Pope Benedict speaks about SSPX during Wednesday Audience

A reader sent me this text from the Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience today:

 

Before greeting the Italian pilgrims, I still have three announcements.

The first: I have learned with great joy the election of Metropolitan Kirill as new Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias. I invoke upon him the light of the Holy Ghost for a generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, trusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God

The second.

In the homily pronounced on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my Pontificate, I said that it is the "explicit" duty of the Pastor "the call to unity", and, commenting upon the Gospel words regarding the miraculous catch of fish, I said, "although there were so many, the net was not torn"; I continued after these Gospel words, "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn!". And I continued, "But no – we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as we plead with him: yes, Lord, remember your promise. Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd! Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!"

Precisely in the accomplishment of this service of unity, which qualifies, in a specific way, my ministry as Successor of Peter, I decided, a few days ago, to grant the remission of the excommunication in which the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, without pontifical mandate, had incurred. I fulfilled this act of fatherly mercy because those prelates repeatedly manifested to me their deep suffering for the situation in which they found themselves. I hope that this gesture of mine will be followed by the solicitous effort by them to accomplish the ulterior steps necessary to accomplish full communion with the Church, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope and of the Second Vatican Council.

The third announcement.

While I renew with affection the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our brothers receivers of the First Covenant, I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads mankind to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man.

May the Shoah be for all a warning against forgetfulness, against denial or reductionism, because the violence against a single human being is violence against all. No man is an island, a famous poet write. The Shoah particularly teaches, both old an the new generations, that only the tiresome path of listening and dialogue, of love and of forgiveness lead the peoples, the cultures, and the religions of the world to the hoped-for goal of fraternity and peace in truth. May violence never again crush the dignity of man!

 

This image of the net which is not torn expresses what I have been trying to get across, perhaps the main point I have been stressing.

People of good will can differ about truly difficult questions which are not spelled out with crystal clarity concerning our Faith and the Church.  

There is room for differences without breaking the unity the Lord desired and prayed for at the Last Supper.

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.

62 Responses to Pope Benedict speaks about SSPX during Wednesday Audience

  1. Irenaeus says:

    Seen this, Father?

    Note of the District Superior for Germany of the SSPX

    As District Superior of the Society [of Saint Pius X] in Germany, I am very troubled by the words pronounced by Bishop Williamson here in this country.

    The banalization of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazi regime and of its horror are unacceptable for us.

    The persecution and murder of an incalculable number of Jews under the Third Reich touches us painfully and they also violate the Christian commandment of love for neighbor which does not distinguish ethnicities.

    I must apologize for this behavior and dissociate myself from such a view.

    Such dissociation is also necessary for us because the father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a KZ [concentration camp] and because numerous Catholic priests lost their lives in Hitler’s concentration camps.

    Stuttgart, January 27, 2009

    Father Franz Schmidberger

    [Father Schmidberger was the Superior-General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X at the time of the consecrations of 1988.]

  2. Aelric says:

    The Holy Father’s comments appear unambiguous in declaring that the excommunications were indeed validly and actually incurred and that the Pope remitted them.

    Hopefully, the arguments and denials from SSPX about this issue will now cease.

  3. DeanW says:

    There is no doubt that the Holy Father knows that the Shoah was real. He was a young man in Bavaria, when Hitler started his Putsch there, and as a young priest would have been personally acquainted with the auxiliary bishop of Müchen-Freising who was the highest-ranking Catholic prelate incarcerated by the Nazis.
    It is pleasing to hear that Bp. Williamson has apparently recanted and asked for pardon for his intemerate remarks.

  4. Matt of South Kent says:

    I think the Holy Father has been very courageous at this historic moment.

    The Holy Father’s courageous acts have been met equally by Bishop Felley and other members and leaders of SSPX. (Have you seen the response of the head of SSPX in Germany?)

    Other would have been dissuaded or shrunk from the opportunity because of extraneous circumstances but I believe this was a time what the forces of Christ conquered Satan. It has been a long time since Christ’s forces have had such a clear cut, public victory over the evil one.

    Maybe this is the turning point we have all been waiting for – the end of the dark time, the one Saint Leo XIII warned us about. May the 100 years finally be over!

  5. Timothy says:

    How can we, as traditional Catholics in full communion with the Holy Father, facilitate the return of members of the Society of St. Pius X to full and unambiguous communion with us? For one thing, I appreciate Father Z pointing out that there can be legitimate disagreement on some issues. Can we also avoid detraction, not to mention slander? Just because some unfortunate thing may be true about someone or some group, it does not necessarily need to be said.

  6. Ulterior steps necessary to accomplish full communion with the Church, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition:

    (1) of the Magisterium and

    (2) of the authority of the Pope and

    (3) of the Second Vatican Council.

    ========

    The Holy Father said it.

  7. God bless the Holy Father

  8. We are so very very blessed to have such a Holy Father. One Holy Catholic and Apostolic….the continuation of the Church our Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ established for our salvation.Pope Benedict’s Marshall plan (as Father Z is wont to call it) is so powerfully centered on our oneness our unity in Christ. May we all continue in this glorious plan together in a loving Brotherhood.

