The Holy See’s 5 conditions for the SSPX – my comments and a prayer

The intrepid Andrea Tornielli has the five points which the Holy See has offered to the SSPX.  Here is my translation:

I have gotten hold of the letter (written in French) which Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos wrote with the five conditions sent to [Bp.] Fellay in view of a return to full communion with Rome.  Contrary to the first leaks, there is no mention of acceptance of the Council or the new Mass:  they are prior general conditions.  In fact the Holy See, showing a great generosity, asks that they not attack the person of the Pope.  [Bp.] Fellay asked Benedict XVI for the revocation of the excommunication, so the request to respect authority without first pretending to be the recipients of a a "superior" Magisterium to that of the reigning Pontiff seems to me to be a commonsensical condition!  This is the text of the letter which bears the signature of the Cardinal President of Ecclesia Dei:

Conditions resulting from the 4 june 2008 meeting between Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay:

  1. A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.
  2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.
  3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.
  4. A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
  5. A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively.  This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.

Okay.   Huge stuff here.

Isn’t this basically a papal "offer you can’t refuse"?

Let’s parse some of this.

The Holy See has not made any theological requirements beyond those inherent in having a proper relationship of respect with the Vicar of Christ.   The office of the Vicar of Christ, the Petrine Ministry, is a theological point in itself, a constitutive dimension of the Church willed by the Lord Himself.  Therefore a proper attitude of respect for a) his person and b) his teaching office, are both practical and theological.  Union with the Roman Pontiff must at least fulfill these points, at the very least. 

There are practical aspects here too.  Not long ago, speaking in Paris, Bp. Fellay said some harsh things about the Pope, calling him a "perfect liberal" in a sermon.  I posted on that here.   This must stop, clearly.   Also, recall that some people said "But Father! But Father!", in high dudgeon, "you shouldn’t talk about what Bp. Fellay said!  That’s unhelpful!"   No, friends.  This was an important point that had to be taken care of.  It concerns ecclesial charity.

Also, and I think this must be brought out – though some will bridle at the suggestion the question implies: Could some dissenter such as, say, Kung accept these conditions?  I suspect not. 

We have now moved firmly to the real point of the conflict: Who is Peter in the Church?

Denial of unity with Peter is now the serious problem to be overcome and it must be done in charity, which means at times some difficult questions and corresponding sacrifices.

The basis of all union in the Church has to be charity, first exemplified by Jesus on the Cross in His great act of self-oblation. 

There is no mention in the conditions of doctrinal details. 

Also, the word "adhesion" needs some thought.  In my days at the P.C. Ecclesia Dei, all that meant was that you signed a document which had the Creed and a statement that the New Mass was valid and that you didn’t deny the Second Vatican Council.  Nothing more.  It didn’t require that you like the New Mass or that you had to celebrate Mass in the Novus Ordo.  It say you had to think everything in the Council was peachy.  It was simple.  Like the word idoneus in Summorum Pontificum, the standard is always the minimum necessary. 

Keep in mind who the Pope is.   He is a highly gifted theologian who was in charge of the CDF for a very long time.  He did his own scholarly work on Augustine and Bonaventure, learning from them the nature of the Church and how to resolve conflicts.  He had practical experience in dealing with theologians.

Pope Benedict respects theological differences and debates, so long as they are conducted fairly and in charity.  He has never been out to hammer people who disagree either with him personally or with the Church in doctrine if there can be a discussion and a meeting of minds.  That has been his modus operandi for years.

I sense from this that theological discussions about doctrinal points can take place at some time down the line, but this first step must be undertaken. 

The bickering must cease right now.  Then we can move forward.

O God, our common Father who knows us better than ourselves,
pour graces through the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the members of the SSPX
to bend what is rigid and warm what is cold,
that in union with the Vicar of Christ,
to whom Your Son our Lord gave His own authority to bind and to loose
and whom He gave as a gift to the Church as a visible point of of unity,
we may together in ecclesial charity strive in grace and zeal to renew
Your people in our Holy Catholic Church
.

 

 

 

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126 Responses to The Holy See’s 5 conditions for the SSPX – my comments and a prayer

  1. Paul Haley says:

    I have posted what follows in another forum with many SSPX supporters and I include it here to show where I stand on these issues. Hopefully, my call will not go unheeded.

    It is my personal plea to the SSPX that they consider very carefully this call from His Holiness and what it means to be in the bosom of the church with the full approbation and approval of the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. They will have to make the decision themselves, of course, but I beg them to think that to be in full communion with the Holy Father who needs them in his fight with the “wolves” does not mean to be in communion with heresy. It means full partnership with the Holy Father in his efforts to restore Tradition and an incredible opportunity to work within Holy Mother Church for the salvation of souls, not as they themselves view their position but as the world views them, especially Catholics who have never had the opportunity to experience real Tradition in action (unintended pun there).

    20 years is a long time to be considered to be in irregular canonical status and perhaps now is the time to show the world that you and your Society can be in the vanguard of the movement to restore Tradition in the church. Please, do not fail to respond positively to His Holiness’s call for union with him. Take up the cause and assist His Holiness in his battle with the wolves, most especially those within the church itself. An incredible opportunity awaits you…do not fail to take advantage of it and we will all be the better for it. Submitted with the utmost respect for the battle you have waged in our behalf and in the behalf of all who wear the label Catholic whether they realize it or not.

  2. Brian Mershon says:

    I sincerely pray that the SSPX leadership has the trust, the humility, the courage and fortitude to do what is right for the Church, its lay adherents and for the salvation of souls.

    I hope and pray they realize there are MANY Catholics who would attend their chapels once full, visible canonical regularization is achieved.

    As one who has periodically attended SSPX chapels, I hope and pray they can honestly adhere to these simple requests by the Holy See and then we can celebrate the official dissolution of the excommunications.

    Again, I pray for the courage and fortitude of the SSPX leadership to trust in the guidance of the Holy Ghost from the Chair of Peter.

  3. From Cardinal Castrillon’s May 30 interview following the FSSP ordinations:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/HoyosInterview.htm

    Journalist: “So, your Eminence, would you say that what you just said now is this the main motivation for the Motu Proprio for the Holy Father, or is the motivation also the restoration of the Society of Saint Pius X back into the Church.

    His Eminence: This is the second point, important too. But the main point is the importance of the sanctity inside the Gregorian liturgy. The second one (is) to avoid divisions in the Church and to open the door to the group of the Society of St Pius X. Because in the Catholic Church, according to the laws of the Catholic Church, the bishops of the Society of St Pio X are excommunicated, because according to Canon Law, the New Canon Law – not in the old one, the ordination without a mandate of the Holy Father gives excommunication. And that is why all the priests from the Society are suspended.

    Journalist: There is a lot of confusion about this word “schism,” though. We, as Catholic journalists, should we be using the word “schism” with respect to the Society? Is that the correct word to use?

    His Eminence: It is not exactly correct, because there was a schismatical action, which is different. It was a schismatical action from Archbishop Lefebvre in the ordination [of the bishops], but they keep the obedience to the Holy See. They have not (the) exercise of power [of governance]. They are the bishops, they are auxiliaries of the Society. The Society was, the juridical personality of the Society, was cancelled by the Church, but they are, in their language, auxiliary bishops. We hope that they will come to the full communion with the Church. But some people are going too fast to schism and to the heresy, because if they begin to be teachers of the Pope, this is not schism, this is heresy. And if it is confirmed, people going with that kind of movement will be excommunicated, too, because of the heresy. But now, they are not really in schism or heresy.

    Journalist: So “irregular standing,” what word should we use?

    His Eminence: This is “irregular standing.” This is the way we speak about them.

  4. Craigmaddie says:

    If the SSPX rejects these 5 conditions they will lose a massive amount of sympathy. I read the conditions and simply marvel at the generosity of our Holy Father.

  5. Rachel says:

    I second Paul’s comments. I have been praying for this reconciliation for a long time. The longer they hold out, the worse it will be for everyone. We need them in the Church. If one looks at our past history, the groups that splintered from the Church went off on their own and didn’t help the Church at all. Honestly, what this comes down to, and Rome has clearly shown in these conditions, that this is more than a matter of liturgy or even religious liberty, Vatican II, etc. Its about submitting to the rightful authority, coming as children to their father asking that he be respected and honored and obeyed. Clearly Rome has been listening to some of the rhetoric coming from the SSPX and what has been heard is not good (calling Benedict a “sick mind”, a “perfect liberal”, etc). If they want to be in communion with the Church, and that is the only way to go, then they must submit. If not, their pride will kill them. Pride is the worst of the 7 deadly sins and what I have heard from the SSPX smacks of it frequently.

    True, we must stand up for the Faith, for Tradition, etc. But that cannot be done outside the bosom of Holy Mother Church. She has been abused and needs help.

    My plea to the SSPX is please cheerfully submit to these conditions. They are not hard. These do not require that you stop criticizing the current situation in the Church or that you must be silent on the problems with Vatican II, etc. This requires first and foremost that charity and obedience as sons of the Church to our Holy Father, nothing more, nothing less. So, please, the time is now. We need to be together on this. To further continue your irregular situation will make most people conclude that you have nothing to offer and that the cause of restoring all things in Christ by holding fast to Tradition and the Faith will be seen as a joke. Remember what Our Lord said, “He who hears you, hears Me.” He was speaking about his apostles. The legitimate authorities in the Church (the pope, bishops, etc) being the rightful heirs of the apostles are to be respected and obeyed. Granted, and I know this from experience, there are bishops who have abused their positions but that doesn’t mean that we do not owe them our respect and obedience.

    Basically, you have to ask yourselves, “Are we in or are we out?” If you are out, if you decide to stay on the sidelines, then it is through and you have shown yourselves to be so puffed up with pride that you would ruin the one chance that you might have at reconciling this and fighting the good fight IN the Church, not OUT of it because there is only ONE Church, only ONE.

    I will pray fervently for the resolution to this situation that has gone on for to long. The Church needs you.

  6. Padre Steve says:

    Let’s pray they see the charity and goodness of the Holy Father and return home!

  7. malta says:

    *public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father.*

    No ad hominem attacks, although a Catholic is always free to disagree with certain words or actions of the Pope.

    *avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father.*

    I think SSPX has already shown that they can disagree with a law, but still follow it. [HUH?] For instance, they believe that twelve hour fast before communion should have been kept, and recommend that it still be kept, but acknowledge that the one hour fast is a valid law. So, I think SSPX is already complying with this condition. [The example you pick reminds me of the phrase “straining at a gnat”. I think the fast laws before Communion are somewhat less important than actual submission to Roman Pontiff and exercising public ministry without faculties. Still, I hope you are right about this. – Fr. Z]

    *This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.*

    I don’t quite understand this, or am unsure what it might mean. If I read Fr. Z correctly, this might mean that SSPX will need to still “not deny” Vatican II (which, generally, is no problem, since SSPX thinks it was a valid, if fallible and flawed, council.) What else “adhesion” might mean is a giant question mark. Yes, these general pre-conditions seem “generous,” but do not spell-out what the result of following them will mean.

    Nevertheless, SSPX should follow them since they should follow them anyway.

  8. Marty Sieve says:

    If the SSPX can’t agree to these conditions, why did it ever enter negotiations with Rome in the first place. Why waste everyone’s time? Could it be that the Socity bishops never really expected such a generous response from Pope Benedict and now must invent reasons for rejecting his overtures?

  9. M. says:

    If those are truely the five main conditions being “demanded” of the SSPX as a condition of their return then it would be a truely unbelievable snub to the Holy Father, and indeed Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, if the society were to turn the offer down. Having heard the Cardinal speak in London, my strongest impression is that he is truely a pastor of souls, who is deeply committed to reconcilliation within the church.

  10. John Enright says:

    These are generous terms, and I think the Society would be foolish if its members didn’t jump at this opportunity. The Holy See could have dictated much harsher terms, but instead, approached the Society with humility and charity. This clearly shows that the Holy Father has taken a well developed pastoral approach to a thorny problem.

  11. Jay Jay says:

    These are great conditions. I have not in a long time honestly believed
    reunion between SSPX and the Church could come about. I now entertain a
    flicker of hope. I, for my sake, shall offer a decade every night until
    the Feast of Ss. Peter & Paul for the reunion. Miracles have happened before.

  12. Kradcliffe says:

    My big fear is that the 28th will come and go without any changes. No agreement will be reached, but the Vatican won’t say anything publicly. The laity will continue to be confused, with people waving the letters of Msgr. Perl about while going on about St. Athanasius….I think a lot of people who currently attend Mass with the SSPX will not go if they are given a clear statement on schism and excommunication, although there will always be those who will deny the plain truth. It’s this current ambiguity that I think is hurting a lot of people I know.

