Fr. Finigan makes some observations

His Hermeneuticalness has a good post on the anti-Pope reaction after the lifting of the excommunication of SSPX Bishop Williamson, who has made galactically imprudent statements about the killing of Jews in WWII.

Clearly not everyone at the Vatican is happy. No surprise there, then. Pope Benedict has certainly made a risky move. He knew about Bishop Williamson’s utterly reprehensible views (which the official Vatican press spokesman has unambiguously repudiated) but presumably also knew that there was no prospect of eradicating such tendencies within the SSPX before the move to effect reconciliation. He has perhaps judged it better to get the Fraternity on board and take the media flak, hoping that the extremist elements will fall away, not wishing to be associated with a Pope and a "Conciliar Rome" that they have railed against. Meanwhile, the more sensible elements of the SSPX will see that regular jurisdiction is a pressing and urgent need.

Astute. 

Yes… the clock is ticking.

There is already a whole generation of followers of the SSPX who have never known unity with Rome.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Fr. Finigan makes some observations

  1. TJM says:

    Father Finigan is rational. The mainstream media is not. Tom

  2. Xpihs says:

    It will take much Grace to effect a change in the minds of men from a hermeneutic of suspicion to one of continuity. May the many prayers offered effect this conversion.

  3. Marty says:

    Would that you were as vociferous with certain other bishops/priests as you are with Bishop Williamson.

    http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A293rBalloonMass.html [I assume you haven’t been reading this blog very long. Check this. You may now do some reconsidering.]

  4. Matt of South Kent says:

    Pope Benedict XVI is a smart and thoughtful man. His Holiness is much wiser than most give him credit for. It is the kind of wisdom that comes from studying the Word of God and allowing the God’s interpretation of the Word to become Benedict’s own.

    Pope Benedict XVI is going to do the right thing and not allow anyone dictate how he is going to act (either the media or Bishop Williamson). The Pope acted out of compassion, kindness and on the basis of what is best the Christ flock. Pope Benedict XVI comes off smelling like roses in all the traditional/orthodox circles. I think he won major points with the members of SSPX for being so bold.

  5. Daniel Latinus says:

    Unfortunately, the real problem is that most of the moderate elements departed the SSPX long ago, and for the most part, only the hardliners are left.

  6. Jake says:

    Marty,

    There was a thread a couple of months ago on Cardinal Schonborn’s antics, complete with video. I got nauseated about 10 seconds in and really didn’t venture further.

    Please don’t go digging rabbit holes when there aren’t any to be dug. Thanks.

  7. Matt of South Kent says:

    Marty,

    What does that have to do with what Bishop Williamson’s controversy? Been there, done that.

    How many Holy Priests, nuns, brothers and other Catholics died in the camps during the Holocaust?

    Matt

  8. Lisa says:

    Father Z:

    Could you answer a question – the bishops are still suspended. Does that mean when they say Mass they are in some violation of that suspension. They have no jurisdiction – are they allowed to say Mass? And what of ordinations? If they are still suspended, what would happen if they attempted to ordain men to the priesthood? [They don’t have permission to say Mass, but the Masses they say are valid. They don’t have permission to ordain, but the ordinations are valid.]

  9. Choirmaster says:

    Marty:

    I assume that you are commenting on Fr. Z’s treatment of Bp. Williamson vs. Fr. Z’s treatment of Cardinal Schonborn as depicted in your link.

    Please allow me to mention the fact that, at the time the “youth mass” video was made public, Fr. Z not only posted that video here on this site, but offered some very strong (but charitable) comments of concern and reservation.

    Additionally, the Vienna Archdiocese released a statement shortly thereafter in an attempt to put out the fire (so to speak) that seemed almost a response to Fr. Z and company’s strong criticism.

    Maybe someone remembers the time and title of that post?

