Excommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson speaks

Over at our friends of Rorate there are excerpts of an interview with the ecommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson.

Rorate has quite a few excerpts, and you should go there to see them, but I want to lift and post some here.  These appear near the end.

My emphases and comments.

[REGULARIZATION OF THE SOCIETY]

[16.] On the future, how would you envision a regularization of the Society if it were ever to come about?

Well, the Archbishop used to say, and he’s quite right: “Once Rome comes back to its senses, there is no more problem”. Already the Romans are making documents, it’s already lined up how they would do it. It’s paperwork, paperwork.  [Probably not an entirely honest answer for someone who has such grave misgivings about doctrine since the Second Vatican Council.  Sure... the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily.  A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens.  But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church's teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents.]

[THE TRANSALPINE REDEMPTORISTS]

[17.] Lastly, would you care to comment on the latest proceedings with the Redemptorists at Papa Stronsay?

It doesn’t look good, it looks like they are going to make an agreement with modernist Rome. So, in my opinion, that’s not a very good idea, because they will be obliged, more or less, to abandon the defence of the Faith. More or less.  [Actually, if you consider it....  the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do.  They set themselves up as the arbiters of what is right and wrong without any serious reference to the Holy See.  Some of them will even carefully attack Vatican I.  Interesting no?]

[18.] How would the change you predict manifest itself?

They will no longer be able to freely criticize Vatican II,  [piffle... anyone is free to criticize "Vatican II", properly understood.  I believe Benedict XVI has himself criticized Councils, saying that there were Councils which perhaps should never have been held.  Not everything about every Council is perfect.   These things can be discussed.  However, causing scandal and rifts in the Church is not the best way to go about it.] and they will come under pressure to celebrate the modern Mass, or at least attend the modern Mass with the local Bishop on a Good Thursday. [That is so very hard to do?] The New Church can hardly insist on less, it has to insist on that.  [New Church... ]

[19.] Would you even consider the Redemptorists regularizing their situation with Rome treason?

Treason is a very strong word. I distinguish subjectively and objectively: objectively I think it’s more grave than subjectively. Subjectively I dare say they mean well, they have good intentions, and they are sincere. But objectively I think they are abandoning the true cause of the Faith, yes, they are essentially abandoning the true defence of the Faith, I would say.  [In other words, he thinks they would be traitors to the cause.  On the other hand, many of us who have not broken manifest unity with the Church sometimes think of certain traditionalists who opted out almost as deserters from the front line of battle.]

[20.] Should that be taken as your personal opinion or the position of the Society?

I think a number in the Society would share that opinion, yes, that they are objectively abandoning the true defence of the Faith. A number in the Society would take that position, and I think a number would also say, they nevertheless mean well, they’re sincere, they have good intention, they mean to defend the Faith, not to abandon the defence of the Faith. But the Archbishop was quite severe about those people who abandoned Tradition in those years, years back he was quite severe.

[21.] Saying that the Redemptorists at Papa Stronsay are abandoning Tradition could be perceived a just as strong a statement as calling it treason.

I didn’t say they are abandoning Tradition, I said they are abandoning the true defence of Tradition, which is a slightly different thing. They will still be defending Tradition to some extent, but they are abandoning the complete and true defence of Tradition.

[22.] Have you read anything of the way the Redemptorists are reasoning and considering their situation?

No, I haven’t. I don’t keep up with these things.

[23.] But surely people in central command have in order to properly deal with matters?

Of course. I’m not in central command, I’m not in headquarters. I’m way out in South America so I can enjoy the sunshine and forget about a lot of problems.
 

I sincerely pray for the day when the many good men in the ranks of the SSPX will be reconciled fully with the Church, whether in some juridical structure or other, …  However it happens, I long for it to happen.  They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously.   They had and have so much to contribute.

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190 Responses to Excommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson speaks

  1. Paul Haley says:

    Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily. A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens. But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents. So, isn’t this what everyone wants, debate about the things that really matter and isn’t that debate when not acrimonious, helpful to the church at large?

    I sincerely pray for the day when the many good men in the ranks of the SSPX will be reconciled fully with the Church, whether in some juridical structure or other, … However it happens, I long for it to happen. They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously. They had and have so much to contribute. I couldn’t have said it better, Father, except to say that the entire society and other independents who dispute no doctrine or dogma should be welcomed into the fold. Frankly, I don’t believe there is as much difference over true doctrine or dogma as many would gave us believe.

  2. I do not agree with the approach of the Society of St. Pius X to the problems in the Church today, but to be quite honest I think they do have a point. There are problems in the Church of which the liturgy is only the visible manifestation. A few words in Latin and some Roman vestments do no make one an orthodox Catholic. Unfortunately it is the deeper doctrinal problems the Church is facing which many- including those who push for a more traditional liturgy- tiptoe around.

    I think elements in the SSPX might take some issues to the extreme, but at the very least they are speaking up when many others who enjoy better relations with Rome prefer to be silent.

    The facts are plain. There is a clear rupture between pre-Vatican II theology and post-Vatican II theology- blame this on the spirit of Vatican II or the letter of Vatican, but it is still there. And lets face it, the theological issues are not limited to fringe scholars- they are working throughout the Church. Nor is Rome entirely innocent here.

    I may not agree with the SSPX on everything, but for a moment lets listen to what they say about this matter, because at the moment they are the only ones saying it. We

  3. Mark M says:

    “central command”!

    Sounds like the Romulan Star Empire and not the Church! ;-p

  4. Paul Haley says:

    Please excuse my “fat-fingering” in the previous post above when I should have hit the “h” key instead of the “g” key – “have us believe” instead of “gave us believe”. Serves me right for attempting to type from a laptop, eh?

  5. AnnaTrad says:

    Father I pray with you on this one. I know there are some extremist in the SSPX who may never accept Rome no matter what but there are many who are sincere in wanting things to work out but it will be a very winding road home.

  6. As I see it the SSPX is showing a concern for the souls of the faithful which is not shared by most of the Church. One asks why the SSPX has not yet been “regularized” with a stroke of a pen- simply, because the Society does not wish orthodox faith to merely be one of many “valid expressions” of Catholicism.

    Like I said, I do not agree with the SSPX on everything, nor their approach which tends to be “extraordinary times call for for extraordinary measures”, but at least they do not treat the faith as a buffet.

  7. I think that it will be interesting to see what happens once the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists come back into the Church. I wonder how the rest of the Redemptorist family will view them

    With regard to Vatican I being disputed, this does not surprise me in the least. I once listened to a sedevacantism debate on the internet between Robert Sungenis and John Lane. Needless to say, it was extremely acrimonious with Sungenis being insulted over and over again and being asked to prove his ideas from theological manuals.

    Nevertheless, there was a point of contention when it came to Vatican I and its statement on the perpetual successors of Peter. In fact, it was one of the sticking points of the debate. Sungenis brought up the topic over and over again to prove his point. It was interesting to note the other side’s reaction to this.

  8. Stephen V. says:

    “Romulan Star Empire” indeed. It is a very, very sad situation altogether. I’m certain many of those adhering to the SSPX are as saddened as those ‘on the inside’, but I do blame types such as Williamson for needlessly prolonging the agony. His words and actions have been severely divisive and I have a very hard time finding anything along the lines of humility or a longing for reconciliation in anything he does. The self-righteousness is excruciating.

    And when a closely related group like the Transalpine Redemptorists take the awful trouble of exposing themselves to criticism from all sides, just to further the cause of God and Unity, he “[doesn't] keep up with those things”. If he wants to ‘forget’ about all troubles and leave the work to ‘central command’, he shouldn’t presume to act as spokesman for the movement.

    Much prayer needed, for everyone.

  9. Gerard says:

    Father wrote:

    [Probably not an entirely honest answer for someone who has such grave misgivings about doctrine since the Second Vatican Council. Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily. A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens. But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents.]

    Father,
    Bishop Williamson said “Once Rome comes back to its senses…” That would imply no regularization until the doctrinal issues are worked out. So, the bishop is being 100% honest. He said the same thing in his interviews with Bernard Janzen years ago. “The SSPX is in the job to go out of business, we can be integrated into the normal structures of the Church easily.”

    [Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do. They set themselves up as the arbiters of what is right and wrong without any serious reference to the Holy See. Some of them will even carefully attack Vatican I. Interesting no?]

    This is a straw man argument. The reference the SSPX uses is the Magisterium of the Church, not the Holy See which hasn’t invoked anything Magisterial to address this Crisis in over 50 years.

    [piffle… anyone is free to criticize "Vatican II", properly understood. I believe Benedict XVI has himself criticized Councils, saying that there were Councils which perhaps should never have been held. Not everything about every Council is perfect. These things can be discussed. However, causing scandal and rifts in the Church is not the best way to go about it.]

    Come on Father. You don’t think anyone notices the silence from the clergy posters and yourself in these discussions when the blame gets put properly where it belongs? On Paul VI and JPII. It was Paul VI and JPII that caused rifts and scandal. Popes not stopping liberal bishops and liberal bishops not stopping liberal priests. If anything, the scandal was the Popes not supporting and encouraging LeFebvre and instead persecuting him!

    And also, how can you spin “Not everything about every Council is perfect. These things can be discussed” when right above you accuse the SSPX of “carefully attacking Vatican I” ? How are we supposed to distinguish between “a careful attack” and “a discussion?”

    [In other words, he thinks they would be traitors to the cause.

    That not the same thing in "other words." He made the distinction between the subjective and objective. Traitors would imply a positive willingness to aid modernism in the Church.

    On the other hand, many of us who have not broken manifest unity with the Church sometimes think of certain traditionalists who opted out almost as deserters from the front line of battle.]

    Before anyone else was on the front line of battle, before people even acknowledged the existence of a front line, there was archbishop LeFebvre and Richard Williamson. The fact that they were shot in the back by the very papacy they were trying to protect is not their fault. Calling a man unjustly tarnished for fighting the good fight a “almost a deserter” is just perpetuating propaganda and doesn’t reflect the realities that confront us today and back in 1988. What freedoms we have for traditional practices today, we owe to men like LeFebvre, Williamson, Fr. Gommar DePauw, Fr. Vincent Miceli, Fr. Malachi Martin, Fr. Paul Wathens and others.

    If the Popes had been equally as imperious in their treatment of liberals, you might have a case, but then again, if that had happened, there would have been no need for an SSPX.

    Father, Instead of taking shots at Bishop Williamson from afar, I’ll suggest again you interview him yourself. I’m sure he’ll be willing to answer your questions and get into it with you as deeply as you like. You can argue the Summa with him or go over Pascendi and I’m sure he’ll keep up with you. I took the trouble to go and meet him and study him years ago and that was just so I’d know the truth firsthand before I wrote anything about him. Justice and Charity should require you to at least make the attempt.

  10. Matthew M. says:

    They do not treat the faith as a buffet? Well maybe not in some areas – they deserve credit for that. But in their respect and obedience to apostolic authority, they are cafeteria catholics. It’s truly a shame.

  11. Corboy says:

    I don’t get it.
    He has a crack at the Papa Stronsay fellas for making an effort to be regularized but before that he tells us that there is paperwork from Rome effectively doing the same thing for the SSPX….I’m gunna go to work and not worry about it. I just hope they come back soon and help us all out.

  12. Gerard says:

    And to risk being labeled a total sci fi geek: It’s “The Romulan Empire” and “Star Fleet” for any Trek fans out there.

  13. Matthew M. says:

    During that interview, Father Z, maybe Bishop Williamson will once again reveal how 9-11 was a conspiracy of the US Gov. and how the Jews invented the holocaust to fuel Zionism.

  14. Matthew says:

    The “official” name of the Romulan Empire IS the “Romulan Star Empire.”

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Romulan_Star_Empire

  15. Gerard says:

    Matthew M,
    They do not treat the faith as a buffet? Well maybe not in some areas – they deserve credit for that. But in their respect and obedience to apostolic authority, they are cafeteria catholics. It’s truly a shame.

    That’s not exactly accurate Matthew. They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority. They just have more respect for God and the salvation of souls. A Norbertine friend was asking me about the chapel I attend and when I told him pictures of the recent Popes were in the entranceways, he said, “That’s better than most parishes.” Also, you’ll actually hear a sermon in which Popes (yes even Paul VI and JPII and Benedict) are quoted in order to teach something valuable. (eg. the necessity of zeal to accompany the gaining of indulgences, Cardinal Ratzinger’s quotes about people no longer knowing how to pray with vigor etc.)

    And remember, true obedience is required, not servility. But it seems the bishops are more tolerant of Fr. Pfleger in Chicago and prefer his kind of orthodoxy to anything resembling the Church prior to 1965.

  16. Matthew M. says:

    Gerard, as you know, the SSPX exists because of a schismatic act – of ordaining bishops against the expressed copmmond of the Pope. They maintian their organization outside the boundaries of apostilic authority. They do not accede to the authority of the Pope, or any non-SSPX bishop.

    As you say, though, there is substantial respect shown among many in the SSPX to the current Pope – but what about his teaching authority? What about the jurisdiction of the existing bishops?

    Their response is that of Protestants and ‘separated’ churches: ‘we have gone our own way since Rome is corrupt. we have preserved the True Faith’. This continued disobedience to the Vicar of Christ and the successors to the Apostles is the very definition of ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’ – to pick what one likes (traditional liturgy, ..) and reject what one doesn’t like (obedience to apostolic authority..). No amount of Jesuitical logic will make this disobedience into ‘obedience’.

  17. Gerard says:

    The “official” name of the Romulan Empire IS the “Romulan Star Empire.”

    You may be right, but I don’t know about that yet. Would you cite name the episode in which this is definitively determined? Books and Atlases don’t count. I’m listening to “Balance of Terror” on the computer to see if anything comes up.

  18. Gerard says:

    Matthew,

    Do you think the SSPX will deny the authority of the Pope if he accedes to the wishes of the Cardinals and bishops who are requesting a new ex cathedra pronouncement on Mary?

  19. patrick f says:

    gerard says “And to risk being labeled a total sci fi geek: It’s “The Romulan Empire” and “Star Fleet” for any Trek fans out there.

    Comment by Gerard — 12 June 2008 @ 1:40 pm ”

    Well I would say more star fleet and the Maquis (or how ever it was spelled) The maquis, for you non trekers, were ex federation people who decided the federation was all wrong about how it was handling things with the Cardassians. (another race) So, they started just making war with everyone.

    Kind of the same thing here, and I know I will get argued down about how right the SSPX is. But Father Z hit the nail on the head. They really can be labeled deserters. Think if he had just NOT ORDAINED 3 bishops…followed the agreement, we might have a very different church today. Those of us who are traditionalists, wouldnt be looked at by the mass of modernists that do exist as some sort of “relic”, and if you are a young traditionalist like myself, you are thought of as “old fashioned” or worse “too conservative”… How can you even have conservative and liberal approaches to faith, that whole concept is silly. You either believe the catholic church, and all it teaches (magisterium included) or you dont. They call those people protestants (or schismatics, depending on how disobedient you truly are being).
    I think I am in good company with everyone here in that regard, and I have a feeling its probably more a burden to the clergy, because of the real brotherhood you men have with each other. There is obvious separation there too, you see it from the bishops who transliterate summorum pontificum. Note I said transliterate. It must be especially hard for all of you. Here you have someone who shares your special quality, yet by church law, cannot share in your ministry truly (and BTW the church law is correct). But that shouldnt let us ignore the facts of the case, of course on both sides.

    I would LOVE for a group like the SSPX to be admitted back to rome, then the rest of us would have a little bit larger backing(and not be in such sparce company), but it has to be on Holy Mother Church’s terms. That will only happen through prayer, and the Holy Spirit.

  20. malta says:

    “However it happens, I long for it to happen. They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously. They had and have so much to contribute.”

    Nice words, Fr., and I agree.

    “and they will come under pressure to celebrate the modern Mass, or at least attend the modern Mass with the local Bishop on a Good Thursday. [That is so very hard to do?]”

    Yes, that is very hard to do for traditionalists like the SSPX. Bishops don’t demand that Byzantine Catholics partake in different liturgies, why demand it of SSPX? Btw: Archbishop Sheehan of Santa Fe reconciled Fr. Gonzales, an ex member of SSPX, with the explicit understanding that Fr. Gonzales would never be required to celebrate the modern mass. So, I don’t think this is really going to pose a problem.

    What is religious liberty? Is it really required to believe in to me a member of the Church. Nah. Next,

    The excommunications could easily be lifted (Paul VI lifted one against a true heretic, SSPX are not heretics, quite the opposite.) Next,

    I think SSPX’s primary concern is that they would have to sign an agreement. They may have been right, and I think Rome needs to budge on this point. Since SSPX subscribes to every doctrine and dogma taught by the Church before the 60′s, and since Vatican II taught no new dogma, why can’t SSPX reenter the Church and believe and practice as if Vatican II didn’t happen? What was so wrong with the Church before VII that it had to be called? Is the Church better off now?

    Without SSPX there would be no FSSP or Summorum Pontificum, period. Without St. Athanasius Arianism might have been even a bigger problem. Let’s see, both were excommunicated. I know the comparison drives Fr. Z crazy, but I offer it only to show that it is possible for a Pope to wrongly excommunicate someone who is a great defender of the Church. Remember, Arianism–an heresy–had most of the Church in its clutches, including Bishops. Might we say the same thing about Modernism–another heresy–today? I know Pope Benedict XVI isn’t a modernist, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others in the Church, many others.

    Another lessen that St. Athanasius offers us is that he reconciled with Rome. Was Rome completely rid of Arianism when he reconciled? No. SSPX needs to come home despite its differences with Rome, and shoudn’t expect renouncements of VII before they come home. They have to be very, very, very careful that they don’t become permanently separated. The most good they could do, now, is within the Church. Rome, I’m sure, is aware that it is a “devestated vinyard,” with dwindling mass attendance, almost no confession, almost no belief in the real presence, no understanding of the mass as sacrifice, only 7% mass attendance by Catholics in such countries as France, dwindling priests and nuns, enormously costly sex scandals, rampant modernism among the clergy (the major heresy of our times), etc. etc. SSPX is producing fruit in vocations, belief, etc., and statistically is not prone to scandal. Rome must know this. It’s time for SSPX to come clean the house where it belongs.

  21. Peter H. Wright says:

    Now, to be fair to the Society of St. Pius X, it does not have a “central command”. Its headquarters are at the Generalate in Menzingen, Switzerland, the residence of Bishop Fellay, the superior general.
    Not “Central command”, Starship Command, or anything like that.

  22. John Enright says:

    “Bishop Williamson said ‘once Rome comes back to its senses…’” Right. An excommunicated bishop whose ecclesiastic position was born from disobedience to the Pope is telling the Church that he will grace us with his presence when the Pope recognizes his doctrinal errors and those of his predecessors. Fr. Z. might be right about Vatican I. Bp. Williamson obviously has a problem with the Primacy of Peter with universal ordinary jurisdiction and the Doctrine of Infallibility.

    It would make more sense to say to Bp. Williamson that the rift can be resolved speedily when SSPX comes back to its senses.

  23. Gerard says:

    Alright, if we’re going to continue with Star Trek references to analogous situations, I would say that the problem is the same one that Capt. Picard had in “Insurrection” as well as the problem he had in “The Offspring” where the authorities were commanding immoral actions.

    “There are times, sir, when men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders. You acknowledge they are sentient, but ignore their personal liberty and freedoms. Order a man to turn his child over to the state? Not while I am his captain.”

    – Picard to Admiral Haftel after Haftel orders Data to turn over Lal to Starfleet Command

  24. Gabriel says:

    Bishop Williamson may say that his opinion is that of others in the SSPX but what he does not say is that others in the SSPX, including Priests, support the Transalpine Redemptorists. I believe that is what the hierarchy is concerned about. The Bishop also states that he has read nothing concerning the T.R.’s position. That means he has not read the wonderful Declaration from Father Michael Mary. For this reason making the accusations he has is scaremongering and, in fact, rash judgements. I believe the Transalpine Redemptorists will never abandon the fight to defend Tradition or celebrate or participate in the new Mass.
    Corboy – I quite agree with you. This fact has confused me. It is alright for Bishop Fellay to talk to Rome but not Father Michael Mary C.SS.R. It is time that the SSPX realise that they are not the judge and jury of all things traditional.

  25. patrick f says:

    \”Now, to be fair to the Society of St. Pius X, it does not have a “central command”. Its headquarters are at the Generalate in Menzingen, Switzerland, the residence of Bishop Fellay, the superior general.
    Not “Central command”, Starship Command, or anything like that.

    Comment by Peter H. Wright — 12 June 2008 @ 2:27 pm \”

    Perhaps thats why they arent viewed as a different rite? And you would be hard pressed for them to viewed as that. The byzantines are different, they have a different rite, 2000 years of different cultural tradition, based off of apostolic sucession. The SSPX apostolic sucession is to the bishop of rome (thus roman catholics, nifty how that works huh? ), and as such, I would assume negates any argument that they ever could be a separate \”rite\”. The church doesnt see the Novus Ordo as a \”rite\” . If it did, that would also solve many of the problems the SSPX has with the church. Per Summorum Pontificum, it wont ever be that way either. So I think unless the SSPX can establish themselves as a \”Rite\” or an \”Order\” (with a specific superior general) then they should, as any priest in the catholic church,be expected to participate in the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

  26. patrick f says:

    And I also think that recognization of a superior general depends on that superior general being in ‘communion” with rome. But maybe I am wrong.

  27. Michael J says:

    I really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?

    The only thing that remotely comes close that I can think of is the revised Good Friday prayer. Even if I were to stipulate (and I do not) that saying the existing prayer on Good Friday instead of the revised version were and act of disobedience, how does that constitute “contunuous” disobedience?

  28. Fr. Z,

    You are much more charitable than I am with the Pius X crowd. “We are more Catholic than the Pope” is hardly a viable theology, in my book. I’d quote that OTHER Vatican Council to them :
    “So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.”

  29. John 6:54 says:

    SSPX consider themselves “traditional catholics” when they follow none of the traditions of obidience and trust in the Holy Spirit. I am currently reading “The Pope, the Council, and the Mass” and am amazed at what ease the author answers ever single objection traditionalists like SSPX have, but yet they continue ignore the true authority of the church. The Pope & the Bishops in communion with him.

  30. TJB says:

    “Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do…”

    THANK YOU Father! I have been saying this for years. The SSPX is made up of cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose what they want to believe, based on their own interpretation of Tradition rather than the Magisterium’s. That is NOT traditionalism, it is liberalism.

  31. malta says:

    James, SSPX wouldn’t disagree with what you posted. The problem is that Paul VI, particularly through Cardinal Villot, suppressed SSPX initially because they retained the Latin Mass. Now we learn that this mass was never superceded. So, in essence, the Pope, through Cardinal Villot (a leftist) was trying to make SSPX give up something supremely good and efficacious for the salvation of souls, which may have concerned the government of the Church, but was extremely unjust and damaging to the Church. The SSPX question is a little more complicated than you make it out. Interestingly, SSPX subscribes to the new norms governing the Church, such as fasting before mass (although they highly recommend the traditional fasting from the night before according to their Angelus printed Missal.) So, SSPX agrees with the anathema you posted, but believes there is an extreme emergency in the Church justifying their disobediance (and they cite Canon Law to support this–whether they are right or wrong, I think they subjectively act in good faith.)

  32. Ottaviani says:

    Excommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson speaks

    With all due respect Fr. Z – I do not how the title of this article is anyway helpful.

    When you write an article quoting a Russian Orthodox perspective, would you say “Excommunicated/Schismatic Russian Orthodox meets with Pope Benedict”?

    Or perhaps: “Pope Benedict receives heretical Lutherans into Paul VI audience hall”

    I thought in this post conciliar age, we didn’t use these terms that JP II “the great” did away with?

  33. John Enright says:

    Michael J asks: “I really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?”

    First, I’m not sure where the “continuous disobedience” term in his post comes from. However, if he means “Why do you consider SSPX disobedient?” I’ll try to answer him.

    1. The Society establishes seminaries, churches, chapels, and priories throughout the world without any reference to the local ordinaries in whose dioceses it carries out these acts. This is contrary to the Code of Canon Law (Canons 234, 237, 1215, 1223-1228).

