Saturday: SSPX excomm’s to be “lifted”

This just in:

We have the confirmation from well-informed Vatican co-workers: Press-Information about the possible lifting of the excommunication of the FSSPX bishops on SATURDAY!

The report in german:

http://www.kath.net/detail.php?id=21916

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145 Responses to Saturday: SSPX excomm’s to be “lifted”

  1. Scott RP says:

    So they’re confirming that something is possible? Where’s the news here….?

  2. Craigmaddie says:

    From the German:
    The Vatican will issue a statement on Saturday on the possible lifting of the excommunications of the 4 bishops of the Society of St Pius X. This was confirmed to KATH.NET on Friday afternoon as definite. However, there is at the moment no reliable information concerning the contents of the statement.

    If it’s true then it’s very good news. However, I’m extremely concerned what world opinion will think of + Williamson’s sickening views when the media catches up with this. I’ve had very harsh opinions about the SSPX in the past but the more I see the mess that Catholic education, catechesis, and liturgy are in then the less harsh I have become in my views about them.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I’m anxious to see the official documentation, which I pray will be very detailed.

  4. Aelric says:

    A confirmed as definite statement on the possible lifting …

    Something lost in translation?

  5. Contingency… guided by the Lord of History

  6. schoolman says:

    I think it simply means that we can expect something on Saturday from the Vatican concerning the matter of the exommunications.

  7. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I agree strongly with Geoffry. There are so many unanswered question…What about the state of schism? What has changed to warrant this action? If this is true, what juridical form will the SSPX take?

  8. Jon says:

    Craigmaddie,

    I’m not happy with what the news media will do with this either, but world opinion is still caught up in Obamadulation, and won’t be distracted. They don’t understand the issues involved, it will happen on a Saturday (presumably) when no one is paying attention, the panic will last all of twenty minutes, and then the next news cycle will begin.

    I pray from the depth of my heart this is true, and that the offer of a personal prelature is proffered again; only this time the Society accepts.

    I’d give my right arm to see the next Synod of Bishops with Fellay on the floor.

    St. Athanasius, ora pro nobis.

  9. Nick says:

    If memory serves me right, these Kath guys had the inside ticket on when the MP was coming out. I’d trust them.

  10. Michael J says:

    Interesting thing about these “unanswered questions” is that some of them have already been answered.

    We’ve already been told, for example, that there is no schism and yet many still ask “what about the schism?”.

    I find myself wondering if any statement, no matter how detailed and explicit, will do any good.

  11. Cavaliere says:

    Being a cynic for a moment, what happens if Pope Benedict lifts the excommunication (or whatever terminology may be used) but doesn’t create a personal prelature or similar juridicial structure. So by lifting the excommunications and if they don’t accept would they not thereby place themselves in formal schism? I mean if Pope Benedict does this could he not then assign, say Bishop Williamson, to a post in some Congregation or maybe as auxiliary in Los Angeles? Doesn’t this force their hand?

  12. Gravitas says:

    Father Z., a question:

    Let’s suppose all four of the bishop’s excommunications are lifted yet nothing else is discussed, i.e., no news on their official position within the Church (the Holy Father has already said they’re within the Church just not exactly how).

    Now, if they’re not excommunicated, and if we know we can already, today, fulfill our Sunday obligation at their chapels, then after tomorrow will there be anything more obligatory or even merely meritorious about availing ourselves at a diocean TLM over an SSPX TLM?

    Basically, regardless of their official position within the Church, will there be any difference between the SSPX and the FSSP that really affects the Faithful?

  13. Well now, I am going to be devil’s advocate here. Could it not just be a notice of “conditions” that will be redictated? The note did say possible lift of excommunication?

    The one thing that I am curious is their acceptance or not of the Novus Ordo. Religious Freedom documents can be left some what to interpretation (as sadly most of Vatican II was) , but its always been my understanding they have always disapproved of the Novus order down to its very structure and order of function, so Saturday might be a VERY interesting day

  14. Antonius says:

    On a related issue of interest: the letter which Bp. Fellay sent to Swedish Television before the airing of the program.

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-0123-bishop_fellay.htm

  15. schoolman says:

    Gravitas, it remains to be seen what will come of the other censures that remian — suspension a divinis. The suspensions apply to the bishops and all the priests. Will all censures be removed or only the excommunications? Also, what about jurisdiction? It makes little sense to remove censures only to leave the SSPX in a continuing state of disobedience. Will there be some temporary provision for jurisdiction for the SSPX to operate within the law while a more permanent structure is being put into place? For example, this is exactly what is happening now with the monks on Papa Stronsay.

  16. JM says:

    Gravitas,
    If all that happens is the lifting of the excommunications, it will not alter the fact that we really shouldn’t attend SSPX masses even if they will satisfy our obligation. The priests would still be suspended and except in a emergency we really shouldn’t be receiving sacraments from suspended priests. They still wouldn’t be part of the visible structure of the Church. Also, questions regarding the validity of SSPX confessions and marriages would remain unchanged since they would continue to lack ordinary jurisdiction. Their supplied jurisdiction arguments are questionable.

    FSSP priests have ordinary jurisdiction and that does matter for the faithful because there is not doubt about the validity of their confessions and marriages (assuming they don’t do something stupid).

    Now, if in addition to the lifting of the excommunication, there is some sort of structure created for the SSPX within the Church that results in SSPX clergy having ordinary jurisdiction, then there should be no difference of any substantial importance (beyond some leftover issues) for the faithful between the SSPX and FSSP.

  17. Francis says:

    According to this report (breaking), tomorrow’s decision will be accompanied by an Osservatore Romano “explanatory note” presenting it as an act of mercy on the Pope’s part. The source for this claim reportedly went on to say – regarding +Williamson – that “if one of the four bishops wishes to talk drivel, that’s his problem”.

  18. Gravitas says:

    Schoolman: all good points. Forgot about the basic suspension.

    Patrick: “its always been my understanding they have always disapproved of the Novus order down to its very structure and order of function”

    The Holy Father knows he will never, ever get the SSPX to accept the New Mass. For that matter, he’ll never get the FSSP or ICKSP to accept it. They don’t exclusively say the TLM out of preference. While not doubting validity of the NO Mass, they believe the TLM is fully superior.

    And I would say that is where the SSPX as a whole is as well. They won’t deny that Christ is present at the NO Mass — they simply believe the TLM is superior. And they go a bit further and tell the Faithful not to attend the NO Mass.

  19. Michael R. says:

    You all are jumping the gun here. When the four bishops were consecrated, the Holy See issued a declaration tht the consecrators and the new bishops had all incurred latae sentantiae excommunication under Canon 1382. I expect that tomorrow’s announcement will be a declaration that this penalty was not incurred because of Canon 1323, Section 7. This has nothing to do with any agreement or any proposed canonical structure.

  20. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    Under canon 1358 §1, before a remission of a censure is granted, the offender must withdraw from contumacy. Of course, a provision of canon law does not bind the Pope since he is the Supreme Legislator and can simply preface his decree with the words “Notwithstanding the provisions of canon 1358 §1, &c.” Was there a substantial move from the position of the SSPX last summer in Fellay’s most recent letter asking that the excommunications be lifted, something that could be interpreted as a withdrawal from contumacy? Perhaps all of this will be clear to us tomorrow.

  21. I really hope it’s going to happen. Looking forward for more news tomorrow…..

  22. Gravitas says:

    Michael is keeping the big picture in mind.

    No one, not even the most ardent hater of Marcel Lefebvre, can say with any honesty that he wasn’t acting out of grave fear. Even if that fear was simply relative which can be argued both ways.

    And yes, we may just have to admit that the former pontiff made a mistake with the excommunications. I’m not saying that — but the current Holy Father may be. It’s not like he was acting infallibly.

