SSPX/Holy See development?

Do you remember I posted a note from Der Spiegel about the upcoming SSPX ordinations in Zaitzkofen, Germany?

A German bishop was worked up about the upcoming ordinations and SSPX Superior Bp. Fellay responded:

SPIEGEL: Regensburg’s Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller has denied the German Pius seminary in Zaitzkofen permission to ordain more priests. Will you adhere to the ban? 

Fellay: That was unnecessary and inappropriate.  All these events definitely are a setback for us. It throws us back by 10 years. But ordinations will continue to happen.

I think the SSPX reconsidered.

Catholic Church Conservation is all over the doings in German speaking countries.

Here is a recent entry:

According to a news agency, "The SSPX returns to Rome. The grouping which is not recognised by Rome have cancelled the ordinations planned for Saturday in Zaitzkofen in Bavaria."

 

I take this to mean that the leadership of the SSPX is really putting the best foot forward for relations with the Holy See.

If my interpretation is correct, this is very positive and the SSPX leadership is to be commended.

No doubt the young men awaiting ordination are disappointed.  You might say a prayer to your guardian angels to help comfort them.  But… they are now in the vanguard, if they take it well, of a great reconciliation. 

Their joy would be far far greater in the long run, I think, if this helps to smooth the process leading to the necessary talks on doctrine which must… must follow before long the lifting of the excommunications.

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81 Responses to SSPX/Holy See development?

  1. Geoffrey says:

    I am very impressed. The SSPX needs to continue their good public relations to help change confused hearts such as mine. Just wonderful.

  2. Aaron says:

    That is exactly the right move for the SSPX, and, in fact, the sort of move that might have kept things from going as far as they did so many decades ago. A positive development indeed.

  3. teresa says:

    On the official website of SSPX in Germany there is no information confirming this yet. Perhaps soon they will put an official announcement there.

    I am very confident. Last week Fr. Schmidberger, the district superior of Germany told the Newspaper DIE WELT in an interview, that he is sure that the brotherhood would have a steady place in the Church soon. But he insists on a solution, which will avoid possible conflicts in the future.

    He said that the SSPX is extremely thankful to the holy father. And he says that Monsig. Lefebvre has signed the document “Nostra Aetate”, and he says the brotherhood is open to dialogs, but he says it shouldn’t mean that the mission should be given up.

    The read the whole interview in German:
    http://www.welt.de/welt_print/article3416248/Der-Papst-meint-es-ehrlich-mit-uns.html

  4. What makes this a “right move” is the will to comply with the mind of the Holy See in principal, something that was previously missing once both parties would leave the negotiating table. The question remains, how will the Holy See match this show of good will? Wouldn’t such a point-for-point match be a sign of continued good faith?

  5. GCC Catholic says:

    It seems too, along with this being a sign of good will, that the SSPX sees regularization in the foreseeable future. I don’t think they would find it reasonable to postpone ordinations if they saw the irregular situation as one that would remain indefinitely.

    Oremus!

  6. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    Absolutely wonderful news! The Society will be a power for good within the rank and file of the Church. I am a priest, and cannot wait for the day when I can work side by side with my SSPX brethren. Thank you, Mgr Fellay! You are a true son of Mgr Lefebvre, a true son of the Church.

  7. Symeon says:

    What will happen if the SSPX are regularized but won’t be let into any dioceses?

  8. Merriweather says:

    I think the rumor is bogus.

    There is absolutely no reason for them to suspend the ordinations and I don’t see +Fellay doing that.

    Under any structure they would not be taking order from diocesan bishops, so what +Muller had to say wouldn’t matter.

  9. Michael says:

    If the information is correct, Bishop’s Fellay has scored a point, and proved that he is on top of the Bishop of Regensburg, who in his turn has proved that he simply wants to make the reconciliation difficult. If the Holy Father did not ask Fellay to hold on, why should have Bishop Muller interfered, unless he had vested interests in aggravating the situation. His statement in public was quite inappropriate under the circumstances: he knew that there was nothing he could do about it if Fellay chose to proceed as he had been doing for years. He could have established a contact with Fellay privately, and suggested him to refrain until the Pope has settled from his journey. And I am sure Fellay would have responded adequately.

    Bishop Fellay’s statement: “But ordinations will continue to happen” shouldn’t be taken as a threat that he will proceed as planned, but that the ordinations will eventually take place sooner or later, which is simply a statement of fact.

  10. Didymus says:

    Could Bishop Muller offer to ordain these young men?

  11. That would be a wonderful sign of reconciliation. A big, big gift to the Holy Father himself. Let us pray that SSPX have the courage to make such sacrifice for the love of the Church.

  12. Martin says:

    Could Bishop Muller offer to ordain these young men?

    Yes, and after that take the Anti-Modernist Oath.

    Consider it done.

  13. Ottaviani says:

    Could Bishop Muller offer to ordain these young men?

    I’m sure Hell will freeze over before this happens…

  14. Merriweather says:

    I doubt the men would want to be ordained by +Muller and I *seriously* doubt +Muller would offer to ordain them. He wants to close the seminary.