  9. Timothy says:

    Yes, but what does accepting Vatican II mean? That is what many people do not understand (and neither do I, completely). Isn’t true that Vatican II had limited goals, and that it may be considered to have been imprudent and even, on the whole, a failure? Haven’t ecumenical councils failed before? One can be a faithful Catholic and hold that opinion, correct?

  10. Confiteor says:

    He said it, but what does it mean?

    In particular, what does “true fidelity to and true recognition of the Second Vatican Council” mean? It is not enough to merely ASSERT a “hermeneutic of continuity”. One must explain precisely in what that continuity consists. There are things that appear to be irreconcilable between Vatican II and Tradition. Those issues have never been resolved. Now is the time to make a real start on resolving them. No more evasions, no more double talk, no more Conciliarspeak. Bring the SSPX (and others) to the table and get the issues out in the open.

  11. Sharpening understanding with all necessary distinctions is what the Holy Father means.

    He is gentleman AND a great scholar. This is not a statement of emotional entrenchment.

    If serious study and distinctions need to be made, and they do, and he’s invited that just so very many, many times, then lets get to work.

    The first thing is to accept the fact of the existence of an authoritative Council. The rest must be discussed, which doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs, just that it up for serious study and distinctions. The FSSPX knows that already.

    Thus, let’s take this statement of the Holy Father for what it is, an outreach for the sake of unity. It is a great outreach. We love him for it. We continue to pray and work for unity.

  12. Cathguy says:

    We are not Pope, and we need to post on blogs like this with humility.

    That said, I think there is lots of confusion out there about what loyalty to Vatican II means.

    I think we can safely follow the lead of scholars like Michael Davies (whom Pope Benedict XVI eulogized and called a “great son the Church.”) We can say that the Vatican II documents were historically unfortunate. We can say they are vague. We can say that they were untimely. We can even say they are poorly written.

    What we CANNOT say is a) they contain heresy and b) they are not binding. Either of these statements attacks the Magesterium.

    However, it seems to me, that some want to pretend that the Holy Ghost does MORE than protect a Church Council from error. It seems to me that some want pretend that the Vatican II documents are perfect in every way… like Sacred Scripture.

    It seems to me that such a stance is ludicrous on its face.

    AND, I think here is the basis that talks with the SSPX must progress. There IS ROOM to criticize the council, so long as one does NOT call it invalid, unauthoritative, or unbinding. Consider, we have had poorly received Councils in the past that needed clarification from later councils, or from authoritative teaching from the Magesterium. Why should Vat. II be any different?

  13. Franzjosf says:

    Some words of then-Cardinal Ratzinger on the Council:

    (Thanks to Catholic Church Conservation. http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-does-pope-really-think-about.html)

    What shall I say? First of all, one thing seems to me to have become abundantly clear in the course of these ten years. An interpretation of the Council that understands its dogmatic texts as mere preludes to a still unattained conciliar spirit, that regards the whole as just a preparation for Gaudium et spes and that looks upon the latter text as just the beginning of an unswerving course toward an ever greater union with what is called progress—such an interpretation is not only contrary to what the Council Fathers intended and meant, it has been reduced ad absurdum by the course of events. Where the spirit of the Council is turned against the word of the Council and is vaguely regarded as a distillation from the development that evolved from the “Pastoral Constitution”, this spirit becomes a spectre and leads to meaninglessness. The upheavals caused by such a concept are so obvious that their existence cannot be seriously disputed.

    (…)

    Does this mean that the Council itself must be revoked? Certainly not. It means only that the real reception of the Council has not yet even begun. What devastated the Church in the decade after the Council was not the Council but the refusal to accept it. This becomes clear precisely in the history of the influence of Gaudium et spes. What was identified with the Council was, for the most part, the expression of an attitude that did not coincide with the Statements to be found in the text itself, although it is recognizable as a tendency in its development and in some of its individual formulations. The task is not, therefore, to suppress the Council but to discover the real Council and to deepen its true intention in the light of present experience. That means that there can be no return to the Syllabus, which may have marked the first stage in the confrontation with liberalism and a newly conceived Marxism but cannot be the last stage.
    ___________

    Must all Catholics agree with this formulation to be in full communion? I don’t think so. It will be interesting to see what is actually required beyond recognizing the Council as an historical fact.

  14. Confiteor: What does “true recognition of the Second Vatican Council” mean?

    Perhaps that any Vatican II deniers there may be must now recant and admit that Vatican II actually occurred?

  15. Mike says:

    Add to the hit pieces a report on NPR this morning by Sylvia Poggioli tieing together holocaust denial, anti-semitism, the SSPX, Benedict XVI and what might be called Vatican II denial, then ending with Hans Kung decrying a “Potemkin Church”. Sad.

  16. schoolman says:

    “Precisely in the accomplishment of this service of unity, which qualifies, in a specific way, my ministry as Successor of Peter, I decided, a few days ago, to grant the remission of the excommunication in which the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, without pontifical mandate, had incurred.”

    Two points here. First, we are talking about a canonical “remission” — not a nulification. Second, the excommunications had in fact been “incurred” — not declared to never have existed.