  23. Christopher says:

    Most Excellent Sledgehammer, in response to what has changed: the men involved in the work of the Church in the past 20 years have changed. However, the SSPX does not seem to have changed much… I believe that is the point and the significance of this issue. To lift an excommunication is one thing, but to nullify it, which is what is going on here, as if it never were is another. lifting seems to imply a reconciliation whereas this is a recognition of something that already has been. This is much like an annulment to a marriage where it was thought to be, but actually wasn’t. The same of this decree of excommunication if what is to be revealed according to the rumors is to be revealed.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    In peace,
    -Christopher

  24. Jay says:

    I doubt that Fellay or any of the other bishops will come running back to the bosom of the pope after this. If anything they will acknowledge the move by the Vatican by restating their commitment to pre-Conciliar practice of the faith.

  25. Fr. A says:

    Gravitas, ditto to what JM wrote. Their bishops wouldn’t have jurisdiction if nothing else is done. Jurisdiction is needed to grant faculties to priests, and their priests would still be suspended.

  26. Roland de Chanson says:

    There is always the possibility of, say, Archbishop Fellay, or Cardinal Fellay. The cash flow boost from a cut of the SSPX collection plate would never be proposed as quid pro quo, now, would it? That would be unprecedented.

  27. Lori Ehrman says:

    Since the Church can “loose and bind.” What happens to a person who died “excommunicated” and then the “excommunication” is lifted? Can a person after receiving his personal judgment by Christ and condemned to Hell for schism, for example, have his sentence overturned, so to speak?

  28. Rob says:

    Tell me dear readers:

    As someone who spent several years INSIDE the SSPX, does the removal of the excommunication against the 4 bishops solve the following:

    1. THAT A GREAT NUMBER OF SSPX PEOPLE ARE SEDEVACANTISTS: that they believe that Pope John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict, have been/ are, false, apostate, heretical popes?
    2. THAT ALL THE FOUR SSPX BISHOPS have spoken and written casting doubt on the validity of the Second Vatican Council, that they do not accept its teaching and want it annulled ?
    3. THAT THE SSPX BISHOPS AND THE SSPX PRIESTS: have spoken, written or hinted that the “Novus Ordo” Mass and the “Novus Ordo” Sacraments are not true Sacraments?
    4: THAT SSPX PRIESTS cast doubt on the validity of the priesthood of Novus Ordo Priests?
    5.THAT many SSPX LAITY speak harshly and condemn Roman Catholics who are part of the “Novus Ordo Church” even casting doubt that such are true Catholics, have been properly Baptized, Confirmerd, received the forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Penance
    (Reconciliation)?
    6. THAT MANY SSPX LAITY speak with anger and animosity, act subversively, to discredit “Novus Ordo” prelates, priests, religious, mocking and laughing at every mistake they see?
    7. THAT SSPX BISHOPS deliberately manipulate SSPX LAITY with “secret talks,” insinuations and cleverly crafted innuendos about “goings on” in Rome, acts of the Supreme Pontiff, Bishops, etc. for the purpose of manipulating SSPX LAITY towards agreement with their beliefs.
    8. THAT SSPX PRIESTS openly remind SSPX LAITY never to attend “Novus Ordo” Masses, Participate in “Novus Ordo” Sacraments, some even openly forbidding SSPX LAITY from attending the EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS EVEN WITH THE AGREEMENT OF SSPX BISHOPS?

    How does the removal of the Excommunication solve these problems?

  29. Damian Thompson says:

    If these excommunications are lifted now, days after Williamson has denied the Holocaust and Fellay has refused to criticise him, then prepare for headlines that say: German Pope who was member of Hitler Youth brings back Holocaust-denying bishop and his supporters. It is hard to think of a single action that would sabotage Summorum Pontificum more effectively. I dread the coming week.

  30. Willebrord says:

    Lori, that’s exactly the thing. In my mind, they’re lifting the excommunications on the four bishops because their the ones living. You can’t lift an excommunication on someone who’s dead.
    What could happen is that they could say that there never was an excommunication, and that Lefebvre was to some degree, right. I do remember hearing that Pope Benedict said that Lefebvre’s reasons were reasonable.

  31. Gravitas says:

    Rob, you can say nearly ever one of those 8 points for “some” people who attend TLMs in diocean parishes.

    Does that mean we ban the TLM and Summorum Pontificum was a mistake? Of course not.

    You cannot blanket condem the SSPX because of extremes at the margins.

  32. Roland de Chanson says:

    Re dying excommunicated.

    I was told by a Jesuit theology prof that if I were excommunicated and got hit by a bus, the excommunication did not carry over into the hereafter because, out of a sense of decorous humility, the Church does not preempt God\’s judgement. He added that, in my case, the bus driver would ipso facto earn a plenary indulgence. When I asked why, he said that a lot of ex-Jebbies drive buses.

  33. schoolman says:

    Damian, people will say what they will, however, as a journalist, will you do your part to send the right message? Or will you be contributing to that spin and effectively making things harder on the Holy Father?

  34. Patrick Connel says:

    What is it exactly that you guys are afraid of in terms of what the rest of the world thinks?
    Be concerned what God thinks of the state of the Church and pray that he will help us and take care us.
    Don’t be worried what a bunch of people in the media think.

  35. Damian says:

    I think it’s safe to say that if this proceeds Bishop Williamson will be the one to watch. I would not entertain for one minute the thought that he, of all the four bishops, would be given a position of any power, influence or publicity, if he even acknowledges the event that is. He is quite mentally unbalanced, God help him. His recent comments on the holocaust, when added to his theory on 9/11, leave his ecclesiastical views looking like mere spelling mistakes. He is, I’m afraid, quite mad.

  36. SARK says:

    Dear Rob,

    I have known the SSPX for twenty years and do not recognise any of your propositions as accurate.

    I guess I’ve just been lucky that the the 50-60 priests, nuns and brothers of the SSPX that I have come into contact with have been the Holy ones.

    JMJ

  37. Matt of South Kent says:

    Most of the SSPX are good people. Yes, there are some in SSPX who hold extremist positions but I hope you never judge a whole, a group, a race, a creed, by those on the extreme.

    The removal of the excommunications removes a major hurdle and I hope will begin the reconciliation. We all need to work and pray that we reestablish the seamless cloth that Christ our master desires us to be.

    I doubt every member, clergy or bishop of SSPX will return and that should make us all sad but we should continue to hope and pray especially during the 2009 Octet of Christian Unity.

    Matt

  38. Michael R. says:

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia article on excommunication:

    As the baptized cease, at death, to belong to the Church Militant, the dead cannot be excommunicated. Of course, strictly speaking, after the demise of a Christian person, it may be officially declared that such person incurred excommunication during his lifetime. Quite in the same sense he may be absolved after his death; indeed, the Roman Ritual contains the rite for absolving an excommunicated person already dead (Tit. III, cap. iv: Ritus absolvendi excommunicatum jam mortuum).

  39. “Loose and bind”. If a person dies and goes to Hell because of excommunication, it would seem if that censure is lifted, that persons soul can be redeemed. Didn’t our Lord descend into hell to retrieve the just, as our Creed declares? Let us hope the Holy Father will lift the excommunication and restore those in SSPX to the fullness of the faith

  40. Paul Haley says:

    Now is not the time for second-guessing the holy father or wreaking hell-fire on the SSPX bishops. Let us be glad that this matter is finally being settled for the sake of the entire church. Sure, there will be details to be worked out but I’m firmly convinced that Bishop Fellay and the Holy Father are more than capable of seeing it through. Hardness of heart is not a quality we should be experiencing at this moment. At least that’s my view for what it’s worth. And with respect to +Williamson let us all remember that Bishop Fellay is the Superior General of the Society and the only one authorized to speak on their behalf. I think he made that eminently clear in his letter to the Swedish TV entity.

  41. schoolman says:

    Demian, you may be right in your assessment of +Williamson. On the other hand, this is a prudential decision that belongs to the Holy Father alone. We may agree or not with his decision, however, once decided we should simply accept it for what it is.

