Reuters: “Bp. Fellay says No” story is NOT the end of the story!

I just saw this.  The writer has based himself on something B. Fellay said last week.

But the time frame set by the Holy See isn’t over yet.

Catholic rebel snubs pope call to rejoin Rome   [I don't think this is the end of the story.]
Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:25am EDT

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters) – The leader of a breakaway traditionalist Catholic group has rejected a Vatican offer to rejoin Rome, accusing Pope Benedict of trying to silence dissenting voices.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that broke with Rome 20 years ago, said conditions set by the Vatican amounted to muzzling the traditionalists who claim to be the only true Catholics since Church reforms in the 1960s.

Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. [That is not the only reason he released Summorum Pontificum.]  But he insists they must accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) before he can lift excommunication decrees against them.  [Umm.. I am not sure that this is the case, at least in the way it sounds here, black and white.  There is a lot of theological room to debate many points of what Council documents mean.  I don't think Pope Benedict would ever want to stifle theological discussion.]

"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Fellay said in a sermon last Friday now posted as an audio file on the U.S.-based Voice of Catholic Radio website.  [However, that was a sermon last Friday.  This isn't the end of the story.]

"So we have no choice… we are continuing what we’ve done," the Swiss-born Fellay said in English at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "They just say ‘shut up’ … we are not going … to shut up."

The Milan daily Il Giornale reported on Monday the Vatican had told the SSPX it must pledge to respect the pope and accept him as the Church’s final doctrinal authority.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told the Paris Catholic daily La Croix: "The pope wants to extend his hand so they can return, but for that to happen, this offer must be received in an attitude and spirit of charity and communion."

Lombardi did not spell out the consequences of rejecting the offer, but Il Giornale’s well-informed Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli wrote: "Such favorable conditions for a return to full communion will in all probability not come again."

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

The SSPX claims about a million followers worldwide, many of them in France. It split off when its founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, consecrated four traditionalist bishops — including Fellay — in 1988 against orders from Pope John Paul.

Since then, it has regularly appealed to the Vatican to withdraw the excommunications and allow it to return to the 1.1-billion strong Church. But its leaders often publicly denounce the pope.

Fellay said the pope must restore other Church traditions besides the old Latin Mass before the SSPX could return. It is particularly critical of the Vatican Council’s reconciliation with Judaism and call to cooperation with other Christians.

"The new Mass is the tip of the iceberg of Vatican II and of these modern ideas." Adding the old Mass to the "iceberg of Vatican II" did not change the reforms hidden below, he said.

Vatican watchers say the ultimatum could split SSPX into a hard core of rebels and a larger group ready to return to Rome now that it has allowed wider use of the old Latin Mass.

"Most people want a reverent Mass and sound preaching. They care little for the loftier theological arguments," Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a prominent conservative Catholic blogger, wrote in an analysis. "The identity of the SSPX is at stake now."

The ultimatum’s deadline of June 30 is the 20th anniversary of the bishops’ ordinations that sealed the schism.

 

This story tries to leave you the impression that the whole thing is over, Fellay said "No", and that’s that.

I wonder.  I don’t think so.

Keep praying.  We haven’t gotten to the end of the month yet.

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84 Responses to Reuters: “Bp. Fellay says No” story is NOT the end of the story!

  1. Daniel says:

    Pray!

  2. Jack Regan says:

    It’s all very interesting. Personally I can see positivs and negatives to both possible outcomes.

    All we can say at the minute is that time will tell.

    Interestingly though, I doubt that this will be the final olive branch. The phrase ‘and that’s my final offer’ is seldom said with certainty. And the Holy Father, as far as we know, hasn’t actually said it.

    Let’s remember as well that both possible options also lack finality.

    Afternoon all :)

  3. Tom’s words are especially unfortunate with just a few days to go. If Fellay comes around, Tom can accuse him of caving in instead of making a firm decision. If Fellay doesn’t come around, Tom can claim that Reuters was right and that everyone else who was praying for unity was naive, a favourite line of his. It’s a win-win situation for sensationalistic journalism that, however, serves no one, including the journalist. Had he been reading the combox, he would have picked up on some significant indications that it is not over yet… But, not.

    And anyway, Fr Z is wrong — or a bit tongue in cheek — about people not wanting lofty theological arguments. There is plenty at WDTPRS which is refined, even if not heavily burdened with notes.

    Cheers!

  4. Oliver says:

    Well, Ratzinger has had his 1988 moment ….. and may mark this occasion with yet again creating another Latin group in SSPX territory …. providing of course the local bishop agrees! Considering the Vatican these days is supposed to know about the art of worldly manipulation, it is no use when up against the determination of the Society. I admire them no end; contemporary Rome is so impoverished.

  5. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Please don’t fall into the trap of seeing this as lost. This Reuters report is just one of the devil’s many tools to sabotage this initiative of which Fr Z warned us yesterday. …cui resistite fortes in fide.

  6. Jordanes says:

    Oh that’s Reuters for you. They’ve long shown themselves to be less than professional and less than reliable sources of “news,” and their bias against and ignorance of matters pertaining to Catholicism has also long been evident.

  7. Jack Regan says:

    Well, by Tuesday we’ll know whether Reuters are right or wrong. And, come what may, it’ll be interesting reading the comments on this site.

  8. John6:54 says:

    I think the article is just in anticipation of what the author believes Fellay will do. It would be nice if Fellay would come out and correct Reuters like he does with the Vatican. [Excellent! - Fr. Z] Anything is possible with God but what ever happens here I believe there is a coming split for those who consider themselves part of the SSPX.