    2. It ordains priests without the dismissorial letters required by Canon Law (Canons 1015, 1018-1023).

    3. It hears confessions and celebrates marriages without jurisdiction (Canons 966-976, 1108-1123).

    4. It refused Pope Paul VI’s command to close the seminary at Econe and wind up the Society.

    5. It carries out confirmations in other bishops’ dioceses without the permission of the local Ordinary.

    6. Let’s not forget the Society’s original episcopal consecrations in blatant disobedience of the Pope’s refusal to grant permission therefor.

  34. I am curious about one thing…

    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel.

  35. John Enright says:

    Jonathan Bennett said: “Why must the SSPX . . . be shunned and hated . . . while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.” The fact that others disregard the Magisterium doesn’t mean that SSPX is entitled to do likewise, even if SSPX is attempting to overcome the other evils which were mentioned. Also, I don’t agree that “nothing is done” regarding those abuses. Most recently Rome reiterated that any purported ordination of a woman incurs the penalty of excommunication.

  36. It seems Fr. Z has something “personal” against the SSPX… I wonder why…?

    In most instances (posts/comments0, Fr. Z’s comments toward the SSPX negate his wishes that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide to the Church.

    [You would actually have to think about for a while to understand what I am driving at. - Fr. Z]

  37. Gerard says:

    Jonathan Bennett,
    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel.

    Jonathan,

    You’ve just addressed the gigantic White Elephant in the room. But we don’t get any solid answers from anyone except the SSPX and St.Pius X himself.

    “This being so, Venerable Brethren, no wonder the Modernists vent all their gall and hatred on Catholics who sturdily fight the battles of the Church. But of all the insults they heap on them those of ignorance and obstinacy are the favourites. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack, while in flagrant contrast with this policy towards Catholics, they load with constant praise the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, [exuding] novelty in every page, with choruses of applause; for them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium; when one of their number falls under the condemnations of the Church the rest of them, to the horror of good Catholics, gather round him, heap public praise upon him, venerate him almost as a martyr to truth. The young, excited and confused by all this glamour of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of being branded as ignorant, others ambitious to be considered learned, and both classes goaded internally by curiosity and pride, often surrender and give themselves up to Modernism.”

  38. Phil says:

    @latinmass1983: I think you’re missing one very tiny but crucial element: that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide to the Church. should read
    that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide IN the Church.

    In my reading, if anything irks Fr. Z., it’s that some elements in the SSPX seem to subscribe to the idea that they and they alone can define what the Catholic faith and tradition is. In other words, they seem to ‘play Pope’. If that reading is correct, and for what it’s worth, I fully agree. No-one is going to gain anything as long as the SSPX has no desire to come home – or worse, act as if they have established a new one.

  39. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    The fact that others disregard the Magisterium doesn’t mean that SSPX is entitled to do likewise, even if SSPX is attempting to overcome the other evils which were mentioned. Also, I don’t agree that “nothing is done” regarding those abuses. Most recently Rome reiterated that any purported ordination of a woman incurs the penalty of excommunication.

    John,

    One of the major parts of the problem in this crisis, is a lack of precision in discussions and bad formation in the faith that many of us have had to make up for by re-educating ourselves.

    The Magisterium isn’t the Pope and the bishops. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. It can be invoked by the Pope or the Pope and the bishops, but they can also refuse to invoke it. And when we have such a long period of muteness from the Magisterium and endless non-magisterial chatter, policy and pseudo-philosophy, we can be sure that they don’t want to invoke the Magisterium. Becuase the Magisterium is clear, precise, crisp and usually condemnatory. And that perennial Magisterium of the Church is what the SSPX relies upon for their position. I can guarantee you, when the Holy See eventually starts issuing Magisterial statements again on the faith in clear, precise language, many people who think they know what the Church teaches and condemns are going to be in for a big, big surprise.

  40. malta says:

    *Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do.*

    Nothing could be further from the truth than this statement, at least if you are speaking of the heresy of modernism:

    http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi10pd.htm

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm

    SSPX is leading the crusade AGAINST modernism in the Church right now.

  41. patrick f says:

    michael J said “really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?”

    Well for starters their priests perform masses which the vatican labels “illicit” , they ordain new priests constantly,without the authority of rome, even though they are valid ordinations, they are without the permission of a bishop who is in communion with rome. They claim to be Roman Catholic yet operate outside the church. Yes one can argue they are doing what they feel to be right, or even theologically is right, but in the end, they are disobeying the church, primarily in the exercise of their priestly office, which is a valid ordination, however their authority was supposed to be suspended.

    Now in response to jonathan bennett

    “Jonathan Bennett,
    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel. ”

    Well yes, one can look at it that way. But I think many people look at the SSPX as being more detrimental to our traditional cause. The people who think women should be priests, and deny church doctrine, are usually so left wing they expose themselves for what they are. I agree, something should be done, but perhaps the church remembers what happened the last time it openly went after heretics unchecked ? Its a political dance yes. At the same time, I think the traditionalists focus so heavily on the SSPX, because deep down they do want them home, to bolster that which is our heritage, and also our support for that heritage. What would be more beneficial, running off the extreme liberals, and appearing to be able to get along with no one (and yes I know, I have said since 33ad no one has liked us), or to have all the traditionalists eventually come home, which would allow all to be reeducated? Its a numbers game right now. There are way more modernists then traditionalists right now. The only thing that is going to fix that is reeducation, not running them off. Many of the “modern” approaches to the faith do have a certain zeal, if only you could have that applied in an orthodox fashion.

    Lets look at Church music (I am a church musician, so its something I know best). I might not want michael w. smith music at Holy Mass, however, think how powerful that sort of music is outside the context of mass. What it comes down to with the liberals, is finding a proper place for them to “express themselves”. Holy Mass isnt it. The problem is they dont know it. Why? Because there are figuratively 10 people shouting the truth, in a room of 10000. So, it probably would be more prudent to bring an extra, oh I would say,a few hundred reacquanted , very educated friends?

    If they DID come back into communion with Rome, there would be a fervant renewal of traditional values. The FSSP does this yes, but honestly they are too new, and too small to make a dent.

    like Phil said, THEY have to desire to come home. And part of coming home, will be certain responsibilities.

  42. Angelo says:

    ERECTION OF THE PRIESTLY SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
    NOVEMBER 1, 1970

    Chancery of Lausanne
    Geneva and Fribourg

    Decree of Erection of the International Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

    Given the encouragements expressed by Vatican Council II, in the decree ‘Optatam totius’, concerning international seminaries and the distribution of the clergy;
    Given the urgent necessity for the formation of zealous & generous priests conforming to the directive of the cited decree;
    Confirming that the Statutes of the Priestly Society correspond to its goals:
    We, Francois Charriere, Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg, the Holy Name of God invoked and all canonical prescriptions observed, decress what follows:

    1. The International Priestly Society of St. Pius X is erected in our diocese as a “Pia Union” (Pious Union).
    2. The seat of the Society is fixed as the Maison Saint Pie X (St. Pius X House), 50, rue de la Vignettaz, in Our episcopal city of Fribourg.
    3. We approve and confirm the Statutes, here joined, of the Society for a period of six years ad experimentum, which will be able to be renewed for a similar period definitely in our diocese by the competent Roman Congregation.

    We implore divine blessings on this Priestly Society that it may attain its principal goal which is the formation of holy priests.

    Done at Fribourg, in Our palace.
    1st November A.D. 1970 on the Feast of All Saints,

    +Francois Charriere
    Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg

    ————————————————————-
    Conclusion: The canonical status of the SSPX remains legal & licit to this very day, the episcopal consecrations & so-called excommunication not withstanding.

  43. Gerard says:

    John Enright,

    The interesting part of your statement is if you follow up your points with the question, “Why?”

    1. The Society establishes seminaries, churches, chapels, and priories throughout the world without any reference to the local ordinaries in whose dioceses it carries out these acts. This is contrary to the Code of Canon Law (Canons 234, 237, 1215, 1223-1228).

    Why? Because heresy and error are being taught in seminaries that are in many, many places. Corruption of the best is the worst and consequently some previously good seminaries became dens of iniquity.

    2. It ordains priests without the dismissorial letters required by Canon Law (Canons 1015, 1018-1023).

    Why? Because this is an irregular situation and therefore it becomes an impossibility or impracticality to follow certain norms.

    3. It hears confessions and celebrates marriages without jurisdiction (Canons 966-976, 1108-1123).

    Why? Because good confessors are few and far between and undermining the Church in the confessional. Supplied Jurisdiction for good moral reasons is given to those who request sacraments from SSPX priests.

    4. It refused Pope Paul VI’s command to close the seminary at Econe and wind up the Society.

    Why? Because Paul VI’s command was based on lies given to him and the salvation of souls was of greater import.

    5. It carries out confirmations in other bishops’ dioceses without the permission of the local Ordinary.

    Why? Because many bishops are not giving confirmation in the correct form and the confirmands aren’t being taught anything about confirmation.

    6. Let’s not forget the Society’s original episcopal consecrations in blatant disobedience of the Pope’s refusal to grant permission therefor.

    Why? Because Popes Paul VI and JPII (especially) were by their tolerance for liberals enabling the destroyers of the Church to have free reign. The real question is, “Why didn’t JPII defend the Church against the liberals?”

  44. Angelo says:

    LETTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM
    CARDINAL WRIGHT
    18 FEBRUARY A.D. 1971

    Sacred Congregation
    for the Clergy
    Prot. n. 133515/1

    Rome, 18 February 1971

    With great joy I received your letter, in which Your Excellency informs me of your news and especially of the Statutes of the Priestly Society.
    As Your Excellency explains, this Association, whicy by Your action,
    received on 1 November 1970, the approbation of His Excellency Francois Charriere, Bishop of Fribourg, has already exceeed the frontiers of Switzerland, and several Ordinaries in different parts of the world praise and approve it. All of this and especially the wisdom of the norms which direct & governs this Association give much reason to hope for its success.
    As for this Sacred Congregation, the Priestly Society will certainly be able to conform to the end proposed by the Council for the distribtion of the clergy in the world.
    I am respectully, Your Excellency

    Yours in the Lord,

    /s/ J. Card. Wright, Prefect.

    P. Palazzini
    Secretary
    To the Most Excellent and Reverend
    Lord Marcel Lefebvre
    Titular Archbishop of Synnada in Phrygia
    Via Casalmonferrato, n. 33
    Rome

  45. Stephen V. says:

    “Or perhaps: “Pope Benedict receives heretical Lutherans into Paul VI audience hall””

    I don’t think this is relevant. Lutherans are not Catholics (and haven’t been for quite some time) and don’t claim to be. Ceasing to provoke people from other ‘ecclesiastical communities’ through name-calling is not comparable to the use or disuse of the term ‘excommunicate’. To be excommunicated, is to be under a certain well-defined penalty, authorised by canon law, incurred under certain clear circumstances. I’m all for forgiveness and feeling regarding well-meaning SSPX-partizans, but the simple fact that Williamson & Co. *are* and remain excommunicated cannot be denied.

    This is no “so-called excommunication”. It is what it claims to be, (and denial of the Vatican’s authority to excommunicate, even if you ‘disagree’, smells a bit heretical to me) and if the SSPX wants the excommunications to be lifted, then that implies a recognition of their validity.

    [A bit like those Lutherans who want to have Luther officially rehabilitated by the Pope... I mean, seriously.]

  46. Patrick says:

    If all of you really wanted the SSPX to come back, the surest way would be to stop attending their illicit Masses, and stop giving them money. Maybe if they realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the Church, they will seriously consider reconciling. As long as people show up for their Masses and give them money, they have no reason to pursue reconciliation.

    Let us pray that these excommunicated and schismatic men return to the Church, lest they suffer the same fate as Archbishop Lefebvre and die separated from Christ’s Church.

  47. Michael says:

    “SSPX is leading the crusade AGAINST modernism in the Church right now.”

    Actually no. No it is not. It is holding itself out of the battle by refusing the call of the Pope to come fully back into the Church, waiting for the distant day when the crusade is finished and the Church is back in the condition that the SSPX will feel comfortable rejoining knowing that no personal struggle will be necessary.

    Or at least that is the impression it is creating for those in the Church who are actually working to oppose modernism.

  48. Tiny says:

    My issue with the deserters argument is that until the Motu Proprio was released, there was no guaranteed access to the TLM. On that note, if the SSPX, and other traditional priests, deserted anyone, it certainly wasn’t the faithful who were nourished by the Traditional Sacraments brought to them by the traditional priests.

  49. Gerard says:

    Patrick wrote:
    If all of you really wanted the SSPX to come back, the surest way would be to stop attending their illicit Masses, and stop giving them money. Maybe if they realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the Church, they will seriously consider reconciling. As long as people show up for their Masses and give them money, they have no reason to pursue reconciliation.

    Let us pray that these excommunicated and schismatic men return to the Church, lest they suffer the same fate as Archbishop Lefebvre and die separated from Christ’s Church.

    Here’s a better idea. If everyone stops enabling bad priests, bad liturgy and bad lives and starts picketing heretical priests and bishops and supports the SSPX, then maybe Rome will realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the traditional Catholic practices and beliefs. Maybe Rome will reconsider their policy of enabling modernists.

    It utterly amazes me that so many people stubbornly refuse to see this as a problem in the Church with the Popes.

    It’s ridiculously dishonest for people to whine about “unity” and “communion” regarding the SSPX and Rome when Rome offers nothing to the SSPX in the way of an incentive. What does Rome offer nowadays? Disunity, chaos, corruption and confusion.

    I’ll cut to the chase with a concrete example.

    I’m sitting here with a copy of “In the Beginning” by Cardinal Ratzinger, “A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” And it is a lamentable attempt to reconcile a ridiculous metaphysical myth called Darwinism that he has bought hook,line and sinker, with Creation and its Revelation by God.

    Plainly put: He doesn’t give the impression that he believes a man called Adam who is the Father of Humanity (feast day Dec. 24) actually existed. Well, despite the Cardinal’s poetic gyrations, without Adam there is no real need for Christ to have been a real man, the son of God or to have sacrificed anything. It’s only a myth that we can change to guide our lives towards a self directed evolutionary goal. I’m thankfully surprised I didn’t read anything about the “Omega point.” But in the end, there are essential events intrinsic to the faith that the Holy Father at least at this time, just didn’t seem to believe in or he had grave reservations about them.

    What I do know is this. I don’t need to believe this type of “Catholic Understanding” and I certainly don’t like the Church organization that that “Catholic Understanding” is the product of.

    My Catholic Understanding is the same Catholic Understanding that the Church has always had. Adam was a Man, Eve was a Woman, created a little less than the Angels. They sinned and everything fell, human nature (ie our physical bodies) and the Earth was cursed by God. (our tri-dimensional existence was significantly altered to our present state.) Ever wonder why we supposedly only use 10% of our brain capacity? Answer: We are not “evolving” we are fallen. Those abilities are forbidden for us to use by God, not evolutionary mechanisms.

    Unfortunately, our beloved Holy Father is marinated in this kind of intellectual brine. Perhaps in his twilight he will receive grace to toss away the confusion and fully embrace his faith like a child (I believe this is what prevents him from losing it completely) and he’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is plenty of room for his considerable intellect.

    To bring the point back home. Just what is being offered to the SSPX in the way of “unity”? Unity is just an illusion to the mindset of Rome. It’s a perspective, a “special kind” of unity that is shrouded in mystery. Oh and it’s a way to exercise control over traditional Catholics and let liberals run amok.

    Uh uh. Sorry. There is no Catholic unity with the likes of Richard McBrien, Fr. Micheal Pfleger, Roger Card. Mahoney and scores of other “Catholics” in “full communion” with the Holy Father. It’s them or us Holy Father.
    Condemn their errors or don’t expect any solutions except those from above your pay grade.

  50. patrick f says:

    Who is to say God didnt take it one step at a time?

    People dont stubbornly refuse to see it as a Pope/SSPX issue, they see it as a Church/SSPX issue which is what it is. Lefebvre ordained 3 bishops he didnt have permission to, no matter how “true to the faith” he is, he has broken church law, and set himself in schism. Therefore, that is why excommunication was pronounced. Its important to remember that no one “gets” excommunicated, they excommunicate themselves by actions, its merely a pronouncement at that point. The action was schismatic, when it was performed, not when the person was formally excommunicated.

    And I dont think people , most good sensible catholics claim Pfleger. In fact, if I recall he is on a mandatory retreat right now.

    I agree, and pointed out earlier, people do enable the modernists. You see liturgical “dance”, and people applaud it. You see drums and electric guitars, and people applaud it. Why? People like a good show. I am fine with a good show, just keep it out of the mass. There is one “show” at the mass, calvary recreated. I seriously doubt there was a “Praise Band” at the last supper or calgary. But you also have to remember that its a dance for some of these pastors. Either a person has a simple love of Almighty God, or you bear down on them and risk losing them . However, I would also agree with your thought that proper cathecism, is the key. But bear in mind, there is 40+ years of error in teaching we are dealing with. Saying the SSPX is right (which there are some areas they arent) wont fix the problem. Turning back vatican II wont fix the problem, rather it would just create new ones, trade one schism for another.

    Bottom line, no one is going to march to the Holy See, or type in a blog and say “turn back vatican II NOW!” and get anything useful done. All you do at that point is alienate those who will cling to vatican II. Yes, condemn the people who teach false doctrine, who dont teach the real presence, who deny the authority of the Church (which at its head is the Vicar of Christ), but you have to do it in a way that you dont lose other innocents who just dont know any better, but might be drawn by the pretty show. Get the proper teaching in place, then clean house. Then you have less people who will fall away

  51. Dan Hunter says:

    Michael Matt recently interviewed His Excellency Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos who, when asked “is schism the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX, the Cardinal replied:”No, there isn’t any schism”
    Her is that portion of the interview:

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”.

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    My jaw must have been on the floor. How many times we have made the same argument over the years in the pages of The Remnant only to be chastised by the neo-Catholics as aiders and abettors of schismatics! With a few brief words the Cardinal obliterated the tired arguments of the schism-mongers. Those who would still insist that traditionalists in the Society of St. Pius X are in schism must now concede that their position is completely untenable, lest they violate the norms of Christian charity.

  52. Gerard says:

    Who is to say God didnt take it one step at a time?

    God is. He created Man separately and each of the living things “according to their kind.”

    The problem is not interpreting Genesis. The problem is taking evolution with more faith than revelation. There simply is no evidence for evolution and it bears too much of a striking resemblance to a religion to not think there is a clever angelic intelligence behind it. It’s the promise of the serpent from Genesis.

    People dont stubbornly refuse to see it as a Pope/SSPX issue, they see it as a Church/SSPX issue which is what it is. Lefebvre ordained 3 bishops he didnt have permission to, no matter how “true to the faith” he is, he has broken church law, and set himself in schism. Therefore, that is why excommunication was pronounced.

    Yet you are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the responsibility that the Popes bear for the condition of the Church. Their inaction and their persecution of the one of two bishops that actually fought for the truth.

    LeFebvre took a hose to the burning building and your whining about him “trespassing” Canon laws weren’t made to prevent bishops from saving souls. To apply laws against LeFebvre in order to stop him from helping souls is a crime in and of itself and I certainly hope the Popes responsible were contrite before they died with that sin on their souls.

    Its important to remember that no one “gets” excommunicated, they excommunicate themselves by actions, its merely a pronouncement at that point. The action was schismatic, when it was performed, not when the person was formally excommunicated.

    Well, Popes can declare someone excommunicated and be wrong about it. All the way to the point where the declaration is invalid.

    And I dont think people , most good sensible catholics claim Pfleger. In fact, if I recall he is on a mandatory retreat right now.

    LeFebvre tries to stop mass apostasy. Pfleger gets himself in political trouble after years of encourageing apostasy and he gets sent on a two week vacation? Remember Pfleger is in “full communion” with Cardinal George and the Holy Father. They claim him. They don’t even acknowledge his serious defects. Are they good sensible Catholics?

    I agree, and pointed out earlier, people do enable the modernists.

    Not just nameless, faceless people. Popes. Popes with names: Paul VI and John Paul II.

    To bring back an earlier point. No traditional priest in “full communion” can get away with what I just wrote. By being a powerless layman, I can be a modern Diogenes to the modern Alexander. Only the SSPX is as free to tell the truth as those in my station or the Pope himself.

    I am fine with a good show, just keep it out of the mass. There is one “show” at the mass, calvary recreated. I seriously doubt there was a “Praise Band” at the last supper or calgary. But you also have to remember that its a dance for some of these pastors.

    Calvary is re-presented, not re-created. Either a person has a simple love of Almighty God, or you bear down on them and risk losing them. Also, there is already a plethora of traditional missionary approaches that will work effectively in the modern era. Strength, truth and conviction are actually attractive to humans.

    However, I would also agree with your thought that proper cathecism, is the key. But bear in mind, there is 40+ years of error in teaching we are dealing with.

    Until we start hearing real condemnations,nothing is going to be dealt with. Saying what is wrong is a good catechism lesson. Look at the ten commandments.

    Saying the SSPX is right (which there are some areas they arent) wont fix the problem.

    Neither will pleas for them “to return” when the powers that be won’t condemn the errors.

    Turning back vatican II wont fix the problem, rather it would just create new ones, trade one schism for another.

    That’s not an altogether bad situation. It would provide people with a line in the sand to make a decision that they are responsible for.

    Bottom line, no one is going to march to the Holy See, or type in a blog and say “turn back vatican II NOW!” and get anything useful done.

    Maybe not. But that means there won’t be any harm in trying. And God won’t forget the effort.

    All you do at that point is alienate those who will cling to vatican II.

    If they are clinging just to Vatican II, they aren’t Catholic. They need the whole faith in its entirety.

    Yes, condemn the people who teach false doctrine, who dont teach the real presence, who deny the authority of the Church (which at its head is the Vicar of Christ), but you have to do it in a way that you dont lose other innocents who just dont know any better, but might be drawn by the pretty show.

    If they are genuinely seeking God and not a show, they are innocent and God won’t abandon them, no matter what a Pope does or doesn’t do. But let’s not assume that all are innocent who go for the show.

    Get the proper teaching in place, then clean house. Then you have less people who will fall away.

    I agree with you. Why doesn’t the hierarchy agree with us?

  53. Michael B. says:

    The continual conservative Catholic “procedural” argument doesn’t explain anything, but clouds the issue, much like the procedural argument against the Orthodox. It doesn’t fully explain the nature of the conflict, but clouds it over in self-righteousness. The glory of the Catholic Church is her love of the truth first and foremost. To get to the truth of the matter, one would have to go through the trouble of understanding the SSPX from the inside, until then, critique on the level of truth is not possible. I think this is related to what Bishop Williamson is referring to when he talks about the Romans preparing to solve the problem by preparing documents and papers. I don’t think any of you good orthodox but conservative Catholics have any idea what the SSPX is saying, and insulting them with the same procedural claims will do nothing to clarify the problem.

    They may, in fact, be on to an insight about the crisis in the Church that the rest of you will be digging for in the next Papacy should it result in a “John-Paul III” Pope, far less sympathetic to the traditions of the Church than the current Pope. Then, the procedural arguments will push you in the direction of abandoning Church tradition, just as it happened to good Catholics immediately after the Council.
    On the other hand, they may be over-playing their critique, but you have no idea of how to diagnose and correct it. The failure to seek the truth is the ultimate failure of charity.

    To put it another way: The SSPX has an eighteen year history before the ordinations of the Bishops: the SSPX’s formulation of the problem of the crisis in the Church needs to be analyzed and understood aside from the fact of the ordinations, else there will be no way to solve the problem of reconciliation.

    And yes, it is up to us, not them. They have their diagnosis of the problem. We have the intellectual tools in Catholic tradition to meet them on their own ground and find the way out of the stand-off, should there be a way out. On the way, we may find a better way to attend to the larger crisis that affects us all.

  54. As I understand it, what the SSPX is asking for is that the Holy See explain
    how the teachings of the Magisterium post-1962, can square with the Magisterium
    pre-1962. While there is much that is to be regretted in the way in which the
    SSPX has behaved, I believe that the SSPX has a point in asking Rome for explanations, instead
    of mere affirmations that there is no contradiction between the pre-Vatican II and
    post-Vatican II Magisterium.

