I.Media: SSPX requests lifting of excommunications

Our sharp-eyed friends at Rorate have a very interesting story.  Not my translation, but my emphases and comments:

I.Media: SSPX asks for removal of excommunications

Agence France-Presse (AFP) publishes today the information that the Rome-based French religious news agency I.MEDIA reports that the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) has asked the Holy See to lift the excommunications: [If this is so, then it is reasonable to assume that the request was made in the context of a fairly positive letter, the response the the "ultimatum".]


The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X has asked the Vatican to lift the excommunications pronounced against it, an Integrist [sic] [The French term "integriste" is a way of saying "traditionalist", but it has a bit of a pejorative overtone.] organization, to display its will to dialogue, according to religious news agency I.Media.

The Superior of the Fraternity, Bishop Bernard Fellay, sent Pope Bendict XVI a letter responding to the conditions posed by the Vatican to a reintegration of this organization, founded by schismatic [sic] bishop Marcel Lefebvre, the agency notes.

According to an internal note of the Fraternity [read=SSPX] mentioned by I.Media, Bishop Fellay asks that the dialogue "be placed at a doctrinal level" and that he may avoid every hastiness. He underlines that "prior withdrawal of the excommunication of 1988 would favor the serenity of such a dialogue".

[I have to fix up this next part of the translation...]
"These conditions seem to aim at securing a favorable climate for a later dialogue rather than precise commitments on specified points," the Priestly Fraternity assesses in its note.

I am very happy to read this.

Note a few things.

The SSPX is trying to slow things down.  This might be important for their interior cohesion as a group.

 

The SSPX wants to talk about doctrine, whereas the Holy See is, at least right now, focused on getting them to tone down the harsh rhetoric and show some positive interest in union.  Issues before group hug.  

When someone incurs a censure for something that is done in public, some sort of public redress is necessary.  You can’t simply ask for an excommunication to be lifted without some sort of public expression of regret or submission.   To make this principle clearer, think of the situation of a "Catholic" politician who says publicly he is pro-abortion and acts on those views in voting, etc.  He must make public reparation before he can receive Communion in public.  Even if he changes his heart, goes to confession and receives absolution, he must make public redress somewhere along the line because the scandal he caused was public.  This is a matter of justice.  Of course the Holy Father can apply whatever mercy it pleases him to apply to what is required by strict justice.

Most importantly, they all seem to be talking in some way about concrete things.

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96 Responses to I.Media: SSPX requests lifting of excommunications

  1. This is very good news.

    It reminds me of the very sensitive negotiations that transpired between the Russian Synodal Church and the Moscow Patriarchate, which resulted in the eventual restoration of communion.

    May the most Blessed Theotokos intercede for the restoration of communion between the SSPX and the Church of Rome!

    God bless,

    FDD

  2. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Fr. Z,

    While I agree with you on justice, this is not the current case in the Church. Notice Tony Blair converted and was received into the Church and never recanted his pro-abortion position. That said the SSPX at most will be asked to do what Campos did: If we did anything to injure the Holy Father or the Church we are sorry, but we were acting according to our conscience to protect our souls and help the Church.

  3. Kradcliffe says:

    I wonder what odds Ladbrokes would give me on that ever happening? If somebody dared me, I’d probably go in and ask, just to see the looks on their faces.

  4. Guadalupe Guard says:

    “He must make public redress somewhere along the line because the scandal he caused was public.”

    I agree, if by “he” you mean Peter (HH Benedict in the name of his predecessors); except that it is not a “must” just a should.”

  5. John Enright says:

    It seems to me that this could develop into a stalemate like negotiating the size and shape of the Paris Peace Conference table during the Vietnam era. SSPX desires an immediate substantive doctrinal dialog, while the Holy See is saying “We can’t talk to you while you’re still throwing stones.” I also sense that SSPX is having some serious internal trouble as evidenced by a June 26, 2006 statement of Bp. Williamson, who actually seems to desire a declaration of formal schism:

    However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome’s purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society’s resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?

    And if they did go ahead with such a declaration [of schism], Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops’ “excommunication”. Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome’s self-abasement.

    See: Bishop Williamson’s Blog While Bp. Fellay would obviously like the Society to return to Rome intact, that may not be possible given Bp. Williamson’s opposition. That may well explain why SSPX is playing for time.

  6. KOM says:

    *That said the SSPX at most will be asked to do what Campos did: If we did anything to injure the Holy Father or the Church we are sorry, but we were acting according to our conscience to protect our souls and help the Church.*

    Great point! I think after all the dust settles, SSPX also needs to show respective humility.

  7. Brian2 says:

    Although I can understand why SSPX would want the excommunications lifted ASAP,I don’t see how lifting the excommunications can come before doctrinal discussions and regularization. It seems like putting the cart before the horse. shouldn’t they work out doctrinal disputes, come to an agreement/regularization and THEN, as a sign of all this, lift the excommunications. If the doctrinal discussionsn don’t work out,and SSPX remains irregular, their leaders could just end up being excommunicated a second time somewhere down the line. Perhaps someone can explain this to me, but it seems backwards to me

  8. Supertradmom says:

    More prayer….

  9. Christopher: Perhaps you missed my observation about mercy.

  10. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    Fr. Z: The French term “integriste” is a way of saying “traditionalist”, but it has a bit of a pejorative overtone.

    The term only has a negative connotation for those on the Left. The counterrevolutionary Catholic Right of France uses the term as a mark of honour. It is similar to the word “fascist” in the 30s and 40s–Reds spoke the word with a scowl whereas supporters of the Anticomintern embraced the label.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t get it. Would the request for lifting the excommunications mean that the SSPX bishops admit that they are excommunicated? Wouldn’t they have to admit that the episcopal consecrations were wrong? I don’t see them doing that. I think their pride will get in the way. I pray I’m wrong…

  12. KOM says:

    *Although I can understand why SSPX would want the excommunications lifted ASAP,I don’t see how lifting the excommunications can come before doctrinal discussions and regularization.*

    Paul VI lifted the excommunication against P. Cerularius, who died adhering to an heretical position.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651207_common-declaration_en.html

    Since Vatican II does not teach dogma, and since SSPX adheres to every dogma of the Church, it should be easier to lift the so-called excommunications against them.

  13. Iakovos says:

    The term “intégriste” is used by the French and in the French media to mean “fundamentalist,” in the same way we would speak of Christian or Muslim fundamentalists. For instance, they speak of the Muslim fundamentalists as “musulmans intégristes,” so it really is a strong word. “Traditional” or “traditionalist” does not really capture the meaning of it. You are right that it has a pejorative connotation.