    If Fellay accepts the Vatican’s offer he will have people within the SSPX who will think he’s wrong and continue with division. If Fellay rejects the offer he rejects Catholic tenants. He is in a lose/lose situation which he has put himself in. The Church acted too slowly in the time of Luther and it has acted too slowly in the time of Lefebvre. At this point we can only trust in God’s mercy.

  9. Paul Haley says:

    Having supported some of the positions taken by the FSSPX in the past, in terms of theological disputes only, I find any statement that Rome is trying to muzzle them or shut down dissent completely ridiculous. Most traditional Catholics that I know want the FSSPX to respect the pope and not criticize him publicly while, at the same time, making it clear to Rome what the FSSPX believes in terms of traditional Catholic worship and teaching. This is entirely different from calling the pope names and implying he is their enemy instead of their friend by telling them to “shut up”.

    Bishop Fellay knows that legitimate theological concerns can be addressed without polemics. He knows that dubia can be submitted to the Holy See at any time in a respectful manner. But, the Vicar of Christ cannot be the victim of insulting rhetoric or polemics, not from the FSSPX or anyone else. I see nothing in Cardinal Hoyos’s list of preconditions that disqualifies or muzzles dissent, only that it be respectful and private.

    Yes, I know, it is often hard to swallow what is happening in some circles within the church today but attacking the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, is not the answer. Sometime emotions get the best of us and it appears to be the case if we are to believe the contents of this story. I call on Bishop Fellay to renounce any use of polemics and hurtful language in addressing these matters in the media. In fact, I urge him to avoid such comments completely in the media. I ask him to consider what he must do in such circumstances when the salvation of so many souls is at stake. Let us not be in the position of winning the battle only to lose the war.

  10. Brian Mershon says:

    Lazy reporter. Who did he interview? Did he call you Father? [No, he didn't. And he knows how to reach me, too. He contacted me after I posted a fisk of Reuter's coverage of Pope Benedict's changes to the Good Friday prayer. I am pleased that he checks this blog for my views, however. He should feel free to contact me anytime. - Fr. Z] He didn’t interview Fellay either. Just took quotes from his sermon and from Fr. Z’s website.

  11. Ian says:

    Jordanes wrote:

    Oh that’s Reuters for you. They’ve long shown themselves to be less than professional and less than reliable sources of “news,” and their bias against and ignorance of matters pertaining to Catholicism has also long been evident.

    Well, what’s really damning of Reuters is that they waited nearly a week for the audio file to be posted to report on the audio file. That’s high school newspaper-type Journalism. A real journalist that thought there would be a serious story would have attended the ordinations and listened to the sermon. The ceremony is open to the public. Waiting for an audio file so you don’t have to do any work … sheesh.

  12. JM says:

    St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.

  13. Ron says:

    Bsp. Fellay is right. I agree with him and SSPX. I’ve just been listening to his sermon here: http://www.cfnews.org/bshp__fellay_0620,2008.mp3 . I can’t help but agree with the he says that Rome, now with its political ambassadors, is far more political. He says how they want to silence SSPX and say, “Just come to regular communion and stop fighting.” But SSPX can’t stop speaking out for the Tradition. They want a true return to the true, traditional Catholic Faith. I can’t help but agree with their points. But I guess the question is if they came to regular communion could they still speak out – and speak out as much as these “dissenting” heretics do within the Church? Why can these heretics who dissent within the Church speak out and not fear reprisals but traditionalists get exiled into inconsequential parishes, stripped of faculties or excommunication? I really don’t get it…

    Pax Christi tecum.

  14. Ian says:

    Maybe I\’m playing the \”spin director\” part too much here, but I see two possible outcomes.

    1. The acceptance of the conditions. The conditions are which generally loosely written. It is not an agreement in reality, simply a \”terms of the debate\” situation. As I, an SSPX supporter, see it, the conditions generally outline a charitable discussion. There is no \”reconciliation\” here, so I don\’t see many people who support the SSPX falling off the boat, especially if the SSPX priests explained or read an explanation of the decision this Sunday.

    2. The rejection of the conditions. It is possible that the conditions will be rejected. I don\’t think it likely, but there is some merit to the case. On the date after the agreement the Pope will celebrate Mass with the schismatic Patriarch of Constantinople in some manner (exactly how the whole celebration will changes the situation). That the Holy See offered to have a charitable discussion and work toward some regularization, yet is then willing to turn around the next day and have a friendly relationship with a man who is a true schismatic, who just recently wished for the Eastern Catholics to be in communion with Rome and Constantinople, which is a statement putting the Patriarch on the level of the Pope … something the SSPX is asked to assure they will not do.

    I hope that the decision is the first option here, but having met with Bishop Fellay personally, and seeing the man and his true concern for souls, I an sure that whatever decisions he makes will be done after long and prayerful reflection.

    I offer my prayers for him and for the Pope. Provided some agreement comes about, the Holy Father must also have great strength to not be swayed by diabolic forces into some of the same faux pas that have littered the SSPX-Holy See relationship before (e.g. 1975-1976). I don\’t claim that the SSPX is completely innocent of misteps at times, but 1976 was a \”very bad year\”. The conditions apply equally on both sides of the discussion, all must be done in charity.

  15. Neal says:

    But Fr. Z, don’t lofty theological principles form the foundation for reverent Masses and sound preaching?

  16. Jack Regan says:

    think the article is just in anticipation of what the author believes Fellay will do. It would be nice if Fellay would come out and correct Reuters like he does with the Vatican. Anything is possible with God but what ever happens here I believe there is a coming split for those who consider themselves part of the SSPX.

    If Fellay accepts the Vatican’s offer he will have people within the SSPX who will think he’s wrong and continue with division. If Fellay rejects the offer he rejects Catholic tenants. He is in a lose/lose situation which he has put himself in. The Church acted too slowly in the time of Luther and it has acted too slowly in the time of Lefebvre. At this point we can only trust in God’s mercy.

