Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.” God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”
The SSPX have allegedly repudiated further discussions with Rome. What I do not understand here is the gratuitous insistence that the Council documents themselves are in error. There is no necessity for this. I have never seen any passage that was not capable of a perfectly orthodox interpretation. One might cringe at the phraseology and question the orthodoxy of the person who chose it but that is an entirely different question. There are plenty of Ecumenical Councils where significant figures involved can be shown to have held unorthodox views and these are councils which solemnly defined doctrines. All you are obliged to do in regard to Vatican II is to assume its teaching is correct even if you cannot see how to reconcile it with more authoritative texts. Where is the problem? There is no need to have recourse to these pastoral texts in expounding the faith if you find them unhelpful. There are twenty other councils to choose from and ‘thousands and thousands’ of dogmatic judgments from the Holy See. One is perfectly free to disagree with prudential initiatives of the Holy See like ecumenism and inter-relgious dialogue (although in some form these activities are obviously necessary even if you are organising a crusade!). I was taken aback once when I saw the huge frustration of someone who had been trying to convince the SSPX of the orthodox reading of Dignitatis Humanae. He said that they are so committed to the idea that DH must be irretrievably erroneous that it would actually be problem for them if it was shown to be entirely compatible with Immortale Dei etc. This is a deeply unhelpful and un-Catholic attitude. By canonising the prudential judgments and private theology of one French Archbishop it helps to obscure the outrageous tendency of ecclesiastical functionaries to canonise the prudential judgments and theological prose style of the last Ecumenical Council. The SSPX are just doing the same as the Vatican II inspirationists but then attributing the council to a malign spirit. Ecumenical Councils are just not inspired in that way and treating them as such is the central problem of contemporary ecclesiastical life and it is reinforced by the SSPX. I personally rather like the prudential judgments and theological prose style of the Council of Florence, that’s what floats my boat. Fortunately (or rather providentially) my pet Council expresses itself largely in the form of solemn definitions so I get to bash other people on the head with it. This is not the case with Vatican II so everybody can just calm down. And when the SSPX have finished their temper tantrum it might be possible to communicate these rather important distinctions to the curial lemmings and gadarene laity who are being assisted in their self-destruction by the kind of perverse ultramontanism that justifies revolt on the basis of exaggerated filial piety.