A collection of personal reflections. Copyright © 2005-2011 K. Gurries

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Rupture Theology is Heretical

The Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gherhard Muller, has recently confirmed in published remarks that the so-called "hermeneutic of rupture" with respect to Vatican II is a heresy.  The head of the CDF noted that this false thesis of rupture exists in both progressive and traditionalist camps.  These comments come in a period where discussions between the SSPX and the Holy See appear to be in a state of pause.  The firmness of tone, however, appears to underscore previous remarks given by the newly appointed vice-president of Ecclesia Dei as well as the formal directives given by the Holy Father himself concerning the necessary "acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes".   Some have called for a new Syllabus of Errors with respect to Vatican II and this can certainly be viewed as a step in that direction. 

The SSPX responds by affirming the "major premise" denouncing the "hermeneutic of rupture" as heretical.

"...let us remark that, aside from the reference to Vatican II, we agree totally with the anti-progressive statement of Archbishop Mueller:
This interpretation (of a magisterial act in continuity with the past) is the only one possible according to the principles of Catholic theology, in consideration of the indissoluble link between Sacred Scripture, the complete and integral Tradition and the Magisterium”.
We completely agree with this proposition and also affirm that whoever denies it is heretical..."

As previously observed, however, the SSPX do not wish to recognize the Second Vatican Council as a "magisterial act" by reason of its theological and doctrinal defects.  Rather, they see Vatican II as the expression of a totally new self-styled "pastoral-magisterium" that is "foreign to the ends of the divinely instituted magisterium".  This same reasoning applied to the liturgy concludes that the Mass of Pope Paul VI (New Mass) does not have the binding character of a "true law" by reason of its "serious theological defects" contributing directly to a "lessening of faith, piety and religious practice...it is neither right, nor just nor helpful to the common good". (Cf. The Problem of the Liturgical Reform, Angelus Press, p. 106)    

The SSPX position contrasts with "sedevacantism" insofar as the latter simply do not wish to recognize the legitimacy of the office holder whereas the former do not wish to recognize the legitimacy of his various acts (Vatican II and post-conciliar magisterium) as either authentically magisterial (legitimate teaching) or canonical (legitimate law).  For the sedevacantist, the man sitting on the Chair of Peter is an anti-Pope only with the outward appearance of being a true Pope.  For the SSPX, the documents promulgated at Vatican II (including post-conciliar teaching) are anti-magisterial even if they have the outward appearance of being authentic magisterial acts.  While sedevacantism broadly tends to shun the Pope the SSPX chooses to maintain open lines of communication with the aim of drawing him back to the fulness of Catholic truth. 

Finally, it is interesting to note that this is not the first time the term "heresy" has been used in connection with positions held by the SSPX.  Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, former head of Ecclesia Dei, had commented in an interview 
We hope that they will come to the full communion with the Church. But some people are going too fast to schism and to the heresy, because if they begin to be teachers of the Pope, this is not schism, this is heresy. And if it is confirmed, people going with that kind of movement will be excommunicated, too, because of the heresy.                 


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