  14. KOM says:

    I meant to say *new* dogma; of course VII reiterates past dogma; SSPX is only concerned with novelties such as religious freedom, which is not dogma…

  15. Brian Walden says:

    Brian2, I’m no expert in these matters, but the excommunications were for the action of ordaining bishops without the Pope’s permission – not for their beliefs. I can see how if the SSPX were to admit that the ordinations were wrong (in one way or another that would save face), the excommunications could be lifted. I personally think lifting the excommunications first would be helpful, the Church has a lot to gain by working out doctrinal issues with the SSPX on the inside rather than on the fence. I think it could lead to a lot of clarification of Church documents that are commonly misinterpreted. It could kind of be like two birds with one stone – clear up misunderstandings between the Church and the SSPX and at the same time clamp down on the willy-nilly interpretations that liberals like to run away with.

  16. Patrick says:

    It would seem that any lifting of the excommunications would follow Campos. There, Bishop Rangel asked to be absolved and his request was accepted. Then at a Mass celebrated by Card. Castrillon Hoyos, Bishop Rangel made “his profession of faith and took the oath of fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff, declaring at the same time that he accepted all the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.”

    What we won’t see at all is any indication from the Vatican that the excommunications were in any way invalid.

  17. I am praying that the Holy Father will lift the excommunications in order that the dialogue in love can continue. Recall that in 1964 Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I lifted the mutual excommunications with the understanding that this act advances genuine dialogue.

    Fr. Deacon Daniel, there was a meeting of the heads of the autocephalous churches with Patriarch Bartholmeos I some years ago. At that meeting hew wanted to declare that all the Schismatic Old calendarist churches be declared with out grace of Sacraments, not one of his better ideas I must admit. He wished to include ROCOR in the category; the Moscow Patriarchate refused to agree with that action, claiming that they would work on the eventual reunion. Compassion does work wonders in the life of the Church.

  18. I am not Spartacus says:

    When someone incurs a censure for something that is done in public, some sort of public redress is necessary.

    AMEN Bless you for writing that, Fr.

    I think the sspx is very clever in the way they, at least as it appears to me, have managed to reframe the process. Recall the five conditions. The response, at least as far as I can tell, dodges those five conditions and reintroduces an extraneous issue (excommunication vaporisation) into the equation.

    It seems that no matter how minimal are the demands by the Pope, they are received by the sspx as too demanding or as requiring too rapid a response. The sspx, in practice, continues to promote itself as the one having legitimate demands that Rome must first accept or acquiese to before the sspx consents to sit down with untrustworthy and unreliable Rome.

    It take an heroic act of imagination for me to think the sspx is engaged in anything other than rank gamesmanship intending to continue to put-off the day of reckoning where they will have to fish or cut bait.

    Clearly, the sspx has not accepted the conditions from Rome and if Rome decides to let a schism reframe the relationship by issuing its own non sequitur requests, I do not see how any of this is cause for hope.

    I think it just sets the whole negotiations back to where it was prior to the five conditions being presented. If things remain as they appear to be right now, I have to, reluctantly, concede the sspx has, again, successfully bamboozled Rome.

    And that bodes ill for all sides.

  19. Jo says:

    Bishop Fellay is playing hard to get.

    For some reason, he think he’s negotiating from a position of strenght.

    Maybe he misunderstood Benedict’s fatherly affection ans solicitude for weakness. Williamson also thinks that nothing will come out of this.

    They will be very surprised in a not very distant future.

    They are playing this wrong. Remember Pius XI’s words in Mortalium animus:

    .. in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize
    and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. …
    Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the
    Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long
    to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, “the Mother and mistress of all Christ’s faithful”?
    … Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See… not with the intention and
    the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” will cast aside the
    integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government.

  20. Jrbrown says:

    I would direct attention to the following: http://www.dici.org/accueil.php?loc=FR, which is the official press release of the SSPX today regarding what was actually said between Cardinal Hoyos and Bp Fellay. It is currently only in French, but a google translation would seem to have many hopeful signs for what has happened and will happen in the future. Suffice it to say, the SSPX did NOT reject the conditions at all.

  21. I am not Spartacus says:

    That said the SSPX at most will be asked to do what Campos did:

    The sspx condemned the Campos agreement and thought it a huge mistake on the part of the Campos folks.

    The sad fact is clear, even though the details are not yet fully revealed. You have signed an agreement with Modernist Rome and thereby turned your back on the great legacy of your great and beloved bishop who left you in April of 1991, left you because God called him home, left you secure and Catholic and well provided for. His legacy has now been compromised through the compromise which must have been made with the current power players in Modernist and Progressive Rome, distinct and separate itself from Eternal Rome. To affect a compromise, one must assume leaving one’s position and moving toward a middle ground. The position you must leave is the fullness of the Tradition of the Catholic Faith; the new position you must reach is closer to the outskirts of the New Rome, the Rome of bureaucrats and ambiguous talk and ecumenism and collegiality and religious liberty, all the temptations and errors against which your good pastor so courageously and so comprehensively warned and instructed you.

    http://www.sspx.org/B_DeCastroMayer/dr_allen_whites_open_letter.htm

  22. vox borealis says:

    Geoffrey,

    You are thinking more or less what I am thinking. Many SSPX apologists claim that the bishops were not excommunicated because the necessity of the act trumps Rome’s mandate to wait for permission. Therefore, according to this line of thought, although the Pope declared excommunication, this state never event into effect, and the Pope was (in effect) wrong. At least that is how I understand their position.

    So, why ask for a lifting of excommunication? Rather, they should ask for recognition that excommunication never happened to begin with.

    Maybe I don’t fully understand the terminology involved.

  23. Jo says:

    Bp. Fellay is playing hard to get.

    He thinks he’s negotiating from a position of strenght. Maybe he took Benedict’s fatherly love and
    solicitude for weakness.

    We will be very surprised in a not very distant future.

  24. I am not Spartacus says:

    Paul VI lifted the excommunication against P. Cerularius, who died adhering to an heretical position.

    Right, He was dead. Fellay, Mallerias and Williamson ain’t.

  25. vox borealis says:

    Spartacus,

    “It take an heroic act of imagination for me to think the sspx is engaged in anything other than rank gamesmanship intending to continue to put-off the day of reckoning where they will have to fish or cut bait.”

    Exactly. I posted on another thread: why does Rome not simply, clearly, and unambiguously declare the society schismatic? I mean this in all charity. So long as Rome dances around, it allows the society to play these games. I do wonder if the better path is not to force the game, to force the members of the society to fish or cut bait.

  26. Anthony Ozimic says:

    It is the modern occupiers of Rome who should apologise. The episcopal consecrations were necessary, the excommunications canonically invalid, the terms of the Motu Proprio erroneous and the conditions of the latest letter from occupied Rome dangerously vague.

