Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Articles of Faith

Dear Bishop, I hope my queries are not consuming to much of your time, but your very informative reply to my last question has raised an additional one: You refer to yourself as a traditionalist Catholic, yet at the same time you state (on your website) that you don't accept the dogmas regarding the Virgin Mary and the dogma of Papal Infallibility. However, according to the the traditional teachings of the church (as expressed for example by Saint Robert Bellarmine), whoever denies the validity of one dogma opposes the whole body of Catholic tradition because the dogmatic doctrines as a whole form the foundation of the depositum fidei, being revealed by divine inspiration, thus not belonging to the church doctrines made by man, but to the "ius divinum" revealed by God Himself. I am not asking this question with the intention of questioning your Christian faith which for me - having read your books - is beyond any dispute. I'd just be interested to learn how you reconcile these doctrinal views with the facts that you define yourself as a "traditional Catholic" and that you attend the church services of the SSPX? Best regards.  Patrick

What I actually say is that we reject "the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Corporeal Assumption of Mary (1950) as Articles of Faith necessary to salvation. Neither dogma is explicitly contained in Holy Writ. The Roman Church, therefore, cannot add to the depositum fidei for even the Vatican is emphatic in proclaiming that there can be no new revelation of divine truth." It does not follow that I reject either of these dogmas; only that accepting them is not necessary for my salvation, as the Roman Catholic Church has insisted since 1854 and 1950 respectively.

It is also stated on the same website that we "oppose the definition, held by many Roman Catholics, of the Virgin Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate and assert that such mediation belongs exclusively to Our Lord Jesus Christ." Many Roman Catholics, of course, would not accept the definition of the Virgin Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, and it is not dogma postulated as necessary for salvation by the Roman Catholic Church.

It is further stated that "decrees promulgated by the Roman Church in 1870 concerning the Infallibility and Universal Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, the Pontiff or Pope, are rejected. The term 'pontiff' formerly applied to any bishop, but became corrupted when adopted by the 'supreme pontiff' as Pontifex Maximus, an exclusively pagan title. Many bishops employed the title 'pope' (meaning 'father') in the early Church. Pope Leo in the fifth century was the first to use it officially. Pope Gregory in the eleventh century, by decree, reserved the title for the Bishop of Rome." Hence I am an autocephalous English Catholic and not a Roman Catholic.

I reconcile my position as a traditionalist, as explained in my book The Grail Church, by identifying with the Early Church before later corruptions were adopted for a variety of reasons. My traditionalism extends back to the Apostles and the Church Fathers. That notwithstanding, I find a sense of piety and an atmosphere of sacred devotion during an Old Mass celebrated in an SSPX Church that I no longer experience in the modern Roman Catholic Church which has become all too liberal in its attitude and presentation. The New Mass does not hold for me a scintilla of what is present at the celebration of the Old Mass. Quiet contemplation of Christ in the chalice is what should be at the heart of the experience.

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