Reuters: SSPX “answer without response” to Vatican ultimatum

This is posted by Reuters.

My emphases and comments.

FaithWorld
Religion, faith and ethics

SSPX “answer without response” to Vatican ultimatum

Posted by: Tom Heneghan

The schismatic [The writer is not going with the nuanced position of Card. Castrillon Hoyos, namely, that while the 1988 consecrations were a "schismatic act" they didn’t actually result in schism.] traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has reacted to a Vatican ultimatum by challenging the conditions Rome set for its return to the Catholic fold. By sending this in a letter, SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay partly fulfilled one condition of the ultimatum, i.e. answering by the end of this month. But he did not fulfill the more important other half of that requirement, i.e. that he respond positively. In fact, he told the Vatican that other conditions — to accept papal authority and not criticise the pope — were too vague to be accepted, according to SSPX spokesman Rev. Alain Lorans. As Lorans put it: “You can say he’s not responding, despite answering it.”

[I am not sure where the writer of Reuters is getting this, aside from (the item I posted the other day) from Radio Svizzera.]

This is a clever way of ducking deadline pressure, but it doesn’t answer the real issues. It looked like the Vatican had the SSPX in a corner when the ultimatum of June 4 became known early this week. By wording the five conditions so vaguely that contentious issues such as the new Mass and the Second Vatican Council reforms went unmentioned, Pope Benedict and Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos — the Vatican official dealing with traditionalists — may have thought they might win over the schismatics. Benedict had already taken the first step towards a possible accord last year by liberalising the use of the old Latin Mass that the SSPX has championed as its visible trademark. The ultimatum made a further conciliatory gesture by keeping the explicit requirements to a minimum.

But Benedict has his red lines too. Compare the current five conditions to the much more explicit five conditions that SSPX founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre accepted in May 1988 (with the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) but renounced the following month. The new list of conditions strips away the explicit demands of the 1988 document, but they basically remain implicit — a fact that Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed this week.  [However, the Five Conditions given by Card. Castrillon to Bp. Fellay were really "pre-conditions" for continued dialogue.  I don’t think they were intended only by themselves to resolve all the problems between the SSPX and Rome.]

Fellay clearly saw that and spoke out bluntly against the ultimatum a week ago at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. The eye-catching quote in that sermon was “They just say ’shut up’ … We are not going … to shut up.” He also offered a longer and quite vivid image of two icebergs. The tip of one iceberg is the old Latin Mass and its underwater part stands for Church tradition. The other has the new Mass at its visible tip and the underwater part is a symbol, he said, “of Vatican II and of these modern ideas, what they call the spirit of the Council, which has come in with all these reforms which have almost kicked down the Church.” Referring to the restoration of the old Mass, he said:

    “What happens with this motu proprio is as if they would have taken this tip of the iceberg. When we see this, we have the impression, OK, they take the tip, so they take everything which is below. That’s not exactly what they did. They tried to take the tip and to plant it on the other iceberg, the iceberg of the new thing. And so we have two tips and they say it’s only one tip. But if you try to go and see and look under the water, what is below, you will see that they maintain that the only thing you can have below is the new thing.”

The text of that part of Fellay’s sermon and the full audio posted here show how firmly Fellay — who sharply criticised Benedict only days before meeting Castrillón Hoyos to discuss the Vatican’s conditions — is upholding the SSPX rejection of Vatican II reforms. Two other SSPX bishops (Alfonso de Galarreta and Richard Williamson) have also spoken out against the ultimatum. For his part, Benedict has changed the wording of the Vatican demands and partly conceded the old liturgy (”partly” because he supported it anyway). But he has not budged in principle on the Council that he himself attended and helped shape as a young theologian.

So it’s back to a rock and a hard place[Hmmm… a familiar phrase in this context.] Will either side blink? Fellay says he has plenty of time and the ultimatum showed Vatican’s in a hurry. He told Swiss radio RTSI (in Italian, from 17:44) “Maybe it’s wrong to say so directly that I reject, that I totally reject (the ultimatum), that is not true. Rather, I see in this ultimatum a very vague and confused thing … we have relations with Rome that develop at a certain pace, which is really slow … there may now be a chillier period, but frankly, for me, it’s not finished.”

The Vatican conditions may be the best the SSPX can ever get and Fellay has replied positively to one-half of one condition out of a total of five. That’s just enough for him to get semantic and say that maybe it’s wrong to say he totally rejected the ultimatum. Well, he certainly didn’t accept it, or even come anywhere near accepting it. Is he just buying time waiting for the Vatican to blink?

It looks like the Vatican’s turn to reply. What’s next?  [A very good question.]

