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Mirus – many theologians deserve excommunication August 30, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, sickness.

Dr. Jeff Mirus is someone with whom I have disagreed from time to time, but lately he has been hitting on all cylinders.  Last week, the head of the USCCB’s theology committee lamented the “crisis” in Catholic theological circles – because many claiming to be Catholic theologians, aren’t.  Mirus notes that in days of yore, such folks would have had the intellectual honesty to place themselves outside the Church.  But, today’s modernists aren’t interested in that, they are more interested in trying to subvert from within.  And, both for their own good, and for the good of the Church, they merit separation from the Body of Christ:

The first and most important thing to say is that the crisis is of the bishops’ own making. I do not claim that the profound secularization of culture which has eroded Catholic theology on every side is primarily the fault of the bishops, but it is certainly their fault—including the fault of Rome herself—that a pitched battle was not waged in the 1960’s to keep Catholic universities and colleges from succumbing to this secular spirit. For the institutions of Catholic higher education are in fact the collective seat of theological studies, and what Fr. Weinandy rightly calls “a radical divide over the central tenets of the Catholic faith and the Church’s fundamental moral tradition” would far better have been nipped in the bud than allowed, for now nearly fifty years, to grow from strength to strength. [Indeed, rank heresy has been tolerated for decades from numerous self-identified Catholic theologians.  The scandal and damaage to souls is incalculable]

Given the long percolation of Modernism in Catholic theological circles from the late 19th century and the rapid secularization of Western culture in the 1960’s, this battle would have been long and hard. But it is difficult to imagine that it would not now be over, instead of just beginning on far less favorable terrain. The key to victory would have been to make sure that heretics were clearly and forcefully declared to be where they belonged—that is, outside rather than within the Church, so that they could attack Catholic faith and morals only from secular institutions. [More on this later] You may recall that this was finally done with one premier dissenter, Hans Küng, who is no longer permitted to teach theology at any Catholic institution, with the result that nobody any longer cares what he thinks……

…….I would very much prefer to convert those who betray the Faith by example and argument. But example and argument are never enough for those who do not wish to be converted. …….It is much better for the Church if those who despise the tenets of her Faith and her fundamental moral tradition are on the outside looking in, and not theologians in good standing…….

That is why it is necessary to exclude those who are no longer Catholic from theological positions within the Church. But exclusion requires more than teaching and sanctifying. Exclusion requires that bishops learn once again how to rule. [Far, far too many bishops have been terribly timid in using their authority.  Actually, let me refrain that.  Far, far too many bishops have been terribly timid in using their authority to squash dissenting, heretical theologians and others in their charge.  But some have had the unfortunate tendency to come down hard on those who complain about the heresy, the implications of which are most troubling] By their failure to rule, the bishops have participated in the creation of this radical divide. Only by ruling now can they once again close that yawning chasm—or rather put that chasm and its other side outside the borders of the Church of Christ.

Many Catholics of a traditional bent have argued for years that Vatican II, or a certain interpretation of it, has been a large part of this massive theological problem.  There are unfortunately many in the Church, including many priests and bishops, who believe that since Vatican II, the “primacy of the individual conscience” must reign supreme in all matters, meaning that effectively there is no heresy.  Or, the only heresy is to “judge” others, to claim that they are not in union with what the Church believes.  That this is a totally modernist viewpoint goes without saying, but it also points to the problematic nature of some of the documents of Vatican II, or at least their wide scale interpretation and implementation.  Why?  Because some of the documents, like Dignitatus Humanae, lend themselves to widespread interpretation in a ‘hermeneutic of rupture.’   Certainly, appeals to Vatican II to bolster some heretical viewpoint have been so common as to become chiched, especially in the two decades immediately following Vatican II. 

