AFP: Lefebvrites – no intention of “responding” to Vatican ultimatum

The spokesman of the SSPX is reported by the Agence France-Presse about the Five Conditions.  This is reported in Le-Croix.com.

Here is my translation with by emphases and comments.

PARIS: 27 June 2008 (AFP) – The Lefebvrites have no intention of responding to the Vatican’s ultimatum.

The Fraternity of Sain Pius X [SSPX], founded by [Archbishop] Lefebvre, has no intention of responding to the "ultimatum" which was put to the Vatican to bring to a conclusion the schism provoked twenty years about for the traditionalist movement, the spokesman for the SSPX indicated. 

"The SSPX has no intention of responding to this ultimatum", SSPX spokesman Fr. Alain Loran declared by phone from Ecône (Switzerland) to the AFP.  [Okay… pretty clear: we are not going to respond.]

"We do not envision any practical or canonical accord before treating doctrinal questions which have arisen since Vatican II", the one in charge [blah blah blah]…

"[Bp.] Bernard Fellay (Superior General of the SSPX) is surprised by the existing discrepency between the ultimatum’s procedural character and the ultimatum’s content, which is very imprecise, Fr. Lorans added.

The Italian daily Il Giornale [blah blah blah… review of what has been reported]…

The Vatican had given to the SSPX until 28 June to respond positively to these questions.

These five conditions posed by the Vatican deal with the recognition of the authority of the Pope and the committment to say nothing against the Church,  but the contain no reference to the Second Vatican Council

According to Fr. Lorans, the Superior General of the SSPX, [Bp.] Fellay wrote a letter to the Vatican authorities on Thursday.  [Ummm… isn’t this a response?]

Okay… there might be a  nuance to "répondre" I am not getting.  I know there is an idiom "répondre aux conditions" which suggests "satisfy requirements".   On the other hand, later in the article I read "répondre positivement à ces questions", which suggests that the use of "répondre" above doesn’t automatically hint at a positive response. 

Still, what I am getting from this is that they responded to say they aren’t going to respond. 

Also, a long time ago I began explaining that whereas some in the Vatican wanted the big family photo with the group hug right away (which has its merits, believe me), the SSPX wanted to discuss theological issues first, and worry about the group photo later.

Still, what is required now, more than ever… right now… is a dramtic gesture of humility on the part of the leadership of the SSPX, even at the risk of alienating their benefactors (read: money).

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50 Responses to AFP: Lefebvrites – no intention of “responding” to Vatican ultimatum

  1. Time to put away the rosaries?

  2. wayne says:

    Does anybody know who holds the purse strings ???. I read somewhere of an English Lady, wife of Lord something or another, who had a lot of money and as far as I recall promised Archbishop Lefebvre money for his activities, this may have been not long after the council finished, and maybe before the seminarians approached Cardinal Oddi ?? about being disillusioned by their conditions.

  3. AnnaTrad says:

    I am very grieved and saddened by what I have been reading. The evil one can only be responsible for such unbendable pride. But with God all things are possible so even now things may change for the best.

  4. Ad Orientem says:

    (My comment on this subject posted over at Rorate.)

    That sound Mnsgr Fellay that you hear, is the ice breaking apart all around you and shortly it will break apart underneath you as well. This message which you and your schismatic followers have chosen to label an ultimatum, was very likely Rome’s best and last offer to try and get you to return to the fold. Rome has begun the process of fixing many of the problems that have plagued the Latin Church for nigh on a half century. This was a summons to help. It was also a test to see if you are truly Catholic or if you are in fact a schismatic sect like the Old Catholics. Your non-response is an effective reply in the negative. You are dictating to the Pope of Rome. And I strongly suspect that this Pope is the wrong one to play that game with. Even if this Pope does not excommunicate all of your followers (which he should), what do you think will happen when the next Pope comes along? How long do you plan to remain all alone out there passing judgments on Rome in contravention to the dogmatic definitions of Vatican I?

    I used to be affiliated with your little sect many years ago (mea culpa mea culpa). Even before I saw the light and moved Eastward I suspected you were schismatics. While all of the people were saying over the last few days that you would accept this incredibly generous offer which requires little more than acknowledging what you profess to believe as a Roman Catholic and showing a little common respect to the Bishop of Rome, I have been cautioning people that while I hoped for the sake of the Roman Church you would accept, that my experience in the SSPX left me highly doubtful. No, I believed in my heart that you would accept nothing less than the Pope of Rome running up a white flag over the Vatican and traveling to Econe to kiss your ring and beg absolution for heresy.

