The excommunicated preacher, weeks before the bell tolled for his time as pastor, has a prickly exchange with his bishop . . .

December 13: Second Chancery Meeting, Fr. Treco:

At 8:30 AM, I met again with Bishop Lopes, Fr. Perkins, and Fr. Kramer. The fruit of my night in prayer was the conviction that my next step should be to offer a personal Profession of Faith so that the bishop would have a clearer sense of my mind. Bishop Lopes concurred.

As this brief meeting was winding down, Bishop Lopes made one or two comments which I thought were disparaginto those he referred to as traditionalists. I left this meeting thinking that we had just begun what I anticipated might be a very difficult and lengthy journey.

Yes. Hope took a hit that day.

As for disparaging traditionalists, no surprise here. He’s a “Francis bishop,” owing all to the incumbent Pope, who has the utmost disdain for “traddies,” as some call themselves.

Five days later Fr. T. sent his profession, most of it embodying clear-cut traditionalism, with a cover note apologizing for its “deficiencies,” and explaining that it was intended as the start of a process to achieve “greater understanding, which would . . . provide occasion for instruction and correction, as you deem appropriate and necessary.”

He deems it so, but Bishop L., who has depicted him as heretical from the start, is another story. Too bad Fr. T. talks that way, glossing over the hostility.

He then launched a fairly irrelevant description of how his father had dealt with him and his sister when they were children, including three rules — “respectful discussion,” even in arguments, keeping focus on what’s for “the good of the family,” and keeping in mind that the final decision rests with parents.

He was not presuming that these rules would apply in this case, he explained, but was aiming “to give you a sense of the operation of my mind and will as we continue forward,” he told the bishop. To what end?

He furthermore asked the bishop’s forgiveness for “any expressions that convey an unintended hubris,” although he would “make every effort to avoid such language.” But he suspected that the bishop would not “always find language devoid of the same.” It might still happen! The bishop had to be puzzled.

The bishop got back to him promptly, but in a “dismissive tone,” the bishop remonstrated. Fr. T. was expected to send a personal profession of faith but had instead sent the Apostles Creed and the Oath Against Modernism, plus only “three brief paragraphs” of his own composition,

The Oath had been promulgated in 1910 by Pope Pius X with the requirement that it be signed by “all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.”

It remained “in effect until 1967,” the bishop noted. Its place was taken by the Profession of Faith, which he said “does not diminish, nor does it abrogate the truth of the Oath,” which seems to mean the two are interchangeable. Not so, to go by what else the bishop said, about “the principle at work here,” in this exchange, which

is that the faith is one and the same [!] and that the current Profession of Faith both receives and interprets [?] the prior articulation, not vice versa.

Whoa. Prior articulation? Oh. Interprets? If it’s one and the same, why the need for interpretation? Rather, what does the interpreting do for one’s understanding? In short, what’s the difference? The bishop’s lips are moving, what’s happening?

“Therefore, the bishop continued, addressing his subject,

you get it precisely backwards when you state at the conclusion of the document that your earlier Profession of Faith (signed December 18, 2014) is best understood within the context of the fuller statement which you now submit (December 18, 2018).

This begs [raises] the question whether, by this, you intend to rescind the Profession of Faith you made in 2014 in favor of the Oath Against Modernism as a “fuller profession of faith.”

Why? If the faith is one and the same in each, where’s the intent to rescind one of them? Is this man competent to condemn another’s expression?

Raising the question — not begging, if you don’t mind — apart from the Oath’s obligatory nature, apparently honored in the breach over several decades, what was the matter with the Oath in 1967 that would make it unsuitable for a Profession?

What was there in the Oath, again apart its obligatory nature, that made it unsuitable for a preacher to use in his defense when accused of anything?

What did the Profession have that the Oath did not have? Or what was missing that the Oath did have? And how did Fr.  T. violate that, whatever it was? 

Fr. T. also objected to the bishop’s “needlessly swift” deadline for repairing his response. He got the letter on Christmas Eve, with response expected by January 6, 13 days later, during a busy time for priests who are “unavailable for spiritual guidance,” referring apparently to advice he would be seeking.

That wasn’t the half of it. More later on Fr. Treco’s objections to his bishop’s comments and something about the latter’s reasoning in the matter and his own history . . .

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