    The Holy See insists on the hermeneutic of continuity — which is wonderful! — but has done little
    to actually explain in detail HOW the hermeneutic of continuity does, in fact, work between
    the pre-1962 and post-1962 Magisterium. Simply put, yes, there
    is a hermeneutic of continuity, and we must believe that the Magisterium post-1962
    is compatible with and flows from the pre-1962 Magisterium. The question now is:
    HOW are we to demonstrate that the teachings of Vatican II and of the post-Conciliar
    Popes are in perfect harmony with the Magisterium of previous Popes? This never
    seems to be addressed. I have the impression that the SSPX is being asked to
    accept on faith that there is complete harmony between the pre- and post-1962 Magisterium
    without any explanations as to how this could possible. They are being asked to accept
    that development of doctrine has occured, without being told how the current, post-Vatican II teachings are, in fact, organic developments of past teachings.

    The Benedictine of Le Barroux, Father Basile Valuet, has done some pioneering work
    demonstrating why the current teaching on Religious Liberty is a legitimate
    development, compatible with the teachings of the pre-Vatican II Magisterium. Unfortunately, it seems that his work has not been translated into English. We need more writers like him.

  55. Patrick says:

    Gerard,

    You sound borderline delusional in your rant against the Holy Father.

    The Church isn’t getting worse now, it’s getting better and has been for the last 15 years or so. The fact that you think Pope Benedict is “marinated” in modernism and confused demonstrates your total lack of awareness of reality.

    Dan Hunter,

    They’re in schism per a motu proprio. Ask Card. Castrillon Hoyos why his comments (reported in standard ‘hearsay’ style in your reference) don’t jive with the Supreme Pontiff’s.

    Time is ticking for the SSPX to return, if they actually want to. I’m not sure they all really do. More and more of their priests are regularized. Soon there won’t be much left except the bishops and a few priests.

  56. Antiquarian says:

    Gerard, if you’re going to rant about “Darwinism” and the Holy Father’s position on it, showing even the vaguest grasp of what it is, and what he has actually said about it, might be a good idea. As it is, your treasured argument, that only the SSPX leadership know what they’re talking about, and everyone who questions them is simply too unintelligent, is not helped by a display of how little you understand the issues at hand.

  57. John Enright says:

    Gerard said “The interesting part of [John Enright's] statement is if you follow up [his] points with the question, ‘Why?’”

    Michael J first asked to be shown where the Society has been disobedient. I’ve done that. Gerard’s spin on it is an entirely different matter; he’s saying in essence “The Society is disobedient because . . . ” in an attempt to justify rejection of Papal authority. It comes out like “We can ignore the Pope and disobey Canon Law because the Pope and Vatican II were wrong. We know that the Pope and the Council persist in error because we know better.”

  58. John Enright says:

    Gerard said “The Magisterium isn’t the Pope and the bishops. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. It can be invoked by the Pope or the Pope and the bishops, but they can also refuse to invoke it. And when we have such a long period of muteness from the Magisterium and endless non-magisterial chatter, policy and pseudo-philosophy, we can be sure that they don’t want to invoke the Magisterium. Becuase the Magisterium is clear, precise, crisp and usually condemnatory. And that perennial Magisterium of the Church is what the SSPX relies upon for their position.”

    Uh, first point to be made is that “perennial” means yearly. I don’t know what you mean when you speak of a “perennial Magisterium.”

    My second point: “Especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishop of Rome and the Body of the Bishops. It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ Himself entrusted the ministry of unity in His Church.” Apostolic Letter, Ecclesia Dei

  59. Dan Hunter says:

    Patrick:

    Vatican Cardinal Ordains Four for Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
    Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

    Michael J. Matt
    Editor, The Remnant

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and

    Remnant Editor Michael Matt

    (Posted June 11, 2008 http://www.RemnantNewspaper.com) On May 30, 2008 (the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), it was indeed a pleasure to witness the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Mr. Jared McCambridge, Rev. Mr. Dennis Gordon, Rev. Mr. Justin Nolan, and Rev. Mr. Jonathan Romanoski. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) according to the traditional rite by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The historic event was televised live throughout the world on EWTN.

    That there was standing room only in a cathedral with a seating capacity of 800 says a good deal about the success of the event. The congregation was comprised of ladies in skirts and veils, men in suits, and an abundance of well-behaved children (no small feat given the Mass was three hours in duration). The dozens of mothers with babies in their arms who lined the vestibule walls provided additional promise for the future of the apostolates operated by the FSSP in America.

    After the ordination I had an opportunity to speak briefly with a number of the priests, including two of the newly ordained. On the road to Chartres over the years, I’ve seen many of them come up ‘through the ranks’ on their way to ordination. Priests at last, they were positively on fire with enthusiasm for their vital mission to bring Christ and Catholic Tradition to the whole world.

    While it is true that a few critics still labor under the false impression that FSSP priests are not militant enough, this is unfortunate and evidently due to a lack of first-hand experience with these impressive young priests. It’s unlikely that anyone would actually question to his face the Catholic militancy of a Father Romanoski, for example, or Father Nolan or any number of the cassocked warriors for Christ with whom I spoke in Lincoln. In many ways these young men are becoming the Marines of the traditional Catholic movement—‘going in’ first and operating under difficult conditions and in often ‘hostile territory.’

    It seems to us, in fact, that credit to the FSSP for holding that difficult ground is long overdue. Ever since 1988 it was predicted that the Fraternity of St. Peter was on the verge of a total sellout to the Novus Ordo, which was to include adopting the new lectionary, communion in the hand, regular bi-rituality, etc. But this never materialized. As was noted above, I’ve been walking the Chartres Pilgrimage with FSSP priests and seminarians every spring for 17 years and if there has been any change in attitude during that time it could only be an increase in their militancy and genuine commitment to the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass.

    For twenty years now the FSSP has been laboring for the restoration of the Mass at the heart of the Church. Since July 7, 2007, they have trained over 100 Novus Ordo priests to offer the traditional Mass; and now they’ve launched the new initiative that (Deo volente) will introduce the Traditional Mass to thousands of priests around the world.

    Remind me again—where’s the sellout? One can only imagine how much more could have been accomplished had the FSSP been given a bishop of their own—something else that’s long overdue! But in God’s good Providence and under the remarkable leadership of Superior General Fr. John Berg, the FSSP forges ahead in this universal push to restore the traditional Mass to the Church.

    Last month’s priestly ordinations in Nebraska served as a poignant reminder that some progress is indeed being made, especially since July 7, 2007. I had an opportunity to attend the FSSP’s press conference with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and was amazed to hear a Vatican Cardinal delivering argument after argument in favor of the old Mass that Michael Davies and my father had been making forty years ago but that had been dutifully dismissed as signs of a “dangerous trajectory toward schism”. Now those same arguments flow eloquently from the lips of princes of the Church. Go figure!

    Disagreements notwithstanding, His Eminence struck me as a humble man with a wonderful sense of humor, a profound sense of the dignity of his office and deep love for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In his demeanor he’s very much a priest of the old school, and it was not only an honor but also a genuine pleasure to meet with him albeit briefly.

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    Vatican Cardinal Ordains Four for Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
    Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

    Michael J. Matt
    Editor, The Remnant

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and

    Remnant Editor Michael Matt

    (Posted June 11, 2008 http://www.RemnantNewspaper.com) On May 30, 2008 (the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), it was indeed a pleasure to witness the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Mr. Jared McCambridge, Rev. Mr. Dennis Gordon, Rev. Mr. Justin Nolan, and Rev. Mr. Jonathan Romanoski. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) according to the traditional rite by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The historic event was televised live throughout the world on EWTN.

    That there was standing room only in a cathedral with a seating capacity of 800 says a good deal about the success of the event. The congregation was comprised of ladies in skirts and veils, men in suits, and an abundance of well-behaved children (no small feat given the Mass was three hours in duration). The dozens of mothers with babies in their arms who lined the vestibule walls provided additional promise for the future of the apostolates operated by the FSSP in America.

    After the ordination I had an opportunity to speak briefly with a number of the priests, including two of the newly ordained. On the road to Chartres over the years, I’ve seen many of them come up ‘through the ranks’ on their way to ordination. Priests at last, they were positively on fire with enthusiasm for their vital mission to bring Christ and Catholic Tradition to the whole world.

    While it is true that a few critics still labor under the false impression that FSSP priests are not militant enough, this is unfortunate and evidently due to a lack of first-hand experience with these impressive young priests. It’s unlikely that anyone would actually question to his face the Catholic militancy of a Father Romanoski, for example, or Father Nolan or any number of the cassocked warriors for Christ with whom I spoke in Lincoln. In many ways these young men are becoming the Marines of the traditional Catholic movement—‘going in’ first and operating under difficult conditions and in often ‘hostile territory.’

    It seems to us, in fact, that credit to the FSSP for holding that difficult ground is long overdue. Ever since 1988 it was predicted that the Fraternity of St. Peter was on the verge of a total sellout to the Novus Ordo, which was to include adopting the new lectionary, communion in the hand, regular bi-rituality, etc. But this never materialized. As was noted above, I’ve been walking the Chartres Pilgrimage with FSSP priests and seminarians every spring for 17 years and if there has been any change in attitude during that time it could only be an increase in their militancy and genuine commitment to the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass.

    For twenty years now the FSSP has been laboring for the restoration of the Mass at the heart of the Church. Since July 7, 2007, they have trained over 100 Novus Ordo priests to offer the traditional Mass; and now they’ve launched the new initiative that (Deo volente) will introduce the Traditional Mass to thousands of priests around the world.

    Remind me again—where’s the sellout? One can only imagine how much more could have been accomplished had the FSSP been given a bishop of their own—something else that’s long overdue! But in God’s good Providence and under the remarkable leadership of Superior General Fr. John Berg, the FSSP forges ahead in this universal push to restore the traditional Mass to the Church.

    Last month’s priestly ordinations in Nebraska served as a poignant reminder that some progress is indeed being made, especially since July 7, 2007. I had an opportunity to attend the FSSP’s press conference with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and was amazed to hear a Vatican Cardinal delivering argument after argument in favor of the old Mass that Michael Davies and my father had been making forty years ago but that had been dutifully dismissed as signs of a “dangerous trajectory toward schism”. Now those same arguments flow eloquently from the lips of princes of the Church. Go figure!

    Disagreements notwithstanding, His Eminence struck me as a humble man with a wonderful sense of humor, a profound sense of the dignity of his office and deep love for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In his demeanor he’s very much a priest of the old school, and it was not only an honor but also a genuine pleasure to meet with him albeit briefly.

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    Quoth Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, yet again.

    God bless you

  60. Damien says:

    I’m afraid that as long as men such as Bishop Williamson are involved with the SSPX that there will be no reunification with Rome, there simply cannot be. His comments against Rome and the Holy Father notwithstanding, his take on Scripture can only be compared with the most hardcore evangelicals in the Bible-belt of the US. A video i saw on youtube displays this clearly! He is correct, of course, when he says that there is no untruth in Scripture. But this does not mean that every event recounted for in Scripture happened in the way described!! Take a look:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkaLG1mEzl8

  61. ALL: Don’t simply cut and paste information from other sources in the combox.

  62. English dictionary says:

    Dear John Enright:

    perenn´ial (-nyal), a. & n. 1. Lasting through, (of stream) flowing through all seasons of, the year; lasting long or for ever; (of plant) living several years.

    (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, ed. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, 5th edition, revised by E. McIntosh, Oxford 1964 at The Clarendon Press)

  63. Gerard says:

    Patrick wrote:

    Gerard,

    You sound borderline delusional in your rant against the Holy Father.

    The Church isn’t getting worse now, it’s getting better and has been for the last 15 years or so. The fact that you think Pope Benedict is “marinated” in modernism and confused demonstrates your total lack of awareness of reality.

    Patrick,

    Well, how can I argue against your point by point rebuttal? As far as the Church getting better for the last 15 years? I don’t think I’m delusional. Moderate Modernism is growing, orthodox Catholicism is not.

    Perhaps you could either ask me a question or demonstrate how I’m wrong about the Holy Father’s views in order to prove your assertion that I lack awareness of reality.

    I’m sorry, but only a delusional person would accept your assertions as self-evident fact.

    Antiquarian wrote:

    Gerard, if you’re going to rant about “Darwinism” and the Holy Father’s position on it, showing even the vaguest grasp of what it is, and what he has actually said about it, might be a good idea. As it is, your treasured argument, that only the SSPX leadership know what they’re talking about, and everyone who questions them is simply too unintelligent, is not helped by a display of how little you understand the issues at hand.

    Hmmm….Again a point by point refutation. Basically the accusation that I don’t know what I’m writing about is the fashionable fall back position. All with no evidence that you can prove me wrong or that you aren’t completely ignorant yourself.

    Next comes the caricature, (because you find yourself unable to deal with the real arguments) that I’m saying the SSPX is the only group that knows what they’re talking about and questions are from the unintelligent.
    I’m afraid you are projecting your own attitude onto me.

    The fact that I read a book by the Holy Father and find it to be very disappointing on a multitude of levels and that I’m aware of the flaw in his thinking somehow makes me incapable of giving valid criticism is evidence of your projection. Especially where you can’t seem to back up your assertions.

    Questioning the SSPX is a good, healthy thing. The fact that many here don’t like the answers because it gives the SSPX moral standing is disappointing to many it seems. Going off in an irrational loop about “authority” without being willing to discuss the basic principals and the application of those principals to the historical events, is not good and unhealthy and makes your whole argument fall apart.

    It is apparent that many of you just want to bash the SSPX because you don’t want to

    a)acknowledge the severity of the apostasy

    b)put the blame on the people that had the most responsibility

    c)want to compromise with the apostasy and abandon the militancy of the Church.

  64. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    Michael J first asked to be shown where the Society has been disobedient. I’ve done that. Gerard’s spin on it is an entirely different matter; he’s saying in essence “The Society is disobedient because . . . ” in an attempt to justify rejection of Papal authority. It comes out like “We can ignore the Pope and disobey Canon Law because the Pope and Vatican II were wrong. We know that the Pope and the Council persist in error because we know better.”

    John,

    I’m exactly saying the SSPX is disobedient “because.” What is wrong with that? The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.

    If you think the SSPX only claim to know better, well prove them wrong. They know better because they are appealing to the teaching of the Catholic Church and its most celebrated minds and souls as well as the Divine promises of the Savior.

    The logical inference from your argument is that the Pope is irresistible in all circumstances. That is not the case.

    Until someone can verify a good reason why Paul VI and JPII enabled liberals and persecuted Lefebvre, the conclusion can only be that the SSPX is justified.

  65. I am not Spartacus says:

    Unfortunately, our beloved Holy Father is marinated in this kind of intellectual brine. Perhaps in his twilight he will receive grace to toss away the confusion and fully embrace his faith like a child (I believe this is what prevents him from losing it completely) and he’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is plenty of room for his considerable intellect.

    What a despicable, vicious, nasty, personal assault against The Vicar of Christ.

    Please take back those words, brother. They say far more about you than about the Holy Father, than whom fewer are better educated nor more orthodox.

  66. D.S. says:

    laudetur JS CHS!

    1. As Dan Hunter said, H Em Card Hoyos claims that the FSSPX is NOT SCHISMATIC.

    But – patrick and others – it´s not only him. There are other good arguments for it. And the ponitifical use of the phrase “schismatic(al) act” is not an infallible statement. There are canonists like H Em Castillo Lara [cf. La republica oct 7th 1988!] or H Ex Neri Capponi [cf. Latin Mass Magazin, may/june 1993] or Rev. Prof. G. May who state that a consecration without papal permission is NOT in itselfe a schismatic act or schismatic – and btw, there is the other problem that ist is not that clear what “schismatic(al) act” exactly means – constituting a schism or not….

    There are further arguments. Best perhaps that in the tradition such a consecration was clearly NOT considered as schismatic in itselfe, because in the CIC/1917 the penalty was only supension and not excommunication. By this argument it is brought to evidence that such a consecration was clearly NOT seen as schismatic. Period!

    2. But there is also NO (valid) EXCOMMUNICATION. – Yes, I am not joking and I am also not searching for a tricky, non-serious argument.
    If You consider CIC (1983) c.1323 4° and 7° and c.1324 §1, 5° and 8° and §3 you will see that there is NO excommunication because H Ex Archb Lefebvre relied/leaned on the state of extreme “necessitas”.

    So he and the bishops are – canonically! – NOT excommunicated. So please do not call them so – that is both against justity and chartity!

    In CHO per Mam

  67. John Enright says:

    Dear English dictionary:
    I know what the word means; it derives from “per” and “annus” meaning “by year.” I’ve seen it used in connection with the Magisterium before, but its use is ambiguous since it is not synonymous with “everlasting,” which is what I suppose Gerard meant. At best, perennial can be defined as “long lasting.” Why not use proper descriptive terms such as “Ordinary Magisterium” or “Extraordinary Magisterium?”

    Gerard says “The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.” Its not a non-sequitur at all. I think your argument begs the question.

    My point is this: the teachings of Vatican II should be viewed as an exercise of the Church’s Extraordinary Magisterium. THere can be no valid dissent from its teachings.

  68. Michael J says:

    John,

    First of all, thank you. It is quite refreshing to have an honestly posed question reasonably and civily answered. I have not yet had the opportunity to thoroughly look into each of the 6 issues you raised, but I take them at face value. There can be little argument that the society did these things. I take your word for it that these actions failed to comply with the sections of canon law you cited.

    The question remains, can these things truly be considered disobedient? Maybe the distinction I am trying to make between “disobedience”, “justifiable disobedience” and “not disobedient” is too fine, but let me pose a real-world true example, completely unrelated to the society in the hope that it will help explain where I am going with this.

    My wife has a bit of a lead foot. I have often told her to stop speeding. For the sake of this discussion, lets assume that there is no disagreement that I have the authority to do this and that what I said(“no speeding”) was a legitimate “order”.

    A few years ago, we lived in a rural area that had no ambulance service to speak of. One afternoon, I began to have heart attack symptoms. Thankfully it was not a heart attack, but we both believed that I was having a heart attack. Needless to say, my wife rushed me to the emergency room and exceeded the speed limit. As it turns out, I was in no danger of immediate death but she did break the law and failed to comply with my wishes.

    I doubt that there would be any disagreement that her action was justified, but I am wondering if it can be considered disobedience at all. So, was she disobedient, albeit justified or not disobedient at all?

  69. I am not Spartacus says:

    I’m exactly saying the SSPX is disobedient “because.” What is wrong with that? The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.

    Council of Constance

    In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit. Amen. This holy synod of Constance, which is a general council, for the eradication of the present schism and for bringing unity and reform to God’s church in head and members, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit to the praise of almighty God, ordains, defines, decrees, discerns and declares as follows, in order that this union and reform of God’s church may be obtained the more easily, securely, fruitfully and freely.

    First it declares that, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.

    Next, it declares that anyone of whatever condition, state or dignity, even papal, who contumaciously refuses to obey the past or future mandates, statutes, ordinances or precepts of this sacred council or of any other legitimately assembled general council, regarding the aforesaid things or matters pertaining to them, shall be subjected to well-deserved penance, unless he repents, and shall be duly punished, even by having recourse, if necessary, to other supports of the law.

    Consistory Allocution of 2 June 1944, “The mandate Confided to Peter”, Pope Pius XII stated:

    Mother Church, Catholic, Roman, which has remained faithful to the constitution received from her divine Founder, which still stands firm today on the solidity of the rock on which His will erected her, possesses in the primacy of Peter and of his legitimate successors, the assurance, guaranteed by the divine promises, of keeping and transmitting inviolate and in all its integrity through the centuries and millennia to the very end of time the entire sum of truth and grace contained in the redemptive mission of Christ.

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    Proposueramus quidem “To Michael the Emperor” 865 a.d.

    …Furthermore if you have not heard us, it remains for you to be with us of necessity, such as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded those to be considered, who disdained to hear the Church of God, especially since the privileges of the Roman Church, built upon Peter by the word of Christ, deposited in the Church herself, observed in ancient times and celebrated by the sacred universal Synods, and venerated jointly by the entire Church, can by no means be diminished; for the foundation which God has established, no human effort has the power to destroy and what God has determined remains firm and strong…

    Gerard. I could roll-out scores of such citations from Tradition totally demolishing the idea one can justify disobedience to the Pope while you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise.

    Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium declares that no man, even one in league with the devil, can destroy the foundation God established and the modern Popes are not ones rational beings can claim are in league with the devil. Besides, even IF the Pope were in league with the devil you would still be under his authority …

    If a pope is foreknown as damned and is evil, and is therefore a limb of the devil, he does not have authority over the faithful given to him by anyone, except perhaps by the emperor was a proposition of Wyclif which was condemned at the Council of Constance

  70. D.S. says:

    3. Rev. F Z. wrote: “some of them will even carefully attack Vat.I”

    Who?

    Without witness/proof that is again (and more obviouse) against truth, justity and charity.

    Don´t get me wrong. I don´t want to promote the main statement of Mt.rev. Bf. Williamson re the Transalpine Redemptorists. I think he is wrong or too hard and too pessimisitic here.

    But please always: truth, justity and charity!! (Grr..)

  71. I am not Spartacus says:

    So he and the bishops are – canonically! – NOT excommunicated. So please do not call them so – that is both against justity and chartity!

    Vatican I, Constitution on the Church, Pastor Aeternus, Ch. III

    “[A] decision of the Apostolic See, whose authority has no superior, may be revised by no one, nor may anyone examine. judicially, its decision”

  72. D.S. says:

    I am not spartacus:

    What You argued was not denied by gerard (or others). Your quotes don´t “demolish” anything in question. The question was and still is: can there be justified disobedience re the Pope.

    Albeit you wrote “you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise” I can – and I think also Gerard can – bring you some quotes, from Fathers and doctors of the Church (f.e. St. Thomas) and also Encyclicals.

    But first a question to You: So do You want to state that there can never be a justified disobedience towards the Pope?

    Hail Mary!

  73. I am not Spartacus says:

    A few years ago, we lived in a rural area that had no ambulance service to speak of. One afternoon, I began to have heart attack symptoms. Thankfully it was not a heart attack, but we both believed that I was having a heart attack. Needless to say, my wife rushed me to the emergency room and exceeded the speed limit. As it turns out, I was in no danger of immediate death but she did break the law and failed to comply with my wishes.

    I doubt that there would be any disagreement that her action was justified, but I am wondering if it can be considered disobedience at all. So, was she disobedient, albeit justified or not disobedient at all?

    I don’t think your analogy works. Mons Lefevbre’s excommunication was not a thing sudden or unexpected. He had been in communication with Rome. He even signed a Protocol with Rome, before reneging on it (He was for it before he was against it).

    IOW, he was warned that if he did try and consecrate Bishops he would be excommunicated. He was also told that as “The legislator (who)authentically interprets laws ..” (Canon 16) the Pope had already ruled there was no emergency situation so he did not even have that rhetorical fall-back position so what Mons Lefevbre did was not anything like your sudden onset of health problems

  74. Royce says:

    That last paragraph is hilarious. On the contrary, I think Msgr. Williamson is in South America so everyone else can forget about him! Too bad it hasn’t worked out like that.

  75. Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2008-0630-hoyos.htm

    [Mr. Matt] “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    [Card. Hoyos] “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    [Article continues] “With a few brief words the Cardinal obliterated the tired arguments of the schism-mongers. Those who would still insist that traditionalists in the Society of St. Pius X are in schism must now concede that their position is completely untenable, lest they violate the norms of Christian charity.”

    Who can fail to be impressed that so many commenters here know more about this area than the Cardinal President of PCED who presumably is responsible for it, and who apparently speaks on it with the approval of the Pope?

  76. I am not Spartacus says:

    The question was and still is: can there be justified disobedience re the Pope.

    How can that exist as a valid question in your mind after just reading what was taught in Quanta Cura?

    Albeit you wrote “you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise” I can – and I think also Gerard can – bring you some quotes, from Fathers and doctors of the Church (f.e. St. Thomas) and also Encyclicals.

    Please cite the Encyclicals. As for the teachings of the Saints, unless they are adopted/baptised by the Magisterium they are neither normative or definitive.

    In fact, in just a few minutes I will post something that exposes there misuse by those who try and justify disobedience to Divinely-Constituted authority.

  77. D.S. says:

    A am not spartacus:

    To excomunication-question (re my comment): I think you have neither read the quoted cc. nor do know what the pope did realy do:

    He did not judge or decide anything re Archbf. Lefebvre´s consecration, but only DECLARE that the excommunication l.s. would be incurred. So your quote fails totally. Such a decleration can undoubtly be wrong or at least fail to consider all necesarry circumstances.