    Here you have announced to the whole world that you are unable to give to the See of Rome a level of common courtesy and respect that is generally accorded even by the majority of Orthodox hierarchs despite the long estrangement between East & West.

    Whatever you are or once were Mnsgr Fellay, you have made one thing abundantly clear. You are no longer Roman Catholic. I say this as one who is also no longer Roman Catholic. But at least I am honest about it.

    ICXC NIKA
    John

  5. Jim says:

    One way or the other, I believe that June 28th will be an historical event, whether or not the SSPX agrees to abide by the five conditions. Why do I believe this? Five simple conditions. One deadline. Nothing else to back it up?

    “Hmmm, they decided not to take us up on the offer, oh well…”?

    I seriously think not. If the Holy Father doesn’t have something else in his back pocket, the whole thing seems sort of, well pardon my directness, but…silly.

    We continue to pray that Bp. Fellay realizes the enormous ramifications of this showdown and does the right thing, the charitable thing, the UNUM thing that he really needs to do. But if he doesn’t, I think that BXVI will put an end to the foot dragging and name calling.

    The SSPX, perhaps, will either be on board before the year winds down, the S.P. clarification document comes out, communion on the tongue while kneeling and ad orientem worship are re-introduced into the Novus Ordo, altar girls are phased out and Gregorian Chant is mandated in all parishes.

    Fr. Z speaks of a Marshall plan. The ground is shaking from all of the impending reconstruction. My thought is that the SSPX will either be on board by the end of the month, or BXVI will make an offer to the SSPX priests, and to the faithful who frequent their chapels, that they can’t refuse, or wouldn’t want to refuse. The rest of them? I believe they’ll become irrelevant.

  6. Lorenz says:

    I have on occaison attended SSPX masses. From the 3 priests I have seen, I have experienced any nuttiness. On the contrary they seemed to look forward to the whole situation being resolved. One of them even said he enjoyed reading the recent writings of Pope Benedict XVI. Of the other mass attendees, most of them had very close ties with the greater church and counted many priests in their friends and family.

    However, as others have posted, there are other factions of the SSPX influenced by not only Richard Williamson but also more extreme sedevacantist traditionalists. When I first heard news of the offer to the SSPX I was already skeptical about acceptance from this group.

    Was not the conditions of the SSPX as little as 5 years ago the regularization of the Tridentine mass and the lifting of the excommunications 20 years ago? It seems like Pope Benedict went even further with not requiring them to accept the Novus Ordo liturgy as valid and not even accepting all of the documents of Vatican II (who even Archbishop Lefebvre said is acceptable if viewed through the lens of tradition). Having given in to their conditions, it is very dissappointing that the SSPX is complaining that they now cannot accept due to theological difficulties. Again, most of the theological issues are above the thoughts of most SSPX members and even then, if I understand correctly, the conditions do not require the SSPX to embrace what they reject.

    I think that as with the early protestants, the second generation of rebels are very comfortable in their arrangement and reunfication with Rome may not be something they even want anymore. They have a network of seminaries and parishes and now any oversight from Rome may not be welcome.

    Also, in some cases an organization can identify itself with naming an enemy and stressing the differences. Much of the SSPX identity is now built on how they are the true church and how Rome is the true enemy and they have spent a good 20 years convincing themselves how terrible the enemy really is. To now return to communion with Rome would cause an identiy crisis for a portion of the SSPX who could not make the mental shift of evangelization and healing the church instead of endless complaining.

    The really sad thing is, I really think if the SSPX returned to Rome they can be a powerful force for re-evangelizing the church. They have lived on the outside for 20 years (more realistically nearly 40 years) and they have not only survived but thrived to an extent. With the sorry state of the episcopacy and damage done by many of the heritical modernist bishops, an influx of devout and energetic clergy and laity, enthusicastically convinced of the truth of Catholicism may help the church change its course in a more positive direction. They can do more for their cause within the church instead of outside of it.

    Lets hope and pray that at least a good faction of them breaks off and returns to Rome by June 30th.

