A friend of mine with no computer access asked me to upload this -
Re: Fr. Laisney’s March 2015 letter “Contrasts”
Seán Johnson’s seven page rebuttal against Rev. Fr. Laisney’s one page analysis, is seven long pages of “missing the point”.
The canonical is a reflection of the theological. And while the theological governs the canonical, in essence, the two are one and the same (a marriage). Mr. Johnson makes the mistake – which negates his whole line of reasoning - of insisting on a distinction being made between them.
To make this point clearer let us take a look at Archbishop Lefebrve’s approach in contrast to Bishop Williamson’s approach:
Archbishop Lefebrve: Canon Law “A” is followed until he is forced, by grave necessity, to draw upon Canon Law “B”. Result: Canon Law respected at all times in both spirit and action.
Bishop Williamson: Canon Law “A” is not followed, never-the-less, he draws upon Canon Law “B” even though grave necessity can only exist if Canon Law “A” had been followed first.
Result: Canon Law is not respected, both in spirit and action.
This is the difference that Fr. Laisney is drawing to our attention.
In defence, Mr. Johnson argues that it is “pointless” for Bishop Williamson to follow Canon Law procedure because it is obvious that a grave necessity exists. Fr. Laisney, in contrast, argues that regardless of our subjective feelings on the matter, legally there is no grave necessity until the fact has been canonically tested.
Remember, to pick and choose bits of Canon Law while ignoring their relationship with each other, is to dismiss Canon Law altogether. Therefore, Fr. Laisney’s assessment, that Bishop Williamson’s respect for Canon Law is “nowhere to be seen”, is a fair and correct one in this case.
Furthermore, Fr. Laisney is merely pointing out that you cannot act on what “may” happen. In justice, you can only act upon what “has” happened and it must be an established fact in accordance to Canon Law; not an individual’s opinion or fear.
But we are in a time of crisis; you ask the impossible, maintains Mr. Johnson.
If it is now impossible to begin a priestly union within the structures of Canon Law, then perhaps one should accept that it is not God’s will. It is very clear to all of us, that God provided Archbishop Lefrbvre with manoeuvring room within Canon Law and blessed his work as proof. In contrast, if His Lordship Bishop Williamson has to dispense with following any Church Law in order to consecrate and start a priestly union, then a red flag is waving…
With regards to Bishop Fellay, Bishop de Galerretta and Bishop Tissier de Maleris: all three are members of Archbishop Lefebrvre’s priestly Society and therefore a canonical continuation of what he instituted. The consecration of Bishop Rangel in 1991 was also a continuation of this same “operation Survival”.
Bishop Williamson, on the other hand, is now working outside of this canonical continuation. And although he admits himself he has no mandate and no authority to do so, it hasn’t stopped him from acting as if he has. There lies Fr. Laisney’s concern.
“But it’s a question of the faith!” echo’s Mr. Johnson’s one last cry.
Be careful. That’s what Luther said too. God does not work outside His own law.