Ed Peters on SSPX ordinations

The distinguished canonist Ed Peters, on his blog In The Light Of The Law, has opined about the illicit ordinations performed by the SSPX.

This is timely especially because of the tensions in Germany between the bishops in that conference and the SSPX.  The Holy See wants to reconcile the SSPX and bring it into closer and manifest unity with the Bishop of Rome while the bishops in Germany seem determined to alienate the group so as to drive a wedge and keep it out of unity.

Here is Peters on the issue of the SSPX’s ordinations, with my emphases and comments.

 Three points on the recent SSPX ordinations

There really isn’t any "news" associated with the recent SSPX ordinations in Minnesota–and there is certainly nothing surprising about them–though three comments seem in order. [Remember that the SSPX's American seminary is located in Winona, MN.]

First, contrary to some reports, the Catholic Church does recognize these ordinations, [that is, they are valid] by which we must understand, though, that 13 more men have taken the priesthood of Christ illegally from bishops acting in a schismatic manner. [Peters does not say that they are in schism.] While there is no excommunication associated with such priestly ordinations per se (as there is for episcopal ordinations contrary to 1983 CIC 1382), objectively speaking, participation in these ceremonies was still gravely sinful. [And the priests are suspended from the moment they are ordained.  They may not function as priests for the Church.  The power that comes from ordination is not enough.  The Church must permit the use of that power.]

Second, any comments that I might have offered concerning excommunication for (what seem clearly to be) new acts of schism under 1983 CIC 1364 seem pre-empted by Rome’s gratuitous lifting of the excommunications against SSPX leadership last January. Indeed, I am hard-pressed to think of any canons that Rome appears willing to enforce against the SSPX. [That is in itself an interesting point.]

But these two points suggest an ironic Third: the fewer sacramental acts that Rome defends against SSPX appropriation, the more the SSPX seems to resemble the Orthodox Churches and a few other groups–Rome recognizes the validity of their orders, too, but (per 1983 CIC 1) it does not attempt to impose canonical penalties on them for conferring those orders outside of its communion. [Interesting.]

I thought lifting the SSPX excommunications was meant to bring them closer to Catholic unity; instead, it seems to confirm their drifting more distant.

 

Time will tell.

I am sure a lot of fans of the SSPX out there will object to Mr. Peters’ observations, but he has some good points… and from the point of view of a canonist.

I suppose we will now have comments about the mythical "emergency powers", argument.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

146 Responses to Ed Peters on SSPX ordinations

  1. Bro. AJK says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    I read this post on Mr. Peters’ blog. I was confused by the last line. Any thoughts?

  2. Sal says:

    The SSPX never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Too bad that Pope Benedict will be the victim. Even more, the universal Church will lose a chance to rejuvenate the faith in France and Germany (and the USA), to which these dedicated priests could have contributed.

  3. Lubeltri says:

    I think the Holy See is quite reasonable to treat the SSPX with leniency with regard to the canons.

    There IS a terrible crisis in the Church, and there are many priests and prelates out there in “official” communion with the Holy See who do not even believe the Catholic faith. Recent decades have seen a disastrous defection from the Church among the laity—my entire family fell away in the wake of the chaos.

    So the SSPX is correct that the Church is in crisis. They are NOT justified in their response (disobedience to legitimate Church authority), but they do it out of their (misguided) zeal to defend the Church’s tradition.

    I think the Holy Father takes this into account.

    And, to be honest, how often has canon law been diligently applied in recent times? How many public heretics in the ranks of the clergy have not been called to account?

  4. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    time will tell, but I think Mr. Peter’s comparison to the Orthodox are very premature and even pejorative. Maybe in fact Rome sympathizes with the SSPX position and just wants the harsh polemics to cease, which they seem to have. I doubt Rome secretly sympathizes with the Orthodox view of Petrine primacy.

    The new priests are suspended, so there is a penalty, and an appropriate one.

  5. Origen Adamantius says:

    I think that what Mr.Peter means by his last line is that even with Rome bending over backwards, elements in the SSPX continue to act as if they are independent of the Pope, that is, as if they were an orthodox Church.

  6. wsxyz says:

    I completely fail to see how ordaining priests exactly as has been done for over thirty years can amount to “drifting further away.”

    If this years ordinations amount to “drifting further away”, then so did last years, and the ones the year before that, etc.

    Nevertheless the SSPX is not “further away” from the Church than it was last year, or five years ago.

  7. Jack says:

    I to think the comparison to the Orthodox is premature as for the last 21 years the SSPX has been proclaiming its loyalty to Rome from the rooftops; also one has to remember that IF the SSPX were to mimic the Orthodox it would have to be in an almost sedevacantist context which would undermine their moral legitimacy in the eyes of the laity who attend their services.

  8. Peters says: “I thought lifting the SSPX excommunications was meant to
    bring them closer to Catholic unity; instead, it seems to confirm their
    drifting more distant.”

    Peters seems to be surprised. To me, it seems logical. But then my
    arguments are too long to fit in a comment box. If you’re interested, see
    my analysis of the “dis-excommunications”, and of the subsequent letter
    of Benedict XVI concerning them:

    Humility Is Acquired By Humiliations
    http://www.inquisition.ca/en/serm/humilite_humiliations.htm

    Warning: it’s a rather long article, but the topic is complex and delicate.

    In Christ,

    Stefan

  9. Tim Ferguson says:

    A bit of curiosity on my part – in SSPX seminaries, which Code of Canon Law is used for instruction? The 1917 or the 1983 – or both?

    At this juncture, does the SSPX have any trained and degreed canonists operative within the ranks of the Society?

  10. wsxyz says:

    I think that what Mr. Peters means by his last line is that even with Rome bending over backwards, elements in the SSPX continue to act as if they are independent of the Pope, that is, as if they were an orthodox Church.

    A statement was issued that said “these ordinations are illicit,” but everyone already knew that. What we don’t know is what kind of private communication has occurred between the SSPX and Rome.

    What we do know is that these ordinations would be a non-issue were it not for a couple of grandstanding bishops in Germany who seem determined to make the Pope’s decisions for him.

  11. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I think Dr. Peters is speaking from a spectators view, and having had exchanges with him (and his son) in the past, I think he’d be the first to admit that he doesn’t know the inner-workings of what is going on with either party. Of course, I am merely speculating on that.

    From my limited point of view, I agree with Peters. The Holy See has been incredibly generous in lifting the excommunications and the vast majority of things that I have seen come out of the SSPX have not been helpful, save a few things from Bishop Fellay. It just doesn’t seem like they are willing to budge.

    Dr. Peters is right to point out that Rome is not enforcing a number of canons that they have the right to enforce. The Holy Father, as sole decider in juridical matters of the Church has every right to pursue matters he feels should be enforced and to not pursue or take other directions in other matters, based on his wisdom and pastoral prudence.

    With all of that said, I think what Dr. Peters is getting at is that Rome seems to be making a lot of concessions for the SSPX, while the society seems to be doing nothing in return.

    Again, of course, this is all from the outside. We don’t know the inner-workings of the Holy See, the Society, or their dialogue.

  12. Inquiring Mind says:

    To my eye, Peters seems to suggest that but for the reconciliation proffered by the Holy Father, these ordinations would indeed be schism. As I read Fr. Z’s commentary, he seems to see Peters’ words differently, i.e., that the ordinations where schismatic in nature, but not schismatic. What then of a faithful man who believes himself sincerely drawn to the priesthood but who is inhibited by age, health, marital status, etc., from pursuing it with his own bishop? So long as he is willing to accept the limitations imposed by the law and offer the sacraments only in true emergencies or where there is grave cause, is it schismatic for him to seek orders from a bishop such as one of the Old Catholics who has valid orders but is not lawfully in union with the Pope? Would it matter that the bishop was in complete spiritual union with the Pope? How does such a man’s situation differ from that of the SSPX priests, who have never been accused of having been excommunicated by having been ordained?

  13. MB says:

    I think I understand the “They may not function as priests for the Church” part. But I\’m unsure about the validity part. Does “valid” mean that if these newly-ordained celebrated Mass, Jesus would honor their liturgical prayers and make Himself present in Holy Communion?

  14. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    Essentially Peters is neocon out of sympathy with the SSPX; as such, he simply doesn’t get it. Pope Benedict, on the other hand, has huge sympathy with them, and gets it big time. Thank God.

  15. wsxyz says:

    MB: You are simply asking if Holy Masses offered by SSPX priests are valid.
    Answer: Yes they are.

  16. JAS says:

    Peters opinion is worth just as much as the rest of our opinions – ZILCH! It is based on his own personal bias and has nothing to do with the reality of the situation. It is Bishop Fellay who is in communications with Rome and the Pope. It is Bishop Fellay who knows how Rome and the Pope feel about what is going on. Peters is not privy to this information. Rome knew the ordinations were coming. The ordinations come every year. Bishop Fellay wrote to Rome to make sure they knew they were coming, just in case they did not already know. Rome did not have an issue with the SSPX proceeding and Rome was not happy with the wrench that the German bishops tried to throw into the process. There will be more to come on this and Peters will find, once again, that he is WRONG – the same way he was wrong when he wrote on the excommunicatons.

    Ed Peters wrote in 2006:

    “As I see it, there are only three options here: either the Holy See decides that John Paul II’s decree of excommunication was insufficiently grounded in law and/or fact, and on that basis it lifts the penalty without addressing the merits of the situation today; or, the SSPX leadership somehow acknowledges its wrong-doing and repents sufficiently to allow lifting of the penalty under 1983 CIC 1358; or the SSPX remains fixed in its position and the excommunication remains in place while talks continue – or not, as the case may be.

    The first option has the proverbial snowball’s chance of ever happening; a fourth option (that the SSPX remains contumacious of the penalty, but the pope simply lifts it anyway) is not realistic: Pope Benedict XVI cares about truth, even when the truth hurts.”

    It is best to follow those involved and keep away from those spreading rumors based on their own personal wishes.