  13. Father Julian Large says:

    I hope and pray that there will be a reconciliation. The condition of “a commitment to avoid the pretence of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father” is, however, extremely alarming. Surely any pope is the servant of the Magisterium, not its master? Sensible theologians have always accepted that popes can make, and sometimes have made, mistakes in doctrine. Perhaps it’s just a problem of translation, but as it reads in English this condition seems to take precisely the fundamentalist view of Papal Infallibility that the Fathers of the First Vatican Council managed to avoid.

  14. Eric G. says:

    I don’t get it.

    Why is Hans Kung allowed to remain a Catholic priest, with faculties, and in good standing with the Church while he denied every Catholic dogma under the sun, while the rad-trad clergy of the SSPX remain excommunicated/suspended?

    Sounds like a double standard to me. I wish Father Z would be as g=critical of the Pope as he is of Bishop Fellay.

    And by the way, I’m no rad-trad.

  15. Father Bartoloma says:

    “A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.”

    The SSPX has always tried to put forward that they follow “eternal” and “Catholic” Rome, not “modernist” Rome. Consenting to this third term could be letting go of that position. I hope that the agreement goes through.

  16. Limbo says:

    Much prayer and penance for this intention.

    Our Vicar of Christ has shown to SSPX the love and generous mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine Our Blessed Mother’s joy at this time !

    Long life and abundant blessings to our pope Benedict XVI

  17. RBrown says:

    Why is Hans Kung allowed to remain a Catholic priest, with faculties, and in good standing with the Church while he denied every Catholic dogma under the sun, while the rad-trad clergy of the SSPX remain excommunicated/suspended?

    Sounds like a double standard to me. I wish Father Z would be as g=critical of the Pope as he is of Bishop Fellay.

    And by the way, I’m no rad-trad. I think the bishops of the SSPX are a bunch of arrogant nut jobs.
    Comment by Eric G

    There has definitely been a double standard–liberals have been babied while trads have been persecuted. Mostly, it was under Paul VI, but it existed a bit under JPII.

    I agree that Hans Kueng should have had either faculties lifted or been suspensus a divinis. But I think that is mostly a question for the Swiss bishops, not for Rome.

  18. Andy says:

    I’m not a theologian or anything close to it, so these conditions seem a bit vague to me. Thanks Fr. Z for analyzing them – the only problem for SSPX would be whether they will be allowed to preach about tradition, doctrine and refrain from celebrating Novus Ordo.

    But when I think of possible results of them re-joining the Church’s mainstream as an organized, well defined group I can’t help but pray and hope this agreement will go through. They joining in now could be the tipping point indeed on the way to a great renewal of the Church.

  19. RBrown says:

    Malta,

    Rules on fasting have nothing to do with the Magisterium.

  20. Paul Haley says:

    The condition of “a commitment to avoid the pretence of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father” means to me: don’t set yourselves up publicly in opposition to the holy father in matters of Faith and Morals because he has, by virtue of his office, infallibility on those matters when he speaks ex cathedra on faith and morals. The word “pretence” is the key and one definition is: “the act of giving a false appearance”. In other words, don’t pretend that you are superior to the holy father in such matters. It does not mean, in my opinion, that you cannot privately disagree with the holy father and seek clarification of troublesome points or that you cannot submit “dubia” under the correct conditions.

  21. Geometricus says:

    Fr. Z,
    I join your heart in praying this prayer for the SSPX. May they realize what an opportunity for reconciliation they have before them, and what good it will do the Church and them to take this opportunity!

    Thank you for your part in making this known, that we may become a part of praying for it.

  22. Boko Fittleworth says:

    Eric G,

    Kung is still in because, when the leftists completed their long march through the institutional Church, they were faithful to their dictum “Pas d’enemies a gauche.”

    An affirmative answer to the question, “Does he have enemies on the left?” should be a sine qua non for holding ecclesial office.

    And Father Z has plenty of enemies a gauche.

  23. May the Holy Spirit indeed melt the hearts of those hostile to the Pope. But it takes two to have a conversion: an open heart and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is always available–the question is whether there is the will to accept the invitation of the Spirit to agape. Fellay’s recent remarks tell me that the case of a hardened heart is well advanced when you consider the abject absurdity of accusing the Pope of being a “perfect” liberal. Those who keep searching for excuses not to do something are likely those who just don’t want to do it, maybe for other reasons that are left unstated. It is no insult to anyone to observe that one leading human motivation for such stubbornness throughout the annals of history is the desire to maintain one’s own personal power. If there is no true conversion of the heart, then it is better for the SSPX to stay out of the Church. It also seems odd that the Pope has to almost beg for respect to the papal office; the very need to make such a basic request does not bode well for the future. I hope things turn out well, but my sense is that the Pope is dealing with extremely unreasonable people who will just keep moving the goal posts. Eventually, you just have to shake the dust off one’s feet and move on, as noted in the Gospel: Matthew 10:14 (RSV): “And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.”

  24. Michael J says:

    If the third condition does not apply to the Church’s disciplinary laws (such as fasting and abstinence) what does it apply to?

    Does it mean, as Father Z seems to suggest that the SSPX will agree to cease “exercising ministry without facilities”? [No, I don’t thinks so. That is, after all, what they are trying to resolve, in the end.] If so, its a bit of a moot point, in my opinion. If the society is regularized, does that not mean that they will be granted facilities? [Yes. That is what this all means. – Fr. Z]

  25. I just finished listening to the recent sermon of Bp. Fellay in Winona. While he did not attack the pope, nevertheless he had some strong words to say about the Faith in Rome, recounting claims made by Our lady of Lasalette. Would be interesting to have him in the same room with Bp Trautmann. That would keep bloggers going for weeks.

  26. Scott says:

    I’m again floored by the incredible humility and decorum of our Holy Father. Have we not been incredibly blessed by this pontificate? Deo gratias!

    This is a vicar who can truly echo the words of Christ:

    Venite ad me omnes qui laboratis, et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos.

    Tollite jugum meum super vos, et discite a me, quia mitis sum, et humilis corde : et invenietis requiem animabus vestris.

    Jugum enim meum suave est, et onus meum leve.

    pax!
    Scott

  27. Great prayer, Fr Z.

    More fully, from Pentecost…

    Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium.

    Veni, pater pauperum, veni, dator numerum, veni, lumen cordium.

    Consolator optime, dulcis hospes animae, dulce refrigerium.

    In labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium.

    O lux beatissima, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium.

    Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium.

    Lava quod est sordidum, riga quod est aridum, sana quod est saucium.

    Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium.

    Da tuis fidelibus, in te confidentibus, sacrum septenarium.

    Da virtutis meritum, da salutis exitum, da perenne gaudium.

    Amen. Alleluia.

  28. Christophe says:

    The problem for the SSPX, leaving all theological/political issues aside, is very practical – with the issuance of Summorum Pontificum and the unleashing of the extraordinary form, the SSPX risks irrelevance. EF Masses are sprouting up all over, and people with a traditional bent no longer have to choose between the SSPX and a begrudging local bishop who might or might not grant an indult. People have realized, and will understand even more in the future, that they don’t need the SSPX to get their Mass (which is really what it was all about in the first place, although theological issues surely played a role). It will be more and more difficult for the SSPX to explain its raison d’etre.

    The last line of Tornielli’s article was key – “The choice is whether to make an agreement and reenter into full communion with the Holy See, or rather to remain a small separate body with the risk of turning into a little sectarian and uninfluential group.” With each passing day, the SSPX becomes less influential. And I think Bp. Fellay realizes that the Holy Father’s generosity has truly pulled the rug out from under him – it is impossible to say no now.

  29. Geoffrey says:

    Thank you for composing such a beautiful prayer, Father. I shall say it daily. Sadly, I have my doubts that the SSPX will agree to the five points. I pray I am wrong.

  30. Garrett says:

    I have to say, originally I wholeheartedly supported the SSPX’s acceptance of these terms, and I suppose I still do, but then I ran over to Rorate Caeli, only to see that Pope Benedict will give a joint homily, Creed, and blessing with Patriarch Bartholomew on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul.

    Without a doubt, we all know that the Creed will be uses without the Filioque, despite this being a Roman Rite Mass. And for what reason? So as not to offend the Orthodox with our beliefs, in our own basilica, with the Pope celebrating. When these shenanigans go on, as they have numerous times in the past years, how will the SSPX take this attempt at union seriously? They see it as cow-towing and changing our liturgy so as not to offend schismatics. How hopelessly poetic.

  31. Theodore says:

    It seems to me, without having read Bishop Fellay’s recent sermon in Paris, or seen any other communication from the SSPX, which could be the cause of this letter from his Eminence, that the first four points Cardinal Hoyos stipulates are good and sound practice for anyone seeking a constructive dialog in any negotiation. They should be agrreable to anyone of good will. Why acceptance only by the end of June?

    This sounds like (re-)establishing “ground” rules for further talks, certainly not a sign that an agreement is imminent.

    This development is surprising to me, as I recall pronouncements from Bishop Fellay that seemed invariably respectful of the Holy Father.

    I pray that the Holy Spirit guide both sides to do the will of God, and to find the way to do it without further delay – isn’t twenty years long enough?

    AMDG

    T. Amberg

  32. Jordanes says:

    Father Large, the condition of “a commitment to avoid the pretence of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father” doesn’t mention papal infallibility at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s basically how I understand it: the papal magisterium is not always infallible, but Catholics are still expected to assent to it.

    Anyway, as others have said, if the SSPX cannot assent to these barests of conditions, I doubt there will ever be a reconciliation. If the SSPX really knows and believes in Apostolic Tradition, then they will understand that the Holy Father simply can’t offer more generous terms than these — not without going against the divine constitution of the Church.

    Keep praying . . .

  33. Bryan Jackson says:

    I have to say, originally I wholeheartedly supported the SSPX’s acceptance of these terms, and I suppose I still do, but then I ran over to Rorate Caeli, only to see that Pope Benedict will give a joint homily, Creed, and blessing with Patriarch Bartholomew on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul.

    I don’t think we can assume anything about our Pope’s plans. I would have never expected that he would have issued SP, and I would have never expected that he would have only given communion on the tongue. Our Pontiff continually surprises and delights me.

    And while I would never guess that he would use Filioque, my guesses are exceedingly proven wrong, and Deo Gratias for that!

  34. Brian Kopp says:

    When the public reads the five conditions, and realizes how reasonable they are, pressure will increase dramatically on Bishop Fellay to make this first simple act of submission.

    The five conditions could only be seen as harmful by the most schismatic branch of the SSPX, a branch Bishop Fellay might need to trim if he is to hope the SSPX will have any future in the business of saving souls.

  35. Jordanes says:

    Garrett said: Without a doubt, we all know that the Creed will be uses without the Filioque, despite this being a Roman Rite Mass. And for what reason? So as not to offend the Orthodox with our beliefs, in our own basilica, with the Pope celebrating.

    Does the Bishop of Rome have the authority to regulate his church’s liturgy or not? If he chooses to occasionally use the Eastern Catholic form of the Nicene Creed rather than the Western Catholic form, who are we to object?

    When these shenanigans go on, as they have numerous times in the past years, how will the SSPX take this attempt at union seriously? They see it as cow-towing and changing our liturgy so as not to offend schismatics. How hopelessly poetic.

    The Pope is acting in charity to try to encourage the healing of the Eastern Schism. He is also acting in charity to try to encourage reconciliation of the irregular SSPX. If the SSPX wants the Holy See to show the same or greater generosity and tolerance for them that the Holy See shows to the Orthodox, then it is inconsistent for the SSPX to object to the generosity being shown the Orthodox. In the SSPX and its supporters want Rome to take a hard line with the Orthodox, then the SSPX must ask for Rome to dictate stiff terms to prevent the SSPX’s irregularity turning into formal schism.

  36. I think Brian Kopp has the right of it here (above). I just pray that there is still enough time for that pressure of positive opinion to make itself felt upon the leadership of the FSSPX.

    Fiat voluntas tuas, Domine.

  37. Phillip says:

    If the SSPX does not accept these amazongly generous terms, they will wither away and become like Pedro de Luna’s obscure sect in Spain, claiming to be the true preservers of Tradition long after the true Church had passed them by.

    Boniface
    http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com

  38. Gerard says:

    These five conditions are basically another gun to the head of the SSPX similar to 1988. They are designed to get the SSPX to choose between the truth and politics.

    The Curia is holding the idea and label of “unity” as a hostage to extract a promise of refusal to condemn objective error. Who in God’s name wants that?