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42 Responses to Reuters: SSPX “answer without response” to Vatican ultimatum

  1. Vox Borealis says:

    This will probably come across as a very stupid question/suggestion, but…

    It seems to me that “schism” is the key term here. The society and its members (at least those whom I met and/or read) appear to hold as important that the society is not in schism, and the Vatican has danced around formally declaring them so. But this wiggle room is what allows the society to dance around its own position vis-a-vis Rome.

    So, why not simply declare the society schismatic and be done with it?

    Not out of malice, but as a calculated maneuver aimed at forcing the society to finally lay its cards on the table?

    Anyway, just an idea. Have at it.

  2. anonymous in Michigan says:

    Greg Hessel,
    I concur.

  3. Thom says:

    Getting? :-)

  4. Andy says:

    Maybe this whole media buzz around these talks are not helping them? Because it seems that Reuters and the like become part of the communication between the parties. It would have been so much better if those four bishops and a few responsible cardinals got together on an island cut off from the news media and talked at length (maybe with a phone call from the Holy Father)…

  5. Andy says:

    are -> is… too tired to write coherently

  6. Patrick says:

    Vox,

    The Vatican explicitly declared them to be “schismatic” in 1996. It is Card. Castrillon-Hoyos who has (in the interest of diplomacy) since attempted to say there is no schism.

    If this article is true, I believe the Holy Father will not let this be the end. He will likely be very clear that there is a schism, that all priests are excommunicated, and that all the faithful are forbidden to attend their Masses. The Holy Father cannot allow the SSPX to continue in thumbing it’s nose at Rome, and duping faithful Catholics into attending their chapels.

    I don’t see this ending well for the SSPX. They seem to believe that the Holy Father will blink first.

  7. TJB says:

    As you have said Fr Z, the Holy Father wants to work on a resolution to this break in the Church while it is still somewhat fresh… since time has a way of cementing each side into their own positions so that they will be unable to move from them again. The Holy See understands this, the SSPX does not.
    Jesus prayed with great concern for unity in the Church. The Vatican has showed this same concern over and over… the SSPX has always lacked it. Unity just doesn’t seem to interest them.

    “ut omnes unum sint sicut tu Pater in me et ego in te ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint ut mundus credat quia tu me misisti et ego claritatem quam dedisti mihi dedi eis ut sint unum sicut nos unum sumus”

  8. athanasius says:

    Here is my problem,

    I accept that the Society is a) in an irregular canonical situation and b) needs to return to union with the successor of St. Peter. However, why is such an ultimatum being issued to the society? The Popes have shown immense patience in the past, both pre and post Vatican II in trying to weather schisms and avoid disunity. Look at how the French were handled when they ignored Quo Primum, and numerous other Papal legislation for 250 years!

    Secondly, why if this is the course the Pope has decided to be prudent, is he doing this to the SSPX and not also to the Neo-Catechumnal way, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans (whose seminaries are sewers of apostasy and dissent) and why is he not responding in this manner to Bishops who thumb their nose at Papal authority routinely? Even one at a time?

    That is what bothers me.

  9. Steve K. says:

    Taking what we’ve read in the press cum grano salis, still what’s being reported seems quite plausible in light of all that’s been said and done, including up to the recent past. I must say the obstinacy on the part of the SSPX leadership is very depressing, and to my mind, though I hope I am wrong about this, signifies a deep lack of desire to reconcile with the Church. They do not appear to have any remorse over what happened, and are strident in their conviction that they are in the right, and have become so hard-hearted as to not even think of giving an inch. Honestly, in light of this, how can we say they are anything but schismatic if this is how they treat Peter?

    Now is the moment of truth – if they do not seize it, and this includes bad faith gestures like playing for time (which as we can be certain means dragging this out indefinitely), the Holy See will recognize it and take swift action.

    Perhaps that would be best in the long run anyway: decisive action by the Holy See would, I believe, shock many in SSPX and those with repentence in their hearts will come back to the Church, given such a stark choice. What a pity – an SSPX reconciled with the Holy See could have been a powerful ally in the struggle against the heterodox.

  10. Patrick says:

    athanasius,

    I suspect the Holy Father is doing this because he believes it to be the right thing at the right time. He gets the grace to make these decisions, not us.

    And please, stop with the “other people are doing other bad things, too”. It is a very tired, very unconvincing tactic. Other people’s sinfulness is not an excuse for our own sins.

  11. I am not Spartacus says:

    STATUS OF THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X
    Msgr Camille Perl
    Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

    Rome, 27 October 1998

    While it is true that participation in the Mass at the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute “formal adherence to the schism”, such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church classically exemplified in A Rome and Econe Handbook which states in response to question 14 that the SSPX defends the traditional catechisms and therefore the Old Mass, and so attacks the Novus Ordo, the Second Vatican Council and the New Catechism, all of which more or less undermine our unchangeable Catholic faith.