  27. Jo says:

    The SSPX is playing this the wrong way.

    Remember Pius XI words in Mortalium Animos:

    “… in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and
    obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.
    Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the
    Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long
    to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church…
    Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See… not with the intention and the
    hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” will cast aside the
    integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to
    its teaching and government.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19280106_mortalium-animos_en.html

  28. Brian Walden says:

    Pardon me if I don’t understand the situation, I was 7 years old when the SSPX bishops were ordained, but doesn’t the fact that supporters of tradition who aren’t SSPX members like Pope Benedict, Archbishop Burke, and others are here today prove that the ordinations were not strictly necessary?

    I don’t want to discount the work the SSPX has done in preserving tradition, but do they really have the only 4 traditional bishops in the world? Or am I misunderstanding what qualifies as necessary?

  29. Patrick says:

    vox,

    They have. In 1996, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, in it’s published declaration stated “…the entire Lefebvrist movement is held to be schismatic.” Of course, the SSPX ignored it. And Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos has talked around it in an effort to bring them home. But the official published record of the Church regarding the SSPX is that they are “schismatic”.

  30. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I am not Spartacus,

    I was only referring to the formula for the lifting of the excommunications, not the rest of deal.

    Patrick,

    At Campos the group indirectly maintained the excommunications were invalid. First, you can not be excommunicated unless you are *guilty* of committing a mortal sin. Notice you must be *guilty* of committing a mortal sin. The Campos group maintained in their letter to remove the excommunication, that they acted in good faith for the good of their souls, and that IF they did anything to injure the Holy Father or the Church they were sorry, but no where did they acknowledge the commission of sin, and they absolutely did insist that they acted in good faith, and therefore could not be guilty of the mortal sin for which they were excommunicated, which means they never considered themselves excommunicated.

  31. Phil says:

    Brian, that’s exactly the point. The SSPX had gone far enough overboard to believe that they, and not Peter, were the ones with the pure faith, hence the necessity argument. That’s also why the 5 conditions presented to Fellay centered on the role of the Pope.

    If the SSPX can bring itself to recognize it does not have a superior understanding of the faith, all the rest can be hammered out – BXVI is more than smart and flexible enough for that (nor does Fellay strike me as someone of bad will). But the central point is that one has to be in communion with Rome. If you have to ask ‘is Rome in communion with me?’ you’re approaching the problem from the wrong direction, and the road only goes downhill from there.

  32. Supertradmom says:

    Brothers, sisters, charity, please. Can we not have rational discussions without the use of pejorative or inflammatory language? Some of the attitudes here betray an intransigence, which does help either Rome or the SSPX. As to heresies, the only one I see blatantly in all of this is the misunderstanding concerning the so-called “Eternal Rome” which does not exist outside of the real Rome; the present Pope, and the Teaching Magisterium of the Church. The questions brought up by Fellay regarding doctrines, which still allude me, unless he is referring, as stated before to Gaudium et Spes, or Lumen Gentium, or the newer rite of Ordination, may be resolved after a lifting of excommunications. For those who do not accept these ever occurred, that is another matter, as the SSPX is not a homogeneous group. We should not use the “integriste” phrase, as it is inflammatory and unnecessary.

  33. vox borealis says:

    Patrick,

    That’s fine and well, but a statement by a Pontifical Council 1996 is not what I had in mind. How about public statements, clear and unambiguous, today–including by the pope himself. And not odd phrases like “schismatic act.”

  34. Jo says:

    From the code of Canon Law:

    Can. 1358 §1. Remission of a censure cannot be granted unless the offender has withdrawn from contumacy
    according to the norm of can. 1347, §2.

    Can. 1347 §2. An offender who has truly repented of the delict and has also made suitable reparation for
    damages and scandal or at least has seriously promised to do so must be considered to have withdrawn
    from contumacy.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

  35. Supertradmom says:

    Sorry, distracted–see error above

    which does NOT help either Rome or the SSPX

    (dealing with two cats and one child here as well as the universal Church)

  36. Mary says:

    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known…

  37. Cathguy says:

    Patrick,

    I, for one, do not think that Rome will require the SSPX to declare “at the same time that” they accept “all the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.”

    First, I do not believe for a moment that the SSPX would ever assent to such a thing. Secondly, as another poster has already pointed out, Vatican II introduces no new dogma. It was a “pastoral” council, designed to make the teachings of the Church more relevant to the modern age.

    I think the vast majority thinking faithful Catholics would have to conclude that the Council largely failed in its objectives. (This is NOT to say the Council is heretical. It is not. Just that it failed in its objectives)

    The SSPX claim to be loyal Catholics who believe and profess EVERYTHING prior to the Council. Therefore, I see no reason to pretend that they should be made to repent of a position that history has largely exonerated them for holding. We have lost our sense of reverence, we are in deep dissent from Church teaching, and we are living through an age of apostasy.

    Having the SSPX in full and normal communion with Rome would mean that they could continue to fight the good fight for tradition from inside the Church. This will embolden traditionalists everywhere, and be good for the universal Church.

  38. Legisperitus says:

    It seems entirely possible for Rome and the SSPX to agree to disagree on whether the excommunications were valid in the first place. The SSPX would merely need to ask Rome to “withdraw the decree of excommunication,” and Rome could say “the decree of excommunication is hereby withdrawn.” Then people could continue to debate whether the bishops had ever been validly excommunicated, but it would be a moot point. Everybody could move on.

  39. Terry says:

    I am confused as to what the consequences of lifting the excommunications would be.

    For example, would it mean that the SSPX would have to

    a) get some sort of canonical approval for its existence

    and

    b) get permission for ordaining anyone, etc?

    I know this is part of what needs to be hammered out, but I was just wondering.

    Secondly, I would think that the card the SSPX has in its hand regarding any requirements to affirm any particular understanding of Catholicism is a list they probably all have handy, of “Catholic” institutions that teach that homosexuality and abortion are moral, that implicitly promote the ordination of women and that regularly defy Rome on liturgical matters.

    Some dioceses included.

  40. anonymous in Michigan says:

    Why don’t we wait until something official is published before we get all worked up over what might happen?

  41. Supertradmom says:

    The hidden cards you have to which you have referred have either been excommunicated formally, as in the case of the women priests and some recalcitrant parishes, as in the Omaha Diocese, or are de facto excommunicated by Canon Law, if not de jure. We need to be careful as to whom we use the terms either disobedient or “Catholic”. Yes, there are many universities and colleges, for example, where many of us, including alumni, would like the name Catholic taken away, as a former title no longer applicable.

