The family has always had to fight to protect itself, whether from the beast in the forest or in the sea, whether from the barbarian invading the village or the industrial machine ravaging the city, whether from the electronic social network invading the private family domain or from man-made laws regulating partnerships for modern pseudo-families.
The family is a human institution that precedes the State. As G. K. Chesterton says, “Alone among all such institutions, it begins with a spontaneous attraction.” So it is not coercive. He continues:
“There is nothing in any other social relations in any way parallel to the mutual attraction of the sexes. By missing this simple point, the modern world has fallen into a hundred follies.
“There is no dispute about the purpose of Nature in creating such an attraction. It would be more intelligent to call it the purpose of God; for Nature can have no purpose unless God is behind it. To talk of the purpose of Nature is to make a vain attempt to avoid being anthropomorphic, merely by being feminist. It is believing in a goddess because you are too skeptical to believe in a god. But this is a controversy which can be kept apart from the question, if we content ourselves with saying that the vital value ultimately found in this attraction is, of course, the renewal of the race itself. The child is an explanation of the father and mother and the fact that it is a human child is the explanation of the ancient human ties connecting the father and mother” (The Superstition of Divorce, Part V).
Dysfunctional families, however, struggle to commit to their duties and obligations. Whenever the family falters, then the State could fill its functions. Indeed, the government can step in as a provider, an educator, an entertainer, a counselor, a caretaker—but there is no way that governmental entities can replace the natural process of the family. They can only interfere with it.
By nature one cannot replace the authority of the parents nor find a substitute for the bond between a husband and wife. And how could one undo the bond between a mother and her child? One can try but it will be a waste of time. The forces seeking a New World Order are trying to disintegrate the social order within the context of the family through an elevation of public education, and not only by the legalization of divorce and same-sex marriage, but also by practicing contraception and abortion. Nonetheless, try as they might, the family will survive as God intends.
Needless to say, the family has come into existence without legislation. In truth, it has always continued to exist without the legal support and will withstand any unnatural laws made by anti-Christian governments. Families may go from being ignored and neglected, to being attacked and torn to pieces. Notwithstanding, God has instituted the family, and (to quote Chesterton once more) “this triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”
Now the “Kasper Proposal” disregards the essential element of the traditional family in order to adopt a new practical element of a new family structure, in accordance with the program of the New Evangelization preached by the Postconciliar Church; one in which conjugal fidelity, procreation and sacramental union are taken into a modern dynamic in marital unions.
Hence, Walter Cardinal Kasper advocates a path for divorced and remarried Catholics to be readmitted to Communion. His proposal was previously presented to a consistory of bishops in February, and once again in October 2014 to the Synod of Bishops. At the Synod, the German Cardinal Kasper led his proposal with papal support, which provoked strong reactions. Moreover, the final document of the 2014 Synod of Bishops was put to a vote of the complete assembly; they voted out the three paragraphs that addressed Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, cohabiting couples and same-sex partners. Yet Pope Francis insisted that the failed paragraphs be retained as footnotes.
A year later, during the 2015 Synod, there were more debates and justifications on the subject of the family, but ambiguity dominated every discussion. Nevertheless, the final official document has somehow inserted those previous words that were voted out. In particular, they are included in section 82, speaking about the nullity of matrimonial bond:
82. “For many of the faithful who have had an unhappy marital experience, investigating and verifying the invalidity of the marriage represents a possible course of action. The recent motu proprio Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et Misericors Iesus led to a simplification of the procedures in the declaration of nullity of a marriage. With these documents, the Holy Father also wanted to ‘make clear that the bishop himself in his particular Church, of which he is pastor and head, is the one who renders judgment for the faithful entrusted to him’ (MI, preamble, III).”
And subsequently, it has forged a pastoral introduction for those divorced and civilly married couples considering any kind of “legal union”:
84. “The baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more integrated into Christian communities in a variety of possible ways, while avoiding any chance of scandal. The logic of integration is the key to their pastoral care, a care, which might allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the Body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it. They are baptized; they are brothers and sisters; the Holy Spirit pours into their hearts gifts and talents for the good of all. Their participation can be expressed in different ecclesial services which necessarily requires discerning which of the various forms of exclusion, currently practiced in the liturgical, pastoral, educational and institutional framework, can be surpassed. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother, who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel.”
History certainly repeats itself. The 1968 Catholic world awaited the decision of Pope Paul VI on artificial means of birth control, when a variety of commercial and social interests built an expectation in the public mind that the Church must approve the use of “the pill.” Since then, contraception has been regarded as fine by many families! In like manner, today’s 2016 public opinion, both in the Press and on the Internet, is framing a discussion on the family as a pastoral need to resolve those social conflicts, not only concerning divorced and remarried Catholics but also about homosexual partners and cohabiting couples, who (they say) should not be marginalized by pastors and parishes. The family is indeed at stake!
