Excommunication of SSPX bishops to be lifted within days?

I already reported this here, but the intrepid and trustworthy Andrea Tornielli has this:

There will be made public in the next few days a decree with which Benedict XVI chose to cancel the excommunications of four new bishops ordained by [Archbishop] Lefebvre in 1988.  In addition to the four (Bernard Fellay, Alfonso de Gallareta, Tissier de Mallerais and Richard Williamson) there were also excommunicated the aforementioned Lefebvre, and the Brasilian bishop De Castro Mayer who participated in the ceremony.  On that occasion, after having been on the verge of an accord with the Holy See (and after having dealt with then Card. Ratzinger and having signed a protocol of understanding), [Archbishop Lefevbre] suddenly chose rupture and consecrating as four young priests as bishops carried out a schismatic act, justified by him by a necessity to assure the survival of the Fraternity of St. Pius X.  Now, with a truly magnanimous gesture, accepting the request formulated by Fellay, Benedict XVI has decided to lift the excommunication.  The excommunication which, it must be clarified, always regarded the consecrating bishops (Levebre and De Castro Mayer, both for some time deceased) and the for men consecrated, but not the Lefebvrite priests much less the their faithful.

Lord, I hope this is true.

Can we hope?

With God there are no limits, but something must be requested before it is given.

UPDATE 22 Jan 1513 GMT

Paolo Rodari has more on this.  He suggests that the day could be Sunday.  Think about it.  The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, closing of the Week for Christian Unity….

Benedict XVI has decided.  The decree containing the revocation of the excommunication for the schismatic Lefebvrite bishops is ready.  It will come out in the next few days, probably by this Sunday.  At the Pope’s will the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio drafted it and signed it.

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186 Responses to Excommunication of SSPX bishops to be lifted within days?

  1. Momcilo says:

    Deo Gratias! I hope it’s true! but…

    Has everyone seen the latest video of Williamson? http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2009/01/traditionalist-bishop-may-be-charged.html I hope this doesn’t derail anything.

  2. Aye, I too hope it can happen. With God, nothing is impossible.

    That being said, from a strictly aesthetic sense, the SSPX tends to occupy some VERY beautiful churches, atleast I know the one in town here is. Wouldnt mind being able to go safely to a mass there.

    It also brings some questions of other items, since the SSPX was immovable on certain items, namely the new mass, and also things like Religious equality

  3. schoolman says:

    This prudential decision is in the hands of the Pope, however, I hope and pray it comes to pass for the sake of unity in the Church..

  4. Dave Pawlak says:

    It’s very likely that a a good third of the SSPX won’t go along with this. I hope I’m wrong, but some people in that lot will never be satisfied.

  5. While Christian unity is a goal towards which we have a responsibility to strive, I hope that any lifting of excommunications will include a recognition by SSPX that they were gravely wrong to create the rupture in the first place, and that the consecration of those four bishops did significant harm to Christ’s Church. It will be wonderful if we can repair the harm that they did, but I do hope they can at least admit and repent of their wrongdoing.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    This unsettles me greatly. Simply lifting the excommunications would basically “rubber stamp” and turn a blind eye to the serious acts they’ve committed. [Oh? Who says?] If they don’t repent and recant, we’ll just end up with more disobedient bishops… and we certaintly don’t need any more of those!

  7. vox borealis says:

    Momcilo,

    He’s a certifiable fruit loop. Besides the canonical issues, one wonders about the decision to ordain him bishop from the perspective of prudential judgment.

  8. Joe says:

    I don’t mean to hijack this interesting thread, but does anyone know what happened to the TAC request which is now, I think, a year and a half old?

  9. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I respectfully suggest that Fr. Z. remove the post about Williamson. Williamson is trying to sabotage the reconciliation. Let’s not assist him in this.

    P.K.T.P.

  10. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On the question about the TAC request, the rumour-mill says that something is coming at Easter, not now. Who knows?

    P.K.T.P.

  11. Adam says:

    “While Christian unity is a goal towards which we have a responsibility to strive, I hope that any lifting of excommunications will include a recognition by SSPX that they were gravely wrong to create the rupture in the first place, and that the consecration of those four bishops did significant harm to Christ’s Church. It will be wonderful if we can repair the harm that they did, but I do hope they can at least admit and repent of their wrongdoing.”

    The real rupture and significant harm done to Christ’s Church was and is still being done by those allowed to teach heresy and scorn even the rudiments of the Faith in the midst of the Church without any discipline, not traditional Catholics who refused to change their Faith or even believe error regarding its forms of expression.

    Until recently the SSPX has been severely limited in the amount of influence (good or bad) it’s had on the Church. And the effects that it has had on people has enabled them to find the traditional, unchanging, Faith and attain honesty on the status on such mechanisms of Tradition as the Traditional Roman Mass (e.g. in learning that, indeed, it never was abrogated). This is nothing to “repent” of, my friend, for one should never be sorry for stating and defending the dogmatic or disciplinary truth.

  12. Adam says:

    I notice that some are confused by the possibility of the removal of the excommunications from the bishops of the Society. I’m sure they were also somewhat confused when the Holy Father said that the Traditional Roman Liturgy was “never abrogated.” Might not these actions be signs from God that the SSPX is more right than some folks care to admit and that they should become open to the general positions (not to be mistaken for Bp. Williamson’s personal diatribes) of the Society?

    And may the Lord bless and speed this removal/annulment of the excommunications!

  13. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Let’s drop the nonsense about the Society repenting. According to its leaders, they acted in good conscience. Hence it is a matter of the internal forum and none of our business. If their intention was good, they did not sin, regardless of the objective character of their act (which I consider to be wrong, by the way).

    Anyway, the Pope, in S.P., openly admitted that the Traditional Rite of Mass was never abrogated and that it has always remained possible for every priest in good standing to celebrate it as a matter of prinicple. If that is so, a grave injustice has been done to all those priests who were obstructed in the exercise of this right between 1971 and 2007. We know that this is the case because, according to Cardinal Stickler, R.I.P., there were between fifteen to twenty cases which made it to the Apostolic Signatura. According to him, every one of these priests was exonerated and their bishops’ arguments dismissed. One of them was the Dutch priest who founded the St. Willibrordus Church. I wonder who should be apologising for that? Translate this, for a moment, into the norms of civil law: rights were denied, damage was done, so where is the compensation? Of course, canon law is not the same but they are both bound by the norms of the universal Moral Law, and there are such things as spiritual goods. . . .

    P.K.T.P.

  14. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On Adam’s comments:

    Let’s stick to logic and sound principle. We must keep in mind that a lifting of the declarations of excommunication and of other penalites will not, in itself, regularise the Society. The Society would still be working in a state of disobedience to legitimate authority and its priests would still be acephalous, a condition forbidden in the Canon Law. Really, a lifting of the excommunications will simply return the Society to the irregular and disobedient position it was in between 1976 and 1988. In that state, its Masses are valid but not licit, and yet, according to Perl, they do fulfil the Sunday obligation.

    Of course, the Pope might do more. . . .

    We have to take the right side regardless of where that leaves us. Let’s not be like the neo-conservative papolaters, always ‘finding’ that one set of opinions just happens to be conveniently true. Even liberals are right about some things, incredible as it may seem.

    P.K.T.P.

  15. Joe says:

    would lifting the excommunication on bishops consecrated without a papal mandate imply that they will receive a mandate at the same moment as the lifting of the excommunication? or will they be expected to seek one?

  16. Geoffrey says:

    My “rubber stamp” comment was in regards to if the lifting of the excommunications is done without any corresponding act on the part of the SSPX. I wasn’t clear.

    The SSPX bishops were not excommunicated for their love of the old Mass, but rather because of their act of disobedience to the Vicar of Christ by the illicit consecration of bishops; a very serious offence.

  17. Somerset '76 says:

    Provided that something like this comes to pass, there are several issues which are ancillary to this.

    1) Will the decree say “the excommunications are rescinded” OR else “we rule that the excommunications never took place to begin with”? For the SSPX as a whole, and certainly its most avid partisans, this is an issue of itself, ultimately derivative of their consistently held position that they have and always had the correct understanding of the content and meaning of Tradition. Should (as I would expect) it be the former case, there will be a certain segment that will argue that the Society’s second precondition for negotations remains unfulfilled and therefore demand that formal discussions not yet be pursued. This faction sees the matter as an issue of fundamental justice, and only its perfect rectification (as they see it) is good enough.

    2) Will the decree provide any framework for the immediate regularization of these bishops, the Society as a whole, and even “independent” priests and chapels allied to the Society? Without such an explicit provision, the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops is of itself insufficient to establish this; we’d then be only back to the 1975-88 status quo, in which the Society and its priests were already in irregular status.

    3) There has long existed a subculture particular to the Society that is fairly characterizable as reactionary, even “neo-Jansenist” in certain respects. Yet, those most responsible for fostering this sensibility are generally the same ones who are most intransigent regarding ecclesiastical polemics. If the forthcoming decree leaves “something to be desired” in the opinion of this faction, an explicit fissure may well serve to mitigate this sense of subculture within that part of the Society which wishes to negotiate.

  18. Jordanes says:

    PKTP said: Let’s drop the nonsense about the Society repenting. According to its leaders, they acted in good conscience.

    I acted in good conscience when I was a heretic for all those years before my conversion, but I still repented of and renounced my heresy when I became a Catholic and made my first confession.

  19. Paul says:

    “I acted in good conscience when I was a heretic for all those years before my conversion, but I still repented of and renounced my heresy when I became a Catholic and made my first confession.”

    When dealing with acts which aren’t evil in and of themselves, the subjective element is important. One is not culpable for breaching discipline if grave reason is present, even if this reason is merely perceived.

  20. John Hudson says:

    I hope the Vatican is able to clearly explain the nature and implications of this action in a way that the general media will be able to digest and not misconstrue too badly, whether intentionally or not. It needs to be clear that lifting the excommunications does not mean that the unity exists or that the SSPX has come in from the cold. It is a step — primarily a pastoral step, I believe –, not the full distance. This is especially important given the Williamson problem. It would be gravely scandalous to give the impression that the Church condones his statements on the Holocaust (or his 9/11 conspiracy theories, for that matter).

  21. Drew of the Holy Whapping says:

    In 1964, Paul VI lifted the excommunication of the Patriarch of Constantinople, which was also only against him, personally.

    That was a “significant step” in restoring communion with Rome, but 40+ years later, we aren’t there yet.

    Communion is always doctrinal and juridical, so I don’t see how there could be full communion until they arrive at doctrinal and juridical consensus with Rome.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Paul said: When dealing with acts which aren’t evil in and of themselves, the subjective element is important. One is not culpable for breaching discipline if grave reason is present, even if this reason is merely perceived.

    True, although in this matter it isn’t merely a matter of discipline that is involved. But anyway my point is just that acting in good conscience doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have to “repent.” Otherwise PKTP would have no grounds for complaining of the injustice against priests who celebrated the traditional Mass — since we must presume that Rome and the bishops were acting in good conscience, there couldn’t be any actual injustice, right? (Wrong.)

  23. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On Jordanes’s comment. Well, had you never realised the truth, you could have died in a state of invincible innocence and gone to Heaven, whereas others who knew the truth could have died in mortal sin and gone otherwhere.

    Of course, it is also possible that the Society not only acts in good conscience but happens to be correct, since there IS such a thing as rightful disobedience to legitimate authority. We now know that the old Mass was never abrogated. Those who used force to prevent its celebration were therefore objectively abusing power, and that enables a rightful resistance. That’s just an example.

    My own view is that the Society position was justifiable from 1976 until 2000, when it was offered a jurisdiction. But we’ve been through all this before. It is quite beside the point. The point is that they do not commit sin if they do not intend sin: even venial sin requires some measure of intent. So it’s a matter for the confessional, assuming that any sin is involved at all. We can only discuss the objective facts, not the disposition of the agents.