  15. Such a gracious overture from the SSPX as the suspension of ordinations for otherwise well-prepared candidates ought be met with an equally gracious gesture from Rome, hopefully in the form of rapid canonical regularization. Maybe by the end of the year? Those men deserve (in the human sense) to be ordained as soon as possible.

    ~cmpt

  16. Rachel says:

    It sounds too good to be true. I agree, if the SSPX is doing this to put the best foot forward, it’s very positive.

    The pope’s reputation was hurt by the Williamson flap. Perhaps the SSPX’s new, more tractable behavior can mend what was marred. If they let Benedict bring them to reconciliation and (*gasp*) obedience, it will be a remarkable accomplishment for the pope, something well beyond the ability of his critics. His generous actions will be vindicated.

    Look at it this way. The left-wing media and others have been foaming and snapping as if the SSPX were beyond the pale of civilization. The pope has been making efforts to reconcile them, while gently rebuking the rabid critics for “biting and devouring”. (Just read his letter again; it’s beautiful.) The SSPX now has the power to make the pope look wise and make the critics look unhinged. All they have to do is justify the pope’s confidence in them by trusting him in their turn. That’s exactly what Archbishop Lefebvre failed to do on the eve of the unauthorized consecrations. Now there seems to be a chance to live that sad moment over again and get it right this time. What an opportunity! We’ve got to pray.

    Perhaps God meant the Williamson affair for good. The SSPX had to see and appreciate what the pope was willing to suffer on their behalf, how he didn’t withdraw his hand even though the media was trying to bite it off. Maybe it’s made them more willing to take some painful hits in their turn, by postponing ordinations, for example. It’s just about too good to believe, but I pray it’s so.

  17. My prayers will be with the young men that they may patiently await when their ordinations may be both valid and licit, and I commend this apparently very positive step from Bishop Fellay. I must say, he really has been incredibly gracious during this time, and I think he seems to be displaying a tremendous sensitivity to the flak that the Holy Father is taking. I pray that all involved remain open to God’s work and that unity indeed will be achieved for the strengthening of Mother Church.

    My anti-spam word is continuity. Very appropriate :)

  18. Merriweather says:

    @Rachel

    It was not +Lefebvre who failed. He was unjustly persecuted by the liberals for years.

  19. Dominic says:

    Hmm… Don’t get your hopes up. This news would really surprise me. I thinkit would be better to quietly wait and see. (Father, had you considered that you might create a negative backlash if this rumor proves false? Small scale, perhaps, but your blog is popular…!)

  20. boredoftheworld says:

    I’m inclined to think this might be logistical rather than an actual development. Supposing Bishop Williamson was scheduled to ordain, he can’t really go to Germany right now…

  21. Luigi says:

    Merriweather: It was not +Lefebvre who failed. He was unjustly persecuted by the liberals for years.

    Come now. You can’t be totally serious. How about it was both. A cavalier attitude about unauthorized episcopal ordinations doesn’t do the cause of traditionalism any favors. The defiance exhibited by Abp Lefebvre in these ordinations was no small matter. Abp Emmanuel Milingo incurred the same penalty as Abp Lefebvre for doing the same thing. We wouldn’t dismiss his failing, would we? Just because Abp Lefebvre’s ecclisiology is more palatable doesn’t make his defiance any more so.

  22. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    Luigi: Puh-lease! Milingo is a madman, Lefebvre was a hero.

  23. Merriweather says:

    @Luigi

    After 20 years, it’s clearer every day that +Lefebvre was right.

    As for the ordinations, I think they will go on as scheduled. Not sure how many in Germany, but I know 9 are scheduled to be ordained in June at the Winona seminary.

  24. If they cancel the ordinations, it is (hopefully) a step in the right direction. If the SSPX has done so because they realize that continuing illicit ordinations goes against the unity with the Church, it is the right direction.

    If it is a case of “playing nice” until they get sanctioned and then going back to what they were doing anyway, that is reprehensible.

    I won’t pretend to know which one it was. I do hope the SSPX does not betray what the Pope has done for them though.

  25. Michael J says:

    Luigi: Just because Abp Lefebvre’s ecclisiology is more palatable doesn’t make his defiance any more so

    Why not? Rosa Parks, for example, is honored and admired for her defiance. Is this wrong, or is it acceptable to understand that it is a gross oversimplification to condemn defiance in and of itself.

  26. Anthony says:

    Perhaps the SSPX will ask Rome\’s permission before going through with the ordinations. I mean it allows them to show deference to Rome, and I can not see why Rome would not allow them to ordain. I mean yes you may argue they lack faculties and whatnot, however it\’d be a massive blow to the negotiations for Rome to deny them permission to ordain priests.

  27. Andrew says:

    From what I understand of Germany the ordinations of which we speak here were not priestly ordinations. This Saturday is Sitientes, traditionally a day when ordination would happen. The SSPX typically ordains subdeacons and occasionally minor orders on this day.

    Typically in th Northern Hemisphere, the SSPX ordains deacons and priests the Friday or Saturday closest to the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. In the Southern, on the weekend following or closest to Christmas.

    It is possible that those to whom the subdiaconate was to be given are no longer at the seminary. It is also possible that they have had practical issues given that the other three bishops are having to cover the scheduled duties of +Williamson.

