Musings of excomm’d SSPX Bp. Williamson

On a blog called Dinoscopus there are entries which perhaps are posted by the excommunicated SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson.

I haven’t been able to verify for sure that this is Bp. Williamson’s blog, but it seems reasonable that it is.

On today’s entry we find this (my emphases and comments).

Stick Again
Eleison Comments LII)

Rumors abound once more: before the end of June, in other words in a few days’ time, either the Society of St. Pius X will begin to give way to Rome’s demands to conform to Vatican II and the New Mass, or Rome will declare to Church and world that the Society and its followers are in formal schism and out of the Church.  [So the writer assumes that the Five Conditions offered by the Holy See to the Superior Bp. Fellay, are indeed for the whole Society.  Of course it has to be that way, no?  And I suppose this is a bitter thing for the writer, since he has been one of the most acrimonious of the major figures of the SSPX.]

As to rumors of the Society taking any action that would imperil the defense of the Faith, [Interseting: they are the defenders of the Faith.] I think they are to be wholly discounted. On May 5 of 1988 in particular, Archbishop Lefebvre went as far as [watch for this idea as you read] the Faith would allow him, and even a little bit further, to come to terms with the Church authorities, but their terms finally persuaded him that they could no longer be trusted to look after the Church’s immutable Tradition, which is why he went ahead with the episcopal consecrations of 20 years ago. [That was then.   This is now.  Is their perspective so focused on the past that they cannot clearly judge the hinc et nunc?]

Similarly, ever since the Society’s Jubilee Pilgrimage to Rome in 2000, the Society has gone as far as it could to correspond to the goodwill gestures of Cardinal Castrillon, and even a little bit further, [Really?]  but in eight years it has never given to the Cardinal that abandonment of the Society’s stand on Tradition that he wanted. On the contrary, the latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors of the Society’s Superior General reiterated firmly that stand, which is surely where the rumors come from of the Cardinal losing patience with his eight years of carrot, and turning once more to the stick.

[A couple things here.  First, the Five Conditions do not concern matters of Tradition, beyond the undoubtedly Traditional point of showing respect for the Roman Pontiff and some positive will for unity – as Christ desired at the Last Supper.  The Five Conditions don’t lay down anything about Vatican II or the Novus Ordo or Religious Liberty, etc.  All they ask for is respectful behavior.  Is that what troubles Williamson?

Secondly, note that in Winona Bp. Fellay mentioned that the Benefactors (read MONEY) of the SSPX were upset.  Here again we have a reference to the Benefactors (read MONEY) who support the SSPX.  It is easy to understand how these men feel strong pressure to tune their rhetoric so that they keep up morale.  But at a certain point they will have to exercise real leadership and move the Benefactors to a new point of view.  It is easy to whip people into a froth when they are already convinced of something and they have invested money to support it.  It is quite another thing to preach a hard but true message, as Christ did in John 6, and run the risk of losing followers.]

Catholics should in no way be frightened by any threat [Subtle fearmongering?] of being declared formally, i.e. properly and officially, in schism, or out of the Church. Proper Catholic officialdom  [Who would that be?] would judge, like Our Lord tells us to judge (Jn. VII,24), by reality and not by appearances. The reality is obvious: it is the Conciliar "Renovation" and not Catholic Tradition that has broken with the Catholic Church.  [There it is folks.  This is one of the reasons why those Five Conditions lay down that Bp. Fellay ought not speak in such a way that give the sense he or the SSPX has a Magisterium, etc., superior to that of the Roman Pontiff.]

However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome’s purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. [Calling Rome’s bluff, in other words.   He is saying that Rome’s Conditions have no teeth, that rome will do nothing, there will be no consequences.]  Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society’s resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?

And if they did go ahead with such a declaration, Catholics should rejoice, [Oh… my… God!   In praise of schism, of which the Father’s of the Church had such a horror, which Paul preaches against, which is blatantly against the will of Christ as He taught at the Last Supper.]  because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ "excommunication". Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome’s self-abasement[Riiiight.] Kyrie eleison.

Munich, Germany
Posted by Bishop Richard Williamson at 2:50 PM 

Very misguided.

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84 Responses to Musings of excomm’d SSPX Bp. Williamson

  1. bryan says:

    Sigh.

    One thing this whole sad thing points out, at least to me, is that being outside of professed
    unity with the visible head of the Church that Christ left us there is no hope for the conversion
    of hearts and softening of egos.

    In charity, we should pray for Bp. Williamson and his brother bishops in the Society
    to be on the road to their Damascus.

    I firmly believe that when one sets themselves up as judge of a greater power, one ends up, in the
    end, becoming an example of that which they protest against.

    More prayers are needed folks.

  2. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Fr. Z said:

    “The reality is obvious: it is the Conciliar “Renovation” and not Catholic Tradition that has broken with the Catholic Church. [There it is folks. This is one of the reasons why those Five Conditions lay down that Bp. Fellay ought not speak in such a way that give the sense he or the SSPX has a Magisterium, etc., superior to that of the Roman Pontiff.]”

    With regard to the SSPX, my gut feeling is you are right. However, it could be argued that what is meant by the bishop is that the SSPX is making a case from authority. This authority is not their own, ie the SSPX is not superior to the Pope, but rather that this statement of the Magisterium (previous Pope) is of a higher and more binding authority ie superior to that of current Roman Pontiff. I have heard many traditionalists argue this, and some even go so far as to say they would never hold up a teaching of a saint against the teaching of a Pope, but they would hold up a papal teaching of higher authority against a papal teaching of lower authority. The weight of papal teaching is not based on the chronology of the pope that taught, but rather the weight of the teaching.

  3. Patrick says:

    Smells like pure, formal schism.

    In addition to declaring their state of schism and excommunication, I wonder if the Holy Father would also take the step of dismissing them from the clerical state?

    I really hope they don’t try to call Pope Benedict’s “bluff”. The Holy Father isn’t bluffing.

  4. Paul says:

    To whay extent does Bp. Williamson represent the real views of the SSPX? To some extent, of course, but my impression is that he represents the more radical side of the society. If they refuse the deal, personally I think that they will have lost the plot, so to speak, losing any coherency they have in their arguments. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful that the Holy Ghost will move them to the right decision and I most definately continue to pray with all my heart.

  5. Wayne Ratzinger says:

    Even the Council Of Trent as far as I know requested the presence of the “Protestants” so that by discussion things could be sorted out. I attend SSPX Masses, I’ve heard some nutty stuff occasionally. But for a senior person like Bishop Williamson to be setting himself and the Society up as “The Judge” is just plain daft. The situation in the Church is far to serious to be left in the hands of nut cases, the Laity attending Society churches sooner or later must show it’s hand. The Pope should appeal over the heads of the Bishops directly to the Laity. After all we already act over the heads of our Local Bishops to attend SSPX Masses. I’ve urged people to go to their local Bishops and Parishes and demand Traditional Masses. If we get the Call from Rome….we will act.

  6. Lorenz says:

    This is my first post on this site.

    Bishop Williamson was born and raised Anglican, converted to Catholicism in the early 70s, studied for the priesthood and was ordained shortly after, and then was consecrated a Bishop in 1988. In his case, the boy was taken from protestentism but protestentism could not be taken out of the boy. It is doubtful he will let go of his anti-Roman attitude. Of the 1988 bishops consecrations, Williamson was the worst mistake and now the SSPX has grown into quite a different animal then Archbishop Lefebvre intended.

    I believe there are a large faction of the SSPX who do wish for reunion with Rome. On the other hand there is a significant number of sedevacantist types who are quite happy on the outside where they enjoy mocking and complaining.

    If the SSPX does not take this offer (and Pope Benedict has pretty much agreed to all of their set conditions) I hope and pray that the sincere SSPX clergy and laity will come back to Rome on their own.

  7. Somerset '76 says:

    The blog is authentic. It’s actually maintained by an SSPX supporter named Stephen Heiner, who has written articles and done interviews for The Angelus and some other traditionalist outlets both in print and online. A few of his past interviews are transcribed on his personal blog, including with both Bp. Williamson himself and another of the Society’s auxiliaries, Bp. Tissier de Mallerais.

    I don’t know exactly how the columns get transmitted to Mr. Heiner (whether by fax or e-mail), but essentially, he receives the texts from the Bishop and then posts them, with very little editing, on the Blogspot site.

  8. Craigmaddie says:

    Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ “excommunication”.

