More SSPX March ordination madness

A kind reader sent this:

My translation of the main part of the article on kath.net regarding the reaction of the German Bishop’s Conference to the statement of Mgr. Fellay on the relocation of the ordinations next Saturday:
 
The Society of St. Pius X relocates the ordinations to the sub-diocante and attacks the German Bishops’ Conference – This defends itself: "We do not accept the accusation that we have undertake an open revolt against the Pope."
 
Menzingen (kath.net) The Society of St. Pius X relocates their ordinations to the sub-diaconate from Zaitzkofen in Germany to Econe in Switzerland. The date on 28 March remains the same. The was stated by Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, in a pressrelease.

(…)

Matthias Kopp, spokesman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has made a statement this early evening in regards to the press statement of the Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, sharply rejecting the language of Fellay. Literally Kopp said: "With his choice of words in today’s statement Bishop Fellay shows his actual mental attitude (Geisteshaltung). It is marked by an unfortunate one-sidedness. We totally reject the accusation that we have undertaken an open revolt against the Pope. For the rest, we reject the accusation of an uncharitable hostility. "

 

Nice, huh?

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60 Responses to More SSPX March ordination madness

  1. Cel says:

    I am a little confused by this. If they are only \”ordaining\” to the sub-diaconate are they really doing anything wrong? Sub-deacons are no longer recognized in the law as an actual clerics right? So what they are doing is purely ceremonial for the sake of tradition right? I am not saying that it isn\’t probably inappropriate at some level but is it really that big of a deal? Seems like the German bishops simply trying to antagonize them.

    So what does it all really mean Father? Would you break it down for those of us who are ecclesiologically challenged?

  2. Dominic says:

    Wow. This has worked out well. (1) It is a gesture of thanks on the part of Bishop Fellay towards the Pope. (2) It is among the first “big” practical decisions affecting the internal life of the SSPX that has been made in recent years in deference to the Holy See. (3) It puts the SSPX on side with the Holy See against the German Bishops. (4) It confers a very vague sort of quasi-legitimacy on the ordinations in Econe. (5) It will help the SSPX to see who is schismatic-minded in their own ranks, as there will be a few who will not like this.

    Excellent move, Bishop Fellay!

  3. Chris says:

    Actions speak louder than words.

    And the great thing about this is the SSPX is speaking with obvious permission of the Vatican. So while the German bishops are fighting back against Fellay, they’re really fighting back against the Pope — and they’re too politically naive to know that.

    The battle lines are being drawn. Either you’re with tradition and the Holy Father or you’re against them.

    Now, who’s in schism again?

  4. Franzjosf says:

    The Bishop of Regensberg, in whose diocese the SSPX Seminary at Zaitzkofen exists, several months ago publicly called for the seminary to be closed. No doubt he has complained to Rome.

    (Incidentally, theologians disagree on whether ordination to the subdiaconate is a sacrament or a sacramental. Perhaps the Magisterium has settled the issue, but I don’t know where to find the answer.)

  5. Ann says:

    I am confused. What is so difficult about fidelity to the Pope? It is straight forward, a child can do it.

    I find the politics and the schism/not-schism stuff very confusing.

  6. Michael says:

    If the report is accurate, Matthias Kopp, spokesman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has put before the world his own, and his own episcopate’s, narrow-minded “Geistschaltung”, with no evidence of his misconceived pluri-sidedness, an evident revolt against the Holy Father, and an uncharitable hostility toward the peace in the Church.

    According to Franzjosf’s account (above) “(t)he Bishop of Regensberg, in whose diocese the SSPX Seminary at Zaitzkofen exists, several months ago publicly called for the seminary to be closed.”

  7. Steve K. says:

    “We totally reject the accusation that we have undertaken an open revolt against the Pope. ”

    LOL! A serious mismatch between words and deeds here. Paging Cardinal Cordes!

  8. Greg Smisek says:

    Chris:
    What is the “obvious permission of the Vatican” of which you speak?

  9. Chris says:

    Ann: “I am confused. What is so difficult about fidelity to the Pope? It is straight forward, a child can do it.”

    That statement was true before the Council. It became much more difficult after that and “true obedience” really became an issue.

  10. Paul Haley says:

    What’s this all about? Did Bishop Fellay put himself and the Society in the position of moving ordinations away from any diocese which had a vocal and recalcitrant bishop like Bishop Muller? No, I don’t think so. Bishop Fellay, I think, reacted to Rome’s request that he not poor gasoline on the flames in Zaitzkofen and Bishop Fellay decided to honor Rome’s request. It is most likely because the “Rolls Royce” solution is in the cards and he wishes to do nothing to interfere with that as the end result.

    The Holy Father must be beside himself with consternation over the actions of diocesan bishops and members of the curia who are trying to derail the reunification, reconciliation or whatever one would like to call it. But our Holy Father has proven himself to be a sly ‘ol fox who will not be intimidated or dissuaded from his intent to heal the wounds in the Church. I place my bets with the Holy Father on this one. He remembers well what happened in 1988 and he does not want his legacy to read: “Failed again!” At the same time Bishop Fellay realizes that doctrinal problems must be resolved in order to prevent the “two-church” phenomenon from becoming cast in concrete.

