Tornielli: the 5 points were for Bp. Fellay

Andrea Tornielli has written (in my translation, emphases and comments):

Bp. Fellay’s moment of truth   [Italian:  "Il bivio di monsignor Fellay" is literally the "fork in the road".  Which path to choose?]

I am in Rome and I have gathered some additional information which helps to frame better the five conditions presented in the letter of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to Bp. Fellay.  Above all these conditions were not posed to the Lefevbrites in general, but precisely to their Superior, that is, the Bp. Fellay himselfIn conversations he manifests the will to dialogue, but then he writes and agrees with very harsh attacks on the Pope.  The five conditions re therefore a preliminary step to begin the journey that will lead to the revocation of the excommunication.  Central to this is the point dedicated to the fact that the SSPX, and its superiors, give the impression to feel themselves superior to the Pontiff himself, to judge him from above, as if the SSPX were the "true" Church and the "true" Rome, and the Catholic Church lead by Benedict XVI was a separated group that has to reenter in full communion with Econe and Menzingen.  The truth, unfortunately, is that there are by now stratified attitudes and positions (some comments on the preceding post demonstrate this is true  [I think we can well believe that to be true!]) which make make recognizing this given dimension difficult: the Lefebvrites are not the true Church, the true Catholic Church is that which is in communion with Benedict XVI.  Never before as in this moment is the Pontiff’s generous pastoral heart, through the mediation of Card. Castrillon, open to reconciliation.  But it is the SSPX that must return to the sheepfold about the schismatic act of illicit consecrations by Lefebvre, and not the Holy See that must ask pardon of the Lefebvrites.

Responding to questions from French journalists on this issue the director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Lombardi, gave the following declaration:

The recognition of the Second Vatican Council as a true Ecumenical Council of the Church and the recognition of the validity of the Mass celebrated according to the liturgy renewed after the Council are not absolutely put in question.  The five points cited by Tornielli – as even is clear from their tone – concern the minimum conditions why there can be a relationship characterized by respect and openness toward the Holy Father and by a constructive ecclesial spirit.  They are, then, of another nature and it is for this that they make no reference to the Council or the liturgy, not because these topics do not remain fundamental.  It is evident that the Pope desires to extend the hand so to make possible a return to communion, but so that there can can be the necessary steps, it is needed that this offer – this "outstretched hand" – be received with an attitude and spirit of charity and communion.  Clearly the finve points invite this.

 

My comments:

I think that Bp. Fellay’s sermon in Paris at the beginning of June, may have been the catalyst for this.  On Sunday 1 June Bp. Fellay made harsh statements about Pope Benedict in a public sermon.  On 4 June Bp. Fellay met with Card. Castrillon in Rome.  The five points came from that meeting.  Remember at the time I posted about that sermon, many hard supporters of the SSPX basically cried out here on this blog "But Father!  But Father!  You mustn’t ever point out anything negative that anyone in the SSPX has done!  That’s bad for dialogue!"  No, friends.  It is not.  Bp. Fellay’s words shaped the dialogue and so did reporting them here.

The big point here is that the five conditions were presented to Bp. Fellay not the SSPX.  Formally, at least.  I don’t anyone is under the impression that they don’t also pertain to everyone else in the SSPX.  I am not talking about laypeople here, who really can’t be members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, as the SSPX is truly called.   These conditions ultimately apply to the four bishops and to the priest members.   They must.  There cannot be a double standard.  

But Bp. Fellay, who must be under tremendous pressure  – poor man – set the tone.  He is the public face and leader of the SSPX now.  When he speaks in public, people hear the official position of the SSPX.  Ironic, no?  The bishops originally by Archbp. Lefebvre’s design were not supposed to take on that role.  But that is what happened.  Perhaps now for the best.  If Bp. Fellay can set another example -then God will reward him abundantly.  Think of the good he can do.

The Holy See is say that these points are addressed to Bp. Fellay.  Fine.  We accept that.  But they must also be accepted, eventually, by anyone who desires communion with Rome.

So, it is still game on for the entire SSPX. 

What pressure will some of them be putting on Bp. Fellay?  I shudder to think.

If he accepts the conditions, there could be a split, just as if the conditions had been put to every member.

Almighty God, before whom the shining ranks of holy martyrs
cast down their crowns and palms of victory,
strengthen by the Holy Spirit’s sealing Confirmation,
the heart, mind and will of Bernard Fellay
and increase the serenity and patience of all who are around him.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle…

Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Our Father…

Glory be to the Father...

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22 Responses to Tornielli: the 5 points were for Bp. Fellay

  1. MGS says:

    Well, hold on a minute. Your piece is written from the perspective that everyone knows Mgr. Lefebvre was wrong to consecrate bishops, but this is not necessarily so. The case is simple. If he was wrong, then apologies were due. But if he was right to do so, as this writer along with hundreds of thousands of Catholics would maintain, then no apologies should be uttered.