    This is one of the most disturbing things that I have heard Bishop Williamson utter. To rejoice in excommunication (or, as he would counter, to rejoice in a statement of excommunication) demonstrates a profound ignorance – or rejection – of the Church and of her traditions. As Fr Z says, schism was regarded with horror as it is a departing from Christ whose Mystical Body the Church is.

    The rumblings from the Society are not favourable. Comments on Rorate Caeli from some people who are affiliated with the SSPX are approaching hysteria. And, now, this from one of the Bishops.

    I have been praying fervently that the Lord will soften the hearts of those who will make an answer to the Holy Father. After so many years of chaos and confusion in the Church we desperately need unity. But there are many affliated with the Society who wish to be the ones who “dictate” to the Holy See – even though the conditions he offers are extremely reasonable and generous.

    The etymology of the word “Devil” is, I believe, “he who divides” and I cannot but see the hand of the princeps mundi in the hysterical attitudes of those who see in the conditions some kind of “snare” put out for them by a Modernist Pope.

    If anyone reading this is part of the Society or attends one of the chapels then I plead with you to recognise the urgency of the situation and pray with all your heart that the Society returns to full communion with St Peter. There is no such thing is an “eternal Rome” in juxtaposition to a “neo-modernist Rome”. One is either in communion with Peter or out of communion with him. The Holy Father longs for you to return to where you belong and together we can all begin to repair the damage inflicted over the last 40 years and do the will of our Lord when He prayed that we “may all be one”.

  9. magdalen says:

    I am praying for sanity and charity to reign in this situation.
    Of course the excommunicated Williamson did recently call the Holy Father insane.

    If the SSPX does turn this beginning piece down, then goodbye to them. Let them retain their schism and go on claiming to be the ‘tru church’. With the expansion of the FSSP and other societies dedicated to the Gregorian Rite and with the faithful seminaries beginning to teach it to their men, the reason for the SSPX will wain and they can cry in the opposite corner of the ‘old Catholics’ or other groups in schism.

    I will never participate in a schismatic group and truly, if they continue to be do implacable, I do not want to read anymore about them either.

    It is a sad thing; it was sad 20 years ago and Rome cannot make it right if they are hardened against it.

  10. Tina in Ashburn says:

    It is far better to be Obedient than to be “Right”.
    Obedience is hard, and often complex, which is why obedience is such an effective sanctifier!

    Interesting etymology on ‘devil’ above from Craigmaddie. Error breeds diversity. Down the road, if they remain on this path, the group will split again.

    Lorenz: good observation on Williamson’s roots. Many converts have great difficulty understand the true path of obedience to absolute authority, like we Catholics sometimes do as well.

  11. The SSPX is making itself no better than a protestant that ridicules the Mother of the Church.

  12. B. says:

    Of the 1988 bishops consecrations, Williamson was the worst mistake and now the SSPX has grown into quite a different animal then Archbishop Lefebvre intended.

    Bishop Williamson is the most vocal one, but Bishop Tissier de Mallerais isn’t much different. He has said that the pope has written a “book full of heresies” and that he is “worse than Luther”. Bishop de Galarreta keeps very quiet, so nobody really knows where he stands.

    The problem is that when Archbishop Lefebvre chose whom to consecrate he chose, once determined to do it “against Rome” the most anti-Romans he could find, in order to prevent a “sellout”. It is quite telling that a good number of the other leading figures of the SSPX at that time (including all founding members), amongst them some that were in favour of the ordinations, are now reconciled.

    One of the founding members of the FSSP has written that in 88 many more than the 12 FSSP founders hoped and prayed for an agreement and didn’t want Lefebvre to go ahead with the consecrations, but when he did it anyway, they (who owed everything they were to him) didn’t want “to leave him alone in his darkest hour”. But [this is my interpretation again] of course Lefebvre knew where they stood and chose the hardliners.

  13. Matt of South Kent says:

    Now you see the true colors of SSPX. Bishop Williamson and the SSPX extremist shrills (on this blog and on other web sites) practically insinuate Pope Benedict XVI is the Anti-Christ.

    The RCC will reunite with the Orthodox long before SSPX comes back.

  14. John6:54 says:

    Bp. Williamson seem to love giving his middle finger to Rome. The pride he demonstrates is amazing.

  15. Terry says:

    I really don’t see why anyone is surprised.

    I’m sure Benedict isn’t.

  16. roydosan says:

    I don’t think this is Williamson. I can’rt believe that any Englishman – let alone a traditionalist – would spell ‘rumour’ without a ‘u’!

  17. James says:

    Bp. Williamson has long given me the creeps. However, one can see why the Bishops of the SSPX would want to reunite as one group, and perhaps Bp. Williamson is standing in the way of that. We cannot know how much internal dissent there is among the four bishops.

    However, I think that the whole thing boils down to this: If the SSPX is reunited with Rome, they have to be obedient. They fear that obedience because they fear that they will be commanded to do something that is not in accordance with their principles. It is overly simplistic just to condemn the SSPX for a reluctance to reunite when this was caused by decades of abuse within the Roman Church, even in the highest levels of power in the hierarchy. So rather than condemn the SSPX and speak in such negative language, wouldn’t it be better to point out the great positive things that the Society has done and is doing and hope and pray that the Pope and the Society work things out in a way that is beneficial to the Church universal?

  18. Theodorus says:

    Those are proud words from the very mouth of satan.

  19. Mr. WAC says:

    Williamson is no Catholic, and this proves it. He worships at the altar of rectitude. I hope that he (and his followers) realize that, when the door shuts this time, its a good likelyhood that it will be for the last time. All the virgins on the outside will be left there, in the darkness, for good. They will be left with their popeless “Catholicism”, headed by the demons of egoism, growing ever more twisted and insular without the Light of Christ’s Church.

    Lord have mercy, indeed.

    wac

  20. John says:

    Winona, Jun 26, 2008 / 05:30 pm
    Bishop Bernard Fellay, the leader of the Society of St. Pius X, has rejected the terms offered by the Vatican for rejoining the Catholic Church.

    “So we have no choice… we are continuing what we’ve done,” the Bishop Fellay said in English. “They just say ‘shut up’ … we are not going … to shut up.”

    While Fellay sees the recent permission to celebrate the Latin Mass as “very good,” he still sees the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as unacceptable.

    The deadline for Bishop Fellay to respond to Cardinal Hoyos is June 30, which is also the 20th anniversary of the bishops’ ordinations that created the schism.
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=13067

    It doesn’t sound like these Bishops have any intention of coming back to Rome. There are rumblings of at least one Anglican Bishop joining the Church. What we lost in the Reformation we gained with the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

  21. Geoffrey says:

    The SSPX to me, sadly, seems very “cult-like”.

  22. John Hudson says:

    There is a cynical and disengenuous strategy at work here. So far as I know, the Holy See has made no statement to the effect that if the Society refuse to accept the five conditions there will be a formal declaration of schism. So Williamson is creating a circumstance that will enable him to either revel in his schism if the Holy See does make such a declaration, as he confessedly revels in his excommunication, or enable him to charge the Holy See with having no spine if it does not.

  23. Somerset '76 says:

    Many people, including in the comments above, are heaping scorn upon the Society for its unwillingness to listen and yield, etc. But really, that criticism runs both ways.

    Having made my own decision last year to disassociate myself from the Society after being connected with it my entire prior adult life, I nonetheless still strongly sympathize with the scepticism on the part of the Angelqueen forum’s owner, John “Servitium” Grasmeier, regarding these conditions: [I prefer if people don’t paste large amounts of text from another site without also adding a link. You do identify the source, strange as it is, so I will let this stand this time for the sake of discussion. – Fr. Z]

    ======================================================
    From a sermon Bishop Fellay gave last week:

    In ’75, ’76, it was already the same problem. Before the suspension of ’76, Rome sent an ambassador to the Archbishop who told him, ‘Say with me one New Mass, concelebrate with me one Mass, and everything is fine’. And now, well, they don’t say ‘Say one Mass’, they just say ‘Shut up’.

    It is so far that Rome has given me an ultimatum. Seems that the last Letter to the Benefactors has been not so well received in Rome. They consider it as a proof of pride, of arrogance, and that’s what they don’t want. And we are not going to shut down our mouths, or to shut up.

