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In today’s post we continue with the thread of the NORMALIZATION PROCESS™ in the ecclesiastical area of human activity and specifically the situation relating to the “abdication” of Pope Benedict XVI. The below post is the first of two (or more) that will set out to establish CONTEXT.
But first, Fr. Stehlin, the Superior for the Asian District of the SSPX gives some insights. Most recent, I would add:
As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, a lot of new information has become available recently, information that “lifts more of the fog” on this aspect of recent Church history. This new information (DATA POINTS – DP) in turn, have been input into our proprietary Pierce/Ockham pragmatic methodology (see here) and Ockham’s razor has been wielded mercilessly.
But before I can define and test the new HYPOTHESIS, I need to provide CONTEXT as to what was Benedict’s “state of knowledge” at this moment in time. Therefore I wiill attempt to set out the Rumsfeldian Known Knowns in this post, which I will then use to establish the most likely Known Knowns of Benedict XVI at the time of his “abdication”.
On an aside, I am using the term “abdication” now in quotation marks due to the serious issues that Ann Barnhardt identified in her most recent post. (see here) I highly recommend a careful reading of this post since her HYPOTHESIS is being confirmed by the Pierce/Ockham pragmatic methodology to a large extent.
And one more order of business. Before we start, I would also like to remind you dear reader to please keep in mind the proper chronology. That is to say, what we know today is not necessarily what was known by BXVI at his inauguration and so forth. Therefore I will attempt to lay out what can be assumed to be known to Benedict at any given time, and so forth.
So let’s get cracking.
The natural place to start is with the speech of the newly elected BXVI in which he informs the Catholic world that all might not be well. Here is that first DATA POINT:
DP-1 April 24, 2005
MASS, IMPOSITION OF THE PALLIUM AND CONFERRAL OF THE FISHERMAN’S RING FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE PETRINE MINISTRY OF THE BISHOP OF ROME.
In the homily given by the newly crowned Benedict XVI, the first sign of problems were related by His Holiness into the public domain.
In his Inauguration Homily, BXVI used the term “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves”. Here is the full paragraph for purposes of CONTEXT: (see here)
One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.
What appeared to be an innocuous statement at the time turned out to be quite prophetic.
What proof is available that this statement might not have been as innocuous as it then appeared?
DP – 1.1 December 2004
In his last interview given to John Bishop, Michael Davies provided the following information into the public domain: (see here)
MD: Yes. He and his fellow German, Lehmann, were made Cardinals. You see there is no chance of Cardinal Ratzinger being made Pope. The job of Kasper and Lehmann is to go to the conclave and stop anyone Ratzinger supports from being made Pope.
For more detailed information about the “network” that worked to keep “Ratzinger or anyone he supports” from ascending to the Throne of St. Peter, please see here.
DP – 1.2 August 29, 2005
After a meeting with the newly elected Pope Benedict, Bishop Fellay explained BXVI’s predicament with respect to Tradition in general and “freeing” the TLM in specific:
In order to be entirely fair, I would like to add this further detail. We must consider the pope’s difficult situation. He is stuck between the progressives on one side and us on the other. If he grants general permission for the Mass on the basis on our request alone, the modernists will rise up, saying that the pope has given in to traditionalists. We learned from Bishop Ricard that in 2000 he himself, along with Cardinal Lustiger and the Archbishop of Lyon, rushed to Rome to forestall concessions to the Society, under threat of rebellion. We know that the German bishops acted in the same way at the time of the World Youth Conference in Cologne: “It is us or them.” By this is meant: “If they are recognized, we will leave the Church and create a schism.”
So the pope could not, during the audience, give us verbal assurance that this Fall, for example, the Mass would be freed. Any promise made by him to the Society in this sense would inevitably expose him to pressure by the progressives. We would then have received the views of a pope against a majority of bishops inclined to secede. This cannot be envisaged in the midst of the current debacle, even given desire for a certain restoration. Personally, I believe that only limited freedom will perhaps be conceded.
Therefore, it can be assumed with a great degree of certainty that Pope Benedict and the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger had detailed knowledge of the internal situation between the progressives – neo-modernists and the Catholic factions. Pope Benedict must have also been aware that the progressives were determined to the point of organizing a formal schism, in the event of a unilateral move toward Tradition.
On an aside, doing “schism” is not Jesuitical thinking, is it?
DP-2 August 31, 2005
Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders. (see here)
In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.
This ban on ordinations of the “intrinsically disordered” was a direct assault on the interests of the Homo-Lobby and specifically Cardinal Danneels (see here) who promoted and enabled pederast priests in his diocese, and many more like him. (see here)
DP-3 July 7,2007
APOSTOLIC LETTER GIVEN MOTU PROPRIO, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM ON THE USE OF THE ROMAN LITURGY PRIOR TO THTE REFORM OF 1970 (see here)
It is therefore permitted to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal, which was promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Church’s Liturgy. The conditions for the use of this Missal laid down by the previous documents Quattuor Abhinc Annos and Ecclesia Dei are now replaced as follows:
Along with the Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum, a letter to the bishops was issued. In that letter, the following passage can be read: (see here)
News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.
This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.
In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question.
In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities.
The reason that I am providing the above reference material is to highlight the speed with which Benedict XVI acted with respect to “freeing” the Tridentine Mass. The MP SP was promulgated within 2 years, less one month of the meeting between His Holiness and Bishop Fellay and with full knowledge of the potential schism the was threatened by the neo-modernists, especially those of the German Bishops’ Conference.
DP-4 January 21, 2009
DECREE REMITTING THE EXCOMMUNICATION “LATAE SENTENTIAE” OF THE BIHSOPS OF THE SOCIETY OF ST PIUS X
His Holiness Benedict XVI in his paternal concern for the spiritual distress which the parties concerned have voiced as a result of the excommunication, and trusting in their commitment, expressed in the aforementioned letter, to spare no effort in exploring as yet unresolved questions through requisite discussions with the authorities of the Holy See in order to reach a prompt, full and satisfactory solution to the original problem has decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, resulting from their episcopal consecration.
The lifting of the excommunication on the SSPX transpired 18 months after promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Reaction was swift and vicious. The neo-modernists played the anti-Semitism card right from the very onset. Here is a good example from the leftist agitation/propoganda organization NBCNEWS.com from the 24th of January 2009. (see here)
After the Decree Remitting the Excommunication, a letter to the bishops had to be issued by His Holiness on the 10 of March 2009. In that letter, the following passage can be read: (see here)
Dear brethren in the Episcopal ministry!
The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988 without a mandate of the Holy See has led, both within and outside the Catholic Church, for a variety of reasons, to a discussion of such vehemence as we had not experienced for a long time. Many bishops felt at a loss before an event which came unexpectedly and could barely be integrated positively among the questions and tasks of the Church of today. Although many pastors and faithful were willing in principle to value positively the Pope’s desire for reconciliation, against this was the question of the appropriateness of such a gesture, given the real urgency of a believing life in our time. Several groups, however, accused the Pope openly of wanting to return behind the Council. An avalanche of protests was set into motion, the bitterness of which made injuries visible which transcended the moment. Therefore I feel pressed to address to you, dear brethren, a clarifying word, which is meant to help to understand the intentions which have guided me and the competent organs of the Holy See in this step. I hope in this way to contribute to peace in the Church.
The OBJECTIVE FACT (oxymoron, I am aware) that an explanatory letter by the Pontiff explaining his actions had to be issued 48 days after the Decree should indicate the severity of the “blowback” that BXVI faced from his actions. The reaction was both from outside the Church, but likewise from inside the Church, as per above highlighted passage.
DP-5 October 26, 2009
Opening of the Doctrinal Discussions Between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X (see here)
One point of agreement has already been reached, the observation of full discretion regarding these works which could not be done in the hustle so dear to the media. Actually, at the end of the meeting, the participants went to lunch without making any declaration to the some ten journalists waiting for them outside. The only exclusive “revelation” reported by Vatican observer for Il Giornale, Andrea Tornielli was that the theologians were henceforth to “work actively, using the Internet to exchange their viewpoints” until the next meeting scheduled after the Christmas season. Likewise, La Repubblica thought it was making a scoop by revealing that during this first meeting the criticism which has been raised by the Society of St. Pius about religious liberty and the relations of the Church with non-Christian religions for more than 40 years came under discussion.
The above is a sample of the atmosphere around the initial discussions between the Holy See and the SSPX. Notice the presence of “some 10” journalists for a meeting between the Catholic Church (1.2 billion members) and a religious society with about 500 priests at that time. Next, notice the focus and emphasis on “religious liberty and the relations of the Church with non-Christian religions for more than 40 years came under discussion”.
Aside, one thing that I have noticed over the years is that when there is a credible chance of a positive ruling (OUTCOME) for either Tradition in general or the SSPX in particular, it is always pre-empted with news or commentary about “religious liberty and the relations of the Church with non-Christian religions for more than 40 years came under discussion”, i.e. Notra Aetate. It usually originates in Germany, but lately it has been originating in the United Kingdom. In poker language, this phenomenon is known as a “TELL”. Excuse the digression…
The following link (see here) is a running summary of all the contacts and negotiations between the Vatican and the SSPX between 2009 and 2013. As can be observed, those contacts were quite extensive. The implication being that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI was very familiar with the theological positions of the SSPS in general and the issue of a “State of Necessity”, under which the SSPX administered for the spiritual needs of those in the care SPECIFICALLY. It was reported that to the last minute of his pontificate, “Discussions, late [discussions], are taking place between Rome and Écône… Up to the end the Pope tries to reach an agreement”. (see here) Here is the pertinent passage for the purpose of this post:
What threats can the extremist liberals on the Rhine basin side make? Threaten schism, as they repeatedly (reportedly) did to John Paul II? Ask for the Pope’s head, as they did in 2009? The Pope has delivered his head! On a tray, like the Precursor: the German-speaking and French-speaking Salomes cannot demand anything else.
The above is the CONTEXT for the most likely state of mind of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the time of his abdication. It also goes a long way in establishing that Pope Benedict XVI knew and understood the concept of “State of Necessity” under which the SSPX provided the Sacraments to the Faithful in their care.
The other observation that becomes quite visible is the sheer amount of time and effort and personal authority that BXVI “invested” in his effort to reconcile the Holy See with the SSPX.
The aspect of these negotiations that also becomes quite self-evident is that the SSPX was a small part of BXVI’s strategy. What appears to be the case is that BXVI had no problem with the negotiations dragging out over the span of his entire pontificate. This becomes quite evident, given that the first meeting was with Bishop Fellay in August of 2005. It would appear as if BXVI was using the SSPX as a proxy to soften up the neo-modenists and onto which he had focused all the attention of these fanatics and their minions, which simultaneously took the focus off the post-conciliar Church, allowing Tradition to gain a strong foothold within the Universal Church itself. I will have more to say about just this in a follow-up post.
This would also help explain the speed with which a real neo-modernist like Bergoglio, is trying to corral the SSPX inside the Ecclesia Dei Commission.
Another Unknown Unknown that just might have became a Known Known?
But I am getting ahead of myself.
I will end here for today, at the time of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.