    That the SSPX would have any hidden cards bothers me. And I am still wondering about a question I posed as to the validity of some of the sacraments within the SSPX, specifically, confirmation and marriage. Can anyone answer that query? Of course, Rome could accept all in a great gesture of reconciliation, except for matters not yet delineated by either “side” of the question. We on this blog, including myself, remind me of the media commentators who speculate out loud and suppose outcomes weeks before events in either sports or politics, without all the facts. Having said that, I learn so much here and am grateful for all charitable comments.

  42. Sid Cundiff says:

    I pray for reconciliation; I remain from Missouri. And I plea yet again that all lower their voices during delicate negotiations; and until we have definite statements from both sides, I implore all to cease the polemics, invective, second-guessing, and the Hier stehe ich posturing (of unhappy memory).

  43. Sid Cundiff says:

    The link to the letter and what seems to be the entirety of its innumerable clerical signatories: http://www.forwardinfaith.com/news/pages/OPENLETTER.pdf

  44. Patrick says:

    Vox,

    I agree. Some clarity would really be nice. If the SSPX refuses the conditions, I think the clarity will be delivered quickly.

  45. Chris says:

    This seems promising:

    From the SSPX-run news website:

    http://dici.org/

    Concerning the Ultimatum of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos
    On June 4, 2008, at the request of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, His Excellency Bernard Fellay, went to Rome accompanied the 2nd Assistant General, Rev. Fr. Alain-Marc Nély.

    During the interview, he was given a memorandum in the form of an ultimatum, demanding an answer by the end of the month of June. On June 23, contrary to the established custom, the Italian daily Il Giornale revealed the existence of the ultimatum and, the next day, published its content in its on-line edition. In the days following, the information was broadcasted by all of the international press. Thus, to the urgency of the ultimatum was added media pressure.

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ document expressed five demands: besides a positive answer requested before the end of June, the Society of Saint Pius X, in the person of its General Superior, had to commit itself (1) “to give a response proportionate to the pope’s generosity”; (2) “to avoid any public comment which would not respect the person of the Holy Father and would have a negative impact upon ecclesial charity;” (3) “to avoid claiming a magisterium superior to the Holy Father’s and not to set the Society in opposition to the Church;” (4) “to demonstrate its will to act in all honesty and ecclesial charity, and in the respect of the authority of the Vicar of Christ.”

    We must observe that the very general — not to say vague — character of the demands singularly contrasts with the urgency of the ultimatum. The conditions seem to be meant to obtain an atmosphere favorable to a further dialogue, rather than imply any precise commitment on definite issues. The Society of Saint Pius X wishes that the dialogue be on the doctrinal level and take into accounts all the issues, which, if they were evaded, might jeopardize a canonical status hastily set up. The SSPX considers that the preliminary withdrawal of the 1988 decrees of excommunication would foster serenity in the dialogue.

    The SSPX does not claim the exercise of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father’s, nor does it seek to oppose the Church. Following in the footsteps of its founder, it wants to hand down what it has received, namely “what has always been believed everywhere and by all.” It claims as its own the profession of faith addressed by Archbishop Lefebvre to Paul VI on September 24, 1975: “Jesus Christ has entrusted to His Vicar the charge of confirming his brethren in the faith, and has asked him to make sure that every bishop faithfully keep the deposit of the faith, according to St. Paul’s recommendation to Timothy.”

    In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, dated June 26, 2008, Bishop Fellay answered in this sense. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos acknowledged receipt of the letter the next day.

    Until further details are available, we will make no comment.

    Fr. Alain Lorans

  46. Pingback: The SSPX and the Vatican: Things are getting interesting « Peace, Love, and Joy

  47. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Cundiff. I get a smile whenever I read you, as you always do, describe the negotiations as “sensitive.” I see little sensitive, or sensible, about the negotiations.

    The five conditions can no more legitimately be repudiated than one can repudiate literacy while negotiating a book contract.

    For twenty years, every single public act by the sspx has made it clear they are not interested in a reconciliation with The Living Magisterium.

    They were QUICK to denounce The Campose agreement, for instance.

    They have made it clear they are interested in The Living Magisterium coming to their senses and joining them in defense and preservation of Catholic Tradition.

    The idea such arrogance is not to be recoginsed for the exoteric repudiation of Communion it represents and that rather we ought lie to ourselves that behind the persistent public posture of the schism one can sense some numinous esoteric longing for Communion with liberal and modernist Rome is irrationality unbound.

    If Fr. Fellay does accept the conditions he knows there will be hell to pay because every single thing he has said and done vis a vis liberal and modernist Rome will be thought of by his followers as a bunch of lies meant to deceive them.

    When a schism like the ssspx has a public, easily accessible and verifiable, track record of implacable opposition to The Pope, the Council, and The Mass, there is simply no way for Fellay to finesse his way back to reconciliation without losing the loyalty and support of those who succor the schism.

    That is why he seems, to me at least, to be trying to reframe the negotiations while playing for time. However offers from Fellay and playing for a delay will not cut it. Short of an act of heroic humility, there is simply no way out of the schismatic prison the sspx has locked itself into.

    This truly is fish or cut bait time and I see Fr. Fellay on the shoals of schism cutting-up scad while The Barque of Peter sails-off into the distance fishing in the Anglican Seas where survivors actually desired to be saved.

    The five conditions are life rafts set into the seas by Our Sweet Jesus on Earth. The SSPX had better scramble aboard while they can.Who knows how long it will be before The Barque of Peter re-enters this particular schismatic sea searching for survivors?

    Making demands of those who are trying to rescue you is demand an anchor instead of a lifeline.

  48. Please Holy Father lift the excommunications!!!

    Don’t worry about a public apology from the SSPX — none necessary.

  49. Habemus Papam says:

    These “demands” are nothing new, Rome knows about them. 1) Recognise that the Missal of St.Pius V was never juridically abrogated. 2). Lift the excommunications. 3). Discuss Vatican II/Doctrinal matters. 4) Set up a canonical struture. Its now clear from the SSPXs news service that they have accepted, or at least have not rejected the Conditions and have replied in time to meet the ultimatum.

  50. KOM says:

    legisperitus: *It seems entirely possible for Rome and the SSPX to agree to disagree on whether the excommunications were valid in the first place.*

    Good point, and I would even go further: why not agree to disagree re: Vatican II? Since it was a non-dogmatic council, and in the minimum has caused massive confusion, why not leave it at what Gregory said re: a confusing council–”carry on as if it didn’t happen”?

  51. Geoffrey says:

    “It is the modern occupiers of Rome who should apologise. The episcopal consecrations were necessary, the excommunications canonically invalid, the terms of the Motu Proprio erroneous and the conditions of the latest letter from occupied Rome dangerously vague.”