    [John6:54]

    Good post.

    That\’s the way with any kind of split: the division is constantly realigning itself. Doubtless there will be people who align themselves with SSPX each month, and similarly people each month who leave SSPX to realign themselves with the Church. It\’s the same with Orthodox and Protestand Christians too. There is always a slight flow. Than at certain key moments there is a larger flow for a time; sometimes involving the very banner under which people fled in the first place.

    Sadly you almost never heal these splits altogether. Often the best you can hope for is that the fringe group become so irrelevant that nobody really cares. Interestingly, the vast majority of rank-and-file Catholic have never heard of SSPX. So that point surely can\’t be too far away.

  17. Jack Regan says:

    Okay… er, I messed up the blockquote thing above :)

    The first 2 paragraphs are the handywork of John6:54 – not just the first!

  18. Folks: Let’s not go crazy here.

    Most people who go to Mass are not interested in arguing about the history and theology of the Church’s teaching in Dignitatis humanae.

    Some are, most aren’t.

  19. John Enright says:

    First the “Hugh Hewitt Show” and now Reuters! Maybe you’ll give Fr. Finigan a run for his money to be the next Archbishop of Westminster, Father!

  20. Ron says:

    Fr.Z,

    Don’t you think, however, that even if they don’t want to discuss the theology of a variety of doctrines the question is the doctrines they are taught from the pulpit? So…the issue becomes the Church’s view of ecumenism or religious liberty or penance etc. which at a NO is often wrong … They then lose a sense and understanding of the true Faith. So I guess maybe they don’t want to scholarly approach the subjects but what they are taught is really important (which I know you agree).

    Pax Christi tecum.

  21. Kizito says:

    What will be the result if Bp. Fellay does not respond by the deadline? Or responds in the negative that SSPX will not agree to the terms?

    If they won’t come to the proverbial table, then will they be declared heretics or schismatics and will they be revoked of their irregular relationship status?

    I don’t want to come across as uncharitable but what are the “teeth” of the request?

    I want the SSPX to be in full communion, perhaps for selfish reasons. They have a parish close to my home. I don’t mind driving 50 miles to the FSSP parish but it would be nice to have a traditional parish nearer my home as it’s difficult to be “involved” in Church activities or programs when you have to drive so far and I would really like to be more involved.

    It seems to me that if Fellay says it is a “no go” then something should be donel.
    Of course, I know that people with better minds and hearts are working on this than myself.
    I pray that Our Blessed Mother, St. Augustine and St. Francis de Sales will intercede here.

  22. Matthew Mattingly says:

    You know, Bishop Fellay does have a point.
    The SSPX has always condemned not only the Novus orco Mass (which they have always nevertheless acknowledged as valid), but also have condemned all the other horros that came from Vatican II. Which is totally legitimate to bring to attention current practices (even if coming from the Pope), which are an affront to Catholic tradition and teachings for centuries.
    John Paul II’s Assisi gatherings, the incessant inter-religious dialog, the accomodation to the feelings of Jews, the accomodation given Muslim scholars, the rabid ecumenism with Protestant groups (which thankfully is much less under Pope Benedict XVI, but still not done away with as it should be), the laxity of religious life, the idea of religious liberity hereby the Catholic Church in some countries doesn’t even stand up for it’s own rights for fear of insulting the Orthodox or the Muslims or the Jews is ridiculous. Not to continue the ancient Catholic practice of attempting to win conversions and souls to the True Church, but rather now not to proystelize because it’s an insult to other religious, even pagan religious, and to offer greetings and congratulations to pagans and Buddhists for their feasts (offering greetings every year to Muslims for the end of Ramadan, the Hindus for Diwali, and the Buddhists for their feast of Vensakh) is an affront to God, and an insult to the millions of zealous Catholic missionaries served for years and even died as martyrs before Vatican II to bring the true Church to billions.

    I hope Bishop Fellay does sign the agreement, only because the SSPX in the Church would be a far greater force for Catholic tradition than outside. But the Bishop has many, many valid points of objection which should not be glossed over with the blanket statements that he should just sign out of “obedience to the Pope”.

  23. nw says:

    Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. [That is not the only reason he released Summorum Pontificum.]

    Put the way it is, I’d argue that that was not at all a reason for promulgating the motu proprio. Wanting to end the schism may have been a factor in the pope’s thinking, but he certainly did not consider the SSPX’s “demands” as such. The motu proprio was simply the right thing to do, even if one just considers this particular angle.

  24. Ron says:

    Our Lady at La Salette:
    “The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth’s globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities…. Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”

    “Finally, I call on the apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in union with God, in suffering unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.”

    Pax Christi tecum.

  25. Atlanta says:

    The Orthodox church has this same problem with traditionalists that think they are the one true church and that everyone else is a heretic (especially those who talk to Catholics, or worse yet listen to them.) :-) Recently though, an 80 year split between two jurisdictions/local churches in the Orthodox church was healed, and now these two jurisdictions are beginning to slowly work things out (its a long process). Hopefully the same thing will happen in the RC church with the healing of the split between Rome and SSPX.

  26. RBrown says:

    Well, Ratzinger has had his 1988 moment ….. and may mark this occasion with yet again creating another Latin group in SSPX territory …. providing of course the local bishop agrees! Considering the Vatican these days is supposed to know about the art of worldly manipulation, it is no use when up against the determination of the Society. I admire them no end; contemporary Rome is so impoverished.
    Comment by Oliver

    Do you also admire a dog barking at the moon?