    In other words, when the Holy Father, incredibly, admiringly lauds America’s chaotic pluralism, close your eyes, ears and mouth. When he changes sacred prayers at the behest of Jewish lobby groups that hate Christ, keep your mouth shut.

    Or no soup for you.

    This ultimatum is outrageous. Cardinal Hoyos ought to be told to stuff it, and stuff it with great force.”
    ====================================================

    “Servitium” makes his point both succinctly and bluntly, but what I yet find compelling is the obvious substance of his reaction. What good answers can Rome give to his examples, or any number of others he could have cited? This Pope lauded a social approach that, by contrast, Leo XIII admonished anyone against viewing as the ideal situation in which the Church could operate (cf. Longinqua Oceani, 1895, §6). And what of this idea, unthinkable in any past era of the Church, that Catholic prayers ought to be modified to suit the sensitivites of the Church’s inveterate enemies?

    It is just such incongruities with the long-lived past approaches of the Church, combined with all the changes made to liturgy and doctrinal emphases as reflected in Magisterial documents, that feeds the sense of certitude SSPX leaders, members, and supporters have regarding their understanding of that past … which, in turn, fuels the palpable intrasigence we observe of them towards virtually every aspect of the Conciliar era.

    They are right to point out the vagueness of the conditions, which particularly #3, can certainly be used to compel them to hold silence concerning the discongruities they observe. Given their convictions, though, they would view such silence utterly unconscionable. There is an utterly fine line between pointing out the discongruities and “becoming one’s own magisterium.” Certainly it does the Society no good in the latter case, but does that mean they have to give up their voice completely?

    Consider the fate of the GSI since its founding. In their SSPX heyday, Frs. Laguerie and Aulagnier were forceful voices for its cause in every respect. Are they now hopelessly trapped in games of diplomacy, such as my impression of them seems to be? I have indications from a friend of mine from Quebec who has followed their writings enough to tell me that this has indeed become the case.

    I parted from the Society last year upon realizing how profoundly problematic its internal subculture truly is, and in agreement with the conclusion that it is indeed effectively operating under its own magisterium. But I have drifted in a “no-man’s land” ever since. While I now exclusively resort to that which has official approbation, I do so as a default position, without enthusiasm. I do so, dissatisfied as ever with the Roman response to the points the “Servs” of the world raise.

    The overtures to traditionalist sensibilities made so far haven’t really even begun to address the sense of scandal that the SSPX milieu has taken over the kind of incongruities that “Serv” and his posters illustrate. And never has the Holy See, under these last several Popes, sufficiently respected the cogency of the arguments for discontinuity between past and present the Society alone seems to have the gumption to make. Given the Society’s being over thirty years in a state of siege due to these convictions, the intransigence one senses in them even from casual aquaintance is unfortunate, but should not be any surprise whatsoever.

    Remember this one thing about the Society: they are arguing from their read on the lines of continuity within the patrimony of the Magisterium, in context of a most basic principle: the truth is what it is and does not change with the times. One will never understand what they are about until he or she apprehends this.

  24. Hidden One says:

    If Bp. Williamson’s faction wins out, and the SSPX refuses reconciliation, I truly hope that the German Shepherd is unafraid to use his teeth and his staff to defend the flock. Any theoretically Catholic organization which does not desire full reconciliation with the Church and perfect obedience to the Roman Pontiff is, so far as I can tell, in schism by the truest definition of the word. May Bp. Fellay do the right thing. But if he doesn’t, may Pope Benedict XVI remove the rebellious threat which the SSPX constitutes to the authority of the See of Peter and, by extension, all the Church. The SSPX must reconcile in order to become truly legitimate, in the eyes of all, or it must be dealt with so that it is undeniably illegitimate is everyone’s eyes.

    Kyrie eleison.

  25. The actual etymology of “Devil” is even more applicable – the Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning of the Greek “diabolus” as ‘accuser, calumniator, slanderer, traducer…’

  26. Paul Haley says:

    Public criticism of the principals in this matter should be avoided, it seems to me. I urge all to tone down the rhetoric for it really accomplishes nothing except to harden men’s hearts. Prayer is the much better and more effective option. Almighty God is still in charge and may His Will be done.

  27. Matt of South Kent says:

    Why do SSPX members and defenders enjoys such long prose and post?

    Think of the Lord’s pray, beautiful and concise. If an SSPX defender had wrote it, we would have Good Monday.

  28. KOM says:

    Whatever etymology the word “Devil” may have, his first sin was pride: NON SERVIAM:

  29. John Enright says:

    Fr.Z said “That was then. This is now. Is their perspective so focused on the past that they cannot clearly judge the hinc et nunc?” From Bp. Williamson’s skewed perspective, he mistakenly thinks more along the line that his opinions were true tunc et nunc. What he’s really doing is a form of historical revision where he is substituting his more rigid and unbending defiance of the Holy See, or in other words, his opinions relate to the past as nunc pro tunc.

    With the Society as a whole, there is hope. To the extent that Bp. Williamson has always expressed somewhat radical opinions on everything from the Jews, the Liturgy and Vatican II to his belief in a governmental conspiracy to cause 9-11, his positions are obstructionist. If the Society returns to full communion, I think it will have to leave Bp. Williamson behind.

  30. Fr Ray Blake says:

    Whatever Peter binds: whatever he looses. To be loosed from the bond with Peter, to loosen oneself is terrifying thing: we must pray.
    Bishops even “sacramental” ones have a duty to lead the faithful to unity with the Rock on which Christ has built his Church.

  31. Paul says:

    ‘If Bp. Williamson’s faction wins out, and the SSPX refuses reconciliation, I truly hope that the German Shepherd is unafraid to use his teeth and his staff to defend the flock. Any theoretically Catholic organization which does not desire full reconciliation with the Church and perfect obedience to the Roman Pontiff is, so far as I can tell, in schism by the truest definition of the word. May Bp. Fellay do the right thing. But if he doesn’t, may Pope Benedict XVI remove the rebellious threat which the SSPX constitutes to the authority of the See of Peter and, by extension, all the Church. The SSPX must reconcile in order to become truly legitimate, in the eyes of all, or it must be dealt with so that it is undeniably illegitimate is everyone’s eyes.’

    Maybe, maybe not. Yet one could say the same regarding the uber liberals. At least the former is fighting to keep the faith, even if the way they seem to be going about is misguided. Like Fr. Z I have many sympathies with the SSPX, but I agree that they have to show respect. As I said earlier, I remain hopeful, but even if they refuse the offer I still don’t think that they are in formal schism.

  32. Somerset '76 says:

    Why do SSPX members and defenders enjoys such long prose and post?

    If you’re referring to my last post, I’m sorry you misconstrued it as a defense of the Society. As to its length: it does people no good to condemn something they only know through soundbite sloganeering and the oversimplified misreading of the Society’s sense of mission on the part of commentators who’ve never been involved with it.

    Anyone with a brain should and does have the right to wonder aloud how the present is in continuity with the past on myriad points. And the best way out of this impasse is for the Society to be allowed to pose its theses as dubia in earnest: we would all benefit from the answers that would result.

    But for this to happen, both sides would need to budge: the Society scaling back from its self-assuredness regarding those theses, and Rome being actually willing to “get its hands dirty” and demonstrate to everyone the lines of continuity that the Society isn’t seeing … or, as the case may be, otherwise be willing to say “that change in practice or emphasis or formulation of teaching wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

  33. LCB says:

    How many members does SSPX have?

  34. John6:54 says:

    Why do we call these guys Bishops? They are excommunicated. Is not calling these men Bishops an oxymoron?

  35. Matt of South Kent says:

    Paul – the former is fighting to keep the faith?

    Did you read what Bishop Williamson wrote? At this isn’t about the liberals, it is about SSPX and all who are support it.

    People need to stop pointing to the sins of others and faults of others when we are talking about SSPX.

  36. I’ve been following this for 8 years now and have read a number of the past issues of the District Report of the USA. While there are some more moderate priests (i.e. Fr John Fullerton) in the SSPX the overall attitude seems much much closer to Fr Peter Scott who can’t find anything positive to say about the Holy Father.

  37. Calleva says:

    Tina from Ashburn said: “Error breeds diversity. Down the road, if they remain on this path, the group will split again.”