    “I fulfilled this act of fatherly mercy because those prelates repeatedly manifested to me their deep suffering for the situation in which they found themselves.”

    It was an act of “mercy” — not justice. The Holy Father was moved to mercy on account of their “deep suffereing”.

    “I hope that this gesture of mine will be followed by the solicitous effort by them to accomplish the ulterior steps necessary to accomplish full communion with the Church, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope and of the Second Vatican Council.”

    This “gesture” is supposed to help them find full communion and recognition of the following:

    a) true recognition of the Magisterium

    b) authority of the Pope

    c) Second Vatican Council

  17. schoolman says:

    This from the gentlemanly Sandro Magister:

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/214086?eng=y

  18. Ed says:

    “violence against a single human being is violence against all.”

    This is the line that focused things for me. There are so many options to violence, not by any means strictly physical; how we are with one another, even in “discussion,” speaks to all about Who we actually follow.

    How about “Love, then post”? Can there really be an “issue” that warrants not loving?

  19. Alex says:

    “Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding.”
    (Nota Praevia of Lumen Gentium)

    In things necessary unity, in things doubtful liberty, and in all things charity.

  20. TJM says:

    A very thoughtful and heartfelt statement. I would expect no less from our wonderful Holy Father. Tom

  21. I. X. Nika says:

    Hopefully, the arguments and denials from SSPX about this issue will now cease.

    Really, who gives a flying Thomas Crapper about it. All parties agree that the excommunications do not now exist, so there is no immediate practical consequence of that historical, theological and canonical question. It took some time after Martin V’s election before it was discovered who, exactly, was pope in the preceding years. The virulence with which the SSPX’s enemies continue to attack says more about them than the SSPX. Haven’t people heard of that ancient English custom, Bygones? Fellays and Williamsons are getting into the Kingdom of Heaven before some people here. It’s quite astonishing.

  22. Bryan says:

    Wonderful.

    Some words don’t need parsing like some lawyer in front of a camera (just what is the meaning of the word ‘is’?).

    Peter has spoken. Where there is Peter, there is the Church. Not: where there is the Curia, dissident theologians, unfaithful clerics, situational ethics ad nauseam, nitpicky faithful there is the church.

    Mercy is a virtue. Wanting to relieve the spiritual suffering of our brothers in the SSPX and unite them fully to the bosom of Christ is merciful.

    With our Holy Father, I think the words you see are the words he means. God bless him.

  23. Michael J says:

    There are many here who adamantly assert that the excommunications actually were valid and did take place but have been commuted, so to speak. Why is this important?

    I happen to believe that the excommunications never really took place, but can understand why others may come to a different conclusion. If I am in error, what harm is it?

  24. jj says:

    Fr Z, here is an interesting entry from “Anthanasius Contra Mundum” blogspot.
    This looks at some of the questions that I have. Accpeting Vatican II, what does that really mean?
    Does it mean, allowing different interpretations of some phrases, some new directions?

    Where to go now? SSPX Jurisdiction and Vatican II
    With the news of the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX Bishops, we now enter the question of where to go from here?

    The first issue is ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In many cases the SSPX may have supplied jurisdiction, but it lacks ordinary jurisdiction. Their pastors are not canonically constituted pastors and the Bishops, now back in communion with the Church, still lack a pontifical mandate. Thus, it is necessary to establish some type of juridic structure which can encompass the SSPX.

    There are a few options. One is the much spoken of Apostolic Administration. Essentially, this would free the SSPX from local Bishops and put them directly under a Traditionalist Bishop(s) who answers to the Pope. This has its benefits by far. The principle problem is that the SSPX will never enter into a situation where they will be under local Bishops. They wouldn’t do it.

    Another issue is whether or not the SSPX would get their own deal, or whether other religious orders such as the FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, or any other Trad order would be able to be taken into this set up.

    Just as importantly, is the issue of acceptance of Vatican II. What kind of assent will be demanded of the Society and its priests? This is what will have to be hammered out in theological discussions. Not only must we talk about what Vatican II means, but what level of authority Vatican II possesses. Even though I’m fond of a complete and total reconciliation of Vatican II with Tradition, there is still the event of the Council. The question is what in the Council must be believed with divine and Catholic faith and what is a mere whim of 1960’s optimism to which no one is held?

    Because many of the Council Fathers protested to Pope Paul VI that the statements in the council might appear at variance with tradition, or that formulations were ambiguous, the Pope wrote a Nota Praevia to Lumen Gentium because right away it needed explaining in order to prevent confusion (which ought to tell you something).

    Moreover, in the closing discourse of the Council, Pope Paul VI declared:
    “The Magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements.”

    And again, ten years later Paul VI declared:
    “Differing from other Councils, this one was not directly dogmatic, but disciplinary and pastoral.” -August 6, 1975, General Audience

    This essentially means that no de fide doctrine was declared at Vatican II, and the Council statements must be measured on their own weight. Some of them come straight from tradition. Some of them you don’t know what they mean. Some of them can be interpreted in both Traditional and liberal senses.

