestation of the demon and his followers was done intentionally, patiently, and subtly, so that the true followers of My Son, Jesus Christ the Redeemer, would not sound the alarm and rescue the Church from the evil one and his minions.
    As your Heavenly Mother, I am now sounding the alarm to......

    Our Lady of La Salette"
    Message ended 1:09pm


  7. Please don't bash the goodies, Dr Shaw! The priests and people in Opus Dei that I know of are good, orthodox and pious, and even share many of your preferences - eg having Mass in the Latin language when opportunity offers. And they recognise the great difficulty the Church is in, and the need for prayer and penance, and for repeating the doctrine of ages.

    But they seem to to choose to go for silent suffering, and no doubt for quiet influence, rather than direct correction: which you and I might not choose, but is certainly one approach.

    Don't bash the good guys for choosing different tactics. The Enemy is doing enough of that already.

    Tony McGough

    1. Tony, isn't it the OD leadership who need to be told not to 'bash the good guys', not me? I'm just defending myself from the bashing Mgr has given me.

      If you can't see that, maybe the institution has begun to mean more to you than the truth.

    2. Ouch!

      I can only speak as I find, and the truth as I see it, from my personal experience (I am not a member) is that they are good orthodox people with a fine regard for tradition, good humour, willing to go more than the extra mile to help me in the spiritual life, and are thoroughly on the side of the angels.

      I have assumed that these characteristics of the people I met are those of their prelature, and that seems to be the case from the published works I have read.

      I am sorry if your mileage varies.

      ps I still agree with you about the sloppy bits of Amoris ... and how on earth could anyone call it "Thomistic"? That really would have made him thump the table!!