    Recent interviews from Bishop Fellay:

    Bishop Fellay interview by a Canadian Novus Ordo Priest

    http://saltandlighttv.org/prog_slprog_witness.html

    Important interview with Bishop Fellay in Austrian press

    http://cathcon.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-and-important-interview-with-bishop.html

    And for more on the ordinations:

    “A New Generation Speaks Out”

    http://www.cfnews.org/winona09.htm

  17. mike tober says:

    I do not agree with Mr. Ed Peters last line. I do believe that the Holy Father understands this situation probably better than any of us, including Mr. Peters. This situation is currently very delicate, but I have to believe that there is good will on both sides to see the SSPX gain a full regular status with the Church. This will not happen over night, and the lifting of the decree of excommunication is part of that larger step of helping to heal the relationship with the SSPX. Finally, with some of the recent interviews with Bishop Fellay his tone seems to indicate that the SSPX does not want to drift more distant.

  18. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Clearly, the SSPX and Rome are not drifting farther apart at this time. One could reach that conclusion only by looking at the matter solely through the looking glass of canon law – but that’s not the whole story here, not remotely. As far as the ordinations being gravely sinful, that may well be the sound judgment of a sound canonist. Does that by itself make it so? Again, there may be more things in the world than are dreamt of by a lawyer’s philosophy, even a canon lawyer’s.

  19. Matt Q says:

    Let’s keep in mind, a canonist is like a lawyer with no official sanction from any Bar, so what one says isn’t like some glorious know-it-all. It’s his interpretation of the goings-on around him and what points he would like stretch and bend and to fit his idea of reality. All lawyers do.

    I find it rather disconcerting to see all this obsessive negativity towards the the Society yet not word against the real schismatics–those Eastern, Greek “Orthodox” and such ilk. It’s like communists and other less-thans who see the Freedom in America as threat to them. Look at Iran.

    The reality is that the Society has the right to continue in its own structure. What some are hoping, I think, is that they want SSPX to dwindle down to nothing and disappear that way.

  20. Maria says:

    From the canonical point of view, he is right.
    These ordinations are valid but still illicit.

    On the other hand the Germany speaking bishops would do better if they amend themselves first prior to criticizing the SSPX. The situations in Austria is not of a “silent apostasy” but rather of a very noisy apostasy. They do not obey the Pope and have the audacity of speak ill of the SSPX. They head of the German Conference of Bishops has denied the Dogman of Redemption and created a new dogman, the “Holocaust dogma”. How can they be so farisaic as to speak ill of the SSPX and act the way they at?

  21. mpm says:

    I think Ed Peters remarks simply highlight that this is an extraordinary situation, which is in the hands of the Roman Pontiff, specifically. Only his office is endowed with the Petrine Ministry, and this is clearly a matter of the exercise of the Petrine Ministry.

    What is truly ironic, to my mind, and I have no particular animus against Bishop Fellay or the SSPX, is that the Code of 1983 makes provision for structures that would probably suit their needs, certainly far better than the Code of 1917, but that they seem to have a problem with the Code of 1983!

    I doubt that their founder understood that clearly in 1988, perhaps Bishop Fellay has come to that realization.

    In the meantime, it is one of the rights of the lawgiver to “forbear”, which is what I think the Pope is doing right now.

  22. May I help explain the SSPX’s position? I am NOT their spokeman. After 40 years we are told that the Tridentine Mass WAS NEVER ABROGATED. Last week, the American bishops, in effect, withdrew their 2002 statement in relation to the Jews, and confirmed that SALVATION COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. I could go on. Bp. Fellay’s (the Superior of the SSPX) 23 page tract,From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy, makes very clear that in forty years of outreach, the Church abandoned its positions on a plethora of subjects. The Pope speaks of a “hermeneutic of continuity” because “The Spirit of VaticanII” called for a break from the past two thousand years. Where do you think the Church would be today if it were not for the SSPX?

  23. Confused Catholic says:

    Why does everyone try to jusitfy the SSPX disobedience with examples of other disobedience?

    They are not connected, and even if they were, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  24. LCB says:

    I think he’s spot on, but perhaps for a different reason than he realizes.

    It has been discussed on this blog before that, juridically, Pope Benedict has made the NO and the EF equal under the law, two expressions of the same Roman Rite.

    But theologically, there is a strong argument to be made that they are not the same Rite. And, in terms of the text of the prayers and their content, the EF has far more in common with Eastern Rites than it has in common with the NO.

    And there are compelling arguments to be made that the NO, and the accompanying legal changes and other changes since its introduction, really also represent a distinct Rite.

    Does this mean the Pope isn’t the Pope, or anything like that? No. But it does mean that there are serious questions involved with all of this.

  25. CDN_Canonist says:

    William H. Phelan,

    “Where do you think the Church would be today if it were not for the SSPX?”

    United.

  26. LCB says:

    Phelan after the fact does not mean because of the fact. Both with Vatican II and with the SSPX.

    I often find it best to, instead of focusing on the past (which is often searching for justifications– the morality of an action is not determined by its consequences, that’s what the modernist believe, and we are not modernists), to instead focus on the present and the future.

    Our loyalty is to the Christ, His Church, and the Faith that has handed down from the Apostles, not to a specific organization.

  27. Michael says:

    That is a funny comment to me as I have, at times when reconciliation seemed less likely, referred to the SSPX as the French Orthodox church. It tend to think that Pope Benedict’s actions are hoped to prevent that schism from becoming formalized.

  28. Ed Peters says:

    Tibi gratias, Pater, causa verba tua benigissima mihi offerendi.

    Wow. Too many interesting comments to agree with, too many snide ones to offer prayers for, and too many good questions to think about.

    Let me just make one point for all: B16 is a pope (which says a lot about what things he can do), and he is not (repeat NOT!) a canonist (which says a lot about how he goes about doing those things). I can only comment reasonably accurately on things as a canonist. It is, to be sure, an under-appreciated vantage point after decades of ecclesiastical antinomianism, but it is not the sole criterion by which to understand the mysteries at work here.

  29. Equally Confused Seminarian says:

    I agree with Confused Catholic. Just because there have been errors within the Church hierarchy doesn’t allow the SSPX (for whatever the reason) to continually disobey the authority of the Church. According to the Holy Father (through CDF/Ecclesia Dei and the letters), the SSPX has “no canonical status in the Church.” Accordingly, the Vatican warns (i.e. orders) the SSPX not to ordain the men.

    They ordain the men.

    This is disobedience, plain and simple.

    The Holy Father offers the SSPX an olive branch, is working to reconcile them to the Church. The SSPX takes it, thanks the Holy Father, and then continues on their merry way, ignoring his express wishes. There’s no other way to explain it: it takes logic, not a canonist to see this.

    (And if the SSPX loudly proclaims their allegiance to the Holy Father, then again, *why don’t* they obey him? Looks like a smoke screen.)

  30. mpm says:

    Equally Confused Seminarian,

    Do you have a statement in mind of Pope Benedict that the SSPX are in defiance of, or is that just your interpretation regarding the “ignoring his express wishes”? [I'm not being snarky, I may have missed that expression.]

  31. Equally Confused Seminarian says:

    @mpm,

    As VIS reported in their communique of 17 June, the Holy Father wrote in his Letter to the Bishops “As long as the Society (of St. Pius X) does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church. … Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers … do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church”.

    The SSPX bishops cannot legitimately ordain men, yet they continue to do so. I know I’m just a seminarian, and profess no intricate knowledge of these matters, but if the Holy Father told me “You cannot legitimately exercise XYZ,” I wouldn’t do it under obedience, *even if* I thought I had good reason, such as the continuance of my order or of Tradition. It’s the Successor of Peter for goodness sakes, give him some respect.

  32. Equally Confused Seminarian says:

    As a side note, Catholic Culture (here: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=3245) quotes a Fr. Stefan Frey, rector of the German SSPX seminary. He says there is an “emergency situation” in Europe, and that they are doing the ordinations because “it is a question of the existence or the dissolution of Christianity in Europe”.

    How can Fr. Frey understand this better than the Holy Father? And does he not think that His Holiness has this in mind? I just feel that, from their statements, the SSPX has a tendency to project an image that they know better than the Church and her Magisterium. That’s problematic for me, as a Catholic and one studying for the priesthood. Any individual seminarian who acted like the organization does would quickly find himself at odds with the rector, and his own formation.

    (And a mea culpa for my continuous comments–I’m just trying to understand the situation.)

  33. Seminarian,

    Roman ways can sometimes be equally confusing for “just a seminarian” and the rest of us. But when I saw some days ago the papal statement you quoted — in response to various episcopal demands that the SSPX ordinations be postponed — I assumed that these ordinations would proceed on schedule. Because it seemed to me that, in pointedly omitting to proscribe them, this was Vaticanese for “Go ahead and do it.”

  34. mpm says:

    Equally Confused Seminarian,

    Thanks for your thoughts. All valid points.
    I’m of a mind to just pray for Benedict XVI, in this as in everything. He is
    a very holy and learned man. He also has a big heart.

    As a Shepherd he knows that reconciliations do not occur instantaneously,
    and that when they seem to (Council of Florence?) they don’t last.

    You are in my prayers in this year of the priesthood.

  35. Sam Schmitt says:

    “And if the SSPX loudly proclaims their allegiance to the Holy Father, then again, why don’t they obey him?”

    You seem to be one of the least confused commenters around here, Equally Confused Seminarian. When Padre Pio was sanctioned, he obeyed – even when it didn’t make sense. He could have loudly protested and argued for the injustice of what was happening (and it was unjust), but he knew that imitating Our Lord was the better path. You see this over and over with the saints. The real test of obedience is obeying when all is not clear to you, except that the person giving the order has the right to do so. Looks like the SSPX trusts more in its own judgment than in the Holy Father’s, which is sad, considering all the good they could be doing for the Church.

  36. Equally Confused Seminarian says:

    The case that comes to mind is Fr. Joseph Kentenich, the founder of the Schoenstatt movement. He was excommunicated because he desired a novel format for his group–that of a secular order. This type of congregation hadn’t been developed yet, and so for his trouble, he was excommunicated for his troubles.

    He took his punishment with humility, and fourteen years later, was personally reconciled by Pope Paul VI, at the end of the Second Vatican Council. It seemed the Council Fathers recognized the wisdom in Fr.’s organizational structure, as he remained a loyal son of the Church.

    Perhaps a model for our separated brethren?