  7. Matt Q says:

    As I had said earlier, I believe the SSPX would be in a better position within the Church to advance their cause. My concern is why there is this deadline. Rome doesn’t do that with other issues. China, Israel… Rome doesn’t do that with the Schismatics from 1054, almost a 1000 years later. Why no deadline for them but some odious deadline for the SSPX? I see something more nefarious here than charitable. My opinion, take it or leave it.

  8. Pingback: The kind of thing you don’t like to hear at Cornell Society for a Good Time

  9. Paul Haley says:

    I posted this same message on Rorate and include it here for info.

    What to make of this announcement? Only the principals in the dispute know but one thing is for certain – negotiations in the press are doomed to failure.

    At least we can take some comfort in the fact that an outright rejection was apparently not forwarded to Rome.

    Perhaps it was a request for clarification as to why conditions were being imposed on what had been free talks in private. Perhaps it was an appeal that doctrinal discussions can only take place once the excommunications were lifted.

    I don’t know and it may be that after the disastrous leaks in the press this past week we may never know. But I do know that mutual trust seems to be a missing part of the equation and that is a very sad thing for the church in these times.

  10. JC says:

    If indeed the egocentric SSPX leadership rejects this warm embrace by our Holy Father, I believe it is time for the priests and faithful to ponder on the real reasons for this, and in how has the traditional Catholic landscape changed -for the better- in just one year.

    With regards to the liturgy, it is time to go back to the parish priest and to the ordinary and start, in charity, building positive pressure to fulfill the model designed by the Pope: stable groups.

    If Williamson et al. want to keep the hollow, empty structure at Econe, so be it, and may God have mercy on them. But there are many, many souls that need to consider that the main raison d’etre for the Society is no longer valid, and that there are easier-to-reach mechanisms to attain dignified, holy traditional worship in the RCC.

    With SP in place, what we need is an active, committed group of lay and ordained individuals in every parish and in every diocese to assist the Holy Father in his restoration effort for the whole Church, and, by God, we know how SSPXers are strong, smart, persevering and objective-driven. They must refocus their energies to help the Church, and stop supporting an institution which looses relevancy as days go by.

    Sancta Maria, Spes Nostra, Sedes Sapientiae: Ora pro nobis.

  11. Deo volente says:

    I saw this posted on RORATE CAELI and read the comments. They were burgeoning by that time. One thing I saw more than once; if this is not resolved with an “affirmation,” the individual stated that they would “leave the SSPX.” In other words, the requirement of the Pope is to abide in simple Charity, and the the Pauline year begins Sunday. I think that this is perhaps what the Holy Father had in mind–to show the extent of how many want reunion.

    Also, do we know whether he will celebrate the installation of the Metropolitan Bishops with the Extraordinary Form? I have seen nothing mentioned on that.

  12. Daniel says:

    Well, According to ACI Prensa, he has rejected already. http://www.aciprensa.com/noticia.php?n=21734

  13. Jason says:

    Matt Q:

    I can certainly not speak for BXVI, however I suspect it has something to do with the ‘new year’ of St. Paul beginning, and possibly the Mass which the Patriarch will be attending.

    I suspect that he was hoping to begin bringing many lost sheep back.

    However, in the days you mentioned (nearly 1000 years ago), it took MONTHS for messages to arrive, assuming the messenger wasn’t killed in route. Now? it’s a fax. The message was read probably within 1 hour of being sent.

    And further, setting a deadline of 7-14 days is hardly odious, when the demands are basically ‘play nice’.

  14. bryan says:

    Unless our Holy Father is some political schemer in private…which, based on his solicitude and
    gentlemanliness in public is unlikely, we may be reading too much into this.

    He made an offer. Quite a generous offer. To this layman, almost one of “Just be nice and
    exhibit the love and devotion to this office you profess to have” and unity with Us is a given.

    They could be a force the tip of the spear. Imagine a Church where what was
    once held on the outside became the vanguard for a vigorous and faithful recapturing
    and reconciliation of Tradition with a capital T?

    In reading the comments here…remember one thing “Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia”.

    Not “Ubi Fellay, Ibi Ecclesia Verus”.

    I think what is going on, on a deeper level, is the contradition inherent in the SSPX.
    They profess fidelity and devotion to the Pope, yet are unable to reconcile themselves to
    submit to his his authority. They may view it as a Hobson’s choice…and by reconciling
    themselves to our Holy Father, they may view as loosing their sense that they themselves
    are the “True Believers”.

