Is Bp. Fellay saying the SSPX is “outside the Church”?

In a CNA story we read the following:

My emphases and comments:

Lefebrivists [sic] demand Council be “corrected,” not interpreted

Rome, Oct 30, 2007 / 01:05 pm (CNA).- In an interview with Italian journalist Paolo Luigi Rodari, the author of the blog “Palazzo Apostolico,” Bernard Fellay, the superior general of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, said the schismatic movement demands not only a “correct interpretation” of Vatican II, but that the Council documents actually be changed. [Right.  That’s gonna happen.]

Fellay defended his fellow excommunicated bishop, Ricard Williamson, identified by some in the media as leader of the “intransigent wing” of the fraternity.  Fellay said, “Williamson and I are in agreement that it would be difficult to re-enter to [sic] the Church as it currently is.”

“The reasons are simple,” Fellay said, because “Benedict XVI has liberalized the ancient rite,” yet he has been criticized “by the majority of the bishops.”  “What should we do? Re-enter the Church just to be insulted by these people?” he said.  [Because it’s all about us.]

“In addition to the ancient rite,” he continued, “the problem for us is the words Pope Benedict has dedicated to Vatican II,” because “the rupture with the past is directly related, unfortunately, to some texts of Vatican II and these texts, in some way, should be revised.”

“Ratzinger should prepare for a direct revision of the Council texts and not just denounce their incorrect hermeneutic (interpretation),” Fellay went on.  He cited as an example the declaration on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae.  [I have maintained for a long time that this is the single biggest problem with them.] According to Fellay, the document subjects the Church to the authority of the State. “In my opinion it should be the opposite: the State should submit to the Catholic faith and recognize that it is the religion of the State.” 

Fellay said he has maintained ongoing correspondence with Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, “but no common working document exists yet.”  “I remain confident, however, because all of our contact up to this point has been excellent,” he said.

 

A couple cautious observations can be made… and I mean cautious.

First, if Fellay can speak about "reentering" then that suggests he thinks they are "outside" the Church in some way.  I would like to hear the French of that statement.  Still, there is some phrase involving "outside the Church… something something something something" rattling around in my memory… what could it be?

Second, Fellay does not dispute that Vatican II was a Council of the Church.  Some on the hard right do.

Third, a Pope can require changes to the documents of Councils before he ratifies and promulgates them.   Is Fellay verging on assuming to himself the prerogatives of Popes?  That is, does he think that he is the one with the charism in the Church to decided how the documents of Councils should be changed?

Fourth, what’s with the deal about being insulted?  

Finally, when the late Archbishop, a great man in his day and a great missionary, took his bat and ball and went home to Econe, he left many people still in the Church to carry out a long and difficult task of promoting from within the Church the older form of Mass and the spirituality that flows from it. 

They are the people who truly endured the insults.

If Bp. Fellay really thinks that before the SSPX can reenter the Church, the Roman Pontiff must correct Council documents, then I wonder if they really have any serious desire to "reenter the Church".  

It sounds as if he has thrown out a proposition that he knows is a non-starter.

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199 Responses to Is Bp. Fellay saying the SSPX is “outside the Church”?

  1. Maria says:

    Father, did you see the \”Related News\”???
    Is \”Il Giornale\” reliable?
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=5918

    Pope Benedict is planning on lifting the excommunication pronounced in 1988 by his predecessor John Paul II against the bishops of the Saint Pius X Fraternity, founded by schismatic bishop Marcel Lefebvre, according to the Italian paper “Il Giornale.”

    !?

  2. Charles says:

    Fr. Z said: “”outside the Church… something something something something” rattling around in my memory… what could it be?”

    ROFL!!! These poor fellows need to get it together and come home already. How does Dignitatis Humanae subject the Church to the state? I’ve never understood it that way.

    Charles

  3. Maria says:

    Nevermind. That was 2006. Bizarre, though.

  4. Patrick T says:

    Excellent insights as usual, Father.

    Interesting that he seems to fully admit here that they are in schism.

    Sometimes it seems as though they don’t really want to be reconciled. They attract hundreds of thousands of Catholics to their chapels, and they have absolute autonomy which, from the way Bishop Fellay sounds here, might have gone to his head. The “insult” comment is telling. I’m not sure if the man could stomach the submission he would have to adopt in a reconciliation. When you run your own company for years and years it’s tough to get used to the idea of suddenly working for someone else.

    God bless you and the other faithful priests and bishops who have done such good work “from within the Church.”

  5. Credidimus Caritate says:

    Just a few thoughts…

    I don’t think it at all likely that Bishop Fellay was speaking literally when he spoke of “re-entering the Church.” His many, many public utterances in the past shows that he clearly believes himself to be within the Church. An about-face on this central issue is simply unthinkable. As you say, Father, it would be interesting to see the text in the original language. However, even if he did say what the translation makes it out to be, I think he probably meant it in a very loose colloquial sense. Not that that is the best idea–but, I think it is utterly inconceivable that he would suddenly assert that the SSPX is outside the Church.

    Also, something equally important that CNA should confirm ASAP is the quote attributed to Bishop Fellay about correcting the council texts. A few days ago Rorate Caeli posted a section from the same interview and the line that read “Ratzinger should prepare for a direct revision of the Council texts” was not said by Bishop Fellay, but was a statement of the interviewer. If the RC text was correct, CNA has some serious correcting to do.

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/10/fellay-speaks-we-are-all-on-same-line.html

  6. Bernard says:

    1) Liberalize the ancient rite
    2) Lift the ‘excommunications’
    3) Discuss the Council

    Of course 3) is the sticking point and various wings of SSPX are playing to different galleries but “outside of the Church” would only make sense in the view of a new, alien religion created by Vatican II. Meanwhile a sacristan of a Lourdes Basilica asked SSPX priests to say Mass for “motu propio” traditionalists on pilgrimage there which was followed by Benediction at the Grotto attended by two ‘Novus Ordo’ bishops and SSPX. So certainly NOT outside the Church!

  7. dcs says:

    The “insult” comment is curious and I wonder if Bp. Fellay’s words are being reported (and translated) accurately. Why would insults directed at a “regularized” SSPX be different from insults directed at an irregular SSPX? (I trust no one will dispute that their situation is irregular and that they are regularly the target of insults, earned or no.) Suppose the Holy Father does lift or annul the excommunications. I would think that the period between when the excommunications are lifted and the SSPX is regularized is when the SSPX would have to be most wary of insults and attacks leveled at them.

  8. FranzJosf says:

    I think ‘outside the Church’ simply refers to the fact that they have no official canonical status. At this time, their priests cannot appeal any decision of the Superior to Rome, which all orders with official canonical status can do.

  9. Domine Non Sum Dignus says:

    You should interview Bishop Fellay, Father. Seriously.

  10. schoolman says:

    Regardless of the specific translation, Bishop Fellay is on record stating that the Council texts are in direct contradiction with sacred Tradition — and therefore need revision. This idea comes across very clear in the recent interview granted to Brian Mershon where Bishop Fellay reponded to questions regarding the recent CDF document on “subsistit in”. This interview was given in English and so should clear up any doubt on the matter.

    ————–

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0715-bishop_fellay_on_summorum_pontif.htm

    Q: Just this morning, July 10, 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a document defining the meaning of subsistit in and the doctrinal development on the ecclesiology of the Church. The document is entitled, “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.”

    The secular media is reacting like two nuclear bombs have gone off around the world within three days with the freeing of the Traditional Mass on Saturday, July 7, and today with the reaffirmation on the Catholic Church being the one, true Church, and the defects in the Orthodox Churches and Protestant ecclesial communities. This document seems to be geared specifically toward attempting to clarify some theological concerns with certain passages of the Second Vatican Council’s key documents. What is your initial reaction?

    A: My reaction? In the declaration about the motu proprio, we insisted in saying that the confused excerpts of places in the letter show that the need to enter into theological discussions was reinforced very, very strongly by this document which is telling us that a circle is a quadrangle.

    You have a perfect illustration of what we have said for 6 years. That is that Rome is continuing in a confusing way because they don’t seem to give much care to contradiction and non-contradiction.

    This document seems to be a clarification of nothing but assuring once again that “Yes” means “No.”

    Q: Your Excellency. Can you give us an example?

    A: Sure. One example is precisely the question about subsistit. [The question is] “Why use the expression “subsistit in” and not “est”? You read the answer and you conclude nothing.

    They say it is “est”and that there is an identity with the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church; and there is no change of doctrine. And then the next phrase is precisely a change in doctrine. So… It is a contradiction.

    In his sermon in Ecône, Bishop Williamson said that in Rome they say something like two plus two makes four, but maybe it also makes five. And here you have a perfect illustration of that.

    The only positive thing [in the document] is about the Protestants which are now barred from the title of Church. Great! [Ed. Note: This doctrine on Protestant “ecclesial communities” has already been outlined previously by Dominus Jesus and other authoritative Church doctrinal clarifications.]

    Besides that, it is a confirmation of what we say. This text tries to tell us that there is no contradiction between the doctrine of the Church of the past and of Vatican II. And we insist by saying that Vatican II is in disharmony—is in contradiction—is even teaching error opposed to the traditional teaching, especially on ecumenism. And here [in this new document on ecclesiology] you have both sides put together; that is, the past and Vatican II.

  11. TerryC says:

    Dignitatis Humanae subjects the Church to the state because in Bp. Felley’s nineteenth century mind the natural order of things is for the state to be subject to the Church, which means a situation where, while other religions are tolerated (perhaps) the Catholic Church would enjoy a favored status and the situation would allow for legal restrictions on proselytizing of Catholics, for example. What area of the world and what religion does that sound like?
    Anyway as I understand it that is the argument against Dignitatis Humanae.

  12. Mark Jacobson says:

    Since the Council documents have been so widely misinterpreted across the spectrum, maybe we do need a revised set of documents… or at least a follow-on set of official interpretations on the thorniest issues. There was recently one such attempt at clarifying the “subsists in” issue. V2 was, after all, only a Pastoral Council…

  13. moretben says:

    Beneath your usual standard, Father.

    Self-evidently, Bishop Fellay does NOT believe the SSPX is outside the Church. Therefore he has been misreported, or misunderstood. Similarly, no-one who has ever heard or read anything from Bishop Fellay’s own mouth or pen could be under the slightest ilusion that “insults” are for him other than:
    1) Water off a duck’s back
    2) Occasions of grace.

    I have never in twenty years gained the impression that the SSPX think it’s “all about them” – that’s a cheap crack. No Mgr Lefebvre “taking his ball home” and no SSPX, there would be no canonically regular Trditional priests today, and we’d have had no Summorum Pontificum.

  14. Brian2 says:

    The only way Williamson, Fellay and SSPX will come back into the Chruch is if one of the two was elected pope (!) — and the other one would proably declare that one a sell out. For the same reason McBrien could never cheer the MP: when you do something or believe something for more than half your life, change is unlikely — short of getting knocked off a horse. SSPX has run its own show for too long to stop now.

  15. Bernard says:

    Following Vatican II there are no longer any Catholic States, excepting Vatican City. No such thing as a Catholic country. So the arguments seem academic. However it remains a Truth that “Error has no rights”. If the Catholic Church is the one true Church it is perfectly logical that She should enjoy a favoured status. Some of the teachings of Vatican II would indeed be very difficult to reconcile with traditional doctrine. Yes it does sound ‘hardline’ to our democratic ears but do we hold any absolute truths now, outside of Church on Sunday?

  16. Mark Jacobson says:

    A quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger, which I believe gives justification to the “reformability” of the Council documents: “Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolates Vatican II and which provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it, which give the impression that from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. […] The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council.” (Address to the Chilean Episcopal Conference, Il Sabato 1988)”

  17. moreben: Beneath your usual standard, Father.

    Why? Because I disagree with those who think the SSPX is not doing something wrong by refusing to submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff?

    Whatever else Archbp. Lefebvre did, or the SSPX has done subsequent to 1988, whatever good they might have accomplished by keeping something alive all these years, they indisputably refuse to submit to the Roman Pontiff.

  18. Sophie Sonnenschein says:

    At the Extraordinary Form Mass, offered according to Benedict XVI’s legislation, in my town, a number of outstanding folks from the SSPX have really helped out. We’re very grateful to them. One layman has even offered to teach how to serve. Others have helped with expensives. All have helped with their presence. So I wish to be very careful in what I have to say so as to assure that my gratitude is genuine.

    I pray that Bishop Fellay, if he has been quoted correctly, just is re-assuring some of his flock and is positioning himself for negotiation, negotiations in which I pray he will be more generous.

    Fr Z, you might be reading too much into “reentering”. And maybe Bishop Fellay isn’t assuming by intention on the prerogatives of the Pope. Of course, words do mean things.

    The Dignitatis Humanae issue came up in an exchange with a very fine man who can only be called an Traditionalist Catholic and a Carlist intellectual, he having endorsed the views of Michael Davis, The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty, I endorsing those of Rev. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., M.A., S.T.D, in his review of Davis’ book, published in Living Tradition, 44, January 1993 http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt44.html . Google “Brian Harrison” and “Dignitatis Humanae” for some of his other writings. I am grateful to an internet editor who brought Harrison’s work to my attention.

    In my exchange, I added to Harrison’s arguments this one: that despite the claims that Dignitatis Humanae supposedly broke with “a long line of consistent papal statements extending over the centuries” (I pray he didn’t mean the papal support for the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre or the Roman ghetto), in fact Dignitatis Humanae is simply the application of the teachings and anathemas of the 15th and 16th Synod of Carthage and the Synod of Orange against Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, respectively (Denzinger, 40th ed, 2005, Herder Verlag. ##222-230 and 370-397), teachings central to the Faith, teachings that certainly have antiquity, and teachings upon which the 6th Session of Trent (on Justification) built. If man on his own natural power can’t get the faith, then a fortiori the Faith can’t be coerced, however euphemistically one wishes to gloss “coerced”. The Faith is a gratuitous gift of Grace, and Grace alone. St. Francis, in going and preaching to the Sultan, knew these heresies for what they were, and showed the Crusader knights how a Christian correctly propagates the faith.

    We disagreed also as to whether Corporatism, as an economic doctrine, was the binding teaching of the Church (Leo XIII rejected it, and one oughtn’t read too much into Pius XI’s statements). We sharply disagreed over events in the 20s and 30s, I following Luigi Sturzo, he demanding that I apologize for my rather negative view of Dollfuß. This led to a disagreement over Nostra Aetate’s firm teaching rejecting utterly the supposed blood guilt of the Jews, he again insisting that his Vatican II document goes against “consistent and long-time teachings of the popes” (not true: check the 40th ed of Denzinger in the index for “Juden” [p.1787] and read the entries). I pray Nostra Aetate isn’t another Vatican II document that Bishop Fellay wishes to have changed. Blessed Franz Jägerstätter and Blessed August Clemens Count von Gallen, ora pro nobis.

    I’ve never heard, by the way, any SSPX member say anything about these matters; I know only what I’ve read from Davis and Fellay about Dignitatis Humanae. All these folks are to be thanked – and thanked warmly – for supporting the Mass of Blessed John XXIII.

  19. schoolman says:

    Also, from the same Brian Mershon interview, we can see the evolution in SSPX thought relative to Vatican II. It would seem that initially Archbishop Lefebvre held to the possibility of its positive and correct interpretation “in light of Tradition.” It would seem that the SSPX no longer holds such a position.

    ——————-
    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2007-0715-bishop_fellay_on_summorum_pontif.htm

    Q: Archbishop Lefebvre signed all 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council. After the Council, he was very critical of the documents and even sent a dubia to the Holy See requesting clarification on religious liberty. However, Archbishop Lefebvre never rejected all the documents of the Second Vatican Council in totality.

    A: And we don’t do so either. It is not a matter of rejecting or accepting.

    The questions are, “Are these documents good? Are these documents nurturing the Faith? Are they good for the survival of the Church or not?”

    And the more we go on, the more we see the ambiguities in the Council—which at a certain time seemed to be reconcilable to be correctly interpreted with Tradition, not including the very obvious errors—the further we go on, and the more we see that this is an impossible job.

  20. danphunter1 says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf,
    In what way do the FSSPX not submit to the Magisterially infallible teaching of the Supreme Pontiff?
    The greater number of bishops and priests in the Novus Ordo realm do not submit to the authority of the Supreme Roman Pontiff.
    God bless you.

  21. I will not tolerate bitchy or snippy comments in this discussion. They will simply drag yet another entry into the mud and WASTE MY TIME on a busy day. I am deleting comments and may use the ban feature.

  22. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Patrick said above:

    “Sometimes it seems as though they don’t really want to be reconciled. They attract hundreds of thousands of Catholics to their chapels, and they have absolute autonomy which, from the way Bishop Fellay sounds here, might have gone to his head. The “insult” comment is telling. I’m not sure if the man could stomach the submission he would have to adopt in a reconciliation. When you run your own company for years and years it’s tough to get used to the idea of suddenly working for someone else.”

    This is very important. The terrible temptation of any “going your own way” whether schism or the whatever-you-want-to-call-SSPX’s-status, is that you may find yourself, as Patrick says, not totally wanting reconciliation. The temptation is subtle, because it wouldn’t seem to be vanity or pride, but rather sticking up for something important, trying to do good, etc.

    I have predicted that as there were moves toward reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX, there would be new objections from the SSPX, and/or attempts or moves by some in the SSPX leadership to make such reconciliation more difficult. Whether Fellay’s recent comments represent “new” objections or not, I can’t say, so let’s stay tuned; but I do think some of Williamson’s actions fit the latter: making things more difficult. If and when the holy father lifts the excommunications, let’s see what happens. But just as Patrick said, don’t kid yourself; the gravitational pull of a new, autonomous institution is very powerful.

  23. Gerard says:

    Father,
    At some point, some of these phrases like “submit to the Holy Father” have to be clarified. That term has become as politicized as anything in the secular world. It obviously does not mean “servility.” It obviously wasn’t pleasing to God for a Deacon to submit to the Holy Father’s wishes when it was Pope Stephen ordering him to provide answers for the corpse of Pope Formosus that was placed on trial. It’s an extreme example, I know but it does clarify that there are limits to “submission.” Catholics are not Muslims.

    The SSPX aren’t confused at the behavior of the prelates and Popes over the last 40 years as many other commentators are. Bishop Williamson said in a recent interview, “We know exactly what they mean and they know exactly what we mean.” The rest is all political gamesmanship, saving face, jockeying for position. And the Curia is not and never has been above this.

    Vatican I called for “true” obedience. Since we know from Leo XIII that St. Thomas’ teaching informed the Councils that followed him. We can have certitude that “true” obedience is opposed to “false” obedience.

    We have a situation where the bishops failed to protect the faithful and Popes have at least not been vigilant in disciplining their bishops in the name of “collegiality.” LeFebvre and the SSPX have stepped up to the plate until Rome starts guarding the deposit of faith and properly feeding the flock again. The recent review of Card. Biffi’s new book is testimony to that. And the fact is not lost that Cardinals only start being frank after they turn 80.

  24. danphunter1 says:

    If the superior, Bishop Fellay, makes the move towards regularization with the Vatican then the other three bishops will follow.
    I have been told this by one of the FSSPX bishops.
    God bless you.

  25. Athanasius says:

    Dignitatis Humanae subjects the Church to the state because in Bp. Felley’s nineteenth century mind the natural order of things is for the state to be subject to the Church, which means a situation where, while other religions are tolerated (perhaps) the Catholic Church would enjoy a favored status and the situation would allow for legal restrictions on proselytizing of Catholics, for example. What area of the world and what religion does that sound like?
    Anyway as I understand it that is the argument against Dignitatis Humanae.

    Someone needs to get into his narrow 20th century mind the realization that Fellay’s position is not a 19th century mindset, but the clear constant teaching of the Church. You can’t read all the social encyclicals culminating in Quas Primas and declare that the State needing to be subject to the Church is wrong. As Pius XI declared for the celebration of the great feast this past Sunday:

    It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.

    Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.” Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.”(Acts IV:2) He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. “For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?” If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. Quas Primas No.17-18

  26. Athanasius says:

    The problem with Bishop Fellay is that he only reads Dignitatis Humanae in the light that the liberals have prepared for it. He doesn’t seem willing to accept that all the document is really doing (though ambiguously) is declaring that the non-Catholic needs to be free from coercion by the state and the Church authority. It just expresses in a positive way what Blessed Pius IX said in a negative way when he spoke of the “Toleration of Error” in Quanta Cura. This is not a novel thing. Pope Pius XII taught the same thing in Ci Riesce #5

    We have just adduced the authority of God. Could God, although it would be possible and easy for Him to repress error and moral deviation, in some cases choose the “non impedire” without contradicting His infinite perfection? Could it be that in certain circumstances He would not give men any mandate, would not impose any duty, and would not even communicate the right to impede or to repress what is erroneous and false? A look at things as they are gives an affirmative answer. Reality shows that error and sin are in the world in great measure. God reprobates them, but He permits them to exist. Hence the affirmation, “religious and moral error must always be impeded, when it is possible, because toleration of them is in itself immoral”, is not valid absolutely and unconditionally.

    Moreover, God has not given even to human authority such an absolute and universal command in matters of faith and morality. Such a command is unknown to the common convictions of mankind, to Christian conscience, to the sources of Revelation and to the practice of the Church … The duty of repressing moral and religious error cannot therefore be an ultimate norm of action. It must be subordinate to higher and more general norms, which in some circumstances permit, and even perhaps seem to indicate as the better policy, toleration of error in order to promote a greater good. -Pope Pius XII, Ci Riesce, Sec. 5

    Dignitatis Humanae therefore, does not give a blanket “right” for false religions to worship false gods, only to not be coerced to join the true religion. It also gives no support to the separation of Church and State. If it has been distorted to say that, it is the Magisterium that has failed to reinforce her teaching, which is a scandal. But it does not require the document to be effaced or revised. It is one thing to talk about forgetting Vatican II, as was done with Constantinople II, but it is a huge novelty to speak of revising the documents of an ecumenical council after they have been promulgated. Rather odd to find the SSPX on the side of novelty. I respect Bishop Fellay, but I think he has slipped up in this instance.

  27. BK says:

    Comment By Fr. Z.: “It sounds as if he has thrown out a proposition that he knows is a non-starter.”

    It also sounds as though he is pandering to the Williamson Wingnut subset of the SSPX.

    If he is more worried about internal schism in the SSPX than the unity and mission of the universal Church, then does the Pope really need his “help” at this dangerous juncture in ecclesial history?

  28. Gerard says:

    Don’t be cruel about Bishop Williamson. He’s an amazing man who is highly intelligent and loves “Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ” intensely. If every bishop and priest referred to Our Lord that way, the Church would be in much better shape.

    Williamson cares intensely for families. (He offered to find me a wife!) He is an amazing discerner of souls, he is an utterly joyful man totally in love with Christ.

    It was Williamson who cleared out the open sedevacantists from the SSPX. It’s Williamson who speaks highly of Bishops like Bruskewitz and Chaput who are sometimes less than charitable to him. And he demands respect for the Holy Father despite disagreements.

  29. Tracy Hummel says:

    First of all, I think it’s only fair to refrain from sarcastic comments “[Cause
    it’s all about us]”, especially since we don’t have access to the original and
    don’t know if he was misquoted. As you pointed out yourself, Italian journals are
    not always known for their journalistic integrity.

    Second, without the continuing independence of the SSPX, who knows if we’d even
    have this Motu Proprio. Certainly, the groups that have remained “inside” have a
    harder time of it, which is precisely why His Grace, Msgr. Lefebvre, did not go
    through with the agreement when then-Cardinal Ratzinger started hemming and hawing
    regarding the consecration of another bishop and he was asked for more names. He
    was a holier bishop than most if not all the other bishops in the church, except
    for Bishop de Castro-Mayer.

    Third, Bishop Fellay most definitely was not admitting the SSPX was outside the
    Church; he was undoubtedly speaking loosely. He probably wishes now he had been
    more precise in his words, seeing how quick people are to twist every phrase to
    their own ends.

    Fourth, regarding Vatican II, Bishop Fellay has admitted that much of the problem
    of the Council is its ambiguity, which itself is a big problem, but there are some
    things that are not ambiguous and are not possible, or at least very difficult, to
    reconcile with the previous Magisterium, like Dignitatius Humanae, which says that
    the so-called right not to be prevented from expressing one’s religious views
    publicly is a natural right rooted in the dignity of the human person (hence the
    name), whereas prior to Vatican II the Church knew no such right. In fact, if DH
    is right about this, then the Catholic Church has been violating a major principle
    of justice for 1600 years (the 4th to the 20th century). Bishop Fellay has not,
    to my knowledge, sent the pope a detailed list of the precise revisions he
    (Benedict) must make to Vatican II, and I’m sure he would not presume to do so.
    But he is acknowledging a truth that is obvious to anyone who honestly examines
    the issue – some passages of some of the documents of Vatican II – primarily
    Gaudium et Spes, Unitatis Redintegratio, Notra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae – but
    not limited to these – are part of the problem, not just a false “spirit of the
    Council”. Why was there never a bad “spirit of Trent” or “spirit of Vatican I”? I
    don’t think I need to spell it out.