    P.K.T.P.

  24. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On Jordanes last point, again he fails to distinguish between the objective and subjective orders. Those who unjustly prevented priests from celebrating the old Mass in the past acted wrongly objectively. But whether or not they sinned in doing so depends on their dispositions. If they thought that they were doing right, they might not have sinned. But even if they did not sin, they might be liable and responsible for restoring deprived spiritual good because we are responsible for knowing what is reasonable for us to know.

    Suppose you break a law which deprives people of rights. You may have not known that you were breaking a law and, hence, you may not have sinned. But the court will say that, regardless of your good conscience, you have to pay for the harm you have done because it was reasonable for you to know better.

    As to the Society’s case, again, it is arguable that they are objectively in the right, in which case not even that can be said. Moral theology recognises such categories as a right to resist an abuse of power, rightful disobedience to legitimate authority, wrongful disobedience to that authority, and the fact that the Pope’s authority is plenary but not arbitary. His authority is plenary, meaning completely adequate to fulfil his divine mission. But that mission is not boundless; it is to save souls and build up the Mystical Body of Christ.

    P.K.T.P.

  25. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On Drew of the Holy Whapping’s comments:

    I agree with Drew entirely: the lifting of the penalties in itself will not result in a regularisation or a normal juridical situation. It will, in fact, return us to the period of 1976 to 1988.

    However, it is possible that the Holy Father will extend his jurisdiction directly to grant faculties for their Masses or even for all their Sacraments. This could be done provisionally while discussions on doctrine ensue. The reason is that the disputed doctrines are not infallible matters. Many of us here who do not support the S.S.P.X nevertheless agree with its positions on doctrine and yet are fully accepted as regularised members of the Church. For example, I ignore Dignitatis Humanae entirely and act as if Quanta Cura was written yesterday (I even keep a copy on my bedside table, in fact). I only heed Q.C. and the Syllabus on the matter of religious liberty. I haven’t been excommunicated for this and cannot be.

    This, again, is why the S.S.P.X has no excuse for not accepting regularisation. Now that a diocesan jurisdiction has been offered to it, there is no reasonable danger to the Society. It can preserve the Mass and hold entirely to pre-conciliar teachings. The Holy See has never forbidden this. While the Society denies it, the fact is that its legitimate resistance to an abuse of power was to protect the old Mass, not to protect dogma. Only the Magisterium can protect dogma. The problem, though, is that the Society wants more than a right to ignore the Council: it wants the Pope to denouce conciliar teachings and forbid all faithful from accepting them. That is unreasoanble. God willed or allowed the Council and it is only for Him, over time, to decide the fate of its documents. The Society cannot claim this function.

    Since the 2000 offer and especially since the issuance of “Summorum Pontificum”, there is no excuse left for the Society: it is morally bound to accept regularisation.

    P.K.T.P.

  26. Adam,

    Ordaining bishops against the explicit order of the Vatican is not a “refusal to change their faith.” It was an outright denial of the true faith, which says that as Catholics we recognize the primacy of Peter in all matters of faith and morals. By opposing the Vatican and going against direct orders not to consecrate these bishops, they denied the primacy rightfully due to Rome. Whether or not they were “officially” schismatic, they certainly made a bold move towards schism, and Augustine tells us that schism is more damaging to the Church than heresy.

    I’m amazed at how unwilling people are to ask something so simple and so necessary, which is a public recognition of the graveness of their sin. Why is it too much to ask that they publicly admit that it was gravely wrong to directly and very publicly defy the Vatican in their actions? For the same reason that we don’t give in to the demands of terrorists, we should not allow the excommunication to be lifted without a public admission of wrongdoing.

    And it gets tiring when people argue that this should not happen until heretics are called to account. It’s not an either or situation. The Church needs to do a much greater job of reigning in heretics, but that has nothing to do with SSPX. Being traditional doesn’t make them right. They were wrong in what they did, and that needs to be acknowledged.

  27. PKTP,

    A move towards schism is never an excusable act of disobedience. Ever. It is instead a move towards the greatest damage that can ever be done to the Church.

  28. Andy K. says:

    PKTP:
    What happened in 2000?

  29. Geoffrey says:

    PKTP:

    I might have missed it, but it doesn’t seem you are mentioning the illicit episcopal consecrations that warranted the excommunications in the first place. If I overlooked this, please correct me.

  30. Michael UK says:

    I speak from the UK and am in my mid-70s, which places me appropriately in relation to the ravages heaped upon us by those interpreting Vatican II to their own lights.

    Clergy were persecuted, laity were lied to, Msgr. Lefebvre was right. Unfortunately he was taken-in by the silver-tongued Englishman then Fr. Williamson and went on to consecrate him. Any rightmined person would recognise that Msgr. Lefebvre was persecuted and therefore he was right with the above exception.

    My problem with SSPX is the current management having lost the real charity extended to fellow-travellers by Msgr. Lefebvre and its adoption, in the USA, of a fundamentalist mindset which is not Catholic – but akin to some of the weird sects evidenced in the States. [If proof is wanted I can supply the same diuly notarised and also refer you to the treatment of Fr. John Rzzo and others. Google Fr. Rizzo.]

    +Williamson and others, who can be named, have created a cult and sub-cults and manipulated the laity thereby. They are great on rubrics and light on true Catholicism.

    +Williamson is an undoubted anti-semite, not anti-zionits, as might be acceptable, but anti-semite. he is an embarrassment to SSPX.

    Unfortunately, the SSPX Americana ethos has been imported into the UK and is found to be counter-productive and driving people away.

    Not all American SSPX followers are tarred-with-the-same brush, but hang-on for normality and access to The Mass.

  31. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    As many people have pointed out, the lifting of the excommunications does not automatically regularise the SSPX. They still need to accept the Magisterium including the second Vatican Council, which remains a valid Council of the Church, and the validity of the OF. Otherwise, as mentioned, we’re left with simply more disobedient bishops. It just so happens that they are closer in agreement with many readers here rather than the regular run of disobedient bishops.

    We can only pray that the members of the Society find it in their hearts to respond to the Holy Father’s magnamity with humility and grace. It may be that, similar to Anglican ministers, members of the Society do not come over en masse as a society but individually, because some will probably never accept doctrinal agreement with Rome.

  32. Jordan Patter says:

    Hey Pete, don’t argue with Jordanes, he’s one of those special Protestant converts from the U.S. & A. that has been given the magical powers to teach cradle Catholics a thing or two! Yes, it’s true. If you ever read Rorate Caeli, you’ll see this divine action at work. Rather than listening attentively at the feet of others who have been ‘on the scene’ since birth, this newcomer only ever posts to correct and clarify all people on, well, all things. Never does he pose questions (unless rhetorical), never does speak from the I perspective, never does he display even a hint that his knowledge on a given topic may be lacking in any conceivable way. Impossible! No, this newcomer is an authority sent from God to teach all nations. There are many like him. Strangely, they all come from the shores of the U.S. & A. A God-fearing land of humble people. [You know… I don’t think I like your nasty dig at my people, or at converts.]

  33. Lucy says:

    Michael UK is spot on. The Fr Rizzo saga is disgraceful (he’s a lovely man, he baptized one of my kids). Bp Williamson obviously has ulterior motives for his idiotic rants, I don’t know why Bp Fellay doesn’t rein him in. Sadly the only way to get to a proper Tidentine Mass is by sticking with the SSPX with all its faults. They are the only ones to have kept the true Mass alive. I can’t say the Summorum Pontificum has made any significant difference round these parts (South East England) and I’m not holding my breath. I also agree with Michael about the SSPX driving people away, but I must say that the alternative (the modern Church) is even worse.

  34. Joe says:

    PKTP: there is a difference between ignoring (say) Dignitatis humanae and denying it. Catholics who deny duly authorized teachings of the Church put themselves to that degree in separation from the Church. It’s the difference between saying “I believe this is wrong” and “I can’t understand that this is true”.

  35. English Catholic says:

    I should rejoice at this news, but coming as it does after Williamson’s latest idiocies, it just leaves me feeling vaguely sick.
    I hope and pray the situation can be regularised without him, otherwise I’ll always feel grubby going to an SSPX church.

  36. BobP says:

    “There are many like him. Strangely, they all come from the shores of the U.S. & A. A God-fearing land of humble people.”

    Very true. And some of them have enjoyed taking whacks against the SSPX. Now what will they do, tear down their blogs? Oh, gosh no!

  37. Father:

    Would this be similar to declaring a marriage null? To wit, there wasn’t sufficient grounds to excommunicate them. Or, is it
    just a case of one pope undoing the work of a predecessor?

    Already I’m sensing the angst on this similar to when S.P. was about to be released. No one is praying aloud that this not happen but not a few are clear that they want the FSSPX to repudiate everything about themselves.

  38. Dennis says:

    Paul at 11:45 pm. Heresy requires knowingly and with full consent and pertinaciously rejecting Catholic teaching. Those who grew up Protestant, not knowing anything else, were estranged from the Church and her sacraments, to be sure, but may or may not have been heretics. I too am a convert. I did not repent of heresy when I took the old convert’s oath. The oath says “I . . . . born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors” but, as far as I understand the definition of heresy, this does not mean I was a heretic. In error, yes. Heretic, no. Luther became a heretic when, after being warned, he persisted in error. Those born in Protestantism, who never were taught or exposed to a fair understanding or experience of Catholicism, are not held to the same standard as those who knew the Catholic faith and knowingly and pertinaciously rejected it.

    We need to be careful of throwing the word “heretic” around loosely. Error is bad enough, though culpability for holding erroroneous beliefs also varies depending on circumstances.

  39. Dennis says:

    I’m sorry, my comment was directed at Jordanes, 11:35, not Paul, who replied to Jordanes. Mea culpa.

  40. The Other David says:

    While it would be a good thing to close this rift, to be sure, I find myself somewhat reluctant to feel cheer over this news.

    Not because I want to keep them out of course, but because so far the statements of the SSPX bishops don’t seem to come any part of the way towards wanting to accept the authentic teachings of the Church.

    Whether it is a claim that all Jews are still guilty of deicide, overt anti-semitisms or calling the Church “gnostic” I just don’t see how the excommunications could be lifted without a dramatic change of heart on the part of the SSPX bishops. It seems there is much the SSPX bishops need to repudiate of what they said.

    My prayer is for the Holy Father to do what is right in the eyes of God.

  41. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I, too, pray for unification of the Church. However, I must ask the question: Has the excommunication achieved its medicinal end? Has the excommunication succeeded in bringing the SSPX into spiritual union with the Holy Father?

    I don’t know the answers to these question. I ask you all for your opinions.

  42. Marc Philips says:

    Oy-vey!

    The EWTN employeed how-high-shall-I-jump super converts aren’t going to like
    this!

    MP

  43. r7blue1pink says:

    I do think their coming back is a wonderful thing.. HOWEVER, Bshp Williams comments regarding the Holocaust are utterly disturbing. Not just for the Jews, but what about the Catholics like my father who were imprisoned in slave labor camps like Dachau? What about St Edith, St Maximillian? And many other Blesseds who sacraficed their lives for Christ?

  44. Someone please help my ignorance.

    My understanding of the entire SSPX affair is this:

    -These bishops were consecrated without the consent of the Holy Father.

    -That is an automatic excommunication, which they justly incurred.

    -They have complained for 21 years that they are being persecuted by “Modernist Rome”, which is a further offense to the dignity of the Roman Pontiff as it leads dangerously close to saying that the Holy Father has succumbed to “The Synthesis of All Heresies” according to Pope St. Pius X (whom SSPX is named after).

    -They want the excommunications lifted without repenting of their pride and accusations.

    Please, for the love of God (and I mean that seriously) can someone explain to me in charity why the excommunications should be lifted.