    Although I mostly agree with the SSPX on liturgy and other points of doctrine (e.g., mass as sacrifice rather than meal), I think anytime Msgr Fellay uses insulting language to refer to BXVI, he is committing an act of gross stupidity and ingratitude.

  27. Chironomo says:

    Ron says:

    “Why can these heretics who dissent within the Church speak out and not fear reprisals but traditionalists get exiled into inconsequential parishes, stripped of faculties or excommunication? I really don’t get it…”

    Because despite their tendency towards bizarre practices and some even serious abuses, most dissenters remain WITHIN THE CHURCH rather than deciding to split off and form their own “Liberal Catholic Church”. Some such dissenters, such as those that tried to “ordain” women last month received a very serious reprisal if you recall… I think it was EXCOMMUNICATION. Liberal minded “reformers” apparently understand what Bp. Fellay does not: It is not possible to affect change from the outside.

  28. Dr. Bombay says:

    I believe the version of the La Salette secret quoted by Ron was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books and should be viewed in that light. I’m willing to be corrected on that point.

  29. wayne says:

    Well said Chironomo. I do hope Bishop Fellay rallies to the Pope.

  30. Jack Regan says:

    Ron, honestly stuff like that is at best unhelpful. At worst crazy. Anti-Catholic protestants say more or less the same thing (though they don’t claim marian origin).

    The contraversies and inaccuracies and discrepencies surrounding La Salette mean that this cannot be seen as reliable information, especially given that none of the more credible Marian apparitions have mentioned any of this stuff.

    When the moon goes reddish and the earth produces only bad fruit, and when terrible earthquakes swallow up mountains and cities, I might just take another look!! But until then…

  31. Woody Jones says:

    I just keep asking myself, why cannot H.E. just agree the terms and then merely change his manner of dialoging with the Novus Ordo about things from one of open polemic to more subtle means, such as articles in journals, discussions with favorable clerics and hierarchs, retreats and workshops on the TLM and traditional theology, befriend influential cardinals who can act as mentors (we would call them “rabbis” in the corporate finance world) and advocates for the position,tc. In other words, just use the same means the progressives have used to get their position advanced, but all the while operating from fully within the Church’s structures.

    The danger for the SSPX is that they already are into the second generation of post-1988 faithful, who have no experience of life in the regular Church, so the longer they go being on the “outside” (whatever that means technically and juridically), the harder it will be for their faithful to accept the inevitable Roman discipline.

  32. Matt Q says:

    Matthew Mattingly wrote:

    “You know, Bishop Fellay does have a point.

    I hope Bishop Fellay does sign the agreement, only because the SSPX in the Church would be a far greater force for Catholic tradition than outside. But the Bishop has many, many valid points of objection which should not be glossed over with the blanket statements that he should just sign out of ‘obedience to the Pope.’”

    )(

    I agree with Matthew. Bishop Fellay has many valid points, but it would be better to hold them within the Church than without. At the same time, I would like to add we DON’T KNOW what the true sentiments and precise issues are between Rome and the SSPX.
    Just as it is with a husband and wife, for example. There may be a lot which appears to be quite obvious to others but when you’re not in the relationship, you don’t know. You don’t know the dynamics nor the actual feelings. Despite what we’ve read and heard in public from or about the SSPX and Rome, that’s not the whole picture.

    We just pray Bishop Fellay sees the strategic value of signing the accord and fighting for Catholic purity within the Church than remaining outside. The Society should realize how much more support and effort the Faithful will take on their behalf once they have returned. This accord should be seen by all as a wonderful gain for all involved, not as a kick in the head against the SSPX. I don’t believe this is the Holy Father’s sentiment, and it certainly isn’t mine.

  33. wayne ratzinger says:

    I have attended SSPX Masses on and off for nearly 30 years. I think the SSPX are in the right. But, quite a lot of the people attached, are or seem to me, only in it for the sake of being agin’ something. If Bishop Fellay is positive, on Monday morning there are going to be quite a lot of dazed and confused Traditionalists wondering where all there arguments are going to come from come Tuesday.

  34. Jason Keener says:

    While we all probably sympathize greatly with the SSPX, we can’t forget that Christ promised the keys to St. Peter and his successors, not to Archbishop Lefebvre and his successors. The SSPX certainly has much to contribute to the debate within the Church, but they are not the final interpreters and guardians of the Sacred Deposit of Faith. As difficult as this is for us who love Tradition, we must come to terms with it.

    Also, the SSPX claims to be the legitimate defenders of Catholic Tradition; however, when the SSPX does this above, apart from, or in contradiction to the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, the SSPX ignores an integral part of the same Sacred Tradition they fight so hard to defend. This is logically inconsistent.

    We must pray that the SSPX will contribute their numerous gifts to the Church in a spirit of respect for and in full communion with the Roman Pontiff. For faithful Catholics, there simply is no other way.

  35. Matt of South Kent says:

    SSPX wants to be a part of the RCC of today as much as the Amish do.

    This is exactly what the warning against the spirit of schism warned against. SSPX and RCC have gone down different paths. Each day we drift father apart.

  36. Shane says:

    This entire story over the “5 conditions” has been very interesting to me, in part because it helped me to finally understand a feeling I have had since Summorum Pontificum was promulgated. I was actually somewhat upset that it was promulgated, and I couldn’t put my finger on why, exactly. I felt like the Church was “giving in” to the various SSPX types, or was rewarding them for years of disobedience or something along those lines, and it really bothered me. At the same time, there isn’t anything wrong with a person wishing to attend one form of Mass over another, and I knew that, so I couldn’t sort this out.