    What can be done, in the way of acceptance of Vatican II, is to permit the SSPX an understanding of the traditional doctrine, even if it is at variance with prelates or even official Vatican activities. Bishop Felly has already spoken in a way which ought to be acceptable to the Vatican:

    “Today, there is such a focus on the points which unite us to other Christian confessions that those which separate us are forgotten. We believe that those who have left the Catholic Church, that is, the Orthodox and the Protestants, should come back to it. We conceive ecumenism as a return to the unity of Truth.

    Regarding religious liberty, it is necessary to distinguish two situations: the religious liberty of the person, and the relations between Church and State. Religious liberty implies liberty of conscience. We agree with the fact that there is not a right to force anyone to accept a religion. As for our reflection on the relations between Church and State, it is based on the principle of tolerance. It seems clear to us that there where there are multiple religions, the State should be watchful of their good coexistence and peace. Nevertheless, there is but one religion that is true, and the others are not. But we tolerate this situation for the good of all.”

    In a sense, ironically we could call it a “reconciled diversity”. On areas of the council which clearly are not infallible, but affect the teaching of the ordinary Magisterium, the Society can be granted an interpretation in line with tradition. Such a situation is not without precedent in Church history. Even recently, the followers of Fr. Feeney were permitted to continue teaching Feenyism yet remain in union with their Bishop. Eastern Catholics are allowed to keep saints from the Orthodox calendar, and Pope Gregory the Great counselled prelates to ignore the 2nd Council of Constantinople for the sake of peace and unity.

    Moreover giving the Society a juridical structure above that of local bishops also has precendent in the Cluniac reforms, which gave the Cluniacs abbeys of their own without diocesan interference.

    The reunion is possible, it is only a matter of will and the grace of the Holy Ghost to make it happen. But it will not happen without Trads (everyone else too, but especially trads) from around the world praying for this outcome.

  25. Dan says:

    Funny, the greatest number of folks who have refused to accept Vatican II are the many bishops, priests and laymen who, supposedly are in full communion with Rome, but portray the Council as a radical break with the past.

    Said folks refuse to accept, for example, the Vatican II teachings that call for the praying of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin and the granting of “pride of place” status at each liturgy that is to be granted to Gregorian Chant.

    However, it is always the SSPX bishops and priests of whom it’s demanded to accept Vatican II.

    The Holy Father (Josef Cardinal Ratzinger) acknowledged as far back as 1988 that “many priests” have “desacralized” the Mass and their parishes.

    Meanwhile, as Josef Cardinal Ratzinger and additional Churchmen have acknowledged, many holy Catholics have flocked to SSPX chapels to receive that which is sacred.

    Funny how that works.

  26. schoolman says:

    Michael J, don’t take “our” word for it — see what the Holy Father himself has to say. The excommunications were incurred and now lifted by this unilateral act of mercy. You need not be in error on the matter — when the truth is given to us.

  27. Confiteor says:

    Does a “true recognition of the Council” mean that we must accept the (fallible) assertion that “there can be no return to the Syllabus”, that the Syllabus is just a “stage” in a process of doctrinal evolution? Are we disobedient to Peter if we reject such assertions?

  28. schoolman says:

    Confiteor, the council never stated such a thing. I think the Pope wants the council to be accepted as a true council and understood in continuity with Tradition — never opposed to it.

  29. Aelric says:

    I.X. Nika: certainly your comments say a lot about you.

    As to Michael J’s “why is it important? Because by the SSPX’s own admission, the question is “who was right?” The Holy Father’s words make that clear.

  30. Jerry says:

    This whole thing has gotten too political. Pope Benedict is not telling the whole truth of the situation. Bishop Fellay is flip flopping and unappeasable jewish groups are pushing around the Catholic Church. People have taken leave of their minds out of fear of persecution for being politically incorrect. Too many lies. No good can come from this.

    The Holy Father has been an ingrate when it comes to acknowledging the two Rosary crusades that were implemented for him and the Church. [HUH?] He’s never said a word, but he’ll pose for pictures wearing whatever someone from the crowd decides to hand him. Politics is the false idol being worshipped in Rome now by the majority of Churchmen.

    I think it’s time for some of the bishops of the SSPX to discuss the need for another consecration or 4. [What a horrid approach to the unity of the Church and Christ’s own prayer.]

  31. Confiteor says:

    Schoolman, then-Cardinal Ratizinger said that the Council means that we cannot return to the Syllabus, that the Syllabus is just a “stage” on the way. True, the Council never said that, yet the man who is now the highest interpreter of the Council has said it, albeit not in his office as Pope.

  32. Confiteor says:

    55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church. (Syllabus of Errors)

    We all know that the Pope as a private theologian interprets the Council in a way that is contrary to the Syllabus. He is in favor of the separation of Church and State. This is well known.

    Hermeneutic of continuity? I think not.

    Bring the SSPX to the table. Let the talks begin.

  33. schoolman says:

    Confiteor, I say let the talks begin — let the necessary clarifications be worked out. With your example above, the proper distinctions can be made to clarify the meaning and proper sense of the terms “unity” and “separation”.

    For example, there is an ontological separation between Church and State — while at the same time there always out to be a moral unity between the two distinct societies. So its not either/or — is both/and — each understood according to its proper sense.

