The Pungent Odour of Rodents
The Washington Post carries an article stating that:
Fifty Catholic members of Congress have written Pope Benedict XVI, asking him to directly reject the views of British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied the scale of the Holocaust.
What is interesting is the coordinated pressure that is being mounted against Benedict. This alone suggests that what Benedict has done (the ‘unexcommunication’) goes very much against the broader aims of the western secular establishment. They are vehemently opposed to even the smallest movement by the Catholic Church away from modernization and, ultimately, its disintegration. Yet I’m not convinced that this is a miraculous sign that the Pope has woken up from his previous modernist leanings.
What is never stated in the popular press is that the traditionalist Catholic community around the world is actually quite large and growing rapidly. Its constituents are of course broad and varied, but what is particularly attractive to bishops is that devotees tend to be young, educated, employed and fertile. They actually attend mass. That is, estimated numbers equal active participants. Outside this, active participation and financial contribution to the Catholic Church is probably covered by less than 10% of the claimed number of members.
Now, heaven forbid, I would never suggest that bishops care about anything other than the salvation of souls, but whenever something gets “bums on seats” and money in the plates on Sundays, they are generally for it. Even more so, now that the German and North American regions are running out of cash and legal bills start piling up, the Vatican has been forced to reconsider its previous decisions in pushing out the “trads”, who nonetheless have prospered despite decades of suppression. At least they aren’t up to their eyeballs in debt and have parishes that are still solvent.
It’s a hefty price to pay, but the Pope is probably willing to put up with a bit of bad press and some spittle from his old mates in order to remain in business. We are yet to see if the media pressure turns into real pressure (such as threatening the Vatican with money, grants, bribes and so forth). This is a real possibility, as once these stubborn, unrelenting traditional bishops get a foothold in the Catholic Church, there will be no turning back from the road back to Tradition.
Deep down, the Pope or the Vatican are hoping for anything but the rise of Tradition. It’s a problem that just never seems to go away. Any apparent compromises or capitulation in the past has only turned out to represent another approach in undermining and eliminating the movement.
Of course I could be wrong and we might be witnessing the real “Spring Time” of the Church which has come after a severe, forty-year drought and some bush-fires to boot. Time will tell.