  30. danphunter1 says:

    Tracy,
    Well put.
    God bless you

  31. Geoffrey says:

    Lefebvre disobeyed the Vicar of Christ by ordaining his own bishops. There is no reason to justify that… And I can’t see lifting the excommunications when the SSPX does not repent/regret of the illicit ordinations. Why reward disobedience?
    In another post, Fr. Z paraphrased a saying from the late Msgr. Schuler… something about there being ditches on both the left and the right side of the road…

  32. Patrick T says:

    If Bishop Fellay and the SSPX are not outside the Church, then what do they need to reconcile?

    For those who say that the SSPX bishops “respect and love” the Holy Father, those words ring hollow when their actions say otherwise. You can’t claim to love the Holy Father and then say, “I don’t care that you say I’m excommunicated, I’m going to do what I want and not what the Church tells me.”

    Think about it, Bishop Fellay has 700 some chapels, 1,000,000 adherents, money from those adherents, his own seminary, and ALL of it is under his control. He reports to no man, but to God alone. And at the same time, he gets to tell all his people that they are Catholic and in the Church. What on earth would he gain by changing anything in this situation?

    From a purely secular negotiation standpoint, the Motu Proprio gives Bishop Fellay the upper hand. He got some of what he wanted. Does this move him to give up something as well? Or does he instead push harder for more of what he wants? He seems to be emboldened to ask for more, hence his “non-starter” demand. The old saying “give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” seems like it might apply here.

    I hope I’m wrong, but his actions seem to confirm my suspicions.

  33. schoolman says:

    “In fact, if DH is right about this, then the Catholic Church has been violating a major principle of justice for 1600 years (the 4th to the 20th century).” (Tracy Hummel)
    —————-

    Tracy, in other words the principle of repression was not taught universally — for all times and in all places. On the contrary, these individual duties and rights are “relative” to the duties and rights of society with a view toward the common good of civil society. This balance of justice is not determined in an absolute manner — but must be determined by prudence in accordance with circumstances. Naturally, this will find various application depending on whether we are talking about a true Catholic state (de jure and de facto) or whether we are talking about some other situation.

  34. Malta says:

    Let’s see:

    Pope Paul VI suppressed the TLM in favor of a novelty created in a liturgical think-tank. The good souls in Econe refused to give it up, and were eventually “excommunicated” for trying to maintain tradition.

    St. Athanasius was “excommunicated” by the Pope for maintaing the doctrine of the Trinity

    Now, Pope Benedict XVI says the TLM was never abrogated, thus legitimatizing the position of SSPPX all along.

    VII says the Hindus are on a “trusting flight towards God.” VII created no new doctrines or dogmas; nor did it define any tradition of the Church. VII is treated as a “super-council”, but it did nothing at all except promulgate ambiguous novelistic policies, which could just as easily be abrogated in the future. (but make no mistake, there are beautiful passages in the documents of VII)

    So, if SSPX wants to question some of these policies, let them, as long as they are loyal to the doctrines and dogmas of the Church (which the true schismatics, the modernists, are not).

    I thought the Church was a big tent? We should welcome SSPX back with open arms. Their questioning of, say, “religious freedom”, takes nothing from the Church (and they may be right) but the Church gains everything by having them firmly in the fold.

    Making SSPX submit to every letter of VII is unjust, and as we now know (and should have known before) trying to force them to give up the TLM was unjust. SSPX was right, Paul VI and JPII were wrong, period.

  35. Bernard says:

    Unfortunately Tracy it does need to be spelt out that the LETTER of some documents of Vatican II are the problem. Too many Catholics are carried away with the notion that apart from a bit of ambiguity in the documents the only problem is with this so-called SPIRIT of Vatican II. No. Those documents need revision.

  36. Gerard says:

    Patrick T wrote:

    “For those who say that the SSPX bishops “respect and love” the Holy Father, those words ring hollow when their actions say otherwise. You can’t claim to love the Holy Father and then say, “I don’t care that you say I’m excommunicated, I’m going to do what I want and not what the Church tells me.””

    That’s like saying you can’t disobey a parent for a just reason and still claim that person as your parent. Refusing a give a parent a drink when they’re drunk is not removing the nature of the relationship.

    “What on earth would he gain by changing anything in this situation?”

    Perhaps he’s not interested in earthly gain. He might be interested in souls going to Heaven and the restoration of the Church.

    “From a purely secular negotiation standpoint, the Motu Proprio gives Bishop Fellay the upper hand. He got some of what he wanted.
    Does this move him to give up something as well?”

    The MP resolves the first of two pre-conditions that the SSPX has requested before they discuss doctrinal issues. Why should Fellay betray what he has stated from the outset? The MP was a demand for the good of the priests and faithful in the diocesan structure of the Church. The SSPX already have the TLM.

  37. Geoffrey says:

    The SSPX was not excommunicated for maintaining tradition… they were excommunicated for disobeying the Vicar of Christ by ordaining their own bishops.

  38. Jordan Potter says:

    Sophie said: St. Francis, in going and preaching to the Sultan, knew these heresies for what they were, and showed the Crusader knights how a Christian correctly propagates the faith.

    Um, the Crusader knights weren’t trying to propagate the faith. They were trying to defend Christians against Muslim aggression, expansion, and proselytism.

    TerryC said: a situation where, while other religions are tolerated (perhaps) the Catholic Church would enjoy a favored status and the situation would allow for legal restrictions on proselytizing of Catholics, for example. What area of the world and what religion does that sound like?

    Catholic Europe, prior to 1517.

    Tracy said: Third, Bishop Fellay most definitely was not admitting the SSPX was outside the Church; he was undoubtedly speaking loosely. He probably wishes now he had been more precise in his words, seeing how quick people are to twist every phrase to their own ends.

    Others might call his words a “Freudian slip.”

  39. Gerard:  At some point, some of these phrases like “submit to the Holy Father” have to be clarified. 

    I think the bottom line cuts through all the rest.  When it comes to the reasonable internal discipline of the Church, do they demonstrate that they accept the authority of the Pope in word and deed?  I am not talking about some dispute some offer about how Vatican I may have elevated everything the Roman Pontiff does to nearly heavenly force, creating something like a cult around the Pope.  I am simply talking about reasonable submission to the authority of the Pope to govern the Church.  Do members of the SSPX submit to the Pope’s authority in matters of governance?  I seems to me that they do not.  Obedience to the Roman Pontiff is not really characterized by putting up his photo but then not following the Canon Law he promulgates, etc.  I have little doubt that they would accept a solemn dogmatic teaching.  They just don’t won’t obey the Church’s laws as duly promulgated by the lawgiver.

     

    The rest is all political gamesmanship, saving face, jockeying for position. And the Curia is not and never has been above this.

    What members of the Curia are not above is not really a good approach.  Let’s stipulate that some of them are not very edifying.  That is not an excuse simply to violate the Church’s law in so many ways.

    Vatican I called for “true” obedience. Since we know from Leo XIII that St. Thomas’ teaching informed the Councils that followed him. We can have certitude that “true” obedience is opposed to “false” obedience.

    LeFebvre and the SSPX have stepped up to the plate until Rome starts guarding the deposit of faith and properly feeding the flock again.

    That strikes me as presumptuous.  It seems to me that claiming such a role or charism and then so blatantly and even arrogantly acting ultra vires lessens their hold on that “prophetic” role.

    Cardinals only start being frank after they turn 80.

    This is true more often than not.  On a lighter note: When I was still at the PCED, Card. Innocenti came back from an extraordinary meeting of cardinals which especially involved those who were over 80, were nearly always put out to pasture at the Curia and cannot any longer vote in the conclave.  Innocenti came in all worked up and recounted his own intervention.  He told the Pope and his conferes that forceably retiring cardinals at 80 was (with ascending voice here) “ecclesiastical EUTHANASIA!!”   Card. Innocenti was not so successful as President of the PCED but he had his moments when something got under his zucchetto.

  40. Jaime says:

    Well, I think Msr. Fellay spoke in freely way, without measuring his words. He knows they are not “outside” the Church.

    They should not insist on “correcting” the council, for the Pope has already given permission to it be criticised with the creation of the Good Shepherd Institute, AND has already said the Council must be “interpreted” in the light of Tradition.

    If the Council CAN be criticised AND MUST be “interpreted” we conclude it isn’t infallible and IS ambiguous.

    So the principles that will lead to downfall of this council are put.

    The axe is put.

    It is just a matter of time.

    “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” I Pet 4:14,16

  41. I think a problem is that SSPX takes the relationship between Church and state and dogmatizes it. This is a mutable teaching of the Chruch not a permenant doctrine of the Faith (isn’t Christ’s Kingdom not of this world?). Given that since the time of many of the former teachings about Church and state, democracies and things like the American experiment happened, there has been a more or less successful carrying out of a free state that allows freedom of religion. While you can certainly argue the success or failure of the American experiment, especially in light of the growing anti-religion sentiment in America, I really don’t think you can dogmatize the teachings about the relationship between Church and state. Certainly the older view of the state being subject to the doctrine of the Church would be an ideal, but a bit of a reality check is needed too. While error may not have any rights, I don’t think mirroring an Islamic goverment is realistic in today’s world.

  42. schoolman: The lifting of the excommunications within the context of the Papal TLM is a real possibility.  It certainly could lead to a kind of “interim” status for the SSPX and opening up new possibilities for resolving the doctrinal questions.  

    Would it?  I wonder.

    There are a couple approaches in evidence. 

    First, and I think I am right about this, we have the approach of Card. Castrillon Hoyos, who did so much to make Summorum Pontificum happen in the first place.  It seems to me that he wants to sweep aside, as much as possible, the juridical problems, things that can be solved with the stroke of a pen. In effect, that is what happened with Summorum Pontificum: the question of faculties was swept away with a click of the papal Bic.  The idea is that we ought to have the big group hug and family photo first and then afterward hammer out the problems we have.  There is merit to this approach.  The Church’s greatest writers speak with horror of schism and preferred even imperfect union to rupture.  While there is a sort of sppxpolitik being played out now in regard to the “s-word”, the fact remains that the rupture is real and sustained. 

    The other approach is that of some of the SSPXers.  They don’t want the group hug until the problems are resolved.  This is why I have said all along that the truly difficult obstacle was not going to be liturgical.  That was, as above, resolved on a desktop.  Similarly, the issue of the excommunication could be resolved even by the Congregation for Bishops.  It is a juridical decision.  The theological differences are the real obex.  The SSPX wants to talk theology before lining up for the family photo.  Frankly, there is great merit in that approach too.

    I suspect there could be a middle ground somewhere, both an initial juridical solution and also some common affirmations of theological points which approach, but don’t attempt to resolve definitively, the problems the SSPX has about the Council’s document on religious liberty.

    I will be delighted when and if the excommunications are formally declared to be no more.  However, I think we have to see something more than “Holy Father, you must submit to our demands!”, before that can and should happen.

  43. EJ says:

    Father Z – I agree with you 200% and would like to offer just a brief word of thanks to you for all that you do and for providing so much light and hope with all the hard work required to keep this blog, the podcazts, etc. afloat.

    I know I speak for many here, including those who get bithcy and snippy at times, in saying “GRATIAS TIBI AGIMUS!”

  44. Jordan Potter says:

    Jaime said: If the Council CAN be criticised AND MUST be “interpreted” we conclude it isn’t infallible and IS ambiguous.

    That’s a non sequitur. The Bible is infallible, but it must be interpreted, is often ambiguous, and can be criticised. Indeed, there’s not a single oecumenical council whose documents need not be interpreted.

    So the principles that will lead to downfall of this council are put.

    A bit of wishful thinking on your part, I suspect. When has the Church ever rejected or renounced one of her councils? Even the failed or futile ones remain valid, even if their practical effect today is negligible.

  45. Athanasius says:

    Lefebvre disobeyed the Vicar of Christ by ordaining his own bishops. There is no reason to justify that… And I can’t see lifting the excommunications when the SSPX does not repent/regret of the illicit ordinations. Why reward disobedience?

    Then why did Paul VI lift the excommunications of the Eastern Orthodox from 1054? Many Eastern Orthodox priests and Bishops still say terrible things about the Vicar of Christ and call us heretics.

    The reason is Paul VI hoped to open a road to reconciliation, for good or for ill. If you think that is good you can’t condemn the lifting of the excommunications of priests and Bishops whose basic position on the Mass has been vindicated by Summorum Pontificum.

  46. Athanasius says:

    Roman Sacristan said:
    I really don’t think you can dogmatize the teachings about the relationship between Church and state. Certainly the older view of the state being subject to the doctrine of the Church would be an ideal, but a bit of a reality check is needed too. While error may not have any rights, I don’t think mirroring an Islamic goverment is realistic in today’s world.

    I think that is rather silly, and demonstrates an ignorance of Islam. I apologize if that comes off rude, but I found the remark uninformed. The nature of an Islamic state is a theocracy. Islamic government does not merely give lip service to the Qur’an, it implements the Islamic equivalent of Canon Law. Shari’a does not just govern religion, it governs civic life also. The ruler in a Traditional Islamic society is both Pope and King, namely a Caliph. The only comparable example in the west is the theocracy in England.

    Traditional Catholic monarchy was not even a theocracy. The king acknowledged the rule of Jesus Christ and His Church, made laws in conformity with the Church but was not the same as the Church. He was a secular ruler. In Islam they are the same. The minarets on the Masjid are a symbol of Islamic Rule in society. Lastly, have read Quas Primas? Pope Pius XI DID dogmatize the Church’s political teaching. We aren’t talking about monarchy, that is a political arrangement. Any nation must acknowledge Christ as King, even the American government, which is why the first amendment is inherently un-Catholic. That is magisterial teaching of Pius XI, no state is healthy which does not confess Jesus Christ as king. It is a fundamentally different arrangement than Islam.

  47. Malta:   Pope Paul VI suppressed the TLM in favor of a novelty created in a liturgical think-tank.  The good souls in Econe refused to give it up, and were eventually “excommunicated” for trying to maintain tradition.

    No.  They weren’t excommunicated for “trying to maintain the tradition”.  They were excommunicated automatically because they violated CIC 1983 can. 1382 after repeated and ernest requests by John Paul II not to do so.

    St. Athanasius was “excommunicated” by the Pope for maintaing the doctrine of the Trinity

    This old canard again?  Lefebvre was a fine man in his day, but the situation he faced was not that of Athanasius.  The situations only seem similar on very surface.

    Now, Pope Benedict XVI says the TLM was never abrogated, thus legitimatizing the position of SSPPX all along.



    No.  The declaraton by Pope Benedict does not “legitimize” the position of the SSPX.  It might “legitimize” a claim of the SSPX that old Mass was not abrogated, but it does not legitimize their violation of can. 1382 and subsequent lack of submission to the Roman Pontiff.

    VII says the Hindus are on a “trusting flight towards God.” 

    Ehem…. you might not like Hindus or what they believe, but… so what?  I don’t think that it can be denied that people can sincerely seek God in their own ways if through no fault of their own they know nothing adequate about Christ.

    So, if SSPX wants to question some of these policies, let them, as long as they are loyal to the doctrines and dogmas of the Church (which the true schismatics, the modernists, are not).



    Faithlessness on the part of others, does not justify disobedience on our part.

    I thought the Church was a big tent?  We should welcome SSPX back with open arms.  Their questioning of, say, “religious freedom”, takes nothing from the Church (and they may be right) but the Church gains everything by having them firmly in the fold.



    Frankly, I think this issue of religious liberty need not be a deal breaker for closer unity.  I mean that.  Think of how the Holy See and someone of the adherents of the late Fr. Feeney worked out an accord over their dispute regarding extra ecclesiam nulla salus issue.  This can be done.  The first step to to start affirming what can be affirmed easily.

    Making SSPX submit to every letter of VII is unjust, and as we now know (and should have known before) trying to force them to give up the TLM was unjust.  SSPX was right, Paul VI and JPII were wrong, period.

    I don’t think anyone is going to be forced in any detailed way to submit to precise interpretations of Vatican II documents.  Something else will take place.  However, in the end, I don’t even think this was, for either Paul VI or John Paul II only a theological or liturigical matter.  I think their concern was internal discipline in the Church.

  48. moretben says:

    Father Z writes: “Why? (Beneath your usual standard, Father.)Because I disagree with those who think the SSPX is not doing something wrong by refusing to submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff?”

    No Father. It’s perfectly reasonable to disagree with such people – my problem is with appearing to rush to judgement in a decidedly sarcastic way over a second-hand report in a different language from the original; one which, moreover, seems wildly untypical of Bishop Fellay, who has spoken forcefully and explicitly – even in podcasts – about his certainty of being within the Church AND of the necessity to bear wrongs patiently and disregard insults.

  49. Bernard says:

    Of course the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations were justified by SSPX as being necessary due to the State of Emergency in the Church which thereby invalidated the excommunications.

  50. danphunter1 says:

    See the Second Council of Constantinople for a horrendous and failed council.
    The Second Vatican Council, in time will be recognized as a greatly flawed enterprise.
    God bless you.

  51. moretben: seems wildly untypical of Bishop Fellay, who has spoken forcefully and explicitly – even in podcasts – about his certainty of being within the Church AND of the necessity to bear wrongs patiently and disregard insults.

    In that case, if you have some more accurate material, perhaps it would be germane to provide it in this discussion. It would be a service to all.

  52. schoolman says:

    Father Z, you make great points as always. If the Holy Father decides to lift the excommunications I think it will be with the hope that it will soften and open hearts.

    Certainly the SSPX was not justified in performing the illicit consecrations, however, lifting the excommunications may be deemed an appropriate pastoral gesture at this time — especially in light of the recent clarification that the TLM had never been abrogated.

  53. Patrick T says:

    Father,

    I think there is much good in your idea to bring them back into the fold and then work out some of the finer details on Vatican II, etc. It seems sort of ironic and very funny that what you propose here: “The first step is to start affirming what can be affirmed easily” is really the same sort of ecumenical approach called for in Vatican II. It may very well be that the approach that brings the SSPX back into the Church is the very same ecumenical approach that the SSPX finds so intolerable!

  54. Berolinensis says:

    Father, moretben,

    the original can be found here: http://www.palazzoapostolico.it/dblog/articolo.asp?articolo=215 as was posted on Rorate Caeli last Thursday. And the sentence in question here is “Cosa dovremmo fare noi? Rientrare nella Chiesa e poi farci insultare da tutta questa gente?”. Exactly as the translation said.

  55. moretben says:

    It’s all here, from a conference at St Isodore in February of last year:

    http://qien.free.fr/2006/200602/20060219_fellay.htm

    I apologise for the length of the piece and that, for obvious reasons, I’m unable with certainty to indicate the precise points in the conference relevant to the two issues in question. As memory serves,however, both are addressed very forcefully and explicitly.

    To repeat: I have no problem at all with people wishing to maintain a prudent distance from the actions and arguments of the SSPX. I do so myself. That’s not my point. Whatever serves “inner reconciliation” is good. Whatever doesn’t is not.

    (…and to the poster who asserts that nothing can ever, under any circumstances justify disobedince to the Supreme Pontiff – he is, of course mistaken according to Catholic theology).

  56. Malta says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks for the good debate going here.

    Here’s another point I’d like to make:

    JPII (a genuinely prayerful, even holy man) was great at prayer, but horrible at governance. He “excommunicated” Lefebvre (Saint?) because Lefebvre thought the only way to save the Church, which had been put into self-destruct mode, by VII, was to consecrate the Four. This emergency measure was licit under cannon law.

    JPII had to take a break from joint prayer services with bishopettes, priestesses and other heretics to sign the order excommunicating four traditional Bishops of the Church.

    On the other hand, Paul VI lifted the excommunication against against a true hereti:
    Michael Cerularius; this is a person who denied the supremecy of Peter and a dogma of the Church.

    Now that just has me scratching my head, saying, “huh?”

    JPII excommunicates four bishops who want to maintain tradition, and PVI lifts the excommunication against a manifest heretic. That just doesn’t add-up. Can anyone figure it out?

  57. danphunter1 says:

    Malta,
    Nope.

  58. Gerard says:

    Fr. Z., You wrote:

    “When it comes to the reasonable internal discipline of the Church, do they demonstrate that they accept the authority of the Pope in word and deed? … I am simply talking about reasonable submission to the authority of the Pope to govern the Church. Do members of the SSPX submit to the Pope’s authority in matters of governance? It seems to me that they do not. Obedience to the Roman Pontiff is not really characterized by putting up his photo but then not following the Canon Law he promulgates, etc. I have little doubt that they would accept a solemn dogmatic teaching. They just don’t won’t obey the Church’s laws as duly promulgated by the lawgiver.”

    There is an equal argument related to the concept of justice for a Pope not acknowledging his own canon laws as in the case of JPII. And obviously some of Paul VI’s mercurial statements about “blowing the horns of the Apocalypse” and “the smoke of Satan” didn’t inspire confidence. As it stands, the SSPX has accepted the right of the Pope to suspend many laws and disciplines that were previously held. They question the wisdom of removing the obligations for fasting from midnight or 3 hours, the Saturday night Vigil fulfilling the Sunday obligation, the addition of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary but they accept the validity of it all. A Norbertine priest once told me, “They are more loyal to the Pope than most parishes.”

    “What members of the Curia are not above is not really a good approach. Let’s stipulate that some of them are not very edifying. That is not an excuse simply to violate the Church’s law in so many ways.”

    But, the justification for disobedience doesn’t center on the unedifying behavior of some members of the Curia. The unedifying behavior has a consequence. Namely, the endangerment of souls. The SSPX responds to that endangerment by providing that which the local ordinaries haven’t provided and the heirarchy hasn’t addressed in any meaningful way for those souls. Ultimately, it comes down to the principle of double-effect. The SSPX priests have stated publicly that if souls were not in danger and the SSPX were being unjustly treated, the proper thing to do would be to submit to the unjust treatment. However, a soul is of higher value and more important than obedience to an unjust command.

    “LeFebvre and the SSPX have stepped up to the plate until Rome …”

    “That strikes me as presumptuous. It seems to me that claiming such a role or charism and then so blatantly and even arrogantly acting ultra vires lessens their hold on that “prophetic” role.”

    There is a problem of the propaganda in the media. Nothing beats firsthand experience. For every bombshell that Bishop Williamson has dropped that gets torn from the broader context, there are numerous clearer examples of his perspective. “The SSPX is in the business to go out of business.” “We can only perform a holding action at best…Only the Pope can fix the crisis in the Church.” “The Society is not the Church. It is in the Church but it is not the Church. “

  59. Athanasius says:

    Fr. Z wrote: I think their concern was internal discipline in the Church.

    Then why in the world didn’t they apply that across the board? Why is it that only Lefebvre, Milingo and a few women “priests” felt the brunt of that concern for discipline? It is one thing to say that Lefebvre was wrong, he shouldn’t have disobeyed whatever (I keep changing my mind on that, I have resigned myself that his won’t be resolved in my lifetime, what matters is the Church considers the excommunication valid), but do you see how it appears to most Trads? Hans Kung is writing books denying perennial doctrines of the Church, yet is still in “communion” with his bishop and he has dinner with the Pope. If I wrote a book defending the teaching of the Council of Trent could I get dinner with the Pope? Fr. McBrien denies similar infallable teachings and attacks authoritative judgments of Vatican dicasteries, and mocks our Blessed Lord on national tv, yet he is still a priest teaching theology at a prestigious Catholic university. The “Che-suits” resist both Paul VI and John Paul II for decades, sometimes openly even in Rome, and they are applauded while the Vatican does nothing. Bishops threaten to go into schism over things like vernacular liturgy and communion in the hand, and then authoritative documents get re-written for the AAS so they won’t appear to be disobedient. But then Lefebvre gets suspended for doing what our Holy Father has just told us was never forbidden, and then excommunicated latae sententiae while the heretics still appear to be in authority. That’s what it looks like, and what many in the SSPX feel over and above other considerations. I would say that Paul VI and JPII were less considered with discipline than they were with pacifying the Spirit of VII hippies who run the chanceries of the world. Otherwise things would have looked very differently during their respective pontificates.

  60. Brian Mershon says:

    Father, you said: “However, I think we have to see something more than ‘Holy Father, you must submit to our demands!,’ before that can and should happen.”

    I would cautiously remind readers of the 2.5 million rosaries sent to the Holy Father by Bishop Bernard Fellay for the intentions of the Holy Father. I would think that goes a long way in showing the concern for the universal Church. I think that making prognostications from interview bytes on the inner intentions of a Catholic bishop is perhaps somewhat unjust.

    My two cents. I think 2.5 million rosaries to the Holy Father mean more to him than interviews I’m certain he doesn’t read.