    This is a perfect example of why I have a hard time reading these comments.

  52. H says:

    I am happy to inform you that last June 18th, before Cardinal Castrillon and the members of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in Rome, I humbly petitioned the Holy See on my own behalf and on behalf of the monastery council for our priestly suspensions to be lifted.

    On June 26th I received word that the Holy See had granted our petition. All canonical censures have been lifted.

    http://papastronsay.blogspot.com/2008/07/canonical-good-standing.html

  53. I am not Spartacus says:

    We must observe that the very general—not to say vague—character of the demands singularly contrasts with the urgency of the ultimatum. The conditions seem to be meant to obtain an atmosphere favorable to a further dialogue, rather than imply any precise commitment on definite issues. The Society of Saint Pius X wishes that the dialogue be on the doctrinal level and take into accounts all the issues, which, if they were evaded, might jeopardize a canonical status hastily set up. The SSPX considers that the preliminary withdrawal of the 1988 decrees of excommunication would foster serenity in the dialogue.

    Vague? Pull the other one.

    In language subtle but clear, the sspx repudiates the five conditions but suggests an excommunication vaporisation would foster serenity in dialogue.

    Would it ever. And ever… And ever…et in saecula saeculorum.

    Once having witnessed the excommunication vaporisation, what incentive would there be for the sspx to EVER reach a reconciliation with liberal and modernist Rome?

    They’d be at perfect liberty to publish and promote the Pope’s lifting of the excommunications as a vindication of the legitimacy of their schism these past twenty years and they’d rub the ex-vapor into the eyes of those who have maintained the Bonds of Unity claiming something like- Well, Rome is slowly coming around to accepting Tradition so we must redouble our efforts at delaying a reconciliation until such time as Rome comes fully back home…

    The Pope is too wise. This game will fail. The Pope dealt a face-up, five card stud game.

    The SSPX can’t just yell “Go Fish,” at the Pope, throw its cards in and demand a new game. But that is just what they have done.

    This is profoundly perverted playing games with the Pope this way.

  54. Patrick says:

    I am not Spartacus,

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts.

    It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

  55. On June 26th I received word that the Holy See had granted our petition. All canonical censures have been lifted.

    It should be understood that this apparent rapprochement involves the Transalpine Redemptorists — an order somehow associated with the SSPX — and not the SSPX itself.

  56. Paul Haley says:

    The following is a direct quote from the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

    Can. 1323 The following are not subject to a penalty when they have violated a law or precept:

    1/ a person who has not yet completed the sixteenth year of age;

    2/ a person who without negligence was ignorant that he or she violated a law or precept; inadvertence and error are equivalent to ignorance;

    3/ a person who acted due to physical force or a chance occurrence which the person could not foresee or, if foreseen, avoid;

    4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;

    5/ a person who acted with due moderation against an unjust aggressor for the sake of legitimate self defense or defense of another;

    6/ a person who lacked the use of reason, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. ? 1324, §1, n. 2 and ? 1325;

    7/ a person who without negligence thought that one of the circumstances mentioned in nn. 4 or 5 was present

    .

    It appears, then, the holy father could, acting on his own authority, cite the preceding canon in vacating the excommunications stating:

    (1)the extreme ill health of the archbishop, the grave fears expressed by the archbishop and his own particular knowledge of the situation.

    (2)the expressed good will and intentions the response to Cardinal Hoyos by Bishop Fellay.

    (3)the desire to put to an end any talk of schism.

    (4)the need to further discussions of doctrinal matters for the good of the church.

    (5)the desire to extend to the members of the FSSPX and its followers the benevolent hand of the Vicar of Christ.

    Now, as far as I can determine, this action could take place immediately and the details about integrating the Society into a juridical framework could follow along with the doctrinal discussions. And, hopefully, these discussions would take place in an atmoshpere of mutual cordiality and understanding, as well as outside the glare of publicity.

  57. Patrick says:

    Paul,

    Yes, that is a possibility, but what would the SSPX do then? They would proclaim loudly to their followers, “see, Rome has come to us. We were right; they were wrong.”

    Is that what the Holy Father wants?

  58. Paul Haley says:

    Patrick,

    They would proclaim loudly to their followers, “see, Rome has come to us. We were right; they were wrong.

    I don’t think so. I am firmly convinced that Bishop Fellay wants unity under the correct circumstances and that doctrinal discussions would be the key to resolving any differences, again in the right climate and avoiding the glare of publicity. But, he knows that while the SSPX labors under the stigma of excommunication and suspension, no one in the hierarchy has to take them seriously. But, again, I should add the disclaimer that I do not speak for the SSPX.

  59. Franzjosf says:

    Paul Haley: Bishop Fellay has argued No. 7 in his discussions with Rome. He has referred to it in several talks I’ve heard. (Thanks for finding that Canon.)

    SSPX Position, as I understand it.

    1. Consecrations.

    2. Ecclesia Dei adflicta…with decree of excommunicaion.

    3. SSPX: State of Necessity.

    4. Rome: No their isn’t.

    5. SSPX: We believe there is, therefore excommunications invalid. See No. 7 above.

    (I imagine that Bishop Fellay is asking for the DECREE of excommunicaions to be vacated, since he believes the excommunications to be invalid.)

  60. Sid Cundiff says:

    Non Sparticus:

    Respectfully: No one knows better than you that in another place I was no stranger to the Philippic. There is a place for strong language: To go up to Black Shirt or KGB thugs and say “Now Our Lord is the good shepherd and He loves the little children and it makes Him so sad when you break people’s thumbs” is to use language wanting in effect. The Prophet Amos and Jonathan Edwards were preaching to the presumptuous, and they knew just what to say, and just how to say it!

    In the matter at hand, strong language, an abrasive mien, a caustic tone, and high disdain is not what is called for, but rather welcoming words and prayers for reconciliation. Better yet, we all ought stick to the verifiably factual, or hush. In fact I think Fr. Z’s blog isn’t the forum for strong language at all. Fora for such language exist in abundance.

  61. Brian Mershon says:

    Jo and some others here are further evidence of what I posted before.

    The Pope is going to lift the excommunications. Not only liberals and moderates, but many of the “conservative” more Catholic than the Pope Catholics are going to lose their minds when the excoms are lifted.

    So much for unity.

  62. Tom S. says:

    The most noteworthy thing here is that, in the response as published, the SSPX basically agreed to the points in the request! Save for #1, which I don’t understand anyway. #3 was the biggie, and they answered that one clearly.

    It seems to me that this is ground breaking good news. Think about it, folks! That fact is a whole lot more important that the minutia about which part of Canon Law is to be invoked. The Pope is the Pope, and if he decides to retract the excommunications by his own hand, what does it really matter which canon he cites – or whether he cites any at all?