  34. Patrick says:

    It seems clear from the Holy Father’s statement that he wants the SSPX to acknowledge the true authority of the Pope, the Magisterium and Vatican II. Once this is done, suspensions are lifted some canonical structure is put in place…and then, talks about good and bad interpretations begin.

    I hope the SSPX bishops embrace this instead of trying to “convert” the Church. The whole lot of them need to remember that they do not save the Church, it is the Church that saves them.

  35. J. Bennett says:

    Here is a problem- what is the Council anyway? Vatican II is constantly invoked like no Council before it, but it was not dogmatic, it said nothing of doctrinal import, and it was so vague that a myriad of interpretations came from it.

    If we want to say that the Council is to be interpreted through the lens of tradition, and so conclude that it does not mark a break with the past, then it offers nothing to us that we did not already know or have.

    If we want to say the Council is indeed a break with the past, then it is heresy, for we cannot reconcile the fact that the faith of the Church is a constant and does not change as society changes.

    As I see it, there are our two and only options for understanding the Council. If we choose the latter, then a faithful Catholic must reject the Council, for it would throw nearly 2000 years of unbroken tradition out the window. If we choose the former, then what purpose does the Council serve for us? For if we want clarity, the Council is no good even with the light of tradition, if anything it just muddies the waters of issues in need of resolution.

    So, what does His Holiness mean when he says the SSPX must be reconciled to the Council? Does he mean they must accept that the tradition of the Church predating Vatican II is no longer valid, or does he mean that they must accept the Council as a part of the unbroken tradition?

    Either way, his words give the impression that without the Council they are heretics. But if the Council is simply part of an unbroken tradition and teaches nothing new, then acceptance of the Council is not necessary for the acceptance of the Catholic faith.

    What are we to think now?

  36. I. X. Nika says:

    the question is “who was right?”

    The question is, how can we follow Christ together?

  37. Confiteor says:

    We accept the authority of the Council in those matters where it is clear that the Council is reiterating past infallible teaching. In those matters where the Council is proposing novelties, where is the authority upon which we are obliged to rely?

  38. Confiteor says:

    To answer my own question just posed, the authority is of course the Pope himself. Let us hear what he has to say, and the level of authority that he invokes in saying it.

  39. PMcGrath says:

    The net has never been torn.

    Rather, sometimes the fish want to jump out of the net.

  40. chironomo says:

    Vatican II “is” exactly what it’s documents set forth… no more and no less. The liberals at the council wanted more, so at the end of it all, they said that it “was” what they actually wanted and went about their way as though it actually said what they wanted. That was the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II”… the desires of the liberals present that didn’t make it into the final cut because of those pesky traditionalists. The Council was, and still is, little more than a point of distinction between Traditionalism and Progressivism, whether we like it or not. The progressives still around will never accept the idea that Vatican II is actually contained in the words of the documents because they believe it was more than that.

  41. DrScott says:

    DeanW, while agreeing with what you say, I would point out that the highest-ranking Catholic prelate incarcerated by the Nazis was actually the Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, Mons. Gabriel Piquet, who was imprisoned at Dachau and who returned to a hero’s welcome in his see following the camp’s liberation.

  42. prof. basto says:

    Father,

    Your English version of the third communication is incomplete.

    The text starts with the following sentence, which is not reflected in the translation forwarded to you:

    “In questi giorni nei quali ricordiamo la Shoah, mi ritornano alla memoria le immagini raccolte nelle mie ripetute visite ad Auschwitz, uno dei lager nei quali si è consumato l’eccidio efferato di milioni di ebrei, vittime innocenti di un cieco odio razziale e religioso. (…)” Only then follows the sentence: “Mentre rinnovo con affetto l’espressione della mia piena e indiscutibile solidarietà con i nostri Fratelli destinatari della Prima Alleanza

  43. James A says:

    I was impressed and humbled by the tremendous number of rosaries that were said by the SSPX and I have no doubt that this great petition to Our Lady inspired our Holy Father’s wonderful act.

    Might I suggest a similar enterprise of prayer from all those of us who are fully within the fold of the Church and would dearly wish reconciliation with the SSPX and the great spiritual benefits that this would bring.

    Perhaps Father you might add a clickable counter to the sidebar of your weblog so that we can record each rosary we say in this cause, and spread the word around the global Catholic blogosphere.

    Who knows, perhaps we could even extend the hand of friendship to SSPX readers who wish to pray the rosary with us in person?

  44. Dan says:

    It’s beginning to seem that the decades-long flap within the Church about the SSPX and the TLM is really all about Judiasm. The dislike of the SSPX and the TLM now seems to go constantly to the root of what Jewish groups desire and whether Rome will appease such groups at the expense of Tradition.

    All this seemingly endless talk about Jews and the SSPX and the TLM is incredible.

    It almost seems as if the Bishop Williamson/Jewish reaction flap was planned.

    Now, comes the following from Zenit:

    ROME, JAN. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- According to Father Michel Remaud, director of the Christian Institute of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Literature of Jerusalem, the Good Friday prayer for the Jews used in the “extraordinary rite” is not a prayer for their conversion, but rather a prayer for the Jewish people.