  37. “Where would we be if not for the SSPX?” We would have no Ecclesia Dei Commission which was established in 1988 in response to the Excommunication. We would not have the Fraternity of St. Peter. We would not have Summorum Pontificum and the revival of the Tridentine Mass. We would not have the Good Friday prayer for Jews as this only occurs in the Tridentine Mass and not in the Novus Ordo. We would not the Ecclesia Dei Commission recently merged with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to discuss DOCTRINAL ISSUES. We would not be continually revising ICEL translations in order to translate the original words correctly (I believe, for many, etc.). We would not have a “hermeneutic of continuity” as the whole purpose of the NO is constant change or “discontinuity”. Doesn’t anyone question why the whole Notre Dame issue is important this year and was not important forty years ago when it (and other schools) broke with the Church???

  38. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Canon law serves an important purpose, however, it is not the sole criteria of judgement in all cases, as Dr. Peters mentions. For example Dr. Peters could not see how the excommunications could be lifted without acknowledgment of wrong doing on the part of the bishops, yet it was done, and any student of Catholic history and theology, knew it could be done. As a historical example back in 1877 the heads of the Order of Corporate Reunion, a group with the goal of reuniting the Anglican Church with Catholicism, were secretly consecrated bishops by the patriarch of Venice, the archbishop of Milan, and an Armenian Catholic bishop using the Ambrosian Rite aboard a boat off Venice (outside any diocesan territory). The men consecrated were Anglican, and none of them came into the Church “officially” until years later. All this was done with the Pope’s blessing, but do you think it holds up canonically?

    Contrary to the the nay sayers the SSPX and Rome seem to making steady progress, unfortunately, there are many throwing wrenches in the process, some maliciously. I do not see how the Church was served by Dr. Peter’s article, because people are bound to come away from the article thinking Rome is selectively and unfairly enforcing canon law. Instead, perhaps Dr. Peters would serve the Church better if he looked for reasons to justify the Church’s treatment of the SSPX, not only from canon law but history and theology. If he is unable to do that perhaps he would be prudent to remain silent. Rome and the SSPX are ready to talk on the doctrinal questions, and there is every hope these talks will prove fruitful.

    Finally, to take Dr. Peters legalistic view, the Society should stop administering all the Sacraments, because they are all administered in a “schismatic manner” and “objectively speaking, participation in these ceremonies” is “still gravely sinful.”

  39. FranzJosf says:

    Some random thoughts on this situation:

    1. Perhaps a canonist can explain better, but there is a canon in the New Code which says something along the lines of: if a state of necessity does NOT exist, but if someone acts because he BELIEVES that it DOES exist, he should not receive canonial penalties.

    2. From the perspective that the SSPX is being stubbornly disobedient (to which I do not subscribe): I think, for this situation, it is better to look at a general state of disobedience, not as if each disobedient act is an intensifier of the situation. The river isn’t getting wider of faster, it is simply flowing as usual. It is important also to remember that the average SSPX priest, in performing his daily duties, is far more loyal to the Magisterium than is, say, the average Jesuit. I know, I know, “That’s no justification.” I don’t say that it is, I say that it is simply important to remember, it is germane.

    3. For those who believe that the Holy Father is being generous (he is) but that the SSPX isn’t being generous in return: I think that is not the way to frame the situation. This is not like negotiating legislation in a congress or trade treaties between two nations. Instead, after many years of quarrels and sometimes extravagant accusations from both sides, mutual trust is being established. The lifting of the decree of excommunication is a step in that direction, as is the SSPX’s agreement a year ago, for example, of not attacking the person of the Pope.

    4. A canonical solution will be relatively simple, once a clear definition of collegiality, religious freedom, and ecumenism (vis a vis missionary responsibilities) is established. The SSPX is rightly concerned that current ecumenism, as practiced, sometimes stifles Teaching All Nations. These healthy discussions, no matter the outcome, will shed light on what sometimes seems to be obscure.

  40. mpm says:

    BTW, “Equally Confused Seminarian”, you are no more confused than anyone else!

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote an essay, which appears in one of his books, “Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion” (Ignatius Press), where he writes about “reconciliation” as a kind of “flip side” to “communion”. You probably have it in the library. I’d recommend the whole book as it may give you an insight into how he thinks about issues like this one.

    The specific section, “The problem of the excommunicated” is pp. 83-88.

  41. Matt says:

    Question (no agenda, just truly curious):

    The FSSP seem to be accomplishing, in a licit manner, everything the SSPX wants:

    1. They run parishes entirely according to the 1962 missal
    2. They ordain new priests yearly, all of whom are trained to (solely?) offer the TLM
    3. They are in complete accord with the Pope

    So I’m unclear on what else the SSPX wants to be able to do. It seems like they could follow the model of the FSSP and have completely traditional parishes while maintaining unity with Rome.

    What am I missing?

  42. Patrick says:

    William,

    Or…we would have a stronger hermeneutic of continuity with MORE extraordinary form Masses. The real heroes in the fight for tradition are not the SSPX. They are the thousands of brave priests, bishops and cardinals who preserved tradition AND stayed united with the Pope. The SSPX could have done this as well, but they chose to separate themselves. It’s a real shame. Just think of the good that could have been accomplshed had they remained IN the Church all these years.

  43. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Matt,

    The FSSP can only be in a diocese with the approval of the bishop. The FSSP have no agreement whereby they criticize the documents of Vatican II. The FSSP must allow all their members to say the New Mass if they desire. The FSSP were until recently operating under the assumption that they had no right to say the TLM, but were only given an indult to do so. The FSSP had their elections for superior overturned by Rome, and Rome appointed the head. What the FSSP received would never accommodate the needs of the SSPX, and in many o f the places the SSPX operates, going to a diocesan Church represents a near occasion of sin, and heroic virtue to stay in the state of grace. People should refrain from giving the examples of heroic virtue of obedience, thankfully this is not required for salvation, since most Catholics are not capable of heroic virtue.

  44. FranzJosf says:

    Matt: They have problems with certain ambiguities in Council documents and the acceptable interpretations of the same. Especially concerning collegiality, religious freedom, and ecumenism. They believe that certain heresies connected with the French Revolution, among others, have crept in to some interpretations and proliferated, and that certain theologians and prelates continue to push Rupture instead of Continuity. In my opinion, they are justly concerned and so is the Holy Father.

  45. JAS says:

    Equally Confused Seminarian and Confused Catholic -

    The Pope did NOT warn the SSPX not to conduct the ordinations. Bishop Fellay was in touch with Rome and the Pope. The Pope and Rome knew of the ordinations and did not have a problem with them. Therefore, it is not really disobedience. What Bishop Fellay was told by Rome is that the problem is the German bishops, who want to make this a problem. Rome is trying to deal with them. This whole thing witht he German bishops is an embarrassment to Rome. Rome did not grant the German bishops permission to punish the SSPX. What Rome did do is ask if the SSPX if the ordinations were meant to be disrespectful to the Pope, or if they were meant as a schismatic act. The answer is no, so Rome says there is nothing wrong there. The SSPX is in current talks with Rome and they are willing to allow the SSPX to function while that happens.

    It is not your place to determine disobedience. The Pope is content that they are not being disobedient. Who are you to say they are disobedient?

    Like I said, none of our individual opinions matter much. It is not what any of us think that matters. None of us understand teh workings of what is happening and anything we say is just made up nonsense unless we get it directly from the sources involved – such as one of the SSPX bishops (Bishop Fellay is most involved, so is naturally the best source), one of the Cardinals involved, the Pope, or someone else directly invovled.

    Those are the only acceptable sources for knowing what is going on. Bishop Fellay is travelling doing confirmations and has been in Canada and I believe is in the US. You can get a schedule of confirmations from the SSPX headquaters in the US and go see him if you want to hear the truth from the horses mouth.

    Fr. Z could also try contacting him and may be request an interview. He has granted many interviews lately, so perhaps he would grant one here.

  46. Matt says:

    Christopher and FranzJosf,

    Thanks for replying.

  47. Michael says:

    “Perhaps a model for our separated brethren?”

    Ok, now I am confused. I thought this was a term reserved for those of the protestant persuasion, possibly the Orthodox. Does not the SSPX exist within the Church albeit imperfectly?

  48. Michael says:

    Father Z., the SSPX are in schism. A schism is a break of communion in doctrine, worship, and government. It is the matter of fact not the matter of formal canonical declaration. I do not know of any of the “schismatic” Eastern Churches the status of which had been formally addressed and then declared schismatic.

    On the other hand, the SSPX are not in communion of worship: that is the fact because they refuse to have anything to do with the NO – the principal act of the Church’s worship which they not only do not share but attack whenever opportunity offers for it.

    They are not in communion of government: that is also the fact, because, although they recognize the Primacy nominally, de facto they refuse to submit to the Pope and are running their own affairs as if the Pope and Bishops did not exist.

    And they are not in communion of faith either: like Protestants in matters of Scripture, they take the liberty of interpreting Tradition in their own way – erroneous way in point of fact; a kind of a sola Traditio principle; and reject Vatican II and postconciliar Magisterium in all those matters in which that teaching doesn’t comply to their false notion of Tradition.

    By asserting all this I do not dispute that among the hierarchs of the Church, and their supporters, there are many who are materially in schism or heresy, which is pastorally a greater scandal because they are “in communion”, which gives them some kind of “legitimacy”. In fact, I think that the Pope’s softly approach to the SSPX is deliberate: the aim is to establish a balance of dissenting forces, which oppose one another.

  49. Patrick says:

    Christopher Sarsfield said:

    “Finally, to take Dr. Peters legalistic view, the Society should stop administering all the Sacraments, because they are all administered in a “schismatic manner” and “objectively speaking, participation in these ceremonies” is “still gravely sinful.””

    Yes, they should stop. Suspended priests should not be celebrating sacraments that they are forbidden from celebrating. It is particularly uncharitable for these priests to hear people’s confessions and then pronounce absolution which they know to be invalid.

  50. Michael J says:

    Father Z,

    I think I know what you mean, but I really wish you would refrain from using phrases like ” suppose we will now have comments about the mythical “emergency powers”, argument.”

    Supplied Jurisdiction is a real and well established principle, but the above statement makes it seem that you do not believe that it exists. Whether it applies in this situation, though, is certainly open to debate.

  51. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Patrick,

    Thank you for your honesty. You and those like you wish for the SSPX to cease being. The SSPX argument that they need to do these ordinations to survive, has no merit with you because you do not wish them to survive. Luckily, the Church is run by more merciful men then yourself.