    I am being honest and very sincere in my request. Please, someone practice the spiritual work of mercy and instruct the ignorant. Enlighten a brother in Christ who is suffering ignorance.

    -KJS

  45. Jordan Patter says:

    The EWTN employeed how-high-shall-I-jump super converts aren’t going to like
    this!

    Haha, “how-high-shall-I-jump super converts” – I like it.

  46. Jordanes: I acted in good conscience when I was a heretic for all those years before my conversion, but I still repented of and renounced my heresy when I became a Catholic and made my first confession.

    It would appear that you posit some analogy based on an assumption that Bishop Lefebvre was a heretic. Is this correct?

  47. inillotempore says:

    If that is so, a grave injustice has been done to all those priests who were obstructed in the exercise of this right between 1971 and 2007.

    The new mass was promulgated here (Central MA) as early as 1967.

    Please, for the love of God (and I mean that seriously) can someone explain to me in charity why the excommunications should be lifted.

    It is my opinion that this is being considered by our Holy Father out of Christian charity, and that the SSPX would be (is) a valuable asset in the Pope’s “Marshall Plan”.

  48. Sid says:

    Let us pray that the regularization of the SSPX will follow soon upon terms acceptable to the Holy See. We friends of the EF need SSPX people and chapels.

  49. Phil (NL) says:

    Kevin,

    The idea behind excommunication is that it is a medicinal punishment, so that the stray sheep can be brought back into the fold. Now there is a lot of difference of opinion on exactly how far these sheep have strayed, but if there is a genuine wish among even part of them to reconcile and return, it would be the Church duty to encourage and facilitate that. Christ’s body needs to be one.

    Ofcourse, if the SSPX would hold the position that they were right in all respects, Rome was wrong, end of discussion, there would be no possibility for reconcilliation. On the other hand, the Church can also be magnanimous and allow for some leeway at first in order to create some confidence. The measure of repentance required is for Rome to decide – some will be needed, but the rest might come over time. Let the Holy father sort that one, IMO. Also bear in mind these are in fact four individual cases and the status of the SSPX itself is yet another problem, which will have to be adressed afterwards. It will be a long proces, if it happens.

    Also, given the fact that the excommunications are personal, and hence the reconcilliation on that part has to be (or at least, could be) personal as well, there might be an opening to deal with Williamson, who once again proved he’s barking mad and a disgrace to the SSPX as well as the Church. He also seems to be not the least bit interested in making amends – which is probably a blessing in disguise.

  50. Umm – speaking of converts who tell the Church what to do, what about Bishop Williamson?

    Who, by the way, is not an American.

  51. Patrick says:

    Is it heresy to deny that six million Jews were murdered in Nazi “Death Camps”?

    If so, I would like to know when and which pope defined this as doctrine.

    Until then, +Williamson is entitled to his opinion.

  52. Bob K. says:

    In defense of the SSPX, how many bishops and priests today of the 60’s and 70’s generation who follow Vatican 2 and the liberal reforms don’t give a thought to the EF?. Sure one or two parishes, in a diocese. And at a inconvenient time on Sunday, like 2:00 or 4:00 pm, rather than normal times. It is a fact that there are many bishops who are against the EF. Way more than the four bishops in the SSPX with the OF. So we have a duel, don’t we!. Ponder that thought. I am very happy that the excommunications will hopefully be lifted. Not to sure about Williamson though. He seems more sedavacantist than SSPX these days. The SSPX have around 700 chapels,500 priests and 200 seminarians. More EF priests, seminarians, and places to worship. No complaining here!.

  53. Roland de Chanson says:

    Not to muddy the waters here, but it is unclear to me what would be the status of the SSPX even if the excommunications were lifted. Would the SSPX be required to accept the changes to the 1962 missal issued by Pope Benedict? Would they be required to adopt the revised calendar? Accept the Novus Ordo sacraments?

    Or would they be effectively Uniates of the Latin Rite?

  54. inillotempore says:

    Bob K wrote: Sure one or two parishes, in a diocese. And at a inconvenient time on Sunday, like 2:00 or 4:00 pm, rather than normal times. It is a fact that there are many bishops who are against the EF.

    Dear Bob K: You hit the nail on the head here !
    Out here in Western MA there was one TLM late in the afternoon on Sunday (4pm, I believe)once a month for about 2 years. This past fall the bishop said via the diocesan newspaper that there was “no interest” and that the priest who was saying the EF mass “may” be saying an occasional EF Mass here or there (It seems like this priest is the only one “permitted” to say EF).
    It would be great to have these liberal bishops replaced by SSPX prelates, then maybe we could see the Pope’s vision (as expressed by Cardinal Hoyos)of making the EF “Normal in parishes” even if it is not asked for.

  55. Timmy says:

    Umm – speaking of converts who tell the Church what to do, what about Bishop Williamson?
    Who, by the way, is not an American.

    Well, Williamson\’s a freak of nature, and besides he\’s a bishop. It\’s not like he\’s some upstart layman from the bible belt who\’s suddenly decided he\’s an expert on all things Catholic who\’s deserved of his own call-in radio show, \”ask an expert\” website, bloviating blog and round-the-world \”apologetics cruise\” courtesy of your donations!

  56. Jordanes says:

    Regarding the false personal attacks of the individual calling himself “Jordan Patter,” I have no need to defend myself against someone who would never have the courage to try to level his erroneous and tendentious charges without the shield of anonymity.

    Henry Edwards said: It would appear that you posit some analogy based on an assumption that Bishop Lefebvre was a heretic. Is this correct?

    No, not at all. As I said above, I was talking only about whether or not doing something that is wrong in good conscience means that one doesn’t need to acknowledge that one made a mistake, repent of (turn from) doing that wrong and start doing that which is right.

    Dennis said: I too am a convert. I did not repent of heresy when I took the old convert’s oath. The oath says “I . . . . born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors” but, as far as I understand the definition of heresy, this does not mean I was a heretic. In error, yes. Heretic, no. Luther became a heretic when, after being warned, he persisted in error.

    Thanks. I understand the distinction, but since my erroneous beliefs were mostly formally proscribed heresies, I don’t mind saying that I was a heretic. Not necessarily in the canonical sense, but undoubtedly in a precanonical biblical sense.

  57. Gideon Ertner says:

    “Is it heresy to deny that six million Jews were murdered in Nazi “Death Camps”?”

    No, it is just against reason. Like believing the Earth is flat, or that the moon is made of green cheese.

    No-one is entitled to hold an erroneous opnion, be it in matters of faith or otherwise. However, holding an erroneous opinion in matters not connected with faith doesn’t make one a heretic – just a cuckoo.

  58. TMG says:

    I pray to our Lord that this is true. As I’ve posted before on this site; Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum led me to seek out the TLM and I found it at a SSPX humble Chapel. After assisting at their Mass, I thought to myself…they may not have the buildings they’d like but they definitely have the traditional practice of the Faith I’d been yearning to experience ever since it was taken away in the ’60s.

    It’s only been a little over eight months ago since that first encounter. Since then I’ve continued to assist at the TLM and have met several priests of the SSPX. I have been consistently impressed with their sacrifices, perseverance despite great odds, and their knowledge and teaching of the Faith. I am very thankful to them and to our Pope.

    Please, naysayers…I appeal to your charity to accept these good men – they are holy Roman Catholic priests.

  59. LCB says:

    Let’s act with Christian charity, trust the judgment of the Holy Father, and decide that God and Historians shall sort out who exactly was at fault. What matters is Christian unity.

    When I hear folks demand SSPX repentance, it usually sounds like these individuals value the SSPX being publicly shamed more than they value Christian charity and unity. Let’s set aside our personal desires for revenge and vindication for the greater good of Christian unity. Public repentance does not require that individuals must be publicly shamed.

    After all, don’t we trust the Holy Father’s judgment on these matters?

  60. Patrick says:

    Mr Ertner,

    I can observe the curvature of the Earth, proving it is round. I can do no such thing in regards to the number of Jews that died in Nazi camps. The belief that six million Jews died is no more “scientific” than believing the Moon is made of green cheese.

  61. LCB says:

    Marc,

    Over the last few weeks there has been a trend of bashing converts who talk on EWTN, and positing (without presenting evidence) that they are somehow opposed to Tradition. Can you please explain this to me? It seems rather baseless, and seems to border on calumny.

  62. Sal says:

    Jordanes: I acted in good conscience when I was a heretic for all those years before my conversion, but I still repented of and renounced my heresy when I became a Catholic and made my first confession.

    Jordanes: how were you a “heretic” in any precise sense? Didn’t you belong to the “church” of your family? Or, if not, weren’t you in the process of trying to “find” a church? And, gradually, your vision became clearer until you became Catholic? Many years ago, Joseph Ratzinger (in The Open Circle) said that one could no longer call Protestants “heretics” simply because they were now merely born into their faith; they were no longer specifically “promoting heresy,” at least in most cases.

    And, by the way, if you’ve abjured your “heresy,” why do you continue to promote evangelicalism on other blogs?

  63. LCB says:

    Roland,

    Great questions. Those can all be settled after the excommunications have been lifted. The Holy Father seems to be interested in a “brick by brick” approach to resolving the unfortunate matter of SSPX’s “irregular Communion.” Benedict the Magnanimous may resolve the entire matter through generous acts such as lifting the excommunications, and inspiring SSPX adherents to return to full and regular Communion. Thus making the other matters no longer in need of resolving.

    Some may choose to argue, “Were the excommunications lifted, or were they declared as never existing?” To which I reply: it doesn’t matter, what matters is that there is now fuller Christian unity. If the Holy Father thinks it matters, he will make an issue out of it.

    And if our Eastern brothers and sisters can see how generously and warmly the SSPX is being received by the Roman Catholics, and how more Traditionalists in the Church are bringing the Church to a fuller understanding of the role of mystery-in-liturgy, they too may find themselves more receptive to the Holy Father’s magnanimous gestures, and may find themselves more willing to extend benevolent generosity of their own. And of course, let’s not forget The Anglican Communion.

    In short, a great deal rests on unity with the SSPX proceeding well. Christian unity with The Anglican Communion, and with the East both have the potential to be highly influenced by SSPX matters. That is why it remains incumbent upon all of us to set aside past differences, to follow the Holy Father’s lead, and to rejoice at all forms of increased unity.

  64. Littlehammer says:

    Without denying any of the horrors of the Nazi crimes or the nonsense of Nazi wannabes and without defending Bishop Williamson, I ask this question in regard to holocaust-deniers or skeptics, why are those that either do deny the holocaust or are skeptics of it, cast into prison, disgraced, injured or killed? There is no discussion, no debate and it is an automatic excommunication from society. It seems to me that the best thing would be to openly discuss their nonsense and to use science, history and facts to refute their books and articles without throwing them in prison or worse. If that would be done then they would have no following and they would be laughed to scorn. Why isn’t it discussed? What is the fear?

    I do not attend an SSPX chapel and I often read about SSPX members as if they are some whacked out schismatics and how uncharitable they are. I am sure some are and some will disapprove of “coming in from the cold”, but I also see some that despise the Society and who will not willingly accept them back into the Church without the Society saying thousands of “mea culpas” and exhibiting the proper amount self humiliation. Charity is certainly lacking.

    If this is true about the lifting of the excommunications, this is a monumentous event and up there with Motu. Despite the uncharitability of some commentators, people, who had scruples about attending an SSPX chapel or listening to anything they have said, will no longer be burdened with those scruples. Gradually, over time the Motu with the possible lifting of the excommunications will create changes in the Church that will only be of benefit. It will take time, but using Fr. Z’s phrase: it will be brick by brick.