    Or, as St. Josemaria Escriva stated (quite succinctly in The Way) “You say you admire the
    truth? Is that why you maintain such a respectful distance from it?”

  15. Dark Knight says:

    In this modern parable, the father sends servants out to betg the prodigal to come home.

    The son sniffs the calf cooking, decides it’s not to his liking and demand that the father fire the cook and refuses to come home until the meal is prepared to his liking.

    They’ll probably stage a pilgrimage/Rosary to Rome to prove how they’re really in love with the same Pontiff on whose hand they have just spat.

  16. Guadalupe Guard says:

    No, in this parable the father kicked the sons out because they wanted to preserve the inheritance.

    May these sons be gracious, courageous, and humble enough to come back to their father with the fullness of that inheritance that they have so faithfully preserved.

  17. SARK says:

    There is a lot said about the supporters of the FSPX on this blog. Much of it not very realistic I’m afraid.

    Perhaps I can provide some insight into the thinking of a substantial group of FSPX supporters – I will call them the ‘super-natural pragmatists’. I think I am one on these.

    I have attended Fraternity masses wih my family for nearly 19 years (yes I know I have a big carbon footprint). I will certainly continue to do so no matter how harshly they are treated by the Holy Father on this occasion.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist nor a neo-Jansenist – (often referred to, rather uncharitably, as the ‘nutcases’). I am just a husband and a father who wants to save his own soul and the souls of his family. That is to say my motives are not philosophical or ideological – they are completely practical.

    The society offers us well formed priests, certainly valid sacraments, freedom from heresy, sound spiritual direction, consistency and cohernece in the teaching of eternal Catholic truths, friends well educated and orthodox in matter of Faith and morals and (very importantly for a dad) wonderful schools.

    I won’t be so impolite as to say what would be on offer in your typical parish and your typical local ‘Catholic’ school, in the UK, the US or almost anywhere else in the world.
    The tragically sad thing is that my kids would hardly recognise it as Catholic.

    So the choice is clear for many of the current supporters of the FSPX when they have the strength of heart to see the situation from a purely supernatural perspective and without human respect. Continue to support the fraternity, frequent their parishes and send their children to their schools – in other words attempt to optimize the chances that we will save our souls; or do what?

    In other words for many of us there is currently really no choice. No choice, that is until, there is a ‘return to normal service’ in the broader Church – I fear that this will take more than subtle hints from the Holy Father about how to receive Our Blessed Lord reverently or how to vest with decorum.

    I am not a schismatic, I love the Catholic Church, and hope and pray that ‘normal service’ will be resumed as soon as possible or that the Pope would at least set out a vision by which this will be achieved.

  18. Kevin says:

    “they responded to say they aren’t going to respond”

    – That’s very courteous of them.

    What is the problem here? Cardinal Hoyos was reportedly
    snubbed during his visit to Westminster. Where are the
    conditions imposed on the local archbishop for this
    (hardly surprising) show of disrespect?

    Re the previous posting: would the Pope be offended by
    being described as a “liberal” thinker?
    If so, where did this statement come from (in 2006):
    “religions can be reconciled at the level of a common
    commitment in an earthly project that exceeds them all”?

    Why is the Pope capable (quite rightly) of condemning
    a Syllabus of Errors or Modernism, while being exempt
    from criticism if he propagates the same errors?

    This isn’t bickering. Intellectual honesty is very
    charitable in its intention, and quintessentially
    Catholic in its practice.

    Can the same ad hominem charge that SSPX policy is
    money-dependent not be made against the Vatican?

    Where in this ultimatum is the argument (i.e. reason)?

  19. Jim says:

    SARK:

    I empathize with your statement. That is why it is so hurtful that Bp. Fellay refuses to bring the society back into a regular situation with the entire Church. The faithful cannot be members of the SSPX, as it is a priestly society. The “sticking points” according to the society’s bishops have not to do with the Mass now, but with religious liberty and ecumenism. These are not points of doctrine and never have been. They will be worked out, but the one thing that history has shown is sure, is that Peter’s see will again be shown to hold the correct position. It has ever been so and always will be so, until the return of Christ. That promise is sure, for it was issued from the lips of our Lord himself. The society’s bishops, if they don’t know this, betray a faulty seminary training. They’ve made their point for the sake of tradition. Extending this disobedience out any further will render them irrelevant. BXVI will work it out with them, or without them. He’s offering, very generously, to fix it with them. And it looks like they’re saying “no”. How sad.