    I cannot imagine that there would be a cancellation of the ordination of in the U.S. what could be at least 9, but perhaps as many as 12 priests without certain assurances. I am not aware of numbers in other countries, but given the workload of the current priests, there would need to be serious assurances in order to justify this to the faithful who support the SSPX and to the men who were to be ordained.

    Perhaps a decent way of approaching things would be to ask permission directly from the Holy See to ordain these men and temporarily incardinate them into the Society (as a sign of good will on the part of the SSPX) with an assurance that the Holy See would tolerate these irregular acts (as a sign of good will from the Holy Father) until such a time as doctrinal discussions had produced a workable canonical resolution. I know that seems silly to make such empty signs, but to most, it would demonstrate that both side are willing to work reasonably in order to resolve things.

  28. Nick says:

    I’m confused. So the SSPX bishops agreed to obey the likes of Müller? Whatever for?

  29. Deacon Augustine says:

    Maybe its got nothing to do with relations with Rome at all. After all, the Holy See isn’t offended by the Constantinople communion continuing to ordain their clergy, and their excomms were lifted back in the 1960′s.

  30. Merriweather says:

    Some of you are still speaking as though the SSPX was a schismatic group. The SSPX has *never* been schismatic.

  31. This would be such a sign of obedience! Even in their days of regular conformance the SSPX was NEVER a order of the Pontifical Right, so, yes, they owe their local bishop obedience.

  32. John Enright says:

    I hope and pray that you are right, Father. Nothing would be more gratifying than SSPX entering into full communion with the Bishop of Rome.

  33. John R says:

    Indeed, there are at least nine SSPX deacons scheduled to be ordained on June 19 in Winona, MN. Of these, one is personal friend with whom I went to highschool when I was in the SSPX, and two others are well known acquaintances. As much as it pains me (and them) to have their Ordinations delayed (if this is the case), I would be overjoyed for the delay if it meant their Ordinations would occur later under legimitate conditions and for which I could in good conscience be present.

    John R. from South Jersey

  34. Luigi says:

    Sacerdos ignotus: Luigi: Puh-lease! Milingo is a madman, Lefebvre was a hero.

    LOL! Yea, Milingo is a madman, which is what makes him such a good example of the point I am making. Milingo wasn’t excommunicated for being a madman, he was excommunicated for performing illicit episcopal ordinations.

    If you want to make a case for Abp. Lefebvre being a hero in his outspoken disgust for the false “spirit of Vatican II,” fine, but however you slice it, ordaining these bishops in defiance of Rome was not a heroic act. The means only justify the ends in this case because you’re sympathetic to the cause. The Lord may indeed bring good from all of this, in fact I fully expect it, but that in no way means that the Lord willed his disobedience.

    I favor much of what the SSPX stands for, but implying that Lefebvre’s act of thumbing his nose at the Successor to St. Peter was an act of heroism, with all due respect, is flat out irresponsible.

  35. Andrew says:

    John,

    There were 9 deacons ordained last year in Winona, MN for the SSPX. In December, we played host in Kansas City to what may be the last ordinations that Bishop Williamson will confer, where one American priest who studied in Goldburn was ordained along with an American subdeacon who has been studying at Winona and was delayed. If he is ordained deacon in the next few weeks when the other subdeacons are ordained, then he would likely be number 10 for the priesthood in June.

    There is also at least one, though I’ve heard two deacons who for various reasons have remained deacons for a number of years who might be ordained as well, bring the number to 11 or 12. That would be the largest class ever ordained in the U.S. by the SSPX and would be a number more than would be ordained in Econe.

    As an SSPX supporter, I would very happily trade a delay here for at least a “it’s not 100 percent okay, but go ahead” from the Holy See if it would help relations. If it has no major effect for the Pope whether these ordinations are delayed (the only person who really matters here) then there’s no good reason not to go ahead for now.

    I can’t imagine that a juridical structure will come before a number of major doctrinal discussion and resolutions have been hashed out. That’s not likely to happen by June. Rushing it seems a very bad idea if we’re going to get these clarifications right.

    As another thought, given the difficulties of the reduced number of bishops, perhaps they will cancel the German ordinations and simply move them to Econe.

  36. Luigi says:

    Michael: Why not? Rosa Parks, for example, is honored and admired for her defiance. Is this wrong, or is it acceptable to understand that it is a gross oversimplification to condemn defiance in and of itself.

    Seriously? You’re equating the legitimate authority of the Church and the Vicar of Christ with racist public oridnances? If this is the best example you can come up with for applauding Lefebvre’s disobedience, I rest my case:

    There’s an irrational veneration for the person of Lefebrvre among some traditionalists that borders on cult worship. It also happens to be unrelated to the actual cause he sought to promote and only serves as a distraction from legitimate concerns.

  37. Merriweather says:

    @Luigi

    As the inscription on his tomb reads, “I have passed on what I have received.”

    Just because the pope is the supreme authority in the Church, does not mean he is not bound to treat his subjects *justly* . You will have a pretty hard time proving that +Lefebvre was being treated fairly by JPII or Paul VI or by the liberals he infuriated by refusing to cooperate in their disastrous “new springtime”.

