Participants included Rev Dr Alcuin Reid (pictured), Francis Davis of Blackfriars, Oxford and Catherine Pepinster of The Tablet:
Rev Dr Alcuin Reid is an orthodox Catholic, Francis Davis is a "Neo-conservative" Catholic and La Pepinster is a classic "Modernist" Catholic.
Reid was far and away the most coherent in the discussion. The others were disappointing by dint either of inconsistency, and even incoherence, or else by entertaining the fantastic notion that the Body of Christ could somehow change its whole constitution and did so at the Second Vatican Council - a manifestly heterodox view itself roundly refuted and condemned by the Council itself.
If Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever - as we pray at Easter at the Holy Vigil - then His Body cannot change fundamentally into something new as both Davis and Pepinster seem to think.
Strangely, I found Francis Davis the least convincing, indeed bordering on the incoherent. La Pepinster just gave the standard Modernist line but was at least consistent in so doing.
Francis Davis came out with these views:
1. SSPX had “profound concerns about whether or not the Jewish community were due respect and human dignity" and they had "at heart rejected the turn to social justice and preferential option for the poor". No evidence given for this. Even the dotty Williamson has never said any of this.
2. SSPX had "some unsavoury links to groups that the Church of England would not allow its clergy to join if they want to be ordained". No evidence given. Which groups exactly?
3. The "New Church" had come together for the first time at the Second Vatican Council and was coming to terms with "poverty in the face of the Cold War" and "exponentially growing Capitalism". New Church? Meaning what?
4. I understand that he claimed that the Legion of Christ preferred the traditional rite of mass (wrong!) and was put right by Dr Alcuin Reid - however that gaffe did not make the final cut, fortunately for Francis.
5. Rapprochement with SSPX was "profoundly misjudged" and the Pope’s advisers have not got their finger on the European or global pulse. In a "rich understanding of Eucharist", we "break that across the whole of the human and universal community" and the "shattering of the bodies in the Shoah is as much a sin as any forgiven in confession". It is not acceptable to introduce a strange Dualism [in SSPX] that Aquinas would not accept. The "timing was wrong" and "Don’t do this when there is major conflict in the Middle East and when there is a rise of anti-Semitism in London and New York".
This last is almost bizarre. What does it mean? It all raises more questions than it answers.
What is this "New Church"? How can there ever be a "New Church". Isn’t the Body of Christ the same yesterday, today and forever?
In the same breath we have a slating of the Pope by one who claims to be obedient to him, hostile opposition to the SSPX rapprochement whilst talking about a "rich understanding of Eucharist" which we "break across the whole community" (whatever that means) but not - apparently - with anyone from SSPX. They are to be excluded from the charity of the post-Vatican II "New Church".
Apparently we are to believe that some Catholics in the past did not think mass murder was a sin (really? which ones?) and SSPX are involved in a strange "Dualism" (what "Dualism"?). Then, he tells us that the timing was wrong because of the politics of the Middle East as if - somehow - the rapprochement with SSPX would upset it. How? He doesn't say.
Finally, we are to believe that anti-Semitism is on the rise in London and New York. Really? Evidence? And why those two cities and not elsewhere? And, if so, how is that affected by the lifting of the excommunications?
This is a form of Neo-conservative Catholicism that is heavily influence by American, Bush-supporting, Iraq-war defending, political Neo-conservativism and a particular political bias in Middle Eastern politics that American Neo-cons have added to the mix.
Frankly, the Modernism of Catherine Pepinster is more consistent and logical than poor old Francis Davis' muddled waffle - yet he is far and away a better Catholic and a nicer bloke. That is why, in some ways, the Neo-conservatives can cause more muddle in the Church even than the Modernists.
The truth is that both Neo-cons and Mods do not really believe in extending the hand of charity and reconciliation to those with whom they disagree and yet, incoherently, they claim to be all-inclusive and in favour of tolerance, reconciliation and peace.
It is ironic for Catherine Pepinster to talk of religious freedom and Vatican II whilst all the while denying it to SSPX.
and a typical, tedious, dull Modernist Catholic (yaaawn....), with zero imagination
and zero loyalty to the historic Church.
She's also a typically illiberal Liberal, intolerant tolerationist and thoroughly exclusive inclusivist.
Otherwise, she's just fine...
There are few people as illiberal as so-called Liberals - they are often the most intolerant of people.
If this SSPX affair is a litmus test of people's real beliefs then it has certainly shown the illiberalism of Liberals, the intolerance of the tolerationists and the exclusivity of the inclusivists.
The Tablet, in its editorial, has even called for anathematising those who do not accept the Liberal line. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas!