A wonderful note from an SSPX priest

I had a beautiful note from an SSPX priest (edited):

Father, thanks for the reports on the SSPX – Rome developments.  It’s great to be able to watch your blog and Rorate Coeli to get the latest.

As this progresses, I become more and more convinced that we need time for a "warming" of the collective mentality in SSPX circles.  We can’t move fast because we are asking people to change their mental habits. 

I mean that for so many years Rome was perceived as the source of problem, and now there is a gut feeling against an agreement with Rome.  That gut feeling unfortunately has a tendency to express itself in rhetoric that can tend to sound schismatic.  It is going to take time for that mentality to come around. 

If we move too quickly we will see the falling off of greater numbers of simple faithful whose faith has become fragile because of the abuses. [Amen] One can argue with intellectual reasons all day long, but at the end of the day it was a somewhat vague "sensus fidei" and gut feeling which led people to the SSPX in the first place, and that phenomenon will need time to correct itself.  [Intellective and affective must come together and he healed.]

In the meantime are those like myself who recognize the need (and even urgency) of canonical legitimacy wrong to stay where we are?  We work for reunion from the inside in our own small way.

A poignant question.

I think this is the same question faced in many respects even my Anglican clergy who, with their flocks, would swin the Tiber. 

But that is a scary prospect, tied to identity and traditions and very important practical issues.

Every case will be different.   I would like to see priests of the SSPX come over now! 

But can anyone deny that if they come over as a whole group the witness for unity in the Church would be immense in this troubled times? 

Can anyone deny that were they to have a structure in the Church their collective experience could be of even greater aid?

I am both patient and barely able to contain my hope that reunion will be healthy, complete and swift.

Perhaps a middle ground is possible.  Perhaps members of the SSPX might do their very best to start reaching out in friendly and fraternal ways to local clergy, seeking points of common activity and contact… and vice versa.  Off the top of my head, inviting them to parish events even though some of those things might not be entirely by the traditional books.  Perhaps gatherings of priests at rectories and for other occasions.  

Ice must be melted block by block.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Mail from priests. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to A wonderful note from an SSPX priest

  1. Fr. Brian says:

    I’ll pray for that. There will be no perfect transition. Some SSPX priests perhaps may prefer schism at heart. We don’t know what they will do, or what theological rallying flag they may take up. If there is gold in the SSPX movement, it will be proven in the furnace of ecumenical charity. We should not be surprised if some remnant persists in schism.

  2. I have never attended an SSPX chapel. However, I would like to see the creation of a personal prelature for them. I would also like the Church to recognize their legitimate freedom to interpret, in charity, the documents of Vatican II according to the hermeneutic of continuity.

  3. LCB says:

    I have a hunch that the coming mass translation will help matters.

    Will it solve matters? No. But it will remove a lot of the banality from the current translations. And that will help ‘de-thaw’ relations on both ends.

  4. schoolman says:

    Thanks for posting this. Bishop Fellay’s recent video interview (Part II) also gives much reason for optimism.

  5. momoften says:

    I have a SSPX friend. Her horror at the abuses of the priests and churches in our area shows the mentality of a lot of people. She in particular is taught that because of Vatican II (which the SSPX church has taught her is full of error)we(Roman Catholics) have so many abuses and problems in the church today. Her other argument was that there was NO excommunication. When the Pope lifted the excommunication and the SSPX Bishop Fellay graciously acknowledged it, it blew her out of the water. Then when Bishop Williamson screwed up things with the press(because of his statements)….it left her a little unsettled as she felt SSPX were always perfect and never had problems. Now, she is starting to look at the Mass we have(EF) and really considering it as an option to not having Mass available as easily to her(they have a priest who only has one Mass on Sundays and drives 3 hours each week one way to say Mass) The mentality off some SSPX people is already changing, but I think through the grace of God and prayers IT REALLY IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

  6. There is always hope even in the midst of violence to the person and to the Truth, that groups can come back together.

    The best witness to this, in the last 5 years, has been the reunion of the Russian Church Outside Of Russia (ROCOR) and the Moscow Patriarchate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Canonical_Communion_with_the_Moscow_Patriarchate . Not all things are solved; suspicion remains, but the future is secure.