  38. Luigi says:

    Merriweather –

    No one needs to prove that Lefebvre was treated justly or fairly. That you even mention this indicates that you’re missing the point entirely.

    Was St. Pio being fairly treated by Pius XI? The lives of the Saints and Scripture itself attests to the Lord’s high esteem for obedience to legitimate authority.

    Applauding disobedience to the Holy Father when it concerns a cause you happen to like is shortsighted, and not in keeping with the traditional Catholic faith that Lefebvre himself was determined to preserve. The kind of disobedience we’re discussing, illicitly ordaining bishops in direct defiance of the pope, is serious business and it’s a two-edged sword that isn;t always going to seem so charming.

    The broader point is that this quasi-canonization of Lefebvre turns an otherwise praiseworthy cause into a caricature of what it actually stands for.

  39. Merriweather says:

    @Luigi

    It’s not irrational. Do you even know what that word means?

    I submit that you have an irrational hatred for the man. You seem to have what Chris Ferrera dubbed “neo-catholic sour grapes.” Very appropriate phrase. I for one, am not going to let your nasty, factually inaccurate comments about him go unanswered.

    Oh, and it’s +Lefebvre or Archbishop Lefebvre. Not “Lefebvre” . Try showing a little more respect.

  40. Luigi says:

    Fine, Merriwether. Engage in hero-worship like a teenaged fool in a fan club all you want. I am not at all concerned about how silly you look as a result, only that it detracts from the real matter at hand.

  41. Merriweather says:

    @Luigi

    If anyone is “detracting from the matter at hand” it is you and your insistence on disparaging +Lefebvre.

    Your disdain for the legitimate practice of honoring the life and work of a *very holy man* make you sound like a protestant.

    I suppose that all those fools praying for the canonization of +Sheen are silly? And the Catholics praying for Pius XII’s canonization are guilty of “hero-worship” ?

  42. David says:

    No. These are diaconate ordinations. The SSPX can’t afford to hold off priestly ordinations until an agreement is reached. Such an agreement could take years to reach. And I’m reasonably sure the ordinations were canceled for a much more practical reason, but I could be wrong. Either way, it’s premature to read so much into this.

  43. Let us continue to pray!

  44. Luigi says:

    Merriweather –

    I mean no ill will here. Calling disobedience to the Church and defiance of the Holy Father by its name is not a matter of disparaging the Archbishop personally. It’s simply a fact that this is what happened.

    It’s a slippery slope when we start lauding disobedience like this. It plays right into the hands of the “primacy of conscience” crowd.

    The bigger point to me, however, is that there’s a generation or more of people who haven’t been well-catechized and who need to hear what traditionalists have to say. This insistance that Abp Lefebvre’s actions are beyond any reproach whatsoever, especially in the matter of these illicit epsicopal ordinations, only serves to overshadow the message – which is all about embracing Tradition, not about embracing the Archbishop himself.

    It’s going to be important for traditionalists to spark in others a love for Tradition similar to their own. But trying to spark the kind of esteem for everything Abp Lefebvre did such as we’re discussing here will only get in the way of that.

    These are my opinions. I’m OK if you don’t like them, and I harbor no ill will toward you for disagreeing. I aplogize for any personal affronts along the way. God bless you, brother.

  45. MichaelJ says:

    Luigi,
    You entirely missed the point. You seem to be preaching blind obedience, and I was merely pointing out that there are cases (few, I’ll grant)where disobedience to legitimately constituted authority is not only justified, it is laudable. Lest I be accused of being an irrational hero-worshipper, I am not defending Archbishop Lefebvre’s actions. Instead, I am expecting that you, who brought forth the accusation, demonstrate that his actions were not justified. Merely pointing to an act of disobedience is insufficient.

  46. Geoffrey says:

    “Do all within the Church, act only within the Church! We must beware of putting ourselves against our Mother… Sweet is the hand of the Church, even when it batters us!”

    —Saint “Padre” Pio of Pietrelcina, Il Calvario, Vol. I, p. 260

  47. John Enright says:

    Geoffrey: Great quote!

  48. Merriweather says:

    “The servility of the sycophants-false prophets-as they were branded by the true Old Testament prophets, those who shy from and shun every collision, who prize above all their calm complacency *is not true obedience*. What the church needs are not adulators of the status quo, but men whose humility and obedience are not less than their passion for the truth: men who face every misunderstanding and attack as they bear witness; men who, in a word, love the Church more than ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny.” – Fr. Josef Ratzinger, 1962

  49. Geoffrey says:

    “Obedience makes us this happy exchange: renunciation of our own will for God’s will. For this reason the saints loved obedience. It is said of St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus that, not only did she obey orders promptly, but she experienced intense pleasure in doing so–her whole aspect expressing the joy she found in obeying” (Divine Intimacy #120-2 by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD).

    “The will of God is expressed in His commandments, in the precepts of the Church, in the duties of our state in life… Indeed, as St. Paul says, ‘There is no power but from God’ (Rom 13:1), so that by obeying our lawful superiors, we can be certain that we are obeying God” (Divine Intimacy #120-1 by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD).