  42. Ottaviani says:

    Lori – the church does not ever say anyone is in Hell because she simply cannot do so. Therefore it is quite unfair to think Archbishop Lefebrve as being damned when the church has not even ventured to say this.

    Damian – it is very unlike you to be concerned about what the media will say in the coming weeks about the Pope. If anything, I remember you classifying the 1962 Good Friday prayer as “insulting” even though it had the controversial words removed already. Can one not say that you joined with all the so-called “Tabletistas” and Anti-Christian Jewish lobbies in derailing Summorum Pontificum?

  43. SARK says:

    Dear schoolman,

    Your question is spot on! Damian Thompson is so desparate to scupper any chance of reconciliation that he even comes into Father Z’s shop to scandal monger.

    Poor chap.

    JMJ

  44. RBrown says:

    Rob,

    You make good points, but maybe you should look into some of the opinions and actions of Novus Ordo bishops and priests that are every bit as nutty as what you found in the SSPX.

  45. Jason says:

    I have nothing to say on this matter except that I trust the Holy Father, whatever decision he makes. May he be guided by grace and wisdom.

  46. Genna says:

    Please could someone tell me whether these bishops are really bishops, given their “consecration” would automatically have excommunicated them? If excommunication is lifted, would they just be priests or would their titles be confirmed?
    I’m afraid I agree that if the excommunication is lifted there could be a media field day, stoked up by various lobbies, and a re-examination of what Pope Pius XII did or did not do during WW2. It would give an opportunity for those who are not our friends to skew the story and to accuse the Catholic Church, led by a German Pope, of being anti-Jewish.

  47. Gravitas says:

    Damien, take an American’s word for it and stop worrying about what the “world” thinks! Trust me — just like Clinton, the world will hate Obama too soon enough.

    This is a matter of the Church not the world. And the Holy Father will act regardless of the 24-hour news cycle and the blogosphere.

  48. Gravitas says:

    Genna: It would give an opportunity for those who are not our friends to skew the story and to accuse the Catholic Church, led by a German Pope, of being anti-Jewish.

    So then the Holy Father shouldn’t do what he thinks is right and keep good Catholics excommunicated all to placate the haters?

    What has happened to our Church Militant?

  49. The Other David says:

    Comment by Jon:

    I’d give my right arm to see the next Synod of Bishops with Fellay on the floor.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Me too… from a right hook from the Holy Father ;-)

    More seriously, let us hope we get some details what brought this about so there is no misunderstanding about what it all means. Right now, I am still reluctant because the SSPX seems unapologetic for what they did, but I am trusting that if this is indeed going to happen, the Holy Father has information I do not on the subject, and will submit to his decision even though it troubles me

  50. Geoffrey says:

    The Other David:

    That one had me on the floor… laughing!

    But seriously, very well said.

  51. DM says:

    The Pope’s duty is to govern the Church justly, not to curry for favorable press coverage.

    Few things earn my admiration more readily than a complete indifference (or contempt) for whatever journalists have to say about anything.

  52. Damian Thompson says:

    There’s more than one Damian posting here, so maybe there’s some confusion. I don’t remember saying that the 1962 prayer for the Jews was insulting; I defended it strongly on Holy Smoke the other day.

    To my mind, Summorum Pontificum was the best thing to happen to the Church for… centuries? I don’t know. I was thrilled. And now, to think that the Pope and the whole traditionalist movement could be discredited because the excommunication has been lifted on a crazy Holocaust denier whom Fellay HAS NOT CONDEMNED is heartbreaking.

    The SSPX has been lucky that the media have not been sufficiently interested in them to investigate the intense anti-Semitism of many of its members. Fellay could have anticipated this problem by expelling the wretched old bigot Williamson from the Society. Instead, he appears to think it’s OK for a bishop to hold (and teach) these views.

    Lifting the excommunication now, without further action, will be “the gift that keeps on giving” for enemies of the Pope and the traditional Mass, who include Cardinals and high-ranking curial officials. Do you guys not realise how isolated Benedict XVI is in Rome?

    I really hope I’m wrong about all this; that, if an accommodation with the SSPX is reached, it will not cause scandal in the wider world. If the row develops as I fear it may, then anti-Ratzinger bishops will seize their moment.

  53. Ken says:

    Damien,

    Don’t you write for a paper owned by Conrad Black?

  54. kat says:

    Take a look at all the crackpot leftist priests and bishops out there who don’t believe in Papal primacy, the logic of the Magesterium, and/or follow the GIRM and compare that to 1 obviously mentally ill “bishop” named Williamson. Perhaps the balance is 5000 to 1?

    The whole thing reminds me of the ethical standards of Democrats and Republicans, one is held to a perfect standard while the other is held to no standard. Fair? Well, watch and see…

  55. Darian says:

    I don’t understand why so many people attack Bishop Williamson so vehemently. Yes, he does have some extreme views, but has what he said made him a “bigot” or an anti-semite? How many people actually listen to what he says instead of only devouring what the media wants you to hear from him? My goodness people, he is a very intelligent man if you ever get to actually speak with him in person and he is anything but loony.

    Once this invalid excommunication gets lifted, there are going to be a lot of neo-Catholics and liberals out there with a lot of egg in their face for all there false and scandalous statements against the SSPX.

  56. JohnB says:

    Mr. Thompson,

    If I might propose a theory: I do not think Bishop Fellay could expel Bishop Williamson from the SSPX if he wanted to. I think Bishop Fellay is trying to walk a very fine line to try and soften the hearts of many of those around him. Given that there is no practical hierarchy above Fellay, his hands are a bit tied.

    That Pope Benedict was able to release Summorum Pontificum in such an effective manner makes me believe that he weighs every variable very strongly. I don’t think that he has overlooked Bishop Williamson (or Bishop Tissier). He knows that there are crazies, but that they are the gross minority (even though they can be very, very loud.)

    I have a great deal of experience with the SSPX. Most do not at all resemble the parody so often trumpeted by the media or by ignorant reporters. With time, I think this will be made clear.

    Let us at least be consistent. Bishop Fellay has not explicitly condemned Bishop Williamson for saying some very, very *silly* things. Likewise, the Pope has not explicitly condemned a whole multitude of bishops for saying very, very *sinful* things. Both, I think, have their reasons. Things are much more nuanced than many of us would like them to be.

    Just some thoughts.

  57. kat says:

    When I told my husband the news he sent me this email:

    I’ve been saying a Rosary every day on the way to work since Naples (2001). For
    at least the past 4 years, every day when I’ve started it I’ve begun
    with, “I offer this Rosary for his holiness Pope Benedict XVI, for the
    intentions of the Roman pontiff, for the full restoration of the
    Tridentine Rite without reservation of exception, and for the full and
    immediate restoration of the SSPX without reservation or exception.” I
    really do. I did this morning as I was walking up the hill. It’s almost
    automatic. So, that prayer has been answered.

    May everyone’s prayers for a more united Catholic Church be answered.

  58. schoolman says:

    What an irony we have here. The SSPX oppose ecumenism and diologue because of the “scandal” involved while others oppose SSPX reconciliation because of the “scandal” involved.

    Yes, scandal may be involved in both cases — but that is not the intention of the Holy Father. What is intented by the Holy Father is a “greater good” — not the scandal that is only an indirect consequence or bi-product. That is why this is a PRUDENTIAL decision.

  59. Ted K. says:

    Mr D Thompson:
    The substance of your fears have already been published in today’s TimesOnline. It makes the Holy Father seem like an incurable Nazi if he goes through with this. Williamson is the Achiles heel in this whole thing. Fellay and the other 2 will have to somehow distance themselves from that bizarre radical.

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

  60. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    What lifting of the excommunications will do is simply turn the clock back to June 29, 1988.

    The FSSPX had two preconditions for entering into FORMAL dialogue with the CDF on the matter of its juridical standing: universal permission for the 1962 liturgical books and an erasing of the excommunications on the bishops. With these accomplished, the clock may even turn back to May 5, 1988, the day of the Protocol document between Msgr. Lefebvre, the day before formal dialogue broke down.