That is why I tend to agree with Bishop Athanasius Schnieder, Msgr. Gherardini, and others, that a re-examination of Vatican II in the light of Tradition would be most helpful – even a bare necessity.  I also think that the production of a syllabus of errors that have stemmed from VII is essential – to clarify those theological developments (and the theologians who have developed them) which are outside the bounds of the beliefs of the Church.  This would provide a clear grounds for doing the thankless, but exceedingly necessary, task of excommunicating those who refuse to recant their works attacking Catholic orthodoxy (and attack, they definitely do).  I’m afraid that without such clarifications, at the highest levels of the Church, implementing Pope Benedict’s desired ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ will be impossible  – or, perhaps it will be possible, but it will take decades, and place untold millions of additional souls in grave jeopardy.

The problem is that the still very prevalent ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ provides cover for those, unfortunately quite numerous, prelates who at least tacitly endorse many of the problematic theologies to do nothing.  Declaring these false theologies outside the bounds of the Church with a formal document would provide them much less room for maneuver.  I think it would be a very significant step in the right direction.  Comments?

Related, by my friend Colleen Hammond.


1. Steve B - August 30, 2011


Yes, a “Syllabus” for interpreting the documents of Vatican II would be most welcome. I, and many other traditionally-minded Catholics would be elated!

But, would it not come across as highly ironic (if not hypocritical) for the same theologian, Joseph Ratzinger – who pooh-poohed the “Syllabus of Errors” penned by Pope Pius IX as being “historically restricted” (my words, not his, but they convey his thought process) – to issue a similarly minded “syllabus” of interpretation for the documents of Vatican II?

You know, as they say, “what goes around comes around”. Me thinks that Pope Benedict is in a pickle over this “Syllabus of Vatican II” idea….

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

2. dallas - August 31, 2011

“There are unfortunately many in the Church, including many priests and bishops, who believe that since Vatican II, the “primacy of the individual conscience” must reign supreme in all matters, meaning that effectively there is no heresy. Or, the only heresy is to “judge” others, to claim that they are not in union with what the Church believes.”

Well put; exactly my experience, looking back on everything – precisely what we were taught, as a student in the mid-to late ’60’s, being catechized by an order of SISTERS that, today, are very conservative. But, of those SISTERS teaching us then, I often imagine how many of them just couldn’t wait to throw off their habits…

3. Catechist Kevin - August 31, 2011

“Far, far too many bishops have been terribly timid in using their authority to squash dissenting, heretical theologians and others in their charge.”

Well, Tantamergo, could that be because *they* themselves actually *held to* dissenting and heretical theology?

My goodness, the dissent towards Humanae Vitae was just the tip of the iceberg.

I am convinced after reading books like “The Battle for the American Church,” “The Devastated Vineyard,” “The Desolate City,” “Catechisms and Controversies,” “A Generation Betrayed,” “UnGodly Rage,” “Goodbye, Good Men” (just to name only a few that I have read on this topic) – this is the case!

John Cardinal Henry Newman was right: “I thank God that I live in a day when the enemy is outside the Church, and I know where he is and what he is up to. But I foresee a day when the enemy will be both outside and inside the Church. . . and I pray now for the poor faithful who will be caught in the crossfire.” Tract Eighty Three (1838)

Catechist Kevin

tantamergo - August 31, 2011

Well, yes, and I said as much towards the end of the post (which, I know, was pretty long). The simple fact is, discipline has not been enforced on heretical theologians in many cases because the ordinaries with competency in a given region to enforce discipline have been sympathetic to the ‘dissenters,’ if not leading the vanguard of remaking the Church from the Cult of God to the cult of man. Some may claim that it’s easy to pick on bishops, but they bear a terrible responsibility, and far too many have been more concerned about human approval than sustaining and growing God’s Church. I do feel at root, however, that simply too much ‘cover’ is given by some of the Vatican II documents, which can easily be interpreted to represent a departure from prior doctrine. We need both far more faithful bishops, and a re-evaluation of VII in light of Tradition.

Catechist Kevin - August 31, 2011

Your post was not too long – I did not read it as closely as I should have. My apologies.

Agreed, a syllabus of the teachings of VII in light of Tradition – as Bp. Athanasius Schneider has requested – would go a long way to curb dissent and bad theology in the Church.

Please Lord soon.

Catechist Kevin

4. Mary - August 31, 2011

In older times, many of the sainted bishops didn’t want to be bishops because of the incredible responsibility, and probably from great humility.

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