As Traditional Catholics, it is important to re-establish parental authority in the two societies that Divine Providence has instituted for us—the family and civil society. A considerable part of knowledge comes from the authority that passes it on. A child has confidence in his parents, in his teachers and in his books: thereby his knowledge increases and solidifies. As children, we receive everything from our father and mother; even in all educational nourishment in the moral or intellectual domain, within either a private or a social scenario, our parents played an imperative role.
In this perspective, teachers help parents, in such a way that in the children’s minds teachers are sharing their parents’ authority. In other words, all the learning we obtain during our childhood and youth is received and accepted, rather than gathered by experience or by chance.
God intended that amazing influence of the family. This is the reason why He bestows on the father of the family such great authority and power over his family, his wife and his children. When a child is born, he comes in a state of extreme weakness so that we can appreciate the absolute need for the stability and indissolubility of the home, with both masculine and feminine figures.
The role of parenting has become very difficult today because the hectic style of modern living offers no spare time, nor common sense or discipline, at all. Professional obligations separate parents from children, and frequently grandparents cannot help as they used to do. So Catholic families are not only confused but also defenseless.
Human creatures usually live by following family traditions, as can be observed throughout the whole world. Therefore, Catholic parents must teach true religious knowledge, in practicing religion and in moral training according to the teaching of the Gospel and the Church, with all its traditions and customs.
Lastly, Our Lady in Fatima has given us several clues to help us wake up to the critical issues among which we live, and which we can relate to the minor prophet Zacharias’s words:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered, and I will turn my hand to the little ones. And there shall be in all the earth, saith the Lord, two parts in it shall be scattered, and shall perish: but the third part shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined: and I will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say: Thou art my people, and they shall say: the Lord is my God” (XIII, 7–9).
This is why the Blessed Virgin Mary told Sister Lucia that she had to suffer much on behalf of the Holy Father, but “Finally, in the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Indeed, it is a mystery of iniquity—the undermining of the family by the “Kasper Proposal” during the last Synod of Bishops.
¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Perhaps the rumored Personal Prelature proposed to the SSPX is part of a “practical” turnaround for Catholic Tradition towards its capitulation to Modern Rome. And the Year of Mercy, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, is one more step towards a canonical regularization—lifting “in a practical way” the supposed suspension a divinis of those SSPX priests who were ordained by an “excommunicated” bishop from June 30th, 1988, to January 21st, 2009, without an individual statement of forgiveness.
Indeed, there are many priests seduced by a legalistic attitude. With their guilty conscience, they think themselves excluded from the Official Church, so that (lacking the stamp of the Visible Church) they desire to be reconciled with it. So, is Catholic Tradition to be only a part of the Ecumenical Industry, just one more point of view among many, as Pope Francis would have it to be?
For Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the salvation of souls was his primary aim insofar as Canon Law is concerned. Summa lex salus animarum—“The supreme law is the salvation of souls.” As the Church weakens, that aim is undermined. As Vatican II spreads its pastoral approach—even more with the madness of the New Evangelization—the Church’s visible structure shakes with a change that is yet fully calculated. As the Catholic Episcopacy waivers and betrays the Faith to any line of doctrinal reasoning, the saving of the souls in ordinary life becomes less of a possibility. That is why the Archbishop, looking at the crumbling foundation of the Church’s authority, said:
“Well, we find ourselves in the same situation. We must not be under any illusions. Consequently, we are in the thick of a great fight, a great fight. We are fighting a fight guaranteed by a whole line of Popes. Hence, we should have no hesitation or fear, hesitation such as, ‘Why should we be going on our own? After all, why not join Rome, why not join the Pope?’ Yes, if Rome and the Pope were in line with Tradition, if they were carrying on the work of all the Popes of 19th and the first part of 20th century, of course. But they, themselves, admit that they have set out on a new path. They, themselves, admit that a new era began with Vatican II. They admit that it is a new stage in the Church’s life, wholly new, based on new principles. We need not argue the point. They say it themselves. It is clear. I think that we must drive this point home with our people, in such a way that they realize their oneness with the Church’s whole history, going back well beyond the Revolution. Of course, it clearly is the fight of the City of Satan and the City of God. So we do not have to worry. We must after all trust in the grace of God” (We Must Not Waiver, conference to priests, September 6, 1990).
As a matter of fact, in 2006 the SSPX certainly was straightforward in saying that in approaching the Conciliar Church a doctrinal agreement, as opposed to a “canonical” agreement, was imperatively needed. However, the 2007 motu propio Summorum Pontificum conveyed a dialectical distinction between Ordinary and Extraordinary Rite, by which the Conciliar Church wanted us to believe that there is only one and the same doctrine of Mass but two ways to express it in celebrating “Catholic Mass.” Indeed, it was not a liberation of the Latin Mass rather a convalidation of the New Mass. In addition, the 2009 lifting of the “excommunication” of the four SSPX bishops included a sort of canonical agreement regardless of a doctrinal agreement, by which the SSPX emerged in a new status of being not in full communion with Rome. Last but not the least, there came the events of 2012: The three bishops’ letter, the response of the General Counsel, Bp. Fellay’s Doctrinal Declaration on April 15, the 2012 (extra-ordinary) General Chapter, and a continual departure of some SSPX members….