    Thus far the Church has not officially declared what Constitutes “formal adherence to the schism” inaugurated by the late Archbishop Lefebvre (cf. Ecclesia Dei 5, c),

    .. It may still be difficult to characterize the entire Society of St. Pius X, but the documentation which you have submitted witnesses to a consistent condemnation of the new Mass, the Pope and anyone who disagrees with the authorities of the Society in the smallest degree. Such behaviour is not consistent with the practice of the Catholic faith.

    d. We reiterate what we stated above: “The Pope is the Supreme legislator in the Church.” Communion with him is a fundamental, non-negotiable hallmark of Catholicism which is not determined by those who set themselves up to judge him, but by the Pope himself (cf. Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium #22-25).

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

    Clearly, from Ecclesia Dei to this letter, the SSPX is descrided as a schism. And Fr. Fellay, in a letter to his benefactors, notes the CDF has recently described the sspx as a schism in a letter to the Bishops of Sri Lanka. So, those being seduced into thinking this ain’t a schism are ever fewer in number.

    The more The Living Magisterium employs the language of diplomacy rather than applying the balm of a definitive and formal declaration to this gash created in the Body of Christ by the sspx the more frustrated Christian Catholics in Communion with the Pope will become while at the same time those who succor the schism will be left in a, to be fair to them, position where they can claim, “We are not schismatic, just look at what Card Castrillon Hoyas wrote.”

    Fish or cut bait. Be done with it. Mr. Randolph from Virginia once described a piece of legislation as a thing like a carp in the moonlight. It is shiny and it stinks.

    The interminable machinations vis a vis this schism are like a carp in the moonlight.

    BASTA

  12. KOM says:

    *Here is my problem,
    I accept that the Society is a) in an irregular canonical situation and b) needs to return to union with the successor of St. Peter. However, why is such an ultimatum being issued to the society? The Popes have shown immense patience in the past, both pre and post Vatican II in trying to weather schisms and avoid disunity. Look at how the French were handled when they ignored Quo Primum, and numerous other Papal legislation for 250 years!
    Secondly, why if this is the course the Pope has decided to be prudent, is he doing this to the SSPX and not also to the Neo-Catechumnal way, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans (whose seminaries are sewers of apostasy and dissent) and why is he not responding in this manner to Bishops who thumb their nose at Papal authority routinely? Even one at a time?
    That is what bothers me.*

    Excellent comment! Rome has traditionally used a heavy-hand with SSPX, while coddling Lutherans, other Protestants, and the Orthodox. Paul VI lifted the excommunication against a true heretic, while John Paul II imposed more on five bishops fighting for the Faith. Ironic, that.

    Of course it’s possible, just possible, that this time around the Vatican isn’t being heavy-handed, but is reaching out a hand, trying to resolve the impasse, knowing that having SSPX fully within the Church would benefit everyone in the Church, not just SSPX.

    I think the Vatican should lift the “excommunications” without any pre-conditions. Let the only condition be trying to work out a jurisdictional arrangement, or personal prelature. Why flap the documents of Vatican II in their face, demanding adherence, when VII defined no new dogma? Is SSPX drowning the true Faith, or advancing it? If the latter, then let them operate as they are, since they are developing the Catholic psyche, where so many other groups “within” the Church are destroying it.

    This article is poor journalism. It assumes that Fellay rejected all of the conditions, except the deadline, while not having a clue what Fellay’s actual response was. I didn’t know Reuters engaged in yellow journalism, now I do.

  13. Domine Non Sum Dignus says:

    “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

    – Quote of Our Lady on July 13, 1917, to the three children at Fatima

    For some reason, it seems to me, that perhaps, unity will not occur until after “the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world” consecrates Russia to Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart, as told to Sister Lucy by Our Lady on June 6, 1929.

    (Just a thought.)

    We must pray and hope, but not get discouraged when things don’t happen on the time schedule we prefer.

    In the meantime, I hope and pray that many who visit and post on this site have fulfilled Our Lady’s requests regarding the First Five Saturdays.

    For a more complete (yet concise) treatment, here is a link:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/FIRSTSAT.htm

    We must pray and hope for a lot of things, must we not?

    (I believe St. Padre Pio who said, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.”)

  14. Paul in the GNW says:

    Athanasius

    Here is my problem, I accept that the Society is a) in an irregular canonical situation and b) needs to return to union with the successor of St. Peter. However, why is such an ultimatum being issued to the society?

    I can not know the mind of Pope Benedict, but I have thought since at least 2000 when JPII issues “Tertio Millennio Adviente”, “Novo Millennio Inuente” and “Evangalium Vitae” that we are living in ‘prophetic times. That spiritual sense of prophecy has continued to grow as we have enjoyed the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. His homilies before the conclave and just about everything since leads me to consider that he has a ‘prophetic’ insight into the condition of the Church.