    I have hoped and prayed for years that just such reunion would happen between Rome and our SSPX brethren in Christ. If the Russians could do it in the face of incredible pain and past suffering, we can effect it too. It will take years to assuage the pain that has been inflicted on Holy Mother Church in the past 50 years whether one is an orthodox Catholic within the Church or within the SSPX satellite. But the first steps are being made.

  7. John says:

    The SSPX is the smallest but at he same time the best part the Catholic Church.

  8. Mark says:

    What is meant by saying, “I would like to see priests of the SSPX come over now!”

    Leave the SSPX for a local diocese? So they can be marginalized into irrelevancy? I sure hope not, and none of the SSPX clergy I have known throughout the Americas appear to be considering such a thing, in fact, in my travels from NY to Buenos Aires I find a very consistent and adamant opposition to any attempt to ‘dilute’ the collective bargaining power the society has at present.

    Perhaps there are some sedes hiding in the wings, but all I’ve heard in homilies for years is encouragement to develop a love for the Church, her doctrines, and her pastors, no matter how flawed they may be and how much damage they may be causing the faith.

  9. I think it’s important for the SSPX priests to build bridges with the conservative priests in the diocese, as I’m sure some already do. This will help the morale on both sides of the equation. Bottom line: in our diocese, the traditional-minded priests are deathly afraid of assuming too high a profile and the one SSPX priest in the diocese, I’m sure, would benefit greatly from knowing them, as they would him.

    Through this kind of personal contact each side would be able to gain a better perspective. I’ll tell you this, though, if SSPX ever does gain that canonical structure that Bishop Fellay has referred to as a “Rolls Royce,” I think alot of people and conservative-minded priests would be tempted to join them, as right now alot of us feel we have to “toe the line” of political correctness so as not to offend those in power. I suspect most of you get my drift.

  10. Tom says:

    How about a gesture on the part of the SSPX. Perhaps, inviting someone from Rome to the upcoming ordinations..

  11. Mark says:

    “I think alot of people and conservative-minded priests would be tempted to join them, as right now alot of us feel we have to “toe the line” of political correctness so as not to offend those in power. I suspect most of you get my drift.”

    Yes. As a trad who is discerning a vocation…an SSPX reunion would be huge for me, as it would open up so many more options, considering all the affiliated religious communities they have. I hope it happens very soon.

  12. I have always been impressed by the formal similarities between the SSPX and the larger Church.

    When the acolytes of rupture were in their heyday, many morally sane priests were reticent to speak to the faithful about the “hard questions”.

    Mutatis mutandis, the SSPX leadership is concerned that – not to put too fine a point on it – the money will stop coming in if they so much as hint that one might not actually spontaneously combust if one happens to hear a NO Mass.

    In the former case, the faithful were secretly, even though often unknowingly thirsty for truth (sicut cervus…).

    Why ought things be different within the SSPX?

    I agree wholeheartedly with Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s recommendations vis a vis clerical rapprochement.

    I also think the SSPX leadership might have a little more faith in the faithful they lead.

    C.

  13. Dino says:

    Am completely in the dark about the mechanics of such a thing, but could SSPX return to the full graces of the Church as a religious order?

  14. Guillaume says:

    As a (French) faithful of SSPX, I do pray for a full agreement between Rome and the SSPX. I’ve always felt as a Roman Catholic even if for 20 years I was as treated as a blacksheep by so many members (lays and priests) of the Church. I thank God for the Shepherd he called on St Peter’s Chair.

    Unfortunately, I must admit that great part of the “base” of the SSPX doesn’t trust Rome easily…

    I hope Bishop Fellay will raise his phone and invite Cardinal Castrillon for the next ordinations. The Cardinal would surely go for that it would be such a symbol before his retirement.

    Guillaume

  15. Andy K. says:

    Speaking as a 21 year old who’s never been to the SSPX, but sympathizes (empathizes?) with the SSPX…
    I hope and pray they are fully reconciled, and that only a few break away from them.

    I think it would be a VERY good idea for SSPX priests to reach out to their diocesan/religious counterparts.

    Both sides may not like it, but I think that the very least, the SSPX will have to swallow some pride and make a good PR campaign for the laity in the diocesan structure. Now they are very marginalized.

    Of course, the priests in the diocese who ARE reached out to could find themselves in hot water with their bishops (depending on the bishop).

  16. Ann says:

    I will certainly pray for a swift unification and for both sides to be humble and that they would allow the Holy Spirit to lead.