  78. Michael UK says:

    The excrescence of verbiage piled onto Fr. Michael Mary and the Transalpine Redemptorists, by elemements of SSPX posted on A.Q., is deplorable and confirms a complete absence of either Charity or understanding of the problems to be faced.

  79. I am not Spartacus says:

    Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations:

    This entry is an abridgment and slight modification of something I posted at an Envoy Encore Message Box Discussion. The individual names have been changed to protect the guilty.- ISM

    This response will deal with the Bellarmine and Aquinas references and also the principles of “resistance” and/or “rebuking prelates.”

    “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all,tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior.” (Bellarmine: De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    “There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by their subjects” (Aquinas).

    It is not uncommon for Lidless Eye types to try to justify a position of resistance to the magisterium on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors. I will point out here how countless trads take out of context a quotation from Bellarmine and also seriously misrepresent the position of Aquinas on rebuking prelates. But first, let us deal with the Bellarmine quote.

    Those who have read my refutation of a certain imprudent attorney’s ignorant reply to the piece Pete and I did for The Wanderer know that this quote was part of what I addressed in that very brief (for me anyway) essay of about twenty pages.{1} The quote itself is from De Romano Pontifice and when read in context it in no way justifies resisting laws promulgated by a validly-elected pope. To
    quote from Fr. Anthony Cekada who correctly analyzed this passage in detail:

    “The passage cited is from a lengthy chapter Bellarmine devotes to refuting nine arguments advocating the position that the pope is subject to secular power (emperor, king, etc.) and an ecumenical council (the heresy of conciliarism).

    The general context, therefore, is a discussion of the power of the state vis-à -vis the pope…In its particular context, the oft-cited quote is part of Bellarmine’s refutation of the following argument:

    Argument 7. Any person is permitted to kill the pope if he is unjustly attacked by him. Therefore, even more so is it permitted for kings or a council to depose the pope if he disturbs the state, or if he tries to kill souls by his bad example.

    Bellarmine answers:

    I respond by denying the second part of the argument. For to resist an attacker and defend one’s self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks. Authority is required,however, to judge and punish.

    It is only then that Bellarmine states:

    Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all,tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    Bellarmine…is discussing the course of action which may legitimately be taken against a pope who upsets the political order or “kills souls by his bad example.” A king or a council may not depose such a pope, Bellarmine argues,because they are not his superior—but they may resist him.

    Nor does this quote support those traditional Catholics who would recognize John Paul II as pope but reject his Mass and ignore his laws.

    First, the passage justifies resistance by kings and councils. It does not say that individual bishops, priests and laymen on their own possess this right to resist the pope and ignore his commands—still less that they can set up places of worship in opposition to diocesan bishops a pope has lawfully appointed.

    Second, note the precise causes for resistance in the case Bellarmine is discussing: disturbing the state or giving bad example. These, obviously, are not the same thing as papal liturgical legislation, disciplinary laws or doctrinal pronouncements which an individual might somehow deem harmful.

    Bellarmine would hardly approve of disregarding, carte blanche, for 30 years the directives of men one claims to recognize as legitimate occupants of the papal office and the vicars of Christ on earth.

    In sum, the passage neither condemns sedevacantism nor supports traditionalists like the adherents of the Society of St. Pius X.

    [Fr. Anthony Cekada: Did Bellarmine Condemn Sedevacantism? as quoted in I. Shawn McElhinney's essay

    Squelching Fr. Gruner's Squawking Squire (c. 2003)]

    So much for the Bellarmine “proof.” Now to reiterate the “proof” from Aquinas before addressing it.

    “There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by their subjects.”

    This is of course a very narrow prooftext from Aquinas. It is from the section of his Summa Theologiae titled Does this precept [of fraternal correction] bind the subject to correct his superior? and was preceded by the following text which radtrads of course like to ignore:

    To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy
    ministry [Vulg.: 'Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,that thou fulfil it.' Cf. 2 Tim. 4:5." It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter's subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11 "Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any
    time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects."

    And of course Paul was a bishop much as Peter was. The idea that anyone and their brother does not sin by rebuking the pope is false. A fellow bishop as a rule could act as Paul did in certain circumstances. And in even rarer cases a person who has both been properly instructed in Catholic spirituality and is also an individual with a reputation for holiness could act likewise. I have yet to find a radtrad who is not malformed spiritually so they do not meet that criteria. (To say nothing about the reputation for holiness part.)

    There is also another part from Aquinas which radtrads like to ignore. The subsequent question in this sequence is under the heading Whether a sinner ought to reprove a wrongdoer?

    And St. Thomas' words there are worth noting for those
    false "traditionalists" who want to run around continually rebuking and/or resisting the pope and other prelates:

    [T]o correct a wrongdoer belongs to a man, in so far as his reason is gifted with right judgment. Now sin, as stated above (I-II, 85, 1,2), does not destroy the good of nature so as to deprive the sinner’s reason of all right judgment,and in this respect he may be competent to find fault with others for committing sin. Nevertheless a previous sin proves somewhat of a hindrance to this correction, for three reasons. First because this previous sin renders a man
    unworthy to rebuke another; and especially is he unworthy to correct another for a lesser sin, if he himself has committed a greater. Hence Jerome says on the words, “Why seest thou the mote?” etc. (Mt. 7:3): “He is speaking of those who,while they are themselves guilty of mortal sin, have no patience with the lesser sins of their brethren.”

    Secondly, such like correction becomes unseemly, on account of the scandal which ensues therefrom, if the corrector’s sin be well known, because it would seemthat he corrects, not out of charity, but more for the sake of ostentation.Hence the words of Mt. 7:4, “How sayest thou to thy brother?” etc. are expounded by Chrysostom [Hom. xvii in the Opus Imperfectum falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] thus: “That is–’With what object?’ Out of charity, think you, that
    you may save your neighbor?” No, “because you would look after your own salvation first. What you want is, not to save others, but to hide your evil deeds with good teaching, and to seek to be praised by men for your knowledge.”

    Thirdly, on account of the rebuker’s pride; when, for instance, a man thinks lightly of his own sins, and, in his own heart, sets himself above his neighbor, judging the latter’s sins with harsh severity, as though he himself were just man. Hence Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “To reprove the faults of others is the duty of good and kindly men: when a wicked man rebukes
    anyone, his rebuke is the latter’s acquittal.” And so, as Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “When we have to find fault with anyone, we should think whether we were never guilty of his sin; and then we must remember that we are men, and might have been guilty of it; or that we once had it on our conscience, but have it no longer: and then we should bethink ourselves that we are all weak, in order that our reproof may be the outcome, not of hatred, but
    of pity.

    But if we find that we are guilty of the same sin, we must not rebuke him, but groan with him, and invite him to repent with us.” It follows from this that, if a sinner reprove a wrongdoer with humility, he does not sin, nor does he bring a further condemnation on himself, although thereby he proves himself deserving of
    condemnation, either in his brother’s or in his own conscience, on account of his previous sin.

    Need I remind the self-styled “traditionalists” among you that charity cannot exist in the heart of a schismatic??? If you defend or promote the SSPX of which the Supreme Authority passed judgment on their objective status -and refuse to be corrected of this error- you are thus are a partaker in their schism. And as schism is one of the most grievious of sins; ergo you are disqualified by the
    Angelic Doctor from being able to legitimately rebuke a wrongdoer – even if the pope was doing wrong.{2}

    The schismatic is bereft of authentic charity as they are puffed up with pride. The pride in which radtrads exhibit –with their mountains of erroneous propositions and their constant suspicious outlook which underlines their manifest lack of spiritual maturity– is well outlined in the following words of Pope St. Pius X from Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

    [I]t is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all. It is pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole
    possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with
    presumption, “We are not as the rest of men,” and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty. It is owing to
    their pride that they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the supreme authority. Truly there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. [Pope St. Pius X: Encyclical
    Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis §40 (c. 1907)]

    And if you wonder what “novelties…of the most absurd kind” that radtrads embrace, it is this notion that they can render religious submission to the pope and united episcopate while at the same time resisting them. Submission and resistance are antonymous of one another much as day and night are. But rather than take my word for it, hear one of the Supreme Pontiffs on the matter:

    Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her…But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments…,then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that
    established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).” [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution Delivered on May 10, 1909]

    So much for the common self-styled “traditionalist” misquotes of Bellarmine and Aquinas citations as these Doctors in no way whatsoever defend the novelties of the so-called “traditionalist” position. And since Vatican I reaffirmed and clarified the parameters of papal authority{3} and jurisdiction, attempting to
    have recourse to the opinions of earlier doctors of the Church (however venerable) over and against the august Magisterium of the Church is a methodology which is the hallmark of the historical heretics and schismatics.

    In short, there is no support none whatsoever for the interpretation that Lidless Eyes or other less extreme self-styled “traditionalists” attach to those passages of Aquinas, or Bellamrine when the passages themselves are subjected to general norms of theological interpretation.

    Notes:

    {1} The essay currently up there now has an abridged version of the above quote.

    After the recent round of radtrad misuse of that citation, it seemed appropriate to expand that quote a bit so I have done this and sent the essay to Matt to post to replace the above link. Hence, if you see a discrepancy for a short while between the essay at the link above and what is quoted above, the reason is because Matt has not posted the expanded version yet.

    {2} This is an assertion that I will not concede in the slightest on btw.

    {3} This dogma was already defined in Bellarmine’s time and though not precisely defined in St. Thomas Aquinas’ time –though Lyons II presented a rudimentary doctrine based on the Formulary of Hormisdas–the concept was already recognized
    as certain theologically. In defining papal authority in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctum, Pope Boniface VIII used words from St. Thomas’ arguments against the Greeks verbatim. So it is clear that St. Thomas’ view of this does not match that of the so-called “traditionalists”: a point which is reflected in St.
    Thomas’ Quodlibetum which I will not reiterate here for the sake of brevity.

  80. Michael J says:

    Marcus Licinius Crassus,

    Determining whether my analogy “works” or not, while useful, is premature at this point. Lets establish a principle (that we can agree upon) first, and then see if it fits a particular set of circumstances, ok?

    So, the question remains. Does obedience to a greater law justify disobedience to a lesser law or does it render the apparent disobedience, not disobedient at all?

  81. I am not Spartacus says:

    D.S. Inaccurate.

    APOSTOLIC LETTER “ECCLESIA DEI” OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II
    GIVEN MOTU PROPRIO

    1. With great affliction the Church has learned of the unlawful episcopal ordination conferred on 30 June last by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which has frustrated all the efforts made during the previous years to ensure the full communion with the Church of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X founded by the same Mons. Lefebvre. These efforts, especially intense during recent months, in which the Apostolic See has shown comprehension to the limits of the possible, were all to no avail.(1)

    2. This affliction was particularly felt by the Successor Peter to whom in the first place pertains the guardianship of the unity of the Church,(2) even though the number of persons directly involved in these events might be few. For every person is loved by God on his own account and has been redeemed by the blood of Christ shed on the Cross for the salvation of all.

    The particular circumstances, both objective and subjective in which Archbishop Lefebvre acted, provide everyone with an occasion for profound reflection and for a renewed pledge of fidelity to Christ and to his Church.

    3. In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience – which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy – constitutes a schismatic act.(3) In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 17 June last, Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law.(4)

    4. The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition….

    c) In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.(8)

    Now, you have the liberty to refuse obedience to Divine-Authority. And you have liberty to decide what decisions of the Holy See you will follow and which ones you will not follow but I do not see how an ideological position like that is not a scimitar severing the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority, a Bond you publicly profess to believe in when you say the Creed at Mass..

    “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic…”

    That “One” is a oneness of UNITY: of Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

    Anyone who severs that Bond is, in my mind, practicing spiritual suicide.

    (and now I am outta here for awhile. I have things to attend to)

  82. I am not Spartacus says:

    Does obedience to a greater law justify disobedience..

    That is a question loaded with negative presuppositions directed against Divinely-Constituted Authority.

    Jesus said, “He who hears you, hears me.”

    That is all I have time to write now. I really have to go.

  83. John Enright says:

    Michael J wanted to know whether the Society’s actions are defensible under the doctrine of Justification and/or Necessity. I don’t think so; claiming that the Society could lawfully disregard Canon Law and the direct Order of the Pope under either rationale amounts to putting the cart before the horse. Saying “I’m justified in disregarding the Pope because the Pope is in error” is itself an error.

  84. Michael J says:

    John,
    Actually no. I deliberately stepped away from these particular actions and circumstances. I really want to establish the principle first. Under what circumstances, if any, is it permissible to disregard or fail to comply with a law?

    Drawing on my “non-fitting” analogy further, while I was in the hospital, I failed to comply with the law that requires me to attend Mass on Sundays. Again, I doubt if anyone would say that this was not justified, but is it an example of disobedience?

  85. Mike Williams says:

    **Irony alert**

    “Next comes the caricature, ( **because you find yourself unable to deal with the real arguments** ) that I’m saying the SSPX is the only group that knows what they’re talking about and questions are from the unintelligent.”

    “The fact that **I read a book by the Holy Father and find it to be very disappointing** on a multitude of levels and that **I’m aware of the flaw in his thinking** somehow makes me incapable of giving valid criticism is evidence of your projection.”

    “If you think the SSPX only claim to know better, well prove them wrong. **They know better because they are appealing to the teaching of the Catholic Church and its most celebrated minds and souls as well as the Divine promises of the Savior** .”

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  86. D.S. says:

    to I am not spartacus:

    Ok., so because I as a “radtrad” am too sinful and pride and as schismatic I can not have charity and so am not allowed to argue against Popes and bishops I will not argue anymore. You would not accept any argumentation from me so ok., stop it. … How I “love” this kind of argumentation…

    (btw., some of your argumentation is so wrong… but, no, not starting arguing again. I as a sinful radtrad am not allowed to correct You, I forgot.)

  87. John Enright says:

    Michael J,

    I don’t think you can logically talk about whether an action is disobedient without discussing the notion of Justification/Necessity. According to Dies Domini, “the faithful are obliged to attend Mass unless there is a grave impediment.” Physical inability due to health considerations constitutes a “grave impediment.”

    As for your general question, disobedience can be justified. Like I said before, however, I don’t think SSPX can claim the mantle of Justification.

  88. malta says:

    *And if you wonder what “novelties…of the most absurd kind” that radtrads embrace, it is this notion that they can render religious submission to the pope and united episcopate while at the same time resisting them. Submission and resistance are antonymous of one another much as day and night are.*

    Good point. But you miss another: SSPX resorts to Canon Law to justify their position and were not given an appeal which is their right to have. Remember, SSPX is *not in schism* remember that.

    Having said that, I find B. Williamson’s attitude of, “when Rome straigtens out, then we’ll dismember,” to be somewhat alarming. Lefebvre founded a Society to work for the better of souls, not to have it dissolve. Fellay is more reasonable on this point, and I think genuinely wants unity with Rome. I hope Williamson’s true attitude isn’t, “we’ll just lead all of these priests and people away from Rome until Rome gets its act together.” That is dangerous in my opinion, because unity with Rome, now, today, should be front-and-center on the mind of SSPX. On the otherhand, Rome shouldn’t demand that they subscribe to, say, religious liberty. Why not an interim (if imperfect) jurisdictional structure? Williamson hopefully does not think he’s leading millions of souls on some wild-goose chase tangent from Rome until Rome gets its act together–if so, the tether may break and they’ll find themselves permenantly seperated from Rome (or worse). Fidelity to the Pope is what makes us essentially Catholic.

    Having said all of that, who can look at the modern Church and not see that there is a grave crisis, and SSPX is a reaction to a Church which has lost its way? 7% mass attendance in some countries, annulments on demand,90% of married Catholics using birth control, 30% believing in the real presence, etc. Someone posted that things have been getting better in the last 15 years; OH REEEEEALY? The New Oxford Review did a nice piece recently of just where Gen. Y stands on Church doctrine; not a pretty picture. Things are getting much, much worse (if that’s even possible) with resepct to adherence to Church doctrine and belief in dogmas.

  89. Gerard says:

    Mike Williams,

    You haven’t shown by your bold emphasis that anything has been demonstrated.

    My points still stand.

    1) Caricatures are created by opponents of the SSPX in order to avoid dealing with the real arguments.

    2) The SSPX does know better than a majority of Churchmen but that is far from the caricature of saying that they are claiming to be the “only” people who know better.

    So, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

  90. John Enright says:

    Let’s cut to the chase. What specific Vatican II documents does the Society believe to be erroneous, and what should be done about it? What other things about the post-Councilar Church are wrong, and what should be done?

  91. Gerard says:

    It is not uncommon for Lidless Eye types to try to justify a position of resistance to the magisterium on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors.

    Wrong. It’s not on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors. It’s on the truth that the Fathers and Doctors happen to speak.

    I will point out here how countless trads take out of context a quotation from Bellarmine and also seriously misrepresent the position of Aquinas on rebuking prelates. But first, let us deal with the Bellarmine quote.

    “The passage cited is from a lengthy chapter Bellarmine devotes to refuting nine arguments advocating the position that the pope is subject to secular power (emperor, king, etc.) and an ecumenical council (the heresy of conciliarism).

    The general context, therefore, is a discussion of the power of the state vis-à vis the pope…In its particular context, the oftcited quote is part of Bellarmine’s refutation of the following argument:

    Wrong. The specific context is a discussion of the power of state vis a vis the pope. Bellarmine uses general principals in order to discern the proper understanding of the specific context.

  92. Michael J says:

    John,

    So far, I find little to disagree. Maybe the distinction between “justified disobedience” and “not disobedient” is unimportant, so I am willing to drop that part of the discussion.

    Even if it is not explicitly stated though, would you agree that there is an objective and a subjective component to every law? Objectively, compliance with the law can be measured with a simple yes or no answer. Subjectively, it is not quite as simple, but it should not be too difficult. I am also talking about true, legitimate laws.

    To draw on another analogy(which may or may not fit these particular circumstances), this time hypothetical, suppose my boss orders me to deliver a package to a customer across town before they close. On the way, I get in a minor accident. Objectively, I did not deliver the package so by this measure, I “broke the law” so to speak. Subjectively though, I know that there is a higher law that compels me to remain at the scene until the police arrive. In my opinion, this is justified disobedience even if I am mistaken about the “higher law” and even if I call my boss and he tells me that “there is no such law that comples me to stay at the scene”.

    In a round about way, the more important purpose of this is not so much to prove or disprove that the society’s actions are justifiable but to quell the notion espoused by some that it is never valid, under any circumstances to disobey or otherwise fail to comply with the letter of canon law. I doubt that many really agree with this idea, but that is where the discussion often ends. “The Pope said do it, you didn’t, end of discussion”.

    So, to bring this closer to the specific circumstances, is it ever permissible to consecrate a Bishop without a Papal mandate?

  93. John Enright says:

    Michael J,
    “Would you agree that there is an objective and a subjective component to every law?” Yes. That is beside the point, however. Think of it in these terms: disobedience is unjustified non-compliance with a command. If non-compliance is in fact justified, there is no disobedience. A subjective-objective analysis deals more with culpability for something.

  94. John Enright says:

    Michael J.,
    Sorry, but I posted before I was ready by accident. “is it ever permissible to consecrate a Bishop without Papal mandate?” Well, I can think of some drastic scenarios which would not only allow it, but actually require such an action. They are all extreme however, such as a world-wide calamity which results in massive loss of life including almost the entire hierarchy of the Church. Imagine, also, that the circumstances of the calamity are such that travel and communications between distant parts of the world are virtually impossible. For the church to survive under such circumstances, consecration of a bishop without papal mandate would probably be appropriate. But let’s face it, the Society isn’t in such circumstances. Whether its permissible under extreme circumstances doesn’t mean that it was permissible for the Society.

  95. Gerard says:

    Depending on a sedevacantist argument doesn’t actually work. This is indicative of the shared misunderstanding of the papacy by neo-Catholics and sedevacantists. Sedevacantists only choose not to ignore the crisis in the Church. But they are just as wrong in their conclusions.

    Let’s look at the Bellarmine argument and the fallacious interpretation.

    Argument 7. Any person is permitted to kill the pope if he is unjustly attacked by him. Therefore, even more so is it permitted for kings or a council to depose the pope if he disturbs the state, or if he tries to kill souls by his bad example.

    Bellarmine answers:

    I respond by denying the second part of the argument.

    For to resist an attacker and defend one’s self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks. Authority is required,however, to judge and punish.

    Bellarmine then states:


    it is licit

    … to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body,
    … resist him who attacks souls
    …destroys the civil order
    …or above all,tries to destroy the Church.

    Bellarmine then lays out legitimate methods of resistance.

    I say that it is licit to resist him by

    … not doing what he orders

    and by impeding the execution of his will.

    Bellarmine then draws the line that re-asserts the primacy of the Pope.

    It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    Bellarmine…is discussing the course of action which may legitimately be taken against a pope who upsets the political order or “kills souls by his bad example.” A king or a council may not depose such a pope, Bellarmine argues,because they are not his superior—but they may resist him.

    To restrict Bellarmine’s general principals to only political authorities is special pleading. There is no relevant difference between kings resistance to a Pope or to anyone else’s right to resist an attacker as “no authority is needed.”

    Nor does this quote support those traditional Catholics who would recognize John Paul II as pope but reject his Mass and ignore his laws.

    Actually it does.

  96. Michael J says:

    The circumstances need not be so dramatic, John.(I like your definition of disobedience, by the way) I suppose that if the Pope intended to grant permission but unfortunately died before giving formal authorization, it would be permissible to go through with the consecrations to avoid a grave inconvenience to all involved. But I’m digressing.

    I was actually thinking of the CPA bishops. Are they disobedient? Some are, certainly, but all of them? Is it safe to say that had the Pope known of the particular circumstances of these hypothetical obedient CPA Bishops he would have waived the requirement to seek permission first, or would have secretly granted permission?

  97. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Enright. Fr. Fellay says the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.

    Transcribed from the talk given by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Kansas City, Missouri on March 5, 2002.

    In January, Cardinal Castrillón 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.

    During the month of March, something very curious happened. We continued to hear stories that we had not terminated discussions with Rome, that they were continuing to such a degree that the pope was convening all the cardinals of the Curia to give advice on our question. The word came out that the pope wanted the whole thing to be solved by Easter! I was wondering, “Is he going to do it without us?!” I thought, I have to do something, so I sent a strong letter to Cardinal Hoyos relaying all my discomfort and the severity of our position on the New Mass. I also mentioned that I was troubled to learn of a recent letter he wrote to the Sri Lankan Bishops’ Conference in which he said the Society was in “schism”. In all our talks, he had carefully avoided that word. I assked him to explain how at the same time he could give me the impression we were almost normal but to others he was calling us schismatic. Well, I never got an answer to that letter.

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

    Unless one is a hopeless romantic, one clearly understands there is no reconciliation pending for the SSPX given their heretical ideas about an Ecumenical Council; given their heretical doctrine “The Jews as a race are cursed:; given their crackpot pedagogy the normative Mass is evil.

    Undoubtedly, there are well-intended priests in the SSPX but they have been led astray by the sspx schism and, when one recognises that the rhetoric of the sspx radicals has imprisoned themselves in a schismatic cell which has no explanatory key that can release them (they will have to repent of their heresies, first), it is time to wake-up and smell the coffee.

    They are a concretised schism. The fact they are not labeled schismatic by those negotiating with them is, to me, but proof of the necessary romantic language used by those in negotiations. Rome is out to help save their souls and if, during negotiations, they are not called schismatic, who am I to object?

    The sspx are missing their chance at a reconciliation due to their pride and private judgment. As Pope John Paul taught in Ecclesia Dei, they have an incomplete idea of Tradition but there is no way for the sspx to repudiate its heresies without causing a riot amongst their supporters.

    Mons Lefevbre’s actions set a sad precedent only extreme humility can overcome. Mons. Lefevbre was so strident in condemning Rome as the seat of the Antichrist; he was so strident in condemning the normative Mass; he was so extreme and strident in condemning an Ecumenical Council that when he did sign The Protocol with Rome, his lieutenants forced him to renege.

    Given what he had said for so many years, who would have expected his lieutenants to agree it would be a good idea for the sspx to strike a deal with heretical, modernist, antichrists?