  61. Matt of South Kent says:

    If Bishop Williamson is arrested, it would be a criminal matter. The Pope could condemn his comments.

    Bishop Williamson comments are the wages of sin and we must bear the cost for the benefit of Christ flock.

    I am sure I will hear comments at work about it. You should always keep in mind that 11 million people died in the holocaust. 6 million were Jews.

    Hopefully, there will be bigger news and the major news organizations will have better things to do. That is way a Saturday release is best. No one will remember it Monday morning.

  62. Andrew W says:

    RE Bishop Williamson’s television interview

    Bishop Fellay, today, has released a letter saying that outside of matters of faith and morals, an SSPX Bishop’s statements are his own personal remarks and for which he alone is to be held responsible for. He effectively (I think) distanced the Society from Bishop Williamson’s remarks. This letter was sent to the television station intent on broadcasting the interview.

    God Bless

  63. RJS says:

    Tomorrow will be a very bad day for the SSPX haters. Even worse than the day the Pope announced that the old Mass was never abrogated, and the day when the Rome admitted that “for all” was an incorrect translation of pro multis. I’m sure the leaders of the SSPX haters (the self professed apologists) regret the day they wrote their anti-trad books which are full of errors and lies. How much do you want to bet they do their best to ignore the news, just as they did with respect to the non abrogation of the old Mass and the “pro multis” issue?

    Oh well, a bad day for the SSPX haters is a very good day for the Catholic Church.

  64. Brian Mershon says:

    It’s a criminal matter in Germany to have a different, even if it is incorrect, view of histtory. Talk about hate crimes on speech.

    This entire episode is sheer lunacy. Criminal prosecution for having a non-politically correct opinion.

    Thanks be to God that Pope Benedict XVI is not influenced by public opinion in his quest to do what is right–not just a matter of mercy–but a matter of justice.

    Deo Gratias the Pope is the Pope and not some of the posters here nor journalists.

  65. Brian Mershon says:

    By the way, L’Osservatore has its digital edition online with nary a word about SSPX.

  66. Andrew W says:

    Rob,

    Would you not say that an act of mercy such as this by Pope Benedict would not do something to soften the hearts of those that you describe in your 8 points?

    God Bless

  67. Paul S. Quist says:

    I have to weigh in here.

    As a recent convert from Lutheranism (Easter Vigil, 2005) I must tell you that, despite the complexities and however this may be misconstrued by the media, I am very excited by these developments. I long for pure doctrine and solemn celebrations of the liturgy. I can’t help but believe that the inclusion of the SSPX will serve as leaven in the loaf, raising the level of reverence in the whole Latin Church. I’m sure that the Holy Father knows what he’s doing.

    For what it’s worth…

    Paul, Edmonton, AB

  68. Dan says:

    I will allow others to worry about that which the “world” believes regarding Bishop Williamson.

    I am more concerned with the Jesus Christ deniers…that is, folks throughout the world who deny that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.

    I am more concerned with the Catholic Church deniers…that is, folks throughout the world who deny that the One True Holy Catholic Church is the True Church…the Church that each person is called to join.

    I am more concerned with the TLM deniers…that is, sadly, those conservative and liberal Catholic Churchmen who insist that little interest for the Traditional Mass exists within the Church…which allows said Churchmen to justify their decisions to consign Summorum Pontificum to the Dead Letter status.

  69. Daniel Latinus says:

    It would seem to me that if Bishop Fellay was interested in protecting the SSPX from Bp. Williamson’s opinions on “historical matters”, Bp. Fellay, as Superior General of the SSPX, would have ordered Bp. Williamson not to speak on such matters at all.

    If the SSPX is reconciled, I fully expect that there will be a split.

  70. Mark says:

    Wm. Christopher Hoag is right on. The lifting of the excommunications has always been discussed as a pre-condition. I very much doubt that we will see a full re-integration tomorrow. But now, hopefully, we can get down to the business of clarifying doctrine and making practical negotiations.

    We need to pray for the pope. There is no doubt in my mind that the media will lead an attack. I have been saying the longer St. Micheal prayer for the last few days for this very reason.
    Consider how things have changed for the FSSR. Never underestimate the power of God’s grace. We have every reason to hope.

  71. Paul S. Quist says:

    Sadly this is why the Church needs to be one – this just now on Yahoo News:

    Obama signs order reversing abortion-funds policy
    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday quietly ended the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option.

    Paul

  72. Dan says:

    Mister Thompson, perhaps we are lucky that SSPX hasn’t investigated the anti-semitism that, according to certain Jewish groups, is supposedly rampant throughout the Catholic Church, at least among Hispanic Catholics.

    My above comment is tongue-in-cheek. However, I posted the above ADL claims to make the following point:

    1. Why limit your statement that the SSPX is lucky that the “media have not been sufficiently interested in them to investigate the intense anti-Semitism of many of its members” to the SSPX?

    Perhaps the Catholic Church is lucky that you and your fellow media types have not been sufficiently interested in the Catholic Church to investigate the “intense anti-semitism” of many of its Hispanics believers.

    Bottom line: Have at your SSPX anti-semitism witch hunt. From there, you can join the witch hunt to uncover anti-semitism among tens of millions of holy Hispanic Catholics.

  73. Dan says:

    Attention:

    Mister Damien Thompson has declared the following: “The SSPX has been lucky that the media have not been sufficiently interested in them to investigate the intense anti-Semitism of many of its members. ”

    Attention: The ADL has declared the following: “New Hispanic arrivals in the United States are “44 percent infected” with anti-Semitic attitudes, reflecting lower sensitivity to the problem throughout their Latin American countries of origin, said Abraham Foxman, national director of the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League.”

    Attention: I believe that both declarations are absurd.

    Mr. Thompson, his fellow news media types and the ADL are free to conduct their “anti-semitism is intense among Catholics” collective witch hunt.

    Mr. Thompson, will leave such nonsense to you and your fellow news media types.

    My concern is to pray that Rome and the SSPX and the great many holy Catholics attached to the SSPX are at peace with each other.

  74. Tiny says:

    Isn’t Bp Williamson the rector of the seminary in Argentina? IIRC, some say he was put there to keep him quiet.

  75. Dan says:

    Paul S. Quist wrote: “Sadly this is why the Church needs to be one – this just now on Yahoo News:

    “WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday quietly ended the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option.”

    Yes. You are correct.

    For my part, I will leave the “anti-semitism is intense within the SSPX” and “anti-semitism is intense within the Catholic Church” nonsense to news media and ADL types.

    I welcome the SSPX’s prayers and their holy works that are focused upon ending the scourge of abortion throughout the world.

  76. 800AD says:

    Let us pray for reunification. I think that this is part of the Pope’s plan to reconnect the Church to 2000 years of her history and tradition. Until the SSPX is reunited people will look on everything “pre-vatican II” as being evil. This was precisely the devil’s plan when the separation took place in 1988. The Church is in a great era of her history. God is bringing about a true renewal in the Church, so let us rejoice. I do not understand how anyone could fear this move by the Pope. Unity is one of Satan’s greatest enemies.

  77. John Belmont says:

    Has it not occurred to anyone that +Williamson gave this crazy interview in an effort to scuttle the SSPX-Vatican agreement?

    John Belmont

  78. prof. basto says:

    If the lifting of the excommunications happens, I hope that the Holy See takes care to provide for the exclusion of Bishop Williamson from the clerical state.

  79. prof. basto says:

    Mr. Belmont,

    Yes, it occured to me.

    And the sad thing is, that he may either succeed, or hurt the Pope’s image.

  80. Brian Day says:

    My Anti-Spam word: think then post.

    May I humbly suggest that everyone wait until the document is published before commenting. Speculating in theoreticals is fine – sometimes, but arguing over points that may or may not be addressed is a bit premature.