  50. Merriweather,

    I’m pretty sure St. Pio de Pietrelcina wasn’t prizing calm complacency above all when he willingly submitted to the humiliations wrought upon him by his enemies in the Curia. He was embracing Christ’s cross. And this humble endurance of suffering eventually convinced Pius XI (and Paul VI, mind you) of his earnestness.

    I’m pretty sure that Paul VI would likewise have been a lot more favourable to the Traditionalist cause if Mons. Lefèbvre had acted in like manner.

  51. Sixupman says:

    Gideon Ertner:

    With respect you are not comparing like with like. Had Msgr. Lefebvre not stood his ground, against the European hierarchies, we would not be where we are to-day. No indeed, Mother Church would have succumbed almost totally to Modernism and the nonsense which can be experienced throughout Europe, with Linz being a prime example.. The attack on Msgr. Lefebvre was by local bishops jealous of a successful traditional seminary and matters escalated from that point.

  52. Michael says:

    Merriweather
    “Under any structure they would not be taking order from diocesan bishops, so what +Muller had to say wouldn’t matter”. If you mean that the SSPX shouldn’t accept any solution that would make them in any way dependent on local bishops, I would agree:
    nothing short of an universal ex-territorial jurisdiction, subject to the Holy See only, should they accept. Otherwise, they would sign a death sentence, instead of retaining their independence, and thus being the right hand to the Pope.

    However, they have to accept the Vatican II and other documents, since (and including) John XXIII. The Pope might chose to give them time to study, and realize their errors – after all there are many more serious errors among the bishops and clergy of the “conciliar” Church, while they all are “in full communion” with the Pope – but ultimately, they have do come to terms with the Church, and forget the idea that they alone are the true Church and an incarnation of the “Church of all time”. They are an anomaly rather than the latter.

  53. seanie says:

    Update at Chris Gillibrand’s site :
    http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2009/03/sspx-ordinations-cancelled.html

    “Further information received

    The ordinations to the subdiaconate at Zaitzkofen are cancelled only in so far of being held at Zaitzkofen. The seminarians are being transfered to Econe in Switzerland for the ordinations.

    This is a following demands of the German Bishops Conference.”

  54. Merriweather says:

    With respect to Gillibrand, whose site I frequent, I’ll wait to hear it from +Fellay. I can’t believe the SSPX would give a hoot what the German Bishop’s Conference has to say about anything. Actually, I can’t see why anyone would give a hoot about the German Bishop’s Conference.

  55. Ann says:

    I so hope that this move is permanent, and that full communion and the good that can come of it will happen soon. I have been praying for unity with every rosary for years. We need to work as one, and obedience to the Holy See is the best path for a visible unity. We also need our separated Catholic brethren and they need us. It is when communion is maintained that the greatest good comes about.

    The SSPX have potential to do much good.

    I so want to see the SSPX come to Rome and submit and then commit to bringing the best of what Vat II is supposed to be to their own people and thus become a positive influence on the entire Church.

  56. Josephus muris saliensis says:

    UPDATE:

    as already reported above by seanie, this really is a non-story, and it would be better to not to raise false hopes by perpetuating it. If there is a story, it is the correct pastoral solicitude of the SSPX not to spoil the boys’ ordination day by having it surrounded by controversy and protest from the German bishops.

    “The ordinations to the subdiaconate at Zaitzkofen are cancelled only in so far of being held at Zaitzkofen. The seminarians are being transfered to Econe in Switzerland for the ordinations.

    This is a following demands of the German Bishops Conference.”

  57. RBrown says:

    If you want to make a case for Abp. Lefebvre being a hero in his outspoken disgust for the false “spirit of Vatican II,” fine, but however you slice it, ordaining these bishops in defiance of Rome was not a heroic act. The means only justify the ends in this case because you’re sympathetic to the cause. The Lord may indeed bring good from all of this, in fact I fully expect it, but that in no way means that the Lord willed his disobedience.

    I favor much of what the SSPX stands for, but implying that Lefebvre’s act of thumbing his nose at the Successor to St. Peter was an act of heroism, with all due respect, is flat out irresponsible.
    Comment by Luigi

    It would be helpful to know something of the history of the SSPX before the 1988 consecrations.

    There was no problem with either the Archbishop or the Fraternity until the French bishops, then much occupied with their program to destroy the Church in France, complained to Rome. They objected to young men going to seminary in Econe, then returning to work in France.

    Rome sympathized with their complaints, and the Archbishop was ordered to close his seminary and ordain no more priests. He refused and was suspended a divinis. This happened in the mid 70′s, more than 10 years before the episcopal consecrations.

    Not to defend the disobedience of the Archbishop, but it’s no secret that during the papacy of Paul VI there was systematic persecution of priests who wanted to say mass in Latin, esp using the Gregorian Rite. Further, events of the past few years have made public that for years priests involved in the sexual scandals were treated better by chanceries than those who wanted to say mass in Latin.