  65. Joshua says:

    I hope that they all reconcile, +Williamson included. His positions are not the society´s, as can be seen on things like women attending college (he is against, but the SSPX college has women) and comments like the one recently made. Yet, one would be loathe for a reconciliation framed to exclude a man if that can be avoided, even if people take offense

  66. Jordan Patter says:

    Regarding the false personal attacks of the individual calling himself “Jordan Patter,” I have no need to defend myself against someone who would never have the courage to try to level his erroneous and tendentious charges without the shield of anonymity.

    Not wishing in anyway to disrespect one so great. I humbly offer to discuss these matters further at your home free from anonymity. Being courageous as well as immeasurably wise, I await details of your home address.

    Respectfully,
    J. I. Patter

  67. LCB says:

    Sorry if I’m spamming responses, but Rocco reports the following: “The most likely scenario for a reconciled SSPX would seemingly involve the formation of a personal prelature or apostolic administration for the group, whose 700-plus chapels and six seminaries are spread across the globe. The Society counts close to 500 priests and 200 seminarians in over 60 countries.”

    Besides setting the stage for a possible structure TAC may be invited to use (personal prelature or apostolic administration), let’s take time to note that the SSPX has not a few number of adherents.

    Imagine if, eventually, there were 700 more traditional chapels, six more traditional seminaries, 500 more traditional priests, and 200 more traditional seminarians?

  68. PaulJason says:

    While not defending Bishop Williamson, I have to ask if there are any Church documents that tell us we have to accept the Holocaust?

    I know there was a Holocaust. I know the history, I know how many Catholics, Jews, and others where killed in those camps and gas chambers. That is not what my question points to, so please do not assume I do not believe the Holocaust because of the question.

  69. Brian in Wisconsin says:

    I for one am not praying for reconciliation. The excommunication was justly incurred. Indeed, by the definition of latae sententiae, they brought it on themselves. There was no clear and compelling reason for them to take this action other than their own fear and mistrust of JP2, because he and Cardinal Ratzinger had guaranteed them a bishop.

    Until they repent (and they arrogantly show no sign that they think they are wrong in any way, shape, or form), then how does this serve the Church?

    And doesn’t this allow their schismatic behaviors to continue unabated? When have they ever obeyed the Pope. Which SSPX priest in the world hears confessions with faculties granted him by the local ordinary? Which SSPX priest in the world witnesses marriages with faculties granted him by the local ordinary?

    And what about this notion that they put forth that canonizations are not infallible? Hence, any saint (e.g., Josemaria Escriva) who accepted Vatican II and the new Mass is suspect. Williamson and some of the others have gone on at length about this (although more Williamson than the others). If that is true, how can we trust any canonization? St. Thomas Aquinas? St. Pius X?

    How does this serve the Church, Father? I attend the Latin Mass. I am with Tradition. But I also am cognizant of the subservient and obedient examples of St. Ignatius, St. John Bosco, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Padre Pio, who followed the orders of their superiors, even when it was wholly unjust (or who counseled the same).

  70. Phil (NL), Thank you for your response. It does help to explain things better.

    I am interested to know just what the mind of the four SSPX bishops are in regards to their claim of “Modernist Rome” and subsequent propaganda.

    That will be what makes or breaks a true reconciliation. They are going to have to disavow themselves of that kind of thinking. If not, the shadow of excommunication will always hover over their heads.

    If I am not mistaken, the only way a true reconciliation would occur is if the bishops repented of their claims, entirely and without reserve, publicly apologized and made reparation. Otherwise, there will forever linger a question of schism (if only in the personal realm and not actual).

    -KJS

  71. Littlehammer says:

    If the excommunications are lifted, I wonder, from Brian’s tone, if he will be as obedient and subservient as he demands of the SSPX.

  72. FT says:

    PaulJason: I have to ask if there are any Church documents that tell us we have to accept the Holocaust?

    Rome tells us it was a “major fact” Shoah=Holocaust in Hebrew

    This century has witnessed an unspeakable tragedy, which can never be forgotten: the attempt by the Nazi regime to exterminate the Jewish people, with the consequent killing of millions of Jew… This was the Shoah. It is a major fact of the history of this century, a fact which still concerns us today.

    From We remember. A reflection on the Shoah. Vatican 1998
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_16031998_shoah_en.html

  73. Charlotte says:

    I have friends with family in SSPX. They say that even if the excommunications are lifted, their family will still not go along with this, they will want to essentially stay separatist. That’s ex

  74. Gideon Ertner says:

    Lucy,

    “[The SSPX] are the only ones to have kept the true Mass alive.”

    Er – have you ever heard about the FSSP? ICRSS? IBP? The Apostolic Administration of
    St. Jean-Marie Vianney? These are all integrated parts of the Church.

    Granted, they all spring from the SSPX. But if the SSPX had not been so hot-headed in the 70’s and instead humbly submitted to legitimate authority, there might have been even more traditionally-minded priests out there, the Church would have been spared a schism, and many good Catholics would not have risked coming across as neo-Jansenists and anti-Semites.

  75. schoolman says:

    Have the excommunications achieved their medicinal end? That is a prudential decision that belongs to the Pope alone. On one hand, the SSPX rhetoric has not really changed since 1988. On the other hand, Bishop Fellay has petitioned the Holy Father for the removal of the excommunications. Also, the Holy Father knows that the history of the SSPX would have turned out much different if Rome had promulgated the equivalent of Summorum Pontificum back in 1986 (or earlier) as recommended by the commission of Cardinals. I hope that this happens — and I also hope that the SSPX gives a “response” proportionate to the Holy Father’s that was supposedly agreed to by Bishop Fellay when responding to the 5 points.

  76. Gideon Ertner says:

    Correction: Unlike the other institutions mentioned above, the ICRSS does not, in fact, spring from the SSPX. (Neither does the AASJMV, though as far as I know it originally had close connections with it)

  77. Michael says:

    Is it conceivable that the Holy Father is considering this next move to keep the pressure on the SSPX Bishops to bring the status of the SSPX to a final resolution? They at least give the appearance of being comfortable in their positions and maybe he thinks they do not have sufficient motivation to keep the process going. So what is next if Pope Benedict plays this card? Are they backed into a corner? Will the Pope be able to exert some legitimate authority over the different bodies of the SSPX forcing the Bishops to act in a way that Benedict wants to not risk losing their own positions of authority? Pope Benedict is a very smart man so it is unlikely that he is not thinking several moves ahead and it simply seems, in Chess terms, that he may be setting up his ‘end game’ to finally resolve this quasi-schism.

  78. Littlehammer says:

    It is a fact that is used to slander a holy and good Pope, Pius XII. It is a fact, like the word racism, that is used to stop any discussion and any argument. Whether, one was killed because he was a Jew or 6 million as is claimed or somewhere in between, it is still a tragedy. However, in this day and age of politicized anti-Catholic journalism, society that is anti-God, the holocaust is a political tool and a tool of black-mail.

    Again, I ask why can’t this matter be discussed? Why can’t we question this secular dogma? It is a tragedy however many died. We know it is a tragedy that is dwarfed by the killing of the kulaks in the Ukraine by Stalin. However, what is more of a tragedy is that the deaths of innocent people are used for political and ideological reasons.

  79. Charlotte says:

    I’m sorry that got cut off: That kind of refusal is exactly the picture of SSPX that many of have – it’s never enough until Rome says they are right and always have been right. If it’s true that “nearly 1/3″ of SSPX won’t go along with this, it’s more evidence that they will not be repentant.

  80. Jordanes says:

    Brian said: I for one am not praying for reconciliation.

    We should always be praying for reconciliation. It’s what Our Lord did.

    Sal asked: how were you a “heretic” in any precise sense?

    See my previous comments above.

    And, by the way, if you’ve abjured your “heresy,” why do you continue to promote evangelicalism on other blogs?

    I’ve never promoted evangelicalism since becoming a Catholic, nor will you be able to find any example of my promoting evangelicalism. I have, of course, pointed out on various occasions that evangelicalism is not entirely wrong but agrees with Catholicism on important points. Reminding certain Catholics that evangelicals are not all blackguards to be feared and loathed, and that evangelicalism gets a few things right, can hardly be characterised as “promoting evangelicalism.”

  81. LCB says:

    Charlotte,

    Lots of people say lots of things. Let’s see what happens when the lifting comes down, and when Catholics generously receive their brethren. The Prodigal Son is very informative– the past can be forgotten, what matters is Christian unity today.

    Let their repentance be worked out in the confessional. We should rejoice at unity.

  82. Gideon Ertner says:

    Littlehammer,

    Stop asking why the Holocaust can’t be discussed. You very obviously have your own opnion on this matter, so why no state it?

    Besides, you are very nearly yourself using Stalin’s killings for “ideological reasons”.

    The Holocaust is used to bash rightists. Stalin’s, Mao’s and Pol Pot’s killings are used to bash leftists. There is a blatant asymmetry in the debate because the leftists are more vocal and know better how to pander to popular sentiment, but in itself it is quite natural to use these crimes to point out the flaws of both ideologies.

  83. Sal says:

    You know, Jordanes, you’re still at the sophomoric stage of knowledge. You throw around plenty of terms, but you never seem to know exactly what they mean. Heretic is one such instance. Heresy entails that one hold a belief and hold it obstinately. You’ve never been in a position where you held anything obstinately. You were simply born into a certain situation and inherited a belief system. That has nothing to do with heresy. And the phrase “precanonical biblical sense” makes no sense.

    If you’re just willing to string a series of words together, how about these: bandage, duck, wagon, string.

  84. PaulJason says:

    FT: Thank you for the link

  85. Littlehammer says:

    Dear Gideon:

    I appreciate you proving my point in that there can be no discussion of the holocaust.

    And no you are in error, I do not have no real opinion on the holocaust as taught by governments today, only questions. However, my “opinion” is strong on the use of the deaths of innocent people for political goals and the use of the holocaust to slander a holy man that saved over 800,000 Jewish men, women and children.

  86. Jordanes says:

    Sal said: You know, Jordanes, you’re still at the sophomoric stage of knowledge.

    True, as I’ve said many times and will have many more occasions to say over time, since it’s only been about nine years since my conversion, I’m still learning. I expect that will continue until my death.

    You throw around plenty of terms, but you never seem to know exactly what they mean.

    You’re certainly not in any position to make such a silly broadbrushing statement.

    Heretic is one such instance. Heresy entails that one hold a belief and hold it obstinately.

    Canonically, yes.

    You’ve never been in a position where you held anything obstinately.

    Also, how do you know I was never obstinate? I don’t believe we’ve ever met, nor have I reason to believe you have the ability to read my heart or to sit in judgment of me. Could it not be that I was obstinate for a while but God later gave me the grace of conversion?

    And the phrase “precanonical biblical sense” makes no sense.

    So you’re saying that when the New Testament used the term “heresy,” it was meant in exactly the sense it has in the 1983 Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church?

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure the topic under discussion here is not, “Jordanes.” I think it has something to do with the excommunications of the SSPX bishops being removed.

  87. chironomo says:

    Imagine if, eventually, there were 700 more traditional chapels, six more traditional seminaries, 500 more traditional priests, and 200 more traditional seminarians?

    And this may well be why this is happening now. Think about it for a moment…

  88. Sal says:

    No, the topic isn’t “Jordanes,” so stop making silly comments about your “heresy.” If you want the Biblical definition of hairesis, “choice” or “selection,” that’s just posturing. I doubt very much if, since you “selected” evangelicalism, that you fulfill the requirements for Biblical hairesis. Just stop the nonsense. Or join a mystery cult.

  89. Jordanes says:

    I already explained my point, Sal. Interact with it, if you please, . . . or not. The etymological development of the word “heresy” is interesting, but a tangent of a tangent. And I doubt very many people here want to argue about whether or not I was ever a heretic, or in what sense I may have been a heretic. That’s got nothing to do with my point.

  90. RBrown says:

    And what about this notion that they put forth that canonizations are not infallible? Hence, any saint (e.g., Josemaria Escriva) who accepted Vatican II and the new Mass is suspect. Williamson and some of the others have gone on at length about this (although more Williamson than the others). If that is true, how can we trust any canonization? St. Thomas Aquinas? St. Pius X?
    Comment by Brian in Wisconsin

    I agree with you.

    On the other hand, such an opinion is not uncommon today. In fact, a few years ago the prof teaching Ecclesiology at a Pontifical Roman University held that they were not infallible.

  91. Josephus muris saliensis says:

    We must remember that excommunication has nothing to do with sanity or crazy views. Much as the world will have trouble understanding, Bp Williamson’s mad propositions on the holocaust are not an excommunicable matter, thus not a bar to the lifting of the excommunication.

    Once the excommunication is lifted, he, in theory, comes within ecclesial discipline. But not before.

    I would not want to be the press officer to have to make this clear to the outside world, however.

  92. prof. basto says:

    Deo Gratias!

    If it was done for the Orthodox, why not for the SSPX, who are closer to the Barque of Peter.

    I trully hope that the SSPX profits from this act of mercy and reconciliation by submitting with tongue and heart, in word and deed, to the Petrine See.

    Ad multos annos, Pater Sancte!

  93. Jordanes says:

    Someone said: Being courageous as well as immeasurably wise, I await details of your home address.

    After you, good sir.

  94. LCB says:

    Kids, grow up.

  95. Suzanne McG says:

    I wonder what, if anything, this would mean regarding a change in the attitudes of the SSPX adherent laity toward Modernist Rome. My understanding is that they are not excommunicated, contrary to what the article says. But their view of those who are not attending SSPX churches is that they are not being true to the true Faith.

  96. Pseudomodo says:

    Well this is very interesting…

    A decree from the Holy Father lifting the ecommunications of the four Bishops.

    In his letter of excommunication Cardinal Gatin wrote: “The priests and faithful are warned not to support the schism of Monsignor Lefebvre, otherwise they shall incur ipso facto the very grave penalty of excommunication”.

    So….

    B16 will lift the excommunication of the four Bishops while the excommunication of the priests and faithful remain.

    hmmmnnnn….

  97. Brian Mershon says:

    Where charity and love prevail…

    1.7 million decades of the rosary, plus the previous 2.5 million last year must have had a very positive effect.

    All within 2 month and 3 month time periods.

    This looming act is certain to test the obedience of many so-called “conservative” and “orthodox” Catholics.

    Mark Shea must be apoplectic right now. It is difficult for some people not to be the hallmark of orthodoxy.

  98. I invite anyone who desires to be locked out of participating here to continue in the same nasty tone as some of you have adopted.

    Discuss, debate, disagree.

    But be civil or I will toss you.

  99. James II says:

    The SSPX will never reconcile with the Church. Individual priests will certainly come over, but the organization never will come back as a unitary entity. [I suspect this may be true.] Fellay has to take note of the opinions of his benefactors, most of whom are intractably opposed to any endeavours at reconciliation. They are his popes, he is subject to their authority. He does not submit himself to the apostolic successor to St Peter. Money talks. Pride hardens. Schism kills.

    Meanwhile, the traditional liturgy is spreading and even the Novus Ordo is getting better. Younger priests are more orthodox and traditional. With the freeing up of the old Mass the SSPX is loosing its original appeal and its followers will decline. It will go like the Old Calendrists in Russia or become a right-wing version Old Catholic Church in the West. It will always appeal to some, especially political extremists, but it will inevitably suffer decline.

  100. Gravitas says:

    Although we don’t attend an SSPX chapel (we have a diocian TLM), my family offered up many rosaries for this cause. That should show there is support beyond the SSPX family.

    If what James II says is correct, which I very much do not think is true, that would mean there is no hope for the Church of England, the Orthodox, etc. from ever coming back into full communion.

    God, please let this happen soon.

  101. Josephus says:

    In his letter of excommunication Cardinal Gatin wrote: “The priests and faithful are warned not to support the schism of Monsignor Lefebvre, otherwise they shall incur ipso facto the very grave penalty of excommunication”.

    I bought a bunch of books from Angelus Press for Christmas, does this mean that my support, by buying the books = excommunication ?

  102. Sid says:

    I too thank FT for the link, and I thank Fr. Z for the admonition.

  103. Sal says:

    Well, the UK Times online never disappoints. Here’s their headline:

    Pope could welcome Holocaust denier back into the fold.

    From the redoutable Ruth Gledhill.

  104. Paul Haley says:

    I suspect that the juridical structure for the SSPX will follow after the excommunications are annulled. How soon? Well, that depends on further negotiations or, perhaps discussions is a better word, between the SSPX and the Holy See. But, in any case, this is a cause for joy for those of us who want to see a united church to confront the evils of our time, growing increasingly more malevolent in our time. In my mind this is a result of the many prayers offered for the intention of Unity by all who hold to the true Faith and, especially, due to the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. Thanks be to God!

  105. Gravitas says:

    You want to know when the next stage will happen with the SSPX? Watch for when they ask for rosaries again!

    2 out of 2 so far.

    Thank you Blessed Mother!

  106. I have to say that Bishop Fellay is the only one of the lot who seems reasonable. For the rest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a positive word about the Holy Father uttered once.

  107. Paul Haley says:

    Fr. Z.,
    Is it possible that there may be two documents involved. One would be an opinion rendered by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and signed by Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio which says the SSPX is not in schism and why. The other would be a papal decree declaring the excommunications null and void and signed by Pope Benedict XVI and even stipulating how the SSPX may be re-integrated into the life of the church down the road (pending further discussions). I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what is released by the Holy See.

  108. Paul: It is possible. It could also be that the decrees lifting the excommunications will be individual.

  109. Marc Philips says:

    Will some be so upset with this that they’ll form
    the SSPJP2?

  110. Marc Philips says:

    Mr. Murshon:

    In addition to Mr Shea I would add Mr Aiken and the entire
    St. Joseph’s province of Dominicans who routinely call the
    SSPX “fake Catholics.”

  111. Peter David Bolan says:

    PRAISE BE JESUS CHRIST NOW AND FOREVER

  112. LCB says:

    Marc,

    Is bashing others REALLY necessary? Please stop. You don’t like converts or people who engage in the New Evangelization. Okay, we get it already, let’s move on.

  113. joe says:

    God bless Pope Benedict!

  114. James II says:

    Mr Phillips,

    Some of those less than impressed by the new translations have proposed the formation of a Society of Pope Paul VI (or SSPVI as it would inevitably become known as):

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2008/07/society-of-pope-paul-vi.html

  115. Syriacus says:

    A freshly baked Times’ (Ruth’s) article

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5567829.ece

    and the first two readers’ comments :

    “If Benedict XVI is insane enough to extend the hand of reconciliation to men like Richard Williamson he will show himself to be both a fool and a disgrace.

    If this reconciliation happens the bishops of the church should demand Benedict resigns from office.

    Basil, London, UK

    Yet another reason why the Anglican Communion should immediately end all discussions with the Roman Church even hinting of the possibility of unification.

    Bill, Vancouver, Canada”

  116. Maureen says:

    What does this mean? Could I attend a SSPX Church now?

  117. Pseudomodo says:

    It would appear that the schism may continue while the excommunication is lifted. After all the excommunication was imposed for the schism ie: the schism existing prior to the penalty.

    It would appear that the priests and faithful still support the (perhaps soon to be un-excommunicated) Bishops and so the effects of the original decree of excommunication relating to thier support still prevails until B16 decrees them to be no longer in schism.

    Josephus, I wouldn’t worry about buying the books. Applying a bit of ‘Feenyism’ here, I suppose that because you may not be a card-carrying SPPX’er you may not qualify as ‘supporting schism’.

  118. Matt says:

    Maureen,

    unless the decree lifting the excommunications says otherwise, it simply lifts excommunications. The lifting does not end the canonical irregularity, or the automatic suspension of faculties of SSPX priests. That would leave the situation with attending SSPX chapels unchanged.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  119. Tom says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a “two-fer” ceremony with His Holiness announcing the lifting of the excommunications and also releasing the nearly-mythical clarification of the MP at the same time?

  120. Maureen says:

    Our little pope seems to enjoy using mercy to really mess his enemies up. Granting his sanction to the state church bishops, for instance, and saying that it was okay for Catholics to attend, was actually a hit against the Chinese government and for church unity and good conscience for believers.

    So if he does un-excommunicate the SSPX bishops, he puts the ball into the SSPX court. Either they act like good obedient bishops and people, or they don’t. Also, he freaks out the French (and other countries’) bishops while simultaneously putting the SSPX back under their care. Everybody is forced to be good and generous and sweet to each other, or admit that they’re directly dissing the Pope and the Church.

    Heh. Talk about cat among the pigeons and serious movement forward, just by granting a few wishes. It’s so crazy, it just might work!

  121. Maureen says:

    I’m the cat among the pigeons Maureen, not the “Can I attend SSPX?” Maureen. :)

  122. The Other David says:

    Although we don’t attend an SSPX chapel (we have a diocian TLM), my family offered up many rosaries for this cause. That should show there is support beyond the SSPX family.

    If what James II says is correct, which I very much do not think is true, that would mean there is no hope for the Church of England, the Orthodox, etc. from ever coming back into full communion.

    God, please let this happen soon.
    Comment by Gravitas

    So long as the Anglican Church, the Orthodox Church and the SSPX reject the authority of the Pope over them, they cannot as a body return to the Church. Members may, yes. But unless these bodies repudiate formally their rejection, I don’t see how we can bring them back into the Church as a body

  123. Steve K. says:

    Deo gratias indeed! Ad multos annos Holy Father!

  124. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Dear Father,

    You don’t like your people being attacked?

    Even if, perchance, they deserve it??

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression “ugly American”. [Wow. And that is a justification?]

    And no, I’m not being nasty, I’m being objective. [No, you are being nasty.] If non-Americans attack Americans, it just
    might have something to do with the Americans’ attitude, which non-Americans may well perceive as
    being “nasty”, or at least arrogant. [Bye!]

    Michael UK, + W, whatever his crimes are or may be, antisemitism is not among them.

    Even he admits that hating anyone, including Jews, on account of their race, is sinful.

    You misrepresent the man – I hope not knowingly.

    Mr Ertner, when Elie Wiesel has told such overt lies in his account of the h. (geysers of blood for
    was it 3 or 6 months??), when
    The Diary of Anne Frank is an obvious fraud, when an anti-Nazi, Jewish eye-witness like
    Paul Rasinier denies the homocidal gassings, when so many alleged eye-witnesses are found to
    have only hearsay accounts of what happened (Zundel trials in Canada), when the Talmudic religion
    predisposes its adherents to lie and cheat (Kol Nidrei, among other things), and when
    the h. has proved so profitable to Jewry as a whole (establishment of Israel, a state that relies
    upon USA grants to survive), when the h. is used as an excuse for Israel’s oppression of the
    Palestinians, etc., etc., it’s only reasonable to want to investigate the entire affair
    more closely.

    However, I congratulate you on your affirmation that error has no rights.

    If only more catholics, especially Americans, infected with the errors of the Enlightenment
    falsely so-called, accepted that moral reality, the church would not be in the dire situation
    it is in today.

  125. LCB:

    I doubt anyone is really Bashing the celebrity converts but people like Mr. Mershon do not have to have exceptional memories to remember when
    they were bashed for holding a position toward the SSPX no less pastoral than the Holy See all while being accused of trying to be “more Catholic than the pope.”

    Who was actually holding a stricter position than the Holy See?

    As Mr. Mershon has stated before, these people are stuck in 1988 under a different pontificate. I would add that they got a lot of milage out of
    trashing the SSPX as a way of demonstrating their loyalty.

    It’s too early to call this gloating.

    The error was in thrusting these people in to the spotlight when they are not a knowledgeable as had been presumed.

  126. Mr. Wolsey:

    I wouldn’t go that far but +Williamson has at least demonstrated that what most people know about that horrible period comes not from scholarship but from repetition.

    Could you imagine Catholics being able to intimidate in this manner every time a lie is told about their history?

  127. Regarding Drew Of Wapping’s comments about Paul VI lifting the excommunication on the Patriarch of Constantinople: For the record Drew and all others I believe the Pope and the Patriarch lifted the mutual excomminications on each other.

    The mutual excommunications had been going on automatically for centuries and were no longer accomplishing anything but keeping mutual bad will alive. The lifting of these excommunications by Pope and Partiarch were the necessary precursors to all the prgress that has since been made and a lot has indeed been made.

  128. Paul says:

    Looking at these events I thank God that I am an Anglican.

    Pope John Paul II made it quite clear (Ecclesia Dei addflicta) that anyone supporting the ‘schism’ of Mgr. Lefebvre would incur the ‘grave penalty of excommunication’. It seems the Vatican in 1988 were taken by surprise when support for the Lefebvre movement actually grew after the consecration of bishops in defiance of John Paul II’s express prohibition rather than diminish at the threat of such excommunication.

    It will be interesting to see what Benedict actually says, if the rumours are true, and to what extent he contradicts his predecessor’s decree. As someone on a traditionalist blog once remarked modern Roman Catholicism is ‘whatever the reigning pope says it is’. Thank God there are other Christian Churches that show a degree of consistency and repsect for tradition that Rome is clearly lacking with its make-it-up-as-you-go theology.

  129. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Paul,

    Surely you appreciate the irony of your opinion?

    The problem is that make-it-up-as-you-go theology is typlically protestant,
    and therefore typically Anglican.

    So you really can’t be serious when you say –

    “Thank God there are other Christian Churches that show a degree of consistency and repsect for tradition that Rome is clearly lacking with its make-it-up-as-you-go theology.”

    The current malaise of the catholic church is temporary, that of the anglicans is not.

  130. Paul says:

    Thomas,

    I don’t see any irony at all in my position and, yes, I most certainly see non-Romanist Churches as far more consistent and traditional in both their theology and praxis.

    Assuming the rumours regarding the lifting of the excommuncications are true which pope was right Benedict XVI or John Paul II? Lefebrism has not changed its stance but Rome, yet again, appears to have done so. It really is a chimera of make believe.

    Again, thank God for the C of E!

  131. Son of Trypho says:

    Wolsey – why don’t you point out the sources which support your assertions from your email @4.04pm above? Perhaps provide some links or references for everyone here – it will give us a better idea of where your coming from.

  132. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To answer some:

    There was no *intentional* ‘act towards schism’. The Society never intended to set up a parallel hierarchy or claimed jurisdiction for its bishops. Rome claims now that it was [objectively] a schismatic act which nevertheless was not sufficient to cause schism. Perhaps so but there was no intent to create any schism, sufficient thereto or otherwise; it was completely only a rightful act of disobedience, aimed, in part, at preserving a right which was denied by Rome in 1971 (De Missali Romano) and yet admitted in 2007, so that Rome has contradicted herself.

    The claim that an act ‘towards schism’ is never justified is balderdash. What is never justified is an intentional act of schism (whether sufficient to create one or not) and there was no such intention. This explains why Society priests who have been reconciled have never even been asked to make a profession of faith or renounce any schismatic acts. And I am willing to bet that the Society bishops won’t be asked to do this either.

    What happened in 2000 (we’ve been over this all before and I did haul out the references), is that the Society was offered a society of apostolic life which was to be incorporated into an international and ‘personal’ apostolic administration. It was to be a Campos writ large. Bishop Fellay openly commented on the offer several times in print and referred to it as a ‘Rolls Royce’ jurisdiction. However, he refused to accept it. Essentially, he is refusing, I think, because he knows that Williamson will split the Society if he accepts it. But that is not a justification for refusing obedience to Christ’s Vicar when such obedience is morally possible.

    His refusal is what made the Society’s position unacceptable, because such a structure would have afforded him all the protection he would need in order to safeguard the Roman Tradition. There are times when disobedience to legitimate authority is justified; however, it must be a case of necessity. It can never be a matter of convenience.

    My point is more important than the Jordaneses and such on this list have contemplated. Why? Because Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has already made it crystal clear that the Society must accept regularisation once the excommunications have been lifted. Soon, therefore, we shall see how all the neo-cons on this blog will be forced to whistle the tune I am whistling–all in order to remain the papolaters they are. They twist and turn every way they can as long as they can start with their erroneous conclusions and then work backwards from them to try to find premises to base them on.

    P.K.T.P.

  133. Malta says:

    It makes me sad when Bp. Williamson is pigeon holed into the few wacko views he admittedly holds and his great brilliance is intentionally glossed over (negative news is the only newsworthy news these days.) This is a brilliant man with a few strange views.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2LO97E7ycg

    Think of the legions upon legions of wacko modernist bishops who teach true heresy and then cast the first stone….

  134. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    What is the next step?

    Once the declarations of excommunication have been withdrawn, according to the S.S.P.X, the next step is a resolution of doctinal difficulties. But, according to Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and Rome, it is the acceptance of regularisation by the Society. So there is trouble ahead.

    The solution is simple. The Pope should erect the international and ‘personal’ (cf. Canon 372.2) diocese for obedient traditionalists, a Campos writ large. He could then invite the S.S.P.X to be part of it. If the Society refuses, fine, let them compete against a regularised personal and international diocese. What would happen? The Society would lose its support and many of its priests would cross over to the new international and personal diocese. Eventually, Bishops Fellay and de Galaretta would follow. Williamson would be left worshipping in broomclosets and callboxes with a tiny faction of Nazis and other crazies.

    Once most of the Society has been regularised then, yes, Rome will be more than willing to answer dubia in regard to doctrine. The Magisterium of the Church cannot ‘negotiate’ over the truth; it can only proclaim it.

    P.K.T.P.

  135. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Son of Trypho:

    My concern is not what Bsp. Williamson’s views are. Rather, what concerns me is his judgement. Was it really necessary to stir up a hornet’s nest on Radio Stockholm? Was it prudent to do this right when the Pope is considering lifting the excommunications? To me, it looks like sabotage of the Rosary Crusade and a deliberate provocation.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that Fr. Z., of all people, is posting the Williamson news. It puts pressure on the Pope to distance himself from all four of the Society bishops (guilt by association). Let’s just pray that His Holiness acts before the Zionist press forces his hand.

    P.K.T.P.

  136. Malta says:

    Btw: I am listening to part 2 of my link supra. If THAT isn’t Catholic Truth, what is? This much maligned man deserves a second look. Every school child in every Catholic school should be given this substance, but, as in the case of my daughter, she is being taught about every other faith, and little about Catholicism.

    Here is the link to part 2/7:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkchIqFOr9k

    This is on-topic, as almost every other post, infra, to do with Bp. Williamson is to cast him into outer darkness or make him seem foolish, or “heretical,” in the modern sense….

  137. Greg says:

    I hope and pray this will occur. I think it is sad that even Catholics of presumed good will may be subtly or not so subtly trying to undermine this by mud-slinging. There is, unfortunately, a bias and prejudice against these bishops. Whether Bishop Williamson makes historical judgments which others deem wrong or false, however controversial, should not be the issue. This regularization of the Society would be a fantastic day, a high-watermark in the life of the Church, and a boon for The Faith. Brick by brick, block by block, this would be edifice by edifice (Society of St. Peter, Campos, Trans-alpine Redemptorists, diocesan priests and their flocks, and now the SSPX!) Let us pray for it and try to avoid falling into tabloid journalism, muckraking and mudslinging, and getting the dialogue and the agenda waylaid and set of course by those not necessarily friendly to The Faith.

  138. Son of Trypho says:

    PKTP
    Zionist press? Oh dear. No wonder that your not concerned about Williamson’s views…

  139. Malta says:

    Last one!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L2bf18Hatg&NR=1

    I cringe at Bp. Williamson’s conspiracy theories, too, but the above is brilliant; if only most Bishops spoke with such Truth!

  140. Geoffrey says:

    Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the Vicar of Christ is giving in to the demands of the SSPX bishops?

  141. Bernie says:

    It is interesting how some assume that “conservative” catholics or EWTN “followers” (whatever this may be) will do exactly what schismatics do. For the most part we, regular catholics, who appreciate the work of EWTN and the like will welcome the pope’s decision with the same obedience and humility as always. I, for one, do think the sspx is irrelevant in the current landscape and that the fight can move on quite well without them, but I also understand that such a step from Rome could lead to a reunion at least with the more sensible part of the society. Above all I trust the pope (do they?). He is an inspiring leader, a man of courage and if his acts are followed by humility and obedience and open hearts on the part of the society, I will rejoice with my SSPX brothers and sisters. I just hope they will see me and all the average joe catholics watching EWTN with the same charitable eyes. Can I hope for that?

  142. Paul says:

    “Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the Vicar of Christ is giving in to the demands of the SSPX bishops?”

    Where is the charity in that? Do you expect the Pope to cast those damnable Bishops into the outer darkness, to be utterly reprobate?

    You should be rejoicing at the reconciliation taking place, not wringing your hands because the “bad guys” got what they wanted.

  143. Geoffrey says:

    “You should be rejoicing at the reconciliation taking place…”

    What reconciliation? Have the SSPX bishops acknowledged they were in the wrong to be consecrated bishops? Until we see that repentance, it appears that they are forcing the Holy Father’s hand. I don’t expect traditionalists to see that. I pray that this will all be explained very clearly by the Holy See.

    And where is the charity on the part of the SSPX? Where is their obedience? Have they recanted their diatribes against Vatican II, the new Mass, John Paul II, the Catechism, etc…

  144. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    Geoffrey,

    I can hardly believe the SSPX can force the Holy Father to do anything. The lifting of the excommunications is more about justice. The trickier part will be the regularisation, at least from my limited knowledge. This will require the real cooperative spirit from the SSPX.

  145. David Kastel says:

    Brian in Wisconsin,

    You’re absolutely right. The bishops of SSPX show no sign of repentance. They stubbornly insist they were right for doing what they have done. Therefore, if this DECREE of excommunication is annulled, revoked, or retracted, (rather than “lifted”) then we can certainly conclude that the Pope is admitting that the bishops of SSPX have been right and Rome has been wrong. This is not unprecedented in the history of the Church…that a bishop corrects Rome or the pope.

  146. Tradition says:

    Why is bishop Williamson considered a “brilliant” man? I have heard him preach and aside from the accent there is very little to recommend him as an intellectual or an orator.

    The question that SSPX has to answer is how it can claim to uphold Roman Catholicism without Rome?

    Williamson’s views on the holocaust are outside his competence. If his history is this bad concerning the holocaust one wonders about his historical judgments analogs to his schism.

  147. Mike Morrow says:

    An earlier exchange:

    *“[The SSPX] are the only ones to have kept the true Mass alive.”

    Er – have you ever heard about the FSSP? ICRSS? IBP? The Apostolic Administration of
    St. Jean-Marie Vianney?*

    The historical importance of the SSPX is that *only* it *effectively* kept the traditional Mass from becoming extinct. The post-Vatican II Bugnini Gangsters would otherwise have succeeded in exterminating the traditional liturgy. We who lived through those times know the dispair we felt at the radical disintegration of Catholic tradition in only a few short years. By 1969, I was absolutely certain the traditional Mass would never be celebrated again. The SSPX was the *only* effective resistance, and I will be always thankful to the SSPX, even though my Angelus Missal is the closest contact I’ve ever had with the society.