    Where is the Pope’s promise to condemn liberalism?

    1. A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.

    As far as I know, the Holy Father has never even responded to the bouquet of millions of Rosaries said for him by the SSPX back in 2006.

    What other bishop in the world has organized a crusade like that?

    What qualifies as a “commitment” and what is the scale by which “proportional” is to be measured? Without any quantifiable standards, this is meaningless. Generosity? I don’t even understand how correcting an injustice is considered generosity. A person breaks your leg, they give you a crutch and they are standing around waiting for a “thank you”? Talk about an ego-stroking demand.

    2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.

    In other words, the current Holy Father is superior to St. Peter himself, who was publicly chastised by another Bishop (St. Paul) because it was necessary. It’s up to the person of the Holy Father to live up to the dignity of his office. Creating scandal by his inter-religious actions and imitating some of the truly reprehensible behaviors of his immediate predecessor is the counter-commitment that would dictate the actions of those reacting to the Pope.

    3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.

    There is only one Magisterium. The Holy Father has to submit to it along with everyone else. His personal opinions and writings as a theologian, his policies of governance are not part of the Magisterium. If he wants to invoke THE Magisterium, that is the decision of the Pope. At that point, he can condemn erroneous beliefs and define (see that DEFINE) the difference between correct and incorrect belief. History shows by examples. The trial and rulings against Pope Formosus by Pope Stephen is the standard by which Popes can err and the faithful can be jerked back and forth by a series of bad Popes.

    Let’s not pretend that everything out of the mouth or pen of the Pope is magisterial and irresistible. That is the pretense that is the problem today.

    4. A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

    Does that mean finesse the language enough to disobey orthodox “requests” from the Pope? That’s what the liberals “in full communion” do. They don’t get any real heat for it.

    It took how many years for a Pope to finally tell the truth about the suppression of the TLM. Who needs to show committment to honest behavior?

    5. A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.

    After the Pope has eliminated a good portion of the liberal bishops “in full communion” who work for the destruction of souls by their actions and inactions.

    If the root of the problem is not going to be dealt with, namely, the refusal of the Popes to condemn grievous errors directly, what is anyone proposing to agree to except a “paper unity?”

    Deal appropriately with Roger Cardinal Mahoney then maybe Rome will build some credibility. [Get his name right! – Fr. Z]

    The Pope as “King Lear” policy has not worked and must be changed to a model of the papacy that has success.

    [A good example of the perennial sourness which has characterized the discussion for many years. Sad. – Fr.Z]

  39. Sid Cundiff says:

    These 5 commitments seem to me more certain basic understandings needed before entering into concrete negotiations, rather than the detailed terms of an agreement. In other words, the Holy See seems to be asking, “Do you understand who we The Holy See are, and what our authority is?”

    #3 seems to me to be the “make or break” understanding.

  40. Garrett says:

    “Does the Bishop of Rome have the authority to regulate his church’s liturgy or not? If he chooses to occasionally use the Eastern Catholic form of the Nicene Creed rather than the Western Catholic form, who are we to object?”

    Yes, he does, Jordanes. But, as he is continually reminding us, we Catholic Christians, even the Pope, are servants of the liturgy. Anyway, besides, it’s not so much the point that he is omitting something, but rather the reasons for doing so (which have been blatantly obvious in the past and I assume still will be so). Don’t get my wrong, I absolutely love Pope Benedict! I just question this move; it gives my conscience trouble, frankly.

  41. Patrick T says:

    Gerard,

    You have done a great job detailing the exact sentiments which these 5 points seek to address. If the leadership of the SSPX maintains an attitude similar to yours, there will be no reconciliation. If Bishop Fellay does not accept these terms, I suspect the Holy Father and the PCED will begin to speak in terms of formal schism. A line has been drawn here, and if the SSPX does not respond favorably, they will go the way of the Old Catholics, the Liberal Catholics, and the Polish National Church.

    Acceptance of these 5 points means they are serious about reconciling. Rejection of them means they are not.

  42. Prof. Basto says:

    My eyes are filled with tears of joy! God bless our Pope!

    It seems clear that, once those five Papal pre-conditions are met, then the Holy Father will lift the excommunications and begin a theological dialogue with the SSPX .

    To me, that is a clear consequence of the fact that the Holy Father is not asking the Fraternity to accept Vatican II or the Novus Ordo at this point. So, there shall clearly be a second stage, a stage of talks on the merits of the disagreements. This is the first stage of the sequence. The stage of the bare-minimum requirements.

    The SSPX says that it does not want an agreement, a juridical structure, a full return to obedience under Rome before the excommunications are lifted and before a doctrinal debate. Those are the SSPX preconditions. There was a third, namely, the derestriction of the TLM, that was already accomplished. Now, it seems that the Pope is placing His pre-conditions before those of the Fraternity, papal pre-conditions that are necessary in order for him to grant the two remaining SSPX requests, namely, the removal of the excommunications and the doctrinal engagement.

    After the excommunications are lifted and the doctrinal engagement begins, then of course perhaps the authentic meaning of the Church’s teaching on religious freedom will be clarified, and of course the SSPX in some form or another will have to accept the validity of the Second Vatican Council and of the New Mass. Once the doctrinal points are hammered out, then the Prelature will be established, thus effecting full canonical integration of the SSPX into the hierarchy of the universal Church.

    And such canonical regularization, that is distinct from the simple lifting of the excommunications, is what effects the return to full communion (e.g. the Orthodox ecommunications are lifted but they are not in full Communion). Such canonical regularization is the necessary last step, and will bring with it all its benefits, such as faculties to hear confessions, the canonical appointment of the SSPX bishops, giving them jurisdiction, etc.

    But it seems to me that, since the Pope is not asking for acceptance of the Novus Ordo and of the last Council at this point, then the reconciliation will not happen all in one stage, but rather in a sequence of stages. The Pope is thus very generous, because, instead of waiting for the final solution of all controversies to then lift the excommunications, which was producing an impasse, he is ready to lift the excommunications at once – which is a very joyful news indeed – requiring only that the SSPX commits to those five bare minimum points.

    Another pope would perhaps have required full conformity first, and the removal of censure later, and in making that offer to lift the excommunications with only those bare minimum preconditions for dialogue the Pope shows extreme willingness to solve the crisis, and enormous paternal solicitude towards the Fraternity.

    And indeed, those five points have to do with the essence of ecclesiology, with the dogma of the Petrine primacy, with the article of faith of belief in the Catholic Church. The Fraternity cannot claim to be the teacher of Rome, it cannot pretend that it is the keeper of the Truth that will rescue the Holy See from error. Econe is not superior to Rome, it is not the Mother and Teacher of Rome. As long as the SSPX can recognize that – and that’s already a theological point, but a basic one – then the excommunications will be gone.

    I pray to God that the SSPX will, inspired by the Spirit of Truth, accept this very generous one-time offer.

  43. dcs says:

    Gerard writes:
    As far as I know, the Holy Father has never even responded to the bouquet of millions of Rosaries said for him by the SSPX back in 2006.

    Aren’t actions better than words? I don’t think the Holy Father is asking for a million “thank-yous” from the SSPX.

    In other words, the current Holy Father is superior to St. Peter himself, who was publicly chastised by another Bishop (St. Paul) because it was necessary.

    Is there not a difference between attacking the Holy Father’s deeds and attacking the Holy Father himself? E.g., there’s a difference between saying that “This action of the Pope is perfectly liberal” and saying that “This Pope is perfectly liberal.” Did St. Paul tell St. Peter that he was wrong, or did he insult him personally?

    There is only one Magisterium. The Holy Father has to submit to it along with everyone else. His personal opinions and writings as a theologian, his policies of governance are not part of the Magisterium.

    That is true, but to claim that “Tradition” enjoys an authority higher than that of the Pope smacks of conciliarism.

    Does that mean finesse the language enough to disobey orthodox “requests” from the Pope? That’s what the liberals “in full communion” do. They don’t get any real heat for it.

    If the liberals do not respect the authority of the Pope, that is no reason for others to not respect the authority of the Pope. Indeed, it just gives the liberals more ammo.

    After the Pope has eliminated a good portion of the liberal bishops “in full communion” who work for the destruction of souls by their actions and inactions.

    Another new requirement! I hope you consulted with Msgr. Fellay before you posted this.

    Here’s what I think is going on – the SSPX asked for two things (preambles) before they would begin serious talks with the Holy See regarding regularization. One was freedom for the traditional Mass, which has been fulfilled with Summorum Pontificum. The other was the lifting of the declarations of excommunication. My guess is that these five conditions are conditions for the lifting of the excommunications, not conditions for the regularization of the SSPX. Some time ago, I recall one of the SSPX bishops (most likely Msgr. Fellay) talking about how the Holy See wanted the SSPX to demonstrate some sort of loyalty to the Holy See before the excommunications could be lifted. I think that’s what we’re seeing here, a kind of formula that doesn’t involve (a) recognizing Vatican II or the New Mass or (b) repudiating the actions of 1988 (which the bishops of the SSPX will never do).

  44. Papabile says:

    If there is any question about the status of the 1988 “excommunications”, I doubt there will be after they are imposed ferendae sententiae.

    This will be coming at them like a freight train. The Holy Father has substantially lowered the bar for them to become regularized. If they refuse to take it, and ‘resist him to the face’, I would not want to be in their position. There is no appeal above the Supreme Legislator.

  45. The SSPX risk being irrelevant if they refuse this agreement. It speaks volumes that the LA Archdiocese had more ordinations this year than the USA arm of the SSPX

  46. Michael J says:

    I think everyone is reading far too much into Bishop Fellay’s statement that the Pope is “perfectly liberal”. Why, for example, is it considered insulting? There are many faithful and liberal Catholics who would not consider it an insult at all.

  47. Gerard,

    1. There is no gun to the head of the Society here. If it wants to risk the salvation of many by continuing to foster a schismatic spirit and refusing to enter full communion with the Pope and Church of Rome, it is certainly free to tragically do so.

    2. The conditions presented here are more than reasonable. In Summary: Stop bad mouthing the Pope in the press and to your faithful. St. Paul at least had the decency to confront Simon Peter personally, and not to his flock in Winona, Minnesota.

    3. The Magisterium is not a reference to addressing the weaknesses of Popes, but rather sitting in judgment upon Popes and Councils, namely the Second Vatican Council. The pretense that is at issue today is not the absolutizing of the papal pen, but of the absolute rejection of episcopal and papal authority – canonical, infallible, impeccable or not.

    4. Sometimes a father must show more compassion and patience to a weaker and often misguided son in the hope of his return to good sense. I see theological liberalism as a sickness, a heresy, often rooted in sexual sin. In some ways, they are possibly less culpable than those who have the fulness of the faith. Yet the Society which knows more and believes more ardently than do the theological liberals and professes obedience while engaging in active disobedience. It attacked Catholic unity by the illicit consecrations. Therefore you see a greater strictness applied to the Society – to whom much is given, much is required. The response of some Society members reminds me of the smarter brother who complains about the discipline his dad gives him by saying, “Well when Billy (the less intelligent sibling) did stuff, you didn’t punish him the same way!” A good and wise father knows how to discipline each son. I certainly would not say that all things have always been handled well. This is in part due to the fact that the Pope is first among his brother bishops, and does not deal with them as a father deals with children, even though he has the canonical power to act and speak in the name of the whole college and as the Successor of Saint Peter.

    5. As to how long it took the Pope to act, how long was Pope Benedict in office before he took action? Not long at all. I think that is a legitimate criticism of Pope Paul VI and perhaps Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory. But Pope Benedict? And for that you imply that he is dishonest? Give me a break.

    This all reminds me of a theological term in the East known as “prelest”. It refers to spiritual delusion. Members of the Society who are fervently critical of these five very generous and reasonable conditions set forth by the Holy Father are spiritually deluded and possibly blinded by demons. Consider this the call to repent and seek healing for your schismatic spirit.

    In ICXC,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  48. Andy says:

    Come on, Michael, coming from anyone in the SSPX “liberal” is an insult, because it is the liberalism (as defined in Syllabuses) they (quite rightly) see as a cause of many wrongs that do hurt the Church.

  49. Franzjosf says:

    I think that Bishop Fellay’s ‘liberal’ has Enlightenment connotations that many American liberal bishops wouldn’t understand. I think that it is a label, an opinion, not an insult. Bishop Hubbard is liberal; Archbishop Burke is conservative.