    Watch and pray.

  81. Tiny says:

    From the short clip I watched I was under the impression that the interviewer baited him.

  82. schoolman says:

    With due respect to +Fellay — his letter to the interviewer will carry no weight. That is what journalists and the media do. I would like to see +Fellay’s letter to +Williamson. What has he said to him?

  83. Ken says:

    Brian Mershon,

    The L’Obserrvatore Romano that has tomorrow’s date is actually today’s edition. The daily Italian comes out in the afternoon with the date for tomorrow on. So actually when the letter is printed in “tomorrow’s” edition it will has the date January 25th on it.

  84. EDM says:

    My bishop (Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz) included all members of SSPX in our diocese in his blanket excommunications in 1996 (along with members of Call to Action, Planned Parenthood, Freemasons, and some others). If/when the Vatican brings SSPX back into the fold, would that automatically lift those excommunications here, or would Bp. Bruskewitz need to take some action? I’m sure he would, but I’m just curious how these things work. Anybody know?

  85. Andrew W says:

    schoolman,

    I would say that the letter is important not in any weight it may or may not carry with journalists, but in the message it sends to the Holy Father that Bishop Williamson does not speak for the SSPX – on this issue or any reconciliation related issues, such as reception of the lifting of the excommunications.

    God Bless

  86. schoolman says:

    Perhaps Bishop Fellay’s letter would have had greater impact if it were addressed to +Williamson. Sending it to a news outlet seems like chastising the messanger.

  87. Legisperitus says:

    I have to say Brian Mershon’s reference to the brother of the Prodigal Son (on a previous thread) is the most insightful thing I’ve read on this topic in a long time.

  88. I always wondered how +Bruskewitz was able to excommunicate “all member of the SSPX in his diocese.”
    Are the laity even members?

  89. Scott says:

    Thank you, Jesus!

  90. Malta says:

    It’s funny that we’re all getting excited about the Pope lifting the “excommunications” against SSPX, a society fiercely loyal, where possible, to the modern papacy. Pope Paul VI “lifted” the excommunication against a manifest orthodox Heretic during Vatican II, and not a whisper was heard. All of a sudden, our Pope is about to “lift” the silly-to-begin-with “excommunications” against SSPX–which is already the source of such grace in the Church as Summorum Pontificum, FSSP, etc.–and everyone is whispering and shuffling about! This is merely a matter of justice, and Pope Benedict’s experience that SSPX is really to be embraced, and not shunned….

  91. Jordanes says:

    Malta said: All of a sudden, our Pope is about to “lift” the silly-to-begin-with “excommunications” against SSPX—which is already the source of such grace in the Church as Summorum Pontificum, FSSP, etc.—and everyone is whispering and shuffling about!

    There are no excommunications against the SSPX. And it’s not silly for the Church to agree with God that people should not consecrate bishops without Peter’s approval.

    It’s also questionable that the SSPX is the source of SP and the FSSP. Or if they are, then so is Paul VI and Vatican II, because without them we’d have never had an SSPX and never would have had SP and the FSSP.

  92. Andrew says:

    Guys

    Just remember that in all this analysis of what Pope Benedict’s intentions are in lifting these excommunication, the context in which this is happening. The Week to Promote Christian Unity from Jan 18-25.

    Christ desires his flock to be one, and any rupture or schism (whatever the reasons) is an offense against charity.

    Jesus is the Good Shepherd who goes after His lost sheep, when some of them get out of the pen, so we can no expect no different from His Vicar. The fact that some popes in history have not lived up this ideal is irrelevant. (The traditional Mass, illicit consecrations of bishops and the interpretation of Vatican II documents, while important issues, are tangential to this beautiful parable of Our Lord!)

    At the Last Supper Jesus prayed that all may be one so that the world may believe that He had been sent by the Father, which is the theme of this particular week, so the soul of this is love.

    It is not a matter of point scoring by the Pius X Society, but a help given to them in addition to Summorum Pontificum (of which we have all been the beneficiaries too) to find their way back home. These after all were their demands!

    There is no doubt that in this controversy, mistakes may have been made by all sides.

    But it is up to the Society to decide, whether they want to be in communion with Holy Mother Church, or out their on the margins.

    The ball is now very firmly in their court.

  93. Also I think that Fellay can’t , out of his position, do anything to williamson. Lets look at it through their eyes. They are in the strictest sense, following the norms of pre Vatican 2 right? Would one Bishop be able to discipline another bishop of equal rank? I know there is the whole “Society” aspect, and they have a superior, but really how does that play into account with Bishops??

    Thats why we catholics, have a Pope BTW. The ultimate keeper of peace. I would pose the question canonically, could Fellay do anything at all (considering in his mind, he is in perfect standing, or from the position they were never excommunicated, and this is a regulated Society)? Any canonists that can clarify that?

  94. David Kastel says:

    \”If these excommunications are lifted now, days after Williamson has denied the Holocaust and Fellay has refused to criticise him, then prepare for headlines that say: German Pope who was member of Hitler Youth brings back Holocaust-denying bishop and his supporters. It is hard to think of a single action that would sabotage Summorum Pontificum more effectively. I dread the coming week.
    Comment by Damian Thompson \”

    Damian Thompson has already written these things himself. He is the one guilty of this. He has also convicted the priests and faithful of SSPX chapels of the crime of \”intense anti-semitism.\” I suppose that goes along with his belief that the ancient prayer of the Church for the conversion of the Jews itself is anti-semitic.

    There is no need for a trial…they are guilty!

  95. torontonian says:

    Well, if Williamson did make his remarks in an effort to throw a wrench into the works, or at least to make the Vatican look bad, he may have accomplished something:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28815634/

    I wish he’d stick to condemning ‘The Sound of Music.’ That was much more humorous.

  96. Jerry says:

    It’s strange that Bishop Williamson has never exhibited actual hatred towards anybody and yet the hatred directed towards him is totally hysterical.

    We have people simultaneously and on pure emotion accusing him of being mentally ill and “crazy” and still demanding that he be punished.

    What kind of an evil mind wants to punish someone who they think is mentally ill?

  97. Boko Fittleworth says:

    I don’t understand the criticism of Damian Thompson here. You people can read, right? Mr. Thompson isn’t saying that BXVI is a nazi; Mr. Thompson is merely pointing out the glaringly obvious truth that Bishop Williamson’s incendiary (and embarrassing, at best) remarks, especially some recent ones, are a PR crisis for the Church, so much so that one wonders if Wiliamson made his remarks intending to sabotage regularization of the SSPX. Someone needs to be castigated for his outrageous comments, and it ain’t Damian Thompson.

    And Ken, didn’t your boss just issue an Executive Order allowing the use of my tax dollars for abortions overseas? That argument is beneath you.

  98. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    All of these quotes from Bishop W don’t exactly add up to a man with the prudence critical for leadership. Still from the short youtube clips it seems he actually is quite the professor and loves a debate–or maybe stir the pot. Still there are better ways to convert Jews than to quibble about the exact number of dead or how exactly the Nazis killed them; as smart as he is claimed to be, why doesn’t he realize that? How do you solve a problem like Maria, I mean Bishop Williamson?

  99. Sarsfield says:

    As Damian Thompson has reported, Williamson thinks the film “The Sound of Music” is borderline pornography! Talk about unbalanced. He also seems perturbed that the villains in the film are Nazis. Sorry,your Excellency, but even you must admit that not all of the Nazis were good guys. Google it yourself, and read his warnings about the dangers posed by viewing the work of that ultimate cultural subversive: Julie Andrews. Spare us, Holy Father!

  100. Jordanes says:

    David Kastel said: Damian Thompson has already written these things himself. He is the one guilty of this.

    No he hasn’t, and no he isn’t.

    He has also convicted the priests and faithful of SSPX chapels of the crime of “intense anti-semitism.”

    He clearly was not referring to all of the priests and faithful of the SSPX. Anti-semitism is undeniably a problem in certain sectors of the SSPX, though.