    The other traditionalist societies arose after the SSPX. Yes, the SSPX erred in 1988. The fortunate consequences of its error spawned the FSSP and other societies that are in regular accord with Rome. But had the SSPX never existed, neither would the traditional societies that are in full communion today. Pope John Paul II would never have felt the need to authorize societies such as the FSSP, were it not as a counter to the SSPX. We’d be stuck in perpetuity with the offensive, mindless, banal, pablum liturgies rubrics, and customs of the novus ordo, its artless vulgar vernacular hymns, its impotent clergy, etc., etc., etc.

    My impression is that most SSPX priests and seminarians are very decent, dedicated, and rational people. They are burdened and disadvantaged by severely faulted SSPX leadership. The former Anglican, so-called bishop Williamson is a curse to Catholicism, a festering sore, an obscenity on the face of the Earth. He wields influence solely from the sorry lot of antisemite holocaust deniers who have always disgraced and poisoned societies perceived to be conservative and traditional.

    I reject Williamson and his apologists. I welcome the decent following of the SSPX. I am thankful that Benedict XVI is Pope.

  148. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    Peter Karl T Perkins,

    Why is Bishop Tissier de Mallerais given a free pass? I’ve never heard him say one positive word about the Holy Father. There’s zero hope for him reconciling either. Bishop Galarreta never speaks publicly so it is difficult to tell. I still hold that Bishop Fellay is the only reasonable one of the lot.

  149. RC says:

    In addition to the issue of excommunications, the four SSPX bishops are under a suspension per Canon 1383. I wonder whether the decree prepared for the Holy Father will leave that sanction in place or dismiss it also.

  150. Malta says:

    Dear Greg and Mike,

    I think you are both looking for logs, rather than specks. Who said de Mallerais has to pontificate about the Pontiff to be a good Catholic? And Mike, you were inspired until the latter, ranting, part of your post: You yourself, in calling Bp. Williamson an “obscenity on the face of the Earth,” are making calumniatory statements.

    Btw., there is wisdom in Galarreta not speaking publicly. Bp. Fellay is one of the finest Bishops alive, whatever stripe, so let’s hope and pray he, in union with Pope Benedict, can bring unity!

  151. Mike Morrow says:

    Williamson’s true role since his alleged conversion from Anglicanism and subsequent association with the Catholic Church has been one of *agent* *provocateur*. He has always attempted to incite extreme controversy by taking positions that no rational or decent or moral human being could assume. He thereby attaches such positions by association to the SSPX and the Catholic Church in general, to the gross detriment of both. He cloaks his deceptions by powerful and attractive declarations of traditional orthodoxy.

    That is his goal now with his recent, conveniently-timed holocaust-denial TV broadcast: Hurt the SSPX, hurt the Catholic Church, hurt chances of reconciliation!

    There are fools who can not see the obvious.

  152. Malta says:

    Mike, I disagree, allow me to provide some back-ground into, what in my opinion, is the impetus behind Williamson’s admittedly sometimes strange declarations:

    The apotheosis for Catholic life in America (and, really, the world) was the time until the late ’50, when liberals began to clamor for “change.” Change especially in the milieu of sexual mores, etc.

    Today, we are living in the detritus of this “change.” There are rapes and abortions a’ plenty. My mother said she and her friends used to ride their bikes around town. You usually can’t do that anymore, as a kid, wheras you generally could. The internet has broadened the mind of every conceivable rapist out there.

    Why am I saying this, in the context of this blog? Well, for one, many of you flippantly disregard the truisms that Bp. Williamson says, in favor of the media-sensationalized negativity of a few of his comments, taken out of context, and used solely for ad hominem attacks. I’m not an SSPXer, but I see the mounting attacks as something negative against Williamson. Really, the ’60s changed everything, for the worse. The crime rate is through the roof since just 50 years ago.

    So what does the change in the 60’s crime-wise have to do with Williamson, you might ask.

    Let me ask you this: What didn’t change in the 60’s? Why was that a propitious time to call an ecumenical council?

    We could argue ad naseum about what was good or bad about the Church before the ’60, but there is no denying, objectively, that the Church has been on a drastic free-fall since then. Mass-attendance from 80% to 20%, true belief from 75% to 30%, vocations lost, etc. In fact now, we have scandals, Church closings to pay off all the pederasts in our midst, etc.

    John XXIII looked at the Third Secret around 1960, and said, according to accounts, “this is not for today,” even though Our Lady said otherwise. Who is wiser, Our Lady, or the Pope? Our Lady of Akita said that Bishop would turn against Bishop. Then Ratzinger, now Pope, said that was the message of Fatima. Interesting.

    So, you can sit on your living room couch and judge Bp. Williamson all you want, but one might say he is a greater Churchman than 98% of the Bishops out there, even though I wholeheartedly disagree with his New York and Jewish statements. Hey, the guy has his opinions. The vitriolic hatred towards him—even though he has done no harm, and, in fact, has only done good—by almost everyone out there gives me pause. Yeah, I don’t agree with him either on his wackier points, but don’t seethe and hate the man for his opinions. The bulk of his views are solidly Catholic, a rarity among Bishops, who would rather commune with other Christian and non-Christian faiths, and praise their virtues, than uphold their 2,000 year-old Patrimony of the Catholic Faith.

    Williamson may not believe some things, but he believes, in his heart, in my opinion, that every drop of Christ’s blood was salvific, that is a true rarity among most Bishops, in my opinion, and in my experience, who would rather please the world, their own bellies, and their own positions than the perennial Truths of Christ….

    Dante reserved a special place in Hell for Bishops with their bellies too full, and their hearts too empty of Christ…

  153. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Son of Trypho:

    You misunderstood my meaning. I didn’t mean to suggest that the press is entirely Zionist. I meant that that part of it which is will put pressure on the Pope.

    P.K.T.P.

  154. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    On Mr. Hessel’s comments:

    Yes, indeed, Tissier has also said some very extreme things. But he tends to be more discreet than Williamson.

    I am told that de Galarreta can be moderate, at least about some things.

    But I don’t think that a split is immiment in the S.S.P.X; not in the least. The Society has not budged from its position. It says that the Pope must first lift the restrictions on the Traditional *Rite* (not form) of Mass. S.P. did this. Then he must lift the excommunications and other penalties. And then doctrinal matters must be resolved. The S.S.P.X will not accept regularisation before all three of these are done, whereas Rome wants them to accept the Rolls Royce universal diocese (offered since 2000) before the doctrinal issues are all resolved.

    So there is trouble ahead regardless of what happens this week or Sunday.

    However, it is possible that the Pope will at least proclaim publicly what Msgr. Perl has been admitting privately: that the Traditional Rite of Mass fulfils the Sunday and holyday obligation. If His Holiness does that, it will change everything. This would put pressure on the remaining obstructionist bishops to step out of the way and allow our Mass in their dioceses; in fact, they might even insist on it. Why? Because they will want to keep the S.S.P.X at bay.

    It’s not bad news for the S.S.P.X because there are literally hundreds of dioceses out there which have no Traditional Latin Masses at all, particularly so in some developing countries, such as Indonesia, where the Cardinal-Archbishop of Djakarta brazenly proclaimed that the m.p. does not apply to his entire country!

    I ask bloggers here to pray that the Holy Father may proclaim publicly that the Society’s Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation. This could come with the other. If it does, we have reached the crest of the hill and the battle is more than half over; in fact, victory is assured if our intent is my intent, which is not to abolish the New Mass (much as I contemn it) but only to preserve the Traditional Latin Mass. Our Lord either willed or allowed the New Mass. It is therefore arrogant for us to say that it must go. That’s up to Him (you know, Fr. Z., the one who is a Thou and NOT a you).

    P.K.T.P.

  155. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I must say that I entirely agree with Mr. Morrow about Williamson. Bishop Fellay’s problem, however, is that Williamson and other extremists have a following and Fellay does not want to split the Society.

    However, sooner or later, Bishop Fellay will have to choose between the Pope and the lunatic fringe. He might be able to keep some of the extremists but not all of them. Still, that day has not yet come. Fellay will stay on track and now insist on resolving doctrinal issues before accepting the universal and personal diocese offered to him since 2000.

    I am praying that His Holiness will proclaim publicly, in the mean time, that the Society Masses fulfil the obligation, something Msgr. Perl has been admitting in private letters. That would really move everything forward. Then Rome and the Society could talk doctrine until the cows come home and our spiritual lives would not be affected by it. Eventually, they’d reach an agreement and some Society extremists would storm off in protest to worship in broomclosets and callboxes, becoming the Liberal Catholic Church, on the road to extinction.

    P.K.T.P.

  156. Michael UK says:

    This whole matter is very disruptive of my day. In the UK the Bishops’ Conference issued a document stating I could fulfill my Sunday Duty by attendance at the local (village) CofE or Non-conformist chapel, but that attending Masss at an SSPX chapel was irregular. With one late exception, the Bishops’Conference preaches,in some diocese an extreme Modernism. My diocesan confessor, tells me that my attendance at the nearest diocesan church, which exudes a form of middle-church protestantism at Mass, should be treated as a pennance. Example: to first communicants, “the best table and menu in town” nary a mention of the Real Presence and Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest a very likeable and jovial fellow and no doubt sincere. This nonsense, which we have to endure, makes carping about the minutiae of the status of SSPX puerile.

    One problem: SSPX USA, now impinging upon the UK, have clergy who have no experience of Catholicism pre-Vatican II and are therefore intent upon creating churches in their owm imaganination of what it should be and omit Charity from the formula.

    I believe that those, of the episcopacy, who have used Vatican II to create diocese to their own proclivities, now are possessed of deep underlying psychologiacl problems of guilt as to that which they have perpetrated. It is stated that one such in the UK, on his deathbed, admitted guilt.

    +Williamson may well take a vast tranche of l;atent sedevacantist with him and such has been a barrier to +Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger acting in the past. The problem is that +Williamson also talks authentic Catholicism, but such undone by that which he does not say, in public, and that which he does say in public.

    ++Lefevbre was mal-treated by the Vatican of the day, to the shame of Mother Church.

  157. ssoldie says:

    I don’t have to agree with everything a Bishop say’s that is just his personal opinion, as opinion are like nose’s everybody has one. I am extremely happy to know that the excommunication will be lifted in regards to the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI knows what is best for our Catholic Faith. I have just read thru 155 opinions, 40 years in the desert is long enough. Pray for the Holy Father, pray for the Church. maniples now

  158. +Williamson has illustrated a very peculiar thing about life today: It is far more contemptible to question any
    aspect of the conventional wisdom on the Holocaust than it is to threaten actual physical harm to the victims.

  159. ssoldie says:

    Mike Morrow 22 Jan 10:14, Thank you for pointing out some of the facts regarding the safegarding the “Gregorian Rite,’ better known as the TLM. Your impression of the priest,seminarians,and the laity are right on,for the most they wonderful,dedicated traditional Catholic’s. Viva IL Papa

  160. Ottaviani says:

    Geoffery: What reconciliation? Have the SSPX bishops acknowledged they were in the wrong to be consecrated bishops? Until we see that repentance, it appears that they are forcing the Holy Father’s hand. I don’t expect traditionalists to see that. I pray that this will all be explained very clearly by the Holy See. And where is the charity on the part of the SSPX? Where is their obedience? Have they recanted their diatribes against Vatican II, the new Mass, John Paul II, the Catechism, etc…

    It is rather funny to see how those who accuse the SSPX of knowing more than the Holy Father, seem to do the every thing when it comes to what decision the Pontiff makes concerning the reconciliation between Rome and the SSPX.

  161. Andrew says:

    One should never forget that if this document is coming to remove the excommunications incurred latae sententiae, it is taking place in the Week to Promote Christian Unity (Jan 18-25) A couple of years ago, the St John Mary Vianney Administration now headed by Bishop Rifan in Campos, Brazil was established during this week too.

    Look at in this context, the action can be considered one of reconciliation by the Holy Father, and is hardly a vindication of events that took place in Econe in 1988.