    This has already happened. In 1983 the St Pius V Society was formed; they use the Missal of 1954, and consider the SSPX a bunch of woolly liberals.

    http://www.sspv.net/index.html

    Along with other posters, I have wondered about Williamson’s Catholicism as well. A look at Wiki tells us that he was received into the RCC in 1971 and ordained at Econne in 1976. That’s not a lot of time to have been living as a Catholic. Has he experienced much of normal parish life? The 1970s were not a good time to be a traditionally-minded Catholic, one can understand his longing for absolutes and the pull of the Lefevbrites (perhaps), but there is the obedience issue. Tina is right; “it is better to be obedient than ‘right'”.

    This is the crux of it all.

    How can a Catholic possibly ever rejoice at being excommunicated? I am only a poor sinner but I do pray for him.

  38. Bryan Jackson says:

    John: They have been validly consecrated bishops. We call Orthodox bishops: bishop, because that is what they are.

  39. B. says:

    Sommerset ’76

    Consider the fate of the GSI since its founding. In their SSPX heyday, Frs. Laguerie and Aulagnier were forceful voices for its cause in every respect. Are they now hopelessly trapped in games of diplomacy, such as my impression of them seems to be? I have indications from a friend of mine from Quebec who has followed their writings enough to tell me that this has indeed become the case.

    I don’t think so. It could possibly be said of Fr. Laguérie (I haven’t followed his writings before his blog), but I didn’t notice any change in the writings of Fr. Aulagnier. He isn’t afraid to criticize the pope, IIRC he has written a statement that said “I refuse the New Mass on principle” as an answer to the popes letter to the bishops and his book “la battaille de la messe”, which doesn’t have anything good to say of the NO, is being sold on the official IBP website.

  40. Shane says:

    “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    That’s a rather authoritative teaching. If one refuses to subject himself to the pope, one cannot be saved. No amount of appealing to the weight of papal teaching, apparent contradictions, or the pope’s praise of anything changes this fact.

    Apparent contradictions can be rectified, or may lie in the blindness of our own intellect to understand (“One thousand difficulties does not equal a single doubt”), a pope can erroneously praise a nation or be misunderstood, but one who will not subject himself to the Roman Pontiff cannot be saved.

    Those who defend the SSPX ought instead to devote their energy to praying for the souls of these poor individuals.

    Peace, and God bless

  41. Jason Keener says:

    We would all like to see the Holy See better explain how the present state of the Church is in continuity with the past.

    The harsh statements from Bishop Williamson, however, only exacerbate the problems within the Church because people are led to believe that obedience to the Roman Pontiff is not an essential element of the Faith. Bishop Williamson sets himself up as an alternate Magisterium who can bully the Supreme Pontiff when things don’t go his way. This is an error that is just as lamentable as any difficult Second Vatican Council teaching on religious liberty or ecumenism.

    Again, I truly sympathize with the SSPX, but they must do their work with humility and respect for the Roman Pontiff. And, in the end, if the Roman Pontiff decides something that does not gel with the views of the SSPX, it is the Roman Pontiff who is to be trusted and obeyed. Christ promised the keys to St. Peter and his successors, not to Archbishop Lefebvre and his.

  42. Supertradmom says:

    Let us express mercy and some gratitude for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the SSPX. I agree with James, and I hope that vitriolic language on both sides here subsides. Strong feelings or strong beliefs do not have to be stated in uncharitable language. Dialogue ends when diatribe begins.

    This should be a weekend of prayer and penance for the entire Church. Kyrie eleison, indeed.

  43. Chris says:

    just up on Rorate:

    Friday, June 27, 2008
    SSPX spokesman: There was a letter but “We do not intend to answer”

    The spokesman of the FSSPX / SSPX spoke to France-Presse (AFP) today:

    “The Fraternity has no intention to respond to this ultimatum,” Father Alain Lorans, spokesman of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, declared to the AFP by telephone from Ecône (Switzerland).

    “We do not foresee any practical or canonical agreement before having considered the doctrinal questions which came about after Vatican II,” […].

    “Bishop Bernard Fellay [Superior General of the Fraternity] is surprised with the existing gap between the procedure of the ultimatum and the content of this ultimatum, which remains very uncertain,” Father Lorans added.

    According to Father Lorans, the Superior General of the Fraternity, Bishop Fellay, wrote a letter to Vatican authorities on Thursday.

    RORATE note: So there was a letter, but no response to the supposed “ultimatum” in it. Naturally, only the content of the text will reveal exactly where both parties stand at the moment.

  44. Giusébio Chocolio says:

    Bp. W. remembers me of Rama Coomasraswamy.

  45. John says:

    It reminds me of a Garrison Kieler story. He was a member of the Justified Bretheren that met in his Uncle’s house with his father. The Bretheren began as a large splinter group and as time had gone on the group kept splintering until it was down to the aforementioned who had split from another Uncle whose followers met in that living room.

    He would look out the windows and see the Catholics processing with altar servers and incense and Father Emil in vestments streaming down the street. It filled him with a longing for a different approach to religion.

  46. John says:

    Ambulabam praeter asylum insanarum personarum otro die, et omnes aegrorum clamabant, “Tredecim! Tredecim! Tredecim!”

    Saepes erat altior quam super videri, sed lacunam parvam in tabulis vidi et pervidi cavum videre quid accideret.

    Qui nothus cum baculo me in oculo fodit.

    Tum omnes inceperunt clamare, “Quattuordecim! Quattuordecim! Quattuordecim!”

  47. Patrick says:

    LCB wrote: “How many members does SSPX have?”

    That is an interesting question. I think it’s probably far less than they would have us believe. They claim to have 103 chapels, but how many really attend in this post-SP world? And they only have 63 priests in the US. They claim 65 US seminarians, but had no ordinations?

    I wonder if the US SSPX attendees number even 50,000 or so. It might be much less.

  48. Supertradmom says:

    What “doctrinal questions?” Is this a matter of perception, rather than reality? “We do not foresee any practical or canonical agreement before having considered the doctrinal questions which came about after Vatican II,” […]. The details must be listed by the four bishops, if they see aberrations in doctrine. If they want to discuss Lumen Gentium or Gaudium et Spes, do so openly for all to see. I am sure Rome can help clarify any perceived differences. Liturgical questions may also be openly addressed,, and are more so, as seen in the recent motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”. But I fear that the SSPX, unlike the Church, is not so unified in either belief or the possibility of reconciliation. I hope this letter is not a final word!

  49. wayne ratzinger says:

    The Pope is the Pope. Nobody doubts that. Until we get all these “Martyrs” willing to give their lives for the undiluted truth. then they make themselves their own individual Pope. I’m glad I don’t have to eat my cornflakes in the same room as Bishop Williamson, I suspect I’d starve whilst being harangued over the proper volume in which one could be allowed to crunch my flakes. Rice Crispies would of course be well beyond the pail, they can actually speak for themselves..!!!

    If these “Pedants” win the day then the Pope should still go for the Personal Prelature option. The vast majority of the Members of Opus Dei are Lay people. The Pope should go over the heads of the Society Bishops and appeal directly to the Laity, give “Us” a Personal Prelature to approach our Local Bishops and we will fend for ourselves…..thank you very much….. the Pedants can fuss over the lenghth of ladies skirts and over who should be allowed to wear trousers and all their other vapourings. These guys will turn themselves into a proper freak show if they are not carefull.

  50. Matt says:

    “It is far better to be Obedient than to be “Right”.Obedience is hard, and
    often complex, which is why obedience is such an effective sanctifier!” Tina

    Well try telling that to Saint Joan of Arc for starters Tina, who chose
    to die by the hand of Church authorities as a condemned heretic or the myriad
    other saints who had to choose being “faithful” over being “obedient”.

    That attitude explains the problems Europeans had last century.
    Obedience was raised to the level of idolatry. “Don’t blame me, I
    was just following orders! How on earth can I be culpable…I was
    simply being obedient to authority..they are answerable not me!”

    The same fallacy is at play in the modern Church.

    Williamson is a raving lunatic, but don’t use ad hominem attacks to
    obscure the real issue, which is, how can our unchanging faith change and who
    has the right to change it? In many respects Williamson is a product of an
    insane reality.

    As for the submission to the Roman pontiff post….this is again evidence
    of the current confusion. No Pope since Pius XII can honestly be said to even
    believe that dogma, let alone teach it. It’s hard to have “sister churches”
    in “partial communion” if one seriously taught this doctrine. The SSPX
    still wins out, as modern theology still grants them “partial communion”
    regardless. And since the Church has failed to clarify what the difference
    between “partial” and “full” is (any distinction being a philosophical
    absurdity–how much communion is communion – i.e.how does one split hairs about
    a word which by definition means a total co-union???)many Traditional Catholics
    wonder what the big deal is with these threats.