    If the Second Vatican Council taught truly, then he was wrong. But if falsely, or even ambiguously, then he was right, and those responsible for the “New Theology,” must admit their error. If that includes the Pope, then so be it. No Pope will get to heaven for declining to have his personal errors made manifest to the faithful at large.

    Thus, the real debate is not about respect for the person of the pope. Isn’t this called “Human respect?” For his office, certainly – but that is obviously not in question here. [But it is in question.]

    It seems, Father, (with all due respect,) that you, along with most of official Rome, [As opposed to a chimerical Rome. It seems that some members of the SSPX think they are the true Rome and that the Pope and the rest of the Church should come to them. ] would like to leapfrog over the doctrinal issues at stake, which are profound, and create the impression in the minds of the faithful that this is about personalities, attitudes, and impressions. It’s not. [Indeed. And if this is trule recognized, then the members of the SSPX will seek some humility and submit to the Roman Pontiff.] Doctrine and practice are the issues Mgr. Lefebvre raised, and he was brutally attacked every step of the way by official Rome, as have been his successors. The Motu Proprio acknowledged, without apology, that the old mass had never been forbidden, which means a malfeasance of justice has been practiced upon Catholics lay and clerical by Roman authorities, diocesan bishops, learned theologians and minor petty bureaucrats at every level just on this one point,for nearly forty years, let alone the more profound doctrinal and philosophical questions. What just judge allows all that wrongful persecution to slip by unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unpunished? [So by all means, let’s all remain seething in an ecclesial fetal position until the rest of the Church says “sorry”. A lot of us have been mistreated by the Church, friend, and we are not standing with our fists under the Pope’s nose demanding that he come to our point of view.]

    It’s time, all right – time for a good old fashioned washing out of the Augean horse barns, and if that means that the pope has to retract some earlier held propositions, well, welcome to the human race. Do the words John XXII mean anything to you? (He was refuted by the Paris theologians on the question of Final Judgement, a personal opinion he retracted before his death, at their insistence.) Can you say “Precedent?” [That doesn’t apply in this case.]

    Tempers should certainly remain cool. But facts should meet open daylight. Political manouevering in the sole interest of respect of persons [HUH? In the “sole interest of respect of persons”? Are you proposing that for Benedict XVI this is some sort of ego trip? Then you understand nothing of the man.] does nothing to alleviate the mistrust that has, with good reason, built up under the last five popes. [That’s a long time to keep your fist clenched, friend.] Perhaps “Trust but verify,” could be the theme of hopefully upcoming doctrinal discussions between Tradition and modern(ist) Rome.

    Regards
    MGS

    [NB: Decent dialogue is acceptable here, but remember.. this is a blog, my blog, and not a discussion forum. I am okay with discussion of issues, even hard ones, but I will not tolerate certain things. Just a reminder. – Fr. Z]

  2. dcs says:

    It seems, Father, (with all due respect,) that you, along with most of official Rome, would like to leapfrog over the doctrinal issues at stake, which are profound, and create the impression in the minds of the faithful that this is about personalities, attitudes, and impressions.

    I suggest you read some of Fr. Z’s earlier blog entries in which he talks about how religious liberty is a real stumbling block for any regularization of the SSPX.

    I don’t think Rome is trying to leapfrog over anything, it seems these five points are not preconditions for regularization per se but preconditions for the lifting of the sentence of excommunication.

  3. MGS says:

    “I suggest you read some of Fr. Z’s earlier blog entries in which he talks about how religious liberty is a real stumbling block for any regularization of the SSPX.”

    Thanks. I have read them. Dignitatis Humanae suffers from internal incoherence, doctrinal ambiguity, and practical devastation in the evangelical life of the Church. It is thus harmful to souls. When Rome acknowledges this, progress will be quickly made.

    Regards
    MGS

  4. Tom S. says:

    To use a poker analogy, I believe the Holy Father just went “all in”. The nature of these 5 items – i.e. the bare minimum for civilized dialogue – is such that, if they are NOT accepted, all bets are off. If they are not, then the possibility of further negotiations or discussion is essentially nonexistent. Bishop Fellay is truly under unbelievable pressure. I will continue to pray for him, as I have been fervently these last few days.

    Thanks, Father Z. for that mass for the Bishop’s intention.

  5. Tom S: I can report and shape the conversation though this blog. But I also have a mighty tool of spiritual warfare: Holy Mass and Holy Orders.

    Let us all ask our own guardian angels to help these people, Bp. Fellay, those around him, those reporting, those awaiting his response.

    You can bet that the Enemy is trying to derail this one.