    He said the text approved by Benedict XVI does not say “Oremus pro conversione Judæorum” (Let us pray for the conversion of the Jews), but “Oremus et pro Judæis” (Let us also pray for the Jews).
    ————-

    Father Z went to great lengths last year to “prove” that the new “traditional” prayer for the Jews was a conversion prayer and actually more forceful that the authentic ancient and truly Traditional prayer in question.

    Frankly, I found Fr. Z’s spin on the matter was weak. And new, a priest who is connected directly to Catholic-Jewish relations has confirmed that the new “traditional” Good Friday prayer is NOT a prayer for conversion.

    And that is exactly what the majority of liberals and Traditionalists declared last year.

    Cardinal Kasper (and the enraged Traditionalists…enraged that the Pope had tampered with an ancient and Traditional prayer) were right. Fr. Z was wrong.

    And this endless controversy with Jews…Jews…Jews…anti-Semitism…Bishop Williamson…TLM…Good Friday Prayers…SSPX…Jews…Jews…Jews…is tiring.

    Please Dear Holy Father, for once and for all…either return the Church to Holy Tradition or tell us, the SSPX and everybody, that the “new orientation” is here to stay.

    Let’s get this solved once and for all so that we know that we must accept the “new orientation” of Novus Ordoism or go elsewhere.

    The SSPX is correct about the following: The massive confusion within the Church began during the 1960s with Peter alone and will end only when Peter decideds to return 100 percent to Holy Tradition.

    The attempt to marry Holy Tradition to the “new orientation” is a massive failure.

  45. prof. basto says:

    Full English translation of the third communication, including the first sentence that was lost in the traslation forwarded to Fr. Z:

    “In these days during which we commemorate the Holocaust, I am reminded of the images that I encountered on my repeated visits to Auschwitz, one of the concentration camps in which the brutal slaughter of millions of Jews took place, innocent victims of a blind racial and religious hatred. As I renew with affection the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our Brothers who were the recipients of the First Covenant, I hope that the memory of the Holocaust may induce humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man. May the Holocaust be for all an admonition against forgetting, against denial or reductionism, because violence against a single human being is violence against all. No man is an island, as a well-known poet wrote. May the Holocaust especially teach to both the old and the new generations that it is only the laborious journey of listening and dialogue, of love and forgiveness that leads the peoples, cultures, and religions of the world to the desired destination of fraternity and peace in truth. May violence never again humiliate the dignity of man!”

  46. Sid says:

    I’m tired too — tired of telling people that in a delicate time of negotiation between the Society and the Holy See, EVERYONE — myself included — before hitting the keyboard needs to ask oneself, “Will my comments help or hurt these negotiations, and regardless would it be better for the time being to make no comments at all?”

    Holy Father has set the example, as he set the example in liturgy, for helpful comments.

  47. schoolman says:

    Bishop Williamson has reportedly issued an apology:

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-now_also_bishop_williamson.htm

  48. Steve says:

    Talking about “the Syllabus;” Is the Syllabus an infallable statement? I think not. The council can and should be interprited in continuity with Tradition. By lifting the excommunications, the Holy Father has wisely set it up so that the SSPX can help him draft a binding document on the nature and precise interpritation of Vatican II according to the herminutic of continuity. May the wise Pontiff be supported by our prayers, and may the Lord give him many healthy, happy, and holy years.

  49. Athelstane says:

    The Holy Father has been an ingrate…

    Now I have truly seen it all.

  50. depeccatoradvitam says:

    In an address to the Chilean bishops in 1988, notice something familiar. In that address, then Cardinal Ratzinger stated the following:

    “There are many accounts of it [the Second Vatican Council] which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super-dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”

    It seems to me that the need is to have not a real or perceived revisionist view of V2 (it exists or it does not), but rather that inside the Church, in full communion of Tradition, Liturgy and Magisterium, the SSPX along with FSSP and other trads help to provide a correction of the “Spirit of V2″ in reconcilliation of pastoral ends sought which are in light of Tradition using sound Theology, thus defining the Heurmanetical of Continuity, and cohesively correcting the wims of a more or less minority (albeit with clashing of gongs, drums and guitars, etc.) that seeks discord in a self fulfilling prophecy beyond what was truly called for in the V2 proceedings. The rewrite of Tradition did not take place, the role today is how do we reconcile it and lead souls forward. This too is a pastoral calling.

    The necessary exercise at hand has implications beyond SSPX and into Orthodoxy as well where we all move forward together in fullness of Communion as Christ asked.

    Given today’s secular and relativistic medernist progressive, etc. society, there are many souls at risk and we simply and urgently need to move forward in continuity with the Church led by the Vicar of Christ in mercy and humility and quit beating on one another and agree to fix the problem. I think there is much more interest in the macro picture than the minutiae of difference.

    Think of the potential of God’s people if we stormed hells rusty and leaking gate!

  51. Sid says:

    Myself speaking only for the situation in my neck of the woods, the cause of advancing the MEF in North Carolina will get nowhere, NOWHERE, and will even regress, if MEFers are even remotely identified with Antisemites and Judeophobes, however unfair such an identification might be. Our enemies locally can’t wait to plaster these labels upon us.