    Clearly he wants the reconciliation of bishops, priests and laity in the Society of St Pius X, and this gesture does not remove the irregular status of the organization.

    In 1976, Archbishop Lefebvre incurred a suspension a divinis for ordaining priests without church approval, and in the absence of instructions from the Holy See on the matter, the SSPX will move back in time to June 29, 1988, the day before the episcopal consecrations performed disobediently.

    So this is not a vindication of the late archbishop (God rest his soul!) but a gesture of unity with an organization that is out of communion.

    But there is absolutely no doubt that with Summorum Pontificum, and the removal of the excommunications, two indispensable steps have been taken to achieve full communion with the SSPX (set by them), to which we all pray. As Fr Z so often says, brick by brick.

    Bishop Fellay initiated a rosary campaign last October for this intention of the removal of the excommunications, of which it is believed several millions were pledged. As people of faith, we can rightly believe that if this is to happen, it will be due to the intercession of Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of the Church.

    Over the years having met a number of adherents who attend SSPX chapels and churches, many seem to thrive on their notoriety, and the idea of going back to being small fish in a big pond, would not seem that appealing.

    So it would seem unlikely that if a new juridical status is worked out here, all would go along with this.

    Let us pray that all of them will be moved by the obvious love and sympathy Pope Benedict has for them.

  162. Gravitas says:

    Malta, you are absolutely correct.

    H.E. Williamson is a brilliant man with some crazy theories (or at least theories that appear to be crazy on the surface). But regardless of his theories on secular happenings, his Faith is rock solid and his ability to communicate it to those willing to listen is remarkable.

    Unlike some of the pessimists I do believe the entire Society will one day come into the fold. And it won’t be piecemeal liftings of the excommunications.

    How could Rome say, “Three of you are no longer excommunicated, yet Williamson is”?

    They all committeed the same “crime” yet one doesn’t get lifted? So, that would be the question, what else has he done to remain excommunicated?

    Has he said things not flattering of the Holy Father? Yes, but so have the other bishops. And, so have other bishops who are in the fold now. I believe there’s a bishop in Canada who isn’t allowing the TLM because he is the local bishop and the pope is only the “bishop of Rome” according to his vicar. Yet, this bishop isn’t excommunicated.

    So to only lift some of the excommunications but not all doesn’t hold water. And the priests are not excommunicated so that is not an issue.

    Our Lady of Victory, ora pro nobis!!!

  163. Paul Haley says:

    I, for one, refuse to believe that Pope Benedict XVI and the SSPX bishops are at odds on what the Church has always taught, held as the Deposit of Faith, and professed to be true from time immemorial. They may differ on disciplinary matters and tangential concerns but at the core, I believe they must agree. I believe Bishop Fellay and Pope Benedict XVI both want to see the divisions in the church end because the future does not look too promising without Unity (an understatement if ever there was one). You know the saying: “A house divided cannot stand.”

    So, what does this mean for us? Eliminate all the hateful rhetoric and continue to pray for their success. If prayer got us to this point, and I am firmly convinced that it did, then prayer will get us the rest of the way. Lord Jesus, show us the way.

  164. Brian Mershon says:

    “Will some be so upset with this that they’ll form
    the SSPJP2?”

    LOL!

    I think that like very few other things over the past 40 years, this one will come to be organically. There is certain evidence of it here and at the post comments at NLM.

    Sounds to me very much like the complainings of the older son in the story of the Prodigal Son.

    “Father, I have always done everything obediently to the tee and everything you have asked, and now you welcome back, no questions asked, this previoulsly disobedient one.”

    Yep. The older son of the Prodigals… Think long and hard about it.

  165. John says:

    Brian
    What a wonderful comment!

  166. Roland de Chanson says:

    Peter Karl T. Perkins: There was no intentional ‘act towards schism’. The Society never intended to set up a parallel hierarchy …

    This certainly is correct according to Don Davide Pagliarani, the district superior of the Italian SSPX, who states (vide: http://www.ilgiornale.it/a.pic1?ID=323081), “If the excommunication is revoked, I repeat, it will be a great joy for all of us. But I wish to remind that the SSPX has never had the intention of separating from the Pope. We acknowledge the Pope, we pray every day for him. The very fact of seeking the withdrawal of the excommunication testifies to that desire. The Fraternity does not deny the authority of the Popes, neither of those who came before the Second Vatican Council, nor of those who came after the council.” (my translation)

    As I am familiar only in broad outline with the issues at stake here, would someone be able to point out (or reference by a link) the “doctrinal” issues in contention between Rome and Ecône? I hadn’t realized that there were dogmatic issues. I take it the SSPX has not expunged the filioque? ;-)

  167. Gravitas says:

    Brian, good analogy!

    Not sure I’d agree about them being necessarily “disobedient,” but the anology still works well.

  168. James II says:

    “I take it the SSPX has not expunged the filioque?”

    No they haven’t. And neither has Rome.

  169. Mr Perkins,

    It would be really helpful if the Pope would also indicate that all marriages and confessions are valid by supplied jurisdiction.

    One last comment: Archbishop Hepworth would be a better choice for a traditional bishop than the 4 SSPX bishops.

  170. dcs says:

    would someone be able to point out (or reference by a link) the “doctrinal” issues in contention between Rome and Ecône

    Fr. Z. has discussed this on his blog before. The main issue is religious liberty.

  171. Gravitas says:

    Greg: One last comment: Archbishop Hepworth would be a better choice for a traditional bishop than the 4 SSPX bishops.

    I hope for your sake you’re joking.

  172. Roland de Chanson says:

    James II: (re expunging the filioque) No they haven’t. And neither has Rome.

    Clearly. You missed the common internet symbol for a joke. I was asking however about real or perceived doctrinal issues.

    BTW, JP2 was reported to have recited the Creed without the filioque. And if I recall correctly, the Byzantine Rite Russian Catholic Church uses the original text (rendered into Slavonic of course).

  173. Hugo says:

    Brian Mershon:

    Brilliant! Take the Prodigal Son parable and turn it back on the how-high-shall-I-jump uber-Catholic converts.
    The Workers in the Field example is also valid here.

  174. suzanne mcg says:

    Malta ~ Williamsons opinions have caused harm ~ serious ~ harm to my sister and her relationship with her family. We are shunned for abortion-inducing pant wearing, for encouraging feminine attendance at higher institutes of learning, for failing to understand the jewish conspiracy. The SSPX situation has had personal and far-reaching effects in many families. I wish those going on about the theoretical aspects of lifting the excommunications understood that there are going to be serious potential effects on souls ~ many of them potentially harmful if there is no call to publically repent of the more harmful aspects of SSPX adherence.

  175. Gravitas says:

    Suzanne, how do you know they haven’t repented in private? I would say them publicly asking for these excommunications to be lifted, in the face of ultra-traditional pressure not to “beg” Rome, is repenting.

    While your family may well have suffered in your instance, that does not translate to the order or its followers as a whole.

  176. Breier says:

    Brian,

    You have the analogy exactly backwards. The SSPX sees the Pope as the Prodigal Son. Think about it.

    Breier

  177. suzanne mcg says:

    Gravitas ~ the Church has always required those giving public scandal to recant publically, otherwise the public impression is given that there was no error. I am sure that my family is not the only family to suffer because of Williamson and the SSPX. If the bishops’ excommunications were lifted without further explanation, my sister would understand that she had been right all along and would require an apology from me for pointing out her/their errors. To do so would be an offense to the truth. The Prodigal Son analogy is all fine and good, but one must remember the part of the story where the PG falls on his knees before his father, names his sins and begs forgiveness with humility.

  178. Roland de Chanson says:

    dcs, thank you for the reference, specifically on religious liberty. Following which, I found this (http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/06/more-sad-sspx-news/), Fr. Z. citing Rorate . It is Fellay’s sermon at Lourdes:

    And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States], which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.

    A rebellion against God! ROTFL! The apotheosis of George III. Who knew?

    Between Williamson’s idiosyncratic reading of history, and Fellay’s ludicrous disdain for our Constitution, I can only infer that they suffer from the same ailment. They are both nutters.

  179. Gravitas says:

    Suzanne: “the Church has always required those giving public scandal to recant publically”

    I know this hurts you and I will never belittle your feelings. I truly get it. But you also have to understand that it is not you that can decide if the SSPX bishops caused public scandal. That is up to the Holy Father to decide.

    How do you know that the Holy Father doesn’t believe it was all blown out of proportion back in 1988? He was directly involved — he knows more than we do.

    I’m just suggesting you think about what you’re saying. Because if this Sunday or next week the Holy Father lifts the excommunications, and you don’t see the SSPX recant anything publicly as I am guessing they will not have to do, then you may just have to see that, while your sister may have some nutty conspiracy theories, her beliefs on tradition and the Faith just may be correct.

  180. Antiquarian says:

    Having heard Williamson speak in person, read his essays, and watched him on youtube, I’m always bemused that any of his apologists insist on his brilliance. As others have said, he’s a good speaker with an English accent, which apparently passes for brilliance if you agree with what the speaker is saying. In point of fact, the intellectual content of his essays and lectures is unimpressive, and his constant repetition of a few catch-phrases only underlines the inferiority of his scholarship.

    It was opined once on Fr Z’s blog that it’s hard to believe Bishop Williamson actually believes what he says, and does so merely because he knows what sells to his intended audience. Fr Z disagreed with that, and he’s probably right. But in that case, the intellectual paucity of Williamson’s polemic is even more dismaying.

  181. Gravitas says:

    Abtiqyarian: the intellectual content of his essays and lectures is unimpressive, and his constant repetition of a few catch-phrases only underlines the inferiority of his scholarship.

    Examples please.

    I am no huge fan of the bishop, but I have listened as you have listened and read as you have read. And I find him very intelligent — not sure how to prove or disprove brilliance — and I find that he has a remarkable grasp of history. Both world history and Church history and, because of that grasp, can often put things in context that others with a small grasp of history cannot.

  182. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Suzanne mcg,

    I have sympathy for you, but you should be open to the fact that you could be wrong in some particulars in this matter, and your sister may be right. How many conservative Catholics were wrong about the obrogation of the Traditional Latin Mass? Many. I always thought the SSPX was in schism, and said so, but I am not willing to pretend my opinion was the only one that could be correct. When the head of the Ecclesia Dei Commission made statements that there was no schism, I toned down my rhetoric. One the problems in this debate is that everyone is speaking as if they have the definitive binding Catholic understanding. Just about all these questions are matters of dispute, with men of learning and good will on both sides. When this happens we are not free to insist on the binding nature of our opinion. Only the Holy Father and his delegates have that right.

  183. DM says:

    You have the analogy exactly backwards. The SSPX sees the Pope as the Prodigal Son. Think about it.

    Well, if that’s the metaphor, then you’re right – the complainers wouldn’t be the prodigal son’s older brother.

    They’d be the swine.

  184. Suzanne McG says:

    To be clear, I myself attend the TLM and have in the past defended the SSPX. I think the attitude of many so-called conservatives toward the SSPX has been abominable – without charity or understanding. I myself was very tempted by the SSPX, but remembered a dear priest’s admonition about the imperative of obedience to legitimate ecclesial authority. My sister and I stood on the same theological opinions for the most part, but it was when she became more involved with the SSPX that she adopted the attitude that those not in the SSPX needed to be shunned for the sake of her and her children’s spiritual welfare. That attitude comes from the SSPX itself (as can be seen on their official US website), and is, as far as I can see, indefensible. I respect the Holy Father and welcome the removal of the excommunications. I simply believe it is in the best interest of souls to separate truth fom error in this matter.

  185. joe says:

    The Vatican said in 1988 that Archbishop Lefebvre and the bishops he ordained had incurred automatic excommunication for defying papal orders against the ordination.