  61. chris K says:

    JPII (a genuinely prayerful, even holy man) was great at prayer, but horrible at governance. He “excommunicated” Lefebvre (Saint?) because Lefebvre thought the only way to save the Church, which had been put into self-destruct mode, by VII, was to consecrate the Four. This emergency measure was licit under cannon law.

    Huh? He would have been better at “governance” by easily permitting the continuing public flaunting of the real authority of the Church?

    “What description, then, can I find for the men of this generation? What are they like? They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market place:

    ‘We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t cry’

    “For John the Baptist comes, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, ‘He is possessed’. The Son of Man comes, eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’. Yet Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.”

    Some stayed in the upper room under the real pressures of their individual crosses of fear and confusion, awaiting the Holy Spirit, and they were “zapped” with overwhelming gifts, beyond their misgivings and weaknesses. Did the others on the outside, with their human expectations of just how things should be worked out, remain in their disbelief and misery? I wonder. Or were they eventually also “touched” by the charity of those “simple” ones who extended, even to them, those great gifts given to that early Church? Things really haven’t changed that much!

  62. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: This emergency measure was licit under cannon (sic) law.

    I think that’s a matter for the Church to determine. If the Church finally decides that Msgr. Lefebvre’s obstinate disobedience and presumptuousness was justified, then so be it. There has been no such judgment at this time, however.

    Interesting that you bring up Michael Cerularius, who, like Msgr. Lefebvre, was at fault for failure to accept the decisions of the Pope.

    You’re mistaken, by the way, to claim that Pope Paul VI lifted Michael Cerularius’ excommunication. It’s impossible for Rome to lift the excommunication of a dead man, since his case has been remanded to a higher court. What Paul VI rescinded was the Church’s decrees barring communion between the Church and the Eastern Orthodox. Of course, as a practical matter that hasn’t resulted in an end to the de facto state of schism between the Church and the Orthodox: we Catholics can lawfully receive Orthodox communion, if the Orthodox were to permit it. But they don’t permit it, nor do they permit their members to receive Catholic communion. But canonically at least, from our end of things there are no decrees of excommunication between us. As for Michael Cerularius and his excommunication, that’s between him and Jesus — it’s outside the Pope’s jurisdiction. Not even the Pope can presume to declare how Michael has been judged by his Lord, unless God gives affirming witness that he is a saint. (Some have also raised the possibility of the Church rescinding Martin Luther’s excommunication, but the response was, as in this case, the Church is incompetent to do that.)

  63. schoolman says:

    “I would cautiously remind readers of the 2.5 million rosaries sent to the Holy Father by Bishop Bernard Fellay for the intentions of the Holy Father.” (Brian Mershon)

    Brian, that is not really the case. The rosaries were offered for some very specific intentions — rather than for the intentions of teh Holy Father. That struck me as a bit odd at the time. I wondered why the rosaries were not simply offered for the intentions of the Holy Father.

  64. dcs says:

    Tracy Hummel writes:
    Second, without the continuing independence of the SSPX, who knows if we’d even
    have this Motu Proprio.

    On the other hand, if the SSPX had been regularized in 1988 (or 2001, etc.) maybe the Mass would have been liberated then.

  65. Jordan Potter says:

    Athanasius said: But then Lefebvre gets suspended for doing what our Holy Father has just told us was never forbidden,

    When did Pope Benedict XVI issue a law saying a bishop can ordain priests in another bishop’s diocese without that bishop’s permission? Because that’s why he was suspended.

  66. Athanasius says:

    J. Potter,

    Lefebvre was suspended for continuing to say the 1962 Missal without permission under Pope Paul VI. He was excommunicated for consecrating 4 Bishops under JPII. Pope Benedict has just told us that the old Missal was never forbidden and never abrogated, which means the SSPX was suspended for doing what was in fact allowed. I thought I was careful to make the said distinction.

  67. Jordan Potter says:

    Gerard said: Ultimately, it comes down to the principle of double-effect.

    Double-effect doesn’t apply when the action taken is a sin. That would be like saying, “Let us do evil that good may come of it.” The action itself must be good or neutral, though it would have a bad effect. For example, when an embryo implants in a fallopian tube, removal of the fallopian tube is justified under double-effect, so long as the surgery is intended to save the life of the mother. But direct action to kill the embryo is not justifiable under double-effect: you can remove the tube, but not just the embryo, even though it will cause the death of the embryo and the sterilisation (or partial sterilisation) of the mother.

    Ordaining bishops when you have no faculties to ordain anyone, not even a deacon, is an act of disobedience and schism, and schism is unquestionably evil. So Msgr. Lefebvre’s act is not covered under double-effect.

  68. Athanasius says:

    Excuse me, I misread what you said. Lefebvre was given permission to ordain priests directly for the SSPX and incardinate them with the SSPX in 1971. In 1975 Cardinal Villot, a mouthpiece for the French Bishops withdrew the permission and denounced Lefebvre on the grounds that he did not use the new liturgy. Ordaining priests in Bishop’s jurisdiction was a trumped up charge, since he had already received permission for that from Cardinal Wright.

  69. Jordan Potter says:

    Athanasius said: Lefebvre was suspended for continuing to say the 1962 Missal without permission under Pope Paul VI.

    No, he was suspended for ordaining priests without obtaining the local bishop’s permission. Actually it was just his faculty to ordain that was suspended at first, then a short while later he was suspended a divinis after he was given time to reconcile with the Pope regarding his crime but failed to do so. His suspension was because he had become an episcopus vagantus (not sure of the Latin there, sorry).

  70. Patrick T says:

    Perhaps we should dispense with the whole series of arguments about how “much worse things are happening therefore the actions of Lefebvre were valid and justified.” It really doesn’t prove anything at all.

    And to the poster who said there has been no such judgement on whether Lefebvre’s actions were justified: There was a judgement. They were deemed not justified and identified as a schismatic act in the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei.

    Maybe Bishop Fellay should stop sending rosaries to the Pope and ask him for forgiveness instead.

  71. Athanasius says:

    Ordaining Bishops without faculties is not schism. The canonical penalty of schism is not applied to this in Canon Law, either in the 1917 or in the 1983 code. Indeed according to the code it is disobedient, but schism is a separate penalty. However top people in the Vatican continue to claim there is no schism, so why insist on it?

  72. Jordan Potter says:

    Athanasius said: Ordaining priests in Bishop’s jurisdiction was a trumped up charge, since he had already received permission for that from Cardinal Wright.

    Incorrect. Not even bishops who head religious communities or priestly fraternities may ordain priests in a diocese without the bishop’s permission. After the bishop withdrew his permission, only if Msgr. Lefebvre had ordained in Cardinal Wright’s diocese would he have been justified in going ahead with the ordinations.

    SO, the 1988 ordinations were not in contravention of the Pope’s wish, and therefore criminal, but they were by a man who had been suspended a divinis. Pretty serious stuff.

  73. Patrick T says:

    Athanasius,

    Regardless of what canons may or may not apply, his consecrations were a schismatic act because the Supreme Legislator declared them a schismatic act in the motu proprio (which as you know carries the force of canon law)Ecclesia Dei. We don’t really need to look any further in order to make a determination.

  74. chris K says:

    Pope Benedict has just told us that the old Missal was never forbidden and never abrogated, which means the SSPX was suspended for doing what was in fact allowed.

    And so there are many, many individuals throughout Church history treated “unfairly”, “unjustly”, in their various times, but….the saints are those who submitted, under obedience and humility. Don’t be surprised by the fact that we little “worms” might have to suffer injustices in time so that the will of God may eventually be carried out, also in time, due, in some degree, to such humiliations and sacrifices accepted in trust that they would work to the good.

  75. Jordan Potter says:

    Athanasius said: However top people in the Vatican continue to claim there is no schism, so why insist on it?

    There is also no schism between the Church and the Orthodox. Canonically, that is. In fact, materially, there is, but not canonically. What else do you call it when a rouge bishop starts ordaining priests without regard for canon law and the rights of his brother bishops?

  76. Gerard says:

    Patrick T wrote:

    “…his consecrations were a schismatic act because the Supreme Legislator declared them a schismatic act in the motu proprio ”

    One of the interesting comments that I\’ve heard on this is from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos where he stated that it was a “schismatic act” but not “an act of schism.”

    I keep thinking that this is going to be the route that Rome uses to regularize the whole debacle of 1988. It will be treated as \”no one was capable of interpreting what JPII meant and now we\’re issueing a clarification.”

  77. moretben says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre did not act on his own behalf, or because he thought he was being treated “unfairly”. He acted to preserve certain goods of the Church which were being destroyed and laid waste at the time. That is all. This is the historic context – not one man’s “pride”, or willful disobedience (as if “disobedience” had been pursued as a matter of principle), or “taking his ball home” or any other of those unhelpful, unilluminating “old chestnuts”.

    Now, of course conscience has led others in good faith to pursue the same end according to somewhat different lights; whether theirs or his has turned out to be the more fruitful and realistic is certainly open to debate – but the finger-wagging absolutism and ad hominem “old chestnuts” are delivered in utter obliviousness of the genuine historic emergency confronted in those years. I suspect history and the subsequent judgement of the Church will prove kinder to the Archbishop than those armchair canonists who leap to anticipate the verdict of both.

  78. Jordan Potter says:

    Patrick said: And to the poster who said there has been no such judgement on whether Lefebvre’s actions were justified: There was a judgement. They were deemed not justified and identified as a schismatic act in the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei.

    True. I meant that the case has not been reopened and a new judgment issued rescinding the prior one.

  79. Athanasius says:

    We don’t really need to look any further in order to make a determination.

    So the man selected by the late and current Pope to run Ecclesia Dei doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

    lease, accept that I reject the term “ecumenism ad intra”. The Bishops, Priests, and Faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics. It is Archbishop Lefebvre who has undertaken an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated. They are not heretics. I do, however, share St Jerome’s fear that heresy leads to schism and vice versa. The danger of a schism is big, such as a systematic disobedience vis-à-vis the Holy Father or by a denial of his authority. It is after all a service of charity, so that the Priestly Society gains full communion with the Holy Father by acknowledging the sanctity of the new Mass. Source

    I suppose Cardinal Hoyos like me is more Catholic than the Pope? Or could it be that Cardinal Hoyos, who is in a better position to know JPII and Benedict’s position on the matter knows better than you do?

  80. Jordan Potter says:

    Correction: SO, the 1988 ordinations were not in contravention of the Pope’s wish, and therefore criminal, but they were by a man who had been suspended a divinis. Pretty serious stuff.

    Should be:

    So, the 1988 ordinations were not only in contravention of the Pope’s wish, and therefore criminal, but they were by a man who had been suspended a divinis. Pretty serious stuff.

    Moretben: This is the historic context – not one man’s “pride”, or willful disobedience (as if “disobedience” had been pursued as a matter of principle), or “taking his ball home” or any other of those unhelpful, unilluminating “old chestnuts”.

    Does anyone ever pursue disobedience as a matter of principle? Don’t we always justify our disobedience in some way?

    I suspect history and the subsequent judgement of the Church will prove kinder to the Archbishop than those armchair canonists who leap to anticipate the verdict of both.

    It is presumptuous to confidently anticipate that there will ever be a subsequent judgment of the Church in this matter. Maybe there will be, maybe there won’t. But for now the 1988 judgment is the operative instrument here, and it’s not anticipating a verdict to note that a verdict has already been issued.

  81. moretben says:

    Does anyone ever pursue disobedience as a matter of principle? Don’t we always justify our disobedience in some way?

    No-one, probably, except the caricature Lefebvre.

    It is presumptuous to confidently anticipate

    How does “suspect” translate into “confidently anticipate”?

  82. Rodney King says:

    Both sides must make these admissions:

    1. Vatican II was neither correctly interpreted nor correctly implemented, most strikingly in liturgy. And the Mass of Blessed John XXIII is valid and licit.
    2. Vatican II was a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one. It was applying Church teaching in faith and morals to a particular historical situation of a half century ago, less than 20 years after World War II, right in the middle of the Cold War, as the French and British colonial empires were ending, and the sexual revolution and 60s decadence were not in full swing. Not that I’m suggesting the Council’s teachings were wrong.
    3. The SSPX was disobedient. That others were so and weren’t punished doesn’t change this fact.

    Let the rest of us pray for reconciliation.

  83. Athanasius says:

    The fact of the matter is, when I go to Mass under Bishop so and so, I feel more protestant than in my dad’s Church of what’s happening now. When I go to the SSPX, even though they don’t have the best sermons I’ve ever heard, I feel Catholic. It is the same Mass that nourished the Church for more than 1600 years. I have never felt like I was at a Catholic liturgy when present at the Novus Ordo, not even in Latin. It was the Latin Ordo Missae of the Novus Ordo that Cardinal Ottaviani declared to be a departure from the Council of Trent. I know Latin atleast as well as English, neither of which are my first language, and with the exception of certain prayers like the Gloria that ICEL really gets wrong, and a collect here and there, they are basically the same, sometimes worse because the syntax of the New Vulgate is worse than some of the renditions found in the NAB. Is it valid? Yes. Is it Catholic? In the minimal sense possible I suppose. But I will never go to it, not even in Latin, not even if the Pope himself were offering it, because it is put together in the same way as the liturgy of the Church of what’s happening now, the only difference is a valid consecration and a reference to Our Lady, and maybe, I will hear the priest use Eucharistic prayer I. That doesn’t work for me. Neither does the concept that I have to suffer through liturgy. That is an abomination to Jesus Christ just like every clown Mass and guitar choir. The object of the Mass is worshiping God, better to strangle an innovator priest by his rainbow stole than to tolerate an offense to Jesus Christ in the liturgy which He ordained to perpetuate his sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. It is one thing if we talk about persecution in society, it is quite another if we talk about persecution from Church authorities, as the Iconoclast heresy points out. Certainly there was nothing wrong offering the Liturgy without images, but the positive outlawing of the Divine Liturgy with them was ridiculous and contrary to the rights of Catholics to what Tradition has handed down. Better to be in an SSPX Church than in some Church “in communion with the Pope” that is offering a horrendous liturgy, and I’m not even an SSPXer, I used to go to the indult. Unfortunately I also live in So. Cal which limits my options.

  84. moretben says:

    But that doesn’t necessarily justify an act of disobedience.

    What does, then? Is it possible to conceive of any set of circumstances justifying an act of disobedience? Do Catholic theology and canon law anticipate such a possibility? Were necessary criteria present and operative, even if only subjectively, at the time of the act? These are the questions that matter.

    Obedience is an expression of the cardinal virtue of Justice. You seem to be suggesting it’s somewhere above the level of Faith itself.

  85. Athanasius: why in the world didn’t they apply that across the board?

    Friend, I ask myself that all the time, believe me! o{]:¬/

    This might be a partial explanation. 

    I have the experience of a particular bishop who generally hammered into the ground the conservative priests and seminarian who were trying to go by the book, while barely twitching an eyebrow at the antics of the insubordinate bretheren.  Why?  We must factor in the bishop’s own inclinations, of course.  However, I think he was justly harder on the more traditional and conservative men because he knew they would obey.  The dissidents would fight him, even write against him in the newspapers, make a fuss in the parishes against the bishop, throw tantrums, etc.  A moral failing on the part of the bishop? Sure.  However, it might point to something deeper.

    I think that John Paul II found himself faced with a highly fractured Church, on the verge of schism in several directions and regions.  The real threat of schism was on the left, not the right, and that involved far greater numbers.  He had to enact a very careful plan to pull the Church back from the brink of schism in more than one place.  This partially explains why he continued to promote, in some cases, men he knew to be enemies or unreliable in some matters.  He didn’t think it prudent, for the unity of the Church, to fire up the alarm bells on the part of the left, simply by acting like the old Polish pastor he was and dismiss and demote while bringing up men he knew would be better.  He also had to contend with the Curia where the late Paul VI was still in control (and still is today in some offices).  So, John Paul II, convinced one way or another that he would have a long pontificate, played the long-term sceniario: for every couple strange guys, appoint a good one until the biological solution start shifting the episcopate.   Then start appointing two good guys for every strange guy and speed up the  shift, while focusing on certain regions (such as the central states of the USA), until a kind of critical mass is reached.  I think that is what was going on.  So, the late Pope knew he couldn’t simply hammer the heretics, especially early on.  There were decades of slow work and the long play of the biological solution that had to take effect.

    After all these years of patience, the road has been smoothed and paved for the arrival of Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum.  Can you imagine how a Pope like Benedict would have been received by the episcopacy in, say, 1985 had one been elected then?  Remember what the progressivists said about Joseph Ratzinger back then?  How the progressivists would have dealt with Summorum Pontificum?  We see hints in the tactics of some of the aging hippies.  It would not have been pretty.  Frankly, there might have been a schism.  Today, however, I think there was widespread joy that Ratzinger was elected and most reasonable people think Summorum Pontificum is just fine, even it is isn’t of much interest to themselves.

    Does any of this “justify” the treatment of the more traditional element of the Church?  Maybe not.  If I am right , it might help to explain the injustice, however, and help us deal with the spiritual backlash of the “insults” to which Bp. Fellay made reference. 

    Is there an element of the parable of the Prodigal Son here?  Maybe.  You read it again and decide.

  86. Brian Mershon: I would cautiously remind readers of the 2.5 million rosaries sent to the Holy Father by Bishop Bernard Fellay for the intentions of the Holy Father. I would think that goes a long way in showing the concern for the universal Church. I think that making prognostications from interview bytes on the inner intentions of a Catholic bishop is perhaps somewhat unjust.

    You raise a good point.  And that was a dramatic and pious gesture. 

    I would also like to see the bishops themselves do something dramatic, such as ask for an audience with the Holy Father, kiss his foot in the really old traditional manner, and say they were sorry.

    We know that a man like Pope Benedict would never have that, but it would be nice to see it anyway.

    (BTW.. I have a long list of other people who should do that too.  I don’t want to single them out.  And those I have in mind, probably have less respect for the Rosary, that old thing nostalgic old women fiddle with instead of waving or holding hands during “liturgy”.)

     

  87. Jordan Potter says:

    Moretben didn’t.

    Oops. Yeah, that was Athanasius, not you.

    Obedience is an expression of the cardinal virtue of Justice. You seem to be suggesting it’s somewhere above the level of Faith itself.

    On the contrary, St. Peter said, “We must obey God rather than men.”

    Was Msgr. Lefebvre in such a situation? I don’t see any evidence he was. He apparently thought he was, but I’m not convinced he was. When told not to ordain the priests, was it really necessary that he proceed immediately with their illegal ordination? Could he not have attempted a reconciliation first?

  88. Athanasius says:

    After all these years of patience, the road has been smoothed and paved for the arrival of Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum. Can you imagine how a Pope like Benedict would have been received by the episcopacy in, say, 1985 had one been elected then? Remember what the progressivists said about Joseph Ratzinger back then? How the progressivists would have dealt with Summorum Pontificum? We see hints in the tactics of some of the aging hippies. It would not have been pretty. Frankly, there might have been a schism. Today, however, I think there was widespread joy that Ratzinger was elected and most reasonable people think Summorum Pontificum is just fine, even it is isn’t of much interest to themselves.

    Thank you for that explanation. I don’t like it, but you may very well be quite right. That adds to why I don’t like it, I’m more cut in dry let’s have it out, blow up the bad guys celebrate with the good guys; more in line with my simple Italian roots than my English ones. I hate accepting this and that bad thing, in order to achieve this good thing. Yet could we have had the Motu Proprio after subtle indoctrination that it was outlawed for 20 years? Probably not. My attitude is who cares about France, but that is also why I’m not Pope and not a priest chances are.
    I also apologize for my last rant, thinking of the liturgical instability I have endured since becoming Catholic causes me to boil over into bad behavior. I would never strangle a priest by his rainbow stole (though tempting! ;))

  89. Malta says:

    \”the finger-wagging absolutism and ad hominem \’old chestnuts\’ are delivered in utter obliviousness of the genuine historic emergency confronted in those years. I suspect history and the subsequent judgement of the Church will prove kinder to the Archbishop than those armchair canonists who leap to anticipate the verdict of both.\”

    That is too true. I find it odd that there are overnight lovers of the old liturgy who flippantly disregard and judge SSPX. No SSPX no Summorum Pontificum, period. At least give them that little bit of credit.

    Some accuse SSPX of pride; how about suffering? They HAVE suffered being ostracized by the Church they so love. Dante reserves a special place in Hell to those Popes who have unjustly used the keys. A Pope\’s duty is to preserve the deposit of faith and tradition, not to put a wrecking ball to it as Pope Paul VI did.

    SSPX was a response to a true, unprecedented emergency in the Church. They preserved the Traditional Latin Mass; the Eternal Sacrifice. The so-called \”loyal\” sons of the Church, the modernists who are legion in the Church today, are pulling the carpet out from the deposit of faith wherever they can.

    How can we so flippantly judge SSPX when they were and are responding to an extreme emergency? Even a Captain can question the orders of a mad General.

    Our Pope needs to regularize SSPX, and ASAP; they may be the only mettle left in the Church to shore the dam of modernism before it breaks and truly submerges our beloved Church.

  90. Jaime says:

    Please, consider that if Msgr. Lefebvre had not made anything, priests ordination, bishops consecrations, and above all RESISTANCE and DENUNCIATION, we would not have had the “Motu Proprio”.

    He did VERY, VERY Well.

    The Mass is now completely free.

    Msgr. Fellay now stands firm, because he wants the nullification of Vatican II.

    And He does VERY, VERY Well!

    -x-

    Jordan,

    That is not a non sequitur.
    You are right in one point: there are some “apparent” ambiguity in the Bible, better to say “apparent” contradictions, that is why it must be explained by the teaching Magisterium of the Church in the light of the Doctrine received by the apostles from Christ Himself and kept by the Church. The Bible and Tradition are the sources of the same Revelation. The Bible CANNOT be criticized or interpreted, this is Bultmann’s historicism and Luther’s protestantism.

    A dogmatic council is a teaching tool and cannot be interpreted. How can you “interpret” the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Papal infallibility? They have to be obeyed. A council sentence can be explained, but its subjascent meaning is to be believed.

    How can one interpret the “religious liberty” of the Vatican II? In the light of the “anti-religious liberty” of the pré-Vatican II teaching, for example? That only causes confusion, that makes Vatican II useless.

    In Vatican II there is not one single dogmatic sentence, its intent was to be a pastoral council and its ambiguities lead to heretics “interpretations” and not to better “pastoral work”. Why the post-conciliar “interpretations” of Vatican II fail to be in-line with Tradition?Why does the Pope has to call the bishops to do such an “interpretation”? And why most of them do not do it? Do you really think this council is an instrument of God?

    Please, just open your eyes and see. It is simple like that.

    Cardinal Biffi, who has made a parallel between CV2 and the ecumenical council called by the anti-Christ in Soloviev’s book, in his recent book makes hard critics for the council not condemning communism, for example, and because the council had a bad concept of “pastorality”.

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/32418

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/173182?sp=y

    Cardinal Biffi is now over 80.

    -x-

    The Robber Council of Ephesus was declared null by Pope St. Leo.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05495a.htm

    P.S: Sorry for my bad English.

  91. Geoffrey says:

    Wonderful comments, Fr. Z! Thank you!
    The Servant of God, Pope John Paul the Great, knew what he was doing! :-)
    Ioannes Paulus Magnus, ora pro nobis!

  92. Andrew says:

    Usually these kinds of discussions sooner or later annoy me. But this one does not. There is something about it that’s moving: a willingness to ask hard questions and to actually talk about them. And that’s never easy. However, in the end, one still must be cautious: because talk is cheap and people’s intentions are not always honest.

    This is how I look at it: one is not faithful to the Church just because everything “clicks”. To belong to the Church is always an act of faith. That’s how it’s been set up by our Lord. He wouldn’t have given such authority to mortals if He thought it wouldn’t work. I submit to the Church out of obedience to God even though many things about the Church annoy the life out of me. I follow the advice of St. John of the Cross: it is spiritually very unhealthy to busy myself with another man’s conscience. I am busy enough worrying about mine. Too simplistic? Maybe. But it works. And as far as the Council goes, I’d like to see some text that is outright objectionable. Misinterpratable? So is the Bible.

  93. Maia says:

    Please, consider that if Msgr. Lefebvre had not made anything, priests ordination, bishops consecrations, and above all RESISTANCE and DENUNCIATION, we would not have had the “Motu Proprio”.

    He did VERY, VERY Well.

    The Mass is now completely free.

    Msgr. Fellay now stands firm, because he wants the nullification of Vatican II.

    And He does VERY, VERY Well!

    -x-

    Jordan,

    That is not a non sequitur.
    You are right in one point: there are some “apparent” ambiguity in the Bible, better to say “apparent” contradictions, that is why it must be explained by the teaching Magisterium of the Church in the light of the Doctrine received by the apostles from Christ Himself and kept by the Church. The Bible and Tradition are the sources of the same Revelation. The Bible CANNOT be criticized or interpreted, this is Bultmann’s historicism and Luther’s protestantism.