  11. Does anyone how to repair a severly-dismembered stress ball?

  12. Marty says:

    From http://www.dici.org/fraternite_read.php?id=000089

    At the request of the Holy See, we have decided that the ordinations to the subdiaconate scheduled to take place in Zaitzkofen in Germany, on the upcoming Saturday, March 28, will be performed at the seminary of Econe on the same date.

    This decision is intended as a gesture of appeasement after the lifting of the unjust condemnations borne by the bishops of the Society and the violent reactions which ensued. As a matter of fact, we regret that certain bishops took advantage of it to launch an open rebellion against the Sovereign Pontiff. We are especially disgusted by the attitude of the German bishops who never ceased to display a hostility devoid of any charity toward us, and continually attributed the worst intentions to whatever we did, treating us with hatred, without misgiving or restraint” as the Holy Father rightly pointed out in his letter of March 10.

    We know that, in the Church’s eyes, and with regard to the law of the Church, our situation is imperfect. This is nothing new and is closely bound to the crisis which the Church is undergoing and from which the state of necessity stems. Hence, it is useless to invoke the law in an attempt to stifle the life of our priestly society The other ordinations will take place as scheduled; there never was a question of their suppression. Indeed, the benevolent act of the Holy See cannot be interpreted as a desire to asphyxiate the Society of St. Pius X.

    We hold fast to the plan indicated in the decree of this past January 21, which foresees “requisite discussions” concerning the Second Vatican Council and its novelties. We reiterate to the Holy Father the assurance of our prayers so that from these doctrinal discussions may come forth the full light of complete Truth.

    Menzingen, March 24, 2009
    +Bernard Fellay
    ——————-
    Full steam ahead!!

  13. Michael says:

    As somebody commented in the earlier Post on the same subject, the SSPX should accept unquestionably Vatican II and other post-Pius XII documents. That is not negotiable. However, it they do accept they could, in the present tragic situation, prove to the be the right hand of the Pope.

    But in no case should they agree to put themselves at disposal of local bishops – that would be their death sentence inclusive of execution. They should insist on having their own world-wide jurisdiction, directly under the Pope, on the pattern of those Eastern Catholic Churches in diaspora who are not run by their own synods.

    It is quite evident from the statement on behalf of the German Conference, that the reconciliation between them and the SSPX is impossible.

  14. No one of consequence says:

    Given that Fellay continues to call the excommunications “unjust” and to speak of a “state of necessity,” it seems to me that Kopp’s complaint about Fellay’s mental attitude is entirely justified – whatever else one might say about the German bishops.

  15. The opposition of the German and French bishops to the reconciliation of the SSPX is for a very good reason. It will be along with Summorum Pontificum an absolutely fatal blow to the credibility of the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ theological project, the creation of a new church which rejects and anathematises tradition, and is acceptable to the elites of the culture of death. Once the hermeneutic of continuity is consequently established in the general consciousness of the clergy and faithful, with Vatican II seen properly in the light of tradition, the dissent of the sixties will fall down like a pack of cards. It is therefore imperative for us to pray for SSPX reconciliation, and yet equally imperative for the church’s enemies to sabotage it at all costs.

  16. Pierre Ronsard says:

    Michael:
    Concerning your statement that “the SSPX should accept unquestionably Vatican II and other post-Pius XII documents. That is not negotiable.” Does this mean that they should accept that there are situations like weddings and funeral where protestants may receive holy communion as long as they express the desire to do so and believe in the real presence? That comes in a post-conciliar document. A number of non-SSPX Catholics I know at every level of the Church hierarchy do not accept this. We are waiting for clarification. My point is that much needs to be ironed out. The Conciliar and post-conciliar documents are far from clear as would have to be the case. For texts require a context and their words are limited whereas as the life situations to which they are to be applied are infinite. In any case, I would think that the appearance of the statue of Buddha atop a tabernacle in a Catholic basilica is a state of emergency. Heaven certainly thought so, since an earthquake soon followed that audacious act. Let us not forget that this was the context of Archbishop Lefebvre’s “rash” action, if rash it be.

  17. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    The Expectation of Our Lady said: “Once the hermeneutic of continuity is consequently established in the general consciousness of the clergy and faithful, with Vatican II seen properly in the light of tradition, the dissent of the sixties will fall down like a pack of cards.”

    I would not expect such a peaceful surrender from the progressives! In fact, I would rather expect that to be the time when the current war of words gives way to a war of actions…and the good shall be martyred.

  18. Michael says:

    I would agree, albeit with the one of “No…consequence”, that the excommunications were not unjust – after all the Archbishop has violated the Canon Law – but that there was indeed, and that there is still, the state of necessity in the Church, can only be denied by the blindfolded, and by those who now have and enjoy the Church of their making. The episcopal consecrations did meet criteria of necessity as such. That is not a problem. The problem is in the Archbishop’s and his Society’s unreasonable attack on doctrine Vatican II, although there is nothing wrong with this doctrine.

    They now, thank God, seem willing to reconsider their doctrinal position; and the Pope is willing to give them time to come to their senses – so it seems to me. However, in my view, their present doctrine, however silly in all its aspects that are contrary to the Vatican II, is still an insignificant evil compared with the evil in the “conciliar” Church of the German Episcopate. So, we have a paradox: those who err less are in an irregular position, while those who err much more are fully in communion with the Church.

  19. I’ve always understood Minor Orders to essentially constitute ecclesiastical offices which can be removed at will by the presiding bishop. Major Orders, on the other hand, communicate an indelible character conforming the recipient of this sacramental mystery to the image of Christ in a permanent way.