  20. SARK says:

    Thank you Jim,

    I suppose what I am saying is that no matter whether Bishop Fellay is right or wrong in his reaction to the Pope’s 5 points there is really no option for the ‘supernatural pragmatists amongst us but to continue to frequent the FSPX masses and for our children to continue to be nourished by the fruits of their schools. When an option becomes availale in the broader church then I will consider it very carefully.

  21. Jason says:

    Re the previous posting: would the Pope be offended by
    being described as a “liberal” thinker?
    If so, where did this statement come from (in 2006):
    “religions can be reconciled at the level of a common
    commitment in an earthly project that exceeds them all”?

    Here is the full context of that statement. The Pope was rejecting the idea that “religions can be reconciled at the level of a common commitment in an earthly project which would surpass them all”:

    In order not to misinterpret the meaning of what John Paul II wanted to achieve in 1986 and what, to use his own words, he habitually called the “spirit of Assisi”, it is important not to forget the attention paid on that occasion to ensuring that the interreligious Prayer Meeting did not lend itself to syncretist interpretations founded on a relativistic concept.

    For this very reason, John Paul II declared at the outset: “The fact that we have come here does not imply any intention of seeking a religious consensus among ourselves or of negotiating our faith convictions. Neither does it mean that religions can be reconciled at the level of a common commitment in an earthly project which would surpass them all. Nor is it a concession to relativism in religious beliefs” (ibid., n. 2).

    See the full message HERE

  22. GG says:

    SARK

    I see the schools are important. How important is living a countercultural (e.g., dress, entertainment)lifestyle, the kind you only really find in SSPX circles?

  23. Kevin says:

    Jason,

    Thanks for that. I withdraw that part of my
    comment then.

    The original quote is exactly the opposite of what was
    stated here (I’m not responsible for the link, etc.):
    http://www.zenit.org/article-16879?l=english

  24. In reading all these posts on the SSPX, I remembered this short but powerful homily I received in my email yesterday. I think it fits here although others may disagree with me.
    http://semperficatholic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7769

  25. Franzjosf says:

    Who knows? Maybe the letter doesn’t respond to the five, or first four, conditions, but it asks for clarifications of what they specifically mean.

  26. BobP says:

    >even at the risk of alienating their benefactors (read: money).<

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a pity that it’s come to this. And there is probably money (and property) involved on both sides.

  27. Bob K. says:

    Like I said before “Everyone wants to listen to God’s call for Unity. The Traditional Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox (to some extent). But “no” not the SSPX!. They just ignore the Pope!. Don’t even respond!. To much pride at stake.

  28. Habemus Papam says:

    Jason: Interesting. Pity that most Catholics will never have read that message and merely see the well known photograph of JPII standing alongside “other religious leaders”. And draw their own conclusions.

  29. rick bohler says:

    Is Bishop Fellay Catholic or not?
    It’s time to poop, or get off the pot!

  30. Franzjosf says:

    Fr. Z: Do you think, given their experience, that the SSPX is worried that there is some Romanita, or whatever you call it, in the conditions? That they are moving forward with measured responses (the letter of Thur)? Do you think that, ignoring some of the more outlandish remarks of Bp. Williamson, Bp. Fellay is moving with caution and that this isn’t over yet?

  31. David Kastel says:

    What’s all this talk about these 5 conditions constituting an “offer”, even a “generous offer”? There is no quid-pro-quo, from what I have read here. Fellay is being asked to agree to these 5 conditions, but is not being “offered” anything, no annulment of the excommunication, no lifting of the excommunication, no guarantee that SSPX would exist as a ‘personal prelature’ independent of the bishops.

    The Pope may ask for obedience from his subjects, but let’s not call it generosity. If my boss tells me I must work on Saturday, I may have to obey, but believe me, I ain’t calling him generous!

    Condition #3 is a promise not to place the “SSPX in opposition to the Church” How is this a “generous offer”? When they see bishops desecrating Churches, they have to promise to shut up? Is Father Z allowed to criticize the bishops for scandalous masses, but Bp Fellay is not allowed? If they see plans for another Assisi, are they promising not to protest?

  32. Matt of South Kent says:

    Should we demand the church go back to pre-Vactican II or another date? How about Pius XII or Pius X? Let’s dream big!

  33. C.M. says:

    FranzJosf: Do you think, given their experience, that the SSPX is worried that there is some Romanita, or whatever you call it, in the conditions?