    Going back over 30 years in Cardinal Ratzinger’s writing I find that he has been deeply concerned about true visible and spiritual unity. I see in much of what he has attempted thus far in his papacy and almost frantic effort to reforge the unity of the Church.

    I believe that Pope Benedict XVI is a Pope of ACTION. He is more afraid of missing the opportunity, than of making the effort and failing. If you read the “Ratzinger Report” you will find that he clearly states the belief that a ‘pruning’ of the Church would not be a terrible thing if the remnant was stronger. I think the papacy has changed him, and he has not desire to force such a pruning, but on the other hand, I see nothing in Pope Benedict that says he’s going to be content to live with ‘de facto schism’ on the conservative side, or ‘de facto heresy’ on the liberal side.

    So, the short answer is the “Pope Benedict is being lead by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit says it is time for this move forward.”

    I am interested in hearing the opinion of others.

    Paul

  15. Amen to Fr. Z’s prayers.
    But perhaps the conversation between Rome and SSPX needs to be conducted quietly, away from media pressure.
    This is not an exact parallel, I know, but I begin to see the wisdom of papal conclaves being held in secret.

  16. Matt of South Kent says:

    I love members of the CSPXers come to this blog to point out the sins of others.

    I think the Jesuits were asked about their adherence to dogma and obedience. But CSPXers may not know that since they aren’t Roman Catholic.

  17. BobP says:

    Andy: >Maybe this whole media buzz around these talks are not helping them? Because it seems that Reuters and the like become part of the communication between the parties. It would have been so much better if those four bishops and a few responsible cardinals got together on an island cut off from the news media and talked at length (maybe with a phone call from the Holy Father)…<

    There is a very good possibility that that is true. Whatever happened to that statement from Rome that it’s an “internal matter\” for the Church? Maybe we should treat this as we would waiting news about a company-wage settlement. Outsiders really have no business stirring the pot

  18. Jo says:

    The recent past:

    1. The Ecclesia Dei Commission has been negotiating with Fellay – an excommunicated bishop -for 8 years; the Pope issues Summurom Pontificum; the CDF publishes the the two declarations on the Church and evangelisation;

    2. Then Fellay goes and calls Benedict a “perfectly liberal Pope”.

    4. Fellay meets with Cardinal Castrillon and the Cardinal then sends him the letter with the 5 pre-comditions for continuing the negotiations.

    5. Fellay chooses not to agree to the pre-conditions.

    The futuret:

    – The ecclesia Dei commission is dissolved.

    – A Summurom Pontificum Commission is established with the mission of facilitating the establishment of the EF in all the Dioceses.

    – The Pope or someone from the Curia declares that all adherents to the SSPX schism – including those who attend SSPX masses – will be excomunicated in one month if they don’t mend their ways (remenber Bishop Bruskewitz excommunications recently upheld by Rome ?)

    – The Pope determines that all participants in the schism, including the bishops and the priests, may return home if they comply with the 1988 agreement.

    – The SSPX starts dealing with Cardinal Kasper and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

    – In a century or two the SSPX will no longer exist (the donatists survived for a few centuries too).

  19. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    To Paul in the GNW:

    I am reminded of the dream of St. John Bosco, in which he saw the Church at sea under attack until it was anchored to two pillars, one representing Our Lady, the other Christ in the Eucharist. JPII certainly was a pope of Our Lady, adding a new set of mysteries, rekindling devotion, going to Fatima. Is Benedict the Pope to straighten out the church’s liturgy and allegiance to the Eucharist?

  20. Rose says:

    Not that my opinion is very learned but here it is, Paul. I think the Holy Father is clearing the deck; he wants the SSPX to come home but not at the cost of their hijacking the “reform” movement. This outcome is not a happy one but it is a cleansing nonetheless. Now all of us can invest time and energy in other directions to assist the reform (like the FSSP and others who are integrated in the Church.) I did not think it at the beginning of last week but I think it now, the Church will be better off without the SSPX. The Holy Father did not need the SSPX to bring forth Summorum Pontificum and he does not need them to bring about the reform: he has US.

  21. Jack Regan says:

    One thing we should not lose sight of here is that SSPX is tiny. Most Catholics – and I’m talking regular Mass attenders here – have never heard of them. Those who have mostly don’t care.

    Very generous estimates say that they have 1 million followers. Even if that’s true (probably not) it still makes them a mere dot on the radar scope.

    So let’s ignore them. Take away their attention and their headlines and I suspect their tactics will change. I also suspect that their followers will leave in droves.

    Look at the Old Catholics. We ignore them completely, with the result that they are a)tiny, and b)a complete joke.