    Now, I’ve realized what was bothering me about it, and Bishop Fellay illustrates it perfectly. What was bothering me was whether or not all of these various dissenters would have any real conversion of heart. If they were only returning to full union with (if an individual was in schism) or full outward obedience to the the Church because now they could celebrate the 1962 Missal, that doesn’t really mean anything for their souls. If some fellow like Bishop Fellay was knowingly disobeying the Church, he would be in grave danger of the loss of his soul, and yet if he then returned merely outwardly but not inwardly – that is, he entered visible communion with the Church but did not dispose his heart to being obedient to Her regardless of what disciplines She enacts – then that wouldn’t be a real conversion. It would be like a person going to confession without a purpose of amendment.

    I think this is really what’s at stake here, in this entire process. The Vatican is presenting Bishop Fellay with the question of whether or not he is going to submit his heart to the Church, or merely agree with Her current position on one disciplinary norm.

    Peace, and God bless

  37. Paul Haley says:

    Am I mistaken or does not every catholic have a right under canon law to submit questions and/or grievances to the hierarchy as long as this is done politely and with respect for the authority inherent in the office being addressed? So, what is the problem? Is it that a certain group wants to lob impolite questions and accusations to the pope and the hierarchy to try and undermine their authority with the faithful? The Fraternity has every right under canon law to address the issues they wish to address as long as it’s done respectfully and without polemics. It’s time for unity not division.

  38. Tzard says:

    It seems there is an incentive among news reporters to be ‘first’, and a few respond by pre-publishing stories with flimsy evidence – with the hope of being the one who “broke” the story.

    There’s also a desire among some of influencing events too.

  39. Patrick T says:

    Kizito asked what would be the consequences if they reject the 5 points…

    I think the Holy Father will finally put the hammer down, charitably of course. We would see a clear declaration of schism. We would also see an affirmation of the excommunications and probably formal excommunication of the all SSPX clergy. Perhaps a public command from the Holy Father that all SSPX priests are to report to him immediately. Probably a public warning to the faithful that attendance at a Mass said by an excommunicated and schismatic priest is a mortal sin. Basically, I think we would see Rome handle the situation methodically and according to the law, much like Archbishop Burke handled the schism in St. Louis.

    I don’t think they’ll accept the 5 terms, but I really, really pray that they do.

  40. Matt says:

    I’m sorry but Fellay has a point as a Catholic Bishop acting in good conscience.

    This five-point ultimatum would have been more fitting had it been sent to the

    thousands of dissenting Bishops throughout the world at the same time.

    The formal cause of this whole mess was and still remains the Papacy. The Holy

    Father has to do more to acknowledge the Holy See’s pivotal role in the “auto-destruction”

    of the Catholic Church from 1960-to the present.

    This cannot simply be papered over by Summorum Pontificum or this latest offer.

    There is a substantial rot at the core of the Church, and we all know that it

    stemmed from aggiornamento not traditionalism.

    Lefebvre was the one speaking the truth in 1970 when he said that the TLM

    could not be abrogated, while Paul VI was the one speading this lie.

    Until the Pope accepts and apologized for Rome’s role in the dissolution

    of Catholic culture and society, any such deal would be a political farce for

    BOTH parties. The SSPX has not been without blame, but they are not the cause

    of the problem.

  41. Ron says:

    Dr. Bombay: Was it placed on the Index???? I thought La Salette was an approved apparition? How else could that be translated? I had no idea…

    Jack Regan: First of all, if Our Lady appears in an approved apparition how can we say what she discloses is unhelpful? The words of her message seem to me to describe accurately the current situation of the Church as well as the world. These things disclosed to us by Our Lady exhort us to follow Christ more closely and to be aware of what’s going on around us.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  42. Fr Jerome says:

    I for one really do hope and pray that +Bernard will accept and agree to the conditions the Holy See proposes. It is the only logical next step for the SSPX to return to full and perfect communion with the Holy Father and the Roman Catholic Church. As has been said, they could do so much more from within than from without! If they lose some people on the way… well, then we would all know why; but surely it is better to be “in” than “outside” the Church?

  43. Our Lady at La Salette:
    “The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth’s globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains, cities…. Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”

    “Finally, I call on the apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in union with God, in suffering unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.”

    Ron, these passages come from the condemned version of the “La Salette” messages.

    There are apparently two versions of the La Salette messages: the version of 1851,
    and the version of 1879. The latter was written by the visionary Melanie Calvat
    when she had become very embittered, and was repeatedly condemned by the
    Holy Office in 1915, 1916 and 1923. The false secret was in the Index until the
    Index itself ceased to be updated (NOT “abolished”) in 1966.

    See this:

    http://www.unitypublishing.com/prophecy/fake-salette.htm

    And this:

    http://www.unitypublishing.com/prophecy/ProphetsLaSallette.html

    I can’t understand why a lot of traditionalist Catholics, who claim to be
    such staunch advocates of tradition and of the preconciliar papacy, are so
    disobedient when it comes to these condemned or false revelations. (Same applies
    to Valtorta)

  44. Ron says:

    Carlos,

    A. I didn’t know they were condemned. Now I am not very informed on why they are and the basis for it. I can’t speak to that. However I can’t deny that they still seem accurate. I will however be far more critical of these things. I thought it was okay. I found it today for the first time. Thank you for alerting me to this fact that they were condemned.

    B. I don’t think it is being unfaithful to the Church or the Magisterium if you think that 1. Rome could become the seat of the Antichrist (since the Antichrist will in fact sit in the temple of God) or that 2. Rome could be losing the Faith in some way. If the idea is that thinking that is horrible, I’d disagree because it could happen. All the Fathers said the Pope could in fact be a heretic (obviously not in his official, infallible capacity).

    Pax Christi tecum.

  45. John6:54 says:

    First Ron check out what Our Lady at La Salette really said not what conspiracists have put in her mouth.

    Anytime a “Catholic” throws out the term “Anti-Christ” my orthodoxy antenna goes up.

  46. Gregg the Obscure says:

    In re: La Salette, please refer to this reference.

  47. Matt says:

    One does not need La Salette.

    Just by sticking to the Gospel, we are warned of a “deception” which
    would be so great as to “deceive, even the elect”…the elect being the
    Church. Plus the statement of Our Lord, that “when the Son of Man returns,
    we he find faith on this earth”. Which curiously enough, Paul VI quoted
    on more than one occasion in the 1970′s, even as he was an active agent
    of the “auto-demolition” which unfolded since Guadiam et Spes assured us that
    by only making a few, painful changes, the RCC ushed in a new
    age of harmony for the world.

    St. Paul also warns of a time when the Church will “maintain the form/appearance
    of religion while denying its power/content”. Surely we’ve lived through
    this fulfillment in our own lifetime!

    Since Gaudiam et Spes, brough the Church neither Gaudiam nor Spes, can’t we
    also affirm on even a rational level that it was in fact a false prophecy and a
    at least partial fulfillment of what we have been warned about since 30 AD?

  48. I do hope that SSPX will accept the “offer.”
    However, regarding the 5 points, couldn’t SSPX just say, “Why are you singling us out for these conditions? Many bishops, priests, and laity who are technically considered in union with Rome and in full Communion with the Catholic Church don’t follow these conditions, and yet you do nothing about them.”

  49. Jack Regan says:

    Ron, frankly you should have known it was erroneous simply by the fact that is plainly stupid. Banding stuff like this around is just silly. I presume you will now remove it from the front of your blog??

    For anyone still unconvinced, I offer the following, written by a chap named Matthew: *..and I say unto you that you are Peter, which means Rock and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not hold out against it.*

  50. Ron says:

    John6:54 – The word antichrist causes you to have problems? That is very Scriptural and we need to be aware of what Christians are looking at in the end before Christ’s Second Coming. There will be a deception and there will be an antichrist. That’s dogma. That’s our Faith.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  51. Ron says:

    Jack Regan,

    I will probably remove it from my blog. Honestly, your tone with someone who made an error and someone who wasn’t aware is a bit ridiculous. People make mistakes – at least most people do, perhaps there are exceptions somewhere. I don’t think it is stupid. I think it is fairly accurate. Maybe the stuff about Rome is extreme but the whole thing isn’t that extreme.

    Also, the passage of the Gospels you quote pertains to the fact that the Pope will never in his official capacity teach error on faith and morals when pronouncing a decree to be held by the whole Church. All of the Fathers agree that a Pope could be a heretic. St. Thomas talks about it in the Summa Theologica. Using your very broad interpretation, then, we’d have to say a Pope never could be a heretic and could never cause the Faith to be in danger. That can happen. Not everything the Pope says and does is infallible. In fact if a Pope never did speak authoritatively and pertaining to the charism of infallibility then we could see he could easily teach heresy in every other respect. It’s unlikely but it is possible, according to the Fathers and St. Thomas.

    There is no denying that Rome of today is starkly different than the Rome of the centuries earlier, when Popes clearly taught the truth and did not allow heresy to run rampant. Now, that doesn’t mean that the gates of hell have prevailed over the Church. Look at St. Jerome saying the entire church had found itself Arian. Obviously the Church prevailed, but it was a dark time.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  52. Gregg the Obscure says:

    couldn’t SSPX just say, “Why are you singling us out for these conditions? Many bishops, priests, and laity who are technically considered in union with Rome and in full Communion with the Catholic Church don’t follow these conditions, and yet you do nothing about them.”

    This reminds me of The twentieth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

  53. Ron says:

    By the way, Jack Regan, I found that quote because Bsp. Fellay quotes it in a sermon I was listening to – Bsp. Fellay quoted Our Lady as saying Rome will become the seat of antichrist.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  54. schoolman says:

    These conditions have nothing to do with forcing Fellay to “shut up”. They only have the aim to establish some basic ground rules on how fruitful diologue can continue within the bosom of the Church. May Bishop Fellay recognize this in time.

  55. Matt says:

    The problem for Matthew 16 was not that a usurper would
    or ever could use the charism to promote error, but that
    weak popes would refuse to use the charism of Matthew 16
    to benefit the Church.

    The Pope is a man like any other and he has free will.

    The problem since 1960 has been due to the promise of
    Matthew 16 not being used to quell error, but being ignored
    in order to keep the peace.

    This is nothing new, the popes during the Arian Crisis
    were guilty of the same thing, so was Honorious during
    the Monothelite Crisis, so were the popes during the Avignon-
    spawned Great Western Schism, so was Pope Clement when
    he suppressed the Jesuits to save face with Masonic monarchs.
    (incidentally the Jesuit Order was only saved through acts of
    disobedience…this is in contract to many modern Jesuits who
    are faithless but yet not suppressed).

    The Church has been through trials, where even a Saint
    like Vincent Ferrer could say that “I pray for the Pope
    at each Mass, even though I don’t know his name”. There
    being THREE popes at the time, I don’t blame him.

    Popes can and have done great damage to the Church, and our
    age is no exception.

    We all hope for true renewal, but not at the cost of ignoring
    the truth.

    Saint Vincent had to make the painful decision to advise
    the King of Spain to force all the popes to the bargaining
    table for the good of the Church, and we are likewise forced
    to take stock of the course the Church has decided to pursue.

  56. Ron says:

    Matt,

    Very good appraisal and explanation. I think you are spot on.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  57. Ron says:

    Uck and I can’t read it!