    The SSPX could have responded positively with some in-kind Romanita. They chose to publicly appear as if they were responding negatively.

    That they are moving forward with measured responses (the letter of Thur)?

    Until we see the letter, until we know the context of the conditions (e.g., conditions for what?), and until we know what transpired in full at the meeting between Cdl. Castrillon and Bp. Fellay on June 4th, we can’t begin to fairly judge this episode, except the public relations.

  34. mrsbee says:

    Father,
    I am sooo saddened by the news of SSPX. If there is no response by the 28th
    what will Rome do? Will ther be a statement letting the world know the status of the SSPX.
    I hope so because this will help to keep other souls from joining and hopefully
    get many to leave and come back to the Church. This is my prayer.
    comment by JB

  35. Legisperitus says:

    Some years ago, a representative of the SSPX described the group as the “anchor man” on the side of tradition in a tug-of-war for the soul of the Church. The anchor man on a tug-of-war team, he said, is the man on the very end of the rope, usually a big, fat, ugly guy chosen for that role because of his sheer immovability. He holds down his position to help keep the others on his team (FSSP, ICR, etc.) from being pulled into the mud.

    The thought behind this analogy was that the SSPX, although it might seem “ugly” (i.e., schismatic), played an important role in keeping the tension on the rope and made the rest of the team’s job easier.

    Maybe they think that, at least for a while longer, they can still serve their team best by staying on the end.

    Who knows if this is the SSPX’s last, or even best, chance for reconciliation? I pray that it happens someday according to God’s plan.

    Perhaps the SSPX will become irrelevant after a few more years of the Marshall Plan. But by then the tug-of-war may be over and nobody will have to hold that rope anyway.

  36. David Kastel says:

    Regarding Wayne Ratzinger’s comment above, and the others speculating about who are the Society’s benefactors. Go to one of their chapels for mass if you want to see who the benefactors are…large, young, vigorous Catholic families are the ones who support the Society and pay the bills. Their chapels are filled to overflowing.

    It is the diocesan Churches which are empty and living off inherited and dwindling wealth. The reform of the liturgy and theology is the reason the diocesan churches are empty and are being closed. The non-reformed liturgy and theology is the reason the SSPX chapels are full and more are being built.

  37. C.M. says:

    NEW QUOTES FROM SSPX in new Reuters article:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318241/1878315

    Papal ultimatum challenged
    Jun 28, 2008 10:53 AM

    \”[Fellay] rejects the procedure he is being subject to,\” Lorans said by telephone from the SSPX seminary in Econe, Switzerland. \”If we want a canonical accord that doesn\’t collapse in a few weeks, we must deal with the fundamental questions of doctrine.\”

    \”In an ultimatum, which is an emergency procedure, these things should be explicit,\” Lorans said, adding that Fellay\’s letter to the Vatican on Thursday was confidential.

    The letter was sent before the end of the month, as requested by the Vatican, but the spokesman added: \”You can say he\’s not responding (to the ultimatum), despite answering it.\” The SSPX also had reservations about a requirement to fully accept the magisterium, or doctrinal authority of the Church.

    Fellay \”accepts to respect the pope and not take the place of the magisterium of the Church, except if there is something in the post-Council magisterium that is opposed to the magisterium of 2,000 years,\” Lorans said.

    […]

  38. Jordanes says:

    David Kastel said: If my boss tells me I must work on Saturday, I may have to obey, but believe me, I ain’t calling him generous!

    You would if he had previously sent some strong signals that he was going to fire you for a prior record of violations of company policy and for hiring somebody without authorisation.

    Condition #3 is a promise not to place the “SSPX in opposition to the Church” How is this a “generous offer”?

    It’s not a generous offer at all, it’s an invitation for the SSPX to talk and act as if the SSPX were not affiliated with the Catholic Church through the “Conciliar Church” and “Modernist Rome” rhetoric.

    When they see bishops desecrating Churches, they have to promise to shut up? Is Father Z allowed to criticize the bishops for scandalous masses, but Bp Fellay is not allowed? If they see plans for another Assisi, are they promising not to protest?

    No, there’s not a trace of any such requests or demands in the five conditions for continued discussion.

  39. Michael B. says:

    Fellay “accepts to respect the pope and not take the place of the magisterium of the Church, except if there is something in the post-Council magisterium that is opposed to the magisterium of 2,000 years,” Lorans said.