  22. Brian Day says:

    Catholic blogger Mark Shea has a saying (my paraphrase):
    When the MSM talks about religion, deduct 50 IQ points; when it talks about Catholicism, deduct 75 points.

    Reuters and/or AP or any other non-religious media source should be taken with a big grain of salt. Let’s all wait for an official response from both parties instead of speculating on secular reporting.

  23. Paul in the GNW says:

    Massachusetts Catholic,

    I’ll have to read up on St. John Bosco’s vision! Thanks. It certainly seems plausible.

    Paul

  24. I’m always disturbed that Bishop Fellay (and the other three bishops) are not more eager to be done with their excommunicated status. Is there no fear of God in all this? If they claim to acknoledge the papacy and they clearly know they have incurred excommunication, thier choosing to remain in this state (however justified they feel) should disturb members if not the men themselves.
    I honestly just fear for Bishop Felley’s soul.
    Which is why I think the pope is so concerned about this situation and why we shouldn’t “just ignore them” as a joke. But with the way this situation is playing out with the SSPX dragging their feet, I do worry they are going to remain obstinate in their attitude, which doesn’t give us much hope (humanly speaking).

  25. I am not Spartacus says:

    For some reason, it seems to me, that perhaps, unity will not occur until after “the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world” consecrates Russia to Our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart, as told to Sister Lucy by Our Lady on June 6, 1929.

    Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html

  26. Pierre Hountet says:

    Athanasius,

    the Neo-Catechumnal way, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Franciscans (whose seminaries are sewers of apostasy and dissent)

    If I read you correctly, I understand that Franciscan seminaries would be worse than Jesuit ones? I don\’t know much about the former, however I am a little familiar with the latter, and the Jesuit seminaries I know seem fairly heterodox indeed.

    ====

    Jack,

    One thing we should not lose sight of here is that SSPX is tiny. Most Catholics – and I’m talking regular Mass attenders here – have never heard of them. Those who have mostly don’t care.

    Numbers do not matter here. The Church is not a democracy. In fact, a more interesting question is \”why does Rome pay so much attention to the FSSPX?\”. Have you ever seriously wondered why?

    By the way, I would like also to mention that your point of view is noticeably USA-centric. In several European major cities, FSSPX chapels are amongst the last clearly identifiable centers of Catholic life.

  27. Michael says:

    Father Z., they are schismatics – I think, whatever diplomatic language Cardinal Hoyos, or Msg. Perl employed on one/two occasion. Communion refers to worship and government, and it is more than evident that it doesn’t exist. It is not that the SSPX merely disapprove of the NO, but they wouldn’t concelebrate, they would refuse to be present even if invited by the Pope. They are running their own affairs as if they were separated Eastern Churches. A schism is not about canonical niceties but about reality.

    Athanasius – Why prudent with SSPX and not with others ? Because others are unmanageable and would take with themselves an enormous number of innocent, misled people. They are cunning: rather than making their own bishops against the Canon Law, they stay within the structure and manage to get their bishops through normal channels; rather than being open and outspoken, they work under the surface, in small doses in hundreds, so that it is difficult to pin them down.

    On the other hand, the behaviour of the SSPX is such that it makes impossible for the Pope to act differently.

  28. KOM says:

    The Ecclesia Dei Commission has been negotiating with Fellay – an *excommunicated bishop* -for 8 years…

    It’s useful to know that excommunications can be imposed and lifted just as easily, and they have been unjustly imposed in the past by popes, who are not Saints, on Saints:

    “he [Liberius] had sent legates to Alexandria to summon him to Rome. St. Athanasius had refused to come, and Liberius on receiving new letters from the East had at once excommunicated him…”

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Pope_Liberius

    Could Lefebvre be declared a Saint someday? Possible. Might Paul VI never be declared a Saint? Possible.

  29. Paleface Potter says:

    my wife was at a Parish council meeting tonight. On the agenda was the possibility of having a Tridentine Mass. the Parish priest ( 75, ordained 1958 ) said he would need time to learn the Mass. People who wanted the traditional Mass were “outside” the Church, and it was not conducive to Christian unity. So we are not EVER…. getting our Mass. The other preist in the pearish at the momment is the Diocesan “expert” on “spirituality” this guy makes up his own “Canon” on the hoof as it were. I have talked quite harshly to people at SSPX masses and in other places that we have to be open to supporting the Pope…..then we get kicked in the teeth like this…..Fr Z i send your postings by e-mail to various Bishops and Cardinals in this area…..our Parish priest said he reads them and follows them up….I joked that as long as he at least reads my e-mails I would not take payment for minor works around the Church…
    Just an excuse for me, as I would never, ever, take money from the Church…..But we are never…ever…getting the Mass in this area. No matter what Pope Ratzinger says. I was sick last Friday when I read some of the more negative stuff coming from the SSPX. now it looks as if they are slowing thing right down, whilst the Pope who is 81 wants to speed things up, Ad Multos Anos….but what happens if we get a Marini or someone of that ilk before the Mass is restored…..we will be stuck with the brainless hippies for the next 50 years.

