Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Showing some spine in Detroit

As far as I know, the much talked-about meeting of the American Catholic Council is still going to happen, although the last I read, there were only just a bit more than 700 registered attendees and "early bird" discounts were still being offered. 

The kindest thing to say about the ACC is that it's a group of aging "progressive" CINOs getting together to reminisce, listen to Fr. Hans K√ľng spout his latest anti-Benedict diatribes, and convince themselves that they still matter within the Church in America. The worst thing to say is that they're a schismatic sect trying to yank the Church in America away from Rome; while their overall failure is guaranteed, that's not to say that they won't seduce a few congregations into joining a structure in competition with the USCCB.

Some time ago, Abp. Allen H. Vigneron, in whose archdiocese the Council's meeting is taking place this weekend, issued a warning to his priests and deacons on the matter. Last week, he issued another warning:

Abp. Vigneron Letter on the American Catholic Council

Issued: June 3, 2011
Contact: Joe Kohn, infodesk@aod.org / (313) 237-5943

My dear brother priests and deacons,

As you may be aware, a group calling itself the American Catholic Council will be meeting at Cobo Hall on the weekend of June 11 and 12. Despite my attempts to engage in a dialogue with them about this planned event, the organizers of this conference have not replied to me directly. I have a number of concerns about this event and caution any Catholic against participating for reasons expressed already in previous communications sent by the Archdiocese.

Of particular concern is the "Eucharistic Liturgy," noted on the schedule for this conference on Pentecost Sunday, June 12. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council instruct us, "Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is committed the office of offering the worship of the Christian religion to the divine Majesty and of administering it in accordance with the Lord's commandments and with the Church's laws, as further defined by his particular judgment for his diocese." (Lumen Gentium, 26). I take my role as moderator of the liturgy for the archdiocese (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22) very seriously. [This is very good: Against the ACC's claims to be acting within the "spirit of Vatican II", Abp. Vigneron quotes actual documents from the Council.] To confirm the legitimacy of what they had planned, the ACC had been asked to provide details regarding this liturgy. The response received was ambiguous, and there are good reasons for believing forbidden concelebration will take place by the laity and with those not in full communion with the Church.

In order to fulfill my responsibilities, so clearly enunciated by the Second Vatican Council, of fostering of communion with both the local and the universal Church, I am compelled to caution any priests or deacons who may be considering participation in this liturgy. It is not being celebrated with my permission as required by the law and the good order of the People of God. Further, clergy should be aware of the impact of forbidden concelebration with those who are not in full communion (canons 908 and 1365). This is a serious delict, for which recourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is required, and which may result in dismissal from the clerical state (cf. Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, 2001 and 2010). [The gravity of the crime is such that any Detroit priest or deacon accused of concelebrating in this illicit (and likely invalid) Eucharist will be tried not through the normal, glacially-slow process of the Apostolic Signatura but through the speeded-up format of the CDF adopted and modified to deal mainly with clerical predators. It simply remains to be seen whether the Archdiocese can make good on this threat by actually catching a concelebrating Detroit priest in flagrante delicto.]

I ask that you pray with me for the unity of the Church. As we commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin in this upcoming Solemnity, may the Holy Spirit come afresh on all of us, keeping us united in the love of God and keeping our attention and energies focused on the task of sharing Christ in and through His Church.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit
 The statement focuses on the priests and deacons of the Detroit archdiocese because those are the only clerics for whom Abp. Vigneron is immediately responsible. Given that +Vigneron is very limited in what he can do and to whom he can do it, though, he's making it clear that he's not going to ignore the ACC meeting and hope nothing comes of it. Kudos to His Excellency for standing up for the authentic teaching of the Faith!