    Personally, I think restoring Minor Orders, especially the subdiaconate, would go a long way in solving some of the liturgical mess of the Latin Church, especially as it pertains to EMHE’s. It would also be of great help to all in the diaconate to have a lead assistant!

    Regarding the SSPX, I think that this is a good sign on the part of the SSPX which exposes the gaping wound that is in the German Episcopate.

    Prayers for the Society leadership and for the men being ordained to the Order of Subdeacon.

  20. Steven says:

    I would like to leave a comment. But, I am just disgusted by the attitude of these German bishops. STOP THIS MADNESS!

  21. Athelstane says:

    So while the German bishops are fighting back against Fellay, they’re really fighting back against the Pope—and they’re too politically naive to know that.

    I doubt that.

    Of course, they may use the classic cover: “The King has bad advisers.”

  22. Matthias says:

    Father Deacon

    The latin Church actually considers the Sub-diaconate a Major Order , [Not any more, it doesn't.] unlike in the Byzantine tradition.

  23. Nuggen says:

    It seems to me that there is a major point in all this that hasn’t been commented upon yet.

    Given the irregular status of the SSPX at this point, you would think Rome had the right to tell them not to ordain these seminarians at all. Instead they just said “don’t do it there.”

    To me, that is a big deal.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it?

  24. RBrown says:

    “We totally reject the accusation that we have undertaken an open revolt against the Pope. ”

    LOL! A serious mismatch between words and deeds here. Paging Cardinal Cordes!
    Comment by Steve K.

    I don’t think they’re in open revolt against the pope. They just think that Rome is irrelevant.

  25. Origen Adamantius says:

    “subdeacon” from the best evidence arose sometime in the third century and was originally a minor order. Later, Innocent III (I think) recognized it as a major order due to the liturgical responsibilities that it included. The subdeacon was required to pray the office and live a celibate life.

    However, it is not considered sacramental (it does not mark a person with an indelible mark) because it is not of divine or apostolic origin. Paul the VI replaced it with the lay ministries of acolyte and lector in the early 70′s.

  26. Matthias,

    Is that really the case? I recall reading something that seemed to indicate that there existed a question that was not resolved until recently about the status of the diaconate in the Latin Church as a major order.

    Origen,

    Interesting… a major order without the indelible mark? Perhaps the views on orders were far more fluid than I realized…

  27. JPG says:

    I have never been that enamored of the SSPX. However my rather recent (2005) interest in Tradition have led me down a different path. This in turn was aided by the practices of the liberal dissenters all around me. This being said I think it would be a wonderful thing to restore the subdiaconate and its vestment the maniple. I am hoping that the stated transfer of the ordinations represents a tacit approval of the Holy See of the ordinations not merely a wish on the part of the Holy See to avoid an imbroglio with the local ordinary. This being said I would love to see the SSPX regularized as soon as possible with the next candidates ordained by the Holy Father himself. This would be a pencil up the nose of the German and French dissenters in those Episcopates. In reading “The Heresy of Formlessness” one comes across an account fictional I presume where two brothers assist at a Traditional Mass celebrated by priest who is a scholar or teacher at a University. The celebrent in this account smugly lets it be known that he does not approve of the older form of the Mass or its theology. He in this narrative is celebrating as a favour to the small congregation. I imagine this is the attitude of many of the German bishops. I cringed when I read it because I recognized the same attitude on the part of many priests I have known to some degree or another. Often these being otherwise good and holy men just misguided. It is those of this mindset who are most alarmed by the recent developments. My frustration with watching some of these with the same mindset of a less than holy outlook who seem to seek to preside over the great Apostasy that makes me wish the Holy Father would take such a bold and decisive step.
    JPG
    Fairfield , CT

  28. Aaron says:

    I am both pleased that the SSPX is behaving in an increasingly open manner toward Rome and worried that their insistence that they have been (canonically) right all along contains the seeds of a future breakdown. The Holy Father’s remission of the excommunications never conceded their invalidity, and indeed its wording presupposed the opposite. I’m all for a reconciliation – 400 more traditional priests at the drop of a hat! – but that can only come with a real change of heart: the SSPX becoming willing to at least conceive of some fault on their part, and the hierarchy of the world being willing to, if not rejoice in, at least not seek to sabotage reunion with their brethren.

  29. Origen Adamantius says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel
    The problem is one of terminology. Major orders basically are distinguished from the minor orders by the requirement of celibacy and the office and not fully equivalent with sacramental orders, although the sacramental orders were part of what was considered major orders. With the suppression of the minor orders and the subdiaconate, the major orders are the sacramental orders.

  30. Dominic says:

    As I understand it, the subdeaconate is of ecclesiastical institution, whereas the deaconate, priesthood, and episcopacy are of divine institution. The former does not have a character, whereas the latter three do. What the former has in common with the latter is the implicit vow of celibacy, and this is why it is reckoned with the major orders.

  31. Matt says:

    The subdiaconate is still used by all traditional orders. The office of acolyte is an ordained order and NO lay minister can EVER hold it, even in the new order. The office of Acolyte does not exist in the new order. It was replaced by lay men acting as servers.

    The office of Acolyte was usually given to a young man in a ceremony where he received an unlighted candle from the Bishop.