  52. Patrick says:

    JAS wrote:

    “The Pope did NOT warn the SSPX not to conduct the ordinations. [How do we know this? Maybe he did.] Bishop Fellay was in touch with Rome and the Pope. The Pope and Rome knew of the ordinations and did not have a problem with them. [Again, how do we know? All we are hearing is from Bp. Fellay.] Therefore, it is not really disobedience. What Bishop Fellay [according to Bp. Fellay] was told by Rome is that the problem is the German bishops, who want to make this a problem. Rome is trying to deal with them. This whole thing witht he German bishops is an embarrassment to Rome. Rome did not grant the German bishops permission to punish the SSPX [The bishops can enforce canon law without Rome's permission. It might not be prudent right now, but they can]. What Rome did do is ask if the SSPX if the ordinations were meant to be disrespectful to the Pope, or if they were meant as a schismatic act. [When did Rome do this?] The answer is no, so Rome says there is nothing wrong there. [How do you know this?] The SSPX is in current talks with Rome and they are willing to allow the SSPX to function while that happens.”

    It seems like you are guessing at an awful lot of this. The only thing we know is what canon law says. And according to that they shouldn’t be saying Mass, let alone ordaining priests.

  53. Patrick says:

    Christopher,

    I do want them to survive. The Church needs them.

    But there is no reason they cannot survive and remain obedient to the Holy Father. These are not mutually exclusive. I happen to think that if the SSPX said, “Dear Holy Father we will await regularization before ordaining men to the priesthood. And we will eagerly await the lifting of our suspensions before celebrating Holy Mass” the Holy Father would respond by regularizing their Society in short order.

    They will not cease to exist if they postpone ordinations for a year. And such a gesture might just kick the regularization into high gear.

    Regards…Patrick

  54. Henry Edwards says:

    If you, like me, have nothing to do with the SSPX, you might find it informative to view the recent interview of Bishop Bernard Fellay at

    http://www.saltandlighttv.org/prog_slprog_witness.html

    In this interview conducted by Fr. Thomas Rosica — who seems vaguely like a familiar EWTN face — it seems to me that Bp. Fellay comes across as warmly loyal to the Church and warmly loyal to the Pope, as difficult as this situation is to assimilate. Would that every bishop in “good standing” were as loyal to both!

  55. FranzJosf says:

    Patrick, two things:

    Are you implying that Bishop Fellay can’t be trusted to tell the truth about his communications with Rome? If he can’t be trusted, then all the discussions are pointless. I think it is a mistake to distrust Bishop Fellay in these matters.

    You are mistaken in your understanding of what is required for regularization in short order, or for that matter, that you can read the Holy Father’s mind. The SSPX has been offered regularization in various forms. In fact, Cardinal Castrillon had ‘everything ready’ back when Bishop Fellay met with the Holy Father in Castel Gandolfo in August of 2005, I think it was. There will be no full regularization agreed to by both sides, until after the docrinal discussions.

    Michael: the whole ‘schism’ argument is tiring and tiresome, so I don’t want to participate in that, but what exactly do you mean by “…are running their own affairs as if the Pope and Bishops did not exist”? Your meaning is not self-evident. At least give an example.

  56. not- a- saint- yet says:

    Matt, (and anyone else who wonders about the difference between the FSSP and SSPX and what makes them different)
    I am no canonist, just a soul desperately trying to get to Heaven. Just go to a FSSP Mass in a diocesean church (either a shared parish or not, most of them are) and then go to a SSPX Mass in the lowliest church you can imagine, and you will see and experience a huge difference. Some that I notice to be more common in the Mass said by a SSPX priest is the fervency of the priest, the zealousness he has for souls and the Catholic Church, the reverence of the people, the simple love for the Mass and the traditional/conservative way of life. I am not saying that you won’t find these good traits at a FSSP Mass, but you will find less of them. That said, I attend a FSSP Mass regularly due to location. I think if you try this experiment (and yes, both Masses fulfill your Sunday obligation) you will find the same. And hopefully, both will help you get to Heaven.

  57. LoganE says:

    Please join me in tribute to the Society of St Pius X and its
    Priestly Ordinations by listening to an outstanding rendition of Handel’s Messiah.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnHksDFHTQI&feature=related

  58. meg says:

    Matt – You may know this already but in case you don’t, there would be no FSSP without the SSPX. If I have my facts straight the FSSP was originally formed by members of the SSPX who were uncomfortable with ordaining bishops. They appealed to Rome and formed their own society but had to answer to the Vatican in all matters. Because the Vatican chose not to actively promote the FSSP’s traditional Masses and left the FSSP under the authority of bishops – 99% percent of whom were unfriendly to the TLM (won’t get into why) – the average Catholic was left with the impression that the TLM was suppressed and illicit (never true!). These bishops had complete veto power over the FSSP and the TLM for DECADES.

    The result was terribly sad for many Catholics who were heartbroken and stopped going to Mass altogether (my father). Others spent years dissatisfied with the NO until joyfully finding out that in fact the TLM was available (my mother). At this point many were so annoyed at the false suppression of the TLM that they began happily assisting at SSPX Masses (my mother once again). They felt, in a word, betrayed.

    My own parish is FSSP, but I have much sympathy for the SSPX. I don’t agree that the ordinations should have been suspended indefinitely; full communion could be years off. Let better minds then most of ours make these decisions and let charity rule all our opinions.

    Look at it this way – when the SSPX finally comes back we will have 13+ beautifully trained, holy priests in our ranks.

  59. Michael says:

    FranzJosf
    “Michael… what exactly do you mean by ‘…are running their own affairs as if the Pope and Bishops did not exist’”.

    They are suspended by the Church, and yet carrying on as if they were not suspended. They have set up their houses, centres, churches, schools, seminaries on territories, which are under jurisdiction of local Bishops, and without permission of Bishops. They have invented so called “supplied” jurisdiction, witnessing invalid “marriages”, hearing invalid “confessions”, even setting tribunals for declaration of “nullity”. The program of studies in their seminaries is not approved by the Pope, still less the ordinations. They do not use the Catechism approved by the Pope, but outdated texts of problematic value. They teach doctrine, which is in many of its aspects – false. They refuse to celebrate the liturgy in its current form. One could go on…

  60. Sam Schmitt says:

    “It is not your place to determine disobedience. The Pope is content that they are not being disobedient. Who are you to say they are disobedient?”

    Then isn’t it strange that the Holy Father doesn’t make this clear?

  61. rljfp says:

    My two cents,
    As folks here know already, I have 2 ordained grandsons–one FSSP and the other SSPX–and another who has decided to enter the seminary in Winona, MN. For those folks who feel that the Holy Father has any animus toward the priests in the SSPX he doesn’t. In fact both grandsons received a personal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI (he knew in advance one was ordained in the SSPX) when they went on pilgrimage to Rome.

    What if French or German curial members decided to stall reconciliation until a more malleable candidate were elected to the papacy. The talks go no where for years, meanwhile, my grandson is waiting and waiting and waiting to be ordained. The talks drag on sufficiently long enough over the years and the SSPX bishops die, the seminaries dry up and the SSPX vanishes. That takes care of one PROBLEM; now those pesky FSSP priests and all those other traddie orders–shut down those seminaries and the FSSP and all the other trad orders evaporate. PROBLEM SOLVED! Granted my family prays that won’t happen; but could that be in the realm of possiblities? With the way that many bishops in the European quarter view the SSPX and its “schismatic?” loyalty toward the Holy Father, I believe that it could happen that way.

    Let’s face the facts: when the Bishop Williamson episode bobbed its ugly head who immediately supported the Pope? Was it the French, German, Austrian or American bishops? No, the SSPX bishops immediately went to bat in support of the Holy Father. Many rosaries were prayed that the Holy Father be given the strength to handle the rebellion by those bishops. How many priests in NO parishes asked the faithful to pray for the Holy Father during those weeks? How many NO seminarians offered up extra prayers or sacrifices to atone for those vicious attacks?

    If Rome, no–the Holy Father (because Rome does not want any ordinations anywhere, in my opinion) did not want the ordinations I am sure He would have said point blank to Bishop Fellay to knock it off and do not go ahead with the ordinations. Why would the Pope be afraid to tell the bishop that? I am a believer that Bishop Fellay is a much more loyal son to the Holy Father than many of the NO bishops who formally are not schismatics; but probably informally in many areas are in schism.

  62. FranzJosf says:

    Michael: Oh, that’s what you mean. None of that implies that they are acting as if the Pope and Bishops don’t exist. Just the opposite. They believe that some Bishops, at least, do indeed exist and have created such confusion amongst the faithful, that a state of necessity exists. There is no point in arguing that point, I just didn’t understand your wording.

    I understand your perspective of neglecting to get proper permissions.

    They don’t teach false doctrines, as confirmed by the Holy See. They do, however, interpret some canonical laws in a way with which you disagree. Not the same as doctrine. In fact, when Bishop Fellay, years ago, had a press conference in Rome, across the street, by coincidence, from Cardinal Kaspar’s office, Vatican authorities listened closely and reported that there was ‘no heresy here.’

    Some PCED institues use older Cathechisms too, and their clergy do not say the new rite. No problem there, from the Church’s perspective, but perhaps you have problems with it, quite a different thing.

    They haven’t invented Supplied Jurisdiction; it is in canon law. Further, respected canonists, all in ‘full communion’, disagree on it’s application to the SSPX. It is not a settled question.

    Seminary programs of study do not have to be approved by the Pope personally. In fact, one can find far less sound, even harmful, seminary environments in ‘full communion’ seminaries.

    The only real problem between the SSPX, outside of a legal canonical structure (which can be created by the stroke of the Holy Father’s pen) is a definitive interpretation of certain Council documents and current practices. That’s the real rub. Because some definitive interpretations will cause a hue and cry the likes of which we’ve not seen in a long time within the hierarchy and among some theologians. We’re already seeing some of it from some German Bishops who are in absolute panic.

  63. wsxyz says:

    They are suspended by the Church, and yet carrying on as if they were not suspended.

    True.

    They have set up their houses, centres, churches, schools, seminaries on territories, which are under jurisdiction of local Bishops, and without permission of Bishops.

    True

    They have invented so called “supplied” jurisdiction,

    There really is such a thing. Whether or not the SSPX has it is debateable.

    witnessing invalid “marriages”, hearing invalid “confessions”,

    So one would think and yet, when the SSPX eventually is regularized, these will all be declared valid, just as happened in Brazil.

    even setting tribunals for declaration of “nullity”.