  50. John Hudson says:

    I’m glad that the conditions focus on the matter of charity, because I have always found this the greatest scandal of the SSPX, especially in their newsletters. I used to sometimes attend an SSPX chapel, because it was the only traditional Mass near to where I live, and while I never heard anything from the priest there that I found scandalous, I sometimes made the mistake of picking up the free publications in the narthex. In the end, I decided that I would rather attend my local English novus ordo, with all its problems (but thankfully not abuses), than be in any way party to such lack of charity. There is a strong ‘us versus them’ mentality evident in the SSPX publications, which characterises not ideas or actions *but people* as e.g. ‘neo-modernist’. This doesn’t engage critically with specific ideas or actions from those with whom they disagree, but seeks to undermine the integrity or authority of all the person’s ideas and actions. If drawing attention to the faults of another constitutes the sin of detraction, how much worse a sin against charity is it to stick a label on a person on account of what you consider his faults?

  51. Michael J says:

    Andy,

    Other than the fact that liberalism is “bad”, what evidence do you have that Bishop Fellay’s use of that term is an insult rather than, as Franzjosf points out, a label? Is it unreasonable to presume that it was used as an explanation of the Holy Father’s behavior rather than an insult directed at his person?

  52. Wayne Ratzinger says:

    Condition 1. # A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.

    Surely this would be a real thorn in the flesh for Bishops to accept, and I don’t mean Bishop Fellay and the SSPX. For instance the Bishop from Canada that made the Z Lines, just the other day. I could see Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos having his request for Traditional Masses in every parish met in double quick time if every Bishop had to act on the Popes generocity.
    Seems to me like a real man trap.
    Great work Fr Z. I just hope the Society responds favourably

  53. Mitchell says:

    Father Z,

    I have been reading your site for many months and find it informative and so often correct…From NY, USA I do not wish to take too much space but can comment that since finding the TLM here I feel so cheated out of my heritage for many years…I am 39. I pray that they can reach the agreement put forth and that in some way this will trickle down to benefit the regular guy who sits in the pew and expand use of the TLM into every parish at least once a Sunday and on Holy days of Obligation….. As my own parish will not offer the TLM (refused) I go elsewhere and love it and pray for it to grow everywhere. I would like to know how this could possibly benefit us concretely in your opinion and any others on the blog that maybe have an opinion or some insight that helps to give me a better persective..Many Thanks………

  54. JC says:

    It’s discouraging at an important time like this, to find such a preachy, condescending tone in an otherwise sincere prayer… Let’s pray, but with more charity.

  55. Alan says:

    Father Z

    Been trying to comment on your web page for a couple of weeks. perhaps your site is not so cool towards Macs!

    I’m the father of two teenagers, 17 and 15. Both have hair down to their backsides, both are great rock musicians. yet they both still serve at Mass, and despite a non classical education, both love serving, and particularly enjoy the Latin Mass, and indeed, full “Smells and Bells”.

    When asked why?, they respond, “It’s like the difference between AM and FM radio, everything is clearer in the solemn atmosphere of the Tridentine ritual”

    They also remind me that kids aren’t stupid, and they won’t be fooled by 60’s and 70’s attempts to dumb down things to attract them. If kids want to be cool, they won’t take part in the liberal attempts to get them aboard.

    Just wanted to share that with you

  56. Emilio III says:

    Michael, though I’m no expert, I understand “liberal” in religion to mean that any religion is just as good as any other. This was the meaning I got from Newman’s writings, which also seems to fit the usage in the Syllabus of Errors. Calling the Pope “liberal” in this sense seems offensive. If he meant “liberal” as in “generous” then it seems like a compliment. Using “liberal” in any of the current political senses seems even less likely in the context.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe these conditions were not previously agreed before being formally put in writing to the SSPX; it makes no sense that the Vatican would expose itself to being accused of playing politics. Bishop Fellay and his advisers have already agreed them; they are now working to get others in the SSPX to agree them. I would guess the leak of these conditions means that there are some in the SSPX or the Vatican who seek to derail the agreement already brokered.

  58. Jack Regan says:

    I am not a traditionalist, not SSPX, nor very liberal and from that standpoint I find this matter very interesting. I have the following observations:

    1. I do hope that if SSPX turn this down then the Holy See will take more of a firm line. Such as “well, we’ve tried. Now it’s your turn.”

    2. I hope that we as a Church can now start to make as much effort to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Protestant Christian communities as we are to reach out to SSPX.

    3. Ditto the non-Christian world, who need the love of Christ.

    4. I wonder what effect SSPX will have as full card carrying members of the Catholic Church. I anticipate that they become one with the tratitionalists? i.e. you lot :)

  59. Patrick T says:

    Anonymous,

    Or this offer is intended by the Vatican to force the hand of the SSPX. By leaking the info, there will be significant pressure on Fellay to accept. And if he does not accept, he can’t, in his usual way, claim that the offer was inadequate and tell his followers he could not, in good conscience, agree to it. Now, if he rejects it, his followers will know exactly what he is rejecting, and I suspect, all but the most “hard-line” would see Fellay’s rejection as unreasonable. With this information public, it becomes very difficult for Fellay to reject it.

    Politically and strategically, it’s a brilliant move by the Holy Father.

  60. Jack Regan says:

    Alan: *When asked why?, [two teenagers] respond, “It’s like the difference between AM and FM radio, everything is clearer in the solemn atmosphere of the Tridentine ritual”*

    As a youth worker, I am forever hearing young people talk about the solemnity of ritual. You just can’t stop them some days.

    Honestly, if it’s not Big Brother, girls or football they’re talking about at the back of class, it’s the solemn atmosphere of the Tridentine ritual.

  61. Gerard says:

    Father Deacon Daniel wrote:

    1. There is no gun to the head of the Society here. If it wants to risk the salvation of many by continuing to foster a schismatic spirit and refusing to enter full communion with the Pope and Church of Rome, it is certainly free to tragically do so.

    A so-called “schismatic spirit” is more prevalent in any given Novus Ordo parish. Just ask the shorts and flip flop crowd just how much authority they think the Pope has or better “if” he has any. An injustice was committed by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II against the Church in general and the SSPX specifically. It is incumbent on Benedict to right those wrongs, not strangle false admissions of guilt out of the SSPX.

    2. The conditions presented here are more than reasonable.

    On their surface they are reasonable. But they are not specific, they are not clear. They also imply guilt where there is none.

    In Summary: Stop bad mouthing the Pope in the press and to your faithful.

    First, the Popes don’t get “bad mouthed” to the faithful. The only sermons/homilies I’ve ever heard praise the Popes were in SSPX sermons.
    The fact that the Popes have engaged in scandalous behavior, created confusion and treated the papacy in a manner preferred by Hans Kung is definitely reprehensible and justifiably so.

    St. Paul at least had the decency to confront Simon Peter personally, and not to his flock in Winona, Minnesota.

    Yet, St. Paul put it in “the press” and God thought it appropriate to make that a part of Scripture.

    Also, Archbishop LeFebvre was prevented from getting an audience with Pope Paul VI. JPII told LeFebvre one thing in their meeting and changed his position when told to by an aide. LeFebvre also had an apology written for him to sign after signing the 1988 protocol. The only Latin rite Church I’ve ever even seen a photo of the Pope hanging in an SSPX chapel.

    3. The Magisterium is not a reference to addressing the weaknesses of Popes, but rather sitting in judgment upon Popes and Councils, namely the Second Vatican Council.

    We’ve had over 4 decades of Popes (all liberal) countering in various ways and reinterpreting one another on “just what the true meaning of the Second Vatican Council is” meanwhile, the implementation of the Council done with the approval of the Popes has been a disaster.

    Any interpretation of the Second Vatican Council must be interpreted in light of the Catholic faith as expressed by the Magisterium. The fact that the bishops did not do this and the Popes didn’t stop them is the issue.

    Should Pope Benedict decide to clarify exactly what the documents say and condemn specifically the false interpretations, it would only do good.

    Until then, he’s not peforming his duties with the sense of priority that St. Pius X described which is more apt today than a century ago.

    The pretense that is at issue today is not the absolutizing of the papal pen, but of the absolute rejection of episcopal and papal authority – canonical, infallible, impeccable or not.

    That is simply not true. That is a convenient caricaturizing of the SSPX’s position.

    4. Sometimes a father must show more compassion and patience to a weaker and often misguided son in the hope of his return to good sense. I see theological liberalism as a sickness, a heresy, often rooted in sexual sin.

    And what makes Popes immune from this malady?

    In some ways, they are possibly less culpable than those who have the fulness of the faith.

    “some” ways, “possibly” less culpable…”fullness of the faith”. This is right out of the liberal lexicon, avoid clarity and precision at all costs. It’s right out of JPII, “Perhaps in a special way, they are somehow mysteriously united in a way that the Church herself has not yet fully percieved, as clearly expressed in the teaching of the Council, which has borne excellent fruit in new and yet old ways while being transient in eternity.”

    Yet the Society which knows more and believes more ardently than do the theological liberals and professes obedience while engaging in active disobedience.

    What does that tell you about the post-conciliar Popes? Who do they prefer the company of?

    It attacked Catholic unity by the illicit consecrations.

    It was attacked by the Popes before the consecration for protecting Catholic integrity.

    Therefore you see a greater strictness applied to the Society – to whom much is given, much is required.

    No. To soft pedal the deliberate persecution of the SSPX by calling it “strictness” is a perversion of the facts.

    The response of some Society members reminds me of the smarter brother who complains about the discipline his dad gives him by saying, “Well when Billy (the less intelligent sibling) did stuff, you didn’t punish him the same way!”

    As someone who has a mentally handicapped sibling, I would defy my Father and consider him unfit if he gave the keys to the car or responsibility of the household to my sibling and others of similarly limited capacities. That is what the Popes have done with the elevation of liberal bishops.

    Add to that the pesecution of traditionalists with the compliance of the Popes and we have a very bad brew.

    A good and wise father knows how to discipline each son.

    You presuppose goodness and wisdom when a long history reveals a sincere lack of wisdom on the part of the recent Popes.
    And you very well know that liberals are not being disciplined in a “different” manner. They are warring against the Pope who is afraid of “the wolves.”
    Why he wouldn’t give justice and right the wrongs to the one organized group of Catholics that can truly help him drive the wolves out is lamentable.

    I certainly would not say that all things have always been handled well.

    I would call it an unprecedented disaster.

    This is in part due to the fact that the Pope is first among his brother bishops, and does not deal with them as a father deals with children, even though he has the canonical power to act and speak in the name of the whole college and as the Successor of Saint Peter.

    This is Gallicanism in action if not spoken intent.

    5. As to how long it took the Pope to act, how long was Pope Benedict in office before he took action? Not long at all. I think that is a legitimate criticism of Pope Paul VI and perhaps Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory. But Pope Benedict? And for that you imply that he is dishonest? Give me a break.

    Pope Benedict is leagues above Paul VI and John Paul II. But that doesn’t mean we have to indulge errors on his part anymore than the previous Popes. The fact is, he’s more reasonable and these five points are more in line with the demands of his predecessors than his own style. Cardinal Ratzinger was also involved in the 1988 protocol issues intimately. He knows exactly what happened with the surprise apology sprung at the last minute. The so-called excommunications is a matter of justice, not doctrine. He should retract the decree and declare it an error and an injustice on the part of Pope John Paul II. If he doesn’t, he’s more fearful of men than God.

    This all reminds me of a theological term in the East known as “prelest”. It refers to spiritual delusion. Members of the Society who are fervently critical of these five very generous and reasonable conditions set forth by the Holy Father are spiritually deluded and possibly blinded by demons. Consider this the call to repent and seek healing for your schismatic spirit.

    “Schismatic spirit” is another invented liberal term. One is either schismatic (they deny the right of the Pope his authority) or they are not. Once again in these threads, I see a myopia concerning the actual crisis in the Church and a quest for a false unity divorced from the integrity of the faith.

    A schismatic would never ask for papal justice from the Pope. A schismatic would never demand the Pope scour the Church of her enemies.

    A schismatic would never implore Pope Benedict to adopt the attitude and execute his duties as those of his sainted predecessor:

    “The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.”–Pope St. Pius X

    [Keep them shorter or I will delete. Thanks in advance. – Fr. Z]

  62. malta says:

    *2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.*

    *In other words, the current Holy Father is superior to St. Peter himself, who was publicly chastised by another Bishop (St. Paul) because it was necessary. It’s up to the person of the Holy Father to live up to the dignity of his office. Creating scandal by his inter-religious actions and imitating some of the truly reprehensible behaviors of his immediate predecessor is the counter-commitment that would dictate the actions of those reacting to the Pope.*

    Gerard, the key word here is *person* of the Holy Father. SSPX, as even the general media, should refrain from Ad Hominem attacks. We are always free to disagree with–even publicly–certain things that the Holy Father says are does (though should do so very sparingly.) For instance, one could say it was a pastorally and prudentially poor form for a Pope to kiss the holy book of another faith. It’s quite another thing to intone, “Garrulous Karolus, the Koran Kisser.”
    The latter is ad hominem, and must be avoided. Bp. Fellay saying P. BXVI is “perfectly liberal,” is much different than disagreeing with some things he’s done.