  58. Jack007 says:

    Jack Regan:
    I agree with you…BUT, in all honesty, your comments to Ron come across as lacking in Christian charity.
    He placed these “Marian” quotes atop his blog. That’s a big deal to a blogger. Upon further insight he finds them to be in error, and promptly and humbly removes them.
    Please reread your comments. You are basically calling him stupid, something he is obviously NOT. I am sure that was not your intention, but as an intelligent man I’m sure you can see the inference.
    When I read such extreme comments attributed to Mary used in polemical arguments, I tend to get irritated myself. When someone rethinks their position, as Ron did, in the light of reality, I am impressed. MOST people who use such quotes can RARELY be debated reasonably.

    In closing, I think Fr. Z’s admonition “Think Before You Post”, has saved ME more than once, and not just around HERE! :-)

    Blessings to all.
    Jack in KC

  59. Ron says:

    Jack007,

    Thanks. It’s good to see some humility and charity exist around here. And I’m not some super-blogger. I have a tiny little blog no one ever sees so I doubt my posts there are some big deal. Regardless, I have removed it. I had no idea and when I saw the quotes from La Salette I thought they were authentic.

    God bless you.

  60. It is far from over, and what is presented here, is more of a commentary than a news piece. Let’s wait and her what Bishop Fellay actually says.

  61. Jack007 says:

    “I have a tiny little blog no one ever sees “…

    Now Ron, here I just talked about humility, and there you go fishing for compliments! :-)))

    Your blog is added to my SHORT list of blogs I visit regularly.
    Now, get to typin’!
    Jack

  62. Ron says:

    Thanks Jack. Maybe I’ll post more…

    Pax Christi tecum.

  63. Jack007 says:

    Yes indeed.
    I like Bishop Williamson, and he is a VERY intelligent man.
    But…there IS a REASON he is no longer at the American seminary. La Reja is a nice place, but a little outside the public eye. :-)

    Take His Excellency’s comments with a large grain of salt and perhaps with a double Tanqueray and tonic chaser.

    Jack in KC

  64. Jorn Ackermans says:

    Dear readers,

    I`m a reader from the Netherlands and I`

  65. Jack Regan says:

    On reflection, perhaps my comments were a little insulting. If you read my posts throughout this site, you will see that inflammatory comments is something I am dead against. And so with that in mind, you have my apology :)

    Debate must be characterised by charity, but also by prudence. Hopefully we can hold those things in the balance.

    Though I made my point rather poorly above, I believed it was worth making the point that communicating prophecies like the one in question are not merely posturing a viewpoint, but rather they can do real damage. They can scare people, worry people and really shake their faith. As a youth worker, I’ve seen it again and again in young people. For that reason I think that such assertions are really playing with live ammo, so to speak. But I am sure you have taken that on board and so, that’s that.

    Anyway… as for the rest of this debate, I will pick this up at the end of the month.

  66. Jorn Ackermans says:

    Once more.

    Dear readers,

    I`m a reader from the Netherlands and I`m following this blog for a while now. You must forgive me my bad writing in English.

    I just now start to write here, because I don`t get the whole picture anymore.

    I was under the impression that the FSSPX had broken with Rome and that they were not loyal to the Holy Father. But just now I read the following article on the homepage of the FSSP (http://www.sspx.org/):

    Pope Benedict XVI

    The Society of St. Pius X professes filial devotion and loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI, the Successor of Saint Peter and the Vicar of Christ.

    The priests of the SSPX pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and the welfare of the local Ordinary at every Mass they celebrate.

    Does this mean that they are loyal to Rome, or that they just pray for Rome? I don`t get it anymore: could anyone give me a briefly statement about the state of affairs at the moment?

    God bless,

    Jorn Ackermans.

  67. Jack007 says:

    Thanks, Jack Regan!
    As far as picking up the debate at the end of the month…Fr. Z and Shawn over at NLM have prompted us to have FAITH and PRAY.
    For me, it’ll take a lot of both. Probably for most of us.
    I have had my hopes raised, and DASHED many times over the years.
    SP last July 7 was a vindication.
    Nice comments, Jack. Always nice to see there are still gentlemen around. So rare…
    Jack in KC

  68. Habemus Papam says:

    Pray for Bishop Fellay and everyone involved. It seems some Traditionalists fear a divide-and-rule type plot here while others see this opportinuity as too good to pass. As for the La Salette prophecy (which some maintain is also the true Secret of Fatima) could it be that we have actually lived through it, that there was a heretic Pope but now thats past and we are in a new era. The begining of a new era?

  69. michael says:

    Father Z,
    The Religious Freedom of Vatican II is biggest stumbling block and the answer is very simple and it was answered by Our Lord himself. The first Protestants were the ones who when Our Lord said Les you eat my body and drink my blood you can not enter the kingdom or something to that effect and they followed him no more. Did Our Lord go running after them? No!!! Why? They had no truth. That’s why Our Lord didn’t go after them because He knew they were proud and no use in talking to them. You either have the whole truth or you have no truth at all. Would Our Lord be for Religious Freedom of Vatican II of course not because there is no truth in it because a half truth is no truth at all. I have a question when Our Lord and Lucifer are looking at Religious Freedom of Vatican II who is laughing and who is crying. Thank You

  70. Breier says:

    Carlos,

    Your sources for your claims about La Sallette is website full
    of personal commentary responding to e-mails. How about something
    a little more authoritative? Those two links, from the single
    individual, from their formatting alone do not inspire confidence.
    I fail to see how it’s “so obvious” now that there are these
    condemnations of a particular secret. Wikipedia, at least as
    authoritative a source as the one provided, says it’s up in the air.

    That a book was written about the subject and put on the Index, if
    true, doesn’t really say much about the apparation itself.