    A dogmatic council is a teaching tool and cannot be interpreted. How can you “interpret” the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Papal infallibility? They have to be obeyed. A council sentence can be explained, but its subjascent meaning is to be believed.

    How can one interpret the “religious liberty” of the Vatican II? In the light of the “anti-religious liberty” of the pré-Vatican II teaching, for example? That only causes confusion, that makes Vatican II useless.

    In Vatican II there is not one single dogmatic sentence, its intent was to be a pastoral council and its ambiguities lead to heretics “interpretations” and not to better “pastoral work”. Why the post-conciliar “interpretations” of Vatican II fail to be in-line with Tradition?Why does the Pope has to call the bishops to do such an “interpretation”? And why most of them do not do it? Do you really think this council is an instrument of God?

    Please, just open your eyes and see. It is simple like that.

    Cardinal Biffi, who has made a parallel between CV2 and the ecumenical council called by the anti-Christ in Soloviev’s book, in his recent book makes hard critics for the council not condemning communism, for example, and because the council had a bad concept of “pastorality”.

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/32418

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/173182?sp=y

    Cardinal Biffi is now over 80.

    -x-

    The Robber Council of Ephesus was declared null by Pope St. Leo.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05495a.htm

    P.S: Sorry for my bad English.

  94. Jason in San Antonio says:

    Fr. Z’s lengthy statement was quite profound. There is a great deal of sense in his “strategery” explanation of the events since 1988.

    I, too, share the Athanasian–the poster, not the Father–curse of “blow up the bad guys and celebrate with the good guys.” It’s a cheerful, impossible image!

  95. Malta says:

    Fr. Z: Ehem…. you might not like Hindus or what they believe, but… so what? I don’t think that it can be denied that people can sincerely seek God in their own ways if through no fault of their own they know nothing adequate about Christ.

    Fr. Z: Frankly, I think this issue of religious liberty need not be a deal breaker for closer unity. I mean that. Think of how the Holy See and someone of the adherents of the late Fr. Feeney worked out an accord over their dispute regarding extra ecclesiam nulla salus issue. This can be done. The first step to to start affirming what can be affirmed easily.

    Fr. Z: I don’t think anyone is going to be forced in any detailed way to submit to precise interpretations of Vatican II documents. Something else will take place. However, in the end, I don’t even think this was, for either Paul VI or John Paul II only a theological or liturigical matter. I think their concern was internal discipline in the Church.

    God bless, Father, for this great blog.

  96. Athanasius says:

    Wonderful comments, Fr. Z! Thank you!
    The Servant of God, Pope John Paul the Great, knew what he was doing! :-)
    Ioannes Paulus Magnus, ora pro nobis!

    Santa Maria!, okay, rather than sidetrack this more than it already has and really irritate Father, please e-mail me and tell my why we should give him such a title, considering the manifest scandals of his papacy which were not necessary to stop schism and the only Popes to have that title practically raised the dead.

    Another winner of the Sour Grapes Award from Fr. Z

  97. Athanasius says:

    Maia,

    Lei é Italiano, no?

    The Robber Council of Ephesus serves a bad comparison simply because it was never approved and promulgated by a Pope, and the Papal legates left shaking the dust from their feet. Vatican II, in spite of its pastoral nature, was still approved and promulgated by Papal authority.

  98. Angelo says:

    Good Catholics:

    Recall your Church History. Saint Athanasius Bishop, Confessor
    & Doctor of the Church, was the victim of every sort of
    calumny & detraction. He was excommunicated no less than
    six times & exiled from his See (Alexandria). God’s Providence
    works through such great bishops, not the least among whom are
    Marcel Lefebvre, Bernard Fellay, Richard Williamson & Bernard
    Tissier.

  99. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: No SSPX no Summorum Pontificum, period. At least give them that little bit of credit.

    As St. Augustine credited Adam and Eve for making possible the Atonement? Was Msgr. Lefebvre’s disobedience a “happy fault”? Perhaps. But that wouldn’t justify it, just as the fact that our parents’ sin made possible the Atonement justifies their sin. Rather, it is the Atonement and the Atonement alone that “justifies” them in the truest sense of the word.

    Maia said: You are right in one point: there are some “apparent” ambiguity in the Bible, better to say “apparent” contradictions, that is why it must be explained by the teaching Magisterium of the Church in the light of the Doctrine received by the apostles from Christ Himself and kept by the Church.

    Contradictions in Holy Writ are apparent, not real, but the ambiguity in Holy Writ is not merely apparent, or else we wouldn’t have much need of a Magisterium — the written Word would be “perspicuous.” But it’s not. St. Peter himself said some things in St. Paul’s epistles are ambiguous, dysnoetos.

    The Bible CANNOT be criticized or interpreted, this is Bultmann’s historicism and Luther’s protestantism.

    I’m afraid your view of an unambiguous Bible that must be accepted uncritically, thoughtlessly, without interpretation (a principle which, if applied consistently, means not even the Magisterium can interpret the Bible), is irreconcilable with the teaching of the Church as found in the great biblical encyclicals of Leo XIII, Benedict XV, and Pius XII. Your view is essentially the classic Protestant one. When we find biblical statements that “all have sinned,” but find Church dogmas that affirm that our Lord and our Lady did not sin, that means interpretation is necessary.

    The same would apply to the teachings of Church councils. If we find one valid council contradicting, or seeming to contradict, another valid council, it calls for interpretation and criticism. The notion that permitting the criticism of conciliar statements is a sign that said council is invalid is a peculiarly un-Catholic one.

    A dogmatic council is a teaching tool and cannot be interpreted. How can you “interpret” the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Papal infallibility?

    For starters, by noting the history of the development of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which many Catholics in history, including saints like Thomas Aquinas, did not believe.

    They have to be obeyed.

    Obedience is not contrary to criticism and interpretation.

    A council sentence can be explained, but its subjascent meaning is to be believed.

    Seems to me like what you call “explanation” many others might call “interpretation.”

    How can one interpret the “religious liberty” of the Vatican II? In the light of the “anti-religious liberty” of the pré-Vatican II teaching, for example?

    Personally I think Father Brian Harrison, Thomas Storck, and David Palm haven’t done too bad a job of interpreting the Church’s teaching on religious liberty. I recommend their treatments of the subject.

    In Vatican II there is not one single dogmatic sentence, its intent was to be a pastoral council and its ambiguities lead to heretics “interpretations” and not to better “pastoral work”.

    Really? Not one single dogmatic sentence? Not even in the dogmatic constitutions Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum? How does the Magisterium pull off the trick of writing two dogmatic constitutions without penning a single dogmatic sentence in them?

    Do you really think this council is an instrument of God?

    Yes. Catholics believe by divine faith that all valid councils are instruments of God.

    Really, are we to believe that a council lawfully convened, ratified, and concluded by the Pope is not an instrument of God, but (as Malta and others says) the disobedience of Msgr. Lefebvre is to be credited as God’s instrument for bringing about the motu proprio. Something seems a little askew in the epistemology and ecclesiology there.

    The Robber Council of Ephesus was declared null by Pope St. Leo.

    The Latrocinium therefore was not a council of the Church. But Vatican II was convened and ratified by the Pope (and bears not the slightest resemblance to the Latrocinium). Therefore it is a valid council of the Church, and the Church has never renounced or rejected a valid council.

  100. Maia says:

    Athanasius,

    Io sono brasiliano.

    Ok, its is not a comparison, but is an example that things sometimes go wrong and new situations arises in the history of the church. This mean we maybe have a bigger problem than Pope St. Leo.

    Ciao!

  101. David2 says:

    Gerard writes:

    “Williamson cares intensely for families. (He offered to find me a wife!)”

    Oy gevalt! I just pictured Bp Williamson singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” in the SSPX production of “Fiddler on the Roof”!

    If “The Sound of Music” is “semi-pornographic”, I guess that my mental image would constitute “hard-core”!

  102. Athanasius says:

    I just pictured Bp Williamson singing “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” in the SSPX production of “Fiddler on the Roof”!

    He has a very light voice, he could pull it off!

    Seriously, I’ve read a lot of his messages and letters, and I find he often has very good arguments and has good things to say. Then he comes off with more controversial statements. I can’t say I agree with him all the time, but he seems to be a very sincere man with a wicked sense of humor.

  103. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    the old saying “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” certainly is applicable to someone named Piers-the-Ploughman and I do know enough not to be a fool. Just a note to thank Fr Z for permitting this discussion and his patience with some of the postings.

  104. LeonG says:

    Words! words! words! So many words spilt over a traditional organisation which has propagated the traditional faith and maintained the inalienable right of all Catholics to hear the Latin Mass in spite of all propaganda to the contrary. The fact is SSPX is there, like it or not. So too are the Neo-Catechumenal Way, Focolare, and the so-called “Charismatics” which were spawned in the wake of the councils. Do these organisations stand for what we aspire to liturgically? These often represent norms and values that can be interpreted as illicit or invalid or disobedient in some way but they continue with near immunity to such “official” condemnations that have been passed on SSPX. In all respects, SSPX appears far more in The Church than the movements mentioned above.

    I am not part of the fraternity and have to record, SSPX has placed its weight behind liturgical and doctrinal tradition and its influence has been & continues to be considerable. As to those excommunications and the validity of its orders and Masses alluded to by its enemies, so many modern catholics conveniently ignore what has been stated publicly by such as Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos on the matter. Moreover, and usually forgotten, it has offered a safe harbour to faithful Catholics who have been harshly dealt with & severely judged during the post-conciliar aftermath. I have many testimonials to this effect and I have seen and heard myself over the years.

    The documentary evidence from Vatican II is objectively replete with ambiguities that at once appear Catholic but are also amiable to progressivist tendencies. We know fully the sources of these equivocations. They are mostly un-Catholic since we have the authoritative written statements of church patriarchs to be able to recognise them for what they are. Their fruit is what we can objectively behold now – for example, collegiality that has frozen the true nature of Catholic hierarchical leadership; religious liberty which allows the likes of animism to place itself on the same qualitative level as Roman Catholicism and ecumenism which has reduced the mainstream liturgy of the modern church which is all too frequently protestant in its flavour to an unprecedented level of disunity within the church. Such a council has generated the myth of some nebulous “spirit” which is tantamount to an invisible hand which is allegedly guiding the church toward some pantheistic nirvana, according to its chief proponents. Declining numbers of Sunday attendees and closing seminaries and vocational retrenchment are the order of the day.

    As Professor Amerio states, words no longer have their true sense of meaning in the modern church. True, the so-called “springtime” demonstrates all the attributes of winter; modernist Bible exegetes claim only the Jesus of faith, of sentiment, of inner individual consciousness lives and the early church and subsequent ecclesiastical development represented several paradigm shifts away from the teachings of The Christ; clerics and bishops often sponsor unthinkable non-Catholic activities such as homosexuality and abortion, a female priesthood and blatantly false scriptural interpretations; Our Blessed Lord is the only way to salvation and he is not the only way to salvation, at one and the same time.

    Qualitatively and quantitatively we can demonstrate The Roman Catholic Church was at a zenith from the perspective of many leading indicators before the Vatican Councils II occurred. From that point onwards there is only decline. The impact of this is now being acutely felt.

    For those who cry without stint that accepting the council and its decisions is a matter of principle is to ignore the harsher actualities of the real world. This stance is far too doctrinaire. Therein lies the massive canyon separating two distinct perceptions of the councils one of which is subjective based on principles which often lack Catholic precision and the other objective which is manifested in its disastrous outcome, well-documented over the last 40 years. In order to attempt to reconcile all the disparate elements of conciliar outcome there is an imperative need to revise.

    Ambiguities there are; confusion there is; “springtime” it is not. The consequent pastoral orientation arising from the pastoral Councils must be revised – with or without SSPX.

  105. Saints Matthew and Paul says:

    …demands not only a “correct interpretation” of Vatican II, but that the Council documents actually be changed. [Right. That’s gonna happen.

    Okay let’s not change the documents….can’t we just let Vatican II die a natural death? Why this constant effort to keep this Conciliar corpse on life support?

    Even from a purely naturalist perspective, this “pastoral” council is as outmoded as the Beehive hairdo. The world of 1965 is long gone, as so is the irresponsibly-naive optimism of that age.

    Pope Benedict himself commented years ago that there were some Ecumenical Councils that were a “complete waste of time” with no lasting legacy. There are 21 of them…come on…name them all off the top of your heads now!!

    And it goes further, certain documents like Gaudiam et Spes, did untold destruction to religious houses, seminaries and lay formation. The Pope even commented years ago that Section XVII of GS is “pure Pelagianism”.
    Heck, it was drafted by Arch Heretics like Hans Kung and Cardinal Suenens. What did we expect?

    Why is it so hard for the Pope to do a John XXIII and say V2 is “not for this time”…or better yet just let it die under the weight of its own “error”. It can be relegated to the past, like Constantinople II or the Council of Vienne.

    Since it is merely “pastoral” this is easy to do. No one needs to believe things like this golden nuggett to get to heaven:

    May the faithful, therefore, live in very close union with the other men of their time and may they strive to understand perfectly their way of thinking and judging, as expressed in their culture. Let them blend new sciences and theories and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and the teaching of Christian doctrine, so that their religious culture and morality may keep pace with scientific knowledge and with the constantly progressing technology. Thus they will be able to interpret and evaluate all things in a truly Christian spirit.

  106. chris K says:

    Is there an element of the parable of the Prodigal Son here? Maybe. You read it again and decide.

    Of course. Since both sons were in it for themselves. It was only the Father who was genuinely generous, all the while knowing the disingenuous qualities of His sons, on both sides!

    Fr. Z you gave a great interpretation of the actions of the Spirit within the necessary personalities of these chosen men for our popes.

    Please, consider that if Msgr. Lefebvre had not made anything, priests ordination, bishops consecrations, and above all RESISTANCE and DENUNCIATION, we would not have had the “Motu Proprio”.

    Puleeze. And so the many strong statements in writing as well as in public interviews by Cardinal Ratzinger were only going to go forth into action IF some very weird circumstances pushed him into it??? Like all the other bold actions and statements he’s made thus far in his pontificate? I often wonder if the ultra reactionaries haven’t made it even harder for, or at least delayed the Holy Spirit from acting earlier since they helped to tie TLM to what many of the NO conformed now see as extremists!

  107. chris K says:

    Is there an element of the parable of the Prodigal Son here? Maybe. You read it again and decide.

    P.S. Yes, but probably not in the interpretation expected. Rather, here we have the cries of the “good boy” son. “Look at all I’ve suffered and how good I’ve been as far as all the rules go, etc.”. But the prodigal fellow appears to be represented by those who went, shall we say, “hog” wild with what they believed to be their rightful inheritance of all that was interpreted badly and without the patience or experience to guide themselves maturely before squandering the riches of their own proud traditions. In the end, the two will probably rub off on one another, due more to necessity than real meaningful response to the Father’s will. And hasn’t it been ever so.

  108. Mike Williams says:

    It’s a favorite canard of those defending Lefebvre’s disobedience to state that without his defiance we’d have had no indult, and now no motu proprio. But this is not so clear.

    If he and his adherents had remained faithful advocates for their position without rejecting the authority of the Holy Father(s), they could have become the bulwatk within the Church against abuse of the liturgy. They might have been tireless advocates who could not be overlooked because they were operating in fidelity to the Vicar of Christ on Earth. But instead they withdrew into an isolated irrelevance, removing from the Church many who would have been voices in the movement to restore access to the old rite. There is no way to know what might have been accomplished, and how much offense and injury to the Church might have been avoided, had they remained loyal servants of the Church.

    But they didn’t. So the claim that we should be grateful to them for their intransigence has no weight, it’s as insubstantial as any unsupportable historic speculations.

  109. Stu says:

    I sometimes think we lose focus on this whole issue when make statements that were it not for the SSPX we would not have the Motu Proprio and other such conclusions. Upon hearing this recently from and individual, I remarked that I believe it would have happened anyway (as well as other good things down the road) because of our faith in God and God does hear our prayers. He immediately remarked, “Faith in God has nothing to do with it” and then continued with his diatribe without missing a beat. I was dumbstruck.

    I do hope and pray for a true reconciliation.

  110. Maia says:

    Chris K,

    Puleeze, don’t sit and wait the action of the Holy Spirit. God wants men’s actions.
    Fight!

  111. Jordan Potter says:

    Saints Matthew and Paul said: There are 21 of them…come on…name them all off the top of your heads now!!

    Not necessarily in order:

    Nicaea I, Constantinople I, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Constantinople III, Nicaea II, . . . . er, uh, okay, there were Lyons I & II, if I remember right, and Lateran I through IV, and of course Vienne (truly a failed council), Florence, Trent, and Vatican I & II.

    Okay, that’s 18 off the top of my head. I forget the other three — one of them was in the reign of Nicholas I, but I just can’t remember where it was held. In Germany territory?

    Why is it so hard for the Pope to do a John XXIII and say V2 is “not for this time”…or better yet just let it die under the weight of its own “error”. It can be relegated to the past, like Constantinople II or the Council of Vienne.

    Neither of those councils was relegated to the past for quite some time (the bad consequences of Vienne, for instance, led in short order to the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, which led to the Great Schism of the West.) “Letting V2 die under the weight of its (alleged) error” is easy to say, but in reality that would take a long time and be a very difficult thing to do. And it won’t happen without at least one or two more oecumenical councils (for only acts comparable in authority and magnitude could suffice to “undo” what V2 called for), which are themselves major affairs and not at all easy to pull off.

  112. Malta says:

    Fr. Z

    Somehow your comments were posted, supra, but my replies were deleted. With respect to Hindus: I do not hate Hindus; to do so would be a grave offense against God, the inherent dignity of the human person, and the fact that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. I do think that VII is too flippant when it says that Hindus are on a “trusting flight towards God.” My point wasn’t to disparage Hindus, who are lost pagans, but to disparage the crazy liberality of Vatican II.

    Now, I want to address this comment:
    “Do you really think this council is an instrument of God?
    Yes. Catholics believe by divine faith that all valid councils are instruments of God.”

    NO, not all Catholics believe every valid council is necessarily an “instrument of God,” that would place a council on the same level as scripture, which it is not.

    Let’s take some examples from the 21 “valid” councils (never mind the plethora of “invalid councils”):

    The 12th council, titled, “Fourth Lateran Council,” declared that muslims and jews must wear distinctive dress. Obviously, we don’t follow those precepts anymore.

    The 15th council, titled, Council of Vienne, condemned the Knights Templar, and said that the Franciscans needed to be even stricter in the observation of poverty. This is passé now: the Knights have been exonerated, and the Franciscans have always been heralded for their poverty (though now are sometimes too charismatic, especially in Medjugorje.)

    The 18th council, titled, Fifth Lateran Council declared invalid the council of Pisa (1409) (hopefully we will get a similar correction to the Pastoral Council, Vatican II).

    The 21st council, titled, Second Vatican Council, “An exception in the history of ecumenical councils, this council was not called to combat error or to deal with disciplinary problems. It was convoked by Pope John XXIII to update the Church and to open it up to the modern world.” (Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Richard Mcbrien, Editor, Harper Collins, 1995, pg. 454.)

    Obviously, not all councils deserve our unconditional respect as Sacred Scripture does. Circumstances change in the world. I might dare say that VII is passé in the 21st century. We are no longer in the grooving 60’s. Time to move on, folks. VII was valid, but is now passé, in our new, modern, world. The old is now new again. The traditional mass in now cool; whereas the New Ordo is old school. Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote that nature is ever old but ever new; so, too, with the traditional Latin mass, and the traditional deposit of faith. The humbugs who tried to destroy the deposit of faith in the hopes of aggriomento are now, ironically, the passé remnant of a failed experiment (and experiment, which, by the way, unwittingly persecuted many humble, holy sould.)

    God rest their souls; and long live Pope Benedict XVI!!

  113. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: NO, not all Catholics believe every valid council is necessarily an “instrument of God,”

    Yes, and not all Catholics believe that contraception is a sin, or that the Eucharist is Jesus, or that Jesus is God. What’s your point?

    The faith of the Church regarding valid councils is summarised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 884, 891-892. There’s no doubt that the faith of the Church is that every valid council is an instrument of God, that the Holy Spirit guides and protects, and works in and through, every valid council.

    that would place a council on the same level as scripture, which it is not.

    And is the Pope on the same level as Scripture when he teaches ex cathedra?

    The 12th council, titled, “Fourth Lateran Council,” declared that muslims and jews must wear distinctive dress. Obviously, we don’t follow those precepts anymore.

    Yes, matters of discipline such as these are reformable. Not everything a valid council does is a matter of binding dogma or doctrine, even though everything a valid council does is bindingly authoritative for all Catholics.

    The 18th council, titled, Fifth Lateran Council

    Aha! There were five Lateran Councils, not just four. Okay, that means I’ve only forgotten two of them. . . .

    declared invalid the council of Pisa (1409) (hopefully we will get a similar correction to the Pastoral Council, Vatican II).

    A few points:

    All valid councils are pastoral councils.

    The illegal Council of Pisa was obviously invalid, since it was not convoked, ratified, and closed by a lawful Pope. Vatican II, however, was convoked, ratified, and closed by Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI.

    There is absolutely no chance that the Church will ever declare Vatican II to be an invalid council.

    The 21st council, titled, Second Vatican Council, “An exception in the history of ecumenical councils, this council was not called to combat error or to deal with disciplinary problems. It was convoked by Pope John XXIII to update the Church and to open it up to the modern world.” (Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Richard McBrien, Editor, Harper Collins, 1995, pg. 454.)

    Well, I couldn’t care less what Father McBrien thinks about anything, but at least what he says here is right.

    I might dare say that VII is passé in the 21st century. We are no longer in the grooving 60’s. Time to move on, folks.

    You may be right.

  114. danphunter1 says:

    OK Jordan,
    Since Vatican II the Church is stronger than she has ever been.
    There are more orthodox priests now than ever before.
    There are more orthodox nuns now than ever before.
    There are more orthodox seminaries and convents than ever before.
    There are more orthodox Catholic schools than ever before.
    There is more belief in and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament than ever before.
    There are more people going to confession than ever before.
    There are more infant baptism’s than ever before.
    There are more people assisting at Holy Mass than ever before.
    Just to name a few things that have improved since the Second Vatican Council.
    Yes this is what the Holy Ghost intended for the Church, since the Holy Ghost inspired it
    Oh, and the hymns are better than they have ever been.
    Gregorian Chant is used more than ever before.
    God bless you.

  115. Saints Matthew and Paul says:

    I think that turns people like me off Vatican II, is the fact that during an era when
    the “dictatorship of relativism” gripped the Church, most dissenting factions
    held to obedience to Vatican II in a fundamentalist fashion, all the while
    exaggerating it to suit whatever pet cause they were drumming up. The documents
    themselves, being vague and somewhat esoteric, when quoted out of context often proved
    benefitted these people.

    On the other hand, the mainstream Church, that is people loyal to the Pope
    and trying to live the faith, had witnessed so many changes, that they
    were often powerless to stop the dissenting damage. In reaction to the
    chaos around them, they adopted a form of Council-olatry of their own, bascially
    elevating it to the status of a 5th Gospel which could do no wrong and was
    the only salvation of mankind. In this view, the Council was only being “misinterpreted”. The problem and had yet to be implemented. The problem was that 99% of this group,
    clergy included, were as woefully ignorant of the actual content of Vatican II, as
    as were the dissenters.

    The general situation, was that a legend was born concerning Church councils,
    that greatly distorted their actual value and role in Church history.
    My favourite is that councils all “produce” chaos, and Vatican II is no exception
    …we just have to be patient ect, ect. This is patently false, as the most
    successful councils, like Trent, were reactions to a pre-existing chaos.
    Yes, the chaos remained after the Council, but the council was the “instrument
    of God” which turned the situation around. Vatican II is in the class
    of bad councils which created chaos instead of remedying it.

    The most shocking indictment on Vatican II came from the words of my former
    Bishop over lunch…”the Church’s teaching was much CLEARER before the Council”.
    This sums the issue up in a nutshell. Instrument of God?

    Problems stemming directly from the Council and amplified by the Council:

    1. Bringing psychology and even worse, sociology, as tools for spiritual
    development. They literally cleared out the monasteries by making
    people sit in front of Carl Rogers-type secular psychologists
    who told them they should “actualize” their personhood. This is mandated
    by Guadiam et Spes itself.

    2. Ecumenism – the resume of all relativism. Despite what people think,
    Vatican II ecumenism is not about bringing people into the Church.
    The Decree specifically states that ecumenism- which it never defines,
    is NOT about evangelization. Again, what is its use? We cozied to the
    liberal protestants, who flooded the RCC with all kinds of bad teaching.
    All this happened to foster “dialouge” and implies deficiency in RCC
    Tradition.