    There is a very good overview on the minor and major orders here: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2007/06/view-into-life-of-institute-of-good.html

    To me, eliminating the minor orders in favor of laity performing these roles really cheapens the path that all traditional catholic men followed on their way to the priesthood. How can the laity performing an ecclesiastical office, albeit a minor order, be preferable to men on their way to the priesthood?

  32. Father Bartoloma says:

    Sounds like somebody got their lederhosen into a twist.

  33. Fascinating…

    So if candidacy for the diaconate no longer requires celibacy, if the Latins decided to reinstitute the subdiaconate at some point, presumably the lesser order would not require it (celibacy) as well. If there was a restoration of the subdiaconate then, would that not mean that it would be constituted as a Minor Order once again, since celibacy would not be required of all candidates?

    Matt,

    I would agree with you for the most part. I think Pope Paul VI was gravely mistaken in his elimination of Minor Orders from the Latin Church. It was the disruption of one of the more organic leadership development pipelines in the Church, with ever expanding scope and spans of responsibility with each new level (although much of it was reduced to its liturgical dimension).

    I think that such Minor Orders should be restored to the Latins, and they should be open to married men, especially those who would like to discern diaconate.

    Interesting how the ordinations to the subdiaconate in the FSSP has precipitated such a conversation. I’m sure there were a few RC’s who read about this story thinking “What is a subdeacon?!?”

  34. Sixupman says:

    My parish church, three weeks in succession, has preached the cause of the lay diaconate turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind.

    Two years ago, the parish church which I prefer to attend, hosted a final year seminarian to give the sermon. He preached the ordained priesthood and countered the dilution, of that state, by the tendency to lay-equivalence. I nearly fainted, obviously some are still getting through the net.

    Is Vatican II an Article of Faith – I think not. “By their fruits …….. .”

  35. teresa says:

    More stories from Germany:
    (the report in German: http://www.domradio.com/aktuell/artikel_51692.html)

    a short excerpt & translation of mine:

    transl.: Norbert Brunner, the Bishop of Sitten who is responsible for Écône, let it known through the Bishops’ Conference of Switzerland, that nothing has changed respecting the ordinations of the SSPX since the lift of the excommunication of its four bishops. The ordination is still not allowed. The Brotherhood should have waited for a clarification over their canonical status with the Church, before they venture further ordinations.

    (in original:Der für Econe zuständige Bischof von Sitten, Norbert Brunner, ließ über die Schweizer Bischofskonferenz mitteilen, bezüglich der Weihen in der Pius-Bruderschaft habe sich mit der Aufhebung der Exkommunikation von vier ihrer Bischöfe nichts geändert. Die Spende der Weihesakramente sei weiter unerlaubt. Die Bruderschaft hätte die Klärung ihres Status durch die katholische Kirche abwarten müssen, bevor sie wieder Weihen unternimmt, so Brunner.)

  36. Sixupman,

    What is a “lay diaconate”?

  37. Michael R. says:

    Sixupman:

    Can you please translate the first paragraph of your comment into English?

  38. “Is Vatican II an Article of Faith – I think not. “By their fruits …….. .” ”

    Actually, it is rare that any issue can be found with Vatican II itself, but rather with some of the fruits who implemented it so poorly!

  39. A subdeacon pledges to recite the Divine Office and to keep celibate for the rest of his life. I’ve always wondered what would happen to a seminarian who was ordained subdeacon but left seminary before receiving higher orders. Given that the office is no longer recognized in canon law, would he be obliged to keep celibate and recite the Divine Office? Furthermore would a seminarian who received the order of acolyte in the Traditional Rite also be canonically considered an acolyte in the NO (who are ‘instituted’, nor ordained)?

  40. pjsandstrom says:

    In the present canonical situation of the four Bishops from the Society of St. Pius X — are any of them entitled to ‘ordain’ anyone to any office for the Church? I thought Benedict XVI’s explanation of his action of lifting the excommunications was rather clear on that point.

  41. Origen Adamantius says:

    “acolyte in the Traditional Rite also be canonically considered an acolyte in the NO”

    I am unsure of this but I think that the answer is no. Paul VI seems to indicate that the Institute of Lector and Acolyte replace the subdiaconate and allows for the Acolyte to be called subdeacon if desired by the local conference of Bishops.

    “a seminarian who was ordained subdeacon but left…would he be obliged to keep celibate and recite the Divine Office?”

    Perhaps some canon lawyers should speak to this. My guess is that since formal vows were made the simple answer is yes; however, upon leaving the path towards priesthood the vows could easily be petitioned to be removed.

    “How can the laity performing an ecclesiastical office, albeit a minor order, be preferable to men on their way to the priesthood?”

    Those on their way to priesthood are not priests. They are not sacramentally different from anyone else.

  42. Andrew says:

    From what the SSPX’s District Superior for the United States, Fr. Arnaud Rostand (videos available on Youtube), said recently in a conference, the SSPX has been offered a formal canonical solution a number of time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-FsEClOCt4 (This is part 1 of 7)

    This was apparently what was offered for the February 2 date that was rumored. Williamson-gate put a wrench in the works, but the real reason that Bishop Fellay has turned these down these offers was because he feared that doctrinal discussions would never happen if there was a practical agreement without those discussions first.

