Forgive me, dear readers, if I return to the seventh paragraph of the Doctrinal Declaration of April 15 a year ago. The Declaration was to serve as no less than a basis for all future relations between the Society of St Pius X and Rome. On June 13 (not 11) Rome refused it, so SSPX Headquarters may now have repudiated it, but it serves to show what the present SSPX HQ is capable of. As for the seventh paragraph, it is a masterpiece of confusion. These “Comments” three weeks ago (EC 300, April 13) explained in part with a twofold distinction, but the confusion requires a fourfold distinction to do it justice. Here is the complete paragraph:
Declaration III, 5: “The statements of Vatican II and the post-conciliar Magisterium with regard to the relation between the Catholic Church and non-catholic confessions and to the social duty of religion and the right to religious liberty, (1) the formulation of which it is difficult to reconcile with previous doctrinal statements of the Magisterium, (2) must be understood in the light of Tradition complete and uninterrupted, (3) in a manner coherent with the truths previously taught by the Church’s Magisterium, (4) without accepting any interpretation of these statements which can lead to Catholic doctrine being laid out in opposition to, or breaking with, Tradition and that Magisterium.”
The underlinings are my own, to highlight the trickery of the paragraph. Notice (1) how it is not the statements of Vatican II that are problematic, but only their “formulation.” We are already moving away from words meaning what they objectively say. Words float around, according to how they are subjectively “understood” (2), or “interpreted” (4). Our minds are being made to slip anchor from a spade being called a spade. There is suggested no objective impossibility of reconciling Conciliar nonsense with Catholic sense, they are merely “difficult” to reconcile subjectively (that is to say, in the darkened minds of backward Traditional Catholics).
Notice above all in (2) and (3) the subtle but crucial slide from “in the light of” to “in a manner coherent with.” Truly understanding the Vatican II novelties “in the light of” Tradition is to understand that they are wholly irreconcilable. Understanding them “in a manner coherent with” Tradition is to understand them as though they are reconcilable. Our minds are being made to slide again, because “in the light of” and “in a manner coherent with” do not mean the same thing. Sure enough, (4) any subjective understanding of the novelties that makes them clash with Tradition and the age-old Magisterium is absolutely to be rejected.
Thus clause (2) may tip the hat to “Tradition complete and uninterrupted,” and so (2) could be aligned with Catholic sense, but (3) suggests modernist nonsense, and (4) drives home the nonsense. Thus the paragraph as a whole constitutes a most clever step-wise movement from a shadow of truth to the outright error of the “hermeneutic of continuity,” which is pure Alice in Wonderland – “Words mean what I say they mean,” thunders Humpty Dumpty.
Whoever wrote this paragraph, God knows. It may not have been the Superior General of the SSPX. But can anybody who studies it carefully deny that, as it stands, it is designed to lead minds from Catholic Truth into Conciliar error? It makes words dance like heretics make them dance, and heretics that make words dance make souls lose their faith and fall into Hell. Whoever was responsible for this seventh paragraph, let him be anathema!