    3. Bishops conferences – enabling Bishops to abandon their personal responsibility
    to their sheep, by hiding behind the decisions of these “anonymous” bodies.
    Winnpeg Statement in Canada is a classic example.

    4. Aggiornamento outlined by John XXIII in his opening address- by which
    “pastoral” means no longer defining truth or condeming error.
    A philosophy which by itself turned the RCC into a completely dysfunctional
    body. We would not have people like Mcbrien and Kung running around if it
    were not for Aggiornamento and Vatican II’s own definition of what it
    means to be “pastoral” which protects and enables these types.

    5. Secular democracy as the de facto ideal society. No room for Christ in the
    State. The Church is in reality placed under the state instead of above
    it, and coupled with point #4 enables countless Catholic politicians
    to claim that “my personal belief is A but my social obligation means
    approving B” without any fear of reprimand.

    6. Guadiam et Spes, telling Catholics that clergy do not have all the answers
    and that the laity should think for themselves and play their own role in
    “blending” modern science with Christian morality. This directly leads
    to an enviroment where 85% of Catholics publicly disagree with teaching
    x,y,z because the modern media, (and an army of clerics) backed by
    “science” tells them to. A good person to ask what this means in
    GS is Hans Kung – he wrote it! Also the Catholic must strive to understand
    perfectly modern man. This “openness” to the world, effectively replaces
    the Holy Spirit with the Zeitgeist in guiding the Catholic conscience.

    7. Sacrosanctam Concilium – which opened the door to countless innovations.
    This coupled with point #2 and #6 directly lead to the protestanization of
    Catholic liturgy and theology around the world.

    Need I go on?

  116. chris K says:

    Maia,

    Puleeze, don’t sit and wait the action of the Holy Spirit. God wants men’s actions.
    Fight!

    Thanks for your magical divining of my life style! I do my part, thank you very much. And while doing it I’m learning to not posit the Holy Spirit as something separate from my own actions…”fight”??? Rather I often tremble at the thought that my actions just might not be all that correctly informed…that, from learning the hard way. The trouble is, oft times we tend to step out in front of the Holy Spirit while at the same time actually believing we’re somehow authorized to substitute for Him over and beyond the legitimate authority of the Church. I thank God for those who have a little more patience for His time. You know what they say about those too many cooks!

  117. Mark Jacobson says:

    Fellay’s comment about not wanting to be insulted was a bit tongue-in-cheek… what he was really saying was that the disobedience of the entrenched liberal bishops far exceeds anything the SSPX is guilty of, and to return to full regular status in this situation would be to condone what is going on and to be subject to its vagaries. I’m sure the SSPX fully integrated would not be insulted any more than it is now. The Church needs to be healed of its Modernist and Liberal drift, and true obedience to the Faith defined and taught. To reduce obedience to the Pope simply to the ordination (or not) of bishops is to ignore the blatant and continual disobedience of so many bishops throughout the world, who by their actions and teachings are leading souls to Hell. SSPX ordinations were done as an emergency measure to protect the Faith and save souls. The Church has stated that the SSPX is NOT in schism. They are NOT outside the Church.

  118. Bernard says:

    Vatican II allowed the modernists to surface, show their hand and do their worst. Done. Time to move on.

  119. Mark: Fellay’s comment about not wanting to be insulted was a bit tongue-in-cheek…

    I don’t think so. I think he meant that as it is.

  120. Thaliarch says:

    “If Fellay can speak about ‘reentering’ then that suggests he thinks they are ‘outside’ the Church in some way.” Not necessarily, but Catholics like him consider modernists to be “outside the Church.”
    “…just to be insulted by these people…” He’s right. Liberal prelates hate and fear the SSPX and other traditionalists for what they stand for.
    “…does he think that he is the one with the charism in the Church to decided how the documents of Councils should be changed?” Not at all, but he seems to support open, Vatican-sponsored debate between liberal and traditional theologians.
    “…he left many people still in the Church to carry out a long and difficult task of promoting from within the Church the older form of Mass and the spirituality that flows from it.” Without the SSPX as the organized mouthpiece for the loyal opposition, there would have been no force behind “promoting from within the Church the older form of Mass and the spirituality that flows from it” for the past forty-plus years. My impression is that the SSPX and its followers continue to grow in numbers.
    “They are the people who truly endured the insults.” C’mon. We all endured insults at one time or other for our traditional Catholic views.
    “…the Roman Pontiff must correct Council documents, then I wonder if they really have any serious desire to ‘reenter the Church’.” Vatican II documents must be critically examined by “outside the Church” and reputedly “inside the Church” theologians who have different takes on Vatican II (Read: We must eradicate modernist statements in these documents if they exist.)

  121. Maureen says:

    It is only with utmost incredulity one can react to Father Z’s assertion that the SSPX has had little impact on the restoration of the Tridentine Mass to the faithful, that indeed it is the people “inside” the Church who successfully “promoted the older form of the Mass and spirit that flows from it.” The facts of history clearly show that absent the SSPX and the unapproved consecrations, there never would have been an indult to serve as a comfy alternative. It is beyond shameful for the Johnny-come-latelies like Fr. Z to accrue to themselves the merit of battles hard-fought by others who were truly vilified, and continue to be vilified, by the likes of the Wanderer, CUF, and himself. “They are the people who truly endured the insults” -indeed not, until they are themselves labelled schismatics over the course of decades!

  122. Domine Non Sum Dignus says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf:

    I still believe you would provide a great service by interviewing Bishop Fellay in English and I have a said a prayer to Our Virgin Mother that this happen if it be the will of Our Blessed Saviour and for the good of His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  123. Maia says:

    I would like to add to Maurren excellent commentary, that without Msgr Lefebvre and Dom Castro Meyer, today there were not almost one single catholic faithful demanding for the Traditional Latin Mass.

  124. I am not Spartaqcus says:

    Also, from the same Brian Mershon interview, we can see the evolution in SSPX thought relative to Vatican II. It would seem that initially Archbishop Lefebvre held to the possibility of its positive and correct interpretation

    Well, that was kind of Mons. Lefebvre seeing as how he signed every single one of the Vatican Two Documents – including the ones he and the sspx repudiated.

    As an aside, does it make any logical sense for a Bishop to run around pontificating the very Documents he signed as a participant in an Ecumenical Council really are heretical?

    So, was he a heretic when he signed the Documents? I mean, this does all get a little confusing, no?

    The SSPX is always demanding the Vatican do this and that before they grace us with their return.

    Before he deigns to rejoin us…..

    I’d like Fellay to repudiate his public statement the Normative Mass is intrinsically evil.

    I’d like the SSPX to repudiate its “doctrine” the Jews as a race are cursed.

    I’d like the SSPX to repudiate its idea the Second Vatican Council is not binding.

    As Bishop Fellay wrote…

    In January, Cardinal Castrillon had incorrectly written that with some conditions I would accept Vatican II. Since I wanted him to know exactly what I think about the Council, I handed him Catholicism and Modernity, a booklet in French by Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau in which he studies the Council and shows how
    the spirit of the Council is radically opposed to Catholicism. It is, we may say, a total demolition of the Council.

  125. Domine non sum dignus: Maybe it’ll happen. Maybe not. I don’t have any contact information for him, in any event.

  126. I am not Spartaqcus says:

    On this thread there are not a few who succor the sspx schism.

    I would like them to logically explain the position of the SSPX which publicly repudiates the Vatican Two Documents signed by the very Bishop who started the SSPX.

    Because the Documents of Vatican Two did not change after he signed them, it can only be possible that Mons Lefebvre changed his mind after he signed the Documents and after the Council was over.

    So, was Mons. Lefebvre orthodox when he signed the Documents of Vatican Two or was he a heretical Bishop participating and voting in an Ecumenical Council?

    Or, was he so mentally unstable as to be free of virtually all culpability for actions he engaged in after the Council?

    It seems to me those who succor the sspx schism do so in opposition to the Divinely-constituted Magisterium.

    If there are any examples from Ecclesiastical Tradition which teach us that a participating and voting Bishop in an Ecumenical Council can later repudiate his votes, cease obeying the Pope, and start his own petit ecclesia as a way to “preserve” Tradition then please post it for all of us to read for our own selves.

  127. Paul Haley says:

    Vatican II avoided declaring anything of a doctrinal nature according to Pope Paul VI so why is there all this furor over the documents and whether the SSPX will accept them? To me it is the interpretation one places on the documents that is critical and if they can be interpreted in accord with Tradition, then let us know how this can be accomplished and be done with it. If it cannot be done, then this is another matter entirely but I doubt that this is the case.

  128. Jordan Potter says:

    Danphunter said: OK Jordan, Since Vatican II the Church is . . .

    Well, Dan, I think it would help matters here if your comments were related in some way to something I’ve said in this thread.

    In any case, you need to do better than post hoc arguments if it is your intention to establish that Vatican II is not a valid council guided by (not “inspired by”) the Holy Spirit.

  129. danphunter1 says:

    Jordan,
    Of course the Council was valid. So was Costantinople II.
    Validity does not presuppose orthodoxy. And there was not a lot of right thought put into the sixteen documents.
    Ask yourself one question: Did the Holy Ghost, “guide” the Church into the gigantic dropoff in right belief that we saw in its wake?
    God bless you.

  130. Malta says:

    Paul,

    There is plenty in VII that does not comport with tradition. Read Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors, and compare it, for instance. VII was a pastoral meeting of Bishops cloaked as a dogmatic council; this is why it has caused so much rupture in the Church. Though Lefebvre signed the documents, he soon saw the the destruction being wrought in the spirit of VII. Syncretism and the loss of Catholic identity are rampant in the Church today. Relativism and an attitude of militaristic individuality are the hallmarks of the new-catholic. Submission to the teaching authority of the Church has been obliterated in the hearts of most Catholics; now we pick and choose the dogmas and the moral precepts that we like, and discard the rest.

    Ironically, members of SSPX, I’ve noticed, have great respect for the moral teachings of the Church and its priests. Say what you will, but SSPX is more authentically catholic than the majority of parishes in the world today. Because they refused to shed 2,000 years of tradition, and cloak themselves with the new understanding created by VII, makes them the guardians of the deposit of faith where the likes of Paul VI shirked his duties.

  131. LeonG says:

    Validity is not the question. The question is what has been the actual outcome of the pastoral (not dogmatic) councils? There are many criteria by which we may suggest a disaster has resulted. This can be objectively quantified and qualitatively described. Therefore, if we carry on along the same lines, The Church is heading for the exit. There exists no reason for persisting with the post-conciliar process. It has to be revised. It is not a question of papal infallibility or immutable divine laws. Reality and practicality beckon – in another ten to fifteen years there will be half the priests we have now left in The Church. Church attendance in most western countries is so appalling that modern catholicism is going to be practically obsolete in many of them. Latin America will be called the protestant continent within the next generation. That will do for the moment.

    We will have to leave the validity arguments for The Church for the generations to come. Argue all you like about validity and licitness, the actual outcome is one of fundamental divisions, doctrinal confusion, liturgical chaos and formal & informal disobedience en masse.

  132. moretben says:

    Comment by I am not Spartaqcus — 1 November 2007 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’d like Fellay to repudiate his public statement the Normative Mass is intrinsically evil.

    I’d like the SSPX to repudiate its “doctrine” the Jews as a race are cursed.

    I’d like the SSPX to repudiate its idea the Second Vatican Council is not binding.

    What your second point implies is absolutely false, and you should retract it.

    Catholics are bound to believe that VII was a validly convoked, legitimate Council of the Church. They are bound to the Deposit of Faith. They are not “bound” to pastoral orientations or contingent strategies. Vatican II defined nothing binding which was not binding before. We are not bound to its “spirit”. We are bound to interpret its letter according to a hermeneutic of continuity, and ifwe can’t see how that can be done, we are bound to request authoritative clarifications in line with tradition.

  133. Legisperitus says:

    Catholics are bound to believe that VII was a validly convoked, legitimate Council of the Church.

    Not “bound” in a sense of dogmatic belief, since the proposition is simply one of contingent historical fact. But I would certainly say “bound” by reason and common sense in light of everything we know.

  134. I am not Spartaqcus says:

    I’d like the SSPX to repudiate its “doctrine” the Jews as a race are cursed.

    What your second point implies is absolutely false, and you should retract it.

    Here is the mouthpiece of the SSPX, The Angelus.

    http://www.sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/jews_guilty_of_deicide.htm

    The SSPX teaches the Jews as a race are cursed.

    Let me ask you a question. Do you personally believe this of the Jews you know…

    This curse is the punishment of blindness to the things of God and eternity, of deafness to the call of conscience and to the love of good and hatred of evil which is the basis of all moral life, of spiritual paralysis, of total preoccupation with an earthly kingdom.

    That is the evil racist blather the SSPX teaches. If you believe it, pray the Holy Spirit enlightens you, repent,and get to Confession a.s.a.p. That the SSPX teaches the Jews as a race are cursed is an ugly heresy worthy of Calvinism. God does NOT curse an entire race for Lord’s sake.

    Forget about Theology, is there any common sense inside the SSPX?

  135. I am not Spartacus says:

    The SSPX leads countless souls into error via their errors.

    Card Ratzinger; “I mention this strange opposition between the Passover and sacrifice, because it represents the architectonic principle of a book recently published by the Society of St. Pius X, claiming that a dogmatic rupture exists between the new liturgy of Paul VI and the preceding catholic liturgical tradition. This rupture is seen precisely in the fact that everything is interpreted henceforth on the basis of the “paschal mystery,” instead of the redeeming sacrifice of expiation of Christ; the category of the paschal mystery
    is said to be the heart of the liturgical reform, and it is precisely that which appears to be the proof of the rupture with the classical doctrine of the Church. It is clear that there are authors who lay themselves open to such a misunderstanding; but that it is a misunderstanding is completely evident
    for those who look more closely.
    In reality, the term “paschal mystery” clearly refers to the realities which took place in the days following Holy Thursday up until the morning of Easter Sunday: the Last Supper as the anticipation of the Cross, the drama of Golgotha and the Lord’s Resurrection. In the
    expression “paschal mystery” these happenings are seen synthetically as a single,united event, as “the work of Christ,” as we heard the Council say at the beginning, which took place historically and at the same time transcends that precise point in time. As this event is, inwardly, an act of worship rendered
    to God, it could become divine worship, and in that way be present to all times. The paschal theology of the New Testament, upon which we have cast a quick glance, gives us to understand precisely this: the seemingly profane episode
    of the Crucifixion of Christ is a sacrifice of expiation, a saving act of the reconciling love of God made man. The theology of the Passover is a theology of the redemption, a liturgy of expiatory sacrifice. The Shepherd has become a Lamb. The vision of the lamb, which appears in the story of Isaac, the
    lamb which gets entangled in the undergrowth and ransoms the son, has become a reality; the Lord became a Lamb; He allows Himself to be bound and sacrificed, to deliver us. …

  136. John Paul Borberg says:

    Let’s face it, just after Vatican II things started to go funny, resulting in today’s mess. There was a widespread corruption of the faith, and many people stopped practicing. The Archbishop did what he thought was best at the time, and as a result thousands of people have been taught what the Church has always taught.

    The Good Lord said we would know the shepherds from the wolves because of their fruit.

    I’m an uneducated layman, I don’t know enough to theology and canon law to decide whose right. I just know that if I trusted the local bishop I wouldn’t be a Catholic anymore, just like everyone who came through school with me.

    Who’s fruit should I have taken?

  137. I am not Spartacus says:

    Luther at the Diet of Worms: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

    And the SSPX and those who succor it differ from Luther how?

    Now, I have no intention of posting anything else. I just want to write that I am not fooled by the SSPX. What it teaches as its doctrine is flat out heresy. It clearly does not understand what the mass is all about and functionally it acts no differently than did Luther at Worms.

  138. Legisperitus says:

    The article linked by Spartaqcus at 5:14, if you read the whole thing, explicitly repudiates any race-based antipathy, which it rightly denounces as antisemitism. It speaks of “the Jewish people” as those who reject Christ– which is a function of belief, not of race.

  139. Malta says:

    Spartacus,

    To constitute heresy, one must deny a dogma of the Church. The modernists within the Church are the experts at that, not SSPX.

    Samuel Johnson said the last refuge of scoundrels is patriotism; there are some that are so enraptured with every utterance of every Pope and counsel, that they fail to use common sense.

    Anti-semitism is a grave, horrific, evil. A prior valid counsel said that Jewish people have to wear distinctive dress, how is it “heresy” to disagree with this? So too, there are positions taken by VII that one can legitimately disagree with. That is not heresy.

    Your ad hominem attacks against SSPX by claiming they are anti-semitic do not address the underlying issue of why they exist in the first place. Your attacks are no better than Hillary calling Guiliani ugly without addressing his positions. The link you post represents the view of one man (I think I know who it is), not the SSPX in general. Fellay certainly did not write that.

    Luther is right Popes and councils have contradicted each other. No one ever said either is infallible, unless the former speaks ex cathedra, or the latter specifically sets out to define dogma or fight error (which VII did not do.)

  140. moretben says:

    Spartacus said:
    The SSPX teaches the Jews as a race are cursed.

    The article you linked to says precisely the opposite!

    “However, in what does that curse consist. Surely it cannot be that there is a collective guilt of the Jewish race for the sin of deicide. For only those individuals are responsible for the sin who knowingly and willingly brought it about. Jews of today are manifestly not responsible for that sin…

    …It is indeed very sad that the post-Conciliar Church has forgotten the elementary distinction described by Father Fahey, namely between opposition to Jewish Naturalism and hostility to the race.”

  141. Jordan Potter says:

    Danphunter said: Of course the Council was valid. So was Costantinople II.
    Validity does not presuppose orthodoxy.

    I’m curious: which of the doctrinal declarations and anathemas of Constantinople II are not orthodox? Granted, the council was rather a mess, but looking at its formal teachings and decisions, I see nothing heterodox.

    Ask yourself one question: Did the Holy Ghost, “guide” the Church into the gigantic dropoff in right belief that we saw in its wake?

    Of course not. The guidance of the Holy Spirit prevents a council from formally teaching and binding heresy — but the Holy Spirit never leads Catholics to ignore or reject the Catholic faith or the binding teachings and disciplinary decisions of a valid council. As moretben said:

    Catholics are bound to believe that VII was a validly convoked, legitimate Council of the Church. They are bound to the Deposit of Faith. They are not “bound” to pastoral orientations or contingent strategies. Vatican II defined nothing binding which was not binding before. We are not bound to its “spirit”. We are bound to interpret its letter according to a hermeneutic of continuity, and if we can’t see how that can be done, we are bound to request authoritative clarifications in line with tradition.

  142. moretben says:

    In my humble opinion the real story is the extent to which Catholics today appear to have been led into near-dispensationalism, not least - lex orandi, lex credendi - by the Good Friday petitions in the new rite. Every year it strikes me as more and more incredible that the new text could ever have been imposed into the liturgy of the Church, the Vox Christi; least of all at the moment of the most solemn commemoration of Our Lord’s passion and death, and the rending of the Temple veil.

  143. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: No one ever said either is infallible, unless the former speaks ex cathedra, or the latter specifically sets out to define dogma or fight error (which VII did not do.)

    Not quite. There is also the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium. Even though Vatican II defined no new dogmas, nor did the Pope teach ex cathedra during the council, the council’s teachings often rise to the level of ordinary magisterium.

    There’s nothing false in Vatican II’s two dogmatic constitutions, even though in a few spots the wording might have been a bit cleaner and clearer.

    By the way, your notion that Vatican II was just a pastoral meetingof bishops cloaked as a dogmatic council, if applied to the Magisterium and Tradition in general, would make it impossible to tell what the Church really teaches. Somebody could always come along and argue that this is or that council wasn’t really a council, this or that apostolic constitution wasn’t really an apostolic constitution. Essentially your approach boils down to the Protestant principle of private judgment. You’re not thinking like a Catholic.

  144. moretben says:

    Essentially your approach boils down to the Protestant principle of private judgment. You’re not thinking like a Catholic.

    Not so. The infallible ordinary Magisterium is NOT involved when what is being proposed is something new. It isn’t difficult at all. The Secretary of the Council himself, in one of appendices, explicitly states that the Council will have the note of infallibility only when the note of infallibility is explitly invoked. Otherwise it is infallible when it repeats immemorial teaching (infallible ordinary Magisterium). What’s hard to understand about this?

    Unfortunately, your accusation of “Protestantism” is itself revelatory of an unCatholic mentality – alas, one all too prevalent today. Catholicism IS “traditionalist” as opposed to “positivist”. Conservatives, on the other hand, appear to regard any movement away from Magisterial positivism as “Protestant”, even though it’s an essential correction towards the traditional centre, and away from an extreme and damaging historic distortion.

  145. I am not Spartaqcus says:

    Spartacus said: The SSPX teaches the Jews as a race are cursed.

    The article you linked to says precisely the opposite!

    Sorry. Here is a direct quote from the site –

    The Gospel teaches us, therefore, that the Jewish race brought upon themselves the curse that followed the crime of deicide.

    That is the heresy taught by the SSPX.

    Here is what the Catholic Church Teaches…

    +++++++++++++++=== begin quotes +++++++++++++++++++++

    Nostra Aetate

    4.As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham’s stock.

    Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham’s sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch’s call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people’s exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)

    The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: “theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church’s main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ’s Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.

    As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and “serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Soph. 3:9).(12)

    Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

    True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

    Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

    Besides, as the Church has always held and holds now, Christ underwent His passion and death freely, because of the sins of men and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. It is, therefore, the burden of the Church’s preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.

    ++++++++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++++++++++++=

    The SSPX teaches rank anti-semitic heresy.

  146. I am not Spartacus says:

    The article linked by Spartaqcus at 5:14, if you read the whole thing, explicitly repudiates any race-based antipathy, which it rightly denounces as antisemitism. It speaks of “the Jewish people” as those who reject Christ—which is a function of belief, not of race.

    Legisperitus. Here it is in black and white, in the words of the SSPX.

    The Gospel teaches us, therefore, that the Jewish race brought upon themselves the curse that followed the crime of deicide.

    What part of Jewish race..and curse is it you do not understand?

  147. Dan Hunter says:

    jordan potter,
    Constantinople II condemned,incorrectly and to the shame of the Council, the three chapters, so the monophysites would not be so pissed off, and leave the Church.
    As to the Second Vatican Council being protected by the Holy Ghost, why would He allow so many loopholes and ambiguities in the majority of the documents to stand to spite precise language.
    I need not point out the result of the documents ambiguous flaws since I already have, but I shall give you more examples if you need them.
    God bless you.

  148. I am not Spartacus says:

    I often read Lefevbre being defended as another St. Athanasius.

    I wonder if the following questions could be answered by those who succor the schism.

    Did Athanasius participate in an Ecumenical Council, give his word, by signing the Documents of that Ecumenical Council, that he agreed with what was taught at that Ecumenical Council only later to first deny he had signed the Documents and then, when he was reminded he had signed the Documents, renege on his word and repudiate and attack some of the teaching of that Ecumenical Council?

    Did Athanasius receive permission to establish a seminary on an expiremental basis and willing give his word he would obey what his Bishop decided at the end of the trial period and then later renege on his word when he was asked to close it?

    Did Athanasius give his word when he signed an agreement with Rome vis a vis his desire to consecrate Bishops only to renege on his word?

    Well, Mons Lefebvre did all of those things. And in every single instance he blamed others for his inability to keep his word.

    How is that behavior different than the behavior of a typical liberal who routinely blames others for his own failings?

    It is certainly not behavior reminiscent of the behavior of St. Athanasius

  149. Suzanne says:

    I am a Catholic who loves all of the traditions of the Church. For a while, I was very sympathetic to the SSPX. I have a difficult time parsing and understanding all the theology and doctrine in defense of the SSPX, because I don’t have much theological knowledge or understanding. There is always so much more to know about a particular topic than I have time to research. I believe this is the situation in which most Catholics around the world find themselves. It would be very confusing indeed if we did not know: Where Peter is, there is the Church.

    What I do find interesting about the SSPX is what I sense being an exaggerated terror of sin-infection coming from the sin and filth which can be found in the Church (which could always be found there). I see the terror of sin and an exaggerated fear of the loss of souls in the defenses of Lefebvre’s illicit consecration of bishops.

    And, more personally, I see the terror of sin-infection in the lives of the SSPXers I know. The SSPX family I am thinking of quarantines itself from anyone who is not as “Catholic as they are” to the point where they keep away from immediate family and essentially shun them. It seems to me to be almost a form of scrupulosity; the SSPX almost seems the institutional expression.

    It’s true that we are to stay away from bad companions who would influence us to sin. But the quest for spiritual purity should not be an excuse to tuck ourselves away and shun those who does not share or understand our view of all the problems in the Church today. It should not be an excuse to shut one’s self off from the universal Church and shun reconciliation to a regular situation within the Church.