    As far as I know, they just review diocesan declarations of nullity. In other words, if you come to the SSPX wanting to get married, carrying a diocesan declaration of nullity, they will review the case and decide whether or not you will be permitted to marry in an SSPX chapel.

    This makes perfect sense, because it is obvious that very many diocesan declarations of nullity are bogus.

    The program of studies in their seminaries is not approved by the Pope,

    The program of studies is no different than that which formerly was offered in all Catholic seminaries.

    still less the ordinations.

    Not officially approved, true.

    They do not use the Catechism approved by the Pope,

    Funny, I thought the Roman Catechism was approved by the Pope.

    but outdated texts of problematic value.

    So… St. Thomas Aquinas is “problematic?”

    They teach doctrine, which is in many of its aspects – false.

    So you are asserting that the doctrine of the Catholic Church has changed over time – that was formerly was true doctrine is now false doctrine? How strange.

    They refuse to celebrate the liturgy in its current form.

    According to the Pope, the Missal of 1962 is one of the “current forms” of the liturgy. Regarding the New Mass, well sure they don’t celebrate that. Deo Gratias.

  64. “elements in the SSPX continue to act as if they are independent of the Pope, that is, as if they were an orthodox Church.”

    Satan was working well indeed when he gave the inspiration to someone to use the term “Orthodox” to describe a denomination. Either one follows the faith or one does not.

    Also we have to remember to discern tradition. Tradition CANNOT all the time be mistaken for doctrine. Sometimes the two are very different. There is for instance, no doctrine that says a priest should wear a certain color cassock. Different orders even have different styles. Thats “LIttle T” . Alot of people like to get hung up on vestments, or even the space itself. Granted these items can help improve the experience, but I really wish since the arguement is about “Doctrine” , that people on BOTH sides would start discussing doctrine. Instead its over tradition, and not over concrete matters of Faith.

    The SSPX has not errored in Doctrine, they have errored in obedience. That’s why we have things like canon law, to help us determine that. I stand by my original point. Get the discussion about doctrine. I think we will find that when you discuss the doctrine honestly, without the small “t’s” , without the spirit of vatican II visiting us three times in a night, there is very little that is different, other then a perspective and perception.

  65. JAS says:

    “JAS wrote:

    “The Pope did NOT warn the SSPX not to conduct the ordinations. [How do we know this? Maybe he did.] Bishop Fellay was in touch with Rome and the Pope. The Pope and Rome knew of the ordinations and did not have a problem with them. [Again, how do we know? All we are hearing is from Bp. Fellay.] Therefore, it is not really disobedience. What Bishop Fellay [according to Bp. Fellay] was told by Rome is that the problem is the German bishops, who want to make this a problem. Rome is trying to deal with them. This whole thing witht he German bishops is an embarrassment to Rome. Rome did not grant the German bishops permission to punish the SSPX [The bishops can enforce canon law without Rome’s permission. It might not be prudent right now, but they can]. What Rome did do is ask if the SSPX if the ordinations were meant to be disrespectful to the Pope, or if they were meant as a schismatic act. [When did Rome do this?] The answer is no, so Rome says there is nothing wrong there. [How do you know this?] The SSPX is in current talks with Rome and they are willing to allow the SSPX to function while that happens.”

    It seems like you are guessing at an awful lot of this. The only thing we know is what canon law says. And according to that they shouldn’t be saying Mass, let alone ordaining priests.

    Comment by Patrick — 24 June 2009 @ 1:11 pm ”

    WE KNOW THIS FROM BISHOP FELLAY WHO IS DIRECTLY INVOLVED. Lay people at home reading the internet have absolutely no insight whatsoever. All the comments of lay people are valueless, unless they have a first hand source. So, unless you have a TRUE source that can tell you what is going on, you will have to take the word of Bishop Fellay. Who is a Bishop, has never been known to lie or be dishonest and is the one meeting with the Pope, Cardinal Castrillon, Cardinal Bertone, Lavada, etc. No one else, other than these individuals can comment.

  66. JAS says:

    ‘”It is not your place to determine disobedience. The Pope is content that they are not being disobedient. Who are you to say they are disobedient?”

    Then isn’t it strange that the Holy Father doesn’t make this clear?

    Comment by Sam Schmitt — 24 June 2009 @ 2:39 pm ‘

    The Holy Father has made this clear to Bishop Fellay. In addition, it is evident by the Holy Father refusing to act and intervene when requested to do so by the German bihops.

    Bishop Fellay has also said numerous times that the Holy Father does recognize a state of necessity in Germany and France.

  67. Patrick says:

    JAS,

    Bishop Fellay kind of has a history of telling fuzzy stories about what the Vatican said or did. In 2002, Card. Castrillon-Hoyos made public a letter detailing 17 (if I remember correctly) instances where the SSPX or Bp. Fellay had made incorrect statements.

    We know what the Vatican has said regarding the ordinations and we know what canon law states. That’s really enough.

  68. Elke Strunk says:

    Thank you for the word Holocaust dogma, proclaimed by the German bishops. I couldn’t agree more to your evaluation.

  69. The comparison with the Orthodox is laughable.

    I think we can be absolutely certain that if an Orthodox church had initiated doctrinal discussions aiming at reunion with Rome, no-one would so much as wink if they kept ordaining priests. In fact, high-ranking Catholic clergy would probably throng to be present at the ordinations as a ‘gesture of communion’.

  70. Michael J says:

    Patrick,

    You (if you are the one I am thinking of) also have a history of telling fuzzy stories when it comes to the SSPX so I hope you’ll understand if I ask for some documentation about the “17 times when the SSPX got it wrong”

  71. Michael says:

    FranzJosf, and wsxyz

    You both have drifted, particularly FranzJosf. My initial comment was: “the SSPX are in schism. A schism is a break of communion in doctrine, worship, and government. It is the matter of fact not the matter of formal canonical declaration.”

    Whatever you propose to justify the SSPX’ position, so long as they are in opposition to the Pope and the Bishops, they are not in communion with them, and that is what the schism is all about. Do they share the worship – no; are they submitting themselves to the Pope – no; do they share the same doctrine – no.

    The more you are trying to demonstrate that the SSPX are right, the more you show that they are not in communion with the Pope and the Bishops, so long as they are in opposition to them. For a communion to exist, the parties must be willing to be parties in communion. The latter does not exist if only one party is willing, and another isn’t. If the Pope has approved of the Catechism, and if they are opposed to it, they are simply not in communion with him. If the Pope celebrates New Mass and they don’t want to concelebrate out of principle, they are not in communion with him. If the Pope considers them suspended a divinis and they insist that the suspension is null and void, they are not in communion.

    You can’t claim that you are in communion with me if I am not willing to admit it. Only if I admit that you are – you are. If I don’t admit that you are – you are not. And v.v of course. It is fairly straightforward.

    It was not my objective to go into details about who is right or who is wrong, but to show that the very fact they they differ rules out communion. And you have demonstrated conclusively that they – differ.

  72. FranzJosf says:

    Patrick: “That’s really enough.” No, it’s not.

    In my opinion, your argument (notice I didn’t say ‘you’ so it’s not ad hominem) is lacking in this: (I give you Shakespeare, which is admittedly not canonical.)

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”

    I admit, to my frustration, that my command of English is less than it might be, so my ability to characterize perfectly my point will be found wanting; nevertheless, I’ll try.

    One of the great BRILLIANCES of the Catholic Church through the centuries, which brilliance is understood and praticed by our current Holy Father is this: There is a place at which Truth and discipline intersect with the churning ooze of vice and virtue in the affairs of men who are sometimes miserable sinners and at other times inspiring exambles of godly love. This is not a perfect world, so there will be no perfect at all times behavior. Taking that into account, the Holy Father understands certain a certain ingrained defensiveness for survival on the part of the SSPX, even expects it as natural, so is far less troubled by it than are you. No, I can’t read the Holy Father’s mind either. What I can do us realize that great men have an understanding of these unseen forces in play between human beings far beyond my ability.

    If I am clear as mud, I apologize. It is at this level, where the physical and metaphysical meet, that my written and spoken English fails me. Perhaps a sympathetic reader with greater powers can elucidate what I’m driving at.

  73. “do they share the same doctrine – no.”

    Would you care to demonstrate in what way either the Pope and Bishops or the FSSPX have drifted from the deposit of faith?

  74. FranzJosf says:

    Michael: You misunderstand me. Even though I’m sympathethic to the SSPX, in my remarks above I wasn’t trying to justify their position, merely trying to give exposition to the situation as it exists. Your position on ‘admitting’ communion is well-taken, but the Holy See has said that they are in less than perfect communion, so I would take Cardinal Castrillon’s word over yours. Yes, part of it is semantic, but if the SSPX professes and practices what the Holy Roman Church has always practiced and believed there is, as the good Cardinal says, de facto communion with the Deposit of Faith, which far exceeds disciplinary irregularity.

  75. I have attended the Traditional Latin Mass at a nearby personal parish in New Jersey, at my own parish in Philadelphia, and in several other places. All were “approved.” I have never attended Mass at an SSPX chapel. Nevertheless, I must admit in justice that were it not for the “intransigence” of the Society of St. Piux X, the Traditional Latin Mass would be extinct now.

    In light of these facts, I think it unjust to dismiss their rationale for ordaining new priests as “mythical emergency powers.” I have begun seriously to contemplate what I owe in justice to SSPX. Perhaps my assistance at Mass at St. Jude Church in Eddington, PA on many, or even all, Sundays, along with financial contributions, will assuage the shock that I experience when supporters of the Traditional Latin Mass denigrate its champions.

    I see that the SSPX Web site has a donation button. I’ll be there in a moment. And I’ll be in Eddington on Sunday.

  76. Correction: That’s St. Jude’s Church in EDDYSTONE, Pennsylvania. (See? I told you I was never there before!)

  77. JAS says:

    “JAS,

    Bishop Fellay kind of has a history of telling fuzzy stories about what the Vatican said or did. In 2002, Card. Castrillon-Hoyos made public a letter detailing 17 (if I remember correctly) instances where the SSPX or Bp. Fellay had made incorrect statements.

    We know what the Vatican has said regarding the ordinations and we know what canon law states. That’s really enough.

    Comment by Patrick — 24 June 2009 @ 3:51 pm”

    Patrick -

    Please produce this document.

    In addition, please disclose who gives you the inside information on what is going on in the dealings between the SSPX/ the Vatican/ the Pope.