    *3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.*

    *There is only one Magisterium. The Holy Father has to submit to it along with everyone else. His personal opinions and writings as a theologian, his policies of governance are not part of the Magisterium. If he wants to invoke THE Magisterium, that is the decision of the Pope. At that point, he can condemn erroneous beliefs and define (see that DEFINE) the difference between correct and incorrect belief. History shows by examples. The trial and rulings against Pope Formosus by Pope Stephen is the standard by which Popes can err and the faithful can be jerked back and forth by a series of bad Popes.*

    *Let’s not pretend that everything out of the mouth or pen of the Pope is magisterial and irresistible. That is the pretense that is the problem today.*

    The Church is somewhat comparable to the separation of powers in the U.S. You have the executive, who also serves as the judicial, who executes and interprets scriptures and tradition (in my paradigm: the constitution–a very flawed example, I know.) Christ founded His Church on Peter, knowing full well that Peter would deny Him three times, and was a flawed man. Popes can be flawed, but we owe them fidelity and respect. In the living magisterium the Pope and Bishops should teach scripture and tradition anew, and, though rarely, define doctrine and dogma.

    Of course, during the Arian crisis, most of the Bishops were Arian, so they, individually, lost their faculties to correctly interpret scripture, wherein one can deduce that Christ was co-eternal with the Father (“In the beginning was the Word…) Many modernist Bishops of late are similarly unable to teach sound doctrine. But, nevertheless, and as this point implies, we are the Pope and Magisterium fealty because Christ Himself established the Heirarchy of the Church. Even SSPX would acknowledge this necessity. This condition only asks that SSPX not make a pretence that it is a “Magisterium superior to the Holy Father.” Even Bp. Fellay has said the Holy Father is the “boss,” so I don’t think SSPX will have a problem with this condition.

    *If the root of the problem is not going to be dealt with, namely, the refusal of the Popes to condemn grievous errors directly, what is anyone proposing to agree to except a “paper unity?*

    Remember that even St. Athanasius died in good graces of the Pope. Unity with the Pope is absolutely essential–it is what makes us Catholic. SSPX had canonical reason (at least subjectively,) in my opinion,to ordain Bishops given the state of the Church. But it is essential, now, that they move their fight to internal house-cleaning. Imagine the good they could do fully “inside” the Church–without the imagined aura of “schism”? Imagine what they could teach the Church, without the impression of taint, and with ears listening to them if they were more formally recognized as being in full unity?

  63. Jack Regan says:

    Blimey, Gerard…

    When you are passing by the crowd on this site on the right hand side, you kind of have to wonder just how far from the pack you’ve strayed!!

  64. Michael B. says:

    Yes, liberal is a pejorative label: liberals are against a confessional Catholic state and for strict separation of Church and state in the sense that the state is above truth and not subject to the Church’s spiritual authority, even in theory. Furthermore, religions are of equal value, and are not even true, but are useful because they are therapeutic.

    The sense I get from the SSPX is that the entire hierarchy and much of the laity, without distinction, is liberal in this sense, and that the SSPX is nearly alone in understanding the difference between liberal false Catholicism and true, faithful Catholicism. Hence the sense that these points represent an attempt to shut them up. I sincerely hope that my understanding of this is as wrong as can be. Bishop Fellay’s April 28 statement worries me, but I hope there is more going on than meets the eye.

    Meanwhile, I too am holding my breath.

  65. Michael J says:

    Emilio,

    I don’t think I made myself clear. I am not trying to paint Bishop Fellay as some innocent victim of a poor translation. I fully believe that he considers liberalism to be a bad thing. I’m only saying that I do not think he intended it as a pejorative term.

    I can say, for example, that I do not support Obama for office because he is a liberal. I can also say, by way of analysis, that a particular bill before congress was killed by the speaker of the house because she is liberal.

    In either case, I do not see how it can be considered an insult. Mistaken (or not) certainly, approving or disapproving, but not insulting.

  66. Woody Jones says:

    Sign now! Fight later!

  67. Woody Jones says:

    Or slightly more to the point, and apologoies if this has been said above but I don’t have time to read all comments now, it sems to me that these points merely set forth what any loyal son of Rome would be doing as a matter of course. If there are issues, one finds ways to address them within the bounds of charity and respect for authority, or in other words, one practices “romanitas”, in the Catholic sense.

    As much as I like the SSPX, if they cannot learn how to practice romanitas then one would be entitled to ask, will they ever be able to live within Roman structures?

  68. Jack Regan says:

    *liberals are against a confessional Catholic state and for strict separation of Church and state in the sense that the state is above truth and not subject to the Church’s spiritual authority, even in theory. Furthermore, religions are of equal value, and are not even true, but are useful because they are therapeutic.*

    I can’t tell how serious you are here, but it’s worth responding to this as if you are, since many would be.

    One thing that is quite destructive in the Church at the moment is the uncharitable ways that the ‘liberals’ and ‘trads’ describe one another. I am in neither camp, but I can see that at times there is a real hatred, characterised at times by insults and at times by incorrect assumptions about ‘the other lot.’

    Liberals by and large do not believe that all religions are equal and that the Church’s teaching is just a vague guideline or ideal. Similarly conservatives do not want a return to the papal states and the crusades, and they do not believe that you are going to hell if you slightly change the wording of a prayer!

    (actually, in both cases, there will be a small minority who do, but there will always be the extremes I guess.)

    Sometimes people say that the way to reconcile two sides in any debate is to focus on what they share and to celebrate what they share before they explore together where they differ. This idea used to annoy me a little, but there might be something in it. Having a correct understanding might help too. Or we can all just go on thinking up cleaver ways to insult each other.

    Just a though..

  69. finegan says:

    Gerard has provided a frank and realistic assessment of the SSPX situation. He has a right to his opinion. But, as usual, this kind of candor is met with cries of “sour grapes” by some in the Catholic community. If you disagree with the man, that’s fine. Fire away with your own opinions. But why resort to personal ridicule? IMHO, that kind of response only proves his point.

  70. Jack Regan says:

    I think that all sides of the church go in for insult and ridicule a little too much, and it is indeed ugly.

    Somebody above made a point about legitimate criticism of the Holy Father versus insulting him. Similarly somebody else talked about ‘romanitas.’

    These are things we can all learn from.

    As a friend of mine once said, “You gotta do it with class, people!”

  71. Emilio III says:

    Michael, I’m the one who did not make himself clear. I do not think that “liberal” referred to politics, but to the belief that any religion is as good as any other. In that sense, the word applied to the Pope would have to be offensive…

    If it were a reference to politics, I have no idea what the word implies in France. Is it closer to USA liberal (e.g. Obama) or to Spanish liberal (e.g. Aznar)? I doubt there is a single issue those two would agree on.

  72. xpihs says:

    Does the Fraternity place itself above this pope by thinking that it more clearly understands the perennial Catholic Faith or does it not? Will the Fraternity cease from assuming the role of supreme judge over the Second Sacred Council of the Vatican and over the Pope? It is one thing to disagree and to teach the Faith according to a particular school of theology. It is quite another to assume that a school of theology IS the Faith and to set oneself up as the final arbiter of orthodoxy. Disagreement keeps the door of communion open, becoming the judge will close that door firmly.

    Just a thought.

  73. Jack Regan says:

    Whoa! What’s happened?? I hit the refresh button and it all goes weird!

    Just kidding. I like it. Nice change :)

  74. Michael J says:

    Jack,
    What you suggest about reconciliation has merit, at least from a pragmatic standpoint. What do you do, though, when reconciliation (as you seem to describe it) is not possible? There are times when one “side” of the debate must give way entirely to the other. There is no middle ground. What then?

  75. Gerard,

    A few things (I wish I knew how to do those handy quote fields you do…)

    1. You’ll hear no quarrel from me re: the presence of a schismatic spirit within left-leaning (for lack of a better term – I actually dislike the application of political nomenclature to theological or ecclesiological tendencies) theological heterodoxy. I agree completely. But I do think the difference in approach to the disobedient “disabled child” is different from the disobedient “abled” child. I say this as a parent of one with a disability. I see the heterodox progressives as severely disabled on many levels: spiritually, morally, theologically, psychologically, etc etc. Much of it may be self-inflicted, but certainly not all.

    2. No guilt on the part of the Society? I think you confuse pristine liturgics with impeccability. I’ve read my share of the Angelus magazines over the years. There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

    3. It is one thing to question the prudential judgments of Popes and quite another to reject or ignore in practice their binding authority, particularly over the Latin Church over which they serve as Patriarch. I certainly would never say that every judgment of every Pope of Rome has been good, right, just, well timed, emotionally intelligent (had to throw that one in) or complete. Popes are not above reproach, but then again, neither is the Society of Saint Pius X.

    4. “You presuppose goodness and wisdom when a long history reveals a sincere lack of wisdom on the part of the recent Popes.” – Again, prudential judgment of the Popes, with a slight twist of haughtiness on your part. Armchair papism never becomes a good Catholic. Perhaps you do not have all the facts? And yet you adjudicate the wisdom of pontiffs with such confidence!

    5. As to whether “schismatic spirit” is a “liberal term”, all I can say is: my goodness…is the world really divided into two, hermetically sealed camps? Liberals and Conservatives?

    6. As to what kind of company the Pope keeps, I try to watch my own. I am always wary of “Armchair Popes” who seem to relish sitting in judgment on the Holy Father – or Fathers.

    Finally, my statement was not some form of cleverly disguised Gallicanism, in intent or content. When one speaks of the Pope as “first” much depends upon what “first” actually means. I certainly do not reduce His primacy to one of honor without authority. He stands in the midst of his brother bishops, who are mostly with but also under his authority. He speaks and acts in the name of the college, but does not require their consent to do so. That said, I do not have some exaggerated sense of Roman centralism or monarchism. He is Holy Father, not “Caesar” and not “CEO”. He sits as Bishop of Rome, Patriarch of his Latin Church and Pope of the Universal Church as Successor of St. Peter. His service is to support their proper exercise of each bishop’s authority within the Church.

    In ICXC,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  76. Jack Regan says:

    Michael…

    Good question. I guess when you hit a roadblock and just can’t agree on something you need to decide how much of a deal breaker it is. i.e. can you still be in communion with one another and not see eye to eye on the point in question. If so, then you get on with it. If not, then you have to have a means of formally recognising division, so that the visible human communion still has a meaning. Then, I guess, you just pray and hope that God can move hearts and minds.

    He’s good at that :)

  77. Mark says:

    It seems from what I have been reading by way of comments at this and other sites that #3 is causing a great deal of consternation. To me it couldn’t be simpler: Stop acting like you’re more Catholic than the Pope.

    The door is wide open. It will probably never be this wide open, if open at all, ever again. They are idiots if they don’t consent. There is is so much good that the SSPX could do from the inside.

  78. Jack Regan says:

    Oh, the site’s gone back to normal now. I guess Fr. Z was just trying something out.

    If you want some feedback… I liked it :)

  79. Connie says:

    Gerard is one long-winded fellow!! Methinks he likes the sound of his own voice..or in this case…the sound of his own keyboard!

  80. I am not Spartacus says:

    A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

    I see this as a deal-breaker. The SSPX has rejected the authority of the Vicar of Christ through the device of conditioning obedience to that Divinely-Constituted authority through the use of qualifying adjectives and/or explications of what constitutes authority rightly understood or rightly exercised.

    It has always been the case that it is the SSPX Schism which exercises ultimate authority by usurping authority in defining what is and isn’t legitimate use of authority and/or declaiming what is or isn’t authority rightly understood.

    The SSPX has trained, educated, and conditioned its Lieutenants and supporters to distrust Rome and the liberal Popes since Pope John XXIII.

    I do not recall anything I have ever read issuing from the SSPX that counseled obedience to Divinely-Constituted authority. (Of course, it their own members don’t obey them they get excommunicated, but, that’s another matter, no?).

    If the SSPX does accept this offer it will be a sign that Fr. Fellay has opened his soul to the revivifying Grace of the Holy Ghost. I only hope that if he does accept the deal he is prepared for the attacks which his soon-to-be former colleagues and supporters will launch against him as a collaborator with the enemy.

  81. Jordanes says:

    I wish I knew how to do those handy quote fields you do…

    Just use the HTML “blockquote” tags: that’s the word “blockquote” within and then “blockquote” again within to close the tag, that is, to end the quotation. Thus, the tags would be typed as (blockquote)Quoted text.(/blockqote), only use greater-than/less-than signs instead of parentheses.

  82. Michael B. says:

    Jack Regan,
    My definition of liberal was not of the talk radio variety, but historical.
    See Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, especially 77-80,http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm
    for starters. These terms have a history that pre-date US politics from the late 20th century.
    To grapple with this history is to start to understand where the SSPX is coming from.

    The heart of the liberal Catholicism we witness today is rooted in this kind of liberalism. That’s not meant to be an insult, but the charity of truth.
    That’s where the discussion starts. Also, see Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue and other works for a great introduction to modern liberalism.

  83. Antonio says:

    Let’s see…
    Why FIVE conditions? (It seems to me that number one is already included in number five, for example).
    On June 9th 1988, John Paul wrote this to Archbishop Lefebvre:
    “… I ardently invite you to return, in humility, to full obedience towards the Vicar of Christ.
    Not only do I invite you to this, but I ask it of you by THE WOUNDS OF CHRIST OUR REDEEMER, in the name of Christ who, on the eve of His passion, prayed for his disciples, ‘that they may be one’ (John 17:21)”.

    Maybe I’m just reading too much from this letter of Cardinal Castrillón, but this letter requires an answer… just before the 20th Anniversary of Archbishop Lefebvre’s consecrations.
    FIVE conditions, asked once again by THE FIVE WOUNDS OF CHRIST OUR REDEEMER…

    I think the Holy Father is teaching everybody (and not just the SSPX) that as “wounded” as the Church can be seen, it’s the Body of Crist and will overcome death.

  84. Andy says:

    Reading this discussion I have to point out one thing to Jack Regan (which SSPX is quite good at pointing out, btw) – there is just one truth. Hence it is not possible that both trads and liberals are right. For example, it is either an error and heresy to believe that the state and Church should be separate or it is not. And this was once and for all cleared by the teaching of the Church, which was just summarized in the Syllabus of Errors of 1864. There can be a civilized discussion, but in the end I don’t see any possible compromise here.

    Another point I’d like to make is that Church at large is in deep crisis. This crisis was in many of its aspects caused by many consequences of Vatican II – including many things done in the name of the council that were not prescribed by it. The problem Benedict XVI has is that he can’t admit that openly and use harsh measures, because large parts of the modern Church would fall out. He has to move gently and apply evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach. And that is what he is doing, this is visible more and more. However, SSPX’s bishops seem not to understand that in their attacks on the Holy Father. Or maybe they are skeptical and want further proofs of his intentions. Or, finally, they understand that but they choose to stay as the clear, black-on-white voice, reminder and repository of the trully catholic tradition.

    I think they could be great soldiers in his battle for Church’s renovation if they changed their attitude to one similar to that of our host, Fr. Z. That is – stay the course, educate priests traditionally, abstain from celebrating NOM, condemn errors of the age and society, even of the Church – but abstain from calling Holy Father names, abstain from saying “we are the church” – “they are ‘the romans'”. Or calling cardinal Hoys a “shark” etc.

    So, SSPX has now a choice – they can become Pope’s praetorians or true schismatics.

    One more thing to Jack Regan – our protestant brothers are essentially heretics and they should convert to the true Church. Just like there is only one truth there is only one true Church. We should reach out to them, sure, to rescue them from some of their pastors who lead them astray – like the people now destroying the Church of England. But we should reach out to them inviting them to join the true Church. Years of reaching out to them by bending the Catholicism didn’t get many of them to come back to the true Church, so it’s time to wake up and tell the truth.

  85. Michael J says:

    I am not…

    Help me understand what you are saying. You seem to be suggesting that it is impossible for the Pope to abuse or exceed his Divinely constituted authority. Either that or that if a Pope does illegitimately exercise his authority, nobody except the Pope himself can determine that this has happened.

  86. John H. says:

    These requests are nothing more than anyone would require of any decent person of religion. And for those who seem to think that the Church has dealt more generously with liberals, I ask you to not forget Christ’s teaching in the parable of the hired-laborers. Some are given more than others, this is true, but we are ALL at least given what we deserve, and no less.

    May all of us, the SSPX, Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, and atheists, come to recognize the charity the Church has for our souls.

  87. LCB says:

    Andy, “For example, it is either an error and heresy to believe that the state and Church should be separate or it is not”

    Not sure what you mean, but it’s more likely that the relationship between Church and State is a matter of Social Doctrine– changing from time and place due to different conditions.

  88. Jack Regan says:

    A quick response to Andy and Michael before I go to bed (it’s late here):

    Firstly, please don’t assume that people who disagree with you are less educated and well read than you :) I am aware of the syllabus of errors and the fact that truth is objective and sovereign, not negotiable nor individual.

    But the questions is one of how people come to the truth in a way which is meaningful and life-giving to them. As a Catholic I want people to be Catholic. I want the whole world to come to Christ. But I don’t want them to become Catholic because we’ve removed all the other options from their line of sight, or because we threaten them with harsh consequences if they turn away.

    Rather, I want them to become Catholic because it has competed on an equal footing with every opposing option and has won out. I want them to become Catholic because they see it as the truth, beauty and love that comes from the Father and perfects the heart of their very existence. And you can’t impose that by decree.

    One of the greatest sins we commit in my view is not trusting the truth to be the truth!

    So how do we allow the truth to work in people’s hearts and minds with the power of love that only it (the truth) can have??

    Goodnight all.

  89. John H. says:

    Michael J,

    Canon Law says, “No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff” (Can. 331.3).

    It seems pretty clear to me that one , as you say, “if a Pope does illegitimately exercise his authority, nobody except the Pope himself can determine that this has happened,” since there is no appeal that can be made concerning his commands.

  90. malta says:

    Exactly, only the Pope can lift the “excommunications,” which he will do once the five points supra are met.

  91. Andy says:

    Jack, this is becoming off-topic, so briefly: I don’t say exterminate all that don’t agree. But is it right and just not tell protestants (and others) the plain truth openly, that is that there is no salvation of souls outside of Church? That churches and religions are not equal? And what is more important – how many souls will go to heaven or how nicely we get them there? I mean, I don’t say force them with waterboarding – but is it ok to keep the oblivious of the truth that the choices they make now will matter when they die and won’t be able to make any more choices?

  92. Michael J says:

    John,

    You seem to take obedience to the point of servility.

    [DING DING DING! – There it is folks, the code language we have been waiting for! Remember when I warned that people of a certain traditional mindset fall into the same camp as the modernists? I said eventually they would start using terms like “paplotary” and start casting doubt on Vatican I, etc. “Servility” is another of those code terms. Watch how the arguments progress in the days to come. It should be interesting.
    I asked earlier, could Hans Kung or theologians like him put their names to the Holy Father’s 5 conditions? Do you see what I was driving at now?]

  93. John H. says:

    Michale J says,

    “John, you seem to take obedience to the point of servility”

    To which I respond, Thank you.

  94. Michael B. says:

    Jack,
    No such assumption made, but we are talking past each other.
    Truth is not usually found in such a rational manner, but that’s a discussion for another day.
    If you can, do take a look at MacIntyre.
    Good night:
    Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens.

  95. David says:

    Ultimately, there are only 3 things that could happen:
    1) The SSPX admits they were wrong in the consecration of bishops, and the excommunication is lifted. There is a zero % chance of this outcome, and everyone knows it, including the Pope, Cardinal Castrillon, and Father Z. [I know nothing of the sort! I believe this initiative will bear great fruit. It might not result in the entire group coming over. It might result in a real tussle, as a matter of fact. But Benedict knows that at times straight talk and some conflict is necessary to get things done. He has employed this technique before to get people talking in the right direction, as a matter of fact. – Fr. Z] Their position has always been that it was a case of necessity due to the crisis in the Church, and they have certainly not softened their stand on that. If Rome is still negotiating with SSPX in good faith, then they already have admitted to themselves (even if not to the public) that the excommunication is unjust and invalid.
    2) Rome admits they were wrong in pronouncing an excommunication against SSPX, and the excommunication is pronounced null and void. If this is the outcome, then what we see now can not be said to be “charity” by the Holy Father towards SSPX, but only belated justice. [I don’t think so.]
    3) The SSPX will remain excommunicated. [We are not sure the SSPX is “excommunicated”. All the members are if the SSPX is actually a schism, because they will have adhered to it. If it isn’t a schism, then we can only say for sure they are suspended. The bishops, on the other hand, are excommunicated.]

    If Rome is negotiating in good faith, they must be willing to admit that SSPX was unjustly “excommunicated.” [Piffle. The bishops publicly and willfully incurred latae sentientiae excommunication by participating in episcopal consecrations not only in violation of Canon Law but the expressed will of the Roman Pontiff. This was confirmed by the Cong. for Bishops which has competence in this area. They were justly excommunicated by their own actions.]
    If they are not willing to admit that the excommunication is null, then Rome is not negotiating in good faith, and this is all a game to break the Society, [B as in B. S as in S.] since they know well that position is not ever going to be dropped by the Society. This is a likely possibility since Rome knows that if SSPX excommunication is ever declared null, then Abp. Lefebvre will be seen as a modern day Athanasius, [That old chestnut again? – Ho hum.] and this will display the Council in an extremely unfavorable light in the eyes of history.

  96. I am not Spartacus says:

    You seem to be suggesting that it is impossible for the Pope to abuse or exceed his Divinely constituted authority. Either that or that if a Pope does illegitimately exercise his authority, nobody except the Pope himself can determine that this has happened.

    Michael. Authority and Freedom in the Church by Mons. Cormac Murray (Ignatius Press 1988) was a book my trad study group routinely referenced. I just dug-out my old copy and found I have notes scribbled all over almost every single page.

    It’d be of great use to you, I think.

    I could post hundreds of quotes, but here are just a few – from page 84..

    “Whoever listens to you, listens to me.” Divine words that we might as well paraphrase as “If you have a superior who issues an unreasonable, burdensome, trying, stupid law or order, then have I not given you enough grounds, in the Gospel and in my own example, for you to suppose that the order, with its clear element of the Cross comes from me, and that I want you to accept it?”

    It is always easy for a subordinate (who necessarily only has a partial view of things) to see a lack of judgment in a superior’s decision. It is true that if the superior – Pope, Bishop, or whoever – is guilty of imprudence of injustice in enacting or applying a law, he will have to answer to God for it. It is also true, however, to go once more to that pregnant passage from St. Paul, that God uses the foolish things of the world for his own divine purposes.

    Perhaps what most often frustrates the divine purpose is not the possible foolishness of the superior so much as the actual lack of faith and love of the subordinate.

    Faith and love; these are the first virtues that church discipline should call forth in those subject to it. This is the ultimate reason why church law is a gift: because it makes it easy for us to prove our faith and love towards our Lord. It provides us with the opportunity to exercise faith and see his authority behind a human decision; and to answer his will with our love….Love means deeds. It means doing the will of the loved one. If we want to prove our love for God, church authority never makes it difficult for us to do so; just the contrary. If we are really keen to love Christ, the obedience to His Church becomes easy. If we find obedience to the church difficult, it is almost always come down to a lock of keenness to love Christ.

  97. I am not Spartacus says:

    I apologise for poor formatting. Everything that follows the bolded paragraph is a quote from Mons. Cormac Murray

  98. B. says:

    David: You are missing the fourth possibility, which is by far the most likely:
    The excommunications get liftet and nobody admits he was wrong.
    The IBP priests still say that the ordinations of 1988 were necessary.

  99. Simon Platt says:

    Crikey, Jack:

    I hope that we as a Church can now start to make as much effort to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Protestant Christian communities as we are to reach out to SSPX.

    In the diocese of Lancaster, which I gather you also know well, I have seen lots of reaching out to protestants (notices in bulletins, joint services and processions, “churches together…” meetings etc.) and precisely none to the SSPX, who have a chapel in my home town. I understand that things are sensitive but it has often struck me as being a little unfair that we cosy up to protestants but present a cold shoulder to the SSPX.

    And on the wider scale, surely you are aware of no end of official talks, exchange of honorary degrees, etc., especially with the anglicans, that have taken place in recent years?

    I struggle to imagine how you could see things the other way round. Unless, of course (although I didn’t get the sense of this from your post), by “reaching out” you meant encouraging to join us in the catholic church. I agree – I’ve seen little of that. In fact none at all, if memory serves.