    Fr, Fellay, in citing the work of Fr. Rulleau, a former Director of Dogmatic Theology at Econe, merely carries on in the same prideful, private judgment vein mined by Mons. Lefevbre. The sspx just keeps digging itself deeper into its schismatic cell.

    What is ironic is that the SSPX, a strident opponent of Vatican Two, was begun by a Bishop (lefevbre), who, while participating as a Bishop at Vatican Two voted in favor of accepting every single Document of Vatican Two.

    And then he repudiated his assent after the fact. He was for Vatican Two before he was against it.

    He signed a Protocol with Rome. And then reneged on his word. He was for The Protocol before he was against it.

    And these actions just repeated what he had done vis a vis the seminary at Econe. He agreed to open it on an experimental basis, gave his word he’d be obedient, then refused to obey orders to end the experiment.

    He was for the agreement about Econe before he was against it. (I wonder when his admirers decided when he was to be taken at his word? Only when it opposed an Ecumenical Council; only when it opposed the normative Mass; only when it opposed Divinely-Constituted authority, I guess).

    While this may seem an unfair characterisation of Mons Lefevbre, it is intended to make a point. It is intended to be a brief recapitulation which, because the sspx institution is the ever-lengthening shadow of the person of Mons. Lefevbre, is predictive of what is to come…more of the same.

    In practice, The SSPX are Protestants in Fiddlebacks who think themselves competent to judge an Ecumenical Council; who think themselves at liberty to oppose an Ecumenical Council; who think themselves competent to judge the Pope; who think themselves competent to interpret Canon Law against its authoritative Legislator, the Pope; who think themselves at liberty to tell the Pope which of his decisions they will accept or not accept; who think themselves at liberty to decide what acts of authority of the Pope they will accept or reject.

    They have usurped Papal authority and aped their protestant progenitors in doing so.

    And all we hear is about how they are the sole defenders of Tradition. And, in a certain sense, they are. They are walking the traditional path of all prior schisms and those who succor the SSPX have no choice but to try and befog that reality by appealing to substitute authorities – living or dead – who can be made to appear to sanction their schism or, worse, make the Church established by Jesus appear to have apostasised.

    Schism is proximate to heresy and schisms breed enmity and insanity in those who succor it. Tradition has never taught that there is ever justification for schism. Tearing asunder the Body of Christ preserves no thing. It is an act of destruction.

  98. Michael J says:

    Who are you to object?!

    You are a faithful Catholic who should know that it is not permissible to deliberately commit a sin in order that good may come of it. For you to so casually dismiss a lie is perhaps the most disturbing thing about your otherwise colorful and passionate post.

  99. Chris says:

    I do not assist at an SSPX chapel, even though I have one close to me. I chose to go to the indult parish, even though we’re given nothing more than one Mass a Sunday and have to beg for the sacraments, to which we get half in the traditional form.

    All that said, and I think I speak for many more than will readily admit it, I am so very glad H.E. Williamson is among us. Say what you will about him, and about the situation with the SSPX in general, but I feel much better and sleep easier at night knowing they’re around and I pray there is a reconcilliation soon.

  100. John Enright says:

    Michael J said “I was actually thinking of the CPA bishops. Are they disobedient? Some are, certainly, but all of them?” I think that there is an inherent problem with CPA bishops because the CPA is not in communion with the Holy Father. As far as the underground Church is concerned, I’m quite sure that it can consecrate bishops without Papal mandate due to necessity. It’s really the exception which proves the rule. (Sorry, I know it’s a cliché, but I couldn’t help myself.) As far as the CPA itself is concerned, a Catholic News Service article, Catholic Church in China: ‘Two faces’ expressing one faith notes that CPA bishops consecrated without Papal mandate incur automatic excommunication. However, the article also notes that almost all of the CPA bishops “took advantage of the renewed contacts with missionaries and foreign priests to send letters to Rome in which they declared their full communion with the Pope and the desire to be recognized as legitimate bishops. So … the bishops subjected to the political control of the Patriotic Association tried the path of canonical sanatio to … affirm their communion with the Pope, kept hidden because of external conditions, but never renounced in their hearts.”

    China is a hard case, and it’s very sad. I hope and pray for the day when the Church in China is freed from bondage.

  101. malta says:

    *who think themselves competent to judge an Ecumenical Council*

    Romano Amerio in his brilliant “Iota Unam” has already done an excellent job of doing that; you should take a look at it–many in the highest reaches of the Vatican are already doing so:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/04/amerio-is-back.html

    Read, especially, that one shouldn’t judge Vatican II negatively “in its entirety…”

  102. Mark says:

    Like some beauties well past their bloom, SSPX likes to be noticed, quoted, and fussed over. Yet the soil outside the Church only quickens her aging process. There are much more interesting problems inside the Church to occupy us (such as the struggle to implement the Summorum Pontificum), than to ponder the latest pronouncements from SSPX.

  103. John Enright says:

    I am not Spartacus says that the Society believes that “the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.” If that’s so, then SSPX is clearly schismatic in every sense of the word. A Council is free of heresy when the Pope call for the Council which convenes under his direction and the documents produced thereby receive Papal approval. That happened with regard to Vatican II, and Archbishop Lefebvre signed off on the documents even though he wasn’t required to do so.

  104. Michael J says:

    John,
    I think we are in complete agreement with the principles even to the point of agreeing that (cliché as it may be) that “the exception proves the rule”.

    Now comes the part where we may begin to disagree. Getting back to the 6 issues you mentioned earlier, how is it that the circumstances surrounding the society are different to the point that it excludes their actions from falling into one of the exceptions? Is it simply, as some assert, that the Pope has said that no state of necessity exists? I am not familliar with such a statement, by the way, but it’s not critical that such a statement really happened. I can easily agree that if asked, the Pope (current or prior) would say something to that effect.

  105. John Enright says:

    Ahem . . . I think Mark has a valid point!

  106. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    I am not Spartacus says that the Society believes that “the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.”

    I am not Spartacus says a lot of things. Many of them are wrong.

    If that’s so, then SSPX is clearly schismatic in every sense of the word.

    That’s not the actual stance. And schism would not result from believing this.

    A Council is free of heresy when the Pope call for the Council which convenes under his direction and the documents produced thereby receive Papal approval.

    That doesn’t always happen, it depends on the language used. Also, free from heresy is not the same as free from defect.

    That happened with regard to Vatican II, and Archbishop Lefebvre signed off on the documents even though he wasn’t required to do so.

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.

  107. I am not Spartacus says:

    Malta. As an autodidact, I read “Iota Unum” a long time ago back when I was a soi disant traditionalist.

    It is true that most of what he wrote was WAY beyond me (I am just a Vermont Crank who has been educated beyond my intelligence).

    I loved the book,at least so far as I understood it, but I never thought it as a Get-Out-of-Obeying-an-Ecumenical Council-Free-Card as it appears to be so for so many who oppose the most recent Ecumenical Council.

    And as clear and as cold as water from a spring in the hills of Vermont, it is a clear cold hard fact that this Pope does not think Vatican Two was a rupture with Tradition.

  108. John Enright says:

    Michael J,

    The situation facing the Church in China are vastly different from the circumstances which led SSPX to reject Papal authority. The Church in Europe doesn’t have to operate in the shadows as it does in China. In China, the root cause of episcopal ordinations without Papal authority result from political oppression from a totalitarian regime, and not as a result of doctrinal disagreement. With the Society, the situation is completely different. There were no guns pointed at the head of Archbishop Lefebvre when he ordained Bp. Fellay and others in open defiance of a Papal prohibition. Even if the Society’s members subjectively believe in their cause, how does that translate into authority to grant marriage annulments, something which does not involve doctrinal dispute? Sorry, I think that SSPX is operating as a rogue entity without accountibility to any authority.

  109. John Enright says:

    Sorry about the grammatical and spelling mistakes in my last post. It’s Friday.

  110. I am not Spartacus says:

    “The Ratzinger Report”

    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?

  111. John Enright says:

    Gerard,

    I didn’t say I agreed with “I am not Spartacus” regarding the Society’s position on Vatican II. Frankly, I doubt that they would take the position that the Pope and so many bishops could be wrong on just about every issue. However, I do think that rejection of the Council in any material way constitutes schism. The Orientals rejected the results of the Council of Chalcedon. That’s why the Oriental Orthodox are schismatic and not in communion with Rome. You said “That doesn’t always happen, it depends on the language used” in reply to my comment that rejection of the Council’s documents is ipso facto schismatic. What language? The only authoritative language recognized by the Church is Latin, and all of the Vatican II documents were promulgated in Latin. You said “free from heresy is not the same as free from defect.” I agree. That doesn’t excuse disobedience, however. You cited BXVI for the proposition that “some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.” True, but incomplete. That doesn’t mean that the pronouncements of those Councils were erroneous; it means only that the Councils were not necessary.

  112. I am not Spartacus says:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2005/december/documents/hf_ben_xvi_spe_20051222_roman-curia_en.html

    ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO THE ROMAN CURIA
    OFFERING THEM HIS CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

    Thursday, 22 December 2005

    Your Eminences,
    Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Presbyterate,
    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    … Forty years after the Council, we can show that the positive is far greater and livelier than it appeared to be in the turbulent years around 1968. Today, we see that although the good seed developed slowly, it is nonetheless growing; and our deep gratitude for the work done by the Council is likewise growing.

    ”’

    It might be said that three circles of questions had formed which then, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, were expecting an answer. First of all, the relationship between faith and modern science had to be redefined. Furthermore, this did not only concern the natural sciences but also historical science for, in a certain school, the historical-critical method claimed to have the last word on the interpretation of the Bible and, demanding total exclusivity for its interpretation of Sacred Scripture, was opposed to important points in the interpretation elaborated by the faith of the Church.

    Secondly, it was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practise their own religion.

    Thirdly, linked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance – a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions. In particular, before the recent crimes of the Nazi regime and, in general, with a retrospective look at a long and difficult history, it was necessary to evaluate and define in a new way the relationship between the Church and the faith of Israel.

    These are all subjects of great importance – they were the great themes of the second part of the Council – on which it is impossible to reflect more broadly in this context. It is clear that in all these sectors, which all together form a single problem, some kind of discontinuity might emerge. Indeed, a discontinuity had been revealed but in which, after the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements had been made, the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned. It is easy to miss this fact at a first glance.

    It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church’s decisions on contingent matters – for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible – should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.

    On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.

    Basic decisions, therefore, continue to be well-grounded, whereas the way they are applied to new contexts can change. Thus, for example, if religious freedom were to be considered an expression of the human inability to discover the truth and thus become a canonization of relativism, then this social and historical necessity is raised inappropriately to the metaphysical level and thus stripped of its true meaning. Consequently, it cannot be accepted by those who believe that the human person is capable of knowing the truth about God and, on the basis of the inner dignity of the truth, is bound to this knowledge.

    It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction.

    he Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church. By so doing she can be conscious of being in full harmony with the teaching of Jesus himself (cf. Mt 22: 21), as well as with the Church of the martyrs of all time. The ancient Church naturally prayed for the emperors and political leaders out of duty (cf. I Tm 2: 2); but while she prayed for the emperors, she refused to worship them and thereby clearly rejected the religion of the State.

    The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith – a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God’s grace in freedom of conscience. A missionary Church known for proclaiming her message to all peoples must necessarily work for the freedom of the faith. She desires to transmit the gift of the truth that exists for one and all.

    At the same time, she assures peoples and their Governments that she does not wish to destroy their identity and culture by doing so, but to give them, on the contrary, a response which, in their innermost depths, they are waiting for – a response with which the multiplicity of cultures is not lost but instead unity between men and women increases and thus also peace between peoples.

    The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity.

    The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, journeying on through time; she continues “her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God”, proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 8).

    Those who expected that with this fundamental “yes” to the modern era all tensions would be dispelled and that the “openness towards the world” accordingly achieved would transform everything into pure harmony, had underestimated the inner tensions as well as the contradictions inherent in the modern epoch.

    They had underestimated the perilous frailty of human nature which has been a threat to human progress in all the periods of history and in every historical constellation. These dangers, with the new possibilities and new power of man over matter and over himself, did not disappear but instead acquired new dimensions: a look at the history of the present day shows this clearly.

    In our time too, the Church remains a “sign that will be opposed” (Lk 2: 34) – not without reason did Pope John Paul II, then still a Cardinal, give this title to the theme for the Spiritual Exercises he preached in 1976 to Pope Paul VI and the Roman Curia. The Council could not have intended to abolish the Gospel’s opposition to human dangers and errors.

    On the contrary, it was certainly the Council’s intention to overcome erroneous or superfluous contradictions in order to present to our world the requirement of the Gospel in its full greatness and purity.

    The steps the Council took towards the modern era which had rather vaguely been presented as “openness to the world”, belong in short to the perennial problem of the relationship between faith and reason that is re-emerging in ever new forms. The situation that the Council had to face can certainly be compared to events of previous epochs.

    In his First Letter, St Peter urged Christians always to be ready to give an answer (apo-logia) to anyone who asked them for the logos, the reason for their faith (cf. 3: 15).

    This meant that biblical faith had to be discussed and come into contact with Greek culture and learn to recognize through interpretation the separating line but also the convergence and the affinity between them in the one reason, given by God.

    When, in the 13th century through the Jewish and Arab philosophers, Aristotelian thought came into contact with Medieval Christianity formed in the Platonic tradition and faith and reason risked entering an irreconcilable contradiction, it was above all St Thomas Aquinas who mediated the new encounter between faith and Aristotelian philosophy, thereby setting faith in a positive relationship with the form of reason prevalent in his time. There is no doubt that the wearing dispute between modern reason and the Christian faith, which had begun negatively with the Galileo case, went through many phases, but with the Second Vatican Council the time came when broad new thinking was required.

    Its content was certainly only roughly traced in the conciliar texts, but this determined its essential direction, so that the dialogue between reason and faith, particularly important today, found its bearings on the basis of the Second Vatican Council.

    This dialogue must now be developed with great openmindedness but also with that clear discernment that the world rightly expects of us in this very moment. Thus, today we can look with gratitude at the Second Vatican Council: if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.

  113. John Enright says:

    Not to be rude “I am not Spartacus” but I think that the block quotes of other sources is what Fr.Z was talking about when he said “Don’t simply cut and paste information from other sources in the combox.”

  114. Michael J says:

    John,
    Firstly, the society did not “reject Papal authority”. They disobeyed. There is a difference, and the distinction is important. Secondly, we began this as a discussion of why people think that the society is (present tense) disobedient. Certainly, the 1988 consecrations are part of the larger picture, but not the only part. Finally, I did not intend to suggest that situation facing the Church in China and the circumstances surrounding the sspx are the same, although I believe they are more similar than you indicate. Instead, the CPA was used as one of several concrete examples where you and I agree that nececessity justifies disobedience. We also even agree that “If non-compliance is in fact justified, there is no disobedience”.

    So it all comes back to the 6 points you raised earlier, although I am sure that if pressed you could come up with more. Knowing what you know about the principle of justification and nececessity and presuming that you know their motives(not that you have to agree with them, mind you), I am asking why you think their actions were not justified. Unless you are willing to judge the sincerity of their motives, I’m not sure how this can be done.

  115. I am not Spartacus says:

    Frankly, I doubt that they would take the position that the Pope and so many bishops could be wrong on just about every issue.

    Mr. Enright. Fr. Fellay publicly said just that, didn’t he?

    In January, Cardinal Castrillón 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.

    A Cardinal of the Catholic Church publicly claims the SSPX will accept Vatican Two on some conditions but Fr. Fellay publicly states they will not and he then gives the Cardinal a book that he (Fellay) claims is a total demolition of the Council.

    In this instance, it is not a matter of what I wrote. All I have done is post the very clear and presently dangerous schismatic ideology of the leader of the SSPX.

    If words have meanings, I do not know how Fr. Fellay could more clearly indicate the SSPX rejects the entire Vatican Two Council nor can I understand how others fail to understand that is an ideological position he has committed the SSPX to.

    Now, it may be a bit stunning to read the words of Fr. Fellay and to contemplate the radical nature and ineluctable consequences of his schismatic ideology, but, what other choice do we have?

    We simply can not wish away what he has said nor can it be explained away as something other than what it clearly is.

  116. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Enright. I think you a perfect gentleman. I realise I cut and pasted a large chunk of the Pope’s address. However, to me it seemed necessary to counter the schismatic propaganda Pope Benedict really hasn’t made up his mind vis a vis the usefulness of the Second Vatican Council.

    Now, I know that facts can no more defeat one committed to an ideological position than facts can reorient one suffering delusions, but, it is important these facts be publicly presented so as to minimise the numbers of the Faithful who might me tempted to walk the plank off the Barque of Peter.

    If I have violated the rules of this site, I apologise to Fr. Z. whom I consider a great and faithful priest.

  117. Michael J says:

    Ummm,
    Like it or not, licit consecration or not, its Bishop Fellay. Continued references to him as “Fr. Fellay” are a bit juvenile.

  118. John Enright says:

    Michael J,
    I enjoy the civil discussion we are having regarding the Society. I want you to know that I appreciate the exchange of ideas without polemical diatribes. On the merits of your last comment, I really don’t see a difference between rejection of Papal authority and disobedience thereof. It’s the application of different names to the same animal. Your second point pertains to whether the Society continues to disobey the Holy Father. To the extent that it continues to administer the Sacraments throughout the world without authority of the local Ordinary, they continue to violate Canon Law. As for the motivation of SSPX adherents, I will not, and cannot, condemn them in any manner whatsoever. I understand that SSPX and its followers are devout Catholics, I appreciate that, and I pray for their protection. I only want them to come home to Holy Mother Church.

  119. D.S. says:

    Gerard: Excellent comments – excellent as always!
    (I have read your comments the last days and I am deep impressed – best comments ever read btw, am not – or not only – speaking of the content. Well, I agree with most of your statements. But that is NOT way a shout out now “excellent”. No, it is the formal and rhetorical side, the accuratness,precision and clearness, the seriousness of your argumentation. I don´t want to overpraise you – but I had to state this!)

    GOD bless
    in CHo per Mam

  120. Michael J says:

    John,
    I too appreciate the civil tone of this discussion, but I believe that it has run its course.
    We’ve reached the point where we have begun to repeat ourselves and it does not seem that we will be able to reach full agreement. In an odd way, I suppose that is a good thing. A priestly society existing in an “irregular canonical situation” (as some put it) or in outright schism (as others do) is not a desirable situation. There is always the danger that it will actually begin to confirm the worst fears of its most ardent detractors.

    Although I am not an SSPX adherent, I do agree with their “position”. Our failure to come to a conclusive agreement serves to remind me of this danger and forces me to continuously reconsider my opinion to ensure that it remains viable.

  121. John Enright says:

    Michael J,
    Thanks for your last comment. I agree, the discussion has run its course. May God bless you and your family and friends; May you be protected from the Devil; May you live a long and fruitful life in the service of the Lord.

  122. patrick f says:

    “#

    Ummm,

    Like it or not, licit consecration or not, its Bishop Fellay. Continued references to him as “Fr. Fellay” are a bit juvenile.
    Comment by Michael J — 13 June 2008 @ 3:20 pm ”

    Now this I agree with. The Church has always maintained that the ordinations they perform are valid. So it is correct to call him Bishop, if he has been ordained a bishop. Where the line is drawn is in his capacity to act. Its sort of like a priest who is suspended. One doesnt stop being a priest ever. Likewise, even Lefebvre is still rightfully called bishop, as those who he ordained. It is their capacity to act in that role that is not there currently, given their “special” circumstances. But I wouldnt call it Juvenile, it is simply a lack of knowledge.

  123. Mark says:

    This discussion reminds me of September, 1939 – the barbarian hordes are on the march, attacking the forces of the motu proprio, while safely behind the Maginot Line, toy priests and bishops have decided time is not ripe yet to join the battle. The rest of us, crowded into the London Tube, nervously chewing on cigars and spilling our brandy, are endlessly discussing the latest developments and personalities behind the all important Maginot Line. When the dust settles and the flag of the motu proprio is high again, should we come out of the Tube and demand choice places in the victory parade? Or should we come out now and join the real action?

  124. John Enright says:

    Uh, Mark – your previous post was on the mark. This one leads me to say WTF?

  125. Malta says:

    **Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily. A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens. But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents.**

    Fr. Z, shouldn’t there then be an interim structure?

    Look at it this way: are more souls saved demanding that SSPX subscribe to religious liberty or having them fully within the confines of the Church?

  126. Gerard says:

    I am not Spartacus wrote:

    However, to me it seemed necessary to counter the schismatic propaganda Pope Benedict really hasn’t made up his mind vis a vis the usefulness of the Second Vatican Council.

    I’ll have to dig up the original quote but, “I am not Spartacus” has missed the point.

    I never questioned the fact that Pope Benedict feels that the Second Vatican Council is useful. But how a man “feels” carries little or no weight in shaping history and the Pope is humble enough to know that History may prove the Council to have been of no good use. It’s a simple point that the Pope knows is a possibility.
    It’s a self-evident statement that shouldn’t cause any alarm, nor be perceived as “schismatic propaganda.”

    There is a tendency in his posts to pivot in his responses and subtly change the subject.

    I wrote:

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.

    Yet somehow “History” was replaced with “Pope Benedict.”

    Why was that done? Was it spin or carelessness?

    This is done also in the “analysis” of the Aquinas quote on obedience. Time permitting I’ll get into that.

  127. Mark says:

    John Enright:

    In response to your question, “WTF”?

    Well, I think SSPX is a side show, not worth all this attention. The real action with regard to the motu proprio is inside the Chuch, on the parish and seminary level. As far as my World War Two analogy is concerned, I’ve contracted a taste for the theater of the absurd in my younger days, a common Eastern European affliction, not very contagious. SSPX has become a fat target for this type of satire. The “cigars” is a nod to some of the pictures Father Z posts on his blog, or possibly an homage to Freud. And SSPX’s Maginot Line needs no explanation, no? (But to say it straight: only a fool thinks he’s safer outside the Church than inside – the Devil has no problems running over such man made “defensive structures”)

    Now, seriously, I would like to know what Father Z thinks of Vaclav Klaus and his recent speech regarding the new religion of Global Warming.

  128. Mark says:

    John Enright:

    In response to your question, “WTF”?

    Well, I think SSPX is a side show, not worth all this attention. The real action with regard to the motu proprio is inside the Church, on the parish and seminary level. As far as my World War Two analogy is concerned, I’ve contracted a taste for the theater of the absurd in my younger days, a common Eastern European affliction, not very contagious. SSPX has become a fat target for this type of satire. The “cigars” is a nod to some of the pictures Father Z posts on his blog, or possibly an homage to Freud. And SSPX’s Maginot Line needs no explanation, no? (But to say it straight: only a fool thinks he’s safer outside the Church than inside – the Devil has no problems running over such man made “defensive structures”)

    Now, seriously, I would like to know what Father Z thinks of Vaclav Klaus and his recent speech regarding the new religion of Global Warming.

  129. Malta says:

    *Well, I think SSPX is a side show, not worth all this attention. The real action with regard to the motu proprio is inside the Chuch..*

    My friend, without SSPX, there would be NO MOTU PROPRIO! I find it interesting that you find millions of wonderful, traditional souls a “side-show,” but I assure you they are not. They want the best for their families, their country and, most importantly their souls. Judge them as you will, but they don’t support abortion or contraception, gay marriage or any number of issues that the vast majority of Novus Ordo Church mass goers support.

    So, how do you square the fact that Ted Kennedy, who supports abortion on demand and gay marriage, is perfectly in-line with his Novus Ordo Bishop, whereas Bishop Fellay, who upholds traditional Church teaching, is, somehow, “schismatic?”

    It doesn’t square, does it? But that is only the tip of the iceberg: the vast majority of “catholic” faithful agree. Most don’t believe in the sacrifice, most don’t believe in the real presence, most don’t believe in many of the dogmas of the Church. Yet, SSPX believes in them all. Who are the real heretics here? SSPX, or 90% of the Catholic faithful, many priests included?

    It doesn’t square that on the one hand that Canon 9 of the Council of Trent said that a Vernacular-only Mass was anathema, but after Vatican II, most masses became Vernacular-only.