    Also, please disclose what information you have that shows Bishop Fellay is lying. Afterall, if you are going to call him a liar, you should have proof. It would be wrong to falsely and rashly judge him.

    All the exterior signs seem to show that Bishop Fellay is telling the truth. Rome has not made one public pronouncement of condemnation with regards to the ordinations – and they have been specifically asked to do so.

    Many times over since the start of the discussions with the SSPX, we have been told by those in the Vatican that are involved that the SSPX are not in schism.

    In addition, the Vatican lifted the excommunications without anything being necessary of the SSPX. If the SSPX were in schism and were disobeying the Pope, this would not have happened.

    Truth is, I think most cannot fathom the fact that the SSPX may actually have been right on so many issues and that they finally seem to be getting vindicated on their own terms.

    They were right about the Latin Mass having NEVER been abrogated. In addition, a majority of priest and bishops all over the entire world are intentionally disobeying the Pope and are still refusing to allow the Latin Mass.

    They were right on the ‘for all/for many’ issue that almost ALL the priest and bishops all over the world are intentionally disobeying the Pope on at this time.

    Then there were the excommunications that all said would require the SSPX to do this and that… again, ALL were wrong. The SSPX did not and they were lifted.

    The Pope has many enemies and is almost like a prisoner in that he cannot get those around him to do as he wants and he must constantly deal with others trying to divert his plans. He has very few who work with him who he can trust. The SSPX are not his enemies, they are negotiating with him and they love the Church. You should concern yourself with the true enemies.

  78. Steven says:

    I think that it is quite simple. Everybody who tries to block the reintegration of the SSPX within the Catholic Church is an enemy of the Church.

    The “problem” in France and Germany is that the SSPX is becoming bigger than the “official” Church.

  79. Jack says:

    Indeed they are Steven, anyone up for cannonizing Mgsr Lefebrve ?

  80. FranzJosf says:

    It will be interesting to see if these words of Shakespeare apply to the current situation, and if they do, who should heed them.

    Is the ‘silent apostacy’ multiplying? Or do the SSPX have the most friendly ear they’ll ever have?

    There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

  81. Mitchell NY says:

    This post is exactly why regularization needs to occur. To stop ordinations until it is resolved seems almost silly after 30 years and if the Pope wanted it he would say it. Truth is if discussion talks take years, stopping ordinations will not strengthen the Society who is going to be in union with the Pope and Rome soon. That is still the goal, correct? The Holy Father might possibly look at this as hurting his own and the future of the Church because he indeed knows they will be united soon. Their separation is penalty enough and both sides seem to know that. They have moved past that although we have not. Bishop Fellay realizes all tantrums must end and the Pope is tired of being the angry parent. This phase is over. The SSPX is not doing anything new and The Holy Father is bringing them back and he knows that. For all we know (and I pray it not so) The Holy Father could be ill and knowing not what the next conclave will bring wants this matter closed and the Church to continue to heal and focus on other matters. The fact is both sides have to budge, The Pope through lifting the ex comm’s and the Society’s budge will be to sign an agreement and accept a new structure from within Rome’s direction. That in itself will be a fearful place for them, a new place, one that many have not known. (we need not forget that, for it is important) Sure this particular Holy Father seems patient and loving towards them, but in 20 years? There will be a new Pontificate or 2 or 3 by then. For many the SSPX will never be able to do enough to show their appreciation, and for others Rome will not have done enough. In the end I would guess they are both doing what they need to do in order to bring about this reconciliation. Their goals seem clear and the path they take is known only to them. What should be clear to us is their goal, which in the debate of the path seems like a foggy highway without headlights. Of course we are not driving. But the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay are in the same car. God will guide them together, driver and front seat passenger. They are not in separate cars, we are..

  82. quovadis7 says:

    Fr. Z,

    How bad do things have to get within the Church before you would agree that there is a situation in which “emergency powers” can be legitimately applied toward the SSPX?

    Perhaps Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX foresaw that the impending trainwreck in the Church after Vatican II was going to happen, and merely did and continue to do what in good conscience they felt their duty required?

    Certainly, European countries such as France & Germany (where weekly Catholic Mass attendance is pitifully low – below 15% of the Catholic population from what I have read) would qualify as being in an “emergency” situation, no?

    Given the dire state of the Church in Western Europe, I think the SSPX deserves every benefit of the doubt there, and Pope Benedict appears to be handling them in just such a fashion….

    Despite the canonical irregularity of the SSPX, it seems illogical for anyone to insist that they aren’t on Pope Benedict’s side – at least on the most important matters of abiding by and the teaching of the Catholic faith. That’s a LOT more than anyone can honestly say about the “canonically legitimate” Bishops and theologians of France, Germany, Austria, etc. who openly dissent from Church teachings and the Liturgical rubrics…

    In good conscience, I cannot allow myself nor my family to attend the SSPX chapels because of their disobedience and their irregular canonical status. Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly believe that they deserve at least our prayerful support.

    So, I pray almost daily (as we ALL should) that the Society is brought into regular canonical status as soon as possible. The Church DESPERATELY needs faithful Catholics like them MUCH more than the dissenters and “progressives”, who are doing nothing but spreading the plague of the “silent apostasy” (as Pope John Paul II termed it, although in many cases it’s not really all that silent).

    Pacis et benedictionis tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum

  83. LCB says:

    Folks folks folks.

    We are not consequentialists.

    Consequentialists say “Action X is justified because of its outcome.”

    Outcomes do not justify actions. Actions are moral in themselves or immoral in themselves.

    Consequentialism is a modernist heresy. Don’t be a modernist :-D

  84. David2 says:

    Michael,

    I have no wish to “defend” the SSPX, and their irregular situation and lack of humility; however, a number of the propositions advanced by you are erroneous, and others are problematic.

    1. You proclaim to Fr Z that “the SSPX are in schism”. The position of the Holy See does not support that contention. The PCED has defined the Society’s position as one of “Separation but not Schism”; while the members of the Society are not, in the full strict sense, in schism, they lacked full communion, and the consecrations indicated a schismatic attitude. While, in consecrating the bishops, Abp Lefebvre committed a schismatic act, the members and adherents of the Society could not be called schismatics, but they are in great danger of falling into schism.

    That’s the Holy See’s view of the matter. Perhaps you ought to accept it in the spirit of humility and obedience that you consider lacking in the SSPX.

    2. Second, would you consider the FSSP as being “in schism” because, in practice, all priests of that Fraternity now refuse to celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae, whilst recognising the validity of the same in principle? The curriculum of the FSSP Seminaries at Wigratzbad and Denton is in its essentials, the same pre-concilliar, strictly Thomistic programme of studies as is used by the SSPX. The logical conclusion that you would draw is that the FSSP are schismatics, when that is plainly not the case.

    3. Third, the new Catechism does not abrogate any of the older Catechisms approved by the Church; no anathemas have been hurled at the Roman Catechism or the Catechism of St Pius X, or the Baltimore Catechism (which Americans seem to love). These are still very worthy and useful resources for catechesis, and have the advantage of a certain clarity and precision.

    Generally, you approach the whole matter through a “hermeneutic of rupture” – and tend to see the “spirit of Vatican II” as some sort of “super-Dogma”, which must necessarily sweep away all that preceded it. The Holy Father does not see things this way. Deo gratias.

  85. mfg says:

    I have read thousands of words over the past five years about the SSPX and their situation with Rome. But I am totally in the dark about why Pope JPII objected to Archbishop Lefebre consecrating the four bishops. Does anybody know why the Pope would not approve their consecrations?

  86. Geoffrey says:

    “I have read thousands of words over the past five years about the SSPX and their situation with Rome. But I am totally in the dark about why Pope JPII objected to Archbishop Lefebre consecrating the four bishops. Does anybody know why the Pope would not approve their consecrations?”

    The Pope alone chooses who to ordain a bishop. Lefebvre chose these men on his own initiative, and in disobedience.

  87. wsxyz says:


    I have read thousands of words over the past five years about the SSPX and their situation with Rome. But I am totally in the dark about why Pope JPII objected to Archbishop Lefebre consecrating the four bishops. Does anybody know why the Pope would not approve their consecrations?”
    The Pope alone chooses who to ordain a bishop. Lefebvre chose these men on his own initiative, and in disobedience.

    Thus completely ignoring the question asked.

    My understanding is that Archbishop Lefebrve believed that the SSPX was the only chance to preserve the traditional Catholic priesthood and, knowing that he would soon die, was thus determined to consecrate bishops from among the SSPX priests for the purpose of continuing the SSPX and thus the traditional Catholic priesthood. He believed that the many enemies of traditional Catholic doctrine and sacraments, having tried and failed to destroy the SSPX, were planning to wait until the SSPX slowly dwindled away after his death.

    There were discussions with Cardinal Ratzinger that lead to an agreement for several SSPX priests to be consecrated bishops, but Archbishop Lefebvre ended up repudiating the agreement, because he did not trust the motives of Cardinal Ratzinger or the Pope. And so he and bishop de Catro Mayer, of the diocese of Campos, Brazil consecrated the four men bishops.

    The most questionable part of this whole story, in my opinion, is the repudiation of the agreement between Archbishop Lefebvre and Cardinal Ratzinger. Why should the Archbishop go ahead with the illicit consecration when Cardinal Ratzinger had agreed to consecrate bishops for the SSPX? Well the SSPX had been treated very badly by the French hierarchy and by the Roman Curia right from the start, so Archbishop Lefebvre was very suspicious of Cardinal Ratzinger, thinking that there must be some sort of trick waiting to be pulled — which seems possible, if not probable.

    Cardinal Ratzinger, for example, refused to perform the consecrations on the day already scheduled by Archbishop Lefebvre, wanting instead to set a later date. It is reasonable to believe that Cardinal Ratzinger might have had scheduling problems due to previous obligations, but apparently Archbishop Lefebvre thought the later date proposed by Cardinal Ratzinger was unacceptable. Perhaps he feared the extra time would be used to undermine the SSPX in some way. He might also have feared that Cardinal Ratzinger would show up on the appointed day, only to refuse to consecrate in the traditional rite and instead offer to consecrate only using the new rite. That sounds preposterous today, but similar things had already been attempted by the Pope’s representatives in their negotiations with the SSPX. So the lack of trust, based on 15 years of persecution by the French hierarchy and by Roman authorities, led Archbishop Lefebrve to believe that he had no choice but to go through with the consecrations.

    Some priests of the SSPX disagreed with this decision and broke away, forming the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

  88. DN says:

    It is an absolute shame to the Church how many of these comments are unnecessarily abusive and/or (willfully or otherwise) apparently ignorant of explicit statements within Dr. Peters’s own post.

  89. Tony from Oz says:

    Can anyone tell me why the ‘suspensions’ of SSPX priests – which appear to have originally been decreed in 1976 over the issue of SSPX’s celebration of the TLM – is still an issue, given the Pope’s judgment in Summorum Pontificum that the TLM had never been abrogated?

    Roman face-saving aside, apart from the lesser issue of episcopal mandate for SSPX functioning in a given diocese (which in turn, at least in part, permissions have been denied by Bishops because the TLM abrogation matter had not been officially decided until 2007, and, of course, until January, the 1988 excommunications) – I just cannot see otherwise than that the shelf-life/original raison detre for these blanket suspensions has well and truly run its course; especially in the context of what the Holy Father is now striving to achieve. I would welcome responses to my musings.

  90. FranzJosf says:

    Yes, exactly. Hubris is a word worth considering. Or Forest for the Trees. It is interesting that the more puritanical perspective or that of the more evangelical protestant perspective, of Americans of northern European background who don’t understand that their definition of imperfection is not the law, are befuddled I give thanks to the Great God, that our Holy Father is not hemmed in by those imperfect understandings. Those who are obsessed with ‘disobedience’ are missing the larger picture of the Deposit of Faith. I hope some of you visit the Basilica of St. Petronius, in Bologna. If you visit the chapel immediately on the right, upon entering, you will see a painting of bishops in hell. It has been there long before the Council.

  91. FranzJosf says:

    Oops, I made a mistake. The painting is on the chapel to the Left.

  92. David2 says:

    Tony in Oz,

    Good point. If I remember correctly, the suspensions came in the late 1970′s after the SSPX was formally supressed by the Vatican. I’m not sure that the reasons for the canonical supression of the SSPX were ever released. All I know is that in January 1975, Mgr. Pierre Mamie, the Bishop of Fribourg, wrote to Rome stating his intention to withdraw the pia unio status that his predecessor had granted. On 6 May 1975, with the approval of the cardinals, Bishop Mamie withdrew the SSPX’s pia unio status. Lefebvre instructed his lawyer to lodge appeals, and he ultimately petitioned the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court of the Catholic Church, which turned down the complaint.

    It seems to me that the withdrawal of canonical status from the SSPX and the subsequent suspensions a divinis were founded in a dislike of the TLM and the theological positions adopted by the SSPX.

    In the post-ecclesia dei-post-summorum pontificum Church, obedience requires accepting that the Traditional Mass and Thomistic priestly formation are here to stay.

    One problem is, though, that the SSPX doesn’t merely want to go back to 1975. It is necessary for them to have a canonical structure that reflects their needs and the needs of the Church. Moreover, they want to discuss doctrine before canonical structures. Which, I suppose, is a more “honest” approach than getting a “shot-gun” regularization and then going on their merry way doing and saying whatever they want…

  93. Sixupman says:

    Leaving aside Canon Law and lay canonists [and yes SSPX has fully qualified canonists in-house], for me it is what does SSPX preach [the side-track of the +Williamson group apart]: SSPX preaches the Faith in which I was brought-up. A great number of muy diocesan clergy and their superiors preach otherwise. SSPX clergy are to seek ‘Faculties’ from bishops who do not even adhere to the basis tenets of Catholic faith ['Obedience'] – “Catch 22″. Mother Church did exist prior to Vatican II, which so many clergy and bishops now denigrate and congregations have been lied to by them. I have a tape-recording of a conference given to enclosed nuns, where the ‘Old Missal’ was referred to as a joke and in ‘Obedience’ they went along with it. The bastion against this brainwashing was their retired chaplain, who was, de facto, ostracised by his fellow deanery clergy. I have complained that SSPX, in given circumstances, lack Charity – but where is the Charity in the narcissistic Vatican II clergy [Orotarians and the like apart]?

  94. Merriweather says:

    Just as inevitable is the “they’d do so much more good if they were in *full* communion” argument.

    I think the SSPX has been doing a heck of a lot of good where they are…

    Let’s recap:

    1. It was the SSPX that began asking for the universal indult. They always maintained that the Mass was never abrogated; that it was the right of every priest to celebrate it. Instead of staying the course, the ex-SSPX priests got the Mass for themselves, and left the other priests out in the cold. The SSPX wanted the Mass for *everyone*, not just a marginalized minority. Result of their patience and a Rosary Crusade? Summorum Pontificium. *Everyone who enjoys their newly freed TLM enjoys it because of those 4 supposedly excommunicated bishops.*

    2. It has been the SSPX that has been asking for clarification on V2, starting with Archbishop Lefebvre. Over the years there has been a marked change in language regarding “the spirit of the council.” Now, after all these years, they finally have the long requested doctrinal talks. Will the clarification on LG, GS and RL be forthcoming? I hope so. But I don’t think traditionalists would have gotten this far without the SSPX.

    3. Excommunications. The SSPX has always maintained that they were invalid and they are. Always have been. They were lifted, not quite annulled. Oh well. But at least it was a recognition that they weren’t schismatic—a charge constantly leveled against them, and completely repudiated by the pope himself.

    All in all, their policy of staying the course has been totally vindicated. Not that you’d know it from the “but they could do so much good if they were inside the Church” crowd.

    Given the above, I have to wonder why their case for “supplied jurisdiction” is treated with such derision. Perhaps its just sour grapes from people who turned out to be so wrong, for so long.

  95. Michael says:

    FranzJosf
    I take your point about “justify their position”, but really the language I used was meant to show that there is a difference (the fact that I misunderstood you is of secondary importance: you can change my statement to: “give exposition to the situation as it exists”) between the Church and the SSPX regardless who is right and who is wrong, and as long as there is a difference, there is no communion in those matters in which there is the difference. Exactly as you say: “the situation as it exists” – the situation of “less than perfect communion”. It is basically the same situation as the “less than perfect communion” between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It is the matter of a degree. It is the same thing to say that the glass is up to ¾ full and up to ¼ empty. Cardinal Castrillon’s label doesn’t change “the situation as it exists”.

    In so far as the SSPX “practices what the Holy Roman Church has always practised and believed”, they are in communion, but in so far as they don’t – they are not. They do not fully accept Vatican II and CCC, while the Pope insists on both, including not only the doctrine, but also “practices”, say: worship, and “discipline”, say Canon Law strictly and what is derived from it. All that comes under “the Deposit of Faith”. A communion includes worship and government

    Kindly, don’t take my quoting your words as an attempt to be offensive: it is only to make clear what I am referring to.

    Your concept of the “less than perfect communion” is exactly what the SSPX wouldn’t take on board when it comes to the Vatican II doctrine on Ecumenism. It is quite evident that there is a radical difference between the status of the Orthodox Church and the Protestant communities and sects when it comes to the separation from the Catholic Church: the Protestants do not have hierarchy, and of the seven sacraments they have only retained baptism and matrimony, and some of them even do not consider the matrimony to be a sacrament, although it is a sacrament. On the other hand, the Orthodox not only have a hierarchy, but that hierarchy is continuous with the hierarchy of the Eastern part of the Church while the East was an integral part of the Catholic Church. The Orthodox have all sacraments. This is just to mention two elements in which they are in communion, albeit not “perfect communion” with us.

    This is briefly how the UR puts it in section 3/1. “Succeeding ages have seen the birth of greater quarrels, and communities of considerable size have broken away from full communion (note: the communion was not fully broken) with the Catholic Church… Men who believe in Christ and who have duly received baptism, are established in communion with the Catholic Church, even if the communion be incomplete.”

    What follows?

    In so far, I repeat: in so far, as the communion is broken “these churches or communities are defective” (3/4); and “do not have the benefit…of the unity which Jesus Christ has wanted” (3/5).

    But, in so far, as the communion was retained “a number of important elements or gifts…are capable of an existence beyond the confines of the visible (note this word: visible) Catholic Church (3/2)…Many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion are performed among our separated brethren. There is no doubt that they are capable of giving real birth to the life of grace…and…of giving admission to the community of salvation” (3/3)…they are certainly not without significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. Christ’s spirit has not refused to employ them as means of salvation. Their strength derives from the very fullness of grace entrusted to the Catholic Church” (3/4).

    Although this doctrine is new in the sense that it was explicitly articulated by Vatican II, it was implicit in all reunions of smaller groups of Eastern Christians, as well as at two Ecumenical Councils (Lyon and Florence) at which the reunion with the East was formally decreed but never actually implemented.

    The ecumenical doctrine is an example in which the SSPX doesn’t adhere to the Deposit of Faith, i.e. it is not “what the Holy Roman Church has always practised and believed.”

  96. Michael says:

    David2
    Ad 1. “The PCED has defined the Society’s position as one of ‘Separation but not Schism’”. – Comment: I do not know exact wording of the PCED – the Holy See’s view of the matter is binding for me in principle; the matter is in interpretation of what the PCED says in the context of the Holy See’s view – but the word “separation” is nothing but a polite word for the “schism”; the latter having – in the present context – an offensive connotation, tends to be avoided by the Magisterium. As for “not, in the full strict sense, in schism, they lacked full communion”, see my comment above to FranzJosf.

    Ad 2 “would you consider the FSSP as being “in schism” because, in practice, all priests of that Fraternity now refuse to celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae”? Comment: No. But the FSSP do not refuse it in principle: it is not that they would refuse if the Pope invited them to concelebrate with him (save from mere lack of experience to celebrate).

    As for the “curriculum of the FSSP Seminaries”, quite honestly I do not know what it is, but it would not tell us much, because all sorts of curricula are now tolerated throughout the world. There is nothing the Holy See can do if those in charge of the local curricula are determined to have it their way. Supposing the FSSP are determined to have it their way, and if that way were contrary to what the Pope wanted, he would be faced with choice of turning a blind eye or of running the risk of some joining the SSPX – the matter is of pastoral prudence in particular situation in which doctrinal considerations are not all that matters.