    So, the door is still open.
    Good.

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  41. Lauren says:

    I think we’ve got to keep praying. We have no idea what was in that letter. Thanks C.M. for the article.

  42. David Kastel says:

    Jordanes,

    “No, there’s not a trace of any such requests or demands in the five conditions for continued discussion.”

    You can only honestly make such a statement if you ignore condition #3 or give a better explanation of it…Condition #3 contains a promise not to place the “SSPX in opposition to the Church”

    Protesting scandalous actions of priests, bishops or even the pope is “opposing the Church”, is it not? And protesting the doctrinal implications of certain statements of Vatican 2 is “opposing the Church”, is it not? (For instance, “The Church of Christ ‘subsists in’ the Catholic Church” which contradicts, or at the very least blurs the true, historic teaching of the Church that the Church of Christ “IS” the Catholic Church) Must they cease and desist from this type of protest? If not, what does condition #3 mean? You have said it does not mean what my understanding is, but you haven’t said what it DOES mean.

  43. wayne ratzinger says:

    I’ve posted this on angelqueen.org

    So the Pope invites Bishop Williamson to sit down with him and go through in exacting detail all the doctrinal points, how long will that take..??
    eventually they reach an agreement, all is signed sealed and delivered.
    Then some Happy Clappy Bishop from the back of beyond pipes up…………………”I don’t think the second coma of the fourth paragraph on page 3072 is in the right place. I’m also worried about the tone set in the first 200 pages”….you get my drift…..where would it all end..???

    If the SSPX has legitimate concerns fair enough, but what I mostly see is that the SSPX wants its cake and eat it as well. Sign up for the five points and then bring out the doctrinal requests. Or is the real story that even though they may have serious points to make, once they get down to business clear up whatever it is that they want aired, they then lose there reason to exist…..they have to merge back into the rest of the One Billion ordinary Catholics that make up the Church. No more tub thumping. I get the feeling that more than a few I see at SSPX Masses over the last 28 years could not survive long without their daily moan and tub thump.

  44. Forgive me but perhaps it is time for Pope Benedict to simply tell the SSPX, “I have bent over backwards for you and still you refuse. I will be here when you come to your senses but until then, I will not continue with the gymnastics for you.”

    Remember the other part of the Prodigal Son parable. The father ran to his son after the son came to his senses and was already walking back to reconcile with his father.

    I mean no disrespect or non-charity but I am just sick and tired of hearing about this stuff. It is painfully obvious that the Society has pride like it was nobody’s business and is interpreting all the laws for itself in favor of itself. They will not listen to anyone else but themselves because they are the only ones who are faithful to tradition.

    That one stipulation of setting themselves up as a superior Magisterium over and above that of the Pope is the one thing the SSPX can not do. In their mind, that is capitulating to ‘modernist Rome’. They won’t come to their senses any time soon.

    Sorry if the above is wrong but I am expressing my feelings.

  45. RBrown says:

    If the SSPX has legitimate concerns fair enough, but what I mostly see is that the SSPX wants its cake and eat it as well. Sign up for the five points and then bring out the doctrinal requests. Or is the real story that even though they may have serious points to make, once they get down to business clear up whatever it is that they want aired, they then lose there reason to exist…..they have to merge back into the rest of the One Billion ordinary Catholics that make up the Church. No more tub thumping. I get the feeling that more than a few I see at SSPX Masses over the last 28 years could not survive long without their daily moan and tub thump.
    Comment by wayne ratzinger

    IMHO, the SSPX and The Spirit of Vatican II have the same outlook on the Latin liturgy, ad orientem masses, morality, etc. They both think it is married to the Counter Reformation Church. The SSPX wants to go back to the Counter Reformation Church, and SoVII wants to leave it behind, including Latin and doctrine.

    Latin liturgy and Church doctrine are relevant in all ages, and that means before the Council of Trent and after Vatican II.

  46. Jordanes says:

    David Kastel said: You can only honestly make such a statement if you ignore condition #3 or give a better explanation of it. Condition #3 contains a promise not to place the “SSPX in opposition to the Church”

    Condition #3 is “the commitment to avoid the claim to a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not propose the Fraternity in contraposition to the Church.” It is not, as a you claim, “the commitment to not criticise prudential acts of the Pope and Church prelates that cause the Fraternity alarm.”