  6. AP says:

    Andrea Tornielli,

    It would help to imporve the quality & level of the
    discussion if you were to avoid the perjorative
    “Lefebrites” in your reports.

    Thank you.

  7. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The Motu Proprio acknowledged, without apology, that the old mass had never been forbidden, which means a malfeasance of justice has been practiced upon Catholics lay and clerical by Roman authorities, diocesan bishops, learned theologians and minor petty bureaucrats at every level just on this one point,for nearly forty years, let alone the more profound doctrinal and philosophical questions.

    So are we to say, “forgive us our debts as long as we get our pound of flesh from our debtors”?

  8. I am not Spartacus says:

    Dignitatis Humanae suffers from internal incoherence, doctrinal ambiguity, and practical devastation in the evangelical life of the Church. It is thus harmful to souls.

    msg. That Document was signed by Abp. Lefevbre.

    As for Fr. Fellay, all of his iron rhetoric in service to the ideology of schism (attacks against an Ecumenical Council, the Normative Mass and the Magisterium) were the materials he used in building the schismatic cell he now finds himself imprisoned in; and, it is a prison many in the SSPX hope to keep him in (Jailer Williamson, anyone?)

    Only the Holy Ghost can free him from that prison. It will take an act of heroic humility for him to escape what he has done to himself but The Holy Ghost can accomplish what appears to many of us us to be literally impossible.

    As for the idea that Mons Lefevbre was brutally attacked by Rome, there are many of us, who vehemently oppose the schism, who think that Rome was WAY too lax in dealing with him.

    Good Lord. What he spoke publicly about the Pope as being an AntiChrist and the way he described the Hierarchy as having spiritual aids and the sacraments as being bastard sacraments and on and on and on is simply sickening, tragic, and execrable.

    If Fr. Fellay does agree to the conditions then it is ineluctable he will be brutally attacked by many in the sspx schism and by those who succor it. How could it be otherwise given what the sspx has sown, fertilised, and cultivated in its members and supporters.

    I am willing to keep my yap shut if a reconciliation takes place but the idea the sspx are victims is absurd.

  9. Boko says:

    Tom S.,

    Perhaps it would be more apt to suggest that the Holy Father has put Bishop Fellay “all in.” I think we know who has the big stack at the table.

  10. Pingback: Orate, fratres. « Fratres in unum

  11. Patrick T says:

    Tom S.,

    Good analogy…these 5 conditions don’t seem to be for the lifting of the excommunication, they are for continuing the process of reconciliation. I fear that if these terms are not accepted, we will see statements from the Holy Father making it very clear, that there is a schism, that Catholics are not to attend SSPX Masses at all, and that every member of the SSPX is excommunicated. He will do this not to be harsh, but to apply the appropriate medicinal penalties to bring them back. Pope Benedict is all in. Fellay and the SSPX now need to come home, or become sedevacantists.

    May God grant them the courage and humility to submit. Let us all pray fervently for Bishop Fellay.

  12. anonymous in Michigan says:

    I am not Spartacus,
    I am not sure why you keep referring to Bishop Fellay as “Fr. Fellay”.

  13. I am not Spartacus says:

    anonymous in Michigan

    Johannes Paulus Magnus labeled him that in Ecclesia Dei…

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

    Also, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais himself is uncertain as to whether or not he was ordained a Catholic Bishop.

    Nevertheless, for Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, there is a problem yet more serious than that of jurisdiction. Let us hear Bishop de Mallerais speak: “Are these bishops who are not recognized by the Pope legitimate? Do they enjoy formal apostolic succession? Are they, in a word, Catholic bishops?” This problem, Bishop de Mallerais explains, “concerns the very constitution of the Church, as all tradition teaches: there cannot be a legitimate bishop without the pope, the head by divine right of the episcopal body. Therefore the answer is less clear, and in fact it is not absolutely clear…” Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, therefore, ten years after his consecration, does not know whether his consecration or his being a bishop is a legitimate act!

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

  14. schoolman says:

    Rome is simply acting to ensure that the work of reconciliation continue on sound footing — with due respect and charity. I have no doubt that Rome has been hesitating to reconcile factions of the SSPX — pending the fruit of this ongoing diologue. On the other hand, if the basis for fruitful diologue is non existent — then Rome must proceed in all good faith with those who are asking for full reconciliation with the Holy See. The date or “ultimatum” is a matter of justice for those within the SSPX (or affiliated) who truly desire a resolution.

  15. Will says:

    I am not Spartacus,

    There is no doubt that Fellay and the three others are validly consecrated bishops. The consecration was indeed illict, but this fact does not affect the validity of the rites.

