With this issue
of New Perspectives, we begin our third year of publication.
My brother bishops and I are most pleased with this milestone in
the annals of the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America.
We thank the many people who have been responsible for the success
of our efforts: our editor, Ms. Valerie Kane; our editorial
advisory board; Fr. Charles Wolff, who heads our subscription department;
and the Society of St. Mark, and other agencies of the Church that
support this endeavor financially and morally. And, of course,
we thank you, our loyal subscribers. As we stated in our renewal
letter: "Your support makes possible the publication of articles
and discussion that strive to transcend the sharp conservative/liberal
divide in the Church, encouraging, instead, a seeking of the truth
that Our Lord spoke of when He said: 'But the hour is coming,
and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in
Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to
worship Him' (Jn. 4: 23)."
The truth about
Old Catholicism was very much on our minds as the staff and I planned
this year's NP. Long aware that most Christians, most
Roman Catholics, even many Old Catholics remain uninformed
or are misinformed about Old Catholicism, we decided that the time
had come to "get the message out." Thus, throughout 2002, in addition
to keeping our eye on the issues affecting the larger Church, we
will be focusing on Old Catholicism, its history and its rich intellectual,
theological, and spiritual heritage. We do this not merely
to promote Old Roman Catholicism, but to introduce readers-in particular,
Ultramontane Roman Catholics who have been deeply shaken by recent
scandals in the priesthood-to the Ultrajectine Catholic tradition.
And we begin at the beginning, by exploring the question:
"WHAT IS CATHOLIC?"
in this issue, we will for the first time confront the extreme Ultramontane
view that the defining characteristic of Catholicity is unquestioning
submission to the pope. This is a perverse construct of Catholicism
that at no time in the Church's history has universally been held
to be true. (More on that in a moment.) Its tragic consequences
are many, not the least of which is that it is insidiously detrimental
to the spiritual development of Catholics who are informed and adult
in their faith.
as the staff and I were at work on this very subject, I received
an e-mail [see at page bottom] in which unbridled Ultramontanism
is on full display. Recognizing that such views are the result
of an ignorance unrelieved by hundreds of years of misinformation
and deliberate suppression of the truth, let me share with this
gentleman and all our readers an excerpt from the Commonitorium
of St. Vincent of Lérins [see at page bottom].
Vincent was a priest of the Abbey of Lérins on an island
off the coast of Cannes, now called Saint-Honorat. His treatise,
written in 434 A.D., has come to be known as the Vincentian Canon.
Our Ultramontane brother will note that there is no mention of submission
to the pope as a requirement of Catholicity. Moreover,
since historically, the pope has not been believed "everywhere,
always, and by all" to hold universal jurisdiction over the Church
or to be infallible, belief in these Ultramontane dicta, according
to the Vincentian Canon, is not required of Catholics.
Of course, a Catholic may believe in them if he wishes, but he need
not in order to be a Catholic!
As this issue
goes to press, the harm extreme Ultramontanism has caused individual
Catholics, many of them children, and the Church itself is tragically
evident. There is an alternative, a healing one, in
the Ultrajectine tradition. We invite all who are interested
to explore our tradition, beginning with this issue.
Christ, The Most Rev. Francis P. Facione, Ph.D.
the Vincentian Canon, 434 A.D.
because of the intricacies of error, which is so multiform, there
is great need for the laying down of a rule for the exposition of
Prophets and Apostles in accordance with the standard interpretation
of the Church Catholic.
(3) Now, in
the Catholic Church itself, we take the greatest care to hold that
which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. [Italics
added] That is truly and properly 'Catholic', as is shown by the
very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything
almost universally. We hold to his rule if we follow universality,
antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we
acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout
the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those
interpretations, which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers
proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the
definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops
and doctors alike. . ."
--St. Vincent of Lérins