    I would love to see the good in the SSPX return to the church, but without the schismatic elements. Prayer should help this happen.

    The note from the SSPX priest was very much the sort of thing that is needed, his humility and desire of unity are beautiful. For the sake of those like him in particular I pray for the reconciliation to happen soon!

  17. Peter - historian says:

    No wonder they say simple solutions work best. Father, you have some brilliant ideas here. How great it would be to see both SSPX and diocesan priests get together, or just meet up informally, talk, exchange opinions…
    Rome wasn’t built in a day. And you’ve got to start somewhere.

    Someone suggested that the SSPX priests could establish contacts with conservative clergy in dioceses. The problem here, though, is that these conservative priests are already being intimidated and marginalised by curial ‘magic circle – esque’ establishments; were they to start fostering links with FSSPX they would be only marginalised further, and, it would only give liberal ‘Catholics’ a pseudo – reason to cry foul. But I guess it is worth a try. Better than naught, and where we are helpless, God’s grace abounds all the more.

    Good to see a positive note from within FSSP X itself.

    Sancte Pie, ora pro nobis.

  18. Vincent says:

    I too look forward to any possible reunion with great hope. But there are also things that give me great pause. While studying abroad the FSSPX were the only priests in my city who provided the usus antiquior (and every Novus Ordo Mass I went to was simply filled with more liturgical abuses than I could catalog) and so I went to Mass at their chapel. However, of the four priests stationed at this chapel, I only heard one ever get through a sermon without condemning the new Mass, the “modernist Church” etc. With the faithful constantly imbibing this, how can we have reconciliation between the two parties? Msgr. Fellay and his allies might be ready to move closer to Rome, but are the priests and faithful on the ground? I hope that more FSSPX priests are like the one who sent Fr. Z this note and less are like the ones I met during my study abroad travels.

  19. TomG says:

    Timothy Mulligan is absolutely right. A personal prelature, or “personal apostolic administration”, along the lines of that of the Diocese of Campos in Brazil would, it seems to me, be a great idea.

    I for one would be delighted to welcome them to the Archdiocese of Baltimore!

  20. TMG says:

    I left the NO one year ago for the TLM at one of the Society’s chapels and haven’t been back to the NO since. The reverence I was seeking (thanks to Summorum Pontificum) was found through the SSPX after years at the NO enduring lay ministers giving out Communion, women wearing short-shorts and low-cut tops, longing to hear the word “soul” but never hearing it, people laughing and talking in church, married deacons, Protestant hymns accompanied by bongo drums instead of Catholic hymns etc.

    Obviously, I managed to keep my faith while attending the NO. But I believe that is because I had a solid Catholic education pre-Vatican II to hold onto. Yes, it would be wonderful for diocesan priests and SSPX priests to meet with each other. I suggested that before to the priest at my SSPX chapel and he agrees he would like to do that. I’m not sure that the diocesan hierarchy would be against it.

    The priests I’ve met through the SSPX are superb priests. The best way to find out is to attend a TLM at one of their chapels and talk with the priest afterwards. Hopefully, you will be as positively impressed as I was.

  21. Ultimately the problem with the SSPX was that a certain group of individuals determined that the Pope was not the ultimate head of the Church when it came to changing disciplines.

    The maxim abusus non tollit usum comes to mind here. It does not matter that there were abuses. That does not take away the right use of the reforms of the Church.

    The 1960s show that the spirit of rebellion was not limited to Catholics, but was a worldwide phenomenon. It would have come whether Vatican II happened or not.

    I believe part of the reconciliation is for the SSPX to recognize this. The other part (which Fr. Z has termed “The Marshall Plan” for the Church) is already being carried out.

  22. irishgirl says:

    That was a great letter from the SSPX priest.

    I went to a Requiem Mass in the summer of 2007 for a woman who used to come with her family (about 7 or 8 children, can’t remember which) to the EF Mass we had in Upstate NY. The parish where it was held had a pastor who did both the OF and EF Masses. At this Mass, there were two FSSP priests who served as deacon and subdeacon, as well as the priest from the SSPX chapel in Syracuse. The SSPX priest wore his cassock and surplice, and acted as an MC, mostly in making sure the altar boys did everything they were supposed to do right!

    I was really surprised to see SSPX and FSSP clergy in the same sanctuary. But it was good to see it-there was no ‘blood on the floor of the sanctuary’ [I'm speakin' rhetorically here], no snubbing. Everyone ‘got along fine.