  58. seanie says:

    A comment posted on Rorate Caeli:

    Official “communiqué” by Mgr Fellay

    A la demande du Saint-Siège, nous avons décidé de déplacer les ordinations du
    sous-diaconat qui devaient avoir lieu à Zaitzkofen, en Allemagne, ce samedi 28 mars.
    Elles auront lieu au séminaire d’Ecône, en Suisse, à la même date.

    Cette décision se veut un geste d’apaisement après la levée des injustes condamnations
    qui pesaient sur les évêques de la Fraternité et les violentes réactions qui
    s’ensuivirent. De fait, nous regrettons que certains épiscopats en aient profité pour
    mener une fronde ouverte contre le Souverain Pontife. Nous sommes particulièrement
    écœuré par l’attitude de l’épiscopat allemand qui n’a de cesse de nous manifester son
    hostilité dénuée de charité et ses continuels procès d’intention, nous traitant « avec
    haine, sans crainte ni réserve », comme l’a justement relevé le Saint-Père dans sa
    lettre du 10 mars dernier.

    Nous savons que notre situation, au regard du droit de l’Eglise, est imparfaite. Ceci
    n’est pas nouveau et est intimement lié à la crise que traverse l’Eglise et à l’état
    de nécessité qui en découle. Dès lors, il ne sert à rien d’invoquer le droit pour tenter
    d’étouffer la vie de notre société sacerdotale. Les autres ordinations auront lieu
    comme prévu ; jamais il n’a été question de les supprimer. En effet, l’acte bienveillant
    du Saint-Siège ne saurait être interprété comme une volonté d’asphyxier la Fraternité
    Saint-Pie X.

    Nous nous en tenons au calendrier indiqué par le décret du 21 janvier dernier qui prévoit des « entretiens nécessaires » au sujet du concile Vatican II et de ses nouveautés. Nous réitérons au Saint Père l’assurance de notre prière pour que de ces discussions doctrinales jaillisse la pleine lumière de la Vérité tout entière.

    Menzingen, le 24 mars 2009

    + Bernard Fellay

  59. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    Father, can you declare that Luigi and Merriweather’s argument over the late Archbishop L. is a rabbithole and they should *take it to email*?

    I fail to see how this rehashing of old grievance has anything to do with the SSPX and any possible decisions to move, delay or not any possible ordinations to minor orders in one place. IMHO their discussion is OT as well as being an all-consuming black hole (the astronomical kind) that is taking over the comment thread altogether.

    (But perhaps I just haven’t had enough coffee yet today.)

  60. Chris says:

    So now it appears that the Vatican is the one telling the SSPX not to stop the ordinations but to move them to Econe. So the Holy See doesn’t say “don’t ordain priests” they just say “do it somewhere else.”

    That’s a great move on their part and shows they’re moving in the direction of the SSPX and not the other way around.

    Now that’s the “progress” I want to see!

  61. Brian Mershon says:

    As far as I can tell, subdiaconate as an “ordainable” order was suppressed by Pope Paul VI. Therefore, even though all of the traditional orders continue to use these minor orders and “ordain” their seminarians, technically, the SSPX cannot be “disobeying” anyone because the Church does not recognize the subdiaconate.

  62. dymphna says:

    Poor seminarians. It can’t be much fun being pawn in someone else’s game.

  63. Press Release in English here

  64. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    @ Brian Mershon

    Regarding the minor orders and subdiaconate, it is my understanding that ordination to these no longer have any juridical effect in canon law other than what is given for installation to the ministries of lector and acolyte. However, the spiritual effects are still transmitted in the ordination. Although I have not seen this from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, this is in substance what I read from Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz a few years ago–and it matches the position of Archbishop Lefebvre. Msgr. Bruskewitz also seems to hold the position that in light of ecclesial and liturgical developments since 1988, the 1983 Code of Canon Law is outdated since it does not take into account the whole Ecclesia Dei and Summorum Pontificum milieu.

  65. Brian Mershon says:

    Mr. Hoag. Agree wholeheartedly. I think there was an article on this subject in Latin Mass Magazine a few years ago.

    Personally, I think the suppression of the minor orders was not a good thing for the Priesthood or the Church.

  66. Chris says:

    Now THIS is a strong bishop!

    Communiqué of +Fellay:

    At the request of the Holy See, we have decided to move the ordinations to the sub-diaconate that were to take place at Zaitzkofen, this Saturday, 28th March. They will take place in Ecône Seminary, on the same date.

    This decision is intended to be a gesture of assuagement after the lifting of the unjust excommunications which were imposed on the Fraternity’s bishops and the violent reactions which followed. In fact, we regret that certain Episcopacies have used it to lead an open rebellion against the Sovereign Pontiff. We are particularly disgusted by the attitude of the German Episcopacy, which has not ceased to show uncharitable hostility and its continious imputations, treating us with ‘hatred, without fear or reserve’ as the Holy Father rightly noted in his letter on the 10th March.

    We know that our situation, in regard to the law of the Church, is imperfect. This is not new and is intimately connected to the crisis which crosses the Church and the state of necessity which arises. It therefore serves no purpose to invoke the right to strangle the life of our priestly society. The ordinations will go ahead, as planned; there has never been a question of supressing them. The benevolent act of the Holy See cannot be seen as a wish to choke the FSSPX.