    Thus, as Bishop Fellay correctly notes in his statement, the irregular situation and invoking law and rights, is really unnecessary. The lawgiver has, in principle, accepted that the SSPX could be legitimized with a mere signature. That would be excellent and a very good situation for the priests, but it would do nothing to help the Church in the long term. As the Holy Father, himself has noted, the problem is doctrinal. We have seen the result of 40+ years of not clarifying or correcting doctrinal problems in the Church.

    So, while legally, these ordinations have a veil of illegitimacy, it should be remembered in the whole context, that following discussions, there will be no problem to signing on the dotted line and making legal all that has been happening.

  43. RBrown says:

    Actually, it is rare that any issue can be found with Vatican II itself, but rather with some of the fruits who implemented it so poorly!
    Comment by Fr. Deacon Daniel

    I have found more than one and have mentioned some of them here more than once.

  44. Paul Haley says:

    The discussions here lead me to the conclusion that we have really two churches – one novus ordo and one traditional and no matter how the Holy Father tries to meld them together, the two very different sides seem to want to have no part of each other. And, I do not see this changing in the near future due to intransigence and enmity that is a by-product of over 40 years of neglect. That is why I believe the only short term answer is an apostolic administration worldwide which guarantees the rights of Traditional Catholics to worship according to their conscience with priests and bishops who will minister to them.

    Maybe at some future time there will be a lessening of tension between the two sides that will allow them to unify in practice and belief but I really don’t see that on the horizon. I can only say what I’ve said before – the SSPX needs the Holy Father and the Holy Father needs them for the salvation of souls is at stake. In the meantime may I suggest that we tone down the rhetoric and simply pray for the success of the Holy Father’s initiatives and invoke the Holy Mother of God as our intercessor and protector.

    As an aside, I implore the bishops of the Church to avoid poring fuel on the fire of discontent for sometimes prudence is better than attacking the SSPX for lack of jurisdiction. What will it look like if the Holy Father grants them jurisdiction – a distinct possibility and some say probability in the weeks and months ahead? It’s going to look like they would be eligible for the “Sour Grapes” award and a not so enjoyable meal of crow. Anyway, that’s my take for what it’s worth.

  45. Deacon Augustine says:

    Fr. Deacon Daniel,

    To answer some of your questions on the diaconate in the Latin Church:

    No, the Latins have never questioned the status of the diaconate as a major and sacramental order. What has queered the pitch is a vocal campaign for women to be \”ordained\” as deacons and a study by the International Theological Commission on the diaconate which the feminists hoped would advocate for the \”ordination\” of women to the diaconate – but it didn\’t. There have thus been calls for the permanent diaconate to be scrapped in the Latin Church because it is not possible for women to be deacons, but the people who advocate this could hardly be described as \”Catholic\” or \”of the Church\” unless one has a very elastic understanding of the term.

    \”lay deacons\” … what sixupman probably meant was \”permanent deacons\” who can of course be married prior to ordination. There is no such thing as a \”lay deacon\” – the term is an oxymoron.

    \”So if candidacy for the diaconate no longer requires celibacy, if the Latins decided to reinstitute the subdiaconate at some point, presumably the lesser order would not require it (celibacy) as well. If there was a restoration of the subdiaconate then, would that not mean that it would be constituted as a Minor Order once again, since celibacy would not be required of all candidates?\”

    IF the subdiaconate were to be re-instituted (please God that it were) the requirement for celibacy would be dependent upon whether the recipient of the office were a candidate for the priesthood or the permanent diaconate. However, as the diaconate is already a major order which does not have a requirement for celibacy, I can\’t see that dropping the requirement for celibacy to the subdiaconate would necessiate its reclassification as a minor order. The normal Latin tradition could thus be re-instituted. I think it will be a while before we get a Pope who is ready to undo those Pauline innovations, however.

    \”I think that such Minor Orders should be restored to the Latins, and they should be open to married men, especially those who would like to discern diaconate.\”

    This was called for by the Fathers of the Council of Trent – it is one of those Tridentine reforms which the Church has just deferred for a few centuries. However, the decision at Trent was one of the justifications used for the restoration of the diaconate at Vatican II.

    \”I’m sure there were a few RC’s who read about this story thinking “What is a subdeacon?!?”

    I met a Ukrainian Greek Catholic subdeacon last year who had just set out on his quest for a wife before he could be ordained deacon. Is the practice the same in all the eastern Churches that a subdeacon is free to marry, or do any require that the decision for marriage/celibacy is made before the subdiaconate?

  46. Aaron says:

    Two things:

    1) According to the 1983 CIC, the clerical state begins with ordination to the diaconate (thus making it coterminous with the remaining major orders). While traditionalist orders continue to employ the minor orders, I believe canonists are in agreement that these orders no longer confer any canonical status.

    2) The real possibility of legal change tomorrow does not justify illicit behavior today. While I happen to think the subdiaconal ordinations are excusable because they no longer convey any standing in the Church – a standing the bishops of the SSPX are incapable of giving – we still need to be clear that the lifting of sanctions does not mean the offender was correct; it means, unless explicitly stated otherwise, he is forgiven. There is a real difference over which we must not crow but also must not sow confusion.

  47. alipius says:

    The problem lies at the basis. Too many liberal bongo-playing novus ordo freaks against too many scrupulously manicured trad-brats. Everybody thinks they’re the bee’s knees and nobody pays heed to the 2000 years stretching out behind them. If “My authentic catholicism can pee further than yours” is all there is to it, no wonder people don’t find a common ground. Drop your freaking pride and self-righteousness on both sides and remember that it is a whole culture, nay: a whole world, we have to save. The muzzies cetainly wont care whether our prelates wear a cappa or whether our sacro-pop-bands have 12-string guitars. They’re gonna get us one way or the other if we don’t get our act together.

  48. RBrown,

    It is, as they say, a matter of interpretation and reading the texts in light of Sacred Tradition. That said, while authoritative and infallible, no council can be said to have said the best thing at the best time in the best way in every respect. The same is true for the papacy.

    Deacon Augustine,

    Thank you for your very thorough explanation. I do think he was referring to those of us who are married as “lay deacons,” but I wanted to be sure that he was referring to some newfangled movement within the Latin Church for such a thing. (I’ve never liked “Rev. Mr.” for that very reason – the confusion it creates and the feel of “neither fish nor fowl” of “priests, 2nd class”.)

    My source for the question of the status of the diaconate as a major order within the Latin Church was the book by the ITC:

    “From the Diakonia of Christ to the Diakonia of the Apostles”

    http://www.ltp.org/p-786-from-the-diakonia-of-christ-to-the-diakonia-of-the-apostles.aspx

    I believe that reference was made there to the certain medieval questions regarding the place of the diaconate in the hierarchy, so fallen had our ordo become in the West after its Golden Age in the patristic era.

    I too hope to see the restoration of the subdiaconate among the Latins and am glad to see that traditional societies are working to ensure its use. Perhaps Pope Benedict has such a thing up his sleeve – one can only hope that this particular Pauline innovation will be done away with as part of the reform of the reform.

    Some within the East have called for a restoration of the role of deaconess in our Churches. Such a thing would be fascinating to study, but I think almost impossible to truly recover. I would think that such an ordo would and did exist along the lines of a minor order (ecclesiastical office), definitely not a major one in apostolic succession. Constantinople had a plethora of deaconesses very early on, mostly to assist with women baptisms as well as the charitable needs of women in a community. Insofar as that is concerned (at least the latter) it would not be such a bad thing. In this climate, however, it might be treated like the camel nose under the tent and would only lead to far more confusion and nonsense (or nunsense, ala Sr. Wanda B. Priest) that already exists.

    Regarding marriage, yes, as I understand it, subdeacons can marry and it is not uncommon for seminarians after completing their studies to return to their villages (or other villages) to seek out a wife for a year before ordination to the diaconate and to the priesthood. (No “lay priesthood” here either!)

    God bless and prayers for the upcoming ordinations to the subdiaconate.

  49. RBrown says:

    Deacon Augustine,

    1. There have been female “deacons” in the history of the Church. They have also existed in the houses of Women Carthusians and would read the Gospel at morning office. Neither, however, were considered to be Sacramental.

    2. The phrase “permanent deacon” is amusing because some of them have actually later been ordained to the priesthood. Having said that, I realize that “permanent” deacons have no right to sacerdotal ordination.

    3. IMHO, the permanent diaconate was a decent idea whose implementation has been a disaster. It has been turned into little else than a lay ministry.

    4. The Council of Trent did not call for minor orders being open to married men as a common practice. The text proposes an exception:

    And if there should not be unmarried clerics at hand to exercise the functions of the four minor orders, their place may be supplied by married clerics of approved life; provided they have not been twice married, be competent to discharge the said duties, and wear the tonsure and the clerical dress in church.

    4. There was a layman who was Vatican undersecretary of state who was murdered years ago. If memory serves, he was either in minor orders or a subdeacon.

  50. RBrown says:

    It is, as they say, a matter of interpretation and reading the texts in light of Sacred Tradition.

    Of course, that’s the problem. Certain texts are not in harmony with Sacred Tradition.

    That said, while authoritative and infallible, no council can be said to have said the best thing at the best time in the best way in every respect. The same is true for the papacy.
    Fr. Deacon Daniel

    The problem is not that certain texts are poorly written, but rather that they are inadequate (cf Presbyterorum Ordinis) or sloppy and incompetent (cf (SC, Ch IV).

    As I said above, I have more than once here noted specific problems of serious consequence.

    On a more positive note, I have also said that LG expands the authority of the ordinary universal magisterium.

  51. yeoldeacolyte says:

    I see the early signs of an equivalent of old time Gallicanism developing not only in France, but in Germany and the UK too. It has existed in the U.S. for years. The Vatican could use a “PR Czar” or a “Management Overseer”. Almost everything this team does or does not do with the pope’s knowledge and complicity turns out to be a public relations disaster.

    Heads need to roll far and wide.

  52. Matt says:

    With regards to the canoncial status of the Minor Order and the MAJOR order of the subdiaconate, these order STILL carry the legal standing they did in the past. This issue came up when Ecclesie Dei was first put into force.

    Those orders that (at that time and today) have permission to use the 1962 books may still ordain and impose the minor and MAJOR subdiaconate order(s). These offices still carry the SAME responsibilities and rights in the new order that they did in the old.

    To sum up the minor orders and the subdiaconate still exist, however you can only receive them through traditional orders. The New Order does not use them. This does not mean that the changes of Paul VI with regards to Acolyte automatically make anyone an Acolyte, Lector, etc.