    We must take care that our remarks not suggest that such an identification were correct (it isn’t).

  52. Jordanes says:

    Dan said: It almost seems as if the Bishop Williamson/Jewish reaction flap was planned.

    It probably was. The timing is pretty suspicious. Not that that excuses Bishop Williamson for uttering such nonsense, and it’s now reported that he himself has apologised.

    According to Father Michel Remaud, director of the Christian Institute of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Literature of Jerusalem, the Good Friday prayer for the Jews used in the “extraordinary rite” is not a prayer for their conversion, but rather a prayer for the Jewish people. He said the text approved by Benedict XVI does not say “Oremus pro conversione Judæorum” (Let us pray for the conversion of the Jews), but “Oremus et pro Judæis” (Let us also pray for the Jews).

    Yeah, I saw that too. It’s rubbish. The traditional prayer for the Jews NEVER said “Let us pray for the conversion of the Jews,” so Father Remaud’s argument is illogical. However, I read somewhere (can’t find it now) that the prayer’s heading in the Missal was not changed, just the text of the prayer — and the heading identifies the prayer as a prayer for the “conversion” of the Jews. The text of the prayer is also obviously a prayer for their conversion to the Catholic faith, which is why non-Christian Jews were so unhappy with the revised text.

    Father Z went to great lengths last year to “prove” that the new “traditional” prayer for the Jews was a conversion prayer and actually more forceful that the authentic ancient and truly Traditional prayer in question. Frankly, I found Fr. Z’s spin on the matter was weak. And new, a priest who is connected directly to Catholic-Jewish relations has confirmed that the new “traditional” Good Friday prayer is NOT a prayer for conversion.

    He has “confirmed” nothing. He’s merely offered his personal, erroneous opinion. He offers a most unconvincing argument, apparently hoping people won’t notice what the prayer is saying.

    Cardinal Kasper (and the enraged Traditionalists…enraged that the Pope had tampered with an ancient and Traditional prayer) were right. Fr. Z was wrong.

    No, Cardinal Kasper was right, to the extent that he was referring to what the prayer says of the Holy Spirit’s promise that at the end of time we will see the conversion of the Jewish, but he was wrong to state or imply that the prayer is not a prayer that Jews today convert to the Catholic faith. But then he’s also wrong if he thinks the ambiguous, most unsatisfactory revised prayer for the Jews in the Pauline Missal doesn’t include the intention that Jews today become Catholics, because in the context of the teachings of Vatican II that prayer can mean nothing else.

  53. Gravitas says:

    Father, on a lighter note, your “bitter fruit” is much better than your “sour grapes”!

    I like the upgrade — yet hope I never receive that honor.

  54. mpm says:

    Someone above said of Pope Benedict that:
    “He is in favor of the separation of Church and State.”

    I don’t know the Pope’s personal feelings but the quote itself is inaccurate
    as I understand the docs from the Council. Perhaps a better way to put it:

    There is a legitimate autonomy of the secular order (including the state). Of
    course, faithful Christians are members of both, so the “rubber meets the road”
    in you and me, if I may be called faithful.

    “Separation of Church and State” is something that was enshrined, not in the U.S.
    Constitution, but in that of the U.S.S.R.

  55. craig says:

    J. Bennett writes: “So, what does His Holiness mean when he says the SSPX must be reconciled to the Council? Does he mean they must accept that the tradition of the Church predating Vatican II is no longer valid, or does he mean that they must accept the Council as a part of the unbroken tradition?”

    No, and Yes with a caveat: Acceptance of the Council cannot mean nullification. The SSPX is in fantasyland if they think it can.

    If an Ecumenical Council received by the Pope, and interpreted by at least 2 subsequent Popes, has no doctrinal force in the Catholic Church, then nothing does. Authoritative interpretation is the chief charism attributed to Peter’s successor. The Holy Father is asking SSPX to acknowledge that Peter’s successor is the head of a living magisterium and not a dead one.

    Consider an analogy: A father says to his children, “no snacks before dinner”. A half-hour later, some of the children are taking cookies from the cupboard, some carrots, some pouring juice, and some water. At this point, the returning father must interpret: Did “no snacks” mean nothing of any kind? If not, which are snacks and which not? The father’s interpretation is not any change to his original intent, only to its proper understanding.

    So in the case of Vatican II, declarations on religious freedom, Jews, non-Catholics, liturgy, authority, etc., must be read in this light. If, for instance, Vatican II says (as part of the ordinary magisterium) “don’t presume the damnation of the Jews”, this declaration does not mean that before 1962 it was OK to do so but now it is suddenly against the gospel; what it clarifies is that it never was the gospel and was understood as such erroneously. That’s what it means to say Vatican II is a “pastoral” or “teaching” council.

  56. Origen Adamantius says:

    Craig offers a nice insight. Pastoral does not mean devoid of doctrine. While VII did not make formal dogmatic declarations it did give direction towards proper understanding of the tradition and its concrete application in the life of the Church.

    Some random “Themes” from the council VII that that have pastroal and theological ties, which many have abused, misunderstood or ignored.