    Vatican II was so hyped-up on modernism that it forgot the Church’s roots (Bl. John XXIII didn’t, but he, unfortunately, died before he could put a stop to the disaster of Vatican II, which was hijacked by those on the other side of the Tiber; those few bishops who cast aside the schemas prepared before the Council by Bl John XXIII, and inserted their ambiguous, liberal documents instead; remember, Hans Kung was actively involved in Vatican II. I saw Hans Kung many years ago while still an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and I couldn’t believe a “Catholic” could advocate so strongly for abortion. Yet, Hans Kung recently spent hours with his old friend, Pope Benedict XVI. This is NOT a knock against our Pope. I too have very liberal friends. In fact, my father is an anti-Christian deist, yet I love him all the same. But this is to say, supporting G., that maybe P. BXVI does have a remnant of his liberal “brine” to deal with. We are not required to not criticize Popes, but we should do so very rarely. But even our first Pope, Peter, denied Christ three times; are we forbidden from criticizing him on this?)

  130. John Enright says:

    Malta said, inter alia, “It doesn’t square that on the one hand that Canon 9 of the Council of Trent said that a Vernacular-only Mass was anathema, but after Vatican II, most masses became Vernacular-only.” The decision of the Council of Trent to retain Latin as the language of the Mass is rooted primarily in convenience and a desire to avoid the appearance of granting a concession to Protestantism. Nevertheless, both before and after Trent, there were various circumstances in which vernacular languages were permitted in place of liturgical Latin.

    Vernacular privileges were granted by Pope Clement V (1305-14) to Franciscan missionaries to celebrate Mass in Mandarin Chinese. Pope Boniface IX (1389-1404) granted a similar privilege to Dominican missionaries in Greece to use liturgical Greek. Dominicans were likewise granted permission to use Armenian, and they did so from 1330 onward.

    In 1624, Carmelite missionaries in Persia were granted permission to celebrate in classic Arabic by Pope Urban VIII. In 1631, full vernacular privileges were granted to missionaries to celebrate Mass in Georgian and Armenian. Since 886 Old Church Slavonic was used to say Mass along the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea in Dalmatia and in the lower part of Croatia.

    Trent’s general rule prohibiting a vernacular liturgy shouldn’t be elevated to some sort of universal and unchanging concept.

  131. Mark says:

    Dear Malta:

    I agree with much of what you wrote. I’m not a fan of the Rhine flowing into the Tiber, nor do I support the valid NO mass, as it stands now. But the topic is the leadership (not the laity) of the SSPX. Bishop Lefebvre was a hero at one time in my estimate, but he did manage to get himself and his followers maneuvered into very ambiguous territory. Why wasn’t he able to be a “fox of Europe”, and continue the struggle from inside the Church? Some did escape this place of exile, and became FSSP – why not the rest of them? They know the door is open to them every hour of every day. But they choose to remain outside because conditions inside the Church are not to their liking. There, they’re in no position to pick up the motu proprio and rally to the flag at the parish and seminary level.

    We should emancipate ourselves from this unhealthy preoccupation, lest it become an “ecumenical movement” for Traditionalists.

  132. I am not Spartacus says:

    Like it or not, licit consecration or not, its Bishop Fellay. Continued references to him as “Fr. Fellay” are a bit juvenile.

    In Ecclesia Dei, Pope John Paul referred to them as Priests

    “In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 17 June last, Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law.”

    I do know that Fr. Mallerais, who in a “Remnant” interview charged the Pope has published heretical material and harbors doubts about the Divinity of Christ and the Dogma of the Incarnation, himself is unsure as to the status of his consecration…

    “Are these bishops who are not recognized by the Pope legitimate? Do they enjoy formal apostolic succession? Are they, in a word, Catholic bishops?” This problem, Bishop de Mallerais explains, “concerns the very constitution of the Church, as all tradition teaches: there cannot be a legitimate bishop without the pope, the head by divine right of the episcopal body. Therefore the answer is less clear, and in fact it is not absolutely clear…

    http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id94.html

  133. Jay says:

    Quote: “Father I pray with you on this one. I know there are some extremist in the SSPX who may never accept Rome no matter what but there are many who are sincere in wanting things to work out but it will be a very winding road home.
    Comment by AnnaTrad”

    The sad thing is the SSPX is already very much separated from the Church. Nobody who is ‘seriously committed’ to SSPX is willing to attend the ‘New Mass’, ir is simple consider as very evil. However, there is no ‘formal ritual of joining SSPX’, people just attend the Mass there. One just need to attend Mass somewhere else and that is all. Good things, Father Z, that you are still relatively sober about SSPX. Rorate coeli on the other hand is totally taken over by SSPX. Amazing. God bless you ever. And please, stay sober and watchful.

  134. I am not Spartacus says:

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.

    Gerard. I very much doubt that then Card Ratzinger wrote such a thing.

    “History” does not make judgments. People do.

    IF he did write that back then as a Cardinal, as the Pope he has rendered a far different judgment.

  135. Jay says:

    Quote Gerard said: “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority.”

    ENORMOUS RESPECT?!?….Oh common, give me a break, man!!!I know you might mean well, but distorting the truth is not the God’s way!

  136. Patrick says:

    Gerard said: “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority.”

    That should read: “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority, except when they judge the Supreme Pontiff to be in error. It is the right of every man to sit in judgement of the Holy Father. Any act that may appear to be “disobedient” is, in fact, obedient, if one has judged the Pope to be in error. In this way, one is morally free to refuse to obey the Supreme Pontiff, provided one has judged the Supreme Pontiff to be in error.”

  137. Antiquarian says:

    It might just as well be “they exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority, except when apostolic authority doesn’t say or do what they want.”

  138. Gerard says:

    Jay wrote:

    Quote Gerard said: “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority.”

    ENORMOUS RESPECT?!?….Oh common, give me a break, manI know you might mean well, but distorting the truth is not the God’s way!

    Jay,

    I believe the distortions are on your part. Why don’t you give me a break and learn what words like “respect” and “aposotolic authority” actually mean before you go off half-cocked? Desultory Catholicism has lead to a real problem in all aspects of communication in the Church and the world at large.

    Patrick wrote:

    That should read: “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority, except when they judge the Supreme Pontiff to be in error. It is the right of every man to sit in judgement of the Holy Father. Any act that may appear to be “disobedient” is, in fact, obedient, if one has judged the Pope to be in error. In this way, one is morally free to refuse to obey the Supreme Pontiff, provided one has judged the Supreme Pontiff to be in error.”

    Patrick,

    How do you discern right from wrong? How come you can’t seem to apply the basic principals of discerning right from wrong when it comes to Popes? The only logical inference that can be drawn from your attitude is that you believe in an irresistible, impeccable papacy. That is not Catholic, I’m sorry to tell you. If it were it would make things much easier, but God decided not to do it that way. So, you’ve got to work and struggle for your faith even in the Catholic Church and sometimes despite the actions, inactions and errors of Popes.

  139. Gerard says:

    Antiquarian wrote:

    It might just as well be “they exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority, except when apostolic authority doesn’t say or do what they want.”

    Antiquarian,

    How about this, “They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority, but when those with apostolic authority are faltering in their performance, they rebuke them, even publicly if necessary.”

    I’m suspecting a number of people on this thread don’t actually know what the meaning of the word “respect” is. It literally means, “to look back towards.” it does not mean absolute obedience or giving someone a pass on doing evil or error because of their exalted position.

    Once again, everyone questions the “respect” the SSPX has for the papacy, but they don’t even consider the lack of respect for the office exhibited by the late occupants. Simultaneously people breathe a sigh of relief everytime Pope Benedict restores some little decorative element to papal ceremonies. It’s one of the most hypocritical stances a person could take.

  140. Malta says:

    Spartacus, that is a true quote.

    *The New Church can hardly insist on less, it has to insist on that. [New Church… ]*

    Since B. Williamson is not a sedevacantist, I can only assume that he means that the Church has gone overboard with things such as ecumenism, to the point where the traditional Church is becoming unrecognizable. True ecumenism can only have as its ultimate goal bringing others into the Church, but now we hear that the Vatican has opened a Chapel dedicated to and for the use of non-Catholics to perform their liturgies:

    http://www.cfnews.org/EcuChapel.htm

    To me, that is succoring the practices of non-Catholics; that reeks of indifferentism. So to any who think the Motu Proprio was the fix, it was a band-aid to a gushing wound in the Church.

    Cardinal Siri said that, “if the Church weren’t divine, the Council [Vatican II] would have buried her.”

  141. Jay says:

    Gerard said: “Jay,

    I believe the distortions are on your part. Why don’t you give me a break and learn what words like “respect” and “aposotolic authority” actually mean before you go off half-cocked? Desultory Catholicism has lead to a real problem in all aspects of communication in the Church and the world at large.”

    Gerard, I think you overdo your overzealous apologetics for SSPX. I know what I am saying and you know it very well, otherwise you are cafeteria SSPX. So, be honest with youself and others. God bless and maybe your eyes will be opened, as mine were.

  142. Gerard says:

    I am not Spartacus wrote:

    “Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.”

    Gerard. I very much doubt that then Card Ratzinger wrote such a thing.

    I don’t have a copy handy at the moment but I found this snippet on Amazon from page 378 of Principles…

    “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis, many of them have been just a waste of time. Despite all the good to be found in the texts it produced, the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II…

    “History” does not make judgments. People do.

    It was used as a term of art, nothing more. The essential point is consistent. History will provide data which a rational mind will be able to pass judgement on. I’m sure you understand the usage.

    IF he did write that back then as a Cardinal, as the Pope he has rendered a far different judgment.

    It seems apparent that you still don’t get what the Cardinal was saying on a conceptual level. I’m sure his intellectual honesty has remained and he still views Vatican II as possibly resulting in failure. That is quite different from his interest and actions in making sure that doesn’t happen.

    In his 2004 review of “The Organic Development of the Liturgy” by Alcuin Reid OSB, he expresses the painful reality of the truth that he uttered in Principles of Catholic Theology, that hopes don’t always live up to the reality.

    “…The Liturgical Movement had in fact been attempting to overcome this reductionism, the product of an abstract sacramental theology, and to teach us to understand the Liturgy as a living network of tradition which had taken concrete form, which cannot be torn apart into little pieces, but has to be seen and experienced as a living whole. Anyone like myself, who was moved by this perception in the time of the Liturgical Movement on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for.”

  143. Gerard says:

    Jay,

    Gerard, I think you overdo your overzealous apologetics for SSPX.

    My apologetics are not overzealous. They simply amount to correcting bad logic and bad facts presented by SSPX opponents. And they are the same arguments over and over and over again.

    I know what I am saying and you know it very well, otherwise you are cafeteria SSPX.

    No. I honestly don’t know what you are “saying.” I just see a lot of emotional venting. Most of the time, people don’t actually want to deal with two things: What the SSPX is actually saying and actually doing and what Rome is not saying and not doing. Both groups have to take responsibility for their positions and that’s a very bad situation for Rome. The rest of us fall into the divisions that are well known: Conservatives (moderate liberals) of various stripes, Traditionalists and Sedevacantists.

    So, be honest with youself and others. God bless and maybe your eyes will be opened, as mine were.

    I am honest, I’ll take the prayer for blessing and I’ll hope and pray that God will consistently give us both more light.

  144. I don’t understand the SSPX.
    They call Rome Modernist and yet claim loyalty to the Pope.
    But, if the See of Rome can fall into the heresy of Modernism, what makes the SSPX think they will be preserved?

    All in all, we must beware of the demonic spirit who tries to instill pride even in thsoe who claim to stand for very noble causes.
    Let us trust the Holy Spirit who will never abandon the Church guided by the See of Peter.

  145. Gerard says:

    Viator Catholicus wrote:

    But, if the See of Rome can fall into the heresy of Modernism, what makes the SSPX think they will be preserved?

    They don’t. In an interview with Catholic Family News in 2005 Bishop Williamson stated this:


    “What is slowly being grasped by sincere Catholics, but not by the present authorities of the Church in Rome, is that Vatican II and the New Mass represent a mixture of Catholicism and a new man-centered religion, with the tilt in both being towards the new religion. Between true Catholicism and this new religion there is a war to the death, which can only end in the unmasking and destruction of the new religion, because Our Lord has promised that His religion, true Catholicism, will last to the end of the world.

    If, then, there is to be harmony between the Rome of Vatican II and the SSPX of the Archbishop’s truly Catholic Declaration of November 1974, there are only three possibilities: either Rome abandons the Conciliar religion; or the SSPX betrays the Catholic religion; or Rome half-abandons and the SSPX half-betrays, for there to be some “meeting” in between.

    These are not harsh words but simply the reality of the matter, which many souls still do not see, but which they will see if they seek the truth.”

  146. Jay says:

    Gerard,
    I wish SSPX reconciliation with all my heart, however, I cannot believe it is going to happen. In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, SSPX is already well established, separate Church. In general, it does not really matter what is the group that is separated from Rome, they have always many and very logical arguments to justify their position. They are always absolutely right and Rome is, NO MATTER WHAT, always in grave error. This is as simple as that. This is what separation really means. Separated group is always impeccable, no matter who they are, what they did, the culprit is always Rome. But the reality is, that everybody can err, claiming otherwise is foolish.

  147. Patrick says:

    Gerard wrote: “The only logical inference that can be drawn from your attitude is that you believe in an irresistible, impeccable papacy.”

    No. One can morally resist the Pope when one is commanded by the Pope to do something immoral. The command “do not consecrate bishops” is not in any way immoral. Therefore to disobey the Pope on this is unjustified and immoral. As has been confirmed by legitimate authorities.

    The leaders of the SSPX are certainly inspired, but not by the Holy Spirit.

  148. I am not Spartacus says:

    Any act that may appear to be “disobedient” is, in fact, obedient..

    That is precisely the “principle” brought to America by Herbert Marcuse of what is commonly known as The Frankfort School (It was to be called “The Institute for Marxism” initially. It did become the Institute for Social Research).

    So suffused has the West become with relativism and liberalism that obedience to Divinely Constituted Authority is practically the sole anchor for right action.

    Note well how many of the soi disant traditionalists have been completely liberalised to the point where they themselves do not even realise it.

    When one decides for themselves when they will obey or not obey the Church, one has become liberal (protestant, really).

    The idea each individual can decide for himself when to obey Divinely-Constituted authority is the sine qua non of Protestant Ideology.

    How do you discern right from wrong? How come you can’t seem to apply the basic principals of discerning right from wrong when it comes to Popes?

    Gerard has asked the perfect question in illustrating the liberal protestant approach to Divinely-Constituted Authority.

    It has no thing to do with Catholic Tradition. When a man decides for himself when he will obey the Pope or refuse to obey the Pope he has elevated himself to a position of a higher authority than the Pope. I mean, no thing is simpler to understand. It ain’t complicated. That is why the liberal traditionalist must misuse ancient texts by Bellarmine and Aquinas. They can not post a single Papal Encyclical, a single citation from any Ecumenical Council, a single quote from any Catechism granting them a right to disobedience.

    I posted a quote from Quata Cura expressly denying that right.

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    Was it even a speed bump for those liberal traditionalists? No. The tactic of misusing St. Bellarmine and St. Aquinas was employed and Pope Pius’ Teaching was ignored. (Sadly, Pope Pius musta been ignorant of the right to disobey. I guess he ain’t a trad)

    Gerard claims Pope Benedict really hasn’t decided whether or not Vatican Two is useful. He wrote that after I posted this;

    Thus, today we can look with gratitude at the Second Vatican Council: if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.

    The Papacy of Pope Benedict is interpreting and implementing the Council in a completely orthodox and Traditional manner while the Schismatic SSPX is doing everything in its power to convince its supporters Vatican Two is the source of heresy and evil and yet Gerard tries to convince everyone the Pope is undecided about Vatican Two.

    But, remember, the SSPX respects the Pope :)

    As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “and so it goes…”

  149. paladin says:

    Gerard,

    I won’t pretend to know all the dynamics between the Holy See and the SSPX, but your comments about “respecting apostolic authority” really make me scratch my head.

    I’ll grant this much: I have every reason to believe that most members of the SSPX (and you) are sincere in their (and your) emotional/affective esteem for apostolic authority, as a general principle; I also grant that you embrace what you believe to be a principle by which disobedience to the Holy See is justified. But here’s at least one dynamic through which I must take exception to your position:

    It seems rather clear that, regardless of any claims and counter-claims about the “justification” of such a situation, Archbishop Lefebvre and his collaborators in the illicit episcopal ordinations suffered latae sententiae excommunications, and that said excommunications were confirmed by the Holy See. It is also rather clear that the SSPX suffers at least an irregular (in the sense of being “impaired”) relationship with the Holy See, if not (as seems to be indicated by “Ecclesia Dei”) flat-out schism.

    Given the above, I could understand SSPX members (and those sympathetic to their arguments/position) complaining about the *justification* of such a state of affairs… but I’m flabbergasted when they go further, and criticize/challenge/deny the *authority* of the Holy See to enact/confirm such penalties (i.e. thinking that they can just go about “Catholic business as usual” while ignoring excommunications, interdicts, etc., as if they were somehow ineffectual)! Some of the SSPX-sympathetic comments (including ones on this forum) have contained ideas such as, “The SSPX isn’t in schism [because of thus-and-so reasoning/technicality/etc.], and not even the original “founders” of the SSPX were excommunicated [because of thus-and-so reasoning/technicality/etc.].” From where I sit, this implies one of two things:

    1) The Holy See lacks the authority to excommunicate anyone, unless all the concerned parties agree that it is warranted. (If I recall correctly, Archbishop Milingo’s reaction to the Holy See’s pronouncement of excommunication against him was, “No, I’m not excommunicated! But I welcome further dialogue with Rome to resolve this situation!” This seems remarkably similar, with all due respect.)

    2) The SSPX feels that it is a necessary (if not sufficient) arbiter of “what is in harmony with apostolic tradition” and “what is not”, and that the Holy See, “steeped in the stew of modernism”, has forfeited its claim to obedience to the extent that it enacts decrees with which the SSPX doesn’t judge to be “in harmony with apostolic tradition”.

    From your latest comments, I’ve almost taken you to mean, “Yes, we’re in schism from Pope Benedict XVI and his current administration, but we’re not in schism from the Holy Roman Catholic Church!” That “flavour” of argument seems tainted with secular “democratic” principles, and that’s where you lose me.

    Yes, any given individual (or group) has the right (and the duty) to refuse an immoral command–but that command must be per se immoral, not simply “likely to bring about evils, in my humble opinion”. From what I can see, Catholics (including bishops) who defy the Holy See in matters which are not per se immoral have exceeded their competence thereby… and they participate in an objective moral evil which is not justified.

    Once or twice, members of this forum offered the idea (and rightly so) that Martin Luther could (and did) easily justify himself by principles which could have been lifted (anachronistically) out of the SSPX Apologist Playbook: “Rome is wrong, and I’m right, and God’s on my side! I didn’t leave the Church; Rome left the Church, and Rome left me!” That just doesn’t sit well with me, I’m afraid.

    In Christ,
    Brian C.

    P.S. Viator Catholicus: Bravo! :)

  150. TJB says:

    I don’t buy for a second that you people are arguing out of a genuine concern for eachothers’ souls. I think you guys just really like arguing, period.

  151. Angelo says:

    For a change in pace in this tedious discussion, with exception to that of Gerard’s:

    Bishop Williamson’s interview was remarkable & His opening comments regarding Calais & L.V. Beethoven are particularly noteworthy:

    “Queen Mary Tudor said, that when she died, they would open up heart and find ‘Callais’ (sic) written on it. Callais was the last English possession in France, and it was lost under her reign.”
    – - – - – - – -
    (You can read what He said about Beethoven by reading His entire interview which I doubt many of you have.)

    Calais with its surrounding territory belonged to the English Crown, sole remnant of the dominions formerly held in France by the Plantagent kings. It was lost to the French, as the Bishop rightly indicates, in the latter part of Queen Mary’s reign.

    What does this have to do with the discussion at hand? Alot!

  152. Jay says:

    Someone said in this discussion – if not SSPX there would be no Motu Proprio! I could say in the same line – If not Agatha Christie, there wold be no Motu Propro today. She was very famous person and devouted Catholic and possibly the first person who petitioned for the TLM availability – she was granted the first indult, others followed.

  153. Jay says:

    For those who has forgotten the story behind TLM preservation please se e the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie_indult

    God bless all trads!

  154. paladin says:

    TJB writes:

    I don’t buy for a second that you people are arguing out of a genuine concern for eachothers’ souls. I think you guys just really like arguing, period.

    (*ahem*) Does sniping and snarking qualify as “genuine concern for souls”? And in point of fact, your hasty assumption would be dead wrong; I am very concerned with the souls of everyone on this board (including yours), and there’s no reason for you to assume that Gerard, I am not Spartacus, et al., and I, do not. For example: I disagree with Gerard’s position, but I firmly respect his convictions, his sincerity, and his desire to convince a position-wise contrary audience (including myself) of what he takes to be the truth.

    I would also add: enthusiasm for debate and concern for souls are not mutually exclusive. (Were you expecting an online prayer service, perhaps, on a discussion blog?) At any rate, I’ll thank you not to dismiss me (and others on this blog) as “unconcerned for souls”, simply because the discussion doesn’t satisfy your personal tastes.

    In Christ,
    Brian

  155. Gerard says:

    Patrick wrote:

    No. One can morally resist the Pope when one is commanded by the Pope to do something immoral. The command “do not consecrate bishops” is not in any way immoral. Therefore to disobey the Pope on this is unjustified and immoral. As has been confirmed by legitimate authorities.

    There are a group of Shepherds tending a flock. One day virtually all of the Shepherds bring the flock to barren lands. The Sheep then tend to go to the one Shepherd remaining who has brought some fresh grass and planted seed on a small portion of the barren lands and grass has grown. The other Shepherds persecute the Shepherds that fed the Sheep that came his way. The Lone Shepherd is growing old. The Head Shepherd laments the starving of the sheep but he won’t remove the bad Shepherds and he won’t help the Good Shepherd. He also keeps adding more bad Shepherds to the group. The Good Shepherd tries to bring in some helpers that want to feed the Sheep. The Head Shepherd says, “No. Stop Feeding those Sheep.” He won’t outright say that he’s trying to starve the sheep, but what do you think?

    Is the Head Shepherd giving the “moral” ruling by continuing the starvation? And do you think a committee can turn this into a “moral” order by fiat? No.

    The leaders of the SSPX are certainly inspired, but not by the Holy Spirit.

    sigh….

  156. Gerard says:

    Jay,

    In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, SSPX is already well established, separate Church. In general, it does not really matter what is the group that is separated from Rome, they have always many and very logical arguments to justify their position. They are always absolutely right and Rome is, NO MATTER WHAT, always in grave error. This is as simple as that. This is what separation really means. Separated group is always impeccable, no matter who they are, what they did, the culprit is always Rome. But the reality is, that everybody can err, claiming otherwise is foolish.

    Of course I’m going to disagree with you on the SSPX actually being separated from the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, previous situations in which groups separated have no bearing on the SSPX. Because others separated does not automatically lump the SSPX into the same category. That’s like saying Christ must have been guilty because he was crucified between two thieves and he wouldn’t be hanging there if he wasn’t guilty.

    I would also argue that the reasons for other separations are matters of heresy in all cases. Reason and faith cannot contradict each other. So, there is a logical flaw in all of those actual separations.

    The fact that politics in Rome forces prelates to immorally and unjustly characterize the SSPX as “outside” is simply the sinful behavior of men with power levers at their command.

  157. Gerard says:

    Any act that may appear to be “disobedient” is, in fact, obedient..

    That is not the claim of the SSPX. It is an absurd perversion of the matters being discussed.

    That is precisely the “principle” brought to America by Herbert Marcuse of what is commonly known as The Frankfort School (It was to be called “The Institute for Marxism” initially. It did become the Institute for Social Research).

    Actually, what you’re describing is the precise phenomenon that has suffused conservative Catholicism, an Orwellian spin on facts and realities so the “devastated vineyard” is actually “the Springime of Vatican II” at one and the same time.

    It is the liberal death wish as Malcolm Muggeridge described that invaded Rome and the minds of many theologians believing the Church had to undergo a false idea of “kenosis” an “emptying out” of itself.

    So suffused has the West become with relativism and liberalism that obedience to Divinely Constituted Authority is practically the sole anchor for right action.