  30. Paleface Potter says:

    I am not Spartacus…

    I was in Glasgow on the 25th March 1984.For the consecration of Russia. There were over 90 seats in St Marys Abercrombie Street reserved for priests and religious…six nuns turned up along with about 50 lay people and a very bored looking Archbishop Winning. Now if there had been a promise of banjo’s and back slapping and medals for the Knights of St Columba, well who knows how many would have turned up…!!!…and just incase anybody has forgotten….we still don’t have a real Mass in the North of Lancaster England.

  31. Paleface Potter says:

    P.S. I am an Old Carthusian, now an Oil Rig Cowboy, what would I know about spirituality..??

  32. Ad Orientem says:

    Being Orthodox and therefor lacking the highly refined legal code of the Latin Church, we tend to look at things a bit more simply. Are you in communion with us? If not, then there is a schism.

    ICXC NIKA
    John

  33. JM says:

    Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

    I think we have reason enough to question the fact — Russia has NOT been converted, and there is NOT peace. Was Our Lady wrong, or have we not done as she asked?

    My prayers go up for Bp. Fellay.

  34. dcs says:

    Father Z., they are schismatics – I think, whatever diplomatic language Cardinal Hoyos, or Msg. Perl employed on one/two occasion.

    I think if Vatican officials avoid calling them schismatics, then perhaps we ought to as well.

  35. Jordanes says:

    KOM said: It’s useful to know that excommunications can be imposed and lifted just as easily, and they have been unjustly imposed in the past by popes, who are not Saints, on Saints:

    Sigh. Not the comparison of Msgr. Lefebvre to St. Athanasius again. As has been pointed out here several times, the cases of Msgr. Lefebvre and St. Athanasius are not analogous. Now, it’s true that saints have been excommunicated and condemned unjustly — St. Athanasius and St. Joan of Arc are the two most notable examples. Still, if you want to cite the example of St. Athanasius and Pope Liberius, you should at least do better than Wikipedia as your source. In fact, you should have just gone to the old Catholic Encyclopedia and quoted it directly. If you had, you’d have seen that the passage you quote is lifted completely out of context — in context, it means something altogether different. Here’s the passage from which the Wikipedia quote was taken, with the quote and two other crucial passages shown in bold:

    Forged letters: In the fragments of St. Hilary are embedded a number of letters of Liberius. Fragment IV contains a letter, “Studens paci”, together with a very corrupt comment upon it by St. Hilary. The letter has usually been considered a forgery since Baronius (2nd ed.), and Duchesne expressed the common view when he said in his “Histoire ancienne de l’Eglise” (1907) that St. Hilary meant us to understand that it is spurious. But its authenticity was defended by Tillemont, and has been recently upheld by Schiktanz and Duchesne (1908), all Catholic writers. Hermant (cited by Coustant), followed by Savio, believed that the letter was inserted by a forger in the place of a genuine letter, and he took the first words of St. Hilary’s comment to be serious and not ironical: “What in this letter does not proceed from piety and from the fear of God?” In this document Liberius is made to address the Arian bishops of the East, and to declare that on receiving an epistle against St. Athanasius from the Oriental bishops, which had been sent to his predecessor Julius, he had hesitated to condemn that saint, since his predecessor had absolved him, but he had sent legates to Alexandria to summon him to Rome. Athanasius had refused to come, and Liberius on receiving new letters from the East had at once excommunicated him, and was now anxious to communicate with the Arian party. Duchesne thinks this letter was written in exile at the beginning of 357, and that Liberius had really sent an embassy (in 352-3), suggesting that Athanasius should come to Rome; now in his exile he remembers that Athanasius had excused himself, and alleges this as a pretext for condemning him. It seems inconceivable, however, that after heroically supporting Athanasius for years, and, having suffered exile for more than a year rather than condemn him, Liberius should motive his present weakness by a disobedience on the saint’s part at which he had testified no resentment during all this stretch of time. On the contrary, St. Hilary’s comment seems plainly to imply that the letter was forged by Fortunatian, Metropolitan of Aquileia, one of the bishops who condemned Athanasius and joined the court party at the Council of Milan in 355. Fortunatian must have tried to excuse his own fall, by pretending the pope (who was then still in Rome) had entrusted this letter to him to give to the emperor, “but Potamius and Epictetus did not believe it to be genuine when they condemned the pope with glee (as the Council of Rimini said of them)”, else they would not have condemned him to exile, “and Fortunatian sent it also to many bishops without getting any gain by it”. And St. Hilary goes on to declare that Fortunatian had further condemned himself by omitting to mention how Athanasius had been acquitted at Sardica after the letter of the Easterns against him to Pope Julius, and how a letter had come from a council at Alexandria and all Egypt in his favour to Liberius, as earlier to Julius. Hilary appeals to documents which follow, evidently the letter “Obsecro” to the emperor (already mentioned), in which Liberius attests that he received the defence by the Egyptians at the same time with the accusation by the Arians. The letter “Obsecro” forms fragment V, and it seems to have been immediately followed in the original work by fragment VI, which opens with the letter of Liberius to the confessors, “Quamuis sub imagine” (proving how steadfast he was in his support of the faith), followed by quotations from letters to a bishop of Spoleto and to Hosius, in which the pope deplores the fall of Vincent at Arles. These letters are incontestably genuine.