  51. Matt of South Kent says:

    Matt,

    How dare you…

    The problem Europeans had last century was Nazism – are you equating Vatican II with Nazism?

    What Williamson and Felley and the rest of the SSPX defenders have said against the person of the Pope is a direct ad hominem attack. I am tired of the accusations and innuendos. How soon till one of your ilk bring up some salacious sex charge?

    No Pope since Pius XII can honestly….. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  52. Lorenz says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  53. Shane says:

    As for the submission to the Roman pontiff post….this is again evidence
    of the current confusion. No Pope since Pius XII can honestly be said to even
    believe that dogma, let alone teach it…

    Matt, this is a self-defeating argument, one mired in hypocrisy. You are arguing that the SSPX is in defense of traditional Catholic teaching contra the “current” Church, and yet when posed with a traditional Catholic doctrine, your counterargument is that this same “current” Church opposed by the SSPX doesn’t teach it, and so the doctrine is irrelevant.

    Do you grasp the problem with this?

  54. Matt says:

    I dare.

  55. Phillippe says:

    From the article up top it says,

    The reality is obvious: it is the Conciliar “Renovation” and not Catholic Tradition that has broken with the Catholic Church.

    [There it is folks. This is one of the reasons why those Five Conditions lay down that Bp. Fellay ought not speak in such a way that give the sense he or the SSPX has a Magisterium, etc., superior to that of the Roman Pontiff.]

    What’s different between saying the “Conciliar Renovation” has broken with the Catholic Church and the Pope calling it a “Hermenuetic of Rupture?”

    I don’t know why people are so hysterically against the bishop, it sounds to me like he agrees with the Pope and doesn’t want to be a part of it until the Pope cleans it up.

  56. The problem seems to be, who knows better what is fidelity to the Tradition? The Successor to Peter or the successors to Lefebvre? And how shall this matter be resolved?

    This reminds me of the confrontation between Johann Eck and Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms…as I understand it, Eck was pressing Luther on his various complaints and observations, giving rise to theological differences. And Eck pressed on how they were to be resolved? Finally, he said, would Luther accept the judgment of an ecumenical council?

    Luther, with his back to the proverbial wall, uttered his infamous words, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

  57. Shane says:

    What’s different between saying the “Conciliar Renovation” has broken with the Catholic Church and the Pope calling it a “Hermenuetic of Rupture?”

    There’s a big difference. Benedict doesn’t view things like the “Pauline” Missal or the Second Vatican Council as in fact constituting a rupture. He has explicitly denied this if memory serves correctly. Rather, he believes that the way these things were presented was done in such a way as to present the impression of rupture. Hence, his use of the term “hermeneutic.” A hermeneutic is a way of approaching interpretation – a lens through which one interprets something, as it were.

    In the pope’s thought, many in the Church have begun to interpret and to present the faith through such a hermeneutic, viewing and speaking of everything as though what is here now is different from and has replaced what had come before. An example is the “Spirit of Vatican II,” in which the documents of the Council were interpreted and presented to the faithful as though they contained new teachings which contradicted that which had been taught in the past. Another example is the way in which the “Pauline” Missal was presented as something new and disconnected from the Liturgical tradition and development of the past centuries, rather than, as then Cardinal Ratzinger asserted, “nothing other than a renewed form of the same Missal to which Pius X, Urban VIII, Pius V and their predecessors have contributed, right from the Church’s earliest history.” Nevertheless, Benedict views council as putting forth the authentic and binding teaching of the Holy Church, and the “Pauline” Missal as being a chain in the long line of Roman Liturgical tradition.

    Bishop Williamson, on the other hand, does not believe the Church is in need of the purging of a hermeneutic of rupture, but of actual rupture – of actual errors put forth in Vatican II, and so forth. This is a radically different position than that to which Benedict holds. Bishop Williamson’s position at least borders on and perhaps even outright embraces the concept that the Church may have defected in some way – that She really has been filled with heresy. I don’t want to accuse the man of believing that the gates of hell have prevailed over the Church – that’s not my point. For all I know he may explicitly reject that the Church has taught error. The problem is that the Church has taught certain things which he apparently rejects, and moreover that he has refused submission to the authority of the Roman Pontiff.

    In any case, it does not matter if he is simply waiting until the pope “cleans it up.” This would be a position no different from a man I know who is, for all intents and purposes, Catholic in his theology, but has left the Church over things like the diocese’s handling of parish closings. He believes the Church is the Church of God, but has left because She is in need of being “cleaned up.” Such a person’s soul is in danger of loss. One is not given leway to depart from the body of Christ because Judas is also a member.

    Peace, and God bless

  58. Pierre Hountet says:

    Matt wrote:

    That attitude explains the problems Europeans had last century.
    Obedience was raised to the level of idolatry. “Don’t blame me, I
    was just following orders! How on earth can I be culpable…I was
    simply being obedient to authority..they are answerable not me!”

    Matt… in charity, I must tell you that such absurd generalizing statements do not reflect well on the level of your thought. In fact, as even a casual observer of the XXth century European history would notice, not all Europeans behaved the same. For one, we could simply mention Benedict XV (this is not a typo).

  59. Michael J says:

    Shane,

    I obviously disagree with Bishop Williamson that (if that is what he truly believes) actual errors were put forth in Vatican II. Given though, that there is such widespread belief that everything now is different from and has replaced what had come before, he cannot be faulted too much for this error.

    I am not trying to justify his apparent belief in this rupture, but I have to give him credit for recognizing at least that what he (mistakenly) believes the church teaches is wrong.

  60. David O'Rourke says:

    After the treatment that was doled out by so many in the Church at all levels owards traditionlists I don’t for one moment wonder why the SSPX would be leary about accepting these proposals. When trust is lost it is not easily restored.

    That said, however, much has changed under the current Pope and the more reasonable among the clerics of the SSPX could, in the case of reconciliation, even assist in this change to restore the hermeneutic of continuity. From the simple point of strategy they really need to aske themselves how much better a “deal” they are likely to get.

    I have long felt that schism is worse than heresy because heresies can be resolved whereas schims tend to go on long after the original reasons for the break are forgotten.

    The real question, should the Lefevbrists reject the offer, is what will the response from Rome be? An ultimatim implies an “or else”.

    The SSPX has always had a kind of Limbo status. Perhaps, for the good of souls, Rome will have to pronounce and remove the doubt.

  61. Shane says:

    I am not trying to justify his apparent belief in this rupture, but I have to give him credit for recognizing at least that what he (mistakenly) believes the church teaches is wrong.

    You won’t find any disagreement with me here, per se (see below). My point was simply that Bp. Williamson’s view of things is not nearly the same as Pope Benedict’s.

    That being said, I can’t give a person too much credit for recognizing what one mistakenly believes is wrong in the Church’s teaching. This is no different from a Protestant refusing to join the Church because he mistakenly believes that dogma X or doctrine Y is wrong. The difference between a Protestant and Bp. Williamson is that one accepts the belief in an authoritative Church, whereas the other does not. Bp. Williamson knows better than to believe that the Church could teach something wrong.

    Recall Cardinal Newman: “A thousand difficulties does not equal a single doubt.” I amm sure have been countless saints throughout the centuries that couldn’t quite see how the Church could be right on point X, but they humbly submitted to Her judgment. They practiced faith seeking understanding.

    The theological virtue of Faith entails believing what the Church has said simply because God has said it through Her, regardless of one’s own understanding of it. One who rejects the teaching of the Church on even on point does not have Faith in any of the Church’s teachings, as St. Thomas would say, because he has rejected the authority on which all of those other teachings are based. So a person who knowingly rejects one dogma may well believe that the others are true, but it is not by Faith, but rather by some sort of humanistic belief in the supremacy of his own reason.

    The point to all of this is that while I understand what you are saying, it is still questionable as to whether or not a person like Bp. Williamson even possesses the most basic of that which makes one a follower of Christ: Faith. I do not claim to judge the man. I simply wish to be careful to point out the gravity of “recognizing at least that what he (mistakenly) believes the church teaches is wrong.”

    Peace, and God bless

  62. Matt says:

    My analogy is perfectly fine.