    True obedience is what is required. The fact of the matter is, the Pope is a man, who has free will and many have not always run the Church in accordance with the wishes of the Divine Master whom they are supposed to serve.

    Note well how many of the soi disant traditionalists have been completely liberalised to the point where they themselves do not even realise it.

    This is simply a false assertion. Rhetorical banter. Please cull it from your posts. It’s not interesting nor impressive.

    When one decides for themselves when they will obey or not obey the Church, one has become liberal (protestant, really).

    Two points:

    First, it is the Catholic religion that has embraced the fact that man has a functioning brain and can reason and discern for himself. It is the Protestant caricature of Catholicism that “I am not Spartacus” is promoting. The idea that Catholics will do whatever the Pope wishes, moral, immoral, reasonable, unreasonable.

    Second,we have the old bait and switch, it sounds so much more grand to say “obey the Church” when in reality it is refusing to aid the Pope as legislator in a series of actions that are destroying the Church. Nor are people being liberal or Protestant when they seek to preserve the faith for the benefit of their souls and those around them.

    The Church does not command immoral deeds, Popes can and have commanded immoral deeds. What “I am not Spartacus” is proposing is a synthesis between the Divinity of the Person who established the office of the papacy with the occupant of the papacy. The Pope is essentially “Pharoah” in the thinking proposed by “I am not Spartacus.”

    The idea each individual can decide for himself when to obey Divinely-Constituted authority is the sine qua non of Protestant Ideology.

    “Great Pharoah has spoken, so it is written so must it be done.” Each individual does decide for himself when to obey Divinely-Constituted authority for three reasons.

    1)Divinely-constituted authority is not always wielded “Divinely” and must be resisted in certain circumstances.

    2)The free will of all men is a Divinely-constituted condition of the human soul.

    3)The occupant of the papacy (being human) has a Divinely-constituted ability to decide for himself whether or not he is going to obey the will of the Divine Person who established his seat of authority.

  158. magister63 says:

    Fr. Z- they do not set themselves up as arbiters of orthodoxy, they simply look to the patrimony of the Church and say that the Church taught this then, and this now, and the two things are diametrically opposed. I would think that any rational man could read “Religious Liberty is insanity” and “Religious Liberty is a fundamental right of man based in the very dignity of the human person” to see that there is an incongruity. Something that bothers me the most is John Paul II’s “The way of the Church is man” as compared to “I am the way…” of another preacher… If the post Vatican II Church and priests like you are really interested in the Truth and in “reconciling” the Society with the post Vatican II Church, then address the doctrinal issues they bring up! Would it be so hard for Rome to “clarify” point by point the doctrinal difficulties posed by the Council, if it meant that million(s) would be “returned” to the fold???? I am a layman who is very sympathetic to the Society because I cannot see the error in their ways. You keep bringing up “submission to the authority of the pope”, which is certainly fine and good and valid, but without addressing the issues that have brought us to this place. When a pope kisses the Koran, says “May St. John the Baptist protect Islam!”, receives the ashes of Shiva on his forehead, bows to the Buddhist high priest, with his shoes off, and proclaims the Old Covenant to be still valid, it makes simple guys like me wonder! Imagine what it does to the average Joe in the pew! I thank God that the Society of St. Pius X stands firm and is waiting for “Rome to return to its senses”. If kissing the Koran is “Rome returning to its senses” then I am dumbfounded and have been deceived over so many years of training in the Faith.

  159. Gerard says:

    How do you discern right from wrong? How come you can’t seem to apply the basic principals of discerning right from wrong when it comes to Popes?

    Gerard has asked the perfect question in illustrating the liberal protestant approach to Divinely-Constituted Authority.

    Once again, we have the synthesis (perhaps confusion is a better word) of the man of the Pope and Divinity.
    The “pharope” would be a good word for what “I am not Spartacus” is describing.

    Discerning right from wrong is now out of the hands of the individual. Obedience to another human then becomes the sole commandment. This is a breaking of the first commandment in the extreme.

    It has no thing to do with Catholic Tradition. When a man decides for himself when he will obey the Pope or refuse to obey the Pope he has elevated himself to a position of a higher authority than the Pope.

    False. Your own posts quoting Bellarmine prove you wrong.

    “For to resist an attacker and defend one’s self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks.”

    No authority is needed to resist an attacker.

    “Authority is required,however, to judge and punish.”

    No authority has been claimed to judge and punish him. I forget how Fr. Cekada tries to dance around this in his judgement and deposing of the Popes.

    I mean, no thing is simpler to understand. It ain’t complicated.

    I keep wondering why you don’t understand. Perhaps it’s a false understanding of “obedience.” You might be confusing it with some kind of Islamic idea of “submission.”

    That is why the liberal traditionalist must misuse ancient texts by Bellarmine and Aquinas.

    Actually, they don’t. As I demonstrated above, it’s you and Fr. Cekada who have misused and abused the texts by Bellarmine. I haven’t gotten to the Aquinas argument but it’s pretty much the same thing. You start to embellish on Aquinas in order to limit the first principals he starts out with to an elite few. And you shoot yourself in the foot by ignoring the fact that LeFebvre was just as much a bishop as St. Paul. The person who doesn’t live up to the Gospel is John Paul II by not taking the lesson of being rebuked and accepting it humbly as St. Peter did.

    They can not post a single Papal Encyclical, a single citation from any Ecumenical Council, a single quote from any Catechism granting them a right to disobedience.

    Vatican I calls for “true” obedience. You find a citation that calls for absolute obedience and I’ll be truly impressed.

    I posted a quote from Quata Cura expressly denying that right.

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    “Sound Doctrine” is the key here. LeFebvre was not required to accept sound Doctrine, he was required to accept unsound policies that undermined sound doctrine.

    Was it even a speed bump for those liberal traditionalists? No. The tactic of misusing St. Bellarmine and St. Aquinas was employed and Pope Pius’ Teaching was ignored. (Sadly, Pope Pius musta been ignorant of the right to disobey. I guess he ain’t a trad)

    Well, I guess you’ll have to delete that portion. It’s just been answered. :) Pope Pius I’m certain did know the difference between right and wrong and perfect, true and false obedience.

    Gerard claims Pope Benedict really hasn’t decided whether or not Vatican Two is useful. He wrote that after I posted this;

    Thus, today we can look with gratitude at the Second Vatican Council: if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.

    Again, Pope Benedict well knows that the historical value of Vatican II may be nill depending on the outcomes. That’s why he put the word “IF” in the statement you quoted. I personally doubt the “IF” is possible,but that’s okay.

    The Papacy of Pope Benedict is interpreting and implementing the Council in a completely orthodox and Traditional manner while the Schismatic SSPX is doing everything in its power to convince its supporters Vatican Two is the source of heresy and evil and yet Gerard tries to convince everyone the Pope is undecided about Vatican Two.

    Why do you keep repeating this error of yours? Can you not distinguish the difference between what then-Cardinal Ratzinger said about the possibilities and his own wishes?

    But, remember, the SSPX respects the Pope :)

    Yes. They respect him enough to pay attention to what he says and does and they respect him enough to encourage him to continue on a path to restore the Church in harmony with the wishes of his anti-modernist predecessors.

  160. Gerard says:

    Angelo wrote:

    “You can read what He said about Beethoven by reading His entire interview which I doubt many of you have.”

    Angelo,
    I was extremely pleased to read that part of the interview. The pianist Claudio Arrau said of Beethoven’s music, “It is about immense struggle and eventual triumph.” That’s very appropriate for Bishop W.

    Several years ago, I met the bishop and gave him a CD of Wilhelm Kempff playing Beethoven Sonatas. He lit up and said, “Oh Wilhelm Kempff was an absolute master!…Kempff, Schnabel, Backhaus in the early 20th century were true masters!”

    For anyone interested, here’s a youtube link to Wilhelm Kempff at the age of 70 playing Beethoven circa 1965.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqSulR9Fymg&feature=related

  161. Michael B. says:

    Gerard,
    Bravo.
    When I read these condemnations of the SSPX, I think of the man unjustly prosecuted for assault after fighting off the aggressor. May they be judged more mercifully than they judge.
    Whatever the problems of the SSPX, the critics can’t do the debate justice without taking the time to understand the SSPX on its own terms first.

  162. paladin says:

    Gerard,

    I’m following (as time allows) your debate with “I am not Spartacus”–and again, I admire your conviction and zeal–but I must say that, from where I stand, that zeal seems to be misplaced, and your convictions seem to be based on error.

    Let me explain:

    “I am not Spartacus” proposed that you and Protestantism have one thing in common: you set yourself up as the final arbiter of truth (especially with regard to the discernment of Apostolic Tradition, etc.), and your obedience to authority seems to be contingent *completely* upon your approval of the content of the authority’s message. That’s *partially* justified–no obedience can be *detached* from the content, to be sure–but that sort of “self-diagnostic” cannot be absolute, or else you make a sham of the very Church Christ established. In other words: if there are *no* circumstances in which you would submit your will to that of the Supreme Pontiff (i.e. you obey only those things with which you personally approve–that is, you don’t “obey” at all), then something is terribly wrong. From what you’ve written so far, I’ve seen nothing that suggests *any* willingness to submit *anything* to the Holy Father, whatsoever.

    Think this through: under what circumstances, exactly, would you accept a dictum from the Holy Father (or any other rightful authority) with which you disagreed, or didn’t fully understand? Would it be “never”? If so, then you’d be mixing your legitimate right to discern with an illegitimate “pseudo-right” to be the final court of appeals for all truth. (If it isn’t “never”, then under what circumstances *would* you possibly accept “seemingly unsavory commands”? I’m genuinely curious about this.)

    I suppose that begs another question: do you even accept the current Holy Father as a “legitimate authority”? If so, then what exactly does that *mean*, practically speaking, for you? From where I stand, if someone “grants the legitimate authority of Pope Benedict XVI” (“on paper”, as it were) but refuses all obedience save for those bits which meet with that someone’s personal approval, then that seems like “a denial of legitimate authority” to me, practically speaking. Think about it: if I obey only those commands which suit my tastes/preferences/approval-granting-apparati, how does that differ from me *not* obeying, and simply following my own tastes, preferences, and approvals? I seriously don’t see the difference…

    That seems to be the key issue, for I am not Spartacus (if I understand his position correctly) and for me: I see a great deal of evidence to suggest that you (and each member of the SSPX who shares your mindset, on this point) have (with every good intention) separated yourself from any hint of actual “obedience”–in that you reserve the absolute right to “veto” any command from any rightful authority whatsoever, using the rationale that “this or that command is immoral, since my conscience rejects it, and/or I think it’s discontinuous with Apostolic Tradition!” That begs some rather old questions: is your conscience properly formed? If so, how? By what standards do you determine that? If by “conformity to Apostolic Tradition”, how do you–as a fallible human, just like the rest of us–discern the *content* of that Tradition from the many counterfeits (or even innocent errors)? It’s seeming very much as if you’re unconsciously assuming your conscience/discernment to be infallible–or, at least, “infallible enough for all practical purposes.”

    Fr. Daniel Lyons wrote an excellent (and out of print, regrettably) book called, “Christianity and Infallibility: Both or Neither”; I’d highly recommend it. It makes the point that I’m making (but with far greater erudition and style): that our trust in God’s Church must necessarily imply a submission to an authority which, at its core, has been granted something which we do not (as individuals) enjoy: the charism of infallibility. I do not say that every last utterance of the Holy Father is infallible, to be sure; but I do say that–given a disagreement between the Holy Father’s view and mine, and lacking any mathematical certainty of my position–I’ll default to giving the Holy Father the benefit of the doubt… even if that doubt is 0.001%.

    By the way: you wrote, in reply to I am not Spartacus:

    > “Rhetorical banter. Please cull it from your posts. It’s not interesting nor impressive.”

    …but you follow it up, only a few lines later, with this exchange:

    [Gerard]
    The Pope is essentially “Pharoah” in the thinking proposed by “I am not Spartacus.”

    [I am not Spartacus]
    The idea each individual can decide for himself when to obey Divinely-Constituted
    authority is the sine qua non of Protestant Ideology.

    [Gerard]
    “Great Pharoah has spoken, so it is written so must it be done.”

    If you’re going to be credible, you might want to avoid that which you disdain in the arguments of others; this is pure rhetoric, at the cost of substance.

    In Christ,
    Brian

  163. I am not Spartacus says:

    “Sound Doctrine” is the key here. LeFebvre was not required to accept sound Doctrine, he was required to accept unsound policies that undermined sound doctrine.

    Good grief. You change “doctrine” to “policies” but, far worse, is your total misunderstanding of “not enduring sound doctrine…”

    Please reread that. That phrase refers to those like yourself who, not enduring sound doctrine, claim they do not have to assent or obey.

    You can not post a single sentence form any Catechism, Encyclical, or Ecumenical Council that gives you permission to refuse obedience to the Pope.

    I can roll-out, all day, teachings from those sources which disprove every single one of your arguments that you can refuse assent or obedience.

    Here, for instance, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius XTH

    32 Q: Are we also obliged to do all that the Church commands?

    A: Yes, we are obliged to do all that the Church commands, for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of the Church: “He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me.”

    33 Q: Can the Church err in what she proposes for our belief?

    A: No, the Church cannot err in what she proposes for our belief, since according to the promise of Jesus Christ she is unfailingly assisted by the Holy Ghost.

    34 Q: Is the Catholic Church infallible, then?

    A: Yes, the Catholic Church is infallible, and hence those who reject her definitions lose the faith and become heretics.

    35 Q: Can the Catholic Church be destroyed or perish?

    A: No; the Catholic Church may be persecuted, but she can never be destroyed or perish. She will last till the end of the world, because Jesus Christ, as He promised, will be with her till the end of time.
    .
    37 Q: Has a Catholic any other duties towards the Church?

    A: Every Catholic ought to have a boundless love for the Church, ought to consider himself infinitely honored and happy in belonging to her, and ought to labor for her glory and advancement by every means in his power.

    46 Q: Are we obliged to hear the Teaching Church?

    A: Yes, without doubt we are obliged under pain of eternal damnation to hear the Teaching Church; for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of His Church, in the persons of the Apostles: “He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me.”

    47 Q: Besides her teaching power has the Church any other power?

    A: Yes, besides her teaching power the Church has in particular the power of administering sacred things, of making laws and of exacting the observance of them.

    +++++++++++++++++++ end of quotes ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Only with their lips does the SSPX Schism honor the memory of the great Saint. Accoding to the clear meaning of his teaching in his Catechism, trhe Church does not err in teaching, it can not fail and it must be obeyed.

    So, the project for the SSPX is to try and realise a revolution within the form whereby they substitute different meanings for words – such as obey really means disobey, etc etc. or they claim what was always required is no longer required because (fill in the blank).

    It is clear what is happening.

  164. I am not Spartacus says:

    Vatican I calls for “true” obedience.

    2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.

    Yes. And only an acolyte of Herbert Marcuse could construe the meaning of “true obedience” so as to mean disobedience.

    A SSPX Priest could not make it past the first twenty six words of this…

    THE OATH AGAINST MODERNISM

    Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.

    To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

    I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church…

    The SSPX does reject the definitions set forth by Holy Mother Church at Vatican Two and the Universal Catechism and the SSPX believes the Church erred during the Second Vatican Council, so, again, there must be a revolution within the form so as to explain away the reality the SSPX can not say it without mental reservations or without substituting new meanings for the plain text.

  165. Michael B. says:

    Here’s what Pope Paul VI approved concerning the use of the new Order of Mass:
    (Instruction Constitutione Apostolica of 20 October 1969)
    “14. The individual conferences of bishops are to decide on the date when the texts of the new Roman Missal are to become obligatory, except for the cases that are specified in this Instruction nos. 20-21. It is better that such a date be no later than 28 November 1971 …

    IV. EXCEPTION

    19. Elderly priests who celebrate Mass without a congregation and who might encounter serious difficulty in taking up the new Order of Mass and the new texts of the Roman Missal and Lectionary for Mass, may, with the consent of their Ordinary, keep to the rites and texts now in use.

    20. Special cases of priests who are infirm, ill, or otherwise disabled are to be submitted to this Congregation.

    As you know, SP says “the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same Lex orandi, and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage.” and “It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated”.

    Quoting positive law is a tricky venture, it is not the same as revelation, and your quotes from previous Popes cannot be used in any context you choose, they have very specific contexts that cannot be generalized. Debate about what these laws mean ultimately can only be ended by Rome. Clearly, Paul VI meant that no one should offer the Mass of the older Missal, yet Benedict XVI says it was never abrogated. This is a contradiction that can only be solved by Catholics exercising what they believe to be their legitimate prerogative, until the issue can be cleared up, and that is done by Rome eventually. Thus the actions of the SSPX should not be seen in the sinister light that you are portraying them in.

    I think this reasoning will hold up for much of what the SSPX has done, even if the reconciliation with Rome is piecemeal rather than fraternity wide, as we have seen so far.

    In the meantime, you are doing the opposite of Rome, which is seeking reconciliation. You are putting together a private magisterium in order to push them out. In reality, it won’t work that way between the SSPX and Rome.

  166. I am not Spartacus says:

    Thus the actions of the SSPX should not be seen in the sinister light that you are portraying them in.

    All schisms are evil. If any good results from a schism that is solely attributable to God who alone can draw good out of evil.

    In the meantime, you are doing the opposite of Rome, which is seeking reconciliation.

    Yes. The Good Shepherd is stretching out his hands towards the lost sheep and, like rabld wolves, they are trying to bite them off. It is clear Rome seeks reconciliation while the SSPX seeks Rome’s surrender.

    You are putting together a private magisterium in order to push them out.

    It is the SSPX which has created a Petit Ecclesia complete with its own Canon Law and Juridical Branches which can rule on Marriage, for instance. The SSPX, contrary to Mons Lefevbre’s former defense of No Jurisdction, No Ministry,is exercising its own will.

    In reality, it won’t work that way between the SSPX and Rome.

    It is crystal clear that nothing is going to “work” when it comes to the schism because when it comes to schism, the problem is located in the Will, not the intellect.

    Only through the open door of humility can the Holy Spirit enter the soul with Supernatural, transformative, revivifying Grace.

    The SSPX is clearly not ready for that. The SSPX is a prideful, annealed, concretised schism.

    I am not happy about that. However, I am a realist and public protests against the sspx’s destructive propaganda is part of my Confirmational Duties.

  167. I am Spartacus,

    Excellent posts. It is time to call a spade a spade. I think that those who are members of the Society once again need to rethink their position vis-a-vis the Catholic Church and the Papacy. If it looks like a schism, smells like a schism, well, it probably is a schism.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  168. paladin says:

    Michael,

    You wrote:

    Quoting positive law is a tricky venture, it is not the same as revelation, and your quotes from previous Popes cannot be used in any context you choose, they have very specific contexts that cannot be generalized. Debate about what these laws mean ultimately can only be ended by Rome.

    Given the situation as it stands, I’m afraid your suggestion would seem to enact a logical snafu. “Quotes from previous popes” are, in fact, pronouncements from Rome, after all. If someone were to say, “The pronouncement of Pope X is ambiguous; we need Rome to settle the matter!”, what’s to prevent the very same person from taking any *current* declarations of Rome (which are usually couched in finely tuned theological language) and regarding *those* as “ambiguous”, as well? If Rome makes a pronouncement, what’s to prevent the contents of that pronouncement from becoming yet another debate (which would require another pronouncement, and so on, ad nauseum)? That’s known as a “circular argument”, in some circles (pun partially intended)…

    As to the heart of the matter: many apologists for the SSPX (on this forum, at least) seem to be lumping many of the “actions and declarations of the Church since the Second Vatican Council” along with (hypothetical) commands by the Pope to stand on your head during Holy Mass (a contributor on this very blog suggested that image, in fact), or to assist at Holy Mass while stark naked, or some other sundry “abuse of authority”; such proponents usually consider the “post-conciliar Church actions” to be less blatant than a direct order to procure an abortion (for example), but still “spiritually deadly”. Moreover, virtually all of the SSPX apologists on this forum seem to regard the “deadliness” of the “Vatican II actions” to be self-evident–and that one must be willfully ignorant, a blithering fool, or even complicit in the destructive effects of such “Vatican II actions” in order *not* to admit such “deadliness”.

    Here’s my main problem: I don’t think that you (and those of like mind) have made your case, regarding the necessity of disobedience to the Holy See. I could hypothetically grant virtually every claim held by the SSPX against “the post-conciliar Church”–I could (for the sake of argument) grant that the practices and disciplines put forth by Vatican II (including the Novus Ordo) have been a collective disaster, that the late Holy Father’s efforts at ecumenism were a terrible scandal which smacked of syncretism and indifferentism, and that the declarations of the Holy See on matters of ecumenism–while not heretical inand of themselves–have done far more damage than good… and yet, disobedience to the Vicar of Christ would still be out of the question, in my eyes. To say otherwise (so far as I can see) would be to join the ranks of Arius, Nestorius, Michael Cerularius, Martin Luther, the creators of the “Old Catholics” (in rebellion against the “Post-conciliar Church of Vatican I”), and the like. To suggest that these men did *not* believe in their own respective causes–and consider them to be justified and imperative–would be sheer arrogance, to say nothing of a shameless redaction of history.

    So… can someone “fill the gap”, and explain why disobedience to the Vicar of Christ–up to and including actions which incur excommunication–are justified? I really need to know the *principles* which would justify such disobedience; simply waving one’s hands and saying, with an appeal to the gallery, “Behold the wreckage–what else were we to do?” simply won’t do.

    In Christ,
    Brian

  169. Mr. M. M. Regan says:

    I am not Spartacus, you say that:

    “The SSPX does reject the definitions set forth by Holy Mother Church at Vatican Two”

    Which definitions did the Council Fathers propose as binding on the faithful? Could you list some of them, please?

  170. Michael B. says:

    Brian:
    There is no logical inconsistency, what I am saying is that the legal pronouncements of Popes usually have specific application to a situation, to generalize them causes problems, in that they are interpreted in a way that may or may not be intended by that Pope. Theologians and other interested parties can argue those points of contention, ultimately, Rome decides them, or leaves the question open. Others are not bound by your interpretation of Pius X’s oath against modernism, for example. As a non-Catholic friend of mine once noted, traditional Catholics aren’t annoying to him because they believe that the Pope is infallible, but because they think that they are infallible.
    All that I am arguing is that Catholics set aside their sense of personal infallibility. Just because the Pope is infallible under certain circumstances, doesn’t mean a layman can then run around binding and unbinding.

    For you younger people who think that living as a Catholic in the late 60s and 70s as a faithful Catholic was a simple matter of being faithful in your local parish and Catholic school, I can tell you that it was more typically a ticket out of the Church, as witnessed by declining belief and Mass attendance. There was no Agatha Christi indult in Europe or the United States. Paul VI and others lamented the damage done to the Church, but he did little to fix the problems he created or made worse in his years of eager optimism and paralysis of authority. For many the SSPX was the only way to stay in the Faith and transmit it to their kids as intactly as possible. It’s easy for some to condemn them now, but they were Godsend to many. There is no way I would be here today as a faithful Catholic if I had to take seriously as Catholic the crap I was fed by the Archdiocese of Detroit in the days of my youth. (There were parishes of refuge, and good priests who didn’t go along, Fr. Harden being the most notable example, but they were not known or available to many people at the time.) One can’t overestimate the upheaval and uncertainty of those times. I won’t be among those to turn around and condemn the SSPX after all the good they did for me. Someone has to acknowledge that debt of gratitude. It’s easy to say “behold the wreckage. . . won’t do.” Stuebenville didn’t exist as you know it then, there weren’t many orthodox options. I say cut some slack to the people who had to suffer through it.

    My point is not that there isn’t a problem with the ordinations, or that the Fraternity hasn’t been in a Canonically irregular state, but that you shouldn’t be in a rush to shove them out, that reconciliation has already taken the form of the FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, Campos, etc., and will continue to take that form, that smaller groups within the SSPX will continue to return, that the Fraternity has been more friend than enemy, and to accept that in real life there are in-between situations which are mixed and unsatisfying. You are scandalized by their seeming ingratitude to the Pope and his desire to reconcile, that’s fair. But to understand the SSPX on their own terms makes it possible to criticize them constructively. But, as I said, if you want to decide who’s in the Church and who’s not, binding and unbinding is not the mission of the laity. Not to worry, Rome will make clear where they stand eventually. For now, Rome has made their status ambiguous on purpose. That carries weight.