    I, for one, would like to see a personal prelature for the SSPX. I keep praying my daily Rosary for the reconciliation of the SSPX with the Church.

  23. Henry Edwards says:

    Regarding the upcoming SSPX ordinations (on June 29?) the following item appeared at Rorate Caeli on May 27, but I haven’t seen it mentioned more recently (although it has been reported variously that Bp. Fellay visited the Vatican last week):

    Castrillón could visit Écône on June 29?
    The usually very well-informed French priest Claude Barthe (author of, among others, “Beyond Vatican II: The Church at a new crossroads”), wrote in this Wednesday’s edition of French daily Présent that Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has considered visiting the Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) in Écône, Switzerland, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and may indeed do so, perhaps as a kind of farewell visit before his almost certain retirement from the presidency of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

  24. Mike Williams says:

    There is a poignancy to this letter that will be more widespread, I fear, as reconciliation nears. I have a cousin who has long attended SSPX chapels with her husband and family. She is open to a healing of the rupture, but her husband regards Rome as “the enemy,” refers to all who attend mainstream churches as “conciliarists, not Catholics,” and spews venom against the Holy Father for, well, you name it– modernism, ecumenism, etc, etc. Their children have never experienced any Catholic life that did not involve the Society, and I think their oldest son, now 18, is firmly in his father’s camp. (There was a family row, something we’ve generally avoided, when their kids informed their cousins that none of them were really Catholic. My cousin smoothed it over, but her husband was rather notably silent on the issue.)

    All that’s to say that there may be difficult times ahead personally for some, since I cannot imagine a solution that will satisfy everyone, and there are some (on both sides) who will find reconciliation hard.

  25. maurice says:

    I’m praying daily for the full reunion of SSPX. I’ve never been to the SSPX chapel in my area since I already have a non-SSPX Tridentine Mass available to me. But I have been so longing for a truly traditional parish (not just the traditional Mass mixed in with the novus ordo’s).

    Since our beloved Holy Father took action with the lifting of the excommunications, I’m planning to go to a Mass at this nearby chapel. But may I also go to Confession there? I so want to!

  26. I hoped (perhaps foolishly) that a few of the SSPX priests at the Regina Coeli House or the St. Vincent de Paul Priory would have come to the reconsecration of Old St. Patrick’s in Kansas City, MO.

    It’s hard to imagine a more fertile diocese for reunification than where the SSPX’s USA headquarters sits… smack in the diocese of Bishop Finn. I think it’s going to take a very brave bishop to make the first move.

  27. Mitch_WA says:

    TMG:

    What is the SSPX’s problem to married deacons? It seems so bizzare to me. Celebacy is a discipline not a doctrine… so what gives?

    I appologized to everyone if I have opened a can of worms with this question.

  28. Michael says:

    I am sure that the opposition of the majority of the SSPX to “Vatican II” in only nominal. It is real only in the mind of those who have direct knowledge of the documents and have read them, again and again, with the help of competent theological commentaries. It is ridiculous to “agree” or “disagree” on the basis of second-hand knowledge, popular literature, gossip about who has said what, or writings of self appointed mini-theologians.

    The majority of people who frequent the Mass Centres find consolation there because the liturgy is impeccable; while from typical NO churches they cannot but come out frustrated. Generally, people are not interested in doctrinal subtleties, and hardly any one knows what the main dispute, i.e. the Decree on Religious Liberty, is all about.

    I doubt whether even seminarians know that Decree and understand it as the Pope understands it, as distinct from how it is presented to them during the course.

  29. Ian says:

    Father,

    I think your thought about SSPX priests and faithful reaching out to local clergy is an excellent point. It will still take time, and some small steps will be all that is possible at first.

    A personal story. I was recently out to breakfast with another teacher and the SSPX priest who is the principal of the school at which I teach. There we ran into the Diocesan Vicar who was also out to breakfast. While I’ve had some conversations in the past with this man, the priest with whom I was eating took a few minutes to exchange pleasantries.

    A simple gesture it was, but think of how many people have not had direct exposure to anyone involved with the SSPX, and have an opinion of us created merely by other opinions and the irregular situation. The same can be said for us. It is easy to be critical of someone’s actions, but much harder to say anything when you are in their company. Perhaps much of the discord is a result of correct accusations on both sides, but no effort to fix the problems.