    We are keeping to the time framework indicated by the decree of 21st January which foresees ‘necessary discussions’ on the subject of the Second Vatican Council and its novelties. We reiterate to the Holy Father the assurance of prayer that out of these doctrinal discussions will emerge the light of Truth in its entirety.

    Menzingen, 24th March 2009,

    + Bernard Fellay

  67. Josephus muris saliensis says:

    Yes, this new detailed information changes the situation to one far more positive. In fact one quite extraordinary. What we see, in effect, is a cooperation (granted only on the external question of the date, but cooperation nonetheless) between the Holy See and the FFPX in the matter of sacerdotal ordinations.

    We would have thought such a thing possible? What comes from it LOUD AND CLEAR, is that they are NOT schismatic. When did the Holy See ever involve itself in the arrangements of schismatic ordinations?!

    Chris is right, too, Fellay acts and writes like a bishop. A shame other ordinaries could not follow his example of dignity, and dare one say, loyalty.

  68. Hidden One says:

    Hmmm… we have a pincer situation. The SSPX and Pope Benedict vs. the German Bishops’ Conference. I like it so far.

    When the SSPX’s siutation becomes “perfect”, it will be quite an event. The Pope needs more in-Vatican allies.

  69. ALL: I don’t like the way this entry degenerated in respect to the tone.

    A couple people will sit out for a while.

  70. Wm. Christoper Hoag says:

    Brian Mershon said: <>

    A decade ago I was toying with the idea of writing an article calling for the restoration of the minor orders AS PERMANENT MINISTRIES IN THE CHURCH OPEN TO FULLY INITIATED MALES. I also wanted to explore in the same article the idea of restoring the clerical state to tonsure. In the background I had an image of the Papal States prior to the reforms of Bl. Pius IX.

    Alas, I never actually got beyond info gathering in this project.

    But returning to the issue of the relocated FSSPX subdiaconal ordinations–in fact all contemporary subdiaconal ordinations in the Latin Church, the celibacy issue aside, the Church really needs a juridical ruling as whether or not daily recitation of the Office is obligatory for these men.

  71. Paul Haley says:

    It seems that this is a diplomatic gesture by Bishop Fellay so as not to exacerbate relations with either the local Ordinary in Germany or the Holy See. It brings up the matter of the doctrinal discussions and the status of same.

    Bishop Fellay has consistently said that those discussions must come before any juridical solution for the SSPX. And so, the question is: What is the status of those discussions and have they even begun? Apparently, unless they have been taking place in secret, there is nothing to report and no change in the status of the SSPX, and, by consequence, no intent on the part of the SSPX to discontinue ordinations.

    The exact meaning of ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality, the “old Covenant ” still being in effect, etc, – these are stumbling blocks that must be overcome otherwise there will appear to be two religions and the faithful in the pews will continue to be confused. Diabolical disorientation anyone? I can only repeat what another blogger friend has said: “Wotta Mess!”

    That said, I think a few more comments on timing are appropriate here, to wit: what comes first – the chicken or the egg? Does recognition by the Holy Father in the form of faculties given to the SSPX bishops and priests come before doctrinal discussions are completed or vice versa? However, I hasten to add that the Holy Father could grant temporary faculties in a heartbeat if he deemed it necessary. That he hasn’t speaks volumes, I think. In a word he does not want these discussions to fail.

    Frankly, considering the import of the issues involved (doctrinal), I believe those issues must come first. In that regard I don’t think much will happen until after Easter when the principals are freed from their responsibilities in the Lenten season and other liturgical functions and can devote the needed time and reflection to the issues involved.

  72. It seems the the SSPX has been given an opportunity to demonstrate its loyalty to the Holy See, and has done so. This can only be a very good thing.

    The SSPX will, I predict, be canonically regularised by Rome at some future date. But it might never be accepted by some bishops’ conference, or at least will be subjected by them to impossible restrictions (look at what some bishops are trying to do to “Summorum Pontificum”). In that event, I wonder who will be the “schismatics”.

  73. Fr. Angel says:

    I am very relieved to read Bishop Fellay’s statement, as I personally felt upset at the idea of the SSPX cancelling ordinations. As important as gestures are, the spiritual needs of people who rely on SSPX ministrations does not go on vacation because of improving relations between the Holy See and the SSPX.

    There is no question of ordaining heretics here, or men who pose a threat to the faithful. Thus, IMO, the SSPX should continue ordaining their subdeacons, deacons, and priests full steam ahead. They are immediately and desperately needed by good Catholics who still appreciate the role of Holy Orders in the life of the Church.

    If any ordinations should be delayed or canceled, it should be the candidates within the Church who are heterodox or just profoundly confused by the bizarre doctrines/liturgical anomalies of their “spirit of Vatican II” bishops. Those bishops, and their malformed candidates, are far more danger to the unity of the Church than what comes out of the SSPX.

  74. billy says:

    I love Bishop Williamson I do!!! All my love to you Rick!

  75. Greg Smisek says:

    Chris wrote: “So now it appears that the Vatican is the one telling the SSPX not to stop the ordinations but to move them to Econe. So the Holy See doesn’t say “don’t ordain priests” they just say “do it somewhere else.””