    So, the passage you quoted comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s summary of what the encyclopedia identifies as a forged letter. It is not an account of what Pope Liberius actually did, but a description of what a forged letter written by an Arian heretic bishop pretended he did. The historical record is unclear about whether or not Liberius actually assented to the excommunication of St. Athanasius. The great saint believed Liberius had assented to it, but with all the forged letters floating around back then, and the slow and unreliable communications, the bare fact that St. Athanasius believed Liberius agreed with the pseudocouncil’s unlawful excommunication cannot be taken as confirmation that Liberius really did agree with it.

    Could Lefebvre be declared a Saint someday? Possible. Might Paul VI never be declared a Saint? Possible.

    True, both of those are possible. I don’t find it likely that either of them will be canonised, not any time soon at least. Still, it is much less likely that Msgr. Lefebvre would, or could, ever be canonised. How many formally canonised saints are known to have died with a valid, lawful excommunication on them?

  36. Jordanes says:

    JM said: I think we have reason enough to question the fact—Russia has NOT been converted, and there is NOT peace. Was Our Lady wrong, or have we not done as she asked?

    I’m not sure what this has to do with Bishop Fellay’s response to the five conditions, but there are more than those two explanation you mentioned. If the apparition is authentic (and the Church says it is worthy of belief), then Our Lady could not be wrong — but the apparition may not be authentic, if it is appears to be worthy of belief. That’s not an explanation I’d prefer, to say the least, but still it is a possible explanation. And yes, perhaps Sister Lucia was mistaken, and the consecration of Russia did not satisfy Our Lady’s request. That’s also not an explanation I’d prefer, though I would find it less objectionable than positing the apparition to be inauthentic. However, there are other explanations: perhaps what God means by “peace” and “conversion” are not what some may think He meant. Or perhaps we’re just being impatient — after all, the apparition did not say peace and the conversion of Russia would happen immediately after the consecration. Indeed, no specific interval of time was given or even implied, and we all know that a day with God is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years as a day. Those explanations are better than the claim that the Church didn’t get the consecration right.

  37. athanasius says:

    Athanasius – Why prudent with SSPX and not with others ? Because others are unmanageable and would take with themselves an enormous number of innocent, misled people. They are cunning: rather than making their own bishops against the Canon Law, they stay within the structure and manage to get their bishops through normal channels; rather than being open and outspoken, they work under the surface, in small doses in hundreds, so that it is difficult to pin them down.

    If the SSPX are more manageable than the major orders who defy the Pope daily, along with many Bishops, doesn’t this suggest to you that the real threat to the Church lies elsewhere? Namely in the modernism pervading religious orders, seminaries and chanceries?

    Second, it challenges the notion of communion. What is communion then? Clearly many of the members of the aforementioned orders are not in communion with St. Peter if they act the same as the society but clandestinely. Why not send a letter demanding assent by all Jesuits to Humanae Vitae and the condemnation of Liberation Theology, mandated to be given at a certain time? Why not send a letter to Fr. McBrien demanding his assent to John Paul II’s infallible teaching on the inability to ordain women? Why not strip McBrien of his rights to teach, which should have been done the moment he published his first book? It seems the Vatican is inordinately focused on what the Society is doing and not enough on the rest of the Church which thumbs its nose at him.

    On the other hand, the behaviour of the SSPX is such that it makes impossible for the Pope to act differently.

    How is that? The behavior of Bishops who refuse to implement Summorum Pontificum, or refused to implement John Paul II’s demand to cease liturgical abuses (Redemptionem Sacramentum) and who continue liturgical abuses even after being told to cease (Neo-Catechumenal way) is at least as bad as anything the Society has done or been accused of doing, if not worse, yet they get the red carpet rolled out for them. It is possible for the Holy Father to act differently, not only for the Society, but for the modernists in the CHurch.

  38. I am not Spartacus says:

    I was in Glasgow on the 25th March 1984.

