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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Monday, April 16, 2018

Evolution and the SSPX (Part I)

Evolution and the SSPX (Part I)


Things are getting wild in the SSPX.
In late March, St. Mary’s College professor, Mr. Andrew Senior (son of the late, great author and professor, John Senior) went public to rebut the accordist writings of Fr. Paul Robinson, by submitting a strong objection to The Remnant (a rebuttal which also more or less accused the SSPX US District Superior Fr. Jurgen Wegner of lying about being surprised by Rome’s having taken steps to “remove all doubt” about the validity of SSPX marriages), which Mr. Senior flatly says he believes was all pre-arranged.



We quite agree, since we had previously been told by another Society priest that Fr. Angles had been in Rome for some time, working with the Romans to find the right “solution” (i.e., face-saving compromise) to the “problem” of SSPX marriages.
More recently, another St. Mary’s College professor (Mr. Todd Konkel) has gone public in an attempt to come to the rescue of Fr. Robinson’s new book on the Cathinfo forum; an attempt which ended not only in Mr. Konkel’s defense of the “old earth” theory against the most common traditional and patristic interpretations of the Creation account in Genesis (and which also contradicts the idea of sentire cum ecclesia -“thinking with the Church”- as evinced by the quoted selection above contained in the Roman martyrology, which itself constitutes part of the liturgical office of Prime), but which ultimately ended in a defense of….evolution.
On the one hand, we admire the candor and courage of Mr. Konkel: He says plainly what he thinks, and was willing to enter into hostile territory (i.e., Cathinfo) in order to do it, knowing the opposition he would encounter.
We wish there was more of that courage and candor in Tradition!
Yet, having an open and public evolutionist teaching philosophy at an ostensibly traditional Catholic college, and therefore being placed in a position of formative influence over those minds which will one day form traditional Catholic families and shape Catholic attitudes in the future, and who presumably chose to attend St. Mary’s College in the hopes of receiving a good education, protected from the vileness of the secular and conciliar universities, seems somehow dangerous and incongruent.
In fairness to Mr. Konkel, he has yet to define what kind of evolution he is endorsing (despite a request from Cathinfo’s “Mr. G” to do so): Micro, macro, or some other variant.  Perhaps he will walk through the escape hatch I have just opened for him, and all will be well.  Or perhaps this a debate tactic, which will allow him the final opportunity to distinguish and counter, so he holds his peace.  Or perhaps he is simply unaware of the request to clarify.   But in the absence of that clarification, we will make the presumption that Mr. Konkel promotes evolution as that term is commonly understood by most people (“macro evolution”), and we shall be most relieved if he should later disclaim it:
That over billions of years, life evolved from single-cell species into higher and more diverse, distinct species, eventually culminating in man.
And though Mr. Konkel has stated he does not teach evolution in his classes, that no longer matters:
He came out publicly, and his vigorous endorsement and promotion of  evolution is now inextricably attached to his status as a professor at an SSPX college.  His continued presence there is a sign of continuing revolution and evolution within the SSPX.
If Mr. Konkel should never breath one word of evolution on campus, he will nevertheless remain a symbol of the SSPX’s new openness (another parallel to the crisis in the conciliar church!).
In truth, I wish no ill consequence to Mr. Konkel.  I hope he believes that.  I already stated he has some admirable, virile qualities.  Likely as not, he has a family depending on him, bills, and all the responsibilities and stresses of the rest of us.   But it was Mr. Konkel who freely chose to come out in public and make his position known.  I did not force him to do that.  Presumably, he considered all the possible consequences beforehand, and after mature reflection, decided defending evolution was more important than all those other concerns.
Or, he knows he has nothing to worry about from the SSPX (which has said nothing in response to his promotion of evolution at the time of this article), and my concerns for his welfare are misplaced and unnecessary.
In any case, the welfare of the students (and faithful) needs to be considered, and that is the highest consideration.
As regards the SSPX, they must consider what message they are sending by maintaining a public evolutionist on staff.  Perhaps they are sending precisely the message (especially to Rome) they want to send: The old “ignorant” SSPX is gone.
Incidentally, this distinction between the “paleo-SSPX” and the “neo-SSPX” is no longer a distinction used exclusively by Resistance bloggers.  Rather, the same distinction was recently made by Mr. Nicolas Lessard (i.e., the groom in the recent Canadian marriage debacle, in his comments to The Remnant):
“This next generation is free from the bitterness and resentment that it’s predecessors are carrying.” here
The neo-SSPX has contempt for (and is embarrassed by) the old SSPX.
But that these new attitudes and perspectives are indeed novel within Tradition is beyond dispute, and insofar as the SSPX will tolerate or permit those closely allied to its apostolate to promote evolution, it is a development (I almost said “evolution”) which stands in stark contrast to its own former positions (e.g., as evinced by the irrefutable February/1997 Angelus article by Dr. Peter Jackson, The Devolution of Evolution, still archived on SSPX.org here).
In Part II of this article, I will address a number of questions and observations Mr. Konkel initially made to “Incredulous” (i.e., A personage on the Cathinfo forum), but subsequently addressed to me after I came to the latters’ defense (the substance of which comprised Sodalitium Pianum’s previous article, A Response to VLM).
In Part III,  I will post a number of questions which I addressed to Mr. Konkel (At which point the conversation was still fixed on his endorsement of “old earth theory,” and he had not yet admitted to being an evolutionist, which is not to suggest he was hiding it), and the frank answers he provided, which confirmed my suspicion that he was defending “old earth theory” as a support for his belief in evolution, and offer some comments to those responses.
Finally, Part IV of this series will contain scientific articles and refutations of “old earth” theory and evolution (science which Mr. Konkel has already announced he is ill-disposed to entertain).

PS: I will also create an “evolution” category, from whence readers can easily access all installments/articles on the topic.

“In the year, from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine; from the flood, two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven; from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen; from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand five hundred and ten; from the anointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two; in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome; in the forth-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since His conception, is born in Bethlehem in Juda, having become man of the Virgin Mary.”
Martyrologium Romanum (reading for the 25th day of December)