  10. Rob says:

    STUDY THESE TWO VIDEOS TO SEE HOW THESE TWO MEN ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THEY BELIEVE:

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykd-syzZ4ZY

  11. Choirmaster says:

    I am sorry to allow myself to be led down that rabbit hole in my previous post.

    To comment on the topic at hand: Fr. Fingan is very astute, indeed! So is His Holiness!

    I would add that the Pope has displayed enormous charity and foresight in this move, and I hope and pray that it redounds only to the building up of the Church and to the greater glory of God.

    Let us not be distracted by such meaningless commentary from members of the SSPX (e.g. an SSPX bishop) that threaten to destroy what basically amounts to a miracle in modern ecclesiastical politics! We must all pray for Bp. Williamson (in a special way) that he may proceed down a path of holiness and increase among the clergy of the Catholic Church.

    Only the most magnanimous and charitable among us could entertain reconciliation with such a character.

    Long Live Benedict the Magnanimous
    Long Live Benedict the Charitable

  12. RichR says:

    There is already a whole generation of followers of the SSPX who have never known unity with Rome.

    Fr.Z,

    You cannot repeat this statement enough. It is so true.

  13. Br Louis Mary OFM Conv says:

    Dear Fr Z,
    Peace in Jesus and Mary. I am a Conventual Franciscan Religious Brother. I suggest to all readers to seek the intercession of St Maximilan Maria Kolbe for the change of heart of Bishop Willamson. May the Immaculate Virgin Mary, crush all pride, error and misunderstanding so that the Society of st Pius X, can be fully regularised and assist in the Church’s mission of advancing the Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  14. John Enright says:

    Bravo, Father. Even though Fr. Finigan spells his name wrong! LOL!

  15. ED says:

    I hope Father Finigan will not be a hypocrite and while he wants to get rid of Bishop Williamson ,he demands the expulsion of the Modernists Novus Ordo Bishops who Deny or water down what GOD says, as crazy as Williamson is he’s only questioning MAN MADE HISTORY that historians push , i never saw him attack what JESUS taught as these Novus ordo types do regularly . Father please be just and equal in your punishments. [Strange.]

  16. peregrinus says:

    I have been on the receiving end of one of the adherents that have fallen under the influence of Bishop Willamson and it has not been pleasant since he espouses many of the same ideas. In fact, he was the main reason I had, for a long period of time, no desire to attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Yes, I expect that some of the extreme ones will not come back, but many will hang around just to make trouble.

  17. Dan says:

    Father Finigan wrote: “Pope Benedict has certainly made a risky move.”

    Why? Regarding the Church, the SSPX bishops declared that “We accept its teachings with filial disposition. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives…” In turn, His Holiness acted as a true holy priest as he delivered an act of charity and mercy to the SSPX bishops. That isn’t a “risky move.” This is simply a holy Catholic priest (His Holiness) performing his sacred duties.

    Father Finigan said: “He has perhaps judged it better to get the Fraternity on board and take the media flak, hoping that the extremist elements will fall away, not wishing to be associated with a Pope and a “Conciliar Rome” that they have railed against.”

    That isn’t the explanation that we find in the Decree that lifted the excommunications. Father has placed a very worldly spin upon Pope Benedict XVI’s holy and spiritual actions.

  18. Irish says:

    Okay, a couple of things:
    A) The media, and perhaps others, should keep in mind that the Vatican and Catholic Church are Catholic, not Jewish, and exist as God’s Church on Earth for the Salvation of Man. This idea that the Vatican has to get the approval of Jewish opinion makers before they do or say anything is just silly.
    B) Give the Pope credit for seeing through what Williamson’s comments really were: an attempt to foil this reconciliation with Rome. Williamson had to know what was coming and made comments in an interview that touched THE NERVE of the modern media–the Holocaust. I get the impression that Williamson represents that part, however small, of the SSPX that has hardened its heart to Rome. I think both the Pope and Bishop Fellay know this process will take years, and that changing the hearts and minds of liberal Catholics on Rome’s side and the anti-Rome members of SSPX on the other side has to be done in baby steps.

  19. chiara says:

    “There is already a whole generation of followers of the SSPX who have never known unity with Rome.”

    And there is a whole generation of Novus Ordo followers, now parents as well as children, who have been denied their heritage, The Traditional Rite, to say nothing of the widespread ignorance of the truths of the Catholic Church among so many. as a young Novus Ordo priest said to me recently..They call themselves Catholics but think like Protestants.

  20. tecumseh says:

    Dear Fr Z, I have seen Bishop Williamson in action once, at a public meeting. He was OK FOR 95% of the time. Then he started on the Jews. Dearie, dearie , me. I could not beleive what I was looking at, a clever man, much more able than me, acting like ….well, least said the better.

    What I want to know is, will reasonable Traditionalist priests “join” the Society. It is a Society of the Common life, without vows. This seems to me to be the only way to bring our “traditions” back to life. The Bishops by their “open” revolt against Summorum Pontificum, at least here in the U.K, are set against the Pope. We still haven’t had one single traditional mass around here. The hierarchy could not care less.
    There have been priests “incardinated” into the Society from the beginning. I do hope “His Hermeneuticalness” and others are looking towards working “With” a regularised SSPX, even if they stay on the outside. Do you or any other commentator think this is likely to happen

  21. Son of Trypho says:

    Someone should ask Williamson if he believes that St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz?

    That alone just goes to show how ridiculous his views are.

  22. caleb1x says:

    The Vatican has no reason to take the media into account. The media is anti-Catholic. Period. It will appropriate any act of the pope to its anti-Catholic extremism. At least Benedict seems aware of this lesson, a lesson of which the last pontificate seemed hardly aware.

  23. Dan says:

    “There is already a whole generation of followers of the SSPX who have never known unity with Rome.”

    Far worse than that is, speaking realistically, there are millions of followers of “Novus Ordoism” who have not known unity with Rome as their beliefs and actions have indicated. After all, they have had to deal with the following that robbed them of the Tradition from the start:

    Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1988 Remarks to the Bishops of Chile: “After the Council there were many priests who deliberately raised ‘desacralization’ to the level of a program, on the plea that the New Testament abolished the cult of the Temple: the veil of the Temple which was torn from top to bottom at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross is, according to certain people, the sign of the end of the sacred. The death of Jesus, outside the City walls, that is to say, in the public world, is now the true religion.

    “Inspired by such reasoning, they put aside the sacred vestments; they have despoiled the churches as much as they could of that splendor which brings to mind the sacred; and they have reduced the liturgy to the language and the gestures of ordinary life, by means of greetings, common signs of friendship, and such things.”

    During that same speech regarding Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, Cardinal Ratzinger declared: “”While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there.”

    Please tell me who is more likely to have received an orthodox upbringing…the person who assisted at SSPX chapels or the person who had been raised in any of the “despoiled parishes” that abound within the Church?

  24. Brian says:

    Well, o.k., true, many raised in liberal parishes have never known the rich Tradition of the Church, but it is not clear to me what that has to do with Fr. Z’s point. There is no tit for tat here.

    The point is that our Holy Father is taking courageous steps, despite the criticism he is receiving, in order to heal a wound in the Church before that wound can form into a scar and the current separation (the only condition known by some in the SSPX) is a hardened into schism.

  25. Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese says:

    I wonder if the Pope hopes that Bishop Williamson will go away. I can’t imagine he holds out much hope for reconciling all four bishops.

  26. reader says:

    “Unfortunately, the real problem is that most of the moderate elements departed the SSPX long ago, and for the most part, only the hardliners are left.
    Comment by Daniel Latinus”

    Dan, I don’t belong to SSPX, nor have any stake in them outside of desiring Christian unity.

    However, from what I’ve heard from people associated with SSPX, your comment may be unfair / incorrect.

    While perhaps SSPX members in the USA are a bit out there (St. Mary’s, KS comes to mind), SSPX members in France and South America are supposedly much more “normal.”

    If it this true, and I have no reason to doubt the source, it might make sense considering the general insanity of religion in America.

  27. Cynthia Gee says:

    “While perhaps SSPX members in the USA are a bit out there (St. Mary’s, KS comes to mind), SSPX members in France and South America are supposedly much more “normal.”

    “Reader”, I grew up near St. Mary’s, back in the 60’s before they went off the deep end, and I can tell you, saying that the SSPX at St. Mary’s is “a bit out there” is the understatement of the decade.

    Moreover, certain people associated with the SSPX have been bragging for a couple of years now that this “reconciliation” was coming, and that there were SSPX sympathizers withing the Vatican that were going to bring it about, and go on to overturn the changes of Vatican II.

  28. Cynthia Gee says:

    “Please tell me who is more likely to have received an orthodox upbringing…the person who assisted at SSPX chapels or the person who had been raised in any of the “despoiled parishes” that abound within the Church?”

    The person from the “despoiled parish”, because no matter how “traditional” he may be, Dan, a sedevacantist is not orthodox, spiffy vestaments not withstanding.

  29. Bugnini says:

    Methinks “Cynthia Gee” has not yet grasped the difference between the SSPX and the sedevacantists.

    I mean this in all charity but: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! The day people finally realize this will be a happy one for many.

    So yes, in response to the question, I will take the SSPX chapel over the “despoiled parish”, thank you.

    -Bugnini

  30. AnAnonymousSeminarian says:

    Re:

    There is already a whole generation of followers of the SSPX who have never known unity with Rome.

    Please tell me who is more likely to have received an orthodox upbringing…the person who assisted at SSPX chapels or the person who had been raised in any of the “despoiled parishes” that abound within the Church?

    Everyone is poorer because of this separation. The last generation of followers in the SSPX knows no time where the Vatican has not been harshly chastised (admittedly sometimes out of righteous indignation, but often not). They no little of humble unity with the Pope. This is dangerous in regards to their salvation.

    The last two generations of Catholics raised in the OF know little of liturgical beauty, and know little of the teachings of the Faith. This is dangerous in regards to their salvation.

    I was raised in a moderately “conservative” NO parish. I did not really catch fire for the Faith until I attended a Protestant-affiliated college, and experienced questions and sometimes challenges from Protestant classmates. It was the traditional expression of the Faith that gave me the answers, and led me to be open to discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

    This division harms everyone, and it is only when all Catholics have the benefit of solid catechesis, beautiful and reverent liturgy (in either form) and unity with the Holy Father that there will be abundant good fruit.

  31. Adam says:

    Fr Finigan makes some good comments. However as a Catholic who has watched and worked within the Vatican (for a short time) I cannot but ask with whom did the Pontiff consult before the congregation lifted the excom? This was done by Cardinal Re’s Office and I wonder how much discussion went on between it and the pontiff himself. Also was the Sec of State involved and how many other cardinals were consulted on the lifting of the 20 yr excom? Also what has now changed since the excom was enforced by JPII that would warrant such a lifting? The order to which the 4 bishops belong and adhere to is NOT back in full communion with the Church – only the bishops escom has been removed. This seems a very half-baked, half cooked event that ought have been accompanied by a full vow and promise of obedience and loyalty to Benedict XVI and his successors. Bishops are expected to pledge their total fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff and his elected successors. Have the 4 bishops carried out this promise?
    There is a very wide PR gap between what has occurred and the catholic faithful. As someone has noted, the excom removal decree was an ‘internal’ event, meant for internal consumption so to speak. But there has been no press conference held by the Head of the curial dept for Bishops,no cardinal has held any briefing for the press or taken questions. All we have seen is the document lifting the excom and then the Pope’s press secretary, Fr Lombardi trying to justify a distinction between Bishop Williamson’s excom being lifted and his (the bishop)unbelievable comments on the holocaust. Why has there been no outrage within the vatican by, well perhaps, cardinal Bertone? He has remained totally silent. Cardinal Re has said nothing. The papal household has said nothing. The world, especially Israel and Vatican criticasti have all jumped on the outrageous comments of Williamson and have not been concerned about the excom etc. No, the world wonders why he has not been rebuked severly re his Jewish comments. Lombardi has now tried to say something, as has card Kasper, but they are both late and too weak for any real rebuke.
    This whole matter of the excoms etc has been totally baffling. As I said, why was JPII correct 20n years ago and now we still have a breakaway gang of Four bishops who are not reconciled with the Church fully. The schism still exists and is a scandal. The four bishops need to know that if they are to be part of the true faith then they must show obedience and loyalty and work within for unity with their brother bishops across the globe. I see no sign that are willing yet to take that place amongst the other valid bishops. Most of the 4 were consecrated too young and have yet to show signs of spiritual maturity that would allow them to be part of the Catholic Church.
    Williamson’s comments on the holocaust have served to exacerbate the fractures between the gang of Four and the true successors of Peter and the Apostles.