  100. Jason Keener says:

    After this offer, our Holy Father should be known as Pope Benedict the Generous. If the SSPX refuses, I will lose all sympathy for them. A better offer will never come along.

    Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Liturgy, ora pro nobis.

  101. Gerard says:

    I just went back and looked at the original alleged “five points.”

    I would like to see if anyone at all doesn’t see how these points are not in essence, like the “Have you stopped beating your wife?” type of questions. [In that case, all they take is some humility to sign off on. – Fr. Z]

    If the SSPX does not agree, they lose a PR war. So be it. God doesn’t care about PR. Jesus Himself loses PR wars all the time. We’ll see what it’s worth at the final judgement.

    If the SSPX does agree, they basically admit to doing all of the accusations that are inherent in the proposal, without any clarifying statement about what the points actually mean. It’s more Vatican II-speak.

    Charity by the way is not the same as being “nice.” It seems like the people that put these agreements together don’t have a clue as to what the words actually mean. [This is, to my mind, detraction aimed at the Roman Pontiff. Thus you probably won’t be joining us here for much longer, if at all. ]

    I heard an interview with Card. Castrillon Hoyos and he said the SSPX make themselves teachers of the Pope. He said that’s heresy.

    He’s wrong. John the 22nd preached heresy from the pulpit and was corrected by his inferiors. He eventually recanted his position. He was taught the truth by his inferiors. Those brave men were his teachers and they were certainly not heretics. They saved the Pope from heresy.

    When one of the best of the Cardinals makes public statements that are this erroneous, we’ve got a far more serious problem than people are willing to admit to.

    I say Bishop Fellay should not simply sign a prepared form. He needs to clarify each word and explain his own position in the margins. [What an attitude.]

    Make sure there is no wiggle room. As the catechism says “Reformulate (the five points) positively” and send that back to Rome.

    A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.

    The SSPX continues to support and laud the Pope for his efforts to curtail the crisis within the Church.

    A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.

    The SSPX will keep the Holy Father in highest esteem and continue to pray for his person in each Mass offered by the priests of the SSPX.

    A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.

    The SSPX will continue to encourage the Holy Father to exercise the Magisterial authority that is his alone and support him in his carrying out of his duties as Pope to clarify and define the unchanging Catholic faith, in the same meaning it has always held.

    A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

    The SSPX will continue to demonstrate and behave honestly and frankly in full charity and respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ and the accountability the Pope has to Christ Himself for such a weighty responsibility. They will support him fully in his efforts to weed out corruption and correct liberal errors in his guardianship of the deposit of faith entrusted to him by Christ.

    A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.

    A positive response fixed at the end of the month of June will indicate the willingness of the SSPX to have the declarations of excommunication declared null and invalid by the Holy Father and protocols can be immediately begun to allow the SSPX to aid the Holy Father in ridding the Church of the modernism that has plagued it most grievously in the post Vatican II period.

    [Everyone: Take notice how he takes it upon himself to declare what the SSPX will do. Great.]

  102. Breier says:

    John,

    Your quote from canon law refers to the judicial canon law structure, not to individual non-legal judgments about the Pope’s actions. There is no legal recourse under canon law for a judgment of the Pope, since he’s the highest authority. Similarly, the Supreme Court is the highest court in America. There is no appeal from the Supreme Court. That does not mean one has to always agree internally with the actions of the Supreme Court.

    For example, take altar girls. That started as an abuse. If people complained canonically, and the Pope decided that under canon law altar girls are allowed, there would be no appeal. There would be no recourse, except to petition the Pope to change his mind!

    Similarly, doctrinally, there’s no appeal beyond an ex cathedra decree of the Pope. You can’t appeal to a council or something against it.

    But to use that quote to claim that people can’t have reservations about papal actions or policies would be wrong!

  103. Simon Platt says:

    Dear I am not Spartacus,

    (What should I call you? \”I am\”? – hardly. \”Spartacus\”? – of course not. \”IANS\” – no.)

    Whoever you are, thanks for the quote from Mgr. Murray.

  104. Breier says:

    Gerard,

    I think it’s important not to read more into those conditions that is actually there. The question should not be: why are these phrased that way? They must be out to get us! That kind of suspicion will lead to there never being any reconciliation.

    Instead, the SSPX should look at whether they can honestly affirm each of those affirmations, without reading into them. If they think they’re ambiguous, then give a cautiously optomistic response, and attach the acceptable meaning that the SSPX would be put upon them. That could at least start the ball rolling towards negotiations. What is helped by doing nothing?

    Look at the 5 conditions that Archbishop Lefebvre agreed to back in 1988. He looked beyond past grievances, and was willing to agree to the propositions put to him. There’s no point is saying “Why are these propositions being put to me? I already accept them! Are you doubting me?” If you can accept the propositions, accept them! That dispels any doubts about the SSPX. It’s time to put feelings aside and look at the great positive good the SSPX could do if its situation were regularized. If the SSPX gets cold feet, what’s to keep them from backing out, just like Archbishop Lefebvre did in 1988? Doesn’t the SSPX owe to the memory of its founder to do at least as much as Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988?

  105. John H. says:

    Breier,

    I did not say one “can’t have reservations about papal actions or policies”. You should read what I had written. I din’t say people have to like what the Pope commands, but we do have to obey and recognize his authority. He may be able to command imprudence, but I will not be culpable for following such a decree. My words speak specifically about commands not ‘non-legal judgements’

  106. Lhd says:

    The crisis on the Church or doctrinal problems were at the origin for the need for traditional priests (in 1976, remember the suspension a divinis) and for traditional Bishops (in 1988, remember excommunications). But they are not one and the same “necessity”.

    State of necessity is the infringement of a juridical value in order to save another one because of a serious and imminent evil. The infringement of the law must have the possibility to save the last juridical value.

    In the case of the consecrations without the mandate of the Pope, the infringement was of the can. 1382 (that not necessarily imply the intention to not to be submitted to the Roman Pontiff schism can 751).

    The legal justifications that can be alleged are the serious fear (to abandon the traditional faithful), state of necessity (lack of a Bishop in order to pursue Tradition) or to avoid a serious disservice (the extinction of Tradition) can.1324.5. In adition we have can 1323. 7 and can. 1323. 4 or 5 that made the sanction excomunication latae sententiae invalid.

    If the state of necessity would have be the “crisis on the Church” or “doctrinal problems”, then the illicit was not able to put an end on them nor had the possibility to do that by itself. There were also not an “imminent” evil in 1988.

    Mons. Lefebvre intention in consecrating the four Bishops was to save Tradition -“let us do the experiment of Tradition”- and, this way, in a second step, to help to save the Church.

    In consequence, to wait for the resolution of the crisis on the Church or doctrinal problems as a condition to make an agreement is to be out of the necessity of 1988.

    The state of necessity ceases, for SSPX:

    1. when Rome offers the lifting of the excommunications and the four Bishops recover plain jurisdiction.

    2. when Rome apply one or more Bishops at the head of a traditional catholic structure with faculties to ordain traditional priests.

  107. Breier says:

    I think it’s important to remember that when the SSPX was originally founded, the Church was in a serious crisis. The SSPX was founded in a canonically normal way, and wanted to be canonically regular with the Church. As a result of persecution, or the threat of shutting it down, or whatever, their situation became irregular. But that was never the ideal! That was never the goal! Archbishop Lefebvre wanted to meet with the Pope, he wanted the situation to be normalized, he wanted to tell his side of the story about how his seminarians were really loyal to the Pope and tradition, etc. But the Curia, it seems, was against him. The Pope advisor’s swayed him the other way. Now we have a pontificate that is actively reaching out the Society, with very little strings attached. Nothing is being demanded about Vatican II, the New Mass, religious liberty, etc.

    If the Pope had asked for an affirmation of these principles back in the seventies, would the Society have refused him? Who could think it?

    One can only refuse the Pope if he’s commanding something evil, unjust, or beyond his authority. How can anyone claim these conditions meet that? True filial piety to the Holy Father must affirm these propositions. Yes, there’s disagreement on the Novus Ordo, on religious liberty, on the Pope’s pre-pontifical writings, but so what? Have that discussion fully within the bosom of the Church. The best place to make their arguments is not as some irregular fringe, where they preach to the choir, but within a regularized structure. One has to trust the Holy Father. If you can’t take these, how will there ever be *any* regularization?

  108. KJCM says:

    Christus factus est pro nobis OBEDIENS usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

  109. RichR says:

    One question………

    Is the lifting of excommunication retroactive to encompass Archbishop Lefebrve’s penalty, or is it only for those alive? I’m not sure how that works with the Archbishop’s soul being outside of time, yet having died formally excommunicated. It’s like a charlie-horse between the ears.

  110. Jordanes says:

    David said: If they are not willing to admit that the excommunication is null, then Rome is not negotiating in good faith

    That’s a pretty strange understanding of “negotiation.” So, unless the first party agrees from the outset that the other party is right, the first party is not negotiating in good faith? What’s the point of negotiating, then? Merely to determine the terms that the second party will get to impose on the first party?

  111. Thanks, Jordanes!

    Again, Father Z is spot on.

    It will not be long before SSPX rigorists become the mirror image of the radical progressivists in their line of argumentation. It all boils down to authority. No one is asking for servility, but civility and charity sprinkled on top of filial and fraternal submission.

    My first hope for all involved is a rapid and successful resolution. If this thing blows and the deadline passes, however, I pray for rampant disillusionment among Society members of good will and a large migration to FSSP. The SSPX will at that point simply be wasting our time. It simply won’t get any better than this.

    Pax,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  112. michigancatholic says:

    We could all benefit from listening to the Vatican and the SSPX settle their doctrinal disputes. It might lead to some clarity on many points that people are confused about. Between the “Spirit of V2″ terrorizing and the ambiguity of the V2 documents, some of which are very poorly written, lots of people are confused.

  113. michigancatholic says:

    This is a very complicated situation from all sides. Many moderate people who are used to the modern way of doing things forget the lessons of history.

    When the pope speaks from his authority as the successor of Peter about the deposit of faith, he does not err, but certainly not everything he says has that quality. For just a minute, suppose you are a Catholic in the year 1490 and Alexander VI is pope. Would you agree with everything he says and does?

    What is needed is a frank discussion. What exactly precisely is it that the SSPX has a problem with? Precisely in what way, and with what “voice,” has the pope offered the remedy? Only when this is discussed in detail, if they can ever get there, will this be settled. Both sides have refused to be serious about this, rather throwing names around and carrying on with each other. [Be honest: this is no less true for the SSPX’s behavior than for the way Lefevre was treated by the curia in 1988.]

    Perhaps this is the overture that will allow that discussion finally to occur. I certainly hope so. To think of people who want to love God and will exert themselves for that like the people of the SSPX have, and see them in irregularity, is very sad. Meanwhile, we have all kinds of yahoos and slackers in regular communion.

    Hey Fr. Z, it’s Mahony, yes. But it ought to be “baloney.” I suspect that’s how come people consistently put the ‘e’ in, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s a natural.

  114. Brian Kopp says:

    It seems obvious that these 5 conditions are primarily directed towards Bishop Williamson and his occasionally hysterical rhetoric towards Pope Benedict XVI.

    A review of Bishop Williamson’s statements about Pope Benedict XVI over the past several years may be in order.

    Here’s a few typical remarks:

    “Such is surely the case with many – not all – modernist churchmen, and I would include Pope Benedict XVI amongst them. So he can be objectively insane from the standpoint of the Catholic Faith, and yet subjectively in a kind of good faith. What does this “good faith” matter if he is objectively way off the mark? What matters is that he thinks he is normal and in the truth, so he behaves as though he is, and so he persuades many Catholics that he is. Here is why this crisis of the Church is so terrible – so many cardinals, bishops and priests cannot believe that they or their Pope are in any way off the mark. Conclusion? – I need not believe that they are not at all cardinals or bishops or Pope, because when virtually everybody is insane, they are that much less necessarily aware that they are not sane. So I can treat the Pope with all the charity and respect due to his exalted position, and I can rejoice in all the objective good that he does, for instance in the recent “Motu Proprio,” but I will do nothing, but nothing, to associate with his insane Conciliar belief-system until it is clear as clear can be that he repudiates both Vatican II and his subjectivism.”