    It’s time to proceed at a prudent pace.

  30. Isabella says:

    Bishop Fellay will be administering Confirmations in the U.S. this year. How does this help unity? Does the bishop think that the local bishops’ Confirmations are invalid?

  31. Anne Gomes says:

    Not to be disagreeable, but how is the SSPX different from the Orthodox Churches in the Great Schism? I know very little, mostly what I have read here on this blog, but does SSPX really want to come back into communion with the See of Peter? Or does the society want the whole Catholic Church to come into communion with them? AnneG in NC

  32. Anne Gomes says:

    Not to be disagreeable, but how is the SSPX different from the Orthodox Churches in the Great Schism? I don’t know much except what I have read here about SSPX. Does the society want to come back into full communion with the See of Peter or do they want the Catholic Church to come into communion with them? AnneG in NC

  33. Rose says:

    I think recognition of one’s own fault and forgiveness of the other, are essential steps to reconciliation. In the name of the Church, the Holy Father has forgiven the SSPX bishops by lifting the excommunications; in SP, he recognized the fault, in the name of the Church, of many bishops etc. who denied the Tridentine Mass to the faithful. Have the SSPX leadership shown any recognition of their own fault and forgiveness of the other side? If the SSPX goes ahead with the 21 ordinations, they would have missed the best opportunity for CONCRETE ACTION in doing their part to heal the breach. They’ve said many pretty words but how about some concrete action or in this case, a “stay” of inflammatory acts? While I question the motives of the Bishop of Regensberg, I cannot say I disagree with him that objectively, the ordinations at this time (not prior priestly ordinations, but these are different times and the circumstances create a context that cannot be ignored) constitute yet another challenge to the authority of the Church. It certainly seems as if the SSPX feels emboldened and are asserting themselves even more aggressively (I am tired of the old arguments about saving souls- etc. etc. Anyone who is interested in saving souls will do his utmost not to inflame a breach.)

  34. Ottaviani says:

    Bishop Fellay will be administering Confirmations in the U.S. this year. How does this help unity? Does the bishop think that the local bishops’ Confirmations are invalid?

    It could be for a whole load of reasons. Maybe the bishop of that particular diocese is less than keen to confer confirmations according to the older rituals – if that is the case, you should ask yourself how that is helpful to unity called for in Summorum Pontificum.

    If bishops keep putting road blocks to having sacraments in the old rite, don’t be surprised when people resort to the SSPX.

  35. Matt Q says:

    What a wonderful thing. The good Archbishop’s visit to Rome so soon after the rescinding of the ex-coms should taken was a great step forward. Fellay doesn’t pop in and out of Rome just to say hi on a day off. From the note above and Father Z’s earlier entry about this, we can only pray and hope level heads prevail.

    Father Brian wrote:

    “I’ll pray for that. There will be no perfect transition. Some SSPX priests perhaps may prefer schism at heart. We don’t know what they will do, or what theological rallying flag they may take up. If there is gold in the SSPX movement, it will be proven in the furnace of ecumenical charity. We should not be surprised if some remnant persists in schism.”

    )(

    Yes, Father Brian, let’s hope not, but let us also acknowledge we need to pray those in Rome don’t aren’t the opposite extreme either and carry on with this Vatican II routine. That act is getting rather stale.

    =====

    Timothy wrote:

    “I have never attended an SSPX chapel. However, I would like to see the creation of a personal prelature for them. I would also like the Church to recognize their legitimate freedom to interpret, in charity, the documents of Vatican II according to the hermeneutic of continuity.”

    )(

    I pray for that also. That would be a hoot, to see down the line whose interpretations reflect the greater continuity.

    =====

    Mark wrote:

    “Perhaps there are some sedes hiding in the wings, but all I’ve heard in homilies for years is encouragement to develop a love for the Church, her doctrines, and her pastors, no matter how flawed they may be and how much damage they may be causing the faith.”

    )(

    I don’t know what you mean by this “damage” bit, but I agree with you on the quality and content of their homilies. While not having heard one from them, one can just “know” they are better than any parish priest is able to deliver–at least in my area anyway.

    =====

    Dino wrote:

    “Am completely in the dark about the mechanics of such a thing, but could SSPX return to the full graces of the Church as a religious order?”