    There is a proper ceremony for each minor order and for the subdiaconate. Each with it’s own beautiful and proper instruction to the seminarian. I think the whole idea of permanent deacons is short sighted. Men are on their way to the priesthood and each step (minor or major order) in the 7 year cycle forms the seminarian so that he man properly execute his responsibilites in the chuch. Despite what some may say each of the minor orders is ORDAINED. The only difference is no permanent mark is left on the seminarians soul as is with major orders.

    To say a lay man is an Acolyte is improper. A lay man may fulfill the duties of an Acolyte, but he will never BE an Acolyte. There is a very distinct difference that many who grow up in the NO do not understand until they research church legal history.

    The minor order of Acolyte was ORDAINED by a Bishop. The cermonial is as follows:

    The acolytate is the highest of the minor orders. The term is derived from a Greek word which signifies to follow, to accompany. The acolyte’s duty and privilege was and is to assist members of the major orders at the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice and other liturgical functions; he takes care of the light and serves the wine and water at holy Mass.

    Light was always extensively used at divine services, even in the Old Testament, because of its deep significance. To the symbolic reasons was added the practical necessity, when services were held at nighttime or, as it frequently happened during the times of persecution, in the catacombs.

    For a long time, acolytes performed other very important functions, at least in the Church of Rome. At the Communion of the Mass they received the sacred species in linen bags, hung around their neck, and presented them to the priest or bishop for distribution to the people. As we know from the story of St. Tarsicius, acolytes were employed to bring the Blessed Eucharist to the absent, especially the confessors of the faith detained in prison; they, likewise, carried consecrated particles from the pope’s Mass to the priests, who celebrated the sacred mysteries in the parish churches of Rome; finally, they were the bearers of the blessed bread, eulogia, which bishops exchanged among themselves as a symbol of their communion in the charity of Christ.

    In the course of time, however, some of these functions were discontinued, others were taken over by members of the major orders. And, because of the practical difficulty of having ordained acolytes stationed at every church, *laymen, especially boys, were admitted to act as Mass servers and torchbearers* (Note: NOT Acolyte), and the order of acolyte merely served as a transition to the major orders.

    If the acolytate is conferred during Mass, this is done: Saturday before Passion Sunday: after the Kyrie. Holy Saturday: after the Gloria. Saturdays of Ember weeks: after the fourth lesson. On other days, if the Mass has Gloria: after the Gloria; if the Mass has no Gloria: after the Kyrie.

    The Rite
    The Call. The bishop, with miter on sits on the faldstool before the middle of the altar. The archdeacon bids the candidates come forward; the notary reads their names:

    Let those come forward *who are to be ordained to the office of acolyte*: N. N., etc.

    Each one answers adsum, goes before the altar and kneels, holding the burning candle in his right hand.

    The Instruction. When all are assembled, the bishop addresses them as follows:

    *Dearly beloved sons, about to receive the office of acolyte*, consider what it is that you receive. The duty of the acolyte is to carry the candlestick; to light the lights of the church, to minister wine and water at the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

    Hence, endeavor to discharge worthily the office received. For you cannot be pleasing to God if in your hands you carry the light for God and in your works are slaves of darkness and thus give to your fellowmen the example of faithlessness.

    Rather, as the Truth says: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And as the apostle Paul says: “In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. Therefore, let your loins be girt and burning lamps in your hands, that you may be children of the light. Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light.”

    What is to be understood by that light on which the Apostle insists so much, he himself explains when he adds: “For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth.”

    Be fervent, therefore, in all justice and goodness and truth, that you may enlighten yourselves and others and the Church of God. For then you will worthily minister wine and water at the divine Sacrifice when you have offered yourselves as a sacrifice to God by a chaste life and good works. May the Lord in His mercy grant it to you.

    Here the candles are laid aside.

    The Bestowal of the Office. The bishop now presents to each candidate a candlestick with an unlighted candle. Each one touches both, the candlestick with the thumb, and the candle with the index finger of the right hand, while the bishop says:

    Receive the candlestick with the candle, and know that it is your duty to light the lights of the church in the name of the Lord.

    The acolyte answers: Amen.

    Then an empty cruet is presented to them. They touch it, while the bishop says:

    Receive the cruet, to minister wine and water for the Eucharist of the blood of Christ, in the name of the Lord.

    The acolyte answers: Amen.

    Prayer. The candidates kneel. The bishop rises, with miter on, and, turned toward them, prays:

    Dearly beloved brethren, let us humbly beseech God, the Father Almighty, to + bless these His servants in the order of acolyte, that as they carry the material light in their hands, they may also send forth a spiritual light by their conduct, through the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, who with Him and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns God, forever and ever. R. Amen.

    The bishop, with his miter off, turns to the altar and says:

    Let Us Pray
    Let us bend our knees. R. Amen.

