CNS recap of the SSPX/Vatican dialogue

This is in from CNS.  My emphases and comments.

Traditionalists say they’ve met Vatican’s deadline for reconciliation

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said it met the Vatican’s deadline to respond to a memo outlining preliminary conditions for full reconciliation with the rest of the Catholic Church.

However, a statement released by the Swiss-based society July 1 implied that the traditionalist group did not accept all the conditions set out in the letter, and it appealed to Pope Benedict XVI to lift the 1988 decree of excommunication against the society’s bishops who were ordained without papal permission.  [However, if they responded by the end of June, and they did, then they met the deadline which was one of the conditions.]

The Vatican press office said July 3 that it did not plan to comment on the statement[Not even to say something positive.]

In the July 1 statement, the Society of St. Pius said, "The very general — not to say vague — character of the demands singularly contrasts with the urgency of the ultimatum," adding that they appeared to be geared simply to promoting dialogue rather than resolving differences.

The memorandum was given June 4 to the head of the society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Vatican official in charge of dialogue with the traditionalists.

In addition to asking for a response by the end of June, the memo set four other conditions for a move toward full reconciliation:

– To respond with the same generosity shown by the pope.

– To avoid public comments showing a lack of respect toward the pope or which could "be negative for ecclesial charity."

– To avoid "the pretext of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father" and to not present the society in opposition to the church.

– To demonstrate the will to act honestly in full ecclesial communion and with respect for the pope’s authority.

The society’s July 1 statement said Bishop Fellay responded to the ultimatum with a June 26 letter to Pope Benedict and that "Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos acknowledged receipt of the letter the next day."  [And, as we reported here and here, Card. Castrillon was apparently pleased with the letter.]

In a June 28 interview with an Italian-language radio station in Switzerland, Bishop Fellay said, "It is false to say (my response was a) total rejection" of the Vatican’s conditions.

"Rather, I see in this ultimatum something very vague, confused. But I have responded and it has to be seen how Rome will react," he said.

Bishop Fellay said, "It is possible that now there will be a little more coldness" in the discussions with the Vatican, but the society wants to continue its dialogue with the rest of the church.  [I pondered what that might mean since I first read it.  Does it mean that the SSPX leadership will now begin to speak with less "warmth"?  That is, with less harsh rhetoric?  Some people take passion and criticism to be sincerity.  Others see dispassionate and careful dialogue as being "cold".  Hard to say what he meant.]

"We do not want to break with the church. Our greatest desire is to be fully accepted," he said. "This is also for the good of the church, because you can see the church has serious problems and we know that we have the solution. [A bit brash.  The problems the Church has in the modern world, in all their complexity and the world’s diversity, are not going to be met by the solutions of one group.] We are not innovators; we simply follow what the church has always done and which worked in the past."  [What worked in the past was sticking closely to Peter… but I digress.]

Asked whether he risked permanently closing the possibility of reconciliation by not accepting all the Vatican’s conditions, Bishop Fellay said: "For me, this ultimatum makes no sense. We have a relationship with Rome that is unfolding with a certain rhythm, which, it is true, is slow. But it also is true that the cardinal (Castrillon) and the Holy Father would like to see an accelerated rhythm."  [Nobody is getting younger, and this combination of people involved are all as positive and open as there have ever been.]

Last year, Pope Benedict widened the possibility for use of the Tridentine rite, ["Tridentine"] the form of Mass used before the Second Vatican Council. That was a long-standing request of the society. [That is not the only reason Benedict XVI did this, of course.  It also has to do with both his desire for true reform in the Church.]

But Bishop Fellay has continued to criticize [This is unclear: continued to criticize since when?  Since Summorum Pontificum or since the Conditions, which ask for a more positive tone?  Also, there is nothing in the conditions that required the SSPX leadership not to criticize elements of Vatican II (which Papa Ratzinger has done himself, extensively and sharply, in the past.] the Vatican on other matters, and has expressed his society’s continued opposition to several teachings of Vatican II, especially in the areas of ecumenism and religious freedom. 

In April Bishop Fellay said the time was not right for reconciliation with the Vatican, because church leaders have not taken steps to reverse the "crisis" introduced by Vatican II[I don’t accept that.  I think steps have indeed been taken.  But you don’t get to decide what those steps ought to be unless you are the Pope.]

One source said the new Vatican offer signaled that the Vatican was not willing to continue dialogue with the traditionalist society indefinitely[This is perhaps true.  I suggested that myself at the beginning.  I also think that it is more likely that this is a matter of taking advantage of the intersection of circumstances.  First, it was twenty years precisely since the illicit consecrations by Lefebvre. Second, the people in leadership positions on both sides are the most positive toward unity we have seen in the interval.  Third, no one is getting younger: Castrillon will be eighty soon and His Holiness is 81 while Fellay is now also moving on in age and perhaps won’t be elected Superior again, if and when his term expires.  Then what?]