    Protesting scandalous actions of priests, bishops or even the pope is “opposing the Church”, is it not?

    No, it is not.

    And protesting the doctrinal implications of certain statements of Vatican 2 is “opposing the Church”, is it not?

    No, it is not.

    (For instance, “The Church of Christ ‘subsists in’ the Catholic Church” which contradicts, or at the very least blurs the true, historic teaching of the Church that the Church of Christ “IS” the Catholic Church)

    This isn’t the right place for that discussion, so I’ll just say that you’re mistaken about “substitit in,” but such concerns and criticisms may be offered respectful, charitably, and humbly, without heated rhetoric that states or implies that the Church has adopted a heresy, without stating or implying that the “Conciliar Church of Vatican II” is distinct and separate from the Catholic Church.

    Must they cease and desist from this type of protest?

    Obviously not. Condition #3 says nothing about a commitment to cease and desist from criticising or raising concerns about actions or statements that are, or seem to be, alarming or troubling. It says Bishop Fellay and the SSPX must not propose the Fraternity in contraposition to the Church.

    If not, what does condition #3 mean? You have said it does not mean what my understanding is, but you haven’t said what it DOES mean.

    It means the SSPX and its adherents need to stop talking and acting and if the Fraternity’s special charism is criticising the Church and the Holy See, policing and condemning. It means the SSPX needs to understand that standing aloof from the rest of the Church, as a holy “remnant” of true Catholics above and apart from the Church, is spiritually unhealthy. It means the SSPX needs to see that an authentically Catholic identity does not put a priority on habitual and regular opposition to the Church, and avoids harsh polemics against the Pope and the Catholic Church. Rather, a Catholic’s opposition to error and sin is a function of and subordinate to his attitude of assent and submission to the Catholic faith, which includes assent and submission to divine authority in the Church.

    That Bishop Fellay and the SSPX erroneously see these five conditions as an “ultimatum,” and that so many SSPX members and adherents reflexively interpreted them as offensive or insulting, and as an attempt to deprive the SSPX of its inalienable right to object to real or perceived problems in the Church, illustrates the habitual stance of “contraposition to the Church” that the SSPX has grown accustomed to. They’re so used to regularly giving Church statements a negative construction that even these simple and open-ended list of conditions were seen as saying something they do not say. It’s as if they have forgotten that respect, charity, and obedience are not incompatible with criticism of and resistance to error. A request for charitable and respectful discourse is only a request to “shut up” (as Bishop Fellay called it) if the critic has no desire or intention to show charity and respect.

  47. David Kastel says:

    OK, Jordanes. So you deny my interpretation of #3…”Obviously not. Condition #3 says nothing about a commitment to cease and desist from criticising or raising concerns about actions or statements that are, or seem to be, alarming or troubling.”

    But then, in your same post, you write of #3 “It means the SSPX and its adherents need to stop talking and acting and if the Fraternity’s special charism is criticising the Church and the Holy See”

    So does condition #3 allow them to criticize or forbid them to criticize?…so far, the vote is 1-1…I’ll give you the deciding vote (as well as the first two…lol)

  48. David Kastel says:

    From SSPX website, August 29, 2005:

    [ Your Excellency, you requested an audience with Pope Benedict XVI which took place last August 29. What was the purpose of your request?

    BISHOP FELLAY: We wanted to meet the Holy Father because we are Catholic and, like all Catholics, we are attached to Rome. By requesting this audience we wanted to show, quite simply, that we are Catholics.

    Our recognition of the pope is not limited to the mention of his name in the Canon of the Mass, which is said by every priest of the Society of St. Pius X. It is normal that, as Roman Catholics, we should express our deference. Catholic means universal, and the Mystical Body of the Church is not limited to our chapels.
    ]

    Note how Bp. Fellay does not propose SSPX Catholics as the only true Catholics, or that their priests are the only true priests, or that they wish to remain aloof from the rest of the Church. Let’s please not confuse the SSPX with sedevacantists.

  49. QC says:

    The difference between how the SSPX is treated and how the separated Eastern Churches are treated is this: both have been offered the opportunity to engage in charitable discussions to resolve differences and heal dissensions. However, given the content of the SSPX\’s dispute, they have been offered the opportunity to do this in full communion with the Church, whereas this is not the case with the Easterners. Sadly, while most separated Easterners have come to the table of discussion, the SSPX have not.