    Turning again to the candidates kneeling before him, the bishop prays:

    Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, Thou hast sent the light of Thy glory into this world through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, and His apostles, and hast willed that, in order to blot out the ancient debt of our death He should be fastened to the most glorious standard of the Cross and that blood and water should flow from His side, for the salvation of the human race. Vouchsafe to + bless these Thy servants for the office of acolyte, that they may faithfully serve at Thy holy altars, attend to the lighting of Thy Church, and minister wine and water for the consecration of the blood of Christ, Thy Son, at the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Enkindle, O Lord, their minds and hearts with they love of Thy grace, so that, alight with they splendor of Thy countenance, they may faithfully serve Thee in holy Church. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

    Let Us Pray

    Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, who didst speak to Moses and Aaron that lamps should be lighted in the Tabernacle of the Testimony, bless + these Thy servants, that thy may be acolytes in Thy Church. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

    Let Us Pray

    Almighty, everlasting God, Fountain of light and Source of goodness, who has enlightened the world through Jesus Christ Thy Son, the true light, and hast redeemed it through the mystery of His Passion, vouchsafe to + bless these Thy servants whom we ordain to the office of acolyte. We beseech Thee in Thy mercy to illumine their minds with the light of knowledge, and to refresh them with the dew of Thy tender love, that with Thy help they may so fulfill the office assumed as to attain an everlasting reward. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

    Now I ask you, will the reinstitution of this ordained order spur youg men to the priesthood MORE than having laymen fulfill the position. For you men reading this: Would you have been more or less inclined to seek a vocation the priesthood had this ceremonial been offered to you when you were young? Does this ceremonial TEACH ALL the faithful the importance of this office or is this all just fluff and we are better off with young ladies and lay men fulfilling this office?

    I would argue that this public ordination to the office of Acolyte when done on a Sunday in a parish setting would really TEACH the faithful what the true meaning of what is happening on the alter.

  53. “Now I ask you, will the reinstitution of this ordained order spur youg men to the priesthood MORE than having laymen fulfill the position. For you men reading this: Would you have been more or less inclined to seek a vocation the priesthood had this ceremonial been offered to you when you were young? Does this ceremonial TEACH ALL the faithful the importance of this office or is this all just fluff and we are better off with young ladies and lay men fulfilling this office?

    I would argue that this public ordination to the office of Acolyte when done on a Sunday in a parish setting would really TEACH the faithful what the true meaning of what is happening on the altar.”

    Matt,

    An excellent post and an excellent point. Most definitely MORE inclined!

    God bless!

  54. “Certain texts are not in harmony with Sacred Tradition.”

    RBrown,

    Are you arguing for the fallibility of an ecumenical council?

  55. ALL: Beware rabbit holes.

  56. RBrown says:

    Are you arguing for the fallibility of an ecumenical council?
    Comment by Fr. Deacon Daniel

    Infallibility of the Church is a matter of doctrine.

    This has nothing to do with infallibility.

  57. Sean says:

    I am mystified. The pope in his recent letter re-emphasised that the bishops of the SSPX still do not exercise valid ministry in the church: a step has been made but not that one. Pray it may come soon but it has not yet. Hence they have no jurisdiction. Yet the tone of the comments here seems to suggest that most of the commentators think Benedict tacitly approves of the ordinations and that the German bishops are in the wrong. How, exactly, does that work?

    So far as I can see the German bishops are entirely in the right and entirely in the spirit of the Pope’s move when they say “no, we do not give permission for this” to bishops who have no jurisdiction. Pretending otherwise is closing one’s eyes to what the Holy Father has said in terms.

  58. Michael J says:

    But Sean,

    If the Holy Father does not prohibit an action (in this case, these consecrations) it *must* mean that he approves of them. He’s INFALLIBLE, you know

  59. Joe says:

    Paul Haley:
    “That is why I believe the only short term answer is an apostolic administration worldwide which guarantees the rights of Traditional Catholics to worship according to their conscience with priests and bishops who will minister to them.”
    I believe this is exactly the Church we have now, attended by many who do indeed consider themselves traditional Catholics.( My emphases- not to subvert Paul Haley’s comments- would be on “apostolic administration” and “to worship according to their conscience” and “priests and bishops who will minister to them”).
    Since the Catholic faith statistically is losing more adherents than any other religious affiliation according to recent statistics,we do need to find, pray for, and encourage some common ground. Moving an illicit ordination from one country to another seems like a slap in the face to a Pope who is desperately trying to encourage legitimate spiritual practice.

  60. Paul Haley says:

    Comment by Joe — 25 March 2009 @ 9:11 pm

    Paul Haley:
    “That is why I believe the only short term answer is an apostolic administration worldwide which guarantees the rights of Traditional Catholics to worship according to their conscience with priests and bishops who will minister to them.”
    I believe this is exactly the Church we have now, attended by many who do indeed consider themselves traditional Catholics( My emphases- not to subvert Paul Haley’s comments- would be on “apostolic administration” and “to worship according to their conscience” and “priests and bishops who will minister to them”).
    Since the Catholic faith statistically is losing more adherents than any other religious affiliation according to recent statistics,we do need to find, pray for, and encourage some common ground. Moving an illicit ordination from one country to another seems like a slap in the face to a Pope who is desperately trying to encourage legitimate spiritual practice.

    The important difference, I believe, is that bishops say the SSPX has no valid jurisdiction while the SSPX claims it has faculties due to “Ecclesia supplet” or the church supplies faculties in an emergency – i.e., the salvation of souls is at stake. The Holy See has offered the SSPX the “Rolls Royce” solution (independent apostolic administration), we are told, but the SSPX says: “Not so fast, there are doctrinal questions that must be resolved first and if we accept that juridical solution now, those doctrinal problems may never be resolved.” Of course I’m paraphrasing what I believe their position is and I have no way of knowing their true motivation. This much, however, I am sure of – the church needs the SSPX and the SSPX needs the Church and flare-ups such as are now happening in Germany do not help but, in fact, exacerbate the situation and, I put the imprudent remarks by Bishop Williamson in that category as well. Let us pray that reasonable men will overcome these obstacles for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls.