THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The term is fairly common and somewhat broad, but I'm going to go ahead and start using it now to describe the particular schism currently underway in the Western Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. I'm talking about the "Modernist Rebellion" of this 21st century, comparable to the "Protestant Rebellion" (i.e. "Protestant Reformation") of the 16th century.
We are currently in the early stages of this chapter in Church history, which began quietly about a decade before the Second Vatican Council. This is when the first inkling of a problem began. It was perhaps the vague and generalized nature of the Second Vatican Council itself that gave rise to the Modernist takeover of the Church in the years following it's conclusion. This found it's apex achievement in the new "ordinary form" of the mass known as the Missal of Pope Paul VI. In it's most pure form, when celebrated properly, according to the rubrics of the previous form (Missal of Saint Pius V), the new ordinary isn't too bad. It has within it the potential to rise to the level of it's predecessor. However, that isn't how things played out. What followed the introduction of the new ordinary was four decades of liturgical innovation and abuse. Along with the reinvention of the liturgy came the reinvention of Catholicism, and that included a new Catholic doctrine taught by clergy, religious and theologians, which was never approved by the Vatican. Lex orandi, lex credendi. "The law of prayer is the law of faith." As the liturgy was transformed, so was the faith of Catholics all over the world, to the point where each region had it's own particular nuance of faith and sense of entitlement.
The pontificate of John Paul II was strong on orthodox teaching, but weak on practical administration, and the fact that it lasted 27 years was both a blessing and a curse to the development of the post conciliar Church. What Pope Benedict XVI inherited was a mess, and a schism waiting to happen. Naturally, when Benedict matched practical administration with orthodox teaching, the reaction by the mainstream Church was visceral. The schism once hidden from view, was now brought to light for all the world to see. Traditional and orthodox Catholics hailed the decisions of Benedict with adulation, while modernist and liberal Catholics greeted them with disdain. Benedict's motu prorprio (Summorum Pontificum), which liberalized usage of the Missal of Saint Pius V as the "extraordinary form" of the mass, set the stage for the Modernist Rebellion of the early 21st century. Initially, some Modernist priests and bishops threatened immediate schism if the pope so dared to liberalize the celebration of the previous missal. Those threats turned out to be idle, or at least premature. What followed was nearly two years of scheming for a way they could break with Rome and make it look like it was the pope's fault.
The opportunity presented itself in two ways in the early days of 2009. In January, Pope Benedict XVI graciously lifted the excommunications of four bishops illicitly ordained by traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 for his "Priestly Fraternal Society of Saint Pius X" (or SSPX). Shortly thereafter, he appointed Father Gerhard Maria Wagner to the office of Bishop for the Diocese of Linz in Austria. There were only two problems. One of the bishops of the SSPX, Bishop Richard Williamson, who's excommunication was lifted, happened to be a Holocaust denier, and Father Wagner referred to Hurricane Katrina as God's punishment upon the immorality of New Orleans. While Father Wagner's controversial comments are at least understandable when you look at it a certain way, Bishops Williamson's Holocaust denial is inexcusable on so many levels. Naturally, the pope reacted with shock, as he was previously unaware of Bishops Williamson's beliefs on this matter. However, it should be pointed out that even if the pope did know, it would have had little bearing on the decision to lift the excommunications, since the excommunications themselves were over procedural matters, having nothing to do with private beliefs held by those excommunicated. Still, the whole thing looked bad, and indeed it was planned to work that way. It now appears that the whole thing was carefully crafted by a Vatican insider disloyal to the pope. The Swedish television interview, in which Bishop Williamson made the remarks was taped on the 1st of November in 2008, but kept on ice until the day the pope officially signed the document lifting the excommunications. This happened on the 21st of January in 2009, but the pope would not announce this to the public until the 24th of January. The Swedish interview was aired on the 21st, just hours after the document was signed, and only a select few would have known about it's signing. The idea here being that Swedish television would have three full days to air the dirty laundry of Bishop Williamson, only for the public to hear the news about the pope lifting his excommunication immediately afterward.
The pope demanded Bishop Williamson recant his remarks on the Holocaust, while the Superior General of the SSPX fired him from his seminary job, and silenced him from public speaking on any matter related to the Holocaust. That wasn't good enough for the secular Modernists in Europe, who immediately called for the pope's resignation. Jewish groups in Europe were eventually satisfied by the pope's way of dealing with the problem, but Modernist Catholics continued the full assault anyway - just to keep the story going in the news cycle. One modernist theologian (Hans Kung) actually suggested that American President Barack Obama, a militant supporter of abortion-on-demand, would make a better pope than Benedict XVI. This was followed by the open rebellion of the Diocese of Linz against the papal appointment of Father Wagner, causing the priest to request that his appointment be withdrawn. From this point on, various cardinals and bishops began posturing themselves for the eminent schism about to take place in the Roman Catholic Church, the likes of which not scene since the Protestant Rebellion nearly five-hundred years ago. The future of this schism is not yet known. Perhaps if we're lucky it will be small. If not it may become another mass exodus from the Catholic Church.
It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....