Article by Marc Aupiais
As possibly guessed by some: Altered Persuasion, is where we ask controversial questions, and write articles, which may be controversial, and may have no result, except to question.
We were alerted to a program, airing on SABC (Government Broadcaster) 2 recently (Feb 1st bout 9 o'clock): by the Bishops Conference in charge of Southern Africa: "The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference" (SACBC). The Program in question was: "ISSUES OF FAITH: Catholic Priesthood to be repeated on SABC 2, 09:00 on 1st February 2009.
(mentioned in: South African Catholic: archive: 1/20/2009)
The Program was by "Patrica Proctor.
(mentioned in: South African Catholic: archive: 1/20/2009)
The program was produced by a woman: claimed by a source of ours to have in former times have been connected with the church in a religious order, we have not verified this. The program: looks at the Catholic priesthood, and interviews local priests.
Any actions which encourage such an ordination: also would incur such: by the nature of such excommunication: if without such: an ordination were not to take place. More than such: asserting the possibility of Women Priests: itself: could incur fears of an automatic excommunication (Canon 1364 excommunicates intentional heretics, schismatics):therefore the airing of a program, wherein many priests in South Africa believe in the needs for women priests: a sentiment, which other parishioners at the parish I attend affirm: that our new priest shares: whereby the question is to be asked: are all these priests excommunicated: and therefore in the same boat as the SSPX entered into in 1988?
Further: why has no action been taken against those guilty of inciting disobedience against the Holy See, and why is it that a work this service sent into the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, for imprimatur: wasn't either accepted or rejected, simply entirely ignored? Why also: are accusations of heresy by authority figures, not dealt with?
Often, this (, the one above: not our further argument/question) argument is used by my sources in SSPX, they say that the local South African church, or large sections of it: is/are in schism, and that often the mass is invalidated by local priests, who they claim often change formulae: they say that they are in the same situation as local Catholics: therefore: they choose the "better" option: of more "orthodox" priests, and more "Valid" masses. Of course, they believe the SSPX is on a mission sent by "God", and that normal Catholics are in the wrong.
Now, the problem with attending SSPX masses, according to the Vatican: lies not in the suspended status of their priests, but in the personal statement, and the state of the personal soul in attending. Often attendance of SSPX church: leads parishioners to enter material heresy, by denying Vatican II for instance. Except in confession, marriage etc: where they have no authority to perform these sacraments: whereby in attending: one is only strongly discouraged in a very strong sense: from attending: in the cases of holy Orders, marriage, confession, and possibly other cases: those involved in procuring such from the SSPX: are doing something canonically illicit: even perhaps invalid: in the case of marriages.
The local church, or to be more accurate: sections of it, because the argument calling it all priests is absurd: while possibly partly materially schismatic, or herectical: is not formally declared such: further: Archbishop Buthi of Johannesburg, is formally against Women priests: and the interviews were obviously not shown in full. The Southern African Bishops: also: do not seem to be propagating such a view as a conference, perhaps: they may play a part in promoting disobedience in Shareholdership in the Southern Cross, and selling such things in parishes, and promoting such service, but it would be charitably acceptable, and I hope those reading will accept: while possibly complicit: their actions do not not directly en masse seem to promote with their own statements: any sort of disobedience: even as a paper partly controlled by them has been cited for promoting disobedience against the Holy See.
Unlike myself: the SABC (Government Station), does not seem to produce full text of what people say: or necessarily seem to give context. The situation is furthered, by possible negligence on the part of the Priests: they may well have been taught heresy in seminary. There is certainly a marked difference between recently trained South African Priests, and foreign trained priests: the Local Priests, seem hardly as capable of doing the most basic jobs: as though inadequately trained in their work, something not mimicked by older, experienced, and professional priests, trained at an earlier stage of our development.
Opus Dei, also: certainly is not in Schism, therefore: even if the diocese, or conference were to en masse enter Schism, the Opus Dei would not be affected, they are not under the authority of local bishops.
Thereby: while disconcerting that so many in the local church have not only publically promoted heresy, and disobedience against the Roman Pontiff, but have also created animosity towards the Vatican: such seems to be a culture: whereby many may believe they are obeying what they think is the Catholic religion, when actualy obeying principles of a sort of "Secular Humanist", "counter-society".
The argument of those in SSPX therefore has weight, but not enough to be a calculated or correct decision. SSPX is a group formally associated with Schism, or at least suspension: attending a mismanaged, or politically motivated mainstream parish, on the other hand, while unwise if there is a better mainstream parish in the Area: is not generally: a statement of schism, except in certain cases, where one may be attending some parishes, such as Saint Mary's in Australia, or in recent cases possibly locally: one may be making a statement of Heresy and Schism.
The best thing to do: keep attending a parish at which: you are comfortable: but if you know your priest is publicly apposing the Vatican, or know him to be in heresy: then it may be best to mfind another parish, also to not to confess to him, but another priest: both due to his possible suspension, and due to the likely poor advice you will receive. Further: you are putting yourself in his power, and telling him secrets: rather find a more Orthodox priest to do this with: he may have as little respect for the excommunication associated with sharing your sins with the general public, sometimes possibly in danger of them announcing this at mass: as he does for that ex communication: associated with public heresy. Also: rather marry, and attend church and register: where the priest is one who you can trust is orthodox. As to normal mass: if ordained validly: local priests do perform the sacrifice of the mass, if they say certain wrods right, and over the right species. For now, we must simply wait, hope and see.
It is still better to belong to the mainstream: and if possible, attend mass at your local Cathedral: if your bishop is Orthodox, as they often are: or at Opus Dei: which is known for fidelity.
There are many issues in South Africa: but most seem to come from an inherent heterodoxy, which is likely the culprit, the core and real reason: that nine out of ten Johannesburg Catholics reportedly skip mass.
Ultimately: one needs to remain loyal to the papacy, and within the structural church. It is our boat: if there are holes: we must help to plug them up, even if the captain is making them, at our local parish. The way forward lies in our own actions, what we say and do: and how we approach the situation. If many letters were sent to the bishops, and much more were done: if loyal Catholic media were promoted, and if one forfeited their weekly Heterodox "Southern Cross": at the parish level:
...perhaps then: something could happen.