  63. Patrick says:

    Brian,

    You seem to have a dim view of anyone who thinks the SSPX is wrong. It will be great to have them re-united with the Church. The living members who incurred excommunication will have it lifted and all will be well. I’m not sure why you would think people would be losing their minds.

  64. I am not Spartacus says:

    4/ a person who acted coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;

    Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts

    However doubt cannot reasonably be cast upon the validity of the excommunication of the Bishops declared in the Motu Proprio [Ecclesia Dei] and the Decree [of excommunication against Lefebvre]. In particular it does not seem that one may be able to find, as far as the imputability of the penalty is concerned, any exempting or lessening circumstances (cf. CIC, canons 1323 and 1324) As far as the state of necessity in which Mons. Lefebvre thought to find himself, one must keep before one that such a state must be verified objectively, and there is never a necessity to ordain Bishops contrary to the will of the Roman Pontiff., Head of the College of Bishops. This would, in fact, imply the possibility of “serving” the Church by means of an attempt against its unity in an area connected with the very foundations of this unity.

    Therefore, one sees that a state of emergency cannot be invoked against the expressed judgment of the Holy Father, especially on such an important issue as the consecration of bishops. One also sees that the mind of the legislator does not favor the Lefebvrite argument. Furthermore, because this interpretation comes from the Pontifical Council entrusted by the Holy Father for the interpretation of canon law, it is binding in its interpretation of how canons 1323 and 1324 apply to the excommunication declared against Lefebvre.

    Finally, because this interpretation was simply declaring what was already known through canonical tradition, thus ruling that the Lefebvrite movement has not raised any legitimate doubt of law, the above enjoys retroactive force. Hence, in having recourse to the mind of the legislator, Pope John Paul II and those entrusted by him to interpret the Code of Canon Law, one sees that canons 1323 and 1324 cannot legitimately be invoked by Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers to avoid the automatic penalties of excommunication incurred by his act of schism in consecrating bishops against papal mandate

  65. mikee says:

    I don’t see how the SSPX can come into full communion with Rome unless they are willing to accept the Holy Father’s juridical authority – i.e., not just in word but in action.

    The problem with people like Bp. Williamson is that they see obedience as hampering what they believe to be lawful resistance towards an evil. Would Bp. Williamson, for instance, be willing to obey the Holy Father if he were to assign him to a post he doesn’t like (say, as papal nuncio to Iran?). I highly doubt it. And if not, exactly what will he be willing to obey? What he himself deems as good, of course! And it is precisely this type of rouge mentality that Pope Benedict is trying to gently address before any lifting of the excommunications can occur. Otherwise, what will happen should the SSPX deem it necessary to ordain another few more bishops without “modernist” Rome’s interference, once again?

  66. I am not Spartacus says:

    Patrick. Thank you. I think the future has already revealed itself in the response of the sspx. But, we shall see.

    It is ineluctable that I am but a mere molecule of hydrogen in a single drop of water whereas Pope Benedict is an Amazon of Theological understanding and so whatever he decides my Will will become tethered to the rock of his judgment despite my natural inclination to war against what my limited vision would see as an injustice were a reconciliation to occur absent an apology.

  67. Tobias says:

    “Amazon of Theological understanding”

    Huh? Amazons are female warriors.

    Sid Cundiff — I have had serious difficulties
    with your style and stance in other online fora, but here you say exactly what
    needs to be said in the exact way it needs to be said.

  68. Paul Haley says:

    I am not Spartacus,I would argue that the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts does not have the full authority of the Vicar of Christ, particularly the present incumbent of that office who was intimately involved in the 1988 negotiations. Remember, it was to Peter that Christ gave the power of binding and loosing and not to a curial office. As was pointed out in this blog earlier, the holy father does not need to invoke this canon but could, if he wishes, use it to explain his action to the entire church. It is obvious that many would like to hear such an explanation given the arguments pro and con over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, it is entirely up to the Holy Father himself.

  69. I am not Spartacus says:

    In the matter at hand, strong language, an abrasive mien, a caustic tone, and high disdain is not what is called for, but rather welcoming words and prayers for reconciliation

    Mr. Cundiff. I do not call into question your courage or masculinity. I have never done so and I would never do so.

    However, I think this is precisely the time to write what is in the deepest parts of our hearts and intellects knowing full well that, for those like myself, whose mind is, admittedly, severely inflexible and limited due to its being operationally bound in a Chiaroscuro-Cast, could well be wrong.

    The time for welcoming words will be after a reconciliation.

    Right now, I want it known that the idea a reconciliation absent, at the very least, an apology, will be seen my many, and not just by me, as an attempt to convince all of us that what has occurred the past twenty years was just a misunderstanding that we needn’t examine with any rigor.

    And it will set an execrable example for any future willful prelate who takes it upon himself to think it is he, personally, who was chosen to “save” the Church.

    That aside, Mr. Cundiff. I am humble enough to recognise you may be right but willful enough in my own natural sense of what ought be just to dare to write as boldly and as convincingly as I can.

    And if I have caused harm to the Catholic Church or weakened any attempt at a reconciliation then I, having been proved wrong, will beat every other man alive in being the first to apologise.

  70. Rose says:

    I am not Spartacus: I agree with the substance of what you are saying and I enjoy your posts.
    I have been trying to decide for myself what I think about this whole mess…I fail to see how one can square the following: A) SSPX leadership’s denial that they have been preaching sedevacantism. If they constantly and loudly proclaim that all the Popes since VII were wrong (read “liberal”) and ordain priests and bishops against the express orders of the Pope, and that the excommunications were invalid (ie the SSPX were right and the Pope wrong on such a fundamental doctrine of apostolic succession) how does this square with there having been a legitimate Magisterium since VII? B) How the SSPX act of disobedience can be excused but the act of those who ordain women priests cannot? What is the difference except the SSPX believe they have the “right” magisterium”? How can they then deny they are posing their own magisterial authority against that of the Popes? C) Even as late as last year, the SSPX citicized the Pope for the Good Friday prayer. The SSPX began by setting themselves up as a parallel authority to the Magisterium of the Popes and have continued on that track. What has changed?

  71. Emilio III says:

    Tobias, he contrasted the Amazon river to “I am but a mere molecule of hydrogen in a single drop of water”.

  72. I am not Spartacus says:

    tobias. The Amazon is the longest river on the Planet.

  73. I am not Spartacus says:

    Iam not Spartacus,I would argue that the Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts does not have the full authority of the Vicar of Christ, particularly the present incumbent of that office who was intimately involved in the 1988 negotiations

    No you would argue that the dead excommunicated lefevbre had the authority to be The Legislator.