  171. I am not Spartacus says:

    Gordo. Thanks for the kind words.

    Me and The Bride just got back from Santorini. While in Fiera, we went to the Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Saturday and as we paid a visit, we heard lovely Gregorian Chant being piped-into the Church and we were excited anticipating Sunday Mass.

    On the way to Mass, we walked past the open door of the Orthodox Cathedral just as the Chanting Priest was incensing the Iconostasis.

    “Beautiful. I think we are about to enjoy something similar,” I said.

    Wrong.

    At Mass The Deacon handed-out a pamphlet with the ICEL prayers (The Roman Canon wasn’t included, of course)and told us all to respond in our native tongues.

    As we prepared for Mass a gaggle of German girls were quacking away loudly.

    Santorini is beautiful. The people are kind and solicitous to a fault. The Greek Island culture is so steeped in Sacramental and Incarnational realism that it is realised everywhere in their architecture.

    And then the Catholic Cathedral spoils everything with their ICEL ideology.

  172. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Regan. The sspx teaches the Jews as a race are cursed.

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

    Vatican Two, in Nostra Aetate

    … 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.

    Lumen Gentium

    This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

    Bishop Lefevbre signed both of those Documents, so, one knows they are orthodox.

  173. Gerard says:

    I am not Spartacus wrote:

    “Sound Doctrine” is the key here. LeFebvre was not required to accept sound Doctrine, he was required to accept unsound policies that undermined sound doctrine.

    Good grief. You change “doctrine” to “policies” but, far worse, is your total misunderstanding of “not enduring sound doctrine…”

    No. You changed “policies” to “doctrine” in order to apply the quote from Pius IX to LeFebvre.

    You seem to be thinking that Pius IX was writing about LeFebvre or that it even applies to LeFebvre. LeFebvre was not enduring sound doctrine as a reason for his disobedience. You have to misrepresent LeFebvre’s position in order to even tangentially make the appearance of sinful disobedience on the part of LeFebvre.

    Please reread that. That phrase refers to those like yourself who, not enduring sound doctrine, claim they do not have to assent or obey.

    I figures the ad hominems would start once your arguments were exposed as hollow. Try to follow the rules of the board.

    You can not post a single sentence form any Catechism, Encyclical, or Ecumenical Council that gives you permission to refuse obedience to the Pope.

    And you cannot post a single sentence that requires servile obedience. Broad “obedience” isn’t enough for you to prove your case. Vatican I requires “true” obedience. The word would not be there infallibly if it wasn’t narrowing the definition of “obedience.”

    I can roll-out, all day, teachings from those sources which disprove every single one of your arguments that you can refuse assent or obedience.

    Not accurately. Your positions on Catholicism are not precise and your conclusions are unproven assertions (if not outright lies) presented as facts. And I’ve yet to see any evidence of you disproving anything. Your post draw one to infer that you simply don’t understand Catholicism because you promote a caricature of it in order to dissuade people away from the SSPX.

  174. Gerard says:

    If you’re going to be credible, you might want to avoid that which you disdain in the arguments of others; this is pure rhetoric, at the cost of substance.

    In Christ,
    Brian

    Brian,

    Actually, I wasn’t using pure rhetoric. My analogy of the Pharoah as a model for the neo-Catholic perception of the papacy is quite apt.

    And the use of the “Ten Commandments” quote suitably illustrated an example of that thinking.

  175. Gerard says:

    Brian wrote:

    …under what circumstances, exactly, would you accept a dictum from the Holy Father (or any other rightful authority) with which you disagreed, or didn’t fully understand?

    Brian,

    I think you’d be surprised to know that many if not all of the decisions of the Popes have been accepted as valid. Most of these have come in the form of “loosenings” and “options” which the SSPX are free to reject for pious reasons.

    Some quick examples:

    1) The Saturday Vigil mass does fulfill the Sunday obligation. No sin is incurred if one takes advantage of that. The caution though is one must not forget that Sunday is the Lord’s Day and to keep it holy.

    2) The one hour fast before communion is held as binding by the Church. The three hour is better and the midnight fast is also better. But no sin is incurred if one utilizes the one hour fast.

    3) The SSPX has acknowledged that the late Holy Father had the right and power to add “Luminous Mysteries” to the Rosary. However due to the personal perspectives on the Rosary enunciated by the Holy Father in his encyclical, the SSPX encourages the traditional Rosary.

    So, I think you’re wrong when you give them impression that the SSPX does not acknowledge and accept the dictums that come down from the Holy See. Those things that are dubious and more in the category of abuses tolerated by the Holy See are flat out rejected. (communion in the hand comes to mind but that is only an issue in the Novus Ordo)

  176. Gerard says:

    Mr. M. M. Regan wrote:

    I am not Spartacus, you say that:

    “The SSPX does reject the definitions set forth by Holy Mother Church at Vatican Two”

    Which definitions did the Council Fathers propose as binding on the faithful? Could you list some of them, please?

    I am not Spartacus wrote:

    Mr. Regan. The sspx teaches the Jews as a race are cursed.

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

    Not accurate. From the same article:

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

    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. The curse is of a different nature, and corresponds to the greatness of the vocation of the Jewish people as a preparation for the Messias, to the superiority of their election, which makes them first in the order of grace.

    Vatican Two, in Nostra Aetate

    … 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.

    That’s a definition? Hardly. Anyway, it says “accursed by God” not a curse “brought upon themselves.” And it’s policy, words like “should” or “should not” are hardly definitive.

    Lumen Gentium…

    This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

    This is not a call for a blanket pretense that everything that comes out of the mouth of the Pope is dogmatic. Though it has been interpreted that way.

  177. Gerard says:

    Yes. And only an acolyte of Herbert Marcuse could construe the meaning of “true obedience” so as to mean disobedience.

    Ouch! More nasty tactics on your part. Beside the obvious ad homimen attack, you’re trying to create a “bogeyman” and then present a guilt by association condemnation. This is old hat and also dishonest.

    Marcuse was actually one to throw around the “anti-semite” card against his enemies. I wonder who the acolyte of Marcuse really is?

  178. I am not Spartacus says:

    Gerard. When I post from an Encyclical clearly teaching there is no right to refuse assent or obedience to the Pope you write that really isn’t what the Pope meant.

    When I post the word of Pope Benedict clearly saying he thinks the Second Vatican Council was both necessary and useful you write that is not what he really meant.

    When I post a Dogmatic teaching about true obedience you write that true obedience is not what I think it means but, I guess, that true obedience might include disobedience?

    We have no basis for a dialogue that I can see.

    When I post the sspx doctrine that The Jews as a race are cursed, you do not write they are not cursed as a race. You quibble over whether or not they brought it upon themselves. It seem quite clear you do think the Jews as a race are cursed whereas the most recent Ecumenical Council teaches they are not cursed.

    It appears you assent to the SSPX and refuse to submit to the Living Magisterium on that point (and many others). Here is what the sspx explains about that putative “truth” -

    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…

    If you think that accurately describes all Jews then that is clearly antisemitic. Those “ideas” are a pestilential perversion of reality.

    That is the stumbling block for the schism. Obviously, they will not repudiate this pernicious perversion (one that, by comparison, makes some of Jean Cauvin’s ideas seem reasonable) because if they did those who succor the schism would revolt and there is no way this Pope, or any Pope, will reconcile with a schism which promotes such pernicious evil.

    If I offended you in any way, Gerard, I apologise. That has not been my intent. I’ll admit my polemics are a bit rhetorically muscular at times but my main desire is to expose what I see are severe problems within the schism and to try an disabuse those unfamiliar with its ideas from concluding the sspx represents Tradition.

    Antisemitism is the rennin binding the SSPX schism. Unless that “doctrine” is repudiated, the SSPX will, forever, remain a schism and souls will be lost.

    That is a reality tragic beyond commentary.

  179. Gerard says:

    Gerard. When I post from an Encyclical clearly teaching there is no right to refuse assent or obedience to the Pope you write that really isn’t what the Pope meant.

    No. You didn’t post from an encyclical clearly teaching no right to refuse assent nor obedience. You posted an encyclical stating that people who would not endure sound doctrine had no right to refuse assent.

    You then seem to want to spin it to mean more than it actually means in order to support your Pope as Pharoah position.

    When I post the word of Pope Benedict clearly saying he thinks the Second Vatican Council was both necessary and useful you write that is not what he really meant.

    No. Multiple times you’ve been corrected on this. I’ve said the Pope Benedict despite his efforts and his wishes knows that Vatican II may not succeed, not for his lack of trying though.

    When I post a Dogmatic teaching about true obedience you write that true obedience is not what I think it means but, I guess, that true obedience might include disobedience?

    Absolutely, false obedience would be obeying an immoral command. So, disobedience to an immoral command is true obedience. Argue with Aquinas about it if you like.

    We have no basis for a dialogue that I can see.

    That’s because when we get down to the prime matter, it turns out that I’m correctly explaining Catholic teaching and you are misrepresenting it and the SSPX.

    When I post the sspx doctrine that The Jews as a race are cursed, you do not write they are not cursed as a race. You quibble over whether or not they brought it upon themselves. It seem quite clear you do think the Jews as a race are cursed whereas the most recent Ecumenical Council teaches they are not cursed.

    Another “spin” tactic of yours seems to be that “precision” is “quibbling” when it suits you. Your unwillingness to actually descend into detail in explaining in a precise, reasonable way what is meant both in the “curse” and in the documents of Vatican II gives one the impression that you are not interested in the truth, but rather you are interested in the emotional impact certain words will have. It’s a short-term propaganda technique. After all God did some cursing of His own way back in Genesis. Jesus cursed a fig tree. I guess Jesus is “anti-figitic?”

    I’ve shown you where you misread Vatican II. The very fact that you’ve misread Vatican II verifies the problem inherent in the documents. If you can’t somehow point out how the wording supports your conclusions you are in error.

    It appears you assent to the SSPX and refuse to submit to the Living Magisterium on that point (and many others).

    No. It doesn’t appear that way at all. I’m simply waiting for the Living Magisterium to come to the rescue and start condemning liberals. I’ve got a few priests and a community of faithful that feel the same way and we’re doing our best to get through the storm.

    Here is what the sspx explains about that putative “truth” –

    “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…”

    Cherry picking quotes is another tactic that is not admirable. You seem to magically avoid anything that casts the SSPX as anything other than some kind of ‘anti-semitic” gang. It’s a deceptive technique and is a form of lying.

    Here is actually what the SSPX explains (including your quote)

    “The curse is of a different nature, and corresponds to the greatness of the vocation of the Jewish people as a preparation for the Messias, to the superiority of their election, which makes them first in the order of grace. Just as the true Israelites, who accept the Messias, are the first to receive “glory, honor and peace to every one that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rm. 2:10), so also are the first to receive the punishment of their refusal of the Messias: “Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek” (Rm. 2:9). The curse is then the punishment for the hardhearted rebelliousness of a people that has refused the time of its visitation, that has refused to convert and to live a moral, spiritual life, directed towards heaven. 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. It is this that sets them as a people in entire opposition with the Catholic Church and its supernatural plan for the salvation of souls. Fr. Denis Fahey in The Kingship of Christ and Organized Naturalism explains this radical opposition. He describes “the Naturalism of the Jewish Nation” and the “age-long struggle of the Jewish Nation against the supernatural life of the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (p. 42) He goes on to explain that “we must distinguish accurately between opposition to the domination of Jewish Naturalism in society and hostility to the Jews as a race” which latter form of opposition “is what is designated by the term, ‘Antisemitism,’ and has been more than once condemned by the Church. The former opposition is incumbent on every Catholic and on every true lover of his native land.” (ibid. p. 43)”

    That is a prime example of spin doctoring on your part with your omissions.

    If you think that accurately describes all Jews then that is clearly antisemitic.
    Those “ideas” are a pestilential perversion of reality.

    Hah! My blood relatives who are both Jewish ethnically and Catholic in religion would laugh at that one!

    What you’ve actually done is perverted and misrepresented what the SSPX hold.

    That is the stumbling block for the schism. Obviously, they will not repudiate this pernicious perversion (one that, by comparison, makes some of Jean Cauvin’s ideas seem reasonable) because if they did those who succor the schism would revolt and there is no way this Pope, or any Pope, will reconcile with a schism which promotes such pernicious evil.

    That doesn’t hold because you’ve deliberately misrepresented the position of the SSPX. I haven’t heard a peep from any Pope condemning the SSPX for any position that concerns the jewish people. Meanwhile, you’ve written above that the Pope is ready to recieve them. Get your story straight.

    If I offended you in any way, Gerard, I apologise.

    The ad hominem attacks only make me curious. I haven’t seen any real reason to be offended. Don’t apologize for them, just don’t engage in them anymore.

    That has not been my intent. I’ll admit my polemics are a bit rhetorically muscular at times but my main desire is to expose what I see are severe problems within the schism and to try an disabuse those unfamiliar with its ideas from concluding the sspx represents Tradition.

    No. I don’t think that’s it. The overt factual misrepresentations, the hateful rhetoric, the claim that you were once a traditionalist, it reminds me too much of the tactics of a militant atheist. One who has rejected his religion. They will rationalize any and all ways to justify their anti-evangelism against their target. Usually under the pretense of “doing good.”

    Something else is at work. I suspect there is some individual experience or something the SSPX represents that presents a danger to your comfort zone. What they are standing up for in some way prevents you from doing, thinking or feeling something that you can get away with or feel you can get away with outside of traditional Catholicism. It could be anything, a personal hurt or something in the truth that the SSPX speaks that you are deliberately and consciously set in opposition to. But the last thing it is is to “rescue” people. A Catholic doesn’t twist the truth in order to “rescue” people.

    Antisemitism is the rennin binding the SSPX schism. Unless that “doctrine” is repudiated, the SSPX will, forever, remain a schism and souls will be lost.

    That is a reality tragic beyond commentary.

    No, anti-semitism and other prejudice is a human failing but it’s hardly any more of a problem in the SSPX than it is in the conciliar Church or Protestant, Orthodox or even secular society. Just as being anti-Gentile is more than likely a problem concerning a minority of Jews. John XXIII and Augustin Cardinal Bea would be absolutely broken-hearted if they’d lived to see the weird twists that “inter-religious dialogue” had taken in that it involved the destruction of the Liturgy and a revocation of the invitation to Jews to convert to the Catholic faith. The only faith that is salvific.

  180. Mr. M. M. Regan says:

    I am not Spartacus, thankyou for your response and Gerard, thankyou for your follow-up comment on mine.

    I am not Spartacus, when you say that

    “the most recent Ecumenical Council teaches they [the Jews] are not cursed”

    the question is (without addressing the merits of the teaching itself), in what manner did the Council Fathers teach this? Was it in the manner of a binding definition, or did they merely offer an opinion from which one is free to dissent? That’s the big question that hangs over all the Council documents. Have there been previous authoritative statements on the matter?

  181. I am not Spartacus says:

    Gerard. You do yourself no good by refusing to accept what I say motivates me. Instead, you offer-up your own speculations about my interior motivations, all of which are negative.

    In ending our exchange, I’d just like to repost Quanta Cura and witness, once more, your attempt to explain that its real meaning (gnostic) is precisely the opposite of its obvious meaning.

    That is,it clearly reads there is no right to disobedience. You claim it reads there is a right to disobedience.

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    “…the question is (without addressing the merits of the teaching itself), in what manner did the Council Fathers teach this? Was it in the manner of a binding definition, or did they merely offer an opinion from which one is free to dissent?”

    Mr. Regan. For me, the quote I posted from Lumen Gentium, in the same post, anticipated your question (which is why I posted it there.)

    I take the quotations I have posted at face value. But, what do I know?

  182. D.S. says:

    Because of the nastiness and disrespect of the tenor of “I am not spartacus”´s comments I – as I stated before – decided not to dicuss anymore, also because it seems that he is not willing to take the arguments seriously. But I will try it once more.

    So to “spartacus” (and others):

    You cite Quanta cura and other papal and magisterial documents, that are telling that disobedience is a sin and not allowed and do not mention any exception of it – then you conclude that there could not be any exception.
    That´s tricky and first-gimps convincing but very shifty.

    There is no need to have an explicit mentioning of exceptions in every concret law, decree or teaching because there is a general principal of moral theology (and also canonistics) that you are NOT (in) bond to obey IF the law/advise/decree/judgement/… is UNJUST/ILLICIT/…or if there is a state of necessity.
    See all moral-theological or canonistical handbooks, all doctors and Fathers, not only cited Thomas or Belarmin, but also Suarez, Cajetan, St. Alphonsus. – and see also the teaching of epikie, f.e consult G.B. Sala, prof. G. May or others.
    To give only one quote cf. CIC c.1323.

    But I am afraid that every single citation I would bring you would reconstrue and reinterpret to its opposite/contrary. – on this basis no serious dicussion is possible (so I also would like to advise Gerard not to waste his time in doing so – realy great arguing but regrettably wasting time, sad thing!)

    let´s give therefor not citation, but an example: It is like in worldly [or: secular - sorry for my bad English!!] law, f.e. that you are not allowed to steal or that you are punished with this or that punishment if you steal this and that:
    even if there is NO (explicit) mentioning of any exception to this law there is always the general exceptions and higher-order laws (and therfor so to speak inevery case the implicit, tacit assumption, that need not to be expressed explicitly), so that if there is/are some leniency/extenuating circumstances you have to be punished less grave or you are totaly excused or more: you are justified to brake the law.
    And there is also the more higher-order law/principal, f.e., if a positive law is realy unjust or f.e. conradicts the Constitution or the Charta of Human rights, that such a illicit law is totally null and void.

    But, of course, somebody who promotes or approbates such a illicit/nullified law he himselfe will not admit that this law is unjust and contradict higher-orde/level principals or laws.

    It is ridiculous to exspect the contrary.

    And it´s totaly hogwash to demand the contrary.

    So of course there is no need to a concrete papal or episcopal teaching to state: “You should be obeying but, o.k., if there is some necessity or you think there can be use of the principal of epikie or if my law is totaly unjust, then you are not recomended/bond to be obedient.”
    ridicolous hogwash!

    The general principals are enough – no need to be mentioned in every single case – in every single case they are tacitly presumed, without need to state them explicitly!!

    In CHo per Mam

  183. D.S. says:

    and to the accusation of the fsspx of PRIVATE JUDGING:

    That is again ridiculous and hogwash.

    Well, you can deny that there ever can be the posibillity or justifying situation to disobey the Pope – like spartacus and some others seem to state – but that is not catholic, it is an erroneous teaching. btw. interesting that many of the folks that accuse the fsspx of beeing schismatic or dissobedient promote themselfes very non-catholic, erroneus – and scandalous – teaching re obedience. And realy hogwash and totaly ignorant teaching.

    So if you state that every command of the Pope is always to be done, there can never be a situation to disobey or at least it can´t happen that a papal command or teaching is unjust or wrong and therefor there never can be justified disobedience – then you teach erroneous things, totaly uncatholic!!

    But if you admit the possibility, that also a papal decision or command can be wrong or unjust and that there could be situations in which you are allowed to disobey them, then why accusing folks of PRIVATE JUDGING (and calling them therefor protestants, etc.)??

    That´s inconsistent.
    Why?

    Because the ONLY WAY to reject some papal order or teaching is by PRIVATE JUGMENT. If you would claim to judge official or juridical, that would be realy schismatic or heretic.
    But not only re papal decisions you can only use private jugement to be disobedient. In all cases of justified disobedience it can ONLY be by PRIVATE judgement. That is essencial to disobedience.

    So to admit there could be cases of justified disobedience (or better: higher-level obedience!) but then to denying private judgment is unlogical, inconsistent – and both RIDICULOUS and HOGWASH!

    And then you state “But if you lean on private judgment then the door is open for all abuses, for protestant mentality… all the liberals are also leaning on this an claim theire disobedienc would be justified.. so, it is corruptive to act according to private judgement and better always be obedient, …” – but that is again hogwash.
    because:
    1. Abusus non tollit usum
    2. Again erroneus or inconsistent : you have to decide: does catholic doctrine teache that there can be justified disobedience – if “no”, then you hold just an error, sorry. that is not Catholic. – so if “yes”, then such an argument is not valid – inconsitent – and pure hogwash. (The solution is 1.)

    I´ve seldom seen such inconsitent or “hogwashed” argumentation like in this thread. Puh.. grr..!

    laudetur JS & Ma

  184. D.S.: And I think that if you don’t tone down this “hogwash” rhetoric, I will delete your comments and block your access.

  185. D.S. says:

    Yes, ok., perhaps I was a little bit to emotional. (that´s my temprament…). I apologise and will try to argue in a calmer and not personal offending style.

    In CHo per Mam

  186. D.S. says:

    Yes, realy, I´ve re-read my comments and I myselfe was appalled: it IS REALY too emotional and too much “hogwash” etc. I must have been in such zeal and anger… so better to re-read the post before posting – “THINK then POST”! – I realy apologise and admit that it was no fine/gentle arguing (and also bad style/phrasing), sorry!

  187. I am not Spartacus says:

    To give only one quote cf. CIC c.1323.

    The idea it is the excommunicated who has authority to interpret and apply Canon Law is an idea that does not make a lot of sense.

    It is rather like surrendering to the Counterfiter authority to define what is and isn’t legitimate currency.

    http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id59.html

  188. Gerard says:

    The idea it is the excommunicated who has authority to interpret and apply Canon Law is an idea that does not make a lot of sense.

    That is truly circular reasoning. I’m sure you’re familiar with Cardinal Newman’s “poisoning the well argument.”

    If the argument were about the bishop’s hair let’s see if it would make sense.

    All the bishops in the world have grown long hair except two. They plan on keeping their hair short just as they have for all of their lives.

    The Pope says the bishop is bald. The bishop says he is not bald and his hair is on top of his head no different now from where and how it’s always been.

    The Pope declares the bishop bald, when the bishop has not grown his hair long and even taken steps to keep it trim.

    So, your reasoning then is the bishop must be bald because the Pope said he’s bald.

    Therefore the “bald” cannot argue that they have hair because they have been told they are bald by their accuser.

    The existence of the hair on the head doesn’t seem to register because the Pope has said he is bald. So bald has a new definition today. And tomorrow it may be different again. The Pope as Pharoah again.

    The same Pope will compliment a truly bald bishop on his luxurious locks and tell a bishop who has hair down to his knees that he has kept the tradition of short hair “alive” deep within his “developed scalp.”

    It is rather like surrendering to the Counterfiter authority to define what is and isn’t legitimate currency.

    Actually BOTH counterfeiters and the Mint should be aware how to detect (not define) what is or isn’t legitimate currency. After all, we are talking about currency that’s already been approved and struck.

    What you are denying is the right of any normal person with common sense to refuse counterfeit Monopoly money because they “don’t have the authority to define what is or isn’t legitimate currency.”

    With that reasoning I could print my own day and night in a variety of colors and shapes and no one except an official from the Mint would be able to stop me.

    Of course, on the other hand, that agent might not be that good. So, he might accuse some people of printing phoney money and be wrong as well. But what defense would an innocent person have against an all powerful agent of the Mint?

    Heck, now that I really think about it, what if the agent is printing blatently phoney money himself along with doing his regular job of printing legitimate currency? Who will stop him?

    Answer: Nobody. But does that mean you have to accept every bit of currency he’s trying to pass on to you? Answer: No. Because there are objective differences that can be spotted by anyone who is willing to find out the differences between the Old Money and the New Funny Money.

    You just have to be careful.

  189. Pauline Cream says:

    The SSPX are part of the Roman Catholic Church. Deo gratias for Archbishop Lefebvre!! Same for all the rest of traditional Catholics, whether indultarian / motarian, SSPX, sedeprivationists and sedevacantists. Pity that others went totally astray, like the various pseudo-popes (David Bawden, Lucian Pulvermacher, Victor von Pentz etc.), their followers and worst of all the Palmarians…

    And what about the home-aloners??

  190. CPKS says:

    In my judgment, certain members of the SSPX, despite some excellent intentions, have done the traditionalist cause enormous harm by adopting their confrontational position. Heckling, and trying to make bishops look ridiculous, is simply not the way to effect (or impede) change. It has made access to the traditional Mass vastly more difficult for the Catholic faithful and alienates potential allies.