    Catholics want treat obedience as the highest virtue – this
    was tied to 19th Century nationalism, where King and
    Country were about equal, and obedience and duty to
    authorities was height of the romantic values being
    celebrated. Kantian ethics. This is an error!

    This attitude permeated the Church and does to this day, and
    this is the absurd notion that whatever Bishop X says
    must be obeyed (or even the Pope) and somehow God will
    justify me based on my self-abasing “obedience” regardless
    of whether or not my obedience is given to an authority
    that is legimitately using it for good and regardless of
    whether it is for the good of the Church or contrary to
    the faith.

    Say for instance, in a purely hypothetical situation, that
    “Pope A” just by chance introduces a completely new
    philosophy of the liturgy, one which someone might dare
    claim was a “banal, fabricated, on-the-spot product” created
    not by tradition but by a “committee”. Curiously, it
    has the tendency to turn Catholics into protestants quite
    effectively around the world.

    And let’s just amuse ourselves, that this same “Pope A”
    commands blind and immediate filial obedience to this
    brand new sacramental form and theology on the illegal
    assertion that the Traditional Roman liturgy
    has been abrogated, completely, universally and in
    perpetuity! (only Agatha Christie gets a break!)
    Imagine this is done in spite of all the hot air about
    Vatican II collegiality and the support of many Bishops
    for this endeavor.

    Let us also go out on a limb, that the rationale for this
    untried, untested, unhistoric vision of the faith, is
    the PROMISE of this same Pope, backed by an Ecumenical
    Council no less, that these changes will make a healthy
    Church, even more effective in the modern
    world, and will usher in a golden age for modern man, vocations
    for the Church and society! This Church is doing good now
    folks, but WAIT and see. You AIN’T seen nothing yet!
    Climb on board the Aggiornamento Express.

    Let’s just surmise that a “rebel” Bishop asserts
    that this whole exercise will damage the faith of countless
    millions and lead to the collapse of the Church (Many others
    in the Church agree, including Cardinals, but they fall in
    line out of “obedience”). This same
    rebel asserts the villanous lie that the “traditional
    liturgy can never be abrogated or forbidden” and that
    it must remain within the heart of Catholic spirituality.
    Futhermore, he states that the Pope has no legal authority
    to command such an objectively harmful and novel law.

    Let’s just say that history unfolds and not only do the
    changes not help the Church, but they effectivly destroy
    it in its European core, in what “Pope A” terms
    as “auto-destruction”. In fact countless millions of people
    lose their faith, with those remaining being virulently
    persecuted by many of the official organs responsible for
    protecting it. Chaos engulfs the Church and a virtual
    protestant revolt takes place within its visible boundaries
    lasting for more than four decades.

    Given this hypothetical situation (we all know that it CAN’T
    happen right?) Wouldn’t this Bishop be justified in
    disobeying such an unjust and illegal command? Or should
    he have obeyed and abandoned the seminarians? Would we
    all be better off today, if Tradition had gone the way of
    the dinosaur? If he had hugged Hans Kung and just gotten
    along with everybody?

  63. Trey says:

    (I had a lot of snarky things to say, but I will just leave it at this…)

    And if they did go ahead with such a declaration, after several years of some
    ambiguity there would once more be some clarity !

    – Yes this is true. What is the case would be declared to the world, the SSPX has/is
    choosing schism.

  64. Shane says:

    Matt,

    The only time that one may refuse to obey is when one is commanded to sin in virtue of obedience. Obedience is required even when, in the belief of one held under obedience, it will tend toward the harm of souls. The saints teach us that, in obeying even in such a situation, God will carry out His work and bring about the salvation of souls.

    Hence, a saint like Padre Pio obeyed even when it tended toward the harm of souls. Many were scandalized by what was done to him. Countless more were unable to receive the tremendous benefit of receiving the Sacrament of Pennance from one who could read souls, and from attending a Mass offered by one such as he and hearing his exhortations.

    Matters of ecclesiastical discipline cannot be sinful – indeed such a proposition has been condemned by several popes in one way or another – and so there could never be a legitimate reason for disobedience regarding ecclesiastical discipline.

    If a bishop commands one to shoot an innocent person, then certainly he must be disobeyed. If he commands one to celebrate a “Pauline” Liturgy, then no, he may not be disobeyed.

    Peace, and God bless

  65. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I believe the SSPX would say this situation reminds them of John XXII and the University of Paris. In that case it was the University of Paris that held the correct understanding of tradition and the Pope that got it wrong. Or perhaps it would remind them of Theodorat and Council of Ephesus. He was absolutely right to reject the Council and St. Cyril’s propositions. He and all the Antiochian bishops only accepted the Council after a document had been drawn up giving a clearly orthodox understanding of the two natures in Christ. Also, the SSPX are challenging the Pope to use his supreme teaching authority to make clear the teaching on these controversies. I do not think any of the SSPX would say they would reject a Papal or Conciliar definition resolving this difficulties, because they know at that point the Church is guaranteed by the Holy Ghost not to teach error. Nothing in the Second Vatican Council documents has that guarantee. Contrary to the popular belief Vatican I actually set fairly strict limits on when the Pope speaks infallibly and since we are not Conciliarists, a Council would need to meet the same criteria for it’s teaching to be considered infallible ie guaranteed not to be in error.

  66. Matt says:

    The only time that one may refuse to obey is when one is commanded to sin in
    virtue of obedience. Obedience is required even when, in the belief of one
    held under obedience, it will tend toward the harm of souls. The saints teach
    us that, in obeying even in such a situation, God will carry out His work and
    bring about the salvation of souls.

    Yes indeed, and history itself has demonstrated the manifest harm Aggiornamento
    has done to COUNTLESS souls. I can personally vouch for it’s effect.

    To abondon a higher good for a lower good, is by definition a sin.

    To abandon the historic clarity, splendour of holiness and orthodoxy of the
    Catholic faith for a lame, humanistic, 1960’s experiment is indeed a sin.
    Just look at the fruits.

    Sorry but your Dick and Jane version of Catholic history doesn’t
    fly in these parts. It’s wholly naive. The Church wouldn’t have even survived
    past the Fourth Century with your take on obedience. (It most certainly
    would have not survived the 14th Century!).

    You logic has to form pretzels to explain someone like Pope Martin V:
    an openly schismatic Cardinal who voted for not one but two
    antipopes (one of which was the original John XXIII btw) but whom
    the Holy Spirit himself chose to became Pope and end the Great Western Schism.

  67. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Shane,

    The Church makes a distinction between heroic obedience, obedience in all things but sin, and regular obedience, obedience only in those things lawful. Citing an example of heroic obedience from the lives of the saints is not the same as showing that heroic obedience is required. No saint that I have read, has ever taught that heroic obedience is required, but I would be willing to see you quotes from the “saints that teach us that”.

  68. Michael J says:

    Shane,

    That’s not at all the point I was trying to make. Basically, there are boatloads of people who believe that the Church since Vatican II teaches heresy. Most, to borrow from Cardinal Newman, have no difficulties, much less a thousand because they do not realize that what (they mistakenly think) the Church now teaches is different from what She previously taught. Some recognize that the apparent contradiction is vastly different but welcome the change and hope for more. Still others think that the Church has defected and become sedevacantists. Finally, some believe that the Church has “taught” heresy, but has done so indirectly in a non-authoritative way. I personally think that Bishop Williamson falls somwhere between the last two, but I really have no idea.

    His Holiness and Bishop Williamson both recognize that what is effectively taught constitututes a rupture. The difference between a “Hermenuetic of Rupture” on one hand and a “Conciliar Renovation” then seems to be not so much what has happened, but why.

    Getting back to my initial point, if presented a choice between a person who believes the Church teaches heresy and welcomes it, and one who believes the same, but fights it, I would much prefer the latter

  69. Dominic says:

    Yikes! But remember that this comes from the same man who has so many ideas about 9-11, about the Jews, etc.

  70. Calleva says:

    *if presented a choice between a person who believes the Church teaches heresy and welcomes it, and one who believes the same, but fights it, I would much prefer the latter*

    Well yes, so would I!! The difficulty comes when the latter effectively separates himself or herself from the See of Rome. You do not have to be a supporter of the SSPX to detest the slide towards heterodoxy in the wake of VII. Far better to grab a bailer and get bailing the leaky old barque than abandon ship. ‘Fighting it’ is far more effective from the inside – for anyone serious about renewing life and worship in the Church.

    In the end, it is about obedience, love and respect for the Petrine office. We all know what Jesus said about the keys to the kingdom, binding and loosing and the gates of hell. If you believe these things, then there is only one place to be – inside the sheepfold of Holy Mother Church.

    Our Lady seemed to predict much of this unrest at Fatima – but nowhere did she advise apostasy and schism. If you believe the prophesies at Garabandal, they are more specific, but again no advice to leave. The vision of Pope Leo XIII in which he saw a church violently attacked by the devil came startlingly true, or so I believe – but there was no suggestion of a parallel Church with its own hierarchy ranting about ‘nu-church’ or ‘novus ordo Catholics’. We’re all in this together, and we can organise the ‘orthodox counter-strike’ far more effectively and in greater numbers from inside.

    I hope that the SSPX ground troops are concentrating – the terms for reunion are really very generous, no one is saying that a trendy bishop is going to sell off the churches and schools or introduce shoddy catechetics and guitars. Do Opus Dei have these things? (I’m told no). Please come home, we miss and need you!

  71. Brian in Wisconsin says:

    Should a rejection occur, does not Matthew 18:18 apply?

  72. dark_coven says:

    “And if they did go ahead with such a declaration, Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity…”

    Yeah right your Grace, WE Catholics (no longer you) would rejoice because at last we’ll have clarity, and that the SSPX is NOW formally schismatic.

  73. Shane says:

    Michael,

    You’ve left off a very crucial group of people, people like myself who look at what the Church has taught in the past, look at what the Second Vatican Council said, and don’t see a contradiction. Certainly, there may be an apparent contradiction, just as there are apparent contradictions that one can find occuring even if the sample is limited to the time of Trent and before. However, when I – and many others – see these apparent contradictions, we dig into them, we research, we petition God, we meditate, and we come to see the consistency. In fact, in many cases we just don’t see even any apparent contradictions.

    Now my point is that a person in the position of being a bishop – or even a priest, as he was at the time he became a supporter of Abp. Lefevbre – ought certainly to be able to petition, meditate, and research just as someone like myself.

    But the problem goes beyong this. I do not believe that you are fully grasping my point about the difference between the Holy Father and Bp. Williamson. Pope Benedict does not believe that any real rupture has occured. He believes that some/many in the hierarchy have taught as if there were a rupture. Bp. Williamson believes that there was an actual rupture. Now you are correct insofar as you state that practically speaking, there is a rupture. While the Church does not officially teach heresy X, many priests and edcuators have been teaching heresy X, leaving a Church full of people who believe in heresy X. Certainly the Holy Father believes this. The difference is that Bp. Williamson seems to believe something more than this – namely, that there has in fact been a rupture in the official teaching of the Church. That’s literally a world of difference.

    You may be correct about where the bishop stands. If you are, he is in a position of believing that in some way, the official teaching of the Church has been compromised – that the Magisterium of the Church has taught error, even if in a lesser degree of authority. Pope Benedict, on the other hand, does not believe this. He believes that the Church has taught the truth, and that this truth has not been handed on to the people effectively or accurately – a very different thing, for in the Holy Father’s eyes, Holy Mother Church has remained a spotless virgin, free from the stain of strange doctrines, while in Bp. Williamson’s, she has not.

    The difference, then, is one of the authority of the Church. Pope Benedict believes in and adheres to it, whereas Bp. Williamson either doesn’t believe in it, or doesn’t adhere to it – or perhaps neither.

    Peace, and God bless

  74. Matt says:

    As a Trad, (in union with Rome btw…I am not SSPX) this issue with
    SSPX is akin to the Pope polishing dirty silverware while the Titanic sinks.

    We all know that the relationship between Bishops conferences and
    Rome remains a total farce. They are the true dissenters, constantly defying edicts from Rome, including the Moto Proprio. Yet, these Bishops get off scott free. The CCCB has OPENLY defied the Pope since the Winnipeg Statement of September 1968 and never had to answer for this. Hey, what’s a little contraception among friends?

    Not to mention the army of Catholic politicians who themselves advocated and imposed abortion on our countries without even being denied communion!

    If anyone is truly in schism it is the Catholic Bishops of Canada! (plus those in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, and a good part of the USA among others).

    In my lifetime I’ve had a parish priest get assigned to my parish (I found out he was kicked out of the Jesuits for sexual misconduct with a student, but our prayerful “Vatican II” Bishop didn’t think it was a big deal). Ten years later the man ends up having a threesome with two parish workers and has to be put on “administrative leave” again, this time from the diocese. He is apparently costing the diocese subtantial amounts of “hush money” not to mention scandal.

    Also Fillipino priest from my diocese was recently charged with soliticing sex from two underage girls and sent to prison.

    The Diocesan Youth Leader for our 1993 WYD trip was an openly gay man, whom the chancery office knew was openly gay. Yet, he was put
    in charge of a group of 50 teenagers. He was later fired from his post due to drug addiction. Also, Fr. T. our chaplain from that trip left the priesthood two years later, married an ex-nun, and became an Anglican.

    The Youth Leader for my diocese for WYD in Rome was this time…an openly gay PRIEST. Named Fr. B. Fr. B. was viewed as okay material by the Bishop to lead a group of 75 youth. (I found out he was gay from his youth group members, who openly related his homilies about what it was like to be gay priest. Apparently, when he “came out” during a Mass homily, most of his parish applauded!). Fr. B. left the priesthood in 2003 and soon moved in with a man.

    Most of the Jesuits at my college were and still are gay. They did and still do openly teach the heresies of Hans Kung. This is viewed as being okay in the world of Aggiornamento.

    The Canadian Religious Conference which represents ALL major religious orders in my Canada, came out with a statement supporting gay clergy, womyn priests, contraception, and premarital sex. Still, okay in Novus Ordo land.

    I have a good friend who I was mentoring as a Catholic. I tried
    to keep in within the RCC by introducing him around to solid Catholics. However, one Theology on Tap event I took him to included
    a talk by the Vicar General of my Diocese on how St. Paul was out to
    lunch and a sexist, and how the Early Church ordained “womyn”.
    It was only when “they changed the Bible” and became formalized that
    they stopped doing what Jesus wanted. My friend was not impressed.

    At my own wedding, my SSPX-leaning friend served Mass, but even my very devout parish priest gave scandal when a staunch Lutheran relative asked if she could receive communion and Fr. said “sure, not a problem”. He seemed to have reached a tipping point (as did I).

    These are all true stories from my diocese. And my diocese is by no means alone in these horrors.

    Now tell me why the SSPX not accepting ecumenism and religious liberty ranks as such a profound crisis compared to the rampant
    apostasy at every church doorstep?

    We have nuns here who advertise retreats using “Indonesian singing bowls” “Reiki” and “Meridian” whatever this is.

    All this is allowed, but not Catholic Tradition.

    You honestly believe Our Lord is going to condemn the average faithful refugee who is at least receiving the basic faith from the Society?

    Even in the “normal” Masses we have institutionalized abuse. Laity still opening the Tabernacle and tranferring chalices. Lay ministers conducting “communion services”, a plethora of “eucharistic ministers” at every Mass. Bishops not allowing kneeling at the consecration. Altar crossdressers in the average parish sanctuary.

    Come on folks, face reality.

    Until the Pope does something to truly clean up this mess, even I as a devout Catholic who is not in schism, has a very hard time on a human level, trusting the man, as he remains a product of the 1960’s Revoltion which triggered the Church’s “auto-destruction”.

    Until the reality of what our shepherds did to the faith is confronted, we are all living in a fool’s paradise.

  75. Clayton says:

    Matt, you are feeling the pain of someone who has good sense, but is watching someone without sense running the show.
    That is uncharitable thinking, and you should get rid of it. Remember that to say “you fool” puts you in danger of Hell fire. There is a reason for that.

    To violate Tradition, in the sense of a material disruption in the development of the Church, is an error but not always a sin. We have to work very hard to correct errors through education and discussion; sins require punishment. Think about it this way. What if a teacher treated every wrong answer as though it were a violation of discipline? Students wouldn’t develop the love of learning (and respect for their teacher) that would make them mature, understanding students. They would hate learning and, unless prompted by fear, would not study at all. Allowing a wrong answer is better than destroying the discourse that helps someone discover and love a right one on their own.

    As for some of the other “abuses,” Matt, the burden of proof is on you. Prove to me, using revelation, that these are abuses per se, and I will prove to you that every liturgical abuse has its roots, not merely in human error, but in human good and the Bible to boot. That doesn’t make them correct, it just shows that you need to demonstrate a little charity in how you talk about them. If they are wrong, they are wrong, but you do not have the omniscience to know whether or not the people are wrong, nor can your own actions replace the Providence of God in correcting the problem.

    Think about it this way. SSPX members like to point out, pridefully, that the FSSP would not exist unless Archbishop Lefebvre had rebelled in the first place. Fair enough; but, in his rebellion, he created a group, entirely contrary to his own interests, which would, with the authority of the Pope, eventually supplant his own in representing Traditionalism to the world. He sowed the seeds of his own replacement. If Lefebvre had not rebelled, he might still be leading the movement himself. The same goes with everyone else who will not support the Pope in this: you are only hurting yourself, and no one cares.

  76. joy says:

    Maybe if the SSPX considered all the evangelizing they could do from WITHIN the Church to help right some of the ‘local’ errors, they could help build up the Body of Christ instead of tearing it apart. Be the leaven in the environment, act as an antibiotic instead of advocating amputation. ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’

    I pray that in humility the first step can be taken.
    Pax.

  77. Leo says:

    Joy said: “Maybe if the SSPX considered all the evangelizing they could do from WITHIN the Church to help right some of the ‘local’ errors, they could help build up the Body of Christ instead of tearing it apart.”

    Well, the thing is, a voice for a strict return to tradition may be quickly silenced by ordinaries who aren’t for it, as this case from Italy demonstrates: http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=58961

    I think this is why the bishop says “…either the Society of St. Pius X will begin to give way to Rome’s demands to conform to Vatican II and the New Mass…”

    Apparently, the sticking point is the new mass and modern outlook on ecumenism.

  78. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Matt,
    Demonstrating contempt for obedience and inaccurate examples of obedience proves my point, and the crux of the problem.

    Throughout history to the present day, those hardened in disobedience don’t understand obedience because they don’t WANT to. And proud of it.

    Our misbehaving bishops cannot be compared as equal to a group that officially separates themselves from the visible Church.

    We are all pained by the vile abuses and chaos in the Church, but leaving it is not the answer.

    Never in history has any man who left the visible Church ever succeeded in “saving” it, only “recreating” it.

    Peace to Men of Good Will,

  79. Father Z,

    More nails on the head. Money, money, money. Benefactors are essentially subsidizing a schismatic movement and do not want to see any concession whatsoever to Rome and to the Pope. [This is not to say that “defending Tradition” is not their concern. But their continued existence, justification for continuing is an immediate concern. – Fr. Z]

    The tragedy that is unfolding reminds me even more of the Original Fall from Paradise.

    I agree with the above poster who said that if this falls through, he prays that the faithful of good will in the Society will leave. It will hopefully awaken them to see that what was a noble Temple has become a Tower of Babel and a haven for the rebellious angels of our nature. In the name of obedience, they preach disobedience. Christ cannot be pleased with this. I pray that the Holy Father’s good will and accommodation to the Society will soften the hearts of many and lead to an end of the schism.

    In ICXC,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  80. Matt says:

    No, the fundamental problem is we have an entire establishment within the Church aided and abetted by the Papacy, a culture within the Church in which Paul VI himself observed that “an anti-Catholic attitude prevails”. [I really dislike comments like this. – Fr. Z]

    It’s not a matter of trying to work from within….believe me I’ve tried. As a seminarian, as a Catechist, you name it, I’ve done it. [Tell me this sad story and I’ll tell you mine.] But as long as someone else can come along and completely de-Catechize and destroy, it is a fool’s paradise.

    The problem is that the Bishops [the Bishops?] are determined to ram an entirely new religion down people’s throats, and it’s name is Ecumenism.

    They could care less if one is Catholic, [For pity’s sake. The Bishops of the Catholic Church could care less of people are Catholic.] in fact that is the last thing they wish for, for the most part, because that would destroy everything they are trying to build.

    Look at Casper [Walter Card.

      K

    asper] telling the English not to convert. [Who also warned Anglicans recently that if they keep going as they are going, there is little chance of real dialogue.] Prime example. Could any real Catholic tell someone not to convert for the good of “ecumenism”? [One Cardinal says something and therefore the BISHOPS don’t care if people are Catholic. Great.]

    There is no “normal” state of the Church right now, this has been the reality since 1960. [Nor has there EVER BEEN.]

    And in spite of what people say, Lefevbre’s disobedience enabled me to discover the Traditional Faith sometime around 2002, and it saved me from losing my soul after years of wandering like a nomad in the parched desert of Vatican II. It was this rebel’s stand, and not the endeavors of Rome, that finally allowed me to discover the faith, hidden behind the muddy waters of Aggiornamento. [Fair enough.] As a Catholic this is the worst scandal that could exist, but it is reality. [No. It is your limited perspective on a very complex situation.]

    I went to WYD 2000 to find the faith. In Rome I found everything but. That was a real moment of clarity for me. [So you personal experience becomes the measuring stick for what is going on in the Church.

    This [What “this”? Your having gone to WYD?] is no different then in other times when the Pope abused his power. The reality is that Aggiornamento was conceived not for the good of the faithful (who were never consulted – this whole exercise was imposed top-down) but it was implemeneted to foster a purely political agenda of making the Church more acceptable in the eyes of the modern world. Vatican II was always directed towards non-Catholics, it was never about Catholics. If little things like the Mass, or Catholic culture, or a sense of history or authority got in the way, they were simply bulldozed.

    On an historic scale, I contest that Aggiornamento ranks right up there with the Avignon Papacy, in the longstanding damage is has done, and will continue to do for the coming centuries.

    [Over the top.]

  81. Matt says:

    Never in history has any man who left the visible Church ever succeeded in “saving” it, only “recreating” it. Tina

    So you’ve never heard of Saint Athanatius “against the world”? [A very bad analogy, easily exploded. Check PODCAzT 49]

    So when Pope Liberius didn’t contest his excommunication by the Eastern Catholic/Arian Bishops, (we are talking like over one hundred Bishops who deposed him from Alexandria) and Athanatius still refused to back down, he even though, he was now clearly outside the visible Church, didn’t his disobedience in fact save Christianity from Arianism in the Fourth Century?

    And so much for the Pope, Liberius was the first Pope who was not canonized, because of what he did to Athanatius.

    My goodness, I wish people knew some history. [Ditto.] Again, this is another problem today.

  82. Matt says:

    Fr. Z, I know you have had a sad story as well, but don’t you think it a little odd, how so many people tried to thwart your vocation? i.e. Bishops, seminary rectors, priests, friends ect just because you wanted to be a Catholic priest? Is not your own story more evidence of the insanity? [There were also people who were very staunch and supportive who had also suffered much, including priests and bishops. Not everyone is so corrupted. There are good people in the Church who chose to stand in the breach and fight against incredible odds rather than turn tail and hide in a cave until things got better.] So even then, this is not a purely subjective world I’m creating (which seems to be the tenor of your argument)?

    Sour grapes, fine. Call me bitter, call me twisted. [I didn’t do that.] Ad hominem’s aside, what arguments do you bring? [HUH? What arguments do I bring? You must be new to this blog. o{]:¬) ] You know it’s just more than one Cardinal or a few Bishops here and there…hey come to Canada for starters, I will put you up and you can conduct a statistical survey.

    Curiously, you ignore that this one Cardinal Kasper happens to have a quite pivotal position with regard to Christian unity – he’s not some isolated loon.

    So you really think I’m over the top? [I suspect that perhaps you got a little worked there for a moment and perhaps because of your own experiences are prone not to account for the good things and people to be found in the life of the Church. This is, however, now a rabbit hole, because this entry is not supposed to focus on you, personally, nor my distant interpretation of your experience. Pax. o{]:¬) ]

  83. Jack Regan says:

    LCB,

    Various sources claim that SSPX has a million members. I don’t believe that for a second. It is far far far lower. Ergo, they are a mere spec on the radar in terms of size.

    In my experience traditionalists of all flavours exert an influence whih far outweight their size. I’m not necessarily saying that this is a good or a bad thing. Just saying.

  84. Joe says:

    for Matt: the email address of the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Canada: jmlaporte@jesuits.ca It is, in my mind, fairly serious to say “Most of the Jesuits at my college were and still are gay”, especially given that the Jesuits in Canada have only two Colleges.