    Josephus muris saliensis wrote: “What we see, in effect, is a cooperation (granted only on the external question of the date, but cooperation nonetheless) between the Holy See and the FFPX in the matter of sacerdotal ordinations.”

    This is a misreading of what little we know of the Holy See’s involvement. How indeed could the Holy See approve, either tacitly or expressly, of Catholic bishops suspended a divinis (canon 1333) ordaining men to the subdiaconate (in this case) or to the diaconate or priesthood? In addition, in the case of diaconal and priestly ordination, the candidates would not thereby be incardinated into a diocese or other legitimate canonical body, violating canon 265: “unattached [acephali] or transient [vagi] clerics are not allowed at all.”

    It seems much more likely that the Holy See is simply doing what it can to prevent the further escalation of hostilities between the German conference of bishops and the SSPX, without any support, implicit or explicit, for the actual ordinations.

  76. RBrown says:

    Greg Smisek,

    The SSPX has never been out of touch with Rome. As a matter of fact, when I was in Rome, a fellow student, who had just returned from the Vatican, said that he had gone into a Cardinal’s office only to see an SSPX bishop sitting there shooting the breeze with him.

  77. RBrown says:

    The SSPX will, I predict, be canonically regularised by Rome at some future date. But it might never be accepted by some bishops’ conference, or at least will be subjected by them to impossible restrictions (look at what some bishops are trying to do to “Summorum Pontificum”). In that event, I wonder who will be the “schismatics”.
    Comment by Dr. Peter H. Wright

    The SSPX currently has properties in many of those nations where bishops would be hostile toward them.

  78. Greg Smisek says:

    RBrown,

    Right. It is precisely because the SSPX has never been out of touch with Rome that this most recent intervention by the Holy See does not signify any shift, and certainly not approval of the SSPX’s illicit ordinations.

  79. Fr. Anthony says:

    Another unofficial translation – no criticism of the other translation already provided. Priority has been given to precision and an exact rendering of the Bishops words. No attempt has been made to give a “polished” English style as I would normally be expected to do in a literary translation (I am a professional translator).

    Fr. Anthony

    —————–

    Official “communiqué” by Mgr Fellay

    At the request of the Holy See, we decided to move the ordinations to the sub-diaconate that were supposed to take place at Zaitzkofen, in Germany, this Saturday March 28th. They will take place at the seminary of Ecône, in Switzerland, on the same date.

    This decision is intended to be a peaceful gesture after the lifting of the unjust condemnations that weighed on the Bishops of the Society and the violent reactions that followed. In fact, we regret that some Episcopates have taken advantage of this to conduct an open rebellion against the Sovereign Pontiff. We are particularly disheartened by the attitude of the German Episcopate that has not ceased to show its hostility stripped of charity and its continuous judgements of intention, treating us “hatefully, without misgiving or restraint”, as the Holy Father justly said in his letter of last March 10th.

    We know that our situation, before the law of the Church, is imperfect. This is not new, and is intimately linked with the crisis that is affecting the Church and the state of necessity that flows from it. Then, it is useless to invoke law to try to suffocate the life of our priestly society. The other ordinations will take place as planned. There has never been any question of cancelling them. Indeed, the kind act of the Holy See should not be interpreted as a determination to strangle the Society of Saint Pius X.

    We are sticking to the schedule as indicated by the decree of last January 21st which provides for the “necessary talks” concerning the Council Vatican II and its novelties. To the Holy Father, we repeat our promise of our prayer so that the full light of the whole Truth may bloom from these doctrinal discussions.

    Menzingen, March 24th 2009

    + Bernard Fellay

  80. Michael says:

    “The SSPX will, I predict, be canonically regularised by Rome at some future date. But it might never be accepted by some bishops’ conference, or at least will be subjected by them to impossible restrictions”, says Dr. Peter H. Wright.

    “The SSPX currently has properties in many of those nations where bishops would be hostile toward them”, says RBrown.

    In my view, the Western part of the Church should stop thinking of dioceses as territorial institutions: in these days of great movement of population, it creates great problems to the Eastern Catholic Churches, which have nowhere to settle, because the Roman aparatchicks have divided the world into Latin dioceses (I am not sure, however, if the Antarctic is also covered). And, while not exactly the same, nevertheless there would be something like analogous situation with the SSPX should the Pope make a deal with them.

    This Western practice also creates an ecumenical problem. Supposing the Providence brings about reunion of the now separated Christian East. There are millions of them now on the Latin territories, not only of the East but also of the West. And a reunion is impossible that would lay down terms under which the Eastern Churches would exist in the West, on a territory “belonging” to the Latin bishops, and be subject to their benevolence, as a sort of tolerated concession.

    So, I can see no reason why the SSPX couldn’t be given a status of an ex-territorial, world-wide diocese, directly under the Holy See, and in no way subject to a benevolence of local bishops. I don’t think that the SSPX should settle for anything less. With such a status, on the other hand, they could turn out to be the right hand of the Pope, but, obviously, they should accept unquestionably Vatican II and other post-Pius XII documents.

  81. 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!