The society broke with the Vatican in 1988 when its founder, the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ordained four bishops against papal instructions; Bishop Fellay was one of those ordained.

At that time, the Vatican said those involved in the ordinations were excommunicated.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, explained to French television July 2 that, while the four bishops were excommunicated, the priests of the society are validly ordained [but suspended] and the laity who attend their Masses are considered Catholics.

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35 Responses to CNS recap of the SSPX/Vatican dialogue

  1. BobP says:

    >”…and the laity who attend their Masses are considered Catholics.”<

    Isn’t this really the bottom line for us right now, while the case is pending?

  2. petrus69 says:

    Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Tell us something new. Tired of reading the same thing over and over again.

  3. vox borealis says:

    BobP,

    Not wanting to stir up too much trouble, but I’m not sure what significance that final quote could have. It is my understanding that the Church considers *anyone* Catholic who was validly baptized Catholic, whether they go to mass at a NO/OF church, a FSSP church, and SSPX chapel, or don’t go to mass at all (they may be lapsi, but they are still Catholic).

    The “bottom line”, I guess, will depend on what question is being asked. But it seems to me that the issue is not whether those “who attend their masses” are Catholic, but rather whether they *should* attend their masses anyway–under what conditions? when? is there any obligation to avoid “their masses” if other Catholic churches are nearby? etc.

    I agree with petrus69, not much new to see here.

  4. Oliver says:

    More of the same, again: no agreement will occur because:

    1) the respective churches/religions over time are diverging. One does not want a reforming/evolving church and the other has invested heavily in pluralism/hybridisation/innovation with a few colourful traditional touches to please the tourists.

    2) the respective parties speak in different languages. He who controls the language, controls the argument. Hence, the trouble in reporting and interpreting statements written to be deliberately opaque.

  5. RichR says:

    Here’s a question:

    Suppose this process drags out, the Holy Father goes to his reward, as does the good Cardinal, and Fellay faces a Pope that is not interested in dialog with the SSPX? Now fast forward a decade later. Suppose Fellay (and the other SSPX bishops) are getting close to their last days, and they decide to consecrate more bishops. You now have a generation of clergy (both at the Vatican and in the SSPX leadership) who are completely removed from the original “Lefebrve affair”, and may have a certain degree of complacency.

    What other problems would arise if this conflict with the leadership of the Church and that of the SSPX were to go into a second generation?

    I think Fr.Z. is right. No one is getting younger, and that’s why the Vatican is urgent.

  6. rick says:

    Once again: Bishop Fellay’s response to the Vatican proposal is utterly devastating for the Church as a whole and for the SSPX. While it could be appreciated earlier this week for persons to be hopeful that as the week progressed the situation might become clearer and improve towards reconciliation it is clear as the days pass that nothing is happening. Oh, yes, it is a nicety to say things like, ‘Castrillon was pleased’ and “It is false to say (my response was a) total rejection” of the Vatican’s conditions.” [Fellay].. but this is all verbosity amounting to nothing. The fact is Fellay gave Pope Benedict XVI a SLAP IN THE FACE. Oh yes, one can develop a system of intrigue that not all has been given to the public from both the Vatican and SSPX side and secretely the ‘powers that be’ are working diligently towards a solution. If that were the case SSPX would have eased the hearts of the faithful all over the world who are suffering because of the SSPX episcopal excommunications and improper canonical standing of the SSPX in the Church. Again, GRAND DELUSION: THE SSPX SAID NO DEAL! And it came during the week that the Transalpine Redemptorists became in Canonical Good Standing. So what gives? The SSPX is playing a political a game and here is how it goes: ” we warned the Transalpine Redemptorists not to deal with Rome: now watch them collapse into “modernism” and defect from “the true faith and tradition of the Catholic Church.” The Transalpines will become a kind of focal point if not whipping post for the SSPX’ers at every turn the TR’s take. THEN SSPX will have been justified in not ‘cutting a deal’ with Rome. SSPX does not want to be part of the Church, it is in the VERY WORDS of Fellay on numerous occasions like: we don’t want to go in, we are ‘here’, Rome is ‘there’ etc, etc… we will stay where we are UNTIL ROME COMES HOME [to Tradition] That’s really what it is all about and it will not change until ROME cries ‘uncle’ to the SSPX. It’s the old ‘mid European’ salami tactic of taking once slice at a time until you have the whole salami. Despite all the SSPX heavily embellished rhetoric it it totally transparent that the people inside the SSPX are no different than people outside. Full stop!

  7. BobP says:

    >—To respond with the same generosity shown by the pope.
    —To avoid public comments showing a lack of respect toward the pope or which could “be negative for ecclesial charity.”
    —To avoid “the pretext of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father” and to not present the society in opposition to the church.
    —To demonstrate the will to act honestly in full ecclesial communion and with respect for the pope’s authority.
    <

    I wouldn’t agree totally with Bishop Fellay on the “vagueness” of these conditions, if indeed this is what he meant. It should be obvious that these conditions are more subjective than objective and anyone who has an axe to grind can easily demonstrate later that any of these agreed-upon (if they’re agreed) conditions had been reneged. I mean, what exactly constitutes “lack of respect” or “demonstrate the will..”, for example? What if a single member of the SSPX chastises the Pope in public against Bishop Fellay’s orders? Does the whole deal collapse? Some clarification is in order, whether it’s acceptable to the Pope or not.

  8. David Kastel says:

    Why is the Vatican not willing to “dialogue” indefinitely with SSPX? They are “dialogue-ing” indefinitely with the leaders of every false religion in the world: heretical protestants, infidel Muslims and Jews, pantheistic and pagan Hindus and Buddhists and animists, etc, etc, etc.

    The Vatican has never placed any ulimata on the schismatic, and even heretical, Eastern Orthodox, who reject, in principle and as a matter of doctrine, not only the infallibly defined doctrine of the authority of the Pope, but also the infallibly defined dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM. How can the Vatican honestly maintain indefinite “dialogue” with the Orhtodox with the goal of bringing them into “full communion” when they explicitly reject the Catholic faith?

    The bishops of the SSPX hold all the doctrines of the Catholic faith, including the doctrine of the authority of the pope. At worst, they committed a disobedient act 20 years ago, for which they have been punished. It is time to forgive them.

  9. Fr. Angel says:

    David:
    I believe that the SSPX receives so-called ultimatums (while the Eastern Orthodox do not) because the SSPX are still considered Catholic and their split is seen as an internal matter which has not yet arrived to the maturity of a full schism. With the SSPX, there is a well founded hope that if people move quickly, they can happily and easily be returned to full communion with Rome.
    As Fr. Z said, the urgency here also is that if they do not return while there are the right men in place (Pope Benedict, Cardinal Hoyos, Bishop Fellay) then time will pass and the new men in place may take a harder stance, causing the split to become a full blown schism. Perhaps there is also a desire on the part of the Holy Father to have the collaboration of the SSPX for the good of the rest of the Church. This collaboration to continue restoring the Church would be helpful only if the SSPX begins to work within the structure of the Church, not from the outside.

  10. rick says:

    In order for the SSPX Bishops to be forgiven they have to go to confession and they should go to confession with Pope Benedict. They really are quite a unruly group of bishops ( at least 3 out of the 4) who take many an opportunity to say terrible things about the Pope, and in public! They are becoming increasingly cranky and know it all’s.

  11. Father Gary V. says:

    Remember the act of Lucifer when he falls from grace, DISOBEDIENCE!
    Arrogant, obstinate and pride, comes with it. Guess who I am referring to.

  12. Habemus Papam says:

    Fr. Gary V: Please. This Paul VI bashing has got to stop.

  13. Brian C. says:

    David Kastel wrote:

    Why is the Vatican not willing to “dialogue” indefinitely with SSPX? They are “dialogue-ing” indefinitely with the leaders of every false religion in the world: heretical protestants, infidel Muslims and Jews, pantheistic and pagan Hindus and Buddhists and animists, etc, etc, etc.

    That’s part of the point, I gather; this thread specifies that the Vatican considers the SSPX brouhaha to be an “internal matter”, and not an “ecumenical matter”. As such, the Vatican views the SSPX members to be Catholic, and the Vatican will not approach the SSPX using the same “playing rules” that would be used to further dialogue with non-Catholics.

    I’m suspecting that Cardinal Castrillon is using the word “dialogue” in a specific sense, here; the “dialogue” between the Vatican and a recalcitrant, contumacious Catholic would have a very different end (i.e. bring them to repentance and conversion from their active sin) than would dialogue with non-Catholics (i.e. bringing them to a more complete understanding of the Catholic Faith, so as to bring them to the point where they’re open to God’s gift of Catholic Faith). If the SSPX ever did “break away fully” to form a completely distinct body (i.e. if they fully and willfully embraced schism), or if the disintegration of the last bits of unity with Rome became complete, then you’d probably see a very different (“ecumenical”) sort of “dialogue” open up with the next generation of SSPX-ers.

    The bishops of the SSPX hold all the doctrines of the Catholic faith, including the doctrine of the authority of the pope.

    I’d say–even if that were true (which is arguable)–that this fact would be *necessary* for resolution of this matter, but not *sufficient*.

    At worst, they committed a disobedient act 20 years ago, for which they have been punished. It is time to forgive them.

    Aside from the fact that forgiveness, to have any benefit to the offender, requires *contrition* on the part of the offender (which, with all due respect, seems to be sadly lacking on the part of the SSPX–they deny the necessity for contrition, it seems), I don’t think forgiveness is an issue, anymore; forgiveness and reconciliation are distinct things. The Holy Father could easily forgive the personal insults and brusque language used against him; but reconciliation cannot be “declared by fiat”, independently of any resolution of the actual *content* of the conflict, or it becomes a mere sham.

    In Christ,
    Brian C.

  14. Kazmier says:

    I’m just an average guy looking at this situation and the letter from the Vatican to the SSPX with the SSPX response.

    While I am no expert in any level of Church negotiations, I do have experience in contract negotiations.

    It appears that the Vatican’s letter was an invitation to begin the reconciliation “the dance” in earnest in effect saying : ” I have asked you to dance before. You’ve kept saying no. Now the right music is playing at the right time with the right people in place. Will you finally begin to dance with me or am I wasting my time ? Let me know so I can move on.”

    Based on this possibility in the interpretation of the the Vatican’s letter and the SSPX response, it seems like the SSPX is acknowledging there is some openness to the dance invitation from the Vatican.

    However, the dance partners have only so long to commit to taking the floor before the music and the participants change.

    The dance therefore must begin now even if it starts stiltingly and continue as such until the SPPX fully commits to the Vatican being the lead.

    Once the SPPX’s accepts and allows the Vatican its proper position, then the two will move together in grace.

  15. Matt Q says:

    Petrus69 wrote:

    “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Tell us something new. Tired of reading the same thing over and over again.”

    )(

    Then don’t read it. Skip over to another entry or another blog altogether. Not complicated.

    ======

    Father Z commented, “I pondered what that might mean since I first read it. Does it mean that the SSPX leadership will now begin to speak with less “warmth”? That is, with less harsh rhetoric? Some people take passion and criticism to be sincerity. Others see dispassionate and careful dialogue as being “cold”. Hard to say what he meant.”

    )(

    Father, it could also mean that was what Rome inferred to them. Rome can have this “talk to hand” attitude also.

    ======

    Father Z further commented on Bishop Fellay’s statement ( “We do not want to break with the church. Our greatest desire is to be fully accepted.” ) “A bit brash. The problems the Church has in the modern world, in all their complexity and the world’s diversity, are not going to be met by the solutions of one group.”

    )(

    No, the solutions of the Church won’t be made by the inclusion of one group, but it’s like making hamburgers. The meat is a major ingredient.

    ======

    The article stated, “One source said the new Vatican offer signaled that the Vatican was not willing to continue dialogue with the traditionalist society indefinitely.”

    )(

    If this is the case, why? The Church has been “dialoguing” with the Orthodox since 1054. Why not tire of talking to them? What is the condescending rush to get the SSPX back in ASAP, and not the Orthodox? Why no ultimatums to them? Why no invitation to the SSPX to show up at any Papal event?

    The “irregularity” of the Orthodox on this point is no better than the SSPX. They continue to ordain bishops and priests without Papal mandate. They continue to hold marriages, baptisms ( don’t know if they truly believe in confession ). To persist in their ways is further “distancing” from the Holy Father. Do their illicit Masses any more fulfill a Sunday obligation?

    The Orthodox have many theological and doctrinal differences with the Roman Catholic Church. We even changes things, i.e., the Credo, to accommodate them. Any such thing with the Society? No. When the Orthodox come knocking, the Vatican is tripping over their cassocks to usher them in. When the SSPX comes knocking, they’re practically told to make an appointment.

    I see too much two-faced behavior on Rome’s part and no one has fully explained why to my satisfaction. In this I see why Bishop Fellay may have commented on “a further coldness” in dialogue with Rome–Rome’s coldness. My opinion.

  16. Michael says:

    Father Z., I think that you have put so heavy emphasis on the statement that the SSPX and their genuine supporters are not in a formal schism that it is likely to be understood as if they are not in schism at all.

    If we are to believe at least to Ludwig Ott, p. 303, the unity of communion consists in the unity of
    (a) government , i.e. the subjection to the bishops and the pope, which is obviously lacking as they are not only running their own affairs, but every now and then attacking the pope and their bishop AND
    (b) worship, which is also lacking because they would in no case participate in the worship of the “conciliar”church, and are advising people not to go to the NO; take the liberty to administer quasi sacraments of penance, and witness quasi sacraments of matrimony; they even venture declarations of “nullity”.

    According to Ott one is cut off from the unity of communion by schism.

    They are in a greater material schism than the Orthodox whose episcopal jurisdiction the Western Church has never challenged; and I do not know of a document declaring them to be in a schim at all.

  17. Fr. Angel says:

    Matt Q:

    Previously, when both came calling, it seems as if the Orthodox received far better treatment than the SSPX. In these days, I don’t know that this is the case. You should give Pope Benedict and Cardinal Hoyos more credit for their efforts.

    Also, is it helpful in the quest for reconciliation to dwell on attempted comparisons of treatment? E.g. “we won’t respond at this time because it appears as if the recent visit of the Orthodox was treated with greater kindness than our recent visit.” “We are displeased that we were spoken to with more urgency than the Orthodox.” “When the Orthodox start comforming doctrine and behavior to Tradition, than we will be better disposed.”

    The Orthodox have been separated for 1,000 years and the case for reconciliation with them is very complicated. If the SSPX so choose, their ability to come into union with the Pope is far easier and would be of immediate benefit for the liturgical restoration in the Church.

  18. puella says:

    A bit off-topic, Fr.Z.:
    last weekend there were some FSSP ordinations in Wigratzblad in Germany. A friend of mine was there but he didn’t take photos. The FSSP has some online at the following address:
    http://www.fssp.org/album/O20080628/index.htm

  19. Marie says:

    Father,

    If you permit me, some comments on this “news” and your own comment :

    1 – “Bishop Fellay said, “It is possible that now there will be a little more coldness” in the discussions with the Vatican, but the society wants to continue its dialogue with the rest of the church. [I pondered what that might mean since I first read it. Does it mean that the SSPX leadership will now begin to speak with less “warmth”? That is, with less harsh rhetoric? Some people take passion and criticism to be sincerity. Others see dispassionate and careful dialogue as being “cold”. Hard to say what he meant.]”

    The thing is much more simple : the Vatican sent an ultimatum. Nobody, in the “traditional” communities understood the thing very well (except one who needs to bash the SSPX to prove she is right after a recent very hard disagrement). It was strange indeed, when everyone know in this milieu that things are going better and better among both the parties, to use suddenly such a way that cannot favour mutual confidence.
    So Bishop Fellay only wanted to say that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos COULD (no more) take it as an offense (this because an ultimatum COULD be a sign that Card. C. Hoyos did not yet feel exactly the same way with the SSPX, particularly since the last Letter to Friends and Benefactors [who does not mean “money” at all, please, excuse me, but simple and normal gratitude !).

    2 – “the church has serious problems and we know that we have the solution. [A bit brash. The problems the Church has in the modern world, in all their complexity and the world’s diversity, are not going to be met by the solutions of one group.] We are not innovators; we simply follow what the church has always done and which worked in the past.” [What worked in the past was sticking closely to Peter… but I digress.]”

    The thing here also is very clear : it is not the SSPX who would have the solution from herself, but because no other society preserves the doctrine of the Church as her ! And Church, in that sense (not in the sense of men of the Church), certainly has THE solution, and it is only because men of the Church forgot Her teachings, that they are unable to manage any true solution.
    We have to admit that even the SSPeter has not yet such a public liberty to teach the truth. And the thing is very clear with her faithfuls, who take what they want, and can do it because they have no sermons or lectures or meetings as in the SSPX – and the SSP knows it and how important it is for her to have a SSPX very firm !)
    Excuse me, Father, but who tell us now that it was always considered a mortal sin to have any participatio in sacris with heretics or schismatics – what did the Holy Father recently again, and nobody among the conservatives said a word about it ! And we know that faithfuls, necessarily are prone to follow the example Peter gives, at the risk of their soul ! It is not something we can easily laugh about ! It relates with no more than eternal damnation ! What a responsibility…
    Who denounces the shameful agreement of Balamand by which the authorities of the Church commit themselves not to try to convert orthodoxs, when their souls are in such a danger since they are without any doubt schismatics and heretics ? Is it that true love, true friendship, true Charity ? What about the first commandment ?
    Who spoke about the scandalous assertions of Cardinals Kasper and Bertone (so notoriously heretics !) about Good Friday’s prayer that Jews would not have to convert ? The Pope himself did not dare to say anything !
    Isn’t it however the Holy Father himself who said publicly to the faithfuls, in the beginning of his pontificate, that even a simple lay person CAN and HAS TO tell him if he fails to his duty – very humble words we did not hear since… how many times ?!
    I certainly don’t agree at all with some words, here and there, from Fraternity’s priests or even bishop I will not name to be free to ask him to use the same respect with Roman authorities – the landslide majority of SSPX thinks the same way, and don’t forget that Bishop Fellay’s position is the most moderate one and he has a considerable moral authority.
    I certainly don’t agree with some pointless and sometimes disgraceful words on the Pope or on Roman authorities (Archbishop Lefebvre was so Roman, because the Church IS Roman. How could we be anything else ?)
    And about the argument of the number… Would we have to be Arians because in that time quite nobody was catholic any more ? Nothing seems to me more fragile than this.

    3 – “We have a relationship with Rome that is unfolding with a certain rhythm, which, it is true, is slow. But it also is true that the cardinal (Castrillon) and the Holy Father would like to see an accelerated rhythm.” [Nobody is getting younger, and this combination of people involved are all as positive and open as there have ever been.]”

    I’m afraid it’s human consideration, not divine. What would be a superficial, and therefore false or at least too fragile agreement, that could break too easily. How would it be possible to renew as easily something broken again ? I don’t really think that we have to add to past disagreements ! Time of Providence is not our… even if we hope so much that things will continue to evolve before long (and I don’t think I could be wrong saying that we all, faithfuls of the SSPX, are more and more like horses who, after a terrible and exhausting route, feel that the stable is not yet so far).

    4 – “In April Bishop Fellay said the time was not right for reconciliation with the Vatican, because church leaders have not taken steps to reverse the “crisis” introduced by Vatican II. [I don’t accept that. I think steps have indeed been taken. But you don’t get to decide what those steps ought to be unless you are the Pope.]”

    Be careful with journalist assertions : Bishop Fallay ordered all our churches and chapels to sing a solemn Te Deum after Summorum Pontificorum.
    I know a church who refused to do it – and she was certainly not alone, but such a conduct was absolutely exceptional, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that such a church finally will not agree with more important decision from the head of the SSPX.
    And the pope himself has absolutely no power to take any decision against Tradition, which is part of the dogma. Vatican II was not a dogmatic council (the first in history !), and neither the “majority” of the bishops nor the pope had any authority to change anything who would go against Tradition.
    Our religion is not John XXIII’s one, neither Paul VI’s, neither John Paul II’s, nor even Pius X’s or Pie V’s. It is Jesus and Church’s one, expressed in Tradition. And I doubt that Benedict XVI, at least nowadays, disagree with that… even if there is still perhaps problem on the interpretation of this statement.

    5 – “One source said the new Vatican offer signaled that the Vatican was not willing to continue dialogue with the traditionalist society indefinitely.”

    That’s a joke : either the “source” has no serious enough information, or it indulges in wishful thinking. I esteem much more both the parties to share that view !

    The question is certainly not “to be right” or “to be wrong” against one or another, and particularly against “the Church” or even the Pope, but to be right with the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” (and I would add “Roman”, as so many in the SSPX wished to be added to the Creed, since quite all our good Bishops at least in France quite hate Roman authorities and have a really schismatic mentality) “Church”.

    Respectfully in Christo.

    P.S. I like your “anti-spams words” !
    P.S.2 I have great confidence that the events will continue to evolve in the good direction. The pope is humble and already recognized several times that he had wrong doctrinal statements in the past.
    I only hope that when the agreement will take place with the SSPX, she will be free to make a public gesture of the most significant humility towards Pope’s authority – not to let any space of any wrong interpretation of being received in official and full communion without changing any point of her doctrine, what would be disastrous for the future of the Church because it would let a door open for other too easy disagreement from future heretics or schismatics.

  20. Supertradmom says:

    I believe that the Pope is asking for agreement and decision now because there is a hardening of heart in the pews of the SSPX owing to poor teaching on the part of some SSPX priests, and the habit of dissent among the people. In my area, where the TLM will begin weekly next week, the SSPXers I have told about this WILL NOT COME to the EF. They want to stay outside the Church.

    As to the question of the “truth”, many of these friends do believe that Rome is in error and see themselves as the only, true remnant. This, of course, is a dangerous and misleading stance. Now, a third generation of SSPX children are being told that they cannot go to the NO and that Rome is purposefully divisive.

    In fact, the harsh language against the Vicar of Christ seems to be increasing, sadly, as seen on the blog from some bloggers, among other sites.

  21. Bill W says:

    I have been following this issue for some time and have attended the TLM for several years in a Catholic church. It was amazing to see the pope enact the SP on 7/7/07. However, I am conflicted regarding the SSPX being absorbed into the church. On one hand, having the SSPX work within the church would be beneficial to the church as a whole. OTOH, if the next pope were to be hostile to the TLM, and appoint liberal cardinals, it would be a good thing for the SSPX to be outside the church and maintain the TLM without the introduction of alter girls, new calenders, revised prayers, etc. I am not an SSPXer, but I see them as my “insurance policy.”

  22. Jbrown says:

    This entire process is a mess, including the occasional ‘intrusions’ of privately written letters from PCED going one way or another, and which have virtually no value in my mind at this point. Again, these are akin to private letter rulings from the IRS-they have validity for those to whom they are written. I feel as if all of this misses the real point-that a crisis of gigantic proportions began in the 1960’s and continues today, where large portions of the Church seemingly lost the Faith at least in some parts. Many people then, and today, find it morally impossible or at least difficult to approach sacred ministers whom they do not personally know and trust completely. It is simply a fact that many priests trained in the last 40 years preach error, change words in Sacramental formulae arbitrarily and sometimes invalididating Sacraments, and so forth. The SSPX, FSSP and others presumably at least have priests who do not seem to think Sacraments and doctrine are their personal property to play with and alter at will. Hence, it befuddles me to no end that we’re playing word games about ‘formal schism’ vs. ‘well, it really might be a schism’, whether there is such a thing as common error of law or fact which people in good faith could be in error on due to the above mentioned widespread abuses, and so forth. I see absolutely no value whatsoever in such debates-I cannot imagine that many souls will be saved by the ridiculous parsing out of ‘formal’ vs. ‘informal’ schism and the rest of it.

  23. John R. says:

    The Orthodox have been separated for 1,000 years and the case for reconciliation with them is very complicated. If the SSPX so choose, their ability to come into union with the Pope is far easier and would be of immediate benefit for the liturgical restoration in the Church.

    >>The difference between the SSPX and the Orthodox is the SSPX isn’t, strictly speaking a church. The SSPX bishops don’t claim any jurisdiction, and they view themselves as akin to the Dominicans, Franciscans or Oratorians.

    The SSPX ought to be subject to the local bishops just like any other order of the Latin Church, but they are not.

    According to the magisterium, the local Orthodox churches are particular churches having a valid sacramental ministry, but they are wounded in terms of their lack of unity with the Holy See.

    Reconciling the SSPX without requiring it to accept the orthodoxy of Vatican II ecclesiology would be a signal to the Orthodox that Rome isn’t interested in a more equitable form of reunion than the humiliating surrender that was forced at the Council of Florence. The SSPX opposes all forms of de-Latinization of the Eastern Catholic churches and by extension, it is an enemy of Eastern Christianity because it embraces the heresy of the “precedence of the Latin rite,” which Vatican II thankfully repudiated.

    At Florence, the Greek bishops argued on behalf of traditional Eastern theology and praxis, but in the end they surrendered their patrimony to get military support from the West against the Turks. The Florentine decrees exclusively reflect a Latin or Western triumphalism against the legitimate theological traditions of the Eastern Church. Florence failed because the Greek bishops lacked the support of their faithful and lower clergy who believed they had fallen into heresy by signing the union, which they later repudiated.

    Florence is a sore subject for United Eastern Catholics as well because it symbolizes the wrongful exclusive identification of Catholicism with the Western scholastic tradition.

    I might add the decree of Florence also provide its undoing: “We also define that the holy apostolic see and the Roman pontiff holds the primacy over the whole world and the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter prince of the apostles, and that he is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians, and to him was committed in blessed Peter the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church, as is contained also in the acts of ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons…Also, renewing the order of the other patriarchs which has been handed down in the canons, the patriarch of Constantinople should be second after the most holy Roman pontiff, third should be the patriarch of Alexandria, fourth the patriarch of Antioch, and fifth the patriarch of Jerusalem, without prejudice to all their privileges and rights.”

    According to St. Germanus of Constantinople, approbation of all five patriarchs is necessary for any council to be ecumenical,not just the pope. That was the norm for Nicaea I through Nicaea II. Consequently, when the Eastern patriarchs repudiated their signature, Florence ceased to be ecumenical. Intercommunion between Catholics and Orthodox nontheless lasted until 1729 when Pope Benedict XIII forbade any further intercommunion at the formation of the Melkite patriarchate.

  24. Matt Q says:

    Father Angel replied:

    “Previously, when both came calling, it seems as if the Orthodox received far better treatment than the SSPX. In these days, I don’t know that this is the case. You should give Pope Benedict and Cardinal Hoyos more credit for their efforts.

    Also, is it helpful in the quest for reconciliation to dwell on attempted comparisons of treatment? E.g. “we won’t respond at this time because it appears as if the recent visit of the Orthodox was treated with greater kindness than our recent visit.” “We are displeased that we were spoken to with more urgency than the Orthodox.” “When the Orthodox start conforming doctrine and behavior to Tradition, than we will be better disposed.”

    The Orthodox have been separated for 1,000 years and the case for reconciliation with them is very complicated. If the SSPX so choose, their ability to come into union with the Pope is far easier and would be of immediate benefit for the liturgical restoration in the Church.”

    )(

    Dear Father Angel:

    Yes, it is quite necessary to look at the differing treatment of the two. The complexities of issues in and of themselves are not relevant. Treating people poorly is, and also shows the level of contempt. In this context, did it not matter Rosa Parks was told to sit at the back of the bus, while her White male counterpart was so grandly allowed to sit up front? She was merely told to sit in back. In the scheme of things, good Father, does that make a difference? One doesn’t triage being polite. Nowadays, though, I suppose, everyone has their excuse to justify bad behavior–including Rome.

    God bless.

  25. Michael says:

    John R. : “The SSPX bishops don’t claim any jurisdiction” – good joke. Is a selection of candidates for ordination, as distinct from the ordination itself, an act of jurisdiction, or a sacrament? Using a crosier – is it a symbol of jurisdiction or of a sacrament. Organization of “parishes”, assignment of clergy etc.

    And what about the “supplied” jurisdiction for the sacrament of reconciliation, marriages, even declaration of nullity.

    And then, according to the “traditional” theology, a teaching comes under the jurisdiction, and they teach all the time.

    All these acts are schismatic acts, and while they are not in a formal schism, they are certainly in a material one, like the Orthodox whom they only too easily call schismatics.

  26. BobP says:

    For what it’s worth, it’s been over 20 years now since a new SSPX bishop has been consecrated. That should say something for their intention to stay in communion with Rome.

  27. rick says:

    I WROTE ON THIS BLOG JULY 5:
    If that were the case SSPX would have eased the hearts of the faithful all over the world who are suffering because of the SSPX episcopal excommunications and improper canonical standing of the SSPX in the Church. Again, GRAND DELUSION: THE SSPX SAID NO DEAL! And it came during the week that the Transalpine Redemptorists became in Canonical Good Standing. So what gives? The SSPX is playing a political a game and here is how it goes: ” we warned the Transalpine Redemptorists not to deal with Rome: now watch them collapse into “modernism” and defect from “the true faith and tradition of the Catholic Church.” The Transalpines will become a kind of focal point if not whipping post for the SSPX’ers at every turn the TR’s take. THEN SSPX will have been justified in not ‘cutting a deal’ with Rome.
    AND ON THE VERY SAME DAY, BISHOP WILLIAMSON(SSPX) WRITES ON HIS WEBSITE:
    “The leader of the Traditional Redemptorists based in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland, who has just led as many of them as will follow him back into the embrace of Conciliar Rome, writes ecstatically of how “sweet” it “tastes” to be once more in “peaceful and undisputed communion” with the Vicar of Christ. Good luck, dear Father, with avoiding the leprosy! But at least you must be giving some consolation to Cardinal Castrillón! What confusion!
    Kyrie Eleison.”

  28. Antiquarian says:

    Ah yes– Williamson rises to the occasion again, referring to this situation as a “leprous mother” trying to embrace a child who wants to avoid her leprosy, and mocking Cardinal Castrillon, Pope Benedict, and the Transalpine Redemptorists along the way.

    http://www.dinoscopus.blogspot.com

  29. Truman says:

    Ah, yes, Bp. Williamson: without Nazi to root for, what’s the poor man to do?

  30. Logan says:

    Truman:

    Yours is the product of a sick & twisted mind!

    Cheers

  31. Guess what? If, offended by a want of tact on a Church official’s part, I commit a sin serious enough to incur excommunication latae sententiae, I’m expected to GO TO CONFESSION, and to AVOID REPEATING THE SIN. I am emphatically not doing enough to rectify my situation if I merely sit at home, waiting for the Holy Father to pelt me with bonbons and bouquets, and whining that some other sinner got more favorable terms. Why these drama queens have been permitted to keep the Head of the Church on earth waiting for years while they try to decide if we’re pure enough for them to rejoin is a mystery to me. All right, their feelings were hurt. But I’m not off the hook in my putative serious sin just because my feelings were hurt, and I don’t know why they ought to be. I am so tired of these people.

  32. Matt Q says:

    Elinor Dashwood wrote:

    “Guess what? If, offended by a want of tact on a Church official’s part, I commit a sin serious enough to incur excommunication latae sententiae, I’m expected to GO TO CONFESSION, and to AVOID REPEATING THE SIN. I am emphatically not doing enough to rectify my situation if I merely sit at home, waiting for the Holy Father to pelt me with bonbons and bouquets, and whining that some other sinner got more favorable terms. Why these drama queens have been permitted to keep the Head of the Church on earth waiting for years while they try to decide if we’re pure enough for them to rejoin is a mystery to me. All right, their feelings were hurt. But I’m not off the hook in my putative serious sin just because my feelings were hurt, and I don’t know why they ought to be. I am so tired of these people.”

    )(

    Yes, we’re sick of the Orthodox also!!

  33. I am not Spartacus says:

    I know this is a bit off topic but I just got back into town and I wanted to comment on the PCED post generously provided by Mr. Mershon and Fr. Z.

    I assume I am one of the posters for whom this post was intended.

    Thanks, Mr. Mershon, for following-up on this and thank you, Fr. Z for posting and commenting.

    I just wanted to ask a few questions. If I am out of line, Fr. Z, please just delete.

    . Stating that the Society of St. Pius X “is not in formal schism” is to say that there has been no official declaration on the part of the Holy See that the Society of St. Pius X is in schism.

    The use of the qualifying adjective “formal” suggests to me the SSPX is in some sort of schism. And that it is a schism is boldly stated later on in the text.

    Maybe the sspx is in double-secret schism :)

    While it is true that participation in the Mass at chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute “formal adherence to the schism” (cf. Ecclesia Dei 5, c),

    Well, there it is. That reads to me like the sspx is a schism. Can this sentence be read any other way?

    Fr. Z. Re. the Marriage and Confesions of the SSPX. Can it be assumed the leadership of the sspx understands what you explained and are, therefore, (in the words of President George the first), in deep doo doo re. culpability for invalid Marriages and Confessions?

    BTW, what was not addressed was the sspx setting up their own marriage tribunals further usurping authority.

    In any event, I do appreciate the attempts to figure-out if the sspx is schismatic fish or faithful fowl.

  34. D.S. says:

    test