    I suppose that goes along with his belief that the ancient prayer of the Church for the conversion of the Jews itself is anti-semitic.

    What evidence do you have that he believes that?

  101. Braadwijk says:

    I have to disagree with the favorable opinions some express here regarding the SSPX leadership, not so much abroad as in America itself. I think this is a very interesting strategic move on the part of the Holy Father, and I’m glad he’s waited awhile to make his move regarding the society. Once this proclamation is issued the rug is simply pulled out from under them; any attempt they make to protest it will not go over well. It very much throws the ball into their court and calls them to take some responsibility for themselves and where they truly stand. JPII certainly made the mistake of letting them do whatever they wanted, and it’s time somebody finally called them out to back up their claims. I’ve said for quite some time now that so many years of being marginalized has pushed more than one traditionally-minded Catholic into a radicalized fringe that is anything but Catholic. The Holy Father is certainly well aware of this problem, especially its presence in the SSPX, and in addition to righting several wrongs on both sides I think he’s trying to sift out those more radical elements from those who are truly faithful to the Church and will not remain in formal schism for the sake of being schismatic.

    Williamson is obviously the wildcard with this. Personally I think he is more the type to remain schismatic for schism’s sake, not to mention he is a blatantly racist and anti-semitic embarrassment to the Church. Being myself “adopted” by the Germans and very much a Euro-American I can assure you he potentially faces some serious charges if he tries to go anywhere near many of the nations in the EU, not just Germany. You certainly couldn’t put him anywhere near the Vatican, and even if you could get him into Europe without getting him arrested he would still find a way to cause trouble.

    The other obvious problem is the mentality of the society itself in the USA, not so much in other parts of the world. They want a world that simply doesn’t exist anymore (and a version of it that never existed at all), a world that ceased to be long before Vatican II was even considered by Pius XII. Their horror at modern society is more Protestant in its logic than Catholic, and it’s going to take a lot of deprogramming to get them to integrate into a healthier way of dealing with people who are different from themselves. They look for heresy a lot of times where there isn’t any at all to the point where I honestly think they get a kick thinking of ways to call things they don’t like heresy, and oddly enough the SSPX in America will be the most problematic of all. How ironic that the people who most complain about the so-called “Americanist heresy” and its ill-effects on the West are the American SSPXer’s themselves! I don’t think Euroepans in the SSPX can really be accused of schism, and their integration back into the mainstream won’t be a problem because in nations like France they are the mainstream already. It’s no secret I’m a lapsed Catholic, and I hate to admit what I’m about to say. If I hadn’t met the SSPXer’s in Europe and seen that it’s possible to be a traditionally-minded Catholic with a balanced view of society, a social life outside the chapel, and a true sense of patriotism and loyalty to the Pope, I would be a militant atheist today. More than anything the door was shut on many of them, not the other way around.

  102. Paul says:

    Damian Thompson is a petty gossip-monger who enjoys stirring up trouble. We shouldn’t pay heed to anything he says.

    The private views of Bishop Williamson are totally irrelevant to this discussion. We shouldn’t be dragged into discussing something which has absolutely no real bearing on the excommunications.

  103. The Other David says:

    Comment by kat

    Take a look at all the crackpot leftist priests and bishops out there who don’t believe in Papal primacy, the logic of the Magesterium, and/or follow the GIRM and compare that to 1 obviously mentally ill “bishop” named Williamson. Perhaps the balance is 5000 to 1?

    Quite possibly a true calumny considering there are estimated 4800 Latin and Eastern Rite bishops. Are you merely exaggerating, or are you insisting no bishop is faithful to the Catholic Church?

  104. tecumseh says:

    Well done, Fr Z, for keeping the comments open, even for the gremlins. I hope that this is a new era for the church. Craigmaddie, is on the money, hopefully we will have a new Personal Prelature…or something on those lines.
    Damian Thompson makes valid points as well, the nutters in the SSPX fold have to be dealt with. These guys are even more pernicious than the “speaking in tongues” hippies.

  105. David Kastel says:

    Here\’s the statement of the diocese of Stockholm regarding the SSPX:

    \”We would like to make clear the differences between them (SSPX) and the Catholic Church. We completely distance ourselves from all forms of racism and anti-Semitism. The Catholic Church in Sweden has nothing to do with the \”Crusade\” for making Sweden Catholic again, as reported by the programme, and does not support it in any way.\”

    The Catholic Church in Sweden does not support the crusade to make Sweden Catholic…lololol

    Now tell me there was not a case of necessity in 1988………

  106. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    My recollection of the Sound of Music controversy is that it seemed that the Bishop was reviewing the film as if it were a Catholic theological treatise for someone’s PhD. On the one hand, it is very helpful for the faithful to have their movies well-critiqued, on the other, the standards are different for a movie or a treatise. Yes the Bishop gets carried away

  107. David Kastel says:

    Jordanes “anti-semitism is undeniably a problem in SSPX”

    You also have convicted them without trial, just as Thompson has here:

    “Why is it always assumed by traditionalist Catholics that the healing of the Lefebvrist schism would be a great blessing? Williamson may be the Society’s most prominent Holocaust revisionist, but he is not the only one. In France, the organisation is riddled with Vichyite anti-Semitism”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_thompson/blog/2009/01/22/pope_to_lift_sspx_excommunications_just_as_bishop_williamson_denies_nazi_gas_chambers

    I guess you can’t recognize the beam in his eye because of the beam in your own.

  108. Paul Q says:

    Joe,

    If you would take your caps lock off your tone would seem less strident. Caps lock in the blogosphere is the equivalent of yelling.

    Just a friendly suggestion.
    Paul

  109. Long-Skirts says:

    RIGHTEOUS
    THUNDER

    Five times banished,
    Exiled seventeen,
    Excommunicated champions,
    God puts at each scene.

    Saint Athanasius,
    Feast day of worth
    On the second of May
    The month of great mirth.

    Out in the deserts –
    As history has charted –
    You preserved the true Mass,
    Great lion-hearted.

    Now Lefebvre,
    And the sixties egalitarians,
    Like Athanasius,
    His time his Arians.

    For He who abolished
    Death by death
    Sent him to absolve
    Sin width and breadth.

    And yes the same moon
    The same sun we’re all under…
    We venal rain – but Lefebvre
    RIGHTEOUS
    THUNDER!!

  110. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    @ JOE: I have never heard of cannon law before. Is this some physics property pertaining to artillery pieces?

    Anyway, a major issue facing the Church in North America should the FSSPX ever reconcile is the issue of sedevacantism. This is so much more and issue in the USA, Canada, and Mexico than elsewhere. It is an interesting development since the 1983 expulsion of 9 (12) Americans from the FSSPX that North America has developed into the intellectual centre for sedevacantism. The only person who I have actually seem address this is Rev. Anthony Cekada, a sede himself.

    Although the Society is not sedevacantist as a corporate body, this opinion is held by some members of the Society and more so among the laity, especially those who “bounce” between FSSPX, SSPV, and CMRI chapels. This is have theological, demographic, and financial implications for reconciliation.

  111. David Kastel says:

    More from this dishonest little man:

    “The genius of Summorum Pontificum was that it handed back the traditional Latin Mass to ordinary Catholics, marginalising the sectarian bigots of the SSPX and their many sympathisers inside the official Catholic Church. Alas, both the SSPX and the Tabletistas have a vested interest in the failure of the Motu Proprio”

    I suspect that this little propagandist is very much aware that the recognition of the legality of the old rite was demanded by SSPX from 1970 thru 1975 thru 1988 thru 2000 thru 2007 and at all points in between on the grounds that it was never legally abrogated and that therfore ALL priests could say it. I am also sure he is aware that the main reason the agreement of 1988 broke down was over the fact that JP2 refused to recognize the right of ALL priests to say the old mass. It was a demand of Lefebvre that the Church recognize the right of ALL priests to say the old mass. But this vicious, angry little man does not mention the fact…what a shock for a cheap propagandist! The only thing left in his arsenal is the accusation of anti-semitism.