    )(

    Not really. The issues regarding what both sides consider “error” need to be resolved and their ecclesiastical status also. If it were that easy it would more than likely have been done already. The Society also believes there are certain things the Church is holding on to as a result of Vatican II which they would not want to be a part of anyway.

    =====

    Isabella wrote:

    “Bishop Fellay will be administering Confirmations in the U.S. this year. How does this help unity? Does the bishop think that the local bishops’ Confirmations are invalid?”

    )(

    That’s a rather condescending comment. Why should that already be interpreted as snub and not as Archbisop Fellay carrying on with his own pastoral duties? Life does go on.

  36. Brian in Wisconsin says:

    Father, I hope we can do this. While living in California, I was working with a Catholic professional group. For four-six months, something like that (sorry, memory’s a little fuzzy), I invited the local SSPX chaplain to join us at our meetings. I called sometimes several times a month, hoping to get a response, any response. Tough luck. Now maybe he wasn’t getting the message on his machine, but couldn’t someone have at least called to say, “Thanks but no thanks”? This isn’t the only experience like this that I had, sadly. And then there are those SSPX members who, going to an indult Mass, sit on their hands because to do otherwise “would be a cooperation with evil.” This includes family members who have done this. So I pray that there will be a softening.

  37. Clinton says:

    Fr. Z., I recall a story you reported on several months ago — a French bishop invited the priests of his diocese to
    dine and went out of his way to include the SSPX clergy in the invitation. I believe the SSPX priests accepted. It
    was a simple, noble gesture on the part of the bishop, to be sure.

  38. Maureen says:

    You know, if anything POD was being done in a parish (like, say, a Eucharistic Procession or a patron saint festival involving processions or the like, or 40 Hours devotions or Benediction, or stuff like that), and if there were an SSPX group somewhere in the general area, it might be nice to drop the SSPX group some flyers or a note about the event. I mean, no guarantee anybody’d come or be interested in the first place, but it would be a nice gesture.

  39. Romulus says:

    I’m not at all sure that a personal prelature for the SSPX would be the way to go, nor that the Holy Father is entertaining such an idea. Where would that leave others who are devoted to the Extraordinary Form, such as the FSSP or the ICKSP? What about Fr. Z? What about me?

    And then, if a personal prelature should be erected to accommodate all of us, just how would our liturgical sensibilities — and the spirituality informed by them — be available for the mutual enrichment envisioned by the Holy Father?

    My inexpert guess is that traditionalists are not going to be assigned a comfortable ghetto where we can be unmolested. I believe we are in for a more challenging time, where feelings and egos will be bruised on both sides but, God willing, more fruit will be borne.

  40. Argon says:

    A personal prelature would be most unsuitable: the ability of anti-Trad bishops to block such a structure would hamstring it from the outset.
    What is needed is an apostolic administration or something akin thereto – an exempt, universal, ordinary structure for the Traditional Roman Rite. This is the only way in which Trads will be able to escape the jackboot of modernist chanceries.
    When this occurs, both forms of the rite will be on a more-or-less equal footing. At that point, “the market will decide”; within three or four generations, the Novus Ordo will likely die on the vine. It will not be mourned.

  41. Romulus, there is no conflict between a personal prelature for SSPX and the spread of the Extraordinary Form among the rest of us. Why do you think this? Do you imagine that all EF Masses would have to be celebrated exclusively by SSPX? There is no reason to think so.

  42. Michael says:

    ROMULUS, I think that the Personal Prelature doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody should enrol, but those who want to; although more than PP is necessary, because the latter is dependant on good will of local bishops, as ARGON rightly suggests. What is necessary is a Tridentine Rite autonomous Church on the pattern of Eastern Churches sui iuris, but under direct jurisdiction of the Pope. If they can exist why not the Tridentine Church sui iuris? It would exercise pressure on those bishops who are determined to boycott instruction from Rome, because people would be entitled to submit themselves to another jurisdiction. On the other hand, those who want to fight for the TLM within the present iuristictions should be entitled to their present status. The Tridentine Church would be a relying point for them, a sort of Hannibal ante portas.

    The Tridentine Church would strengthen the inner unity of the Church around the Pope; it would not be divisive. It is the present structures that are divisive. As MULLIGAN says for the PP, the Tridentine Church could live along the existing dioceses, but independent on them, which doesn’t mean that the TLM should not be promoted within the present structures as well. But I don’t think much can be done within the latter alone: it is an entrenched establishment, which is better left to its own disintegration.