    THE ROMAN CURIA

    In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors.

    CHRISTUS DOMINUS, 9

  74. joy says:

    “He must make public redress somewhere along the line because the scandal he caused was public.”
    I agree, if by “he” you mean Peter (HH Benedict in the name of his predecessors); except that it is not a “must” just a should.”
    Comment by Guadalupe Guard

    GG,
    I think the ‘he’ referred to would be Fellay, not BXVI. The Rock ROCKS! He doesn’t have anything to apologize for.
    I remember hearing(I think prior to HH’s election to the Chair of Peter) the then Card. Ratzinger saying that V2 had yet to be implemented. This was just a few years ago. He is currently starting the ‘correct’ iplementation that should have been done 40 years ago, prior to the hijacking. Rock on…

    To Non Spartacus,
    Love the metaphors!

  75. joy says:

    SHB implementation, mea culpa.

    The VERY least the SSPX can do is stop saying uncharitable things about the Vicar of Christ. ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’

  76. Habemus Papam says:

    Rose: Perhaps 20 years ago John Paul II believed the excommunications and Indult Mass would lead to the disappearence of SSPX as a viable force. Instead of which they went from strength to strength, while the rest of the Church declined. Where was the Holy Ghost giving His Gifts?

  77. Tobias says:

    Thanks for the explanation. It was a stretch of a metaphor, I’ll say that much.

  78. I am not Spartacus says:

    The Pope is going to lift the excommunications. Not only liberals and moderates, but many of the “conservative” more Catholic than the Pope Catholics are going to lose their minds when the excoms are lifted.

    So much for unity.

    Mr. Mershon. I think you have it exactly backwards. Because we, who are labeled “conservative,” have always maintained the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine and Authority, it is unreasonable to expect anything else other than that we will continue to maintain those Bonds.

    Because it is the Catholic Church which decides what is and isn’t Tradition, and not individuals, those of us who call ourselves Christian Catholics (as Pope Benedict XV taught we ought)are every bit as traditional as though who claim for themselves a label distinguishing themselves from all other Catholics.

    Until the recent past, the idea all Catholics were traditionalists was a tautology due to the fact it is the Catholic Church and not individuals which decides what is and isn’t Tradition and tradition.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++ begin quote +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

    83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus’ teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

    Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.

    ++++++++++++++++++ end quote +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I take very seriously my obligation to live-out what I profess in the Creed every Sunday:

    I believe in ONE… and that One is UNITY; of Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

    You can be sure that those like myself are not the one’s who will sever Unity. We never have. We never will.

    Unity was severed by the sspx and those who support it.

  79. Tobias says:

    Also, it would be “an *atom* of hydrogen in a *molecule* of water.” And the Nile
    is the longest river on earth. Let’s get these metaphors tight! ;)

  80. I am not Spartacus says:

    LOL Thanks, Tobias. Sometimes, when I load dynamite ideas into my cap-gun mind, I just blow my mind when I shoot-off my mouth.

    BTW, I think the Amazon is the longest river but I can check

  81. Atlanta says:

    Why did you mention abortion in this post? It is a total distraction and turn off. Do you assume pro-choice means pro-abortion?

  82. I am not Spartacus says:

    Tobias. The Amazon is the longest river in the world.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6759291.stm

    As usual, I was half right. Give me my due, brother.

  83. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Joy,

    I can not believe you would speak so ill of the previous pontiffs. What was JPII doing during his reign? Wasn’t it his job to implement Vatican II? You would also seem to prove the traditionalists point with regard to Vatican II, after 40 years we finally have a kinda of principle to use to attempt to know what the documents might mean ie Hermeneutic of Continuity and Rupture. Unfortunately, during the last 40 years the conservatives were telling everyone exactly what Vatican II meant, and how important it has been for the life of the Church. I’ll be honest, if this pope does not save Vatican II, it will become a non-issue. Most of the people who pushed for the Council are now dead, and the next generation is not going to have the personal commitment to a Council that has caused so much confusion. I truly hope this pope can save Vatican II, but if not it will be time to move on.

  84. Do you assume pro-choice means pro-abortion?

    Yes. In his sermon at today’s EWTN-televised solemn high Mass, Fr. James Buckley FSSP explained lucidly how a Catholic legislator who consistently votes to allow abortions is cooperating in mortal sin, and why he himself is therefore manifestly (i.e., publicly) and obstinately guilty of mortal sin.

    Anyone unclear on this should catch the EWTN encore telecast of this Mass at 7 pm tonight (July 1) or later at midnight.

  85. Atlanta says:

    Yes, but is FSSP representative of Roman Catholicism as a whole? I thought FSSP was a marginal group. What of those Latin priests in South American who have children with their housekeepers? The same thing happens in Vienna and Austria. How can you decry choice when priests are not even upholding their vows? What about the thousands of Roman Catholic faithful who are living in sin and having children outside of wedlock? They still go to communion. That should be grounds for excommunication. It seems to me there are much deeper rooted moral failings to address. I would even say that the choice issue is a scapegoat. Also you should know, the Orthodox don’t have mortal and venial sin. We don’t categorize our sins. Sin is sin.

  86. Fred Dempsey says:

    This is not good news. This is an effort, by a leadership which has publicly refused to even admit the superior magisterium of the Holy See, to have a debate on its own terms. Now is the time for the Holy See to offer a date certain, beyond which those who continue to adhere to the SSPX, will be excommunicated. I’m sorry lads, this latest rebuff by the SSPX warrants the sting of discipline.

  87. Tobias says:

    I am not Spartacus:

    The claim that the Amazon really is the longest river — this is rather like the
    “fact” that Pluto no longer is a planet. I was going by the consensus view with
    which I was familiar. I would like to know if the BBC report you cite reports the
    new consensus or merely the claim of Brazilian chauvinists with something to
    prove. The Nile has traditionally been assigned the title “world’s longest river,”
    as far as I know. I verified my claim with Wikipedia (usually reliable on
    this stuff) before writing here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_River#Dispute_regarding_length

    Boy, one never knows where these WDTPRS conversations will go. :)

  88. Tobias says:

    Now, the Amazon does have the most volume of any river, so if you had defended
    your metaphor on that score, you would have had no dispute. As for my own
    mistake, for the rest of my life I now will be cursed with the mental image of
    Pope Benedict as the *mythological* “Amazon of theological understanding.” Sigh.

    Pax, pax, pax.

  89. Paul Haley says:

    I am not Spartacus:
    In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors.

