A Solely Pastoral Rupture?
A Commentary of the book Ecclesial dissensions, a challenge for the Church.
Written by Fr Pierre-Marie Berthe, SSPX
From La Simandre, January/February 2020
Bulletin of the Fraternity of the Transfiguration
Mérigny – France
In this period of the year during which the Church asks us to pray, from January 18 to 25, for the return to Catholic unity of separated Christians, we read in the aforementioned book, written recently, (p. 800) in Chapter I: How to prepare for future reconciliations (p. 794) and in paragraph C: Laws which manifest and arouse the desire for unity between Christians, the following words:
So that the desire for unity between Christians has a concrete form, it is up to the legislator to plan meetings, exchanges, prayers. When Catholics and non-Catholic Christians address prayers together, they must ask for the grace to strive to overcome their differences in order to be united in faith and charity around the successor of Peter. In addition, these common prayers of supplication must be done far from the altar to recall the distance that remains to be covered, before considering a formal reconciliation.
These lines are still surprising despite emanating from a priest of Tradition, because, until the conciliar revolution, Catholics were asked not to associate with non-Catholic Christians and, all the more so, not to pray with them.
The encyclical Mortalium Animos of Pius XI specifies the opposite of what is written above: So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ.
But then, since there is a contradiction between the words of our author and those of Pope Pius XI—which is nevertheless the expression of the perennial magisterium of the Church—we are entitled to ask the question: Where did our author find the inspiration for what he wrote? Would the answer not be found in two documents:
> In Unitatis Redintegratio of November 21, 1964 (text of Vatican Council II):
§ 8: In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers ‘for unity,’ and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity.
> In the encyclical of John Paul II Ut Unum Sint of May 25, 1995, in the section on the priority of prayer:
§ 21: This love finds its most complete expression in common prayer. When brothers and sisters who are not in perfect communion with one another come together to pray, the Second Vatican Council defines their prayer as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement.
Besides, our author also proposes dialogue as a means of resolving dissension (p. 781-782-783-784). Now this is precisely the same dialogue that Pope John Paul II proposed in Ut Unum Sint under the title Dialogue as a means of resolving disagreements. (§ 36 to 39).
Note that dissension, divergence, or other similar terms are expressions used so as not to offend non-Catholic Christians, our author specifies, contrary to schism or heresy (pp. 13-14, 25).
Let us remember that the current ecumenism, officially advocated since Vatican II until today, is a false ecumenism which breaks with the attitude that the Church has always held. It rejects the principle of returning to the Catholic Church.
It is therefore extremely surprising to discover from the pen of an author, who is supposed to refuse the last atypical Council and its innovative side, propositions which would seem to stem from Vatican II and its developments.