    Our Lady of Lourdes appeared in a grotto filled with infectious waste — she calls us to pray and sacrifice for poor sinners, and shows us by example not to fear going into the midst of the infection. There are many dangers to faith in the world and in many of today’s Catholic churches, but the greatest danger to one’s soul, pride, comes from within.

  150. moretben says:

    Spartacus. Read the following. It is from Cardinal Ruini’s address to the Cardinal-electors at the 2005 conclave:

    “4. Finally, I would like to point out to the new pope the incredible phenomenon of ‘Dominus Iesus': a document explicitly endorsed and publicly approved by John Paul II; a document for which I am pleased to express my vibrant gratitude to Cardinal Ratzinger. That Jesus is the only necessary Savior of all is a truth that for over twenty centuries – beginning with Peter’s discourse after Pentecost – it was never felt necessity to restate. This truth is, so to speak, the minimum threshold of the faith; it is the primordial certitude, it is among believers the simple and most essential fact. In two thousand years this has never been brought into doubt, not even during the crisis of Arianism, and not even during the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation. The fact of needing to issue a reminder of this in our time tells us the extent of the gravity of the current situation. And yet this document, which recalls the most basic, most simple, most essential certitude, has been called into question. It has been contested at all levels: at all levels of pastoral action, of theological instruction, of the hierarchy.”

    Do you not understand? What Lefebvre recognised was an emergency worse than that faced by Athanasius; Cardinal Ruini, apparently, recognises this too. As I noted above, all these fulminations against Lefebvre, frequently from people who appear to be emotionally embroiled in some kind of personal mission to denounce him, are delivered in utter obliviousness of the unprecedented historic emergency in which he acted. He said himself that he awaited two “signs” to indicate whether or not he should proceed with the consecrations. He got them: Assisi and the response on Religious Liberty. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, even his subjective perception of the depth of this emergency – even if objectively mistaken – is sufficient to annul the canonical penalty.

  151. danphunter1 says:

    Suzanne,
    Very good point.
    God bless you.

  152. RBrown says:

    As to the Second Vatican Council being protected by the Holy Ghost, why would He allow so many loopholes and ambiguities in the majority of the documents to stand to spite precise language.
    I need not point out the result of the documents ambiguous flaws since I already have, but I shall give you more examples if you need them.
    God bless you.
    Comment by Dan Hunter

    The protection of the Holy Spirit in the Council was against heresy. Loopholes and ambiguities are not heresy.

  153. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Hunter. I thought this would be of interest to you vis a vis
    Constantinople II

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/coun6.html

  154. Scott Smith says:

    Do many people really believe that there is not a rupture between Catholicism before and after Vatican II?

    If Catholics really believed this, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum wouldn’t have caused so much as a ripple, and the SSPX would not be in the situation that it is in.

    The question is this: Is the rupture only in experience, or is it objective?

    Many, I would say, have heard countless times that there is no rupture, yet they perceive one all the same.

    The Church is not visible because of the glories of Solemn Liturgy. The Church is visible because of her discipline. Like the State, which exists only where it can make and enforce law, so the Church exists where the discipline of the Faith, Morals, and Governance is maintained. Where any is lacking, there is heresy or schism, which separates one from the Church. When that discipline, to all appearance, has evaporated, the Church, as a cohesive and visible entity, appears to vanish. It is a dilemma for some who perceive the Church after the council as devoid of any effective discipline. What does it mean to be in union with the Holy See if dissent from the discipline of the Church is tolerated for the sake of “unity”?

    What does it mean when one earnestly seeks to be in communion with the Church by maintaining the perennial discipline of the Church when it appears that tolerance of dissent is the new discipline?

    As to the SSPX teaching the “heresy” of Anti-semitism:

    “Surely it cannot be that there is a collective guilt of the Jewish race for the sin of deicide. For only those individuals are responsible for the sin who knowingly and willingly brought it about. Jews of today are manifestly not responsible for that sin.” (http://www.sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/jews_guilty_of_deicide.htm)

    Remember it was Jesus who said: “He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth” (Luke 11.23). Is the SSPX with Jesus or against? Are Jewish people with Jesus or against? Are Muslims with Jesus or against? Are Episcopalians with Jesus or against? And so on…

  155. I am not Spartacus says:

    moretben According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, even his subjective perception of the depth of this emergency – even if objectively mistaken – is sufficient to annul the canonical penalty

    So, for you, Lefebvre did have more authority than did Johannes Paulus Magnus. I can understand why you succor the schism and try and defend Mons. Lefebvre.

    I will copy and paste a counter-argument made by Mr. Vere in Envoy having to do with your assertions on behalf on Mons. Lefebvre

    As Cardinal Gantin, on behalf of the Holy See, wrote in a letter to Lefebvre dated June 17, 1988: “Since . . . you stated that you intended to ordain four priests to the episcopate without having obtained the mandate of the Supreme Pontiff as required by canon 1013 of the Code of Canon Law, I myself convey to you this public canonical warning, confirming that if you should carry out your intention as stated above, you yourself and also the bishops ordained by you shall incur ipso facto [by that very fact] excommunication latae sententiae [imposed automatically] reserved to the Apostolic See in accordance with canon 1382.”

    In essence, the Holy See did not agree with Lefebvre’s analysis of the situation in the Catholic Church, namely that a sufficient emergency existed to warrant the consecration of bishops without Rome’s approval. This is an important point in resolving the dispute between Archbishop Lefebvre and Pope John Paul II, for where there exists a difference in interpreting the application of canon law, canon 16 states clearly: “Laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation.”

    In Lefebvre’s situation, he knew in advance that his interpretation of canon law in this case was not acceptable to the Roman Pontiff, who is the highest legislator. So even though Lefebvre disagreed with the Roman Pontiff’s interpretation of canon law, it nevertheless remained up to Pope John Paul II to interpret that law authoritatively. Therefore, because the idea of a state of necessity in Lefebvre’s circumstances was rejected by Pope John Paul II, I came to realize that I could not legitimately invoke the state of necessity canons in defense of Lefebvre’s consecration of bishops without Rome’s permission.

    Pray and think about it, brother.

  156. moretben says:

    To return to the original point, if anyone is still interested, I remain deeply sceptical about the value of the “quotes” in this interview. As someone else points out:

    Since when has Bishop Fellay ever referred to Bishop Williamson as “Williamson” or to his Holiness as “Ratzinger” in a public interview?

    Quite. Father Z is always reminding us of the general unreliability of the Italian press. It’s therefore curious (though not uninformative) that so many rush to receive this particular piece as Gospel.

  157. moretben says:

    So, for you, Lefebvre did have more authority than did Johannes Paulus Magnus. I can understand why you succor the schism and try and defend Mons. Lefebvre.

    No, Spartacus! Canon Law is the Law of the Church! The Pope, as Supreme Legislator, whether “Magnus” or not, may change it but he may not simply disregard it!

  158. moretben says:

    Pete Vere is simply mistaken on this point. His description of the operation of subjective defence reduces it to an absolute nullity and makes the Church an unqualified dictatorship.

  159. I am not Spartacus says:

    Luther is right Popes and councils have contradicted each other. No one ever said either is infallible,…

    Malta. Sorry. That is not true.

    Catholic Catechism 891

    891 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…. The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,”419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.”420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.42

  160. Patrick T says:

    Moretben,

    You wrote: “No, Spartacus! Canon Law is the Law of the Church! The Pope, as Supreme Legislator, whether “Magnus” or not, may change it but he may not simply disregard it!”

    He may interpret it and change it as he did in the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei. His decision in light of existing canon law was that the consecrations were done without necessity that’s why he called them a “schismatic act.” Once he issues his decision in a motu proprio it IS the law, regardless of how others may or may not interpret the applicable canons.

  161. Edward S says:

    Well I believe the SSPX was always outside the pre-Vatican II Church.

    The SSPX was formed inside the Novus Ordo church for which it always claimed allegiance to.

    Lefebvre himself NEVER rejected the new man-made sacraments or doctrines. Most so-called “traditionalists” don’t even know a thing about his own questionable ordinations.

    If you think about what the SSPX has always said, and you compare it to thier actions, you’d have to conclude that the purpose of the SSPX, from the beginning, was to deflect traditionalists away from any real fight against the Conciliar church. And judging from the majority of “traditionalists” today, and all the fake “traditionalist” websites and newspapers, they’ve done a great job of it.

  162. I am not Spartacus says:

    It appears to me the argument, such as it is, can be distilled down to this – because of who he was personally and professionally – Mons. Lefebvre was not bound by his word, Canon Law, an Ecumenical Council, or the Pope.

    And I am expected to think those are actions which define Sainthood.

  163. I am not Spartacus says:

    It appears to me the argument, such as it is, can be distilled down to this – because of who he was personally and professionally and the times in which he lived – Mons. Lefebvre was not bound by his word, Canon Law, an Ecumenical Council, or the Pope.

  164. moretben says:

    Spartacus

    I fear you are becoming less rational and more transparently phobic with every post. You are simply lashing out in all directions and taking no account at all of anything presented here. You must see that Pete Vere’s piece reduces Papal authority and the Catholic understanding of conscience, together with Canon Law itself to grotesque, Stalinist parody. If the law provides for subjective defence against a penalty imposed by authority, it is reduced to meaninglessness if the same authority only may judge the authenticity of one’s subjective perceptions.

  165. Jordan Potter says:

    Edward S said: Lefebvre himself NEVER rejected the new man-made sacraments or doctrines.

    It’s not possible to reject things that don’t exist. ;-)

    Moretben said: Not so. The infallible ordinary Magisterium is NOT involved when what is being proposed is something new. It isn’t difficult at all. The Secretary of the Council himself, in one of appendices, explicitly states that the Council will have the note of infallibility only when the note of infallibility is explitly invoked. Otherwise it is infallible when it repeats immemorial teaching (infallible ordinary Magisterium).

    Since what you said is in perfect agreement with what I said, your words “Not so” are out of place. Malta asserted, or implied, that oecumenical councils enjoy only infallibility in the realm of extraordinary Magisterium, failing to note that when councils repeat immemorial teaching, they enjoy the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium.

    Unfortunately, your accusation of “Protestantism” is itself revelatory of an unCatholic mentality – alas, one all too prevalent today.

    Sorry, I don’t see anything “positivist” in my response to Malta’s reference to Vatican II as a pastoral meeting of bishops cloaked as a dogmatic council. As mentioned above, the council did issue two dogmatic constitutions, even if no new dogma was defined and no specific heresies were named and condemned, so it was at least partly a dogmatic council (as all councils necessarily are). But then someone comes along as says, “Yeah, so the Pope lawfully convoked that council and properly ratified its documents, but don’t let reality fool you.” How is such a subjective approach to magisterial acts and teaching even workable, let alone recognisably Catholic? If the teachings of the Church are truly accessible only to those privy to the esoteric knowledge of which council is really authentic (regardless of what the Church herself says), then Catholicism is not “catholic” at all.

  166. Malta says:

    Spartacus, cropping sentences often leaves a misimpression. Of course I believe that the Pope and Councils speak infallibly, IF THEY INTEND TO, here is the complete quote:

    “No one ever said either is infallible, unless the former speaks ex cathedra, or the latter specifically sets out to define dogma or fight error (which VII did not do.)”

    Vatican II did not intend to speak infallibly on any topic except with respect to dogmas already defined. VII opines about how the Church should comport itself in the modern world, but it says nothing that can’t be changed; unless, like I said, it reiterates an already defined dogma or doctrine…

  167. Linda says:

    After a 30+ year hiatus, I returned to the Roman Catholic Church last Christmas. I came back looking for the church I had left in 1974, and it was nowhere to be found.

    Upon returning to the church, the first thing I noticed was that my beloved communion rail had gone away. Back in 1968, when the new Mass was becoming prevalent, we had the OPTION (a key word for me) of either standing or kneeling for Communion. Now, that OPTION was taken away.

    I had never even heard of the SSPX, the TLM, etc., when I heard on television about the Motu Proprio, and became curioius enough to seek out an SSPX Chapel. They seemed have my missing church, and I found myself sucked in by their seeming “spirituality”.

    However, after worshipping in that setting for 3 Sundays (6 weeks since they only meet bi-weekly), I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that SSPX would never work FOR ME.

    For starters, it’s important for me to know what’s going on so that I can participate in the liturgy with awareness. I can deal with the Latin, but just could adapt to the inaudability.

    What proved to be the ultimate turnoff, however, is the attitude prevalent in the particular SSPX community I was attending, namely that they are the only right ones. Since I was raised as a Protestant in a church that felt the same way (we’re the only right ones), this raised an immediate red flag, namely that I felt I was dealing with a group who reminded me of a certain Protestant church that holds similar beliefs about exclusivity.

    The theology behind the various liturgies is important, no doubt about that. But for a lay person like myself who lives at the grass roots level, rubrics are very important. And one rubric in Novus Order that I absolutely love is that women have a greater participation in the Mass and I am not willing to give that up, not even for the option of kneeling. I enjoy being a Lay Eucharistic Minister; hence, the TLM is unworkable for me.

    Fortunately, I discovered a church here in Nashville what the option of kneeling to receive Communion has been preserved, along with the ability of women to participate more fully in the Mass.

    Thanks for your ear.

    Linda

  168. Malta says:

    Jordon

    “dogmatic constitution” does not mean they defined new dogma. I don’t have my tome of VII documents in front of me, but the Bishop who introduces Lumen Gentium clearly states that it is not “dogmatic” in the sense of infallibility.

  169. I am not Spartacus says:

    I fear you are becoming less rational and more transparently phobic with every post.

    Don’t let yourself be guided by fear.

    The questions I asked about the actions of Mons. Lefebvre are not capable of a defense and so you are reduced to implying I am mentally unstable and irrational. Short of writing that Mons Lefebvre was mentally unstable (which I think he was and therefore prolly not culpable for his actions) the only recourse is to try what you are trying.

    That does not bother me nor will it deter me.

    You must see that Pete Vere’s piece reduces Papal authority and the Catholic understanding of conscience, together with Canon Law itself to grotesque, Stalinist parody. If the law provides for subjective defence against a penalty imposed by authority, it is reduced to meaninglessness if the same authority only may judge the authenticity of one’s subjective perceptions.

    Stalinist? Please. That is beneath contempt. What Vere wrote stands for itself. You can not respond to it and so you are trying, unsuccessfully, to reframe the clear meaning of what he wrote.

    Spartacus, cropping sentences often leaves a misimpression. Of course I believe that the Pope and Councils speak infallibly, IF THEY INTEND TO, here is the complete quote:

    I do not think you do understand. All Ecumenical Councils are infallible. That is their nature.

    I copied and pasted this from the old Catholic Encyclopedia….

    +++++ begin quotes ++++++++++++++

    The infallibility of the council is intrinsic, i.e. springs from its nature. Christ promised to be in the midst of two or three of His disciples gathered together in His name; now an Ecumenical council is, in fact or in law, a gathering of all Christ’s co-workers for the salvation of man through true faith and holy conduct; He is therefore in their midst, fulfilling His promises and leading them into the truth for which they are striving. His presence, by cementing the unity of the assembly into one body — His own mystical body — gives it the necessary completeness, and makes up for any defect possibly arising from the physical absence of a certain number of bishops. The same presence strengthens the action of the pope, so that, as mouthpiece of the council, he can say in truth, “it has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us”, and consequently can, and does, put the seal of infallibility on the conciliar decree irrespective of his own personal infallibility.

    +++++++ end quote +++++++++++++++

  170. danphunter1 says:

    Linda,
    What do you mean by women participating more fully in the mass?
    God bless you and welcome back to the Church.

  171. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: “dogmatic constitution” does not mean they defined new dogma.

    Correct — nor did I say that’s what it means.

    I don’t have my tome of VII documents in front of me, but the Bishop who introduces Lumen Gentium clearly states that it is not “dogmatic” in the sense of infallibility.

    Not in the sense of infallibility of the extraordinary Magisterium, but in the sense of infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium, it is understood that Lumen Gentium is infallible when it reiterates established doctrine (which is pretty much all it does).

    Of course, infallible or not, it still commands religious assent simply because it is an authoritative teaching document of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

    VII opines about how the Church should comport itself in the modern world, but it says nothing that can’t be changed; unless, like I said, it reiterates an already defined dogma or doctrine…

    Except that isn’t what you said. But at least you said it now, which is the important thing.

  172. RBrown says:

    Not in the sense of infallibility of the extraordinary Magisterium, but in the sense of infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium, it is understood that Lumen Gentium is infallible when it reiterates established doctrine (which is pretty much all it does).
    Comment by Jordan Potter

    From what I see in LG, it extends infallibility to secondary objects (tenenda) in the Ordinary Universal Magisterium. This is new.

    It is also at the root of the explanation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

  173. Malta says:

    Jordan,

    I found my tome, here is what is says with respect to Lumen Gentium:

    “Although called a Dogmatic Constitution, the most solemn form of conciliar utterance, Lumen Gentium does not actually define any new dogmas. It sets forth, with conciliar authority, the Church’s PRESENT UNDERSTANDING of her own nature. In accordance with Pope Jhohn’s directive that the Council should be predominantly pastoral in character, Vatican II wished to propose its teaching without anathemas [this is significant, past councils, when they wished to make an infallible point, incurred excommunication to those who denied that point] and condemnations. It exhibits the Church, as Pope John expressed it in his opening allocution at the first session, as the ‘loving mother of all,’ spreading everywhere the fullness of Christian charity….Lumen Gentium is not and does not purport to be a definitive document. As Pere Dejaifve has said, ‘The greatest merit of the Constitution is that, far from canonizing the past, or even consecrating the present, it prepares for the future.”
    (The Documents of Vatican II, Corpus Books, NY, 1966–Imprimatur–commentary by Avery Dulles, SJ.) (emphasis added).

  174. Athanasius says:

    Another winner of the Sour Grapes Award from Fr. Z

    I’m honored to receive the award, but I’m curious, I don’t get an honorable mention for resisting the temptation to create new threads that have nothing to do with the topic at hand?

  175. Malta says:

    This all makes me think that Pope Benedict XVI needs to regularize SSPX all the quicker. They would be a huge, tremendous, force for good in the Church. Never mind what you may think of idiosyncratic statements that this or that member may have made; SSPX is and will be a tremendous force for good in the Church, and I’m speaking as a non-member. Already, we have Summorum Pontificum because of them. Without SSPX there would not have been the Indult mass, and tradition might have been dead. It is very likely that the Holy Spirit is working directly through SSPX to bring the Catholic Church closer to her roots. But SSPX must also be careful not to be too prideful, and come home. We need SSPX next to the heart of Christ: Rome.

  176. LeonG says:

    This page resembles a “Rorate Caeli” blog except it has not been disabled after the the first mention of SSPX being unjustly and unfairly treated by the establishment.

    Bravo Fr Zuhlsdorf!

    In spite of all the ink spilled on this topic, SSPX is still there and giving many Roman Catholics a legitimate place to go as they always have done. Argue with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and company if you do not agree with its legitimacy.

    One factor is sure, The Church is in a parlous condition and it is not the fault of SSPX. Pope St Pius V had to confront the same movement, in its relative infancy then, which has infected the contemporary church with its toxic blend of protestantism, gnosticism and secular evolutionism. Pope St Pius X wrote an encyclical on the subject. The Church conveniently ignores its hundredth anniversary. There’s the enemy within: not SSPX.

  177. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: This all makes me think that Pope Benedict XVI needs to regularize SSPX all the quicker. They would be a huge, tremendous, force for good in the Church.

    Certainly they would, but reconciliation is a two-way street here. If they want to be reconciled with the Church, they’ll have to make some significant changes. As it is, I think they’re on the verge of becoming a sect if they’ve not already become one (not unlike the medieval Waldenses, who might have become a great religious order along the lines of the Franciscans if their founders could have maintained respect and submission for the Church’s authority).

    Already, we have Summorum Pontificum because of them. Without SSPX there would not have been the Indult mass, and tradition might have been dead.

    Much more credit should be given to Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI than to the SSPX. And “tradition” can’t die in the Church, whether or not we have suspended bishops and priests offerring illicit Masses and issuing spurious annulments.

    It is very likely that the Holy Spirit is working directly through SSPX to bring the Catholic Church closer to her roots.

    Well, I wouldn’t be too sure of that, but anyway it is certain that the Holy Spirit is working directly through the Catholic Church to bring the SSPX closer to its roots.

    But SSPX must also be careful not to be too prideful, and come home. We need SSPX next to the heart of Christ: Rome.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  178. Jordan Potter says:

    RBrown said: From what I see in LG, it extends infallibility to secondary objects (tenenda) in the Ordinary Universal Magisterium. This is new.

    I don’t see where Lumen Gentium does that, nor do I see that even implied in the CDF’s explanation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, but anyway that would be a rabbit trail not even remotely connected with the ostensible topic here.

  179. Malta says:

    Pope Benedict XVI ardently wants SSPX back home.

    Here is the concession on both sides that needs to be made (no more posturing).

    As an attorney/mediatory here\’s what is needed:

    FSSPX: Some of your guys need to quite saying that attending the Novus Ordo Mass will lead to hell.

    Rome: You guys should not insist that SSPX celebrate the NO mass or subscribe the various, pastoral, documents of Vatican II.

    Problem solved. Or, am I missing something. I\’m an attorney, and haven been following this controversy for years. And really, I think it is on Rome\’s shoulders to give a little on this. Pope John Paul II flew of the handle because Lefebve consecrated \”the Four\” due to an emergency in the Church. Well, I think there was an emergency in the Church, and still is; and I think Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges that there is a continuing emergency in the Church.

    I think Lefebvre WAS acting on an emergency situation….

  180. Malta says:

    Here is one, small, example of the emergency situation going on throughout the world:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsC4wRPybpA

    Fr. Z is fortunate that he is immune from this nonsense, living in Rome.

    I live in the U.S. where this nonsense is legion. After years of distraction, I\’m beginning to realize that the traditional Latin Mass in the rite for myself and my four children. I don\’t want to judge our fellow \’catholics\’ I just don\’t see \”catholicism\” much in the clown masses….

  181. I am not Spartacus says:

    Rome: You guys should not insist that SSPX celebrate the NO mass or subscribe the various, pastoral, documents of Vatican II.

    Problem solved. Or, am I missing something.

    Malta. You are missing a lot. The Catholic Church is not going to say to members of a schism – you guys don’t have to accept the most recent Ecumenical Council.

    Think of the precedent that would set when future Councils spawn future schisms.

    There has never been a Council that was not followed by periods of turmoil, schisms major and minor, reactive heresies etc.

    ++++++++++++++++++++ begin quote +++++++++++++++++++

    Pope Benedict –

    The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in
    vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church’s situation after the Council of Nicea: he compares her situation to a naval
    battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things: “The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamouring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith…

    +++++++++++++++ end quote ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So much for the “we have never experienced anything like this before.”

    But, if a Pope allows some group to repudiate an Ecumenical Council then he undermines all Ecumenical Councils.

    Card. Ratzinger in the Ratzingder Report

    +++++++++++++++ begin quote ++++++++++++++++++

    Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger): Vatican II Has the Same Authority as Trent (if one goes, both go)

    It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him, and that also with regard to its contents, Vatican II is in the strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their
    texts word for word in decisive points . . .

    Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly also the two previous councils . . . It is likewise impossible to decide in favor of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II.
    Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upholds the other two councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called ‘traditionalism,’ also in its extreme forms. Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can exist only as an indivisible unity.

    To defend the true tradition of the Church today means to defend the Council. It is our fault if we have at times provided a pretext (to the ‘right’ and ‘left’ alike) to view Vatican II as a ‘break’ and an abandonment of the
    tradition. There is, instead, a continuity that allows neither a return to the past nor a flight forward, neither anachronistic longings nor unjustified impatience. We must remain faithful to the today of the Church, not the
    yesterday or tomorrow. And this today of the Church is the documents of Vatican II, without reservations that amputate them and without arbitrariness that distorts them . . .

    I see no future for a position that, out of principle, stubbornly renounces Vatican II. In fact in itself it is an illogical position. The point of departure for this tendency is, in fact, the strictest fidelity to the teaching particularly of Pius IX and Pius X and, still more fundamentally, of Vatican I
    and its definition of papal primacy. But why only popes up to Pius XII and not beyond? Is perhaps obedience to the Holy See divisible according to years or according to the nearness of a teaching to one’s own already-established convictions?

    ++++++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++++++++++++++

    The sspx, sadly, is likely to follow the same trajectory as the Old Catholics and calcify into a permanent schism with select individuals quietly returning to the Church once their hearts are changed by the Holy Spirit.

    What the sspx and those who succor it demand vis a vis Vatican Two illustrates they do not grasp what is at stake. That alone illustrates their danger.

    Literally, they do not know what they are doing.