  43. Nan says:

    Michael,

    Your tone regarding the Eastern Catholic Churches is offensive; “if they can exist;” [I think you can relax. I can't see that offense was intended. That "if" didn't set up a doubt. It merely sets up a premise for a conclusion.] the Eastern Catholic churches all existed outside the purview of Rome before having come into Communion with Rome. The SSPX situation is not at all analogous, as the originators thereof are supposed to be obedient to Rome.

  44. Michael says:

    Fr. Z thanks you.
    NAN, I am a great lover of the Eastern Catholic Churches, although a Latin Catholic. All I wanted to say is that there is no reason why the reconciled SSPX – and by this I mean their unconditional acceptance of Vatican II and post-conciliar Magisterium, not “in the light of Tradition” because that light is already present in Vatican II documents – they can be helpful model for a full introduction of the TLM, if an autonomous Tridentine Church, directly under the Holy Father, were established. As many Latin Catholics would not like this idea because they consider the existing system of dioceses sacrosanct -it isn’t sacrosanct, because it is an ecclesiastical institution which the Church can modify – I drew a parallel with the Eastern Churches which are an integral part of the Catholic Church, are autonomous, and exist within the Latin territories. So, if (or “as” or “when”) they can exist, why not the Tridentine Rite Church.

  45. Corpsman says:

    “and by this I mean their unconditional acceptance of Vatican II and post-conciliar Magisterium, not “in the light of Tradition” because that light is already present in Vatican II documents”

    -And we see this light of Tradition in the fruits present within Catholic schools, seminaries, and churches so often……

  46. Mitch_WA says:

    The SSPX’s opinion on married Deacons to me is a very troubling position, I can’t immagine what they feel about married priests.

  47. Michael says:

    Corpsman, I am aware of the present troubles, but there is no shread of evidence that the troubles are due to the Vatican II. Post Hoc doesn\\\’t mean Propter Hoc. Every document of the Church can be used to cause troubles. There is nothing wrong with Vatican II. Troubles are caused by people not by documents.

    Cuncil of Nicea defined the Divinity of Christ, but as it failed to consider the divinity of the Holy Ghost, it was the Macedonian heresy which denied His Divinity, which was then resolved in the Creed of the Council of Nicea/Constantinople – the Creed we have in the Mass (without Fillioque). But then the issue was the Humanity v. Divinity, and consequently, Nestorians insisted that Mary may be called Mother of Christ but not Mother of God, which was resolved by the Council of Ephesus, but the result was Nestorian heresy etc. And one can go on and on.

  48. Heather says:

    @Mitch_WA

    Troubling? How so? Their position is doctrinally sound.

    I’m sure they feel the same way any Catholic would about married priests—indeed it is included in the posted article—that it is not lawful for a priest to be married.

  49. Nan says:

    Michael, the parallel still fails; the sui juris churches of which I’m aware that gained such status after disobedience to the Pope are known as Protestant churches.

    Eastern Churches in Latin territories a) were not always autonomous as evidenced by Archbishop Ireland’s suppression of the Byzantine Rite, and b) entered Latin territories through immigration.

  50. Ken Milton says:

    Fr.Z: Why is the prospect of group conversions by Anglicans “scary”? What are the identity, etc., problems ? Will these converts not fully accept the full Faith and order of the Church ? Those of us who made individual conversions from Anglicanism have not been a problem, as far as I can see. Of course many of us would like to see a more complete and dignified English translation of the OF, but that is also one of your goals. At an appropriate time, please enlighten us. Thanks, Ken

  51. Ken: Why is the prospect of group conversions by Anglicans “scary”?

    Who said they were? I have good friends who are Anglican converts, among them several of whom are very fine priests now.

  52. Ken Milton says:

    Sorry, Father, I thought that the “scary” comment referred to the Anglicans mentioned in the immediately preceding sentence. I see now that it refers to the SSPX matter. Ken

  53. Danny Mary-Joseph says:

    Ive never had anything to do with the SSPX, but I cannot fault them. Who could? Rome needs to back down a bit. “stop doing what you are doing” is not a helpful thing to ask, especialy when they do absolutly nothing wrong. The SSPX do their best to be one with Rome. Its the powers that be who keep telling them to go away.