  71. QC says:

    It bears pointing out that the proposition “the Church of the city of Rome can fall into error” was formally condemned by Pope Sixtus IV as “manifest heresy.” This is probably one reason why the version of the La Sallette messages containing that proposition was banned.

    Here’s a good article explaining this truth of our faith:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=608

  72. Londiniensis says:

    I have just seen that Bishop Williamson has today posted the latest of his “Eleison Comments” on the subject of “Rome’s demands to conform to Vatican II and the New Mass”. The tone is overwhelmingly negative and antagonistic.

    He concludes: “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. 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, 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… Kyrie eleison.

    The full text can be found here: http://dinoscopus.blogspot.com/2008/06/stick-again.html

    This is depressing, but was to be expected.

  73. Breier says:

    QC,

    The position you cite is an opinion of scholastic theologians, but I really tend to think that contemporary events refute it. I’m sure we could also compile authorities that the Jews would never again return to Israel until their conversion, but here we have it. How is the local Church in Rome, considering the faithful, curial officials, etc, infallible and indefectible? As if everything a cleric did in Rome was to be sanctioned? Rome seems to be a microcosm of the universal Church, full of saints and sinners, or orthodoxy and heterodoxy. It would be very helpful if someone could explain that scholastic opinion in the light of contemporary events, or in the light of the exceedingly low Mass attendance rate in the local Church at Rome. Do you really think Catholics have to believe the local Church in Rome is the most pious, most orthodox, most correct of all dioceses? I guess if the Pope=the local Church at Rome, maybe. But how otherwise?

  74. Breier says:

    Londiniensis,

    The words of Bishop Williamson count for little. His opposition could be expected, and he may be trying to force Fellay’s hand. Until Fellay speaks, don’t give up hope. Don’t you think it unusual that Williamson, rather the outcast, would be the first from the society to speak? I suspect he’s doing this on his own initiative.

  75. nw says:

    But Shane, the pope did not promulgate the motu proprio to appease, or quite frankly, in any way to respond to, traditionalists….

  76. Adam says:

    Jorn Ackermans – you might be confusing the FSSP (Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri, or Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) with the SSPX (Society of St. Pius X). Both groups (the FSSP is a religious order that is in full communion with Rome) favor the 1962 Missal, but the SSPX is the group whose status is in question.

  77. Jorn Ackermans says:

    Adam: thanks, that was my mistake.

    Gb,

    Jorn.

  78. Jorn Ackermans says:

    Once again, a comment. The website is from the SSPX (www.sspx.org). But when there status is in question, then why do they have on this webpage the text that they ‘profess devotion to Pope Benedict XVI’? I was thinking that the whole question now is, that they do not devote to the Pope..

    Maybe it is beacause this website is the website from the SSPX in the U.S.?

  79. Stephen says:

    Someone else in another place formulated a response to the conditions; this appears to me to be an excellent piece of work; if only it could be given to Bishop Fellay.

    1) The commitment to a proportionate response to the generosity of the Pope.

    Response to Condition 1: We have always pledged our fealty to his Holiness, and are grateful for his generosity. We commit to a full, frank, and proportionate response to any specific proposal the Holy Father makes to us.

    Quote:
    2) The commitment to avoid any public intervention that does not respect the person of the Holy Father and that could be negative for ecclesial charity.

    Response to Condition 2: We have always respected the person and office of his Holiness, and express this publicly every day at every Mass offered by every priest in the Society. The Society has always been and remains dedicated to acting in the interests of ecclesial charity in every instance.

    Quote:

    3) The commitment to avoid the claim of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father and not to propose the fraternity as opposed to the Church.

    Response to Condition 3: We have always pledged our fealty to his Holiness, and fully recognize that every priest and bishop, including those of the society, are (like the Holy Father himself) subject to the Magisterium of the Church. We have never viewed the Fraternity as being opposed to the Church, and pledge not to do so in the future.

    Quote:

    4) The commitment to demonstrate the will to act honestly in full ecclesial charity and respect of the Vicar of Christ.

    Response to Condition 4: The Society has in every instance since its conception acted honestly in full ecclesial charity and respect of the Vicar of Christ, and will continue to do so.

    Quote:
    5) The commitment to respect the date – set at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a condition required and necessary as immediate preparation for the adhesion to have full communion.

    Response to Condition 5: As can be seen from the foregoing responses, the Society has responded positively to each condition, and within the designated time limit. We thank the Holy Father for his generosity in expressly recognizing the full communion of the Society with the Church, and we look forward to discussions regarding the details of determining the canonical structure for the society that will best serve the needs of the Church.

  80. If “no” from Fellay is confirmed, this is an historical mistake.
    And, IMO, the story’s over.

  81. Mark S. says:

    Cardinale Pozzobonelli: Unfortunately, I think you could very well be right in your last statement. If the present offer is rejected, I don’t think another one will be presented in a hurry. It could also harden the perception that the SSPX is disobedient and schimatic. (I say “perception” deliberately, as there is some debate around these issues.) As time passes both sides will become more entrenched in their positions, making any rapproachment difficult.

  82. B Knotts says:

    A rejection of these not-very-demanding conditions would result in a great loss of sympathy for the SSPX.

  83. Patrick says:

    Mark S.,

    All that ambiguity will be gone. There is no doubt that Rome will issue clear statements that:

    1. There is formal schism
    2. All of the SSPX is excommunicated ferendae sentatiae
    3. All Catholics are forbidden to receive the sacraments from the SSPX under pain of mortal sin.

    They may even go as far as to add:

    4. Future SSPX priestly or episcopal ordinations will not be recognized by the Holy See
    5. SSPX bishops and priests are dismissed from the clerical state.

    There is little hope now. I pray that the members of the SSPX will come to their senses.