  182. Legisperitus says:

    H. Daniel-Rops wrote something about the founding of the Maronite Church that has always struck me as oddly parallel to this situation:

    ________________________________

    “At the very moment when the Sixth Oecumenical Council was liquidating Monothelitism, groups of the faithful in the Taurus area refused to accept its decisions. Did they have some secret sympathies with the condemned theses? This has been maintained, but there is no proof of it. More probably they were misinformed on the exact wording of the canons. It was an exceedingly noble feeling of absolute loyalty to the decisions of some of the Councils which prompted them to adopt an attitude of suspicious refusal in this case. On the banks of the Orontes, on the plains of Apamea and Cyr, a monastic community was founded around the tomb of a great fifth-century anchorite, St. Maro. It was the monks of this community who, at the height of the theological conflicts, constituted the loftiest bastion of the faith. Fervent Chalcedonians, they refused to rally to positions which they considered heretical, and they formed themselves into an independent patriarchate, simultaneously hostile to the Monophysite Jacobites and suspicious of the official Church. They courageously resisted all the pressures brought to bear upon them. When the Moslem invasion forced them to leave the fertile plains they preferred to abandon all rather than submit or come to terms with the infidels. Taking refuge in the mountains of the Lebanon they became, under the leadership of their patriarch, the defenders of a Christian stronghold which neither the centuries nor the wave of force was to overcome: like Abraham of old, the Maronites had found the means of preserving their faith in a new land. Later on, at the time of the Greek schism, they refused to be associated with the errors of Cerularius and remained faithful to the great principle: ‘Ubi Petrus, ibi Christus.’ In the eleventh century the passage of the Crusaders across their territory resulted in welding the bonds of loyalty which have bound them to Rome until the present day.”

    ___________________________________

    H. Daniel-Rops, The Church in the Dark Ages, p. 325.

  183. I am not Spartacus says:

    More probably they were misinformed on the exact wording of the canons.

    Legispertus. The situation of St. Maron and The Maronites and Lefevbre and the sspx would be similar IF it were not for the facts.

    The SSPX clearly knows every single word of every single Document of Vatican Two.

    St. Maron did not participate as a Bishop at the 6th Ecumenical Council and vote for the Documents of that Council only later to renege on his words as did Lefevbre at the Second Vatican Council.

    It is impossible to imagine St. Maron doing what lefevbre did unless you think a Saint can participate in an Ecumenical Council, sign the Documents, and then later renege on his word, attack the Documents he signed, and repudiate the entire Council and, for good measure, to later say the Pope is the antiChrist.

  184. Bernard says:

    We have never experienced anything like this before.
    No Pope, before Paul VI, created a New Rite of Mass in the name of an Ecumenical Council. Nor in his own name.

  185. RBrown says:

    RBrown said: From what I see in LG, it extends infallibility to sebcondary objects (tenenda) in the Ordinary Universal Magisterium. This is new.

    I don’t see where Lumen Gentium does that, nor do I see that even implied in the CDF’s explanation of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, but anyway that would be a rabbit trail not even remotely connected with the ostensible topic here.
    Comment by Jordan Potter

    1. It was asserted above that there was nothing new in Vat II. I wrote that LG extends the authority of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium to secondary objects of infallibility.

    That would be new.

    _____

    2a. Primary objects of infallibility: Credenda (doctrine that needs to be believed)

    2b. Secondary objects of infallibility: Tenenda (doctrine that needs to be held).

    _____

    3a. From Vat I: Session 4, no 9: “we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be HELD by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.”

    In the above Papal Infallibility is extended to secondary objects.

    3b. From Vat I: Session 3, Chap 3, no 8: “Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be BELIEVED which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.”

    In the above the infallibility of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is extended only to primary objects.

    3c. From LG 25, no 2: “Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be HELD. (Licet singuli praesules infallibilitatis praerogativa non polleant, quando tamen, etiam per orbem dispersi, sed communionis nexum inter se et cum Successore Petri servantes, authentice res fidei et morum docentes in unam sententiam tamquam definitive tenendam conveniunt, doctrinam Christi infallibiliter enuntiant.)

    In the above, the infallibility of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium is extended to secondary objects.

    ___

    4. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively HELD by all the Church’s faithful. (Declaramus Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi, hancque sententiam ab omnibus Ecclesiae fidelibus esse definitive tenendam).”

    From the Responsum ad dubium: “This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be HELD always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.

    ___

    5. You might also want to read the Ratzinger article concerning the SCDF reply.

  186. I am not Spartacus says:

    We have never experienced anything like this before.

    Agreed, Bernard.

    There is not a single Bishop in Tradition who ever participated in an Ecumenical Council, voted for every single Document, later denied he did sign the Documents, then, once reminded he did sign the Documents, repudiate them, attack them, and then attack the entire Ecumenical Council and virtually all other living Bishops, and, for good measure, call the Pope the antiChrist and consecrate Bishops after the Pope warned he’d be excommunicated for doing so and yet, after of of this, the Catholic World would STILL be presented with the idea he is exemplar of a Traditional Bishop.

    It is absolute madness.

    And now I am done on this thread

  187. Malta says:

    Spartacus,

    The conflicts between Paul VI and Lefebvre are well known. Lefebvre, it is known, generally called some in the Vatican \”Disciples of the evil one\” but never to my knowledge directly called Paul VI the antichrist. Michael Davies defends Lefebvre during this tumultuous time in his book, “Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre.”

    Also, you are mistaken that if VII goes Trent goes. That is absurd. Some councils in the Church have proven to be a great nothing, as then Cardinal Ratzinger himself said. VII, unlike Trent and VI, was non-dogmatic–explicitly so. There is no comparing it to Trent. Here is an article which explains this difference, and gives a run-down of some of the Councils which proved less than beneficial to the Church (mind you, I don\’t agree with everything that is written):

    What are Catholics to think of Vatican II?

    By Raymond Taouk

    In the following article we hope primarily to set forth not only the
    doctrinal position of Vatican II in light of Catholic teaching but also to
    give a clear refutation to the absurd ideas that have developed amongst
    liberals and conservatives concerning the status of Vatican II.

    \”The Church united in councils, even general councils, has sometimes been
    mistaken\” [1]

    Many Catholics labor under the mistaken notion that the documents of Vatican
    II contain the highest doctrinal authority and are therefore beyond
    reproach. This, however, is not the case with respect to the Churches
    teaching on Councils and the Magisterial authority of the Church.

    Church councils are convoked for the purpose of explaining (by definitions),
    defending and guarding the faith (by condemnations) of the entire Church.
    However in contrary to this practice of the Church the Second Vatican
    Council refused to define or condemned but rather in a novel fashion to be a
    \”pastoral Council\” (\”differing from other Councils, this one (Vatican II)
    was not directly dogmatic, but disciplinary and pastoral. — Pope Paul VI
    August 6, 1975, General Audience) which would put forth novel innovations
    which effect the very divine constitution of the Church [2] thus departing
    from its magisterial and infallible authority which might generally be
    attributed to Church Council validly convoked and approved.

    Pope Paul VI made it clear in a public audience of January 12th, 1966 that
    the decrees of Vatican II were never stamped with the note of infallibility
    as he openly declared: \”The Council had avoided proclaiming solemn dogmatic
    definition that engage the infallibility of the Churches Magisterium\”.

    Catholics are, therefore, within their rights to make reservations regarding
    any novelties emanating from Vatican II that are out of step with Sacred
    Tradition and the previous (continuous) Magisterium of the Church. Vatican
    II unlike previous Church Councils, did not pretend to bolster the faith of
    the faithful by means of clarifying those unchangeable truths of the
    Catholic faith, [3] but rather dealt with theological conclusions which on a
    number of issues were contrary to the Church teaching or at least ambiguous
    enough to encourage a non Catholic interpretation. As Cardinal Suenens
    explains \”one could make an astonishing list for propositions taught
    yesterday, and the day before in Rome, as the only acceptable ones, and
    which were eliminated by the Conciliar Fathers\”[4]

    It must not be mistaken that since the council was attended and called by
    the Pope that it would automatically be lead by the Holy Ghost or that it
    automatically is guaranteed to be infallibility of the Ordinary Universal
    Magisterium since only the definitions and condemnations of an ecumenical
    council are guaranteed by infallibility and not (necessarily) its pastoral
    exhortations, the Church does not hold as infallible in a council whatever
    is outside the solemn teachings. [5]

    Many erroneously hold the idea that convocation of a Council is somewhat
    automatically a sign that it\’s inspired by \”the Holy Spirit\” when in reality
    it is quite the contrary for \”to call a council is a practical decision of
    the Pope. A person may piously believe that God inspired it. But no one can
    say that this is an object of faith.\” [6] Catholics may rather affirm with
    Cardinal Manning that \”to convoke a General Council, except when absolutely
    demanded by necessity, is to tempt God\”[7]

    As to the role of the Holy Ghost, Cardinal Manning explains: \”this office of
    the Holy Ghost consists in the following operations: first, in the original
    illumination and revelation…; secondly, in the preservation of that which
    was revealed, or, in the other words, in the prolongation of the light of
    truth by which the Church in the beginning was illuminated; thirdly, in
    assisting the Church to conceive, with greater fullness, explicitness, and
    clearness, the original truth in all its relations; fourthly, in defining
    that truth in words, and in the creation of a sacred terminology, which
    becomes a permanent tradition and a perpetual expression of the original
    revelation; and lastly, in the perpetual enunciation and proposition of the
    same immutable truth in every age.\” [8]

    In fact when dealing with the qualities of a True Council, St. Francis De
    Sales affirms the above in clearer terms saying \”For what are the principal
    causes why general Councils assembled, save to put down and cast out the
    heretics, the Schismatics, the Scandalizer, as wolves from the sheepfold? As
    that first Assembly was held in Jerusalem to resist those who belong to the
    heresy of the Pharisees\” [9]

    Vatican I (a dogmatic council, which Vatican II was not) makes it very clear
    that the pope is SUBSERVIENT to the Deposit of Faith. Pope John XXIII and
    Pope Paul VI explicitly chose to withhold dogmatic authority from Vatican
    II. Therefore, whatever it did or however it is interpreted, it has none of
    the weight of the dogmatic Council of Trent and Vatican I. Rather we may say
    that since the Second Vatican Council has failed in its role as council and
    is no more than \”sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal\”.

    It is often stated that during the rebellious first session of the Council,
    Pope John XXIII who convoked the Council was to change his view in such a
    way that that he began to resemble those prophets of doom for which he had
    only contempt. Yet this began to change when he realized that the papacy had
    lost control of the process, he attempted, as Cardinal John Heenan of
    Westminster later revealed, to organize a group of bishops to try to force
    it to an end. Before the second session opened he had died. [10]

    Padre Pio had hoped for the same thing for prophetically he could see the
    road down which it this Council would lead the Church and so Pellegrino (a
    lifelong friend of Padre Pio) testifies how Padre Pio counseled all the
    Council Fathers who came to see him, to put an end to Vatican II. [11]

    This Council was the first to invite non-Catholic \”observers\” to participate
    in its proceedings, who took an active part in the proceedings behind the
    scenes as is well pointed out by Michael Davies in his work on \” Pope John\’s
    Council\”. The very presence of these non Catholic observers must have had an
    inhibiting effect on the Council Fathers. It was the first Council to be
    declared \”pastoral\” rather than \”dogmatic\” if other councils, did have
    pastoral propositions, they were neverless dogmatic Councils. It was the
    first council that neither delimited Catholic doctrine from contemporary
    errors, nor issued disciplinary canons. When requested by hundreds of
    Council Fathers for the condemnation of Communism – certainly the principal
    error of the time, they were sidetracked by those in control – in clear
    violation of the Council\’s own rules of order – as reported by Father
    Wiltgen (The Rhine Flows into the Tiber) and others.

    It is canonically possible for a future pope to annul the outcome of the
    council, as it was merely a pastoral council. Cardinal Ratzinger affirms the
    same saying that \” Not all valid councils, after being tested by the facts
    of history, have shown themselves to be useful councils; in the final
    analysis, all that was left of some was a great nothing.\” [12]

    The history of the Church presents us with some parallel situations that we
    can bring forward to confirm the above.

    The Council of Ephesus in 449, which was regularly called and attended by
    all the East and by legates from Pope St. Leo the Great, was annulled by
    that pope\’s subsequent opposition to it and branded the \”Robber\’s Council\”
    (Latrocinium).

    A much better parallel we can say is the Second Council of Constantinople,
    held in 553. In 1934, historian Msgr. Philip Hughes described it as \”the
    strangest of all the general councils\”. [13] This Council had disastrous
    effects since rather than simply reiterate or elaborate upon the
    irreformable teaching of Chalcedon, it sought both to uphold Chalcedon and
    to call to account three long-dead theologians (whose works had some how
    offended the Monophysite heretics) two of whom had been intimately
    associated with Chalcedon. How could such a strategy not have generated
    confusion among the faithful? Indeed it did as the great historian W.H.C.
    Frend described it, \”At the council itself the bishops turned intellectual
    somersaults in their efforts to uphold Chalcedon yet condemn the Three
    Chapters\” [14]. It resulted in bringing about confusion in the minds of
    faithful about the controversy surrounding Monophysitism.

    The same author in dealing with the Council of Constance illustrates that
    \”this council which men at Constance (November, 1414) is the strangest in
    all Church history from its composition, its procedure, and the nature of
    what was effected through it. The full effect of the chaos of forty years
    was now seen. All the wildest theories about the source of ecclesiastical
    authority seemed likely to be realized when there descended on the town (in
    addition to 185 bishops) 300 doctors in theology and law, 18,000 other
    ecclesiastics, and a vast multitude of lay potentates, of princes, and of
    representatives of towns and corporations, to the number of more than a
    hundred thousand . . . This same council that had brought the (western)
    schism to an end had sown the seeds of much future dissention. Whatever the
    niceties of canon law that had safeguarded the legitimacy of its liquidation
    of a complex problem, the fact remained that the Council of Constance had
    judged two claimants to the papacy and condemned them, and that it had also
    elected a new Pope. And it had also declared, in explicit terms, that
    General Councils were superior to Popes and it had provided that every five
    years this General Council should resemble and the Pope, in some measure,
    give to it, an account of his stewardship. As far as the wishes of the
    Council of Constance went, a revolution had been achieved, and the Church in
    the future was to be governed in a parliamentary way, and not by the
    absolute, divinely given authority of its head, the Vicar of Christ. The
    forty years that followed the Council were to see the successive Popes –
    Martin V, Eugene IV, and Nicholas V, wholly taken up with the efor to
    destroy this new theory and to control the councils which it bred and
    inspired. The full fruits of the mischief were only reaped in the long drawn
    out dissensions of the Council of Basle (1431 – 1449). \” – Hughes, Popular
    History of the Church, Pg. 141-3

    Fr. Bernard Otten, S.J. commenting on the above Council states that \”(Pope)
    Martin V, at the close of the Council, approved only in a general way what
    had been enacted by conciliar procedure in matters of faith – in materia
    fidei conciliariter statuta\” – A Manual of History of Dogmas, Volume II,
    1918, Pg. 456

    As another example we may mentioned how the teaching of the Council of
    Florence on the matter and form for the Sacrament of Holy Orders [15] was
    set aside by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution \”Sacramentum
    Ordinis\” (1947). Pope Pius XII, in defining the matter and the form declared
    that the Council of Florence did not mean to teach that the action of
    touching the chalice and paten presented to the ordained was necessary by
    virtue of the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, without setting the question as
    to whether this action could become part of the matter of the Sacrament by
    virtue of the power of the Church, Some theologians [16] deny it, which
    amounts to saying that the Council of Florence was mistaken on this point.

    There is also the example of the illegal Council of Pistoia, which was held
    in September of 1786 by the Bishop of Pistoia and Prato, in a daring effort
    to secure the errors of Jansenism. The Council attempted to spread errors by
    emphasising the notion of \”Community\”, by giving bishops more authority \”
    much like Vatican II did by the proclamation of collegiality of bishops, and
    many other errors of the illegal Council of Pistoia. This council was
    condemned and eighty-five of its propositions were stigmatized as erroneous
    and dangerous.

    Pius VI on 28 August, 1794, dealt the death-blow to the influence of the
    council in his Bull \”Auctorem Fidei\”, which condemned the propositions of
    this illegal council:

    \”[To contend that] ways must be prepared for people to unite their voices
    with that of the whole Church — if this be understood to signify the
    introduction of the use of the vernacular language into the liturgical
    prayers — is condemned as false, rash, disturbing to the order prescribed
    for the celebration of the sacred mysteries, easily productive of many
    evils.\” (Auctorem Fidei)

    The ever-prevalent contention that the above facts seek only to undermine
    the authority of the Churches Magisterium is brought forward as an opponent
    that needs clarification.

    The difference between doctrinal and pastoral teachings has great
    implications at Ecumenical Councils. This is because the Church has never
    taught that all Church Councils are in and of themselves infallible. St.
    Robert Bellarmine, points out that, \”Only by the words of the general
    Council do we know whether the fathers of that council intended to engage
    their prerogative infallibility\” [17]

    St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori in concluding Section VIII of his classic
    Exposition of Trent, explains that:

    \”What is found to have its origin in the opinion of some Holy Father or
    particular Council is not a Divine Tradition, even though it should be
    celebrated throughout the entire Church.\”

    For a document of the Magisterium to be considered infallible there are very
    precise elements, which are necessary. These elements are a continuity with
    Tradition, [18] Universality in time and place [19] and the clear will of
    the Pope to engage his authority for the ordinary pontifical Magisterium. If
    either of these elements is not present the acts are not in any way
    guaranteed with infallibility.

    Some Catholics erroneously think that Magisterium is equivalent to Pope. It
    is not. In Latin, Magisterium is neuter. It is a thing, not a person. It is
    the teaching authority of the Church. That teaching authority, however, must
    be derived from Our Lord and His Apostles. It must be based on the Catholic
    and Apostolic Deposit of Faith. Vatican I made it clear, dogmatically, that
    the teaching of any pope (or, a fortiori, bishop) who teaches outside the
    Apostolic Deposit of Faith is null and void.

    For this reason states St. Thomas Aquinas, \”we pay no regard to the
    successors of the Apostles except insofar as they proclaim to us those
    things which the Apostles left behind in their writings.\” [20]

    This Magisterium or \”teaching authority of the Church\”, exists in a few
    different modes. It is termed \”SOLEMN\” or \”EXTRAORDINARY\’ (when it derives
    from the formal and authentic definitions of a General council), it is
    termed \”ORDINARY AND UNIVERSAL\” (when it manifests itself as those truths
    which are expressed through the daily continuous preaching of the Church and
    refers to the universal practices of the Church connected with faith and
    morals as manifested in the \”unanimous consent of the Fathers, the decisions
    of the Roman Congregations concerning faith and morals, in the consensus of
    the faithful, in the universal custom or practice associated with dogma and
    in the various historical documents in which the faith is declared), it also
    termed \”ORDINARY AND NON-INFALIBLE\” (when it regards the non-infallible
    doctrinal decisions given by the pope or by the Roman congregations).

    The Magisterium is termed \”living\” because, being true, it exists and exerts
    its influence, not only in the past, but in the present and future. It is
    termed \”authentic\” or \”authorized\” only as regards the person himself, not
    as regards his infallibility. [21]

    Hence we can clearly comprehend why \”these doctrines (of the Second Vatican
    Council) are not even part of the Church\’s authentic (i.e., ordinary,
    non-universal) teaching, because the bishops expressed no intention to hand
    down the Deposit of the Faith; on the contrary, their spokesmen (e.g., Paul
    VI) expressed their intention to come to terms with the modern world and its
    values, long condemned by true Catholic churchmen as being intrinsically
    un-Catholic. Therefore, the documents of Vatican II have only a Conciliar
    authority, the authority of that Council, but no Catholic authority at all,
    and no Catholic need take seriously anything Vatican II said, unless it was
    already Church doctrine beforehand. [22]

    Ultimately, the Magisterium is not any particular pope, but simply the
    authority of the Church, by divine appointment, to teach the truths of
    religious belief; the commissions of the Church to teach; the teaching
    office of the Church; the teaching and interpreting of the doctrines of the
    faith carried on by the Church through the Pope and bishops and those
    commissioned by them. It may be ordinary when a doctrine is proclaimed
    throughout the Church as part of divine revelation; or extraordinary when a
    general council defines a doctrine ratified by the Pope or when the Pope
    speaks as the official teacher of the Church (ex Cathedra) proclaiming or
    defining a matter of faith or morals. The Catholic Church is not a
    congregation of people agreeing together, it is not a School of Philosophy
    or a Mutual Improvement Society. It is rather the Living Voice of God and
    Christ\’s revelation to all people, through all time. It teaches only what
    its divine Master taught. [23]

    Vatican II would at most come under the Ordinary No Infallible Magisterium,
    to which one owes assent only according to a prudential judgment:

    \”Since not everything taught by the Ordinary Magisterium is infallible, we
    must ask what kind of assent we should give to its various decisions. The
    Christian is required to give the assent of faith to all the doctrinal and
    moral truths defined by the Church\’s Magisterium. He is not required to give
    the same assent to teaching imparted by the sovereign pontiff that is not
    imposed on the whole Christian body as a dogma of faith. In this case it
    suffices to give that inner and religious assent which we give to legitimate
    ecclesiastical authority. This is not an absolute assent, because such
    decrees are not infallible, but only a prudential and conditional assent,
    since in questions of faith and morals there is a presumption in favor of
    one\’s superior… Such prudential assent does not eliminate the possibility
    of submitting the doctrine to a further examination, if that seems required
    by the gravity of the question\” [24]

    Again we read in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    \”But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer has a right to
    be certain that the teaching in question is definitive (since only
    definitive teaching is infallible)…\” [25]

    In the case of Vatican II it would be highly imprudent to give our assent
    without departing from the faith to a great number of its works. Archbishop
    Felici, the General Secretary of Vatican II did not hesitate to state that
    Catholics must \”make reservations\” on those declarations from the Council
    \”which have a novel character\” [26]

    Fr. Gregory Hesse states well that we ought to reject Vatican II as whole
    but not in everything (\”in toto sed non in omnibus\”). As a whole since
    undeniably this council (and the \”Spirit of the Council\”) has worked only
    for the destruction of the faith. However it would be rash to reject
    everything in the sense that at times it does refer us to sound Catholic
    teachings, yet while accepting those things which pertain to the deposit of
    the faith we can only affirm that the Council as a whole was a disaster for
    the whole of Christendom.

    Pope Pius II already condemned Vatican II some 500 years before hand in his
    decree Exerabilis [27] which condemned anyone who would presume to call a
    council to alter any Catholic dogmatic teaching.

    Ambiguity may be said to be one of the great hallmarks of the Second Vatican
    Council as by means of it a great number of erroneous notions have been
    introduced and whole heartedly embraced by a greater number of the Post
    Conciliar Hierarchy. It doesn\’t take a theology degree to recognize that the
    language of documents since Vatican II is decidedly different than those of
    previous years. What once was clear and precise, giving little room for
    alternative interpretations is now vague and questionable. The impact of the
    ambiguity can never be overstressed since it was by this means that the
    modernists (long ago condemned by Pope Pius X) succeeded in taking victory
    at the Council.

    Pope Clement XIII stipulated in his decree, Dominico Agro, of two centuries
    ago that none of the faithful should have \”extraordinary opinions proposed
    to them, not even from Catholic doctors; instead, they should listen to
    those opinions which have the most certain criteria of Catholic truth:
    universality, antiquity, and unanimity.\”

    We have only the contrary coming forth from the Councils documents. This
    method (of ambiguity) alone would have been enough to wreak disaster in
    Church. This important issue can never be over emphasized.

    To instill in our minds the great destruction that has resulted by the
    ambiguous terminology used by the Modernists since Second Vatican Council we
    simply need parallel it will a great event in History, namely the Arian
    crisis of the fourth Century where the Council of Nicea (325) defined that
    the Son is consubstantial (homoousion) with the Father. This meant that,
    while distinct as a person, the Son shared the same divine and eternal
    nature with the Father. The term homoousion thus became the touchstone of
    orthodoxy. No other word could be found to express the essential union
    between the Father and the Son, for every other word the Arians accepted,
    but in an equivocal sense. They would deny that the Son was a creature as
    other creatures – or in the number of creatures – or made in time, for they
    considered him a special creation made before time. They would call Him
    \”Only-begotten,\” meaning \”Only directly created\” Son of God etc., however
    this word (homoousion) alone they could not say without renouncing their
    heresy. [28]

    Many bishops and the faithful complained that too much fuss was being made
    about the distinction between homoousion and homoiousion. They considered
    that more harm than good was done by tearing apart the unity of the Church
    over a single letter, over an iota (the Greek letter \”i\”). They condemned
    those who did this. Yet St. Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria refused to
    modify in any way his attitude and remained steadfast in refusing to accept
    any statement not containing the homoousion or to communicate with those who
    rejected it. The fact is (as history has confirmed) that St. Athanasius and
    his supporters were right. That one letter, that iota, spelled the
    difference between Christianity as the faith founded and guided by God
    incarnate, and a faith founded by just another creature. Indeed, if Christ
    is not God, it would be blasphemous to call ourselves Christians.