    “Because modern minds are very sick, as minds, and Benedict XVI has a modern mind, like millions and millions of modern people, including churchmen, around him…The sickness consists in believing that there is no fixed, objective truth which absolutely excludes error. For example, I may believe that 2 and 2 are 4, but I will believe that they can also be 5 or 6 or 600,000 or whatever. The “truth” is what my mind makes it. But the mind is made for objective truth like lungs are made for oxygen, so just as lungs without external oxygen are sick to death, so a mind with no external truth is sick to death…Benedict XVI believes that Catholic “truth” can evolve. For instance, very serious statements of Catholic truth that cannot change, like the Syllabus or Pascendi, he calls merely “substantial anchorages” in Church doctrine, meaning that the Church could anchor there, and usefully anchored there for a while, but in modern times the Church needs new “substantial anchorages” in doctrine. He cannot see that this anti-modern Catholic doctrine of his predecessors is of such a nature that it cannot change, and not even as Pope can he change it. His poor mind, however gifted, is sick with that modern – especially German – philosophy which unhooks the mind from its object, like cutting off lungs from oxygen.”

    “Therefore the recent Good Friday liturgy change, by diminishing Catholics’ awareness of that real “veil”, etc, has done a disservice to Jews’ eternal salvation. In this respect of the Catholic Faith, Benedict XVI has, objectively, shown himself to be against the Jews purely as Jews. Is there any other possible true definition of the expression “anti-semite”?”

  115. Chris says:

    Although I’m not SSPX I have always been thankful that they stuck to their guns and didn’t settle for breadcrumbs under JPII.

    Now, however, with these simple and fair guidlines, there is absolutely no reason not to agree. It does’t restrict them from anything and actually, by their silence, leaves a ton of possibily for doctrinal discussions.

    The time has come. Let us pray they make the right decision.

  116. Gerard says:

    Uh Oh… I knew my days were numbered when I started to get compliments from other posters. [What other people say is not the criteria I use.]

    I wrote:
    “Charity by the way is not the same as being “nice.” It seems like the people that put these agreements together don’t have a clue as to what the words actually mean.”

    Fr. Z wrote:

    [This is, to my mind, detraction aimed at the Roman Pontiff. Thus you probably won’t be joinging us here for much longer, if at all. ]

    From a priest running a blog called “What does the Prayer REALLY Say?” that specializes in exposing and correcting the errors of many bishops around the world, you have the hubris to falsely accuse me of detraction for doing what you do? If that is so, then this whole blog is one giant nest of detractions built by you. [What you did was say that the Roman Pontiff and the people he has tasked with this don’t know what they are talking about. You say that Benedict XVI doesn’t know the meaning of caritas.]

    1) It is not detraction. You know it or you should know it. Charity does not mean being “nice” and you know I’m right. The highest form of Charity is sometimes very harsh. You know that as well.

    2) By accusing me of detraction you are committing calumny against me. I expect a public apology.

    3) Detraction is telling the truth about someone in order to harm their reputation. Insofar as you called it detraction and not calumny you are in agreement with me at least on the intellectual level about the incorrect categorizations of the writers of many Vatican documents. For another example, just look at the Holy Father’s letter to the bishops accompanying SP and you’ll see towards the end that, after saying it is wrong to talk of two separate rites, he talks of “the new rite.”

    “It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.”

    “The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.”

    So, don’t accuse me of detraction for pointing out manifest and numerous errors and inconsistencies from Vatican documents that are open to the public for scrutiny.

    4) This will be my last post. [Yes, I believe we can agree on this.] Delete it if you like. Prevent it from being posted if it’s that much of a threat. I’ve seen enough of what you’ve been writing to take your measure. When you tried to peddle JPII as “laying the foundation” for the Holy Father’s “Marshall Plan” I saw the red flag go up. I’ve been around marketing and advertising for decades. I personally suspect you are as much about what I term “market research” and trial balloons as you are about the liturgy. No person could seriously believe that attempt to whitewash JPII. Least of all someone with your obvious intelligence. Don’t abuse it.

    [Everyone: Take notice how he takes it upon himself to declare what the SSPX will do. Great.]

    This is shameful behavior on your part. Misrepresenting me and attempting to blacken my name. I stated what I say they should do, not what they will do. Pop Quiz: Are you engaging in calumny or detraction this time?

    I’ll pray for you Father. I find it lamentable that I have to rebuke a priest at this point.

    [There it is folks. This may be what Pope Benedict is up against.]

  117. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    In the vernacular, it’s time for the SSPX to put up or shut up. I suspect the SSPX will go “schismatic” within itself if Bp. Fellay accepts (wisely) the terms. I have dealt with many “SSPX Gerard’s” who like to judge the Pope and Magisterium using the Protestant-like process – personal interpretation of Tradition (instead of the Bible as Protestants do) and pointing out its “errors.” I suggest many Rosary’s for this reconciliation, and Mass offerings as well.

  118. Gerard,

    Much like the SSPX, you exaggerate and mischaracterize the “offenses” against you. This seems to be a pattern. Clearly Father was not taking issue with whether or not charity means being “nice” or not. It was your arrogant and condescending accusation of cluelessness, presumably directed to the Holy Father, that was the problem.

    Expecting apologies from Father Z for his correction of your behavior? I repeat: m-a-r-t-y-r complex. It is the stuff of the schismatic spirit. It is the ethos in the air of unforgiveness and self-justification and it unfortunately defines much of the posturing of groups like SSPX. Quite frankly, it cheapens those who are legitimately confessors of the faith and true martyrs for the Catholic Gospel. The true confessors are those like Father Z and others who rejected the temptation to schism and suffered through the nonsense and persevered until a great luminary like Pope Benedict ascended the Chair of St. Peter. This is a glorious time for the Church. The SSPX can share in this glory by once again living in full communion with the Apostolic See. I hope you come to repent of your spiritual delusion and can enter fully into that glory. If you and others refuse, one never knows whether the grace will come again.

    In ICXC,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  119. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    The terms are indeed generous but I do not understand the need for a deadline. What might that be for? Will the Holy Father excommunicate all of them on June 29th if they do not formally accept the terms?

    But if they accept, what is the practical effect? I don’t see that most of the world’s bishops want the SSPX in their diocese. How much leeway does a “personal prelature” give them with those bishops who would not want them?

  120. Jordanes says:

    Gerard said: Detraction is telling the truth about someone in order to harm their reputation.

    For the record, detraction doesn’t necessarily involve telling the truth — rather, it’s merely saying anything derogatory about a person that will do harm that person’s reputation. So the fact that Father Zuhlsdorf correctly identified Gerard’s comment as detraction does not mean Father or anyone else has to agree with Gerard’s comment.

    No person could seriously believe that attempt to whitewash JPII. Least of all someone with your obvious intelligence. Don’t abuse it.

    Nice — complimenting his intelligence while simultaneously calling him and anyone who agrees with him on this point an idiot. But it really is possible for intelligent people to honestly and sincerely and seriously disagree with Gerard.

    Hopefully Gerard and the Bishop Williamson wing of the SSPX do not reflect the prevalent attitudes and opinions of SSPX members and adherents, because if he does, then we can be pretty sure that none of us will live to see a reconciliation.

  121. Antiquarian says:

    Moot point now, I suppose, but it’s been pointed out before that Gerard’s only real rhetorical stance is that no one is as intelligent as he is, or as the SSPX is, and yet that any reference to that is a “caricaturization.” Thus the frequent claims that any criticism stems from ignorance or a lack of understanding on the part of the critic of either the Society or him. In an earlier thread he even responded to that observation by repeating the practice.

    Like Father Deacon Daniel, I thank the Lord for those tradition-minded priests and laity who courageously stayed to fight the good fight instead of abandoning the field when things got tough.

  122. Malta says:

    *This will be my last post. [Yes, I believe we can agree on this.*

    I think you guys should kiss and make up (not in the Castro District kind of way, of course,) really, divergent opinions make this blog vibrant and dynamic. Who wants legions of Fr. Z groupies here (maybe Fr. Z.)? But you are both intelligent men, and Gerard clearly contributes here, even if many disagree with him. But he is respectful. That should be the criterion before someone is booted.

  123. Marcus says:

    Seemed like a good time to pop in and mention that I pray to God daily for:

    – the unity of the Church and the healing of all division within and without, esp. the to see a return of the Orthodox Churches and the coming home of Protestants

    – that the Church be the sign and instrument of salvation to the entire world

    – the health, safety, and long reign of our beloved Holy Father and for his wise guidance of the Church

    – eternal rest for the popes who have passed on

    – the bishop who will become our next pope, that the Holy Spirit prepare him well

    – all bishops, esp. for a bishop after God’s own heart to fill our vacant see, that they never shrink from their responsibilities to protect and hand-on the faith, to rule their churches, and to proclaim the Gospel

    – all priests, esp. those from whom I have received the sacraments, for their holiness and devotion to their vows, that they fearlessly proclamation of the Gospel and reverently celebrate the sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    – young men to hear the call of God to the priesthood amongst the noise of the world, and for seminarians to faithfully endure in their preparations for ordination

    – religious brothers and sisters who work and pray for the salvation of souls, may God increase their numbers

    – the laity to become a fire poured out on the earth, by word, deed, and example making the power of Jesus Christ present in every corner of society

    – an increase in Eucharistic adoration and Confession

    – the repentance of sinners and the conversion of unbelievers, false believers, the lukewarm, and the fallen-away

    – the strengthening marriages and the welcoming and protection of children

    – an end to abortion, in law, in practice, and in the hearts of those who seek them and those who perform and profit from them

    – the sick and suffering, the hungry and the homeless, and for those who take care of them

    – those oppressed by poverty, abuse, violence, and war

    – those affected by natural or man-made disasters, and for those who help comfort them

    – those in government pass and uphold laws that always protect human dignity in accord with divine law, and for all civil servants

    – those who have died today or will die tonight, esp. those who by accident or injury find themselves unexpectedly before the judgment seat of God, that he will not judge any of us according to what we deserve, but be merciful

    – family members, friends, and acquaintances who have passed on

    – the souls in Purgatory, that they may soon behold the glory of God’s face

    – my wife, child, mother, father, brother, family, friends, co-workers, and fellow Christians, that we may walk ever closer to our savior Jesus Christ

    – the grace to avoid sin and be obedient to your will, O God

    – the grace to see the world as you see it and to love others as you love them

    Amen.

    BTW, why “toast”? (anti-spam word)

  124. Malta says:

    *Like Father Deacon Daniel, I thank the Lord for those tradition-minded priests and laity who courageously stayed to fight the good fight instead of abandoning the field when things got tough.*

    Without SSPX, there would have been no Indult, no traditional movement, no FSSP, and no Summorum Pontificum. There might still be a few
    80+ year old Priests celebrating the “Agatha Christi” indult–that’s it. Don’t you get it? Wrong or right, SSPX has given us EVERYTHING we have (aside from very, very small islands in the traditional movement.) Every good grace we’ve received, traditionally speaking, has had it’s catalyst in the SSPX. It’s not hard to compute, the math is simple. When SSPX was so “disobedient,” and intransigent, we had this:

    http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A018rcBarebstdReads%20Epistle.htm

    I might have refrained from posting that, except that it is from one of Pope John Paul II’s Masses. No wonder the vast majority of “Catholics” no longer believe in the Eucharist or the mass at Sacrifice.

    “Eric G.” said: * I think the bishops of the SSPX are a bunch of arrogant nut jobs.*

    Nice. So who are your heroes in the Church? The Bishops of SSPX, for right or wrong, are in the situation of trying to maintain tradition and faith in The Church, which is in the throes of unprecedented apostacy; in the grips of the heresy of Modernism, and crises of every sort. We are in unprecedented decline and diminishment, both in terms of Mass-goers, and believers (even among those who still go to mass) who believe in just basic dogmas and doctrines of the Church. Yet, yet…somehow SSPX is the boogey-man. Boo! Those “schismatics!”

    I’ve said this here before, but I’ll repeat it. We (my wife I and our four kids) travel through Arizona frequently. Every Novus Ordo Mass I’ve been to in that state has generated a queasy feeling, like a poorly-performed circus. I couldn’t stand it the last time and decided to stop at an SSPX mass in Phoenix. It was, hands-down, the most beautiful, devout, spiritually-sound Mass I’ve ever been to. And I asked myself: where is the Holy Spirit in all those clown masses? I know–I really DO know–how important fealty to the Holy Father is. But, really, our Church’s are a mess–a total wreck, at least out here in the west. God help us.

  125. I think I will close the combox for tonight. Given the way this is devolving, I don’t think it would be prudent to leave it unmonitored.

    O God, our common Father who knows us better than ourselves,
    pour graces through the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the members of the SSPX
    to bend what is rigid and warm what is cold,
    that in union with the Vicar of Christ,
    to whom Your Son our Lord gave His own authority to bind and to loose
    and whom He gave as a gift to the Church as a visible point of of unity,
    we may together in ecclesial charity strive in grace and zeal to renew
    Your people in our Holy Catholic Church.