    S.P. is a product of the persist demands of Lefebvre and the SSPX. Let’s give them credit as a matter of honesty.

    The eventual annulment of the DECREE of excommunication will be a product of the justice of the Holy Father, for which we should give him credit. But Thompson is not concerned about justice, he is concerned with what the secular press and the professional complainers at the ADL will think.

  112. Dave Pawlak says:

    I don’t hate the SSPX or the people who attend their chapels. Most just want to be good Catholics. But a good number of the priests and laity are like the Narnian dwarfs in the stable – so afraid to be taken in again that they won’t be taken out.

    I don’t hate Bishop Williamson, either. But he is a loose cannon at best and a lunatic at worst. If he is a loose cannon, he needs to be sat upon, and sternly warned to keep his more controversial views to himself. If he is a lunatic, he needs to be retired. Precedence supports either approach. Fr Coughlin was taken off the airwaves when he went too far. Poor Bishop Pelotte in Gallup had to retire after his unfortunate experiences. I hope His Grace is sane enough and reasonable enough to guard his tongue and come back into full and visible communion with the Church.

  113. Mark G. says:

    Joe, take a deep breath & step back from the ledge, brother. I think most people who frequent this locale agree that it will be a good thing when the SSPX is regularized. That is your position, isn’t it?

    You are right that the truth cannot change; however, it can be better understood.

  114. C_of_D says:

    Bishop Fellay’s letter dissociating the Society with Bishop W.’s personal beliefs is posted on the Remnant website.

  115. Jordanes says:

    David Kastel said: You also have convicted them without trial

    I certainly have not, but I have convicted you of misquoting me. I did not say “anti-semitism is undeniably a problem in SSPX.” I said, “Anti-semitism is undeniably a problem in certain sectors of the SSPX, though.” Huge difference.

    “Why is it always assumed by traditionalist Catholics that the healing of the Lefebvrist schism would be a great blessing? Williamson may be the Society’s most prominent Holocaust revisionist, but he is not the only one. In France, the organisation is riddled with Vichyite anti-Semitism”

    You seem to disagree with that assessment. What reason do you have to believe Thompson is wrong? Or have you convicted Thompson without trial? ;-)

  116. Jordanes says:

    David Kastel said: More from this dishonest little man . . . this little propagandist

    Could you please disagree with Damian Thompson without being so disagreeable?

  117. RC says:

    The Vatican Radio morning news from Rome in French (2:15 am ET, 8:15 in Rome) had no announcement.

  118. Geoffrey says:

    Why is so little mention being made of the reason for the excommunications in the first place? The consecration of bishops against the expressed will of the Vicar of Christ (as well as Canon Law). This was a serious breech of ecclesial communion.

  119. RC says:

    In the meantime, German civil authorities in the Regensburg are investigating Bp. Williamson for promoting ethnic hatred (“Volksverhetzung”).

    (Source: a Bavarian Radio report, mentioned on kath.net)

  120. Michael UK says:

    Messrs Braadwijk and Hoag best demonstrate the problem within SSPX. Objectionable views may well exist within SSPX, but elements in SSPX USA have institutionalised such the the effect that whole chapels have accepted the same. This has caused splits, with those in disagreement have called-in FSSP to minister to them.

    Some District Superiors are latent Sedevacantists which is deplorable on two counts: a) they hold their positions under false pretences, preferring status to truth, and, b) clergy beneath them have been expelled for holding the self-same views.

    Iota Unum clearly demonstrates a breach in belief pre and post Council in that which Mother Church believed. The reaction of the bishops and clergy, to some incomprehensible, was akin to politicians, in the UK, pontificating upon the documents of the European Union, but had never actually read the same. The Modernists manipulated the same, also the persecution and so called excommunication of Msgr. Lefebvre.

    Damian Thompson is the editor of The Catholic Herald in the UK, a paper banned from many parishes because of its traditional views and the holding of the E&W Bishops and Conference to account. Such to an extent that they have attempted to have closed-down his Daily telegraph Blog “Holy Smoke”. How, therefore, can he be criticised in such vile terms. I may not, altogether, agree with his assessment of SSPX, but the other criticisms of him are without foundation.

  121. John says:

    Saturday, January 24, 2009
    Document repealing excommunications

    CONGREGATIO PRO EPISCOPIS

    By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial animus. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

    His Holiness Benedict XVI – paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and faithful in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin – decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

    [Full translation under way]

  122. John says:

    Saturday, January 24, 2009
    Document repealing excommunications

    CONGREGATIO PRO EPISCOPIS

    By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: “We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial animus. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

    His Holiness Benedict XVI – paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and faithful in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin – decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

    With this act, it is desires to consolidate the reciprocal relations of confidence and to intensify and grant stability to the relationship of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, wishes also to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to end the scandal of division.

    It is hoped that this step be followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of Saint Pius X, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope with the proof of visible unity.

    Based in the faculty expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit to Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that date.

    Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, January 21, 2009.

    Card. Giovanni Battista Re
    Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

  123. Scott says:

    Excommunications are gone!!! Go to Rorate-Caeli.blogspot.com for details.

  124. John says:

    Another Translation:

    By letter of 15 December 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also on behalf of the other three bishops consecrated on 30 June 1988, again petitioned for the removal of the excommunication latae sententiae formally declared by Decree of the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 1 July 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: “We are always firmly determined in the will to remain Catholics and to put all our forces at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial spirit. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and his prerogatives, and therefore the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

    His Holiness Benedict XVI – paternally sensitive to the spiritual distress expressed by those involved because of the sanction of excommunication and trusting in the commitment expressed by them in the aforementioned letter not to spare any effort to enlarge upon more deeply in the necessary talks with the Authorities of the Holy See the questions still open, in order to be able to soon reach a full and satisfactory solution to the problem at the source – has decided to reconsider the canonical situation of the Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta arisen with their episcopal consecration.

    With this act it is desired to consolidate the mutual relations of trust and to intensify and give stability to the relations of the Fraternity of St. Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, intends also to be a sign to promote the unity in love of the Universal Church and to get to remove the scandal of division.

    It is hoped that this step is followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of St. Pius X, thereby demonstrating true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and the authority of the Pope by the proof of visible unity.

    According to faculty expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, by virtue of this decree, I remit to the Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of excommunication latae sententiae declared by this Congregation on 1 July 1988 while I declare without juridical effects, as of today’s date, the decree issued at that time.

    Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, 21 January 2009.

    Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re

    Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

  125. David says:

    This didn’t take long: “Pope Rehabilitates Holocaust Denier, Angering Jews.”

  126. John says:

    Press release

    of the Superior General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

    The excommunication of the bishops consecrated by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, on June 30, 1988, which had been declared by the Congregation for Bishops in a decree dated July 1, 1988, and which we had always contested, has been withdrawn by another decree mandated by Benedict XVI and issued by the same Congregation on January 21, 2009.

    We express our filial gratitude to the Holy Father for this gesture which, beyond the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, will benefit the whole Church. Our Society wishes to be always more able to help the pope to remedy the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world, and which Pope John Paul II had designated as a state of “silent apostasy.”

    Besides our gratitude towards the Holy Father and towards all those who helped him to make this courageous act, we are pleased that the decree of January 21 considers as necessary “talks” with the Holy See, talks which will enable the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to explain the fundamental doctrinal reasons which it believes to be at the origin of the present difficulties of the Church.

    In this new atmosphere, we have the firm hope to obtain soon the recognition of the rights of Catholic Tradition

    Menzingen, January 24, 2009

    +Bernard Fellay

  127. Maureen says:

    How wonderful!

    “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
    His mercy endures forever…
    To Him who alone does great wonders.
    His mercy endures forever.”

  128. kat says:

    The other David…

    you even quoted me writing “priests and bishops” and then tried to say I only meant bishops. Poor reading skills there, friend.