    If you wish to hold the view that a curial office during the reign of John Paul II has overriding authority over the current reigning pope, Benedict XVI, that’s up to you. I do not share that view. Notice that in your quote it says: “perform their duties in his name and with his authority”. As far as I know Pope Benedict has not asked for them to rule on this matter, therefore, your contention is without merit.

    But, you know, it doesn’t really matter what either of us thinks; it’s still up to Pope Benedict XVI. As the Supreme Legislator, his ruling will be the final word and, so far as I know, he has made no such final ruling.

  90. Maureen says:

    “How can you decry choice when priests are not even upholding their vows?”

    The same way the Church can preach faithfulness, when one of the apostles betrayed Jesus and the rest ran away. Yes, the example of Christian virtue in the world is important. But the Divine law is more important by far.

    If I have committed every sin in the book, does that mean I should preach that the Seven Deadly Sins are good works?

    If everyone is stealing, shouldn’t I yell louder that stealing is wrong?

    And if everyone is having sex out of wedlock and getting pregnant, should I really be encouraging them to add a little one’s blood on their hands, to the toll of their sin and heartbreak? Or should I be showing them that all human beings deserve more respectful treatment than “love them and leave them”, or worse, “love them and kill their love child”?

    But all this is beside the point. We are talking SSPX reconciliation here.

  91. Tobias says:

    Atlanta wrote: “I would even say that the choice issue is a scapegoat. Also you should know, the Orthodox don’t have mortal and venial sin. We don’t categorize our sins. Sin is sin.”

    Does every sin land one in hell?

  92. RBrown says:

    Spartacus,
    “It take an heroic act of imagination for me to think the sspx is engaged in anything other than rank gamesmanship intending to continue to put-off the day of reckoning where they will have to fish or cut bait.”
    Exactly. I posted on another thread: why does Rome not simply, clearly, and unambiguously declare the society schismatic? I mean this in all charity. So long as Rome dances around, it allows the society to play these games. I do wonder if the better path is not to force the game, to force the members of the society to fish or cut bait.
    Comment by vox borealis

    No, it\’s not the better path. Negotiations always take time, with maneuvering, position, and ebb and flow.

  93. Brian Mershon says:

    Spartacus said: “Until the recent past, the idea all Catholics were traditionalists was a tautology due to the fact it is the Catholic Church and not individuals which decides what is and isn’t Tradition and tradition.”

    “Until the recent past…”

    Since Vatican II. Agree wholeheartedly. Prior to Vatican II, the distinction of “traditionalist” Catholics was unnecessary.

    So Spartacus, what is it you are saying about Vatican II?

    I am so happy you have never “broken unity” whatever you mean by that term. Because you are not a priest nor bishop nor cleric, it would be very difficult for you to do so.

    The PCED has consistently ruled that Catholics who attend SSPX chapels to fulfill their Sunday obligations incur nor sin nor canonical delict.

    So in this matter, by explicitly stating that Catholics who support the SSPX “break unity,” you are in fact setting yourself up as the arbiter against what the Church teaches by exercising your own private opinion.

  94. I am not Spartacus says:

    Spartacus said: “Until the recent past, the idea all Catholics were traditionalists was a tautology due to the fact it is the Catholic Church and not individuals which decides what is and isn’t Tradition and tradition.”

    “Until the recent past…”

    Since Vatican II. Agree wholeheartedly. Prior to Vatican II, the distinction of “traditionalist” Catholics was unnecessary.

    Mr. Mershon. You find agreement where there is none. I blame myself
    for failing to make my point clearer. I do not think that, even now, there is a cause to baptise ones own self with a qualifying adjective such as “traditional.”

    I was trying to make the observation the practice is new, not a tradition and so, by that very fact, those who label themselves traditional are acting against tradition.

    So Spartacus, what is it you are saying about Vatican II?

    As I have written elsewhere, I think Vatican Two, like all Ecumenical Councils, will be interpreted in light of Tradition and so Vatican Two will become a part of Tradition and that reality is acknowledged within the schism and that will prove to be a rock (among others) that will cause the schism to stumble and prevent any formal reconciliation.

    For heaven’s sake, the schism can not even bring itself to accept the minimalist conditions the Pope caused to be drafted.

    I am so happy you have never “broken unity” whatever you mean by that term. Because you are not a priest nor bishop nor cleric, it would be very difficult for you to do so.

    Really? You think it is difficult for a lay man to sever the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority? It has been done every single day for twenty years by those who succor the schism. They absolutely refuse to submit to the authority of Our Sweet Jesus on Earth.

    The PCED has consistently ruled that Catholics who attend SSPX chapels to fulfill their Sunday obligations incur nor sin nor canonical delict.

    That is demonstrably untrue. I have already posted previous decisions taken by Msgr. Perle.

    So in this matter, by explicitly stating that Catholics who support the SSPX “break unity,” you are in fact setting yourself up as the arbiter against what the Church teaches by exercising your own private opinion.

    No. I am just an observer of reality.

    In its official capacity, in written documents such as Ecclesia Dei and the decisions made public by Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, The Living Magisterium has been made quite clear the sspx ands its supporters have severed the Bonds Of Unity.

    However, I do recognise that is only rational to assume Card Castrillon Hoyas has Pope Benedict’s permission to use the language of romance and diplomacy in appeals to reknit the Bonds of Unity even as we both know, from reading a recent letter to the benefactors of the sspx, that Fr. Fellay knows the CDF has corresponded with the Sri Lankan Bishops and referred to the sspx as a schism.

    BTW, I have no problem with you arguing your point. I just think you are wrong even though I credit you with acting with right intent.

  95. I am not Spartacus says:

    I am so happy you have never “broken unity” whatever you mean by that term. Because you are not a priest nor bishop nor cleric, it would be very difficult for you to do so.

    Mr. Mershon. It is you who has changed. Not me. You used to publicly criticise the shenanigans of the SSPX. Now, you try to excuse them. I have always opposed the sspx and I will until such time as a reconciliation is accomplished. (On The Twelfth of Never, accrd. to the seer, Johhny Mathias).

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-backroom/1311077/posts

    BTW,Mr. Wilson came to our group in Maine. to instruct us on our rights

  96. Pam says:

    I understand that the Church has Canon Law and that if you disobey the law you may incur excommunication. A church is non-secular and has a right to make rules and regulations for its members. If the members don’t like the rules they can leave and find a denomination more to their liking. How does one who is evangelizing other Christians who are from far more liberal forms of Christianity go about explaining excommunication. One of my Protestant friends asked me why would the church apply excommunication in one situation but not in another.
    This person asked why weren’t the pedophile priests excommunicated. Is it because pedophile priests are not schismatic? Attempted ordinations of women are schismatic and thus warrant excommunication but actions of pedophile priests are just personal crimes. Would this be a correct explanation?