    Paleface. Kudos. And I am sorry about the poor state of Liturgy in your area. I can sympathise and that I can says way too much about the way too little we have in the way of a reverent, sacred, beautiful, true and authentic Liturgy

  39. KOM says:

    Jordanes: *It is not an account of what Pope Liberius actually did, but a description of what a forged letter written by an Arian heretic bishop pretended he did.*

    Actually, if you read Davies (who was a thorough historian, btw.) on this, there is no doubt that the excommunication was ratified by Liberius; whether it was under duress is the only point contested by historians.

    *Sigh. Not the comparison of Msgr. Lefebvre to St. Athanasius again. As has been pointed out here several times, the cases of Msgr. Lefebvre and St. Athanasius are not analogous.*

    No one ever said they are analogous. But they do posit the possibility of situations so deleterious faith-wise that extreme measures had to be taken. Btw. Athanasius also ordained Bishops without Papal mandate. [Nooo… the Church’s current discipline in these matters cannot be compared to the way bishops were selected in the ancient Church. – Fr. Z] I just think the verdict is still out on the actions of Lefebvre. I honestly don’t know if, in the eyes of God, his actions were justified or not. On the other hand, I think in Lefebvre’s mind he was reacting to an emergency situation in the Church. Which, whatever the ultimate verdict, mitigates his actions.

    In his preface to “Saint Athanasius, Defender of the Faith” Davies directly implies [How does someone “directly imply”?]that his reason for writing this book was to compare the situation of St. Athanasius (who was excommunicated by a Pope) with that of Lefebvre: “‘What happened over 1600 years ago is repeating itself today, but with two or three differences: Alexandria is today the whole Universal Church the stability of which is being shaken, and what was undertaken at that time by means of physical force and cruelty is now being transferred to a different level. Exile is replaced by banishment into the silence of being ignored, killing by assassination of character.’…The most evident parallel elicited in the book is that between the role played by St. Athanasius in the fourth century and that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in the decades following the Second Vatican Council. It must be made clear that at no time did the Archbishop ever compare himself to St. Athanasius….” “Saint Athanasius” (Foreword, 21 March 1994, 1995, Angelus Press, citation omitted.) Indeed, St. Athanasius was banished multiple times, excommunicated by two councils (and the excommunication was ratified by Pope Liberius), and he is now one of the greatest Saints of the Church. Of that time, Athanasius writes, “The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arain [the heretical belief that the Son is not co-eternal with the Father.]” Id. pg. 30. St. Athanasius wrote, “Our churches are taken from us and given to the Arians; they have our places, but we have the faith. They cannot rob us of that.” Id. pg. 20. [No. With all the respect due to the late Mr. Davies, whom I admire, the comparison of Lefebvre to Athanasius limps horribly.]

  40. KOM says:

    *Nooo… the Church’s current discipline in these matters cannot be compared to the way bishops were selected in the ancient Church. – Fr. Z.*

    True, Father, but St. Athanasius was “excommunicated” when he ordained priests.

    *How does someone “directly imply”?*

    By implying more directly than in indirect implication.

    Examples:

    “Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles [a proposition I strongly disagree with, btw.].” Professor William Provine, Cornell University

    “The likelihood, however, is that the disjunctive was intended to mean what it directly implies, namely, that even though the defendant was not aware…” Jerome Hall, General Principles of Criminal Law.

    *No. With all the respect due to the late Mr. Davies, whom I admire, the comparison of Lefebvre to Athanasius limps horribly.*

    The problem is, Father, the modernists among us (and I exclude you, of course,) do not know they are in error any more than the Arian Bishops thought they were in error. Just the opposite: they are in, arguably, the majority, and therefore think they are right, while pointing the finger at the minority, i.e. SSPX, and priests like yourself (who maintain Tradition fully within the Church.) So, although the verdict on the comparison between Athanasius and Lefebvre is still out (we know the first is a Saint, which hasn’t been determined for the other,) we can say that the situations in the Church are similar with respect to the percentage of its members adhering to heresy, or denying dogma in each epoch. Would you really disagree with this last point, even though you may not agree that Athanasius and Lefebvre can be compared?

    [This is a rabbit hole. No more about this topic in this entry, please. – Fr. Z]

  41. Jordanes says:

    Well, Father Zuhlsdorf has made his will known, so that’s that. I had very little to add anyway — really just to reiterate that the passage you quoted is, as I said, NOT account of what Pope Liberius actually did, but a description of what a forged letter written by an Arian heretic bishop pretended he did; and to observe that the historical evidence on this matter is nowhere near as clear cut as you believe or as Davies may have believed.

    Veering sharply back to the actual topic at hand, I simply must opine that we’re not likely to get enlightening or terrible accurate reporting on this story from Reuters. When it comes to Catholicism, especially traditional and traditionalist Catholicism, I think the Reuters staff are out to sea without a compass, rudder, or sails.