    If a great number of Catholics died at the hands of the blood thirsty Arians
    simply because they refused to accept one iota of change in the same word,
    what might we say of the volumes of ambiguity which were approved in the
    name of the Second Vatican Council? Is it not evident that Vatican II has
    failed in its duty towards the faithful who look to the Church for guidance?

    On this ambiguity Bishop Williamson had these insightful words say, \”Vatican
    II was not even an Anti-council, it was an explosion. If you wish for the
    proof, look around you. Now that explosion which is the true spirit of the
    Council, is hidden in three ways beneath the letter or documents of the
    Council. Firstly, the documents contain many ancient and un-attackable
    truths alongside the new doctrine. Secondly, the new doctrines are often
    presented beneath ambiguous formulae, which allow the conservative Catholics
    to state there is no problem in the documents of the Council, the whole
    problem is in the so-called after-Council or aftermath of the Council.
    Thirdly, the novelties, once you draw them out of the documents, have their
    own coherency, and so the appearance of a system. So the novelties of
    Vatican II look like a system, but in fact it is the systematicness of an
    explosion.\” [29]

    In fact, Paul VI, who promulgated the documents of the Council in 1965, like
    his predecessor began to reject the fruits of that Council. He issued two
    startling statements to that effect:

    \”The Church finds herself in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of
    self-criticism, or what would even better be called self-demolition
    [auto-destruction]. It is an interior upheaval, acute and complicated, which
    nobody expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were
    attacking itself. We looked forward to a flowering, a serene expansion of
    conceptions, which matured in the great sessions of the council. But … one
    must notice above all the sorrowful aspect. It is as if the Church were
    destroying herself. [30]

    \” We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of
    Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning,
    dissatisfaction, confrontation…. We thought that after the Council a day
    of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned,
    instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and
    uncertainties\”. [31]

    Let\’s take a quick look at what has happened to the Catholic Church since
    the 2nd Vatican Council.

    \”By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or
    figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the
    evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil
    fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.\” (Matt. 7:15-17)

    Infant Baptisms dropped by over 360,000 in the US from 1960 to 1985. The
    National Catholic Education Association said that from 1965 to 1978 Catholic
    schools lost more than 2 million students and closed over 3,600 schools. The
    Catholic abortion rate now runs 30% higher than it does for Protestant
    women. The number of nuns in the US from 1964 to 1992 declined by 82,000.
    The number of seminarians in the US has dropped from 48,000 in 1965 to 1,300
    in 1988. The number of converts from 1960 to 1985 declined by almost 64,000.
    There were 338 annulments granted in 1968 and 59,030 in 1992. From 1952 to
    1956 there were 39 annulments worldwide. In 1990 alone, there were 62,824
    annulments. In the USA, nearly all (98%) who apply for a judicial
    ecclesiastical decree of annulment and finish the procedure, are awarded an
    annulment. An annulment is a declaration by Church authority which states
    that a marriage was never valid by reason of a known or hidden impediment.
    From 1965 to 1973,between 22,000 and 25,000 priests left the priesthood to
    get married. By 1994, this figure had reached almost 100,000. In 1970 there
    were 1,003,670 women religious with perpetual or provisional vows; in 1992
    that number was down to 655,031. In 1962, there were 46,189 seminarians in
    the U.S. By early 1992, this number had plummeted to 6,247. [32]. In
    countries such as France and Holland the percentage of Catholics at Mass
    each Sunday has declined to a single digit. In the U.S., attendance has
    declined from 71 percent in 1963 to 25 percent in 1993, a decrease of 65
    percent. Newsweek polls and surveys show that only 15% of Catholics believe
    they should always obey Church teaching, nearly as many Catholics think
    abortion is permissible as non-Catholics, and 75% of Catholics disagree with
    Church teaching forbidding divorce and contraception. Another study revealed
    that only 25% of Catholics now believe in the Real Presence and only 50% of
    the priests.

    Given the foregoing, it would be plain blindness to deny the disastrous
    effects Vatican II has had on the Church. Nevertheless with the continued
    denial of this fact on part of the greater number of the Catholic hierarchy
    we shall only continue to witness destruction of the faith on a global
    scale.

    Conclusion

    With the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council being such Cardinal
    Giuseppe Siri was truly justified in saying that \”If the Church were not
    divine this Council (Vatican II) would have buried it.\” [33].

    It might be said without temerity that \”Man\” inspired the Second Vatican
    Council for the glorification of \”Man\” an exaltation that has ultimately
    work only to the detriment of the faith.

    This Council, which \”in many respects can be described as a revolution,\”
    [34] has no dogmatic force and can be held to be imprudent or even in error,
    with no compromise to one\’s Catholic faith as many of the false innovation
    that were introduced or brought about as a result of this council have
    already been clearly condemned by the Church.

    Without such sound principles and clear Catholic reasoning it isn\’t soon
    before one forgets one\’s Catholic Faith and replaces it with the very set of
    Modernistic heresies condemned by Pope St. Pius X as we have see happen all
    to often to a great number of men who supposedly go by the name of
    \”Catholic\”.

    Ultimate we can do no better than assume to ourselves the sound advice of
    St. Paul \”Scrutinize everything carefully, retaining only that which is
    good\”… \”hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good\”. [35]

    Foot notes:

    1. Dictionaire de Theologie Catholique

    2. See our article on religious liberty & the 25 errors of Vatican II – See
    Religious Liberty and the Second Vatican Council by Michael Davies

    3. Cardinal Ratzinger, El Mercurio, July 17, 1988

    4. Interview I.C.I 15/5/69

    5. Cf. Catholic Encyclopedia, \”Infallibility\” 1910

    6. Fr. Gregory Hesse, \”Outside the Church there is No Salvation\”, Catholic
    Family News, February 1997 [IV:2], pp. 13 et seqq).

    7. Petri Privilegium, III, p.24

    8. Cardinal Henry Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, Burns,
    Oates: London, 1909.

    9. The Catholic Controversy, Burns & Oats, London, 1886, pg. 218.

    10. Alice Muggeridge, The Desolate City (revised & expanded ed./1990), p.
    72; letter from Fr. Joseph W. Oppitz, C.s.s.R. in \”America\” magazine of
    April 15, 1972

    11. Father Ricossa, Sacerdotium, Issue #15 (2899 East Big Beaver Rd, Troy,
    MI) p. 60.

    12. In the Murky waters of Vatican II, by Atila Sinke Guimaraes, pg. 237

    13. Philip Hughes, A History of the Church, vol. 1: The Church and the World
    in Which the Church Was Founded ,1934; London: Sheed and Ward, 1979, p. 282.

    14. W.H.C.Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress Press,
    1984), p. 853

    15. Sessio VIII, November 22, 1439

    16. Cf. Sacrae Theologiae Summa, BAC, Madrid, IV, p. 639

    17. De Conciliis.

    18. 2 Thess 2:10; 1 Corith 11:23, Gal. 1: 8

    19. St.Vincent of Lerins, Commonitorium

    20. De Veritate Q.14, Art. 10

    21. Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa vol. I, 5th ed., Madrid,
    B.A.C.no.659ff.

    22. Fr. Pierre Marie, editor of the French Traditional Dominicans\’
    quarterly, Le Sel de la Terre

    23. Matt 28:18; I Tim 6:20 ; II Tim 1:14;Tit 1:9;Gal 1:8; I Jn 2:20; II Jn
    2:20, I Jn 9:12).

    24. Nicolas Jung, Le Magistère de l\’Èglise, 1935, pp.153 -154, Cf. DTC
    \”Église\” in, vol.IV, col.2209.

    25. Catholic Encyclopedia, \”Infallibility\” (1910)

    26. An Open Letter to Confused Catholic, Marcel Lefebvre, Angelus Press, pg.
    107.

    27. Dz 717

    28. M. L. Cozens, A Handbook of Heresies (London, 1960) p. 34

    29. The Heresy of Americanism and Vatican II

    30. Pope Paul VI, December 7, 1968, Address to the Lombard Seminary at Rome

    31. Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, Homily during the Mass for Sts. Peter &
    Paul, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation in his
    response to Vatican II

    32. In the Murky Waters of Vatican II, Statistics need not be taken since
    these facts are more than evident!

    33. Statement, apud Lucio Brunelli, 30 days, September 1993, P. 50.

    34. His Eminence Christopher Cardinal Schonborn, Die Tagespost, March 10,
    2001

    35. I Thess-alonians 5:21; Ro-mans 12:9

  188. Bernard says:

    I am not Spartacus: “voted for every single document,later denied he did sign the documents”
    Archbishop Lefebvre voted against the schema on Religious Liberty though he went on to sigh the document Dignitatis Humanae. Twenty-five years later, shortly before his death he denied signing this, thinking that he was being shown a voting-list.

  189. I am not Spartacus says:

    I keep thinking I am done with the thread and then I find things addressed to me that need a response.

    Also, you are mistaken that if VII goes Trent goes. That is absurd.

    Please re-read what I posted. Those are the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger in the book The Ratzinger Report

    Sir, you may well be a lawyer. I am just glad I ain’t your client :)

    Bernard. Sadly, whoever is telling you this stuff is either ignorant or dishonest.

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=857

  190. Malta says:

    Spartacus,

    SSPX does not, in fact, denounce all of VII. There are a few salient points of disagreement. The fact that Lefebvre signed the documents is not the issue. Here is Fellay’s answer on point:

    Q: Archbishop Lefebvre signed all 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council. After the Council, he was very critical of the documents and even sent a dubia to the Holy See requesting clarification on religious liberty. However, Archbishop Lefebvre never rejected all the documents of the Second Vatican Council in totality.

    A: And we don’t do so either. It is not a matter of rejecting or accepting.

    The questions are, “Are these documents good? Are these documents nurturing the Faith? Are they good for the survival of the Church or not?”

    And the more we go on, the more we see the ambiguities in the Council—which at a certain time seemed to be reconcilable to be correctly interpreted with Tradition, not including the very obvious errors—the further we go on, and the more we see that this is an impossible job.

    http://faithfulrebel.blogspot.com/2007/07/sspx-superior-fellay-reacts-to-motu.html

    Just because Lefebvre signed the documents does not mean SSPX can’t be critical of certain salient points in those documents. I doubt that Pope Benedict holds to every view he ever wrote about as Priest, Bishop and Cardinal.

  191. I am not Spartacus says:

    +++++++++++++++ begin quotes +++++++++++++++

    “I entered these negotiations because Rome’ reactions in the second half of last year had raised in me a faint hope that these churchmen had changed. They have not changed, except for the worse. Look at Casaroli in Moscow! They have spiritual AIDS, they have no grace, their immunity defense system is
    gone. I do not think one can say that Rome has not lost the faith. As for eventual excommunication, its disagreeableness diminishes in time”

    Marcel Lefebvre, in his Aug. 29, 1987. letter to the four bishops-to-be,

    “The See of Peter and posts of authority in Rome being occupied by Antichrists, the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord is being rapidly carried out even within His Mystical Body here below.”

    “Twenty Years of Struggle,” during a retreat in 1986, the Archbishop anxiously argues his rights: “But we did not stop there [ordaining priests] with our apparently illegal actions with regards to the particulars of the law, such
    as the hearing of confessions, [or] the blessing of marriages performed in our presence in the dioceses. Many of the things which we have accomplished are of themselves and strictly speaking against the letter of the law, but why do
    we do these things? Quite simply because we believed that which was undertaken against us was illegal and that they did not have the right to suppress our Order.”

    …. Lefebvre writes a letter to the editor of the Journals Itineraires and Present:

    “The plan announced in the documents of the Masonic Alta Vendita and published on Pius IX’s orders, is becoming a reality day by day beneath our very eyes. Last week I was in Rome, at the summons of Cardinal Gagnon, who handed me the enclosed letter [from Ratzinger, quoted above]. A very well organized
    network is in control of all the Curia’s activity, inside and outside the Curia itself.”

    “The Pope is an instrument of this mafia which he put in place and with which he sympathizes. We may hope for no reaction to come from him, on the contrary. The announcement of the meeting of world religions decided on by him for
    the month of October in Assisi, is the culminating imposture and the supreme insult to Our Lord. Rome is no longer Catholic Rome. The prophecies of Our Lady of LaSalette and of Leo XIII in his exorcism are coming about: Where the
    seat of blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up for a light to enlighten all nations, there they have established the throne of the abomination of their wickedness so that having struck the Shepherd they may scatter the flock in turn….”

    “You will see, in the reply to our letter [again, that reply of Jan. 20 quoted above], that Cardinal Ratzinger is striving once more to make Vatican II into a dogma. We are dealing with people who have no notion of Truth. We shall from now on be more and more obliged to act on the assumption that this new
    Conciliar Church is no longer Catholic.”
    (Letter to Mr. Madiran, Jan. 29,
    1986)…

    In 1974, he had told a confidante (now an ex-Lefebvrite priest) that he would never consecrate a bishop, “for this would mean I would do what Martin Luther did, and I would lose the Holy Ghost.”
    ….

    … In 1980 he wrote to the Holy Father and protested, “I have no hesitation regarding the legitimacy or the validity of Your election. I have already had to condemn these ideas and I continue to do so in the face of some seminarians who allow themselves to be influenced by ecclesiastics outside the
    Fraternity.” …

    .. in the preface of his 1987 letter to the four bishops-to-be. Here he calls the pope an Antichrist, which is a vivid way -of saying the papal seat is empty.

    Moreover, there exists an audiocassette tape of a Lefebvre sermon given shortly after John Paul II’s 1986 Assisi peace convocation. Basing his charges on that ecumenical gathering, the archbishop says, “I think that when a Pope or bishop honors God in this non-Catholic way, they have the intention of
    going to God as a non-Catholic, thereby renouncing the Catholic faith. Never has it happened in the Church before that he who sits on the throne of Peter has participated in the cult of false gods. Are we then obliged to believe that this Pope is not Pope? Because it seems impossible that a Pope could be a
    public and formal heretic.”

    +++++++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Posting the words of Mons. Lefebvre are not a fun thing to do. But it seems a necessary thing to do. FWIW, I believe he was very confused and not mentally stable and I think it likely he is not culpable for what he did. He certainly was, roughly, one million times a better Christian than I could ever even hope to be.

    But it makes no sense to think of him as some Saint. What he did is in no way defensible.

    I could post a LOT more about what he said and did but what I have posted ought be enough to indicate the sspx is not a remnant preserving Tradition. It is a schism perverting Tradition.

    Come home. The Good Lord has, I am sure, mercifully judged Mons. Lefebvre. How will we be judged if we willfully withhold our obedience to Jesus’ Church and remain outside the Divinely-constituted Catholic Church Jesus established and said he who hears it hears him, and who sent the holy Spirit upon it to teach it all truth and who promised to be with it until the end of time.

    Jesus is worthy of our trust. The Church is His Bride. He is not the sort of Groom who is a slacker dozing off in the limo leaving his Bride alone in the Church so Satan can drag her from the Altar out into the gutter and defile her.

    If we can not trust the promises Jesus made in the Gospel, then we ought abandon all hope. Now.

  192. Jordan Potter says:

    Oh alright, down the rabbit trail I go . . . :-D

    RBrown said: 1. It was asserted above that there was nothing new in Vat II.

    Some may have said that, but in my case I only said that Lumen Gentium “pretty much” does nothing more that reiterate established doctrine and dogma. I had been made aware before that it included a few interesting developments, or possible developments.

    I wrote that LG extends the authority of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium to secondary objects of infallibility.

    That would be new.

    I hadn’t heard that before. It would be new, yes, but I’m not sure LG does that. Or at least not that precisely.

    _3c. From LG 25, no 2: “Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be HELD. (Licet singuli praesules infallibilitatis praerogativa non polleant, quando tamen, etiam per orbem dispersi, sed communionis nexum inter se et cum Successore Petri servantes, authentice res fidei et morum docentes in unam sententiam tamquam definitive tenendam conveniunt, doctrinam Christi infallibiliter enuntiant.)

    In the above, the infallibility of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium is extended to secondary objects.

    I’m not sure it does. The key word, I think, is “definitively.” It must be something not just to be held, but “definitively” — i.e., infallibility extends not just to all secondary objects, but only to those that are the subject of a formal definition, such as we see in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, where John Paul II makes a clear statement that the judgment is to be held definitively.

    Now, it does appear that there may have been a change made in how the Church uses the terms “held” and “believed” in these matters. That would seem to be new, even if it isn’t precisely an extension of infallibility to secondary objects. To certain secondary objects anyway — when the Pope and/or bishops in communion with him are “authentically teaching matters of faith and morals” and “are in agreement on one position as ‘definitively’ to be held.”

  193. Malta says:

    Spartacus, your alleged selected quotes of Lefebvre are very narrow; they come close to assailing the character of a great man (and possibly a Saint).

    Here is a biographical sketch of Lefebvre’s early vocation so we can see where he was coming from:

    Marcel Lefebvre was born in Tourcoing, Nord,[2] the second son and third child[3] of factory-owner René Lefebvre,[4] who died in 1944 in the Nazi concentration camp at Sonnenburg (in East Brandenburg, Germany),[5] where he had been imprisoned by the Gestapo because of his work for the French Resistance and British Intelligence.[6] Marcel’s mother and René sr.’s wife was Gabrielle Wattin, who died in 1938.[7]
    His parents were devout Catholics who brought their children to daily Mass.[8] His father was also an outspoken monarchist[9] who ran a spy-ring for British Intelligence when Tourcoing was occupied by the Germans during World War I.[10]
    In 1923 Lefebvre began studies for the priesthood; at the insistence of his father he went to the French Seminary in Rome.[11] He would later credit his conservative views to the rector, a Breton priest named Father Henri Le Floch.[12] His studies were interrupted in 1926 and 1927 when he did his military service.[13] On May 25, 1929 he was ordained deacon by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.[14] On September 21, 1929 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop (soon to be Cardinal) Achille Liénart in Lille,[15] the diocese in which he was incardinated.[16] After ordination, he continued his studies in Rome, completing a doctorate in theology in July 1930.[17]
    In August 1930 Cardinal Liénart assigned Lefebvre to be assistant curate in a parish in Lomme, a suburb of Lille.[18] Even before this, Lefebvre had already asked to be released for missionary duties as a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers. But the cardinal insisted that he consider this for a year while he engaged in parish work in the diocese of Lille.[19] In July 1931 Liénart released Lefebvre from the diocese.[20] In September Lefebvre entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers at Orly.[21] A year later on September 8, 1932 he took simple vows for a period of three years.[22]
    Lefebvre’s first assignment as a Holy Ghost Father was as a professor at St. John’s Seminary in Libreville, Gabon.[23] In 1934 he was made rector of the seminary.[24] On September 28, 1935 he made his perpetual vows. He served as superior of a number of missions of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Gabon.[25] In October 1945 Lefebvre was ordered by the superior general to return to France and take up new duties as rector of the Holy Ghost Fathers seminary in Mortain.[26]

    The quotes that you attribute to Lefebvre are bombastic, to be sure, and certainly lack something in restraint of phrase, but remember, Lefebvre was living (and so are we) in a highly unique era of Catholic history. How would Pope St. Pius X have reacted to the rampant, sweeping, all-consuming, horrific modernism that the modern Church has been submerged in? Differently? Perhaps; but with equal horror. Don’t be so quick to judge this great man. Sure, he had faults, as any man wearing flesh does, But his heart was in the right place. He was a good priest, and a good bishop, and he deserves our respect. Did he overreact? I don’t know. But he truly, in his heart, believed an emergency existed in the Church, and acted on that. He never denied the validity of any of our Popes. The history of Popes, as you well know, is a history of saints and sometimes (quite rarely of course) very wicked men at the helm of Christ’s Church. Why wicked popes get elected despite the fact that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church is a question as old as why Lucifer was created only to fall. My mind doesn’t wrap around these concepts. Fr. Z thinks I’m propping-up an old canard comparing Lefebvre to St. Athanasius; I disagree. It’s a great comparison. Athanasius was excommunicated by a Pope, so was Lefebvre. Certainly the circumstances are different, but not the extreme danger the Church was in doctrinally in each epoch. Indeed, our Church is absolutely submerged, from hilt to holt, by modernism, as the Church in the fourth century was my Arianism. The comparison is apropos.

    God Bless.

  194. Bernard says:

    I am not Spartacus: I see nothing in the link you provide to contradict anything in my previous post. Archbishop Lefebvre voted against the schema on Religious Liberty, signed the document Dignitatis Humanae and twenty-five years later denied doing so. He was then 85 and near death. He was not lying.
    The inference in your post was that he voted for everything at Vatican II and then did an immediate “about face”, something which anyone with the slightest knowledge of the man’s history knows to be untrue.

  195. I am not Spartacus says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre voted against the schema on Religious Liberty, signed the document Dignitatis Humanae and twenty-five years later denied doing so. He was then 85 and near death. He was not lying.

    Yes. He voted against it before he voted for it. And he denied signing it LONG before he died. He was old, his memory was failing, he was confused, and he was unstable.

    The inference in your post was that he voted for everything at Vatican II and then did an immediate “about face”, something which anyone with the slightest knowledge of the man’s history knows to be untrue

    Look, he approved all the Documents of Vatican Two, he signed them, all Documents of an Ecumenical Council. As to when he reneged on his word, was does time have to do with it?

    Signing Documents at an Ecumenical Councils is not like affixing one’s signature to a petition opposing Bow-hunting for Deer.

    The fact is there has NEVER been a Bishop who participated in an Ecumenical Council, signed all of the Documents of that Ecumenical Council and later revolted against it and was still considered considered a “Traditionalist.”

    That just shows the madnesss into which traditionalism has descended.

    And those he supposedly consecrated Bishops?

    They are still just priests, at least as far as I understand.

    And, if the sspx were not a schism, why was Bishop Bruskewitz’ excommunication of those in his Diocese who maintained contact with them allowed to stand?

    If they were not a schism, how could anyone be threatened with excommunication is they maintained a relationship with them?

    Bishop B, did not threaten to excommunicate those who have a relationship with the FSSP.

  196. Bernard says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre voted against the schema on Religious Liberty at the final vote, however he did sign Dignitatis Humanae.
    His co-consecrator in 1988 Bishop de Castro Mayer was also a Council Father. Along with Bishops Sigaud and Morcillo and two hundred and fifty more prelates these formed the Coetus Internationalis Patrum group within the Council who tried to stop the Modernist wing. Of course the Modernists were furious; Cardinal Lefebvre, cousin of the Archbishop and a leading Liberal: “We shall never forgive Monseigneur Lefebvre.”
    And they never have.

  197. BobP says:

    One does not have to be in schism to be excommunicated.
    (For example, those that have had abortions, etc.)
    The entire SSPX is not excommunicated nor are those that
    attend their Masses.

    The Hawaii Six affair showed that the local bishop was
    wrong with excommunicating those that attended the SSPX Masses.

  198. I am not Spartacus says:

    Catholics United For the Faith….

    ++++++++++ begin quotes +++++++++++++++++++++++

    The SSPX cite the 1991 “Hawaii Six” case as evidence that those adhering to the Society are not really excommunicated. This case regarded six individuals who were excommunicated by Bishop Joseph Ferrario of Honolulu for participating in unauthorized Tridentine Masses. The Masses were not held in a chapel administered by the SSPX, although priests of the Society sometimes celebrated Mass there. The excommunications were not upheld by Rome because participating in an unauthorized Mass, while a grave matter, is not in itself a schismatic act according to canon law. (Archbishop LeFebvre himself was suspended from priestly functions in July 1976 after he disobediently ordained priests against a direct papal order. Yet the Holy See did not excommunicate him for celebrating unauthorized Masses thereafter. It was only after Archbishop LeFebvre’s unauthorized ordination of bishops that Rome excommunicated him.) The six individuals in the “Hawaii Six” case were represented canonically by CUF Advisory Board Member Chuck Wilson of the St. Joseph Foundation based in San Antonio, TX. Mr. Wilson affirms that this case does not support the SSPX’s position because the chapel where the Masses were held was not administered by the Society and the persons involved did not belong to the SSPX.

    ++++++++++++++++ end quotes +++++++++++++++++

    So why does the SSPX use this as propaganda?

    Because it works

  199. RBrown says:

    Jordan Potter,

    1. I never said there was a change in how the Church uses “credenda” and “tenenda”. In fact, their use remains the same–to distinguish between primary and secondary objects of infallibility.

    2. In OS there is no formal definition–JPII is not formally defining anything. It is a formal declaration of what “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium”.

    3. Although the word “definitive” is important, the distinction is between “credenda” and “tenenda”. It is well known that in VatI tenenda is used with regard to Papal Infallibility–this in order to extend his infallibility beyond primary objects.