The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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St. Silverius

Canisius | 20 June, 2007 06:30

In the entry for the feast of St. Silverius (XII,188-191), Dom Fromage continues the emphasis we saw in Dom Gueranger's work on the papacy. As I mentioned previously, France in those days was troubled by Gallicanism, a theory that promoted the rights of the local French bishops over the authority of Rome, so anyone who expressed opinions about the papacy, whether positive or negative, was likely to do so vehemently.

More recently, I learned that Gueranger's entire effort to renew the Benedictine order in France was a conscious move in support of the papacy. Such religious orders are not under the control of the local bishop but report directly to Rome, so the very existence of a Benedictine house in France was a testimony against Gallicanism. All who chose to join Gueranger in this venture had, therefore, to share his ardent love for the papacy.

In his view, denial of papal authority meant more than danger of falling into heresy. It meant a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Church and therefore of the liturgy, which is the action of the Church. The connection between The Liturgical Year and an emphasis on papal prerogatives was, in the minds of Gueranger and Fromage, intrinsic.

The feast celebrated today gives Dom Fromage an opportunity to explore a troubled issue of his day. France had been through a number of regimes over the course of 19th century, with varying relations between Church and state, and had in fact seen the state claim the right to appoint bishops and other Church leaders. So, then, are these state appointed pontifs legitimate? Fromage points to the example of St. Silverius to say that they are--or, at least, can be.


Comment Icon Gallicanism and bishops

Leo | 20/06/2007, 22:42

Very good post, very educational.

Very good points on Gallicanism. I think something similar happened in France right before Pius V's codification of the Mass, could you maybe elaborate on that?

Regarding the bishops, I might say that since certain Emperors did appoint bishops over an area in the past, for it to be legit they have to of course have already had, or will have in the immediate future, episcopal consecration, and be recognized by Rome, and, they must cooperate and recognize union with the Holy See and other bishops in his gereral area, as well as profess the whole faith inviolately. But, of course, when this did happen in the past, the Emperors, I think, were Christian, and thus had some lawful Christian temporal authority, but it did have its limits, and the issue of bishops is best left in the hands of the experts in Rome, who has the usual rights.

What does Gueranger say about this topic?

Comment Icon Wish I could help!

Canisius | 22/06/2007, 12:33

Leo, you give credit for more expertise than I have. One reason I read Gueranger is because I don't know a lot about the history of the liturgy. If I run across anything about Pius V, I'll certainly post it.

Regarding the election of bishops, I don't know what Gueranger says, but I know he wrote a number of essays about Church-State relations. I am sure he would agree with you that the election of bishops is best left in the hands of Rome!

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