    Liturgical prayer is valid in the native tongues of all People and cultures. (God is not restricted to hearing a single language)

    Scripture should be integrated more explicitly and fully into the sacramental life of the Church i.e. the use of Mark’s Gospel ( The efficacy and power of scripture itself).

    Those outside of the visible church can and do have some partial forms of truth that should be recognized. God works beyond the borders of the visible Church).

    Continuity exits not just with the immediate past, but with the entire history of the Church (patristics and scripture which for various reasons fell absent from the major writings of many theologians from the 18th to 20th Cent., and arguably still are absent).

    Religious liberty (faith must be freely accepted or it is not true faith)

  57. Gravitas: your “bitter fruit” is much better than your “sour grapes”

    The original Sour Grapes Award is a much lesser distinction than the Bitter Fruit Award (which I think I may have suggested originally, when certain posts began to exceed the more modest requirements of the Sour Grapes Award). I hope you will not be discouraged if I conjecture that the loftier requirements for a Bitter Fruit Award may exceed your own personal capabilities.

  58. Joan Ellen says:

    1. Thank you Holy Father. And Father Z.
    2. Thank you James A. for your 2:34 p.m. post. A Rosary Counter could help us in our intentions. Maybe Father Z would write the words for our intentions, and include Thanksgiving, Reparation, Adoration as well as our Petitions.
    3. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., RIP, was very able in incorporating the Vatican II Documents in the light of constant Church teaching, especially in his “Modern Catholic Dictionary” available from http://eternallife.org
    4. Mr. Christopher Ferrara, Esq., has an excellent article at the Remnant’s site today…”Triumph and Tribulation”…about the excommunications being lifted and about the Holocaust. http://remnantnewspaper.com
    5. Mr. Peter Vere in 1999 wrote “A Canonical History of the Lefebrite
    Schism” which gives a good history of the SSPX and it appears to show us (without saying so directly) the difficulty Archb. Lefebre may have had in making his decision. Available here:http://web.archive.org/web/20041015022408/http://home.earthlink.net/~grossklas/canonicalhistory.htm#CANONICAL%20ESTABLISHMENT
    6. Mr. John Beaumont and Mr. John Walsh in 1993 wrote “Schism, Obedience and the Society of St. Pius X” available here: http://web.archive.org/web/20040806013847/home.earthlink.net/~grossklas/schism.htm
    7. The Rosary (and this blog) will help to unify us here…if that can be so, well…it can be so anywhere, with God’s grace…for “A New Springtime”!!!

  59. Michael UK says:

    Msgr. Lefebvre stated he would accept Vatican II in the light of Tradition, but not as interpreted by “the pope of Tubingen”. What a lovely turn of phrase and dry humour. I also think he commented that had the contributors to the Vatican II schema had to submit them in Latin, there would have less rubbish – or words to that effect.

  60. Paul Haley says:

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-0128-mershon-vatican_insider_projects_speedy.htm

    Vatican Insider Projects Speedy SSPX Resolution

    “SSPX Will Not be Forced to ‘Swallow the Council’”

    Brian Mershon

    (Exclusive to The Remnant)

    January 28, 2009, Rome, Italy—In his first interview subsequent to the Society of St. Pius X’s (SSPX) official statement to the good news, Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay said that he believed in the infallibility of the Church and that he was “confident” that the Society would “reach a true solution” in its doctrinal discussions with the Holy See.

    In fact, Vatican sources have indicated that the full regularization may occur as early as February 2, 2009, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and Candlemas, which, if true, would be quite a Christmas present to the Church and especially traditionalist Catholics worldwide!

    Vatican Working on Stable Juridical Structure

    Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, chief of Human Life International’s Rome bureau, could not confirm the February 2 date, but said his Curial source told him that they are currently busy working out the practical arrangements for a fully regularized Society of St. Pius X.

    The final solution “cannot depend upon individual diocesan bishops,” Monsignor Barreiro said, noting the longsuffering many traditionalist Catholics experienced for nearly 20 years under the Ecclesia Dei Adflicta arrangement.

    “They would certainly need to have guarantees that where they currently are located, they cannot be touched by the local bishop,” Barreiro said, noting the Society’s chapels being located across the globe, which he described as “de facto parishes.” Barreiro rightly noted that the Society bishops most likely would not accept any solution that involved jurisdiction by the local territorial Ordinary.

    This is posted here because I’m sure many are waiting for some news on how the regularization would come about and how soon it may happen. I’m wondering if Fr Z. has heard anything from his contacts in Rome.

  61. Michael Shurtleff says:

    All I can say is: Deo Gratias. The ball is now in the SSPX’s court, and I pray that their issues with Vatican II (if legitimate) will be seriously listened to. I’ve often found it unusual that we post-Vatican II Catholics (especially U.S. Catholics) will tolerate all kinds of internal dissent to various official pronouncements–but let any traditionalist dare raise a question, and Heaven help them! They’d fare better in a den of rabid, starving hyenas!

    Hopefully, this heralds the clearing out the last of the post-V2 nonsense we’ve all been subjected to, while holding to the true intent of the Council.