  32. John says:

    So what is the future?

    – Will SSPX be considered a religious order?
    – If so, will they need diocesian approval to operate locally?
    – Will existing chapels, churches etc. be “grand fathered” as approved?
    – What will happen in SSPX ignores a local bishop when expanding beyond their current state?

  33. Cynthia Gee says:

    \”Methinks “Cynthia Gee” has not yet grasped the difference between the SSPX and the sedevacantists.

    I mean this in all charity but: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! The day people finally realize this will be a happy one for many.\”

    “On the ground” they ARE the same — visit St. Mary’s and see for yourself. The SSPX is nothing but protestantism in fancy Catholic vestaments, and IMO, the Holy Father is taking an enormous risk — in lifting the excommunication, the Pope has literally welcomed a venomous snake into the bosom of the Church.
    The “Gang of Four” has never repented, and has never admitted that they were wrong, and now that they are back in, they will continue their work of trying to subvert the entire Church.

  34. Cynthia Gee says:

    Now get a load of who DOES approve of Williamson… this guy quotes the good bishop at length, too:
    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=144886

  35. Bugnini says:

    Cynthia,

    I have not visited St. Mary’s as I don’t live anywhere near Kansas, but having visited several SSPX chapels in other parts of the United States, Netherlands, UK and Italy, I hope that I can nevertheless comment on this.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to with St. Mary’s as you really haven’t given any definite examples (other than vague references to Protestantism and vestments). You fail to give any sort of example as to why the sedevacantists and the SSPX are allegedly one and the same but at the same time express distaste at the failure of the SSPX to issue apologies for the 1988 actions of Archbishop Lefebvre.

    This is a non-sequitor linkage – it has nothing to do with the SSPX’s view on the validity of Papacy (which, by the way, they affirm). Secondly, for being sedevacantists, they sure have a lot of pictures of Pope Benedict XVI and Papal Flags in the chapels. Kinda a waste of money and effort if you think that the Chair of Peter is empty, no? Also, the continued statements of the Society have, on more than one occasion, harshly criticized the sedevacantists, suggesting even that one ought not associate with them.

    Strange, for a group that you claim is one and the same. I’d be interested in hearing your concrete examples for why you continue to use the terms interchangeably.

    PS: Who cares who approves of Bishop Williamson’s statements? If Hitler agreed with Cardinal Mahoney, would this incline us to distrust every other US Bishop? Imputing Bishop Williamson’s views to the whole of the SSPX is a childish form of mudslinging that is not becoming of one wishing to engage in any serious discussion.

  36. Bugnini says:

    Addendum:

    Also, please clearly explain why you believe the SSPX will subvert the Church? Do you believe that a return to Catholic Tradition is a subversive act?