  16. Kradcliffe says:

    *Patrick T said: I fear that if these terms are not accepted, we will see statements from the Holy Father making it very clear, that there is a schism, that Catholics are not to attend SSPX Masses at all, and that every member of the SSPX is excommunicated.*

    I may have the wrong attitude, here, but I think that would be preferable to the current ambiguous situation. I am honestly confused by the mixed messages from Rome.

  17. I am not Spartacus says:

    Will. I dunno. When I read Ecclesia Dei referring to Fr Fellay as a Priest; when I read the confusion by Mallerais over his own status; when I read this CNS report; then I think I have grounds to write like I do

    +++++++++++++++++++++++ begin quotes ++++++++++++++++++

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) — (SECOND UPDATE) Sep-26-2006 By Carol Glatz Catholic

    News Service Recent ordinations made without papal approval have placed Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and the four prelates he ordained under automatic excommunication, the Vatican said.

    “Starting with his “attempted marriage” in 2001 until his Sept. 24 ordinations of four bishops in Washington, Archbishop Milingo’s actions have led him to “a condition of irregularity and progressive breach in communion with the church,” said a written statement by the Vatican press office….

    “Because of the unapproved ordinations, “both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordained men are under a ‘latae sententiae’ excommunication, according to Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law,” the statement said. A bishop who consecrates a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him automatically incur the penalty of excommunication.

    “The Vatican statement also said “the church does not recognize nor does it intend to recognize in the future such ordinations and all the ordinations derived from them.” It also added that the canonical status of the “four presumed bishops is the same in which they found themselves before ordination” by Archbishop Milingo.”

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

    I think much of what Rome does vis a vis the schism can be viewed through the lens of The Shepherd using warm words to call the lost sheep back home.

    However, if the sheep refuse to enter in the Sheepgate, the Shepherd may well have some very interesting things to declare. IOW, if Fr. Fellay refuses the deal, one may be shocked at the results.

  18. Franzjosf says:

    IANS: Well the two situations are not synonmous.

    With the SSPX consecrations they most assuredly had correct form, matter, and intent, so they are valid, but illicit. In a meeting between the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay, shortly after Benedict’s election, he received Fellay as a Bishop. Cardinal Castrillon always addresses letters as ‘Your Excellency.’ There is virtually no doubt that the SSPX has four bishops.

    Remember that the Apostolic Succession does not rely on union with Peter. The schismatic Oriental Churches have valid bishops.

    With the Milengo situtation there are a couple of things to think about:

    1. ‘…nor does it intend to recognize…’ Says nothing about validity. I think that the statement is studiously unclear. There have been cases, for example, of validly-consecrated Old Catholic bishops, which validity the Church admitted, returning to the Church, but when they returned they were not permitted to excercise an episcopal ministry.

    2. There may be questions as to matter or intent, invalidating them.

  19. Tomás López says:

    Fr Z, I notice that you consistently translate “stesso” as “same” (as in “the same Bp. Fellay,” above). However, the gist of it here (and in a post yesterday as well) is “himself” (that is, “Bp. Fellay himself”). We do the same in Spanish with “mismo” and they do it in Portuguese with “mesmo”; these words have the force of reflexive pronouns. Anyway, just a little translation tip from someone who also loves language! Keep up the good work. You rock!

    I still am not understanding the anti-spam word. Today mine is “move!” What could that mean?

  20. Michael UK says:

    I believe the action against Msgr. Lefebvre to close his seminary was wrong, wrought by a Modernist bishop. I believe Msgr. Lefebvre was correct, with the exception of Williamson, in relation to the Consecrations. The circumstances which prevailed in the Curia, in those times, do not exist now. BXVI is no JPII and his further actions: Motu Proprio; affirmation of The True Presence – “not a social meal”; now, with regard to the reception of Communion; et al. These are all tokens of BXVI’s good faith. Yet elements within SSPX seem unable to refrain from criticisms of BXVI, yet they are no more than self-appointed pygmies, living in a theoretical state and preaching only to those who agree with them. Fr. Michael Mary Redemptorist summed up the problem on his blog, yet he has had vituperation heaped on him, such is the exercise of Charity in those elements of SSPX. If Msgr. Fellay ails to grasp the nettle on this occasion, SSPX will end up as no more than an incesuous sect. The real foe are the Modernist conferences and those to be converted are those who have been mislead by them for forty years. SSPX should be pragmatic enough to realise the position anf fight from within.

  21. Oliver says:

    The SSPX are quite used to threats. Please bear in mind the Society is a reaction to the modernist agenda now adopted by Rome. In the case of traditionalists, which she so dispises, the smiles and soft words often give way to tricks and dishonesty. This is nothing new. The reality in the conciliar world is Rome speaks and the bishops ignore her.

  22. ASD says:

    Don’t make the best the enemy of the good.