There were twenty-two years after the death of Archbishop Lefebvre before the SSPX’s leadership revealed their vacillating attitude towards defending Tradition as the Archbishop did throughout his life, in particular during his episcopacy. Hence, their General Counsel openly communicated the following through the Superior General’s voice:
“In order to understand clearly the course that we are charting in this situation, it seems to us advisable to provide you with few considerations and observations: (1) Our principle position: the faith first and foremost: we intend to remain Catholic and to that end, to preserve the Catholic faith first of all; (2) The situation in the Church may oblige us to perform acts of prudence relative and corresponding to the concrete situation. The Chapter in 2006 set forth a very clear line of conduct in matters concerning our situation with respect to Rome. We give priority to the faith, without seeking from our part a practical solution BEFORE the doctrinal question is resolved.
“This is not a principle but a line of conduct that should regulate our action” (Bishop Fellay, Letter to the SSPX members, March 18, 2012).
It was openly clear that a shifting and a change of attitude were lurking among the leadership. As a matter of fact, three of the bishops were much concerned about it, to such an extent that they had sent a joint letter on April 3rd to address their concerns. The response from the General Council was in accordance with the new line of conduct and shamelessly belligerent. Therefore, Bishop Fellay, representing the whole SSPX de jure and de facto, formally handed out to the authorities of the Conciliar Church a Doctrinal Declaration, as a step forward for reconciliation, which in their essential elements are not up to Archbishop’s standards. Soon thereafter, the SSPX USA District Headquarters publicly released a video recording produced by the Catholic News Service: an interview with Bishop Fellay in Switzerland, which subtly conveyed the substance of the famous Doctrinal Preamble given by Pope Benedict. It was not up to the Archbishop’s standards either; instead it was a psychological coup d’etat within their ranks!
Among other things, the Preamble contained a proposal of Canonical Regularization for the clergy and religious members, in order to be “in full communion with Rome.” It has nothing to do with the laity. It is a legal structure within the Church in regards to Canon Law—a Personal Prelature. Let us see where the danger lies in such a proposal.
Personal Prelatures were an inspiration during the sessions of the Second Vatican Council in no. 10 of Presbyterorum Ordinis, on December 7th, 1965; and later Pope Paul VI installed this canonical instruction by the motu propio Ecclesiae Sanctae, on August 6th, 1966. In 1983 John Paul II incorporated the Personal Prelature into Canon Law as an ordinary structure by the canons: Can. 294, with the right of incardination within it; Can. 295, to open seminaries and to promote students to holy orders; Can. 296, to enroll lay members; and Can. 297, to define pastoral services with the local bishops, among others.
Thus, a Personal Prelature is a canonical structure of the post-Vatican II Church, which is comprised by a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. Such a Prelature, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, is under the governance of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. Nevertheless, unlike dioceses which cover territories, a Personal Prelature—like military ordinariates—takes charge of persons as regards to some objectives and regardless of where they live.
However, the 1983 Code’s philosophical approach is one of marked moderation and pastoral activities. Being the new Code, it proclaims an interpretation with a new habit of mind. Many people learned in Canon Law have some reservations about the changes in doctrine and morals adopted after the Vatican II Council. Some proponents of the New Code were antagonistic to the Old, as a juridical way of accomplishing discipline in the Church. Instead they imposed a “spirit of the new canons” (See Jordan F. Hite, Readings, Cases, Materials in Canon Law, 1990). The New Code, they say, should complement the new mind, the novel way of thinking or mindset of the Church since Vatican II (See Canonist E. McDonough, A Novus Habitus Mentis For Sanctions in the Church, 1988). Therefore, to water down the principles of 1917 old Code in teaching doctrine and morals is a fundamental premise of 1983 Code. Their authors hope for an approach based on the Christian Community. For them, Law is not necessarily the work of canonists and primates, but rather it is a reflection of the spirit of the Modern Church, as John Paul II said:
“The instrument, which the Code is, fully corresponds to the nature of the Church, especially as it is proposed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in general and, in a particular way by its ecclesiological teaching. Indeed, in a certain sense this new Code could be understood as a great effort to translate this same conciliar doctrine and ecclesiology into canonical language. If, however, it is impossible to translate perfectly into canonical language the conciliar image of the Church, nevertheless the Code must always be referred to this image as the primary pattern whose outline the Code ought to express insofar as it can by its very nature” (Apostolic Constitution, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, AAS 75, 1983).
There is actually only one functioning Personal Prelature, namely, the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross, formerly known as Opus Dei, erected by John Paul II in 1982 through the Apostolic Constitution Ut Sit and ratified in 2002. Their members belong to the Modern system.
Consequently, what should Catholic Tradition expect from a canonical structure which is rooted in the false teaching of Religious Liberty, Ecumenism and Collegiality? Would such a “Coming Prelature” be a Trojan Horse for the SSPX and Tradition?
¡Viva Cristo Rey!