    I did not say that all Catholic bishops encourage liturgical abuse and do not follow the Pope, but as my dear husband says at least once a week, “If I did my job (as a military physician) as poorly and incompetantly as the American Bishops, I would not only have been fired, I would be in jail.”

  129. Jerry says:

    Interesting that this should happen when the world, with the election of Obama seems to have suddenly lurched towards the evil of liberalism. Perhaps God has had enough and is beginning to martial his forces.

    Twice the SSPX has gone through Our Lady and twice the Holy Father has responded to her intercession.

    I wonder what would happen if we got a clear consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart?

  130. The Other David says:

    @ kat

    Are you arguing then that Williamson is the only loose cannon in the Church or are you not? No poor reading skills on my part. Just an objection for your unfounded rhetoric of a 5000:1 ratio which was clearly thrown out as a mere slogan. My pointing out 4800 bishops was to give illustration of the unfounded nature of the claim

    Of course if you want to argue a 5000:1 ratio, 407,262 priests+4800 bishops (without being able to assess how many are in the same state as Williamson) at this ratio means potentially 83 out of 486 SSPX priests (17%) are in the same boat as Williamson.

    Of course, I am not going to hold that this ratio is true based on math instead of solid evidence of the behavior of the individuals.

    Neither should you.

    Sloganeering is going to accomplish nothing here

  131. Hey Father Z,

    Any chance on a new entry for something like this:

    Any canon lawyers out there able to make a comment on the just how much effect that “the lack of juridical effect” statement has on, say, a sanatio in radice for marriages witnessed by FSSPX priests through the years, and whether the priests and bishops are now to be considered to have full faculties?

  132. As I’ve said elsewhere,

    The lifting of the excommunications, including that of Williamson, refers to a liturgical ceremony wrought without permission decades ago. It does in no way approve the opinions of Williamson or of anyone else. To exaggerate and put the two together is anti-Semitic because it makes anti-anti-Semitism look foolish. Is that what is desired by many in the media?

  133. therese b says:

    Jerry

    My thoughts seem to be the same as yours. The power of the BVM is awesome. I hope the Pope is just awaiting the right opportunity (perhaps a humanitarian or political crisis) so that he can indeed consecrate Russia, without engendering resentment, or adverse comments.

  134. Vatican decree lifts excommunication of SSPX bishops (Subscribe to RSS Feed)

    Vatican, Jan. 24, 2009 (CWNews.com) – Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news) has lifted the excommunications of the bishops who lead the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

    In a decree dated January 21, and released to the public on January 24, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re (bio – news), the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, announces that the excommunications imposed on July 1, 1988– after the four bishops were ordained by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in defiance of Vatican orders– are no longer in effect.

    The prelates affected by the Pope’s decision are Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, and Bishops Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta.

    The Vatican decree indicates that Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication in response to a plea from the SSPX bishops, and in an effort “to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.”

    The decree acknowledges that further steps will be required to complete the reconciliation of the SSPX. “It is hoped that this step be followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of Saint Pius X,” the document says.

    Pope Benedict was moved by the “spiritual unease” conveyed by the SSPX bishops in a July 2008 letter, in which they renewed their plea for an end to the excommunications, the decree indicates. The Pope also took note of the traditionalist bishops’ determination to “deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters.”

    In that July 2008 letter– which was addressed to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio – news), the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, who had been the chief Vatican representative in talks with the SSPX for the past several years– Bishop Fellay had expressed both the pain of separation and the loyalty of the SSPX to the Pope. In a portion of the letter that is quored in Cardinal Re’s decree, the traditionalist bishop wrote:

    We always determined by the desire to stay Catholics and put all our forces for Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept his teachings with heart subsidiary. We firmly believe the Primacy of Peter and its prerogatives, and this makes us suffer so much the current situation.

    In a press release welcoming the Vatican decree, the SSPX thanked Poep Benedict for his “courageous act.” The group welcomed the Pope’s call for further talks, saying that in these talks SSPX members could “explain the fundamental doctrinal reasons which it believes to be at the origin of the present difficulties of the Church.” The SSPX referred to “the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world,” and indicated that the crisis is caused by Catholics’ departure from traditional Church teachings.

    In a letter to SSPX members announcing the decree, Bishop Fellay described the Pope’s decision to lift the excommunications as “unilater, benevolent, and courageous.” The move should be welcomed with gratitude by all SSPX members, he said, noting that they will “no longer be unjustly stigmatized.”

    Bishop Fellay expressed the certainty that the Pope’s decision was influenced by an extraordinary prayer campaign, undertaken by SSPX leaders last year. “Your response exceeded our expectations,” the traditionalist bishop said, reminding members that a the group had presented the Pope with spiritual bouquet of over 1.7 million rosaries.

    Bishop Fellay’s letter to the SSPX faithful also contained a clear indication that the anticipated talks with Vatican officials will include a heavy focus on the traditionalists’ concerns about the teachings of Vatican II. The SSPX superior recalled that in his June 2008 letter to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos he had said:

    We are ready to write the Creed with our own blood, to sign the anti-modernist oath, the profession of faith of Pius IV, we accept and make our own all the councils up to the Second Vatican Council about which we express some reservations.

  135. I am not Spartacus says:

    Tomorrow will be a very bad day for the SSPX haters.

    Some of us who have opposed the SSPX based the opposition primarily on their disobedience. (I have also opposed what I consider to be their heretical theological ideas).

    We saw how disobedient Bishops were rewarded vis a vis Communion in the hand and some of us think regularising the sspx is adding to the precedent of bad behavior rewarded.

    Such actions have consequences. What is to prevent other wilfull Bishops from acting similarly?

    Once (if?) the sspx is regularised one will not see me complaining because the Pope will have spoken.

    It seems to me the only ones who do not have to apologise are those who have opposed our Sweet Jesus on Earth.

    And that will be one result of such a move. Disobedience will be rewarded and celebrated. How that can be a good thing for the Body of Christ escapes me.

  136. TMG says:

    Deo Gratias!

    What a blessing from our Holy Father! I am so pleased. The FSSPX cavalry is now officially on its way, at the service of Holy Mother Church. My prayer is now that all souls be open in charity and allow the Holy Ghost to enter. This is a turning point in the Church, a momentous time in the Church’s history. We should all be very grateful to the Holy Father and to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  137. Yes, the Church Militant is on the march,or ride if this a cavalry!

  138. PMcGrath says:

    Father George: “To exaggerate and put the two together is anti-Semitic because it makes anti-anti-Semitism look foolish. Is that what is desired by many in the media?

    The answer is Yes.

    Though the headline on the FoxNews.com story reads, “Pope Lifts Excommunications of 4 Bishops, the link on the main FoxNews.com page now reads “Holocaust-Denying Bishop Welcomed Back Into Church” (you’ll have to scroll down a bit).

    And if this is what we can expect from a “friendly” news organization, what can we expect from the enemy news organizations? Like this from MSNBC via AP: Jews outraged by Holocaust-denying bishop.

    The news of the lifting of the excommunications is wonderful, but Williamson has just made it into a disaster.

  139. Orthros says:

    To hell with the MSM. No one my age (~35) or younger watches MSM anyways… and ridicules online news outlets like CNN, Fox, etc.

    The truth gets out, Deo Gratias, due to the Internet.

    Williamson may (or may not) be a crank, but this is the right move.

    If there’s room for Mahoney, McBrien and other crazies in our Church, there sure as hell is room for someone who, despites his faults (and they appear to be Legion), loves a Mass that doesn’t involve bongo drums, a gong, a pentragram (really) or other abominations.

  140. RBrown says:

    Bishop Williamson has done little except give ammunition to those who have insisted that the Gregorian Rite is associated with right wing crackpots. His comments indicate that he has the intelligence of a turnip.

    With friends like Bp Williamson, Latin liturgy doesn’t need enemies.