    Ad 3. “the new Catechism does not abrogate any of the older Catechisms”…Comment: “… but supersedes them in all matters in which it deals with the same subject. For us here and now the CCC is binding: it was the first catechism in which the whole hierarchy was involved, and it was promulgated with the Apostolic Constitution. I do not know of any example of “advantage of clarity and precision” in previous catechisms.

    “Generally, you approach the whole matter through a ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ – and tend to see the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ as some sort of ‘super-Dogma’, which must necessarily sweep away all that preceded it.” Comment: Could you substantiate the allegation? But, please, do not even try if you haven’t digested Vatican II as it stands, as different from having heard about it from second hand sources.

    There are two kinds of the Hermeneutic of Rupture: one refereed to by you, another, which makes the Super Dogma of whatever an individual or group of individuals, like the SSPX, conceives to be “Tradition”, and uses it to make optional or deny whatever in Vatican II seems “contrary to the Tradition” thus conceived.

    The true Hermeneutic of Continuity complies with the norm as articulated by DV: 10/2: “The office of interpreting authentically the Word of God, whether scriptural or traditional has been entrusted exclusively to the living voice of the Church’s magisterium (here the foot note 15 refers to the Human Genres), whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” The “living voice” was the Vatican II in its days; now, it is the present Pope and Bishops who maintain communion with him.

    The Sola Traditio is the SSPX’ version of the Protestant Sola Scriptura, with a difference that we all know what is Scripture, but the very notion of Tradition is authentic only if it is the notion as understood by the Magisterium, not as conceived by any self-appointed individual or group of individuals. Vatican II and CCC are authentic interpretations of the whole Tradition in all those matters if which they deal with the subjects proposed by the various witnesses of Tradition in the past.

  97. ric says:

    Unless the 3 bishops who rule over the SSPX clergy, religious and laity have a change of heart, the SSPX wil never, ever, reconcile with Rome because of their central belief that The Church has to reconcile to them ( their definition of Sacred Tradition)and overthrow the Second Vatican Council and the “new mass” – as they call it. I know. I spent several years at SSPX. This is hard for people to accept but it is reality. The Holy Father has been very patient and generous. We must pray for them and the Church as a whole. People can spin all they want and debate schism or not. The fact is that illicit ordinations incur excommunication and are sinful. This has already been defined by the Pope (John Paul II). There is no debate about this matter. People don’t define what is true because of what they think or how they interpret things. The Church defines and explains and that Authority resides with the Pope and the Bishops. Case closed.

  98. Kat says:

    This was an interesting article, dealing with what “The Vatican” is quoted as saying, as opposed to “The Holy Father”‘s words. The two are not always the same, as the article proves.

    Thus we cannot always be sure that it is the Pope who is saying what he is quoted as saying.

    Just a thought…

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-0615-ferrara-sspx_ordinations_and_the_reign_o.htm

    (I don’t know if that will show up as a link, but you can cut and paste if you want to read it. It’s a bit long.)

  99. mpm says:

    Comment by Merriweather — 25 June 2009 @ 2:40 am

    Really. Your arguments are specious (arguments, not you). There are other groups, and individuals, in the Church, who have been working at the proper interpretation of Vatican II, i.e., in accord with the whole Catholic Tradition, continuously from within the Catholic Church, despite the handicaps placed on them, on everybody, by people in authority (bishops) and/or power (schools, universities, media). So the SSPX is not the ONLY group that has been working continuously toward that end.

    Nothing can be “justified” about what is happening now from any “unfortunate” actions taken by members of SSPX alone. They were not alone, they perceived themselves, perhaps, to be alone. The “fruits” come from the Holy Spirit, not from disobedience. I’m not judging the consciences of the members of SSPX; I’m talking about the objective reality. The history of the Church tells of many instances where human beings, even Saints, were treated unjustly by others: St. Teresa of Avila was called a “Madame” by members of her own religious order that she was trying to reform.

    You say the excommunications “were lifted, not quite annulled”. Well, no excommunication is ever annulled if it is valid, they are all “remitted” (“lifted”, if you like). It is an ecclesiastical penalty, for crying out loud.

    You say the stance of “holding the course” has been “totally vindicated”. Not quite. The truth is beginning to prevail. So, where is SSPX? To his credit, I think Bishop Fellay has begun to realize the predicament: “you can’t win it, if you’re not in it”.

    I fervently hope the SSPX gets back “in it”, because once they do they can pull the cart in the same direction as the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is not turning time back, He is driving the Church as time moves in the other direction.

  100. ssoldie says:

    I have attened the Mass in accordience with the 1962 Roman Missal.I have never questioned if it be prayed by a priest of FSSPX, FSSP, or any other priest who also says the N.O.M. So long as it is the rite that has come organically down thru the ages, not a ‘banal on the spot fabricated liturgy’. I really believe that those who oppose the FSSPX, only want them to have to say the N.O.M., because other then that, they really have no clue. Thank you who have said it so much better then I could, franzjosf, quovadis7, wsxyz, michell NY

  101. Mark says:

    Dr. Peters’ comments remind us that intellect and a understanding of ecclesial law do not always serve truth or justice. Of course, this comes as no surprise to those of us living in these difficult times. Just as Christ was criticized by the clerics who cited the law in condemnation of him, they fail to understand the hierarchy of virtues or God’s will.

    I believe the FSSPX is concerned primarily with the salvation of souls through the faith and sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. It seems apparent to me (and I wonder how any observer could disagree), the Holy Father shares this desire *and* understands this is the case (with the FSSPX).

    Ironic, that the Pope is the supreme interpreter of the law, he has applied it to the FSSPX in the way he sees fit, but Peters, as with the modernists (I do not know whether he is one, or whether this is merely a shared approach to the FSSPX), airs public dissent. Given the great many things he could be commenting on in a daily basis and the conclusions he could have reached and shared, but did not, we have only a faint glimpse into the author’s ideology.

    I have many attorneys among my circle of friends and acquaintances and they can be very normal, virtuous people, but when they retreat behind the law and ignore their duties to their fellow man, they frequently lose perspective. The context, the spirit of the law, the intentions of the accused, these things all become irrelevant as they are driven to apply the law in the way they interpret it.

  102. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Dear mpm,

    The SSPX is the only voice saying the problems are not with interpretations of Vatican II but rather with the texts themselves. This is the crucial difference. Many have a completely exaggerated view of infallibility. There is nothing sinful about asking for clarification, and even revision of the texts of Vatican II since none of them meet the requirements set forth by Vatican I for infallibility, and therefore we can not assume them to be free from error, let alone inspired. Only a person that has never studied the history of the Councils of the Church would maintain the opposite.

  103. LCB says:

    Good consequences do not justify actions. Actions are moral or not in themselves.

    The SSPX defenders are starting to sound exactly like the modernists. It’s really quite disturbing.

  104. mpm says:

    Thanks Christopher,

    I doubt that I have a very exaggerated understanding of infallibility, why would you even
    mention it in addressing me?

    It is no secret that there are ambiguous words, phrases, etc., in the texts of the Council
    documents. The people I am speaking about have been perfectly aware of that since the
    Council itself. They have raised and discussed them in continuity with the Tradition of
    the Church publicly (in scholarly journals, etc.) this whole time.

    BTW, you may have noticed that when you read Scripture itself, sometimes the words are
    ambiguous — susceptible of various interpretations? Yet, they are inspired.

    So, what’s your real point, that you don’t like what I said?

  105. Sam Schmitt says:

    This is getting weird – the claims are:

    (1) THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS – we would have no Tridentine mass now if it were not for the disobedience of Archbishop Lefebrve (this is simply asserted, never argued) – therefore, his disobedience is justified

    (2) TWO WRONGS MAKE A RIGHT – or – WHY ARE WE BEING PICKED ON? – all those Modernists out there are running around spreading their errors and have never been disciplined – why is Rome getting after us?

    (3) THE SSPX KNOWS BETTER THAN THE POPE – THEY, not the Holy Father, the supreme authority and lawgiver in the Church, know when a state of emergency exists, they understand the law better than the lawgiver and have the right to act in direct defiance to the lawgiver

    (4) THE BISHOPS OF THE SSPX WERE NEVER EXCOMMUNICATED – since they don’t consider themselves excommunicated (see (3) above), and anyway, they are more fervent than many supposedly legitimate priests (see (6) below)

    (5) THE SSPX IS LOYAL TO THE POPE – while at the same time disobeying him (this has something to do with a Northern European understanding of the law (or of the principle of non-contradiction) which the Holy Father is not bound by)

    (6) IT IS UP TO ROME TO CONFORM TO THE SSPX, not the other way around; the burden of proof is on Rome to prove to the SSPX that it is not heretical

    (7) IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT SSPX PRIESTS DO NOT HAVE FACULTIES SINCE THEY ARE VERY FERVENT

    (8) WE SHOULD ACCEPT THE SSPX\’S VERSION OF EVENTS, even though Rome has objected to this in the past, those objecting to the SSPX on this are really dissenters; also, the Holy Father must really approve of the latest canonically illicit ordinations since he has not acted to stop them (?)

    Finally,
    (9) THE SSPX IS BETTER OFF NOT IN FULL COMMUNION ANYWAY since Rome’s orthodoxy is questionable (see (6) above, but we *are* loyal to the pope – see (5) above) and the SSPX are the ones really in communion with the church of the ages, which doesn’t really include the present pope (or does it? – see (5) above)

    I wish the SSPX no ill, it’s just that these arguments are beginning to sound suspiciously like those put forward by so many questionable and even schismatic groups in the Church’s history. I really don’t want the SSPX to go farther down that path.

  106. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    MPM,

    I did not mean to imply that you (yourself) have an exaggerated understanding of infallibility, but certainly you must know many that do. Second, the FSSP was specifically not given the right to criticize Vatican II or the New Mass, and they have not. Some priests have even been but under obedience by their FSSP superiors to celebrate the New Mass. Finally, I would be interested in knowing who these people are you are speaking about, who have been criticizing the texts of Vatican II in scholarly journals since the Council itself, as opposed to just arguing for a traditional interpretation of the texts. Could cite some examples?

  107. meg says:

    RE: Comment by wsxyz — 24 June 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    wsxyz (or anyone who would know): Thank you for clarifying the situation, I didn’t know for example that Cardinal Ratzinger was directly involved with the consecrations. Interesting.

    Do you think that, as Pope Benedict, this has affected his dealings with the SSPX in a positive way?

  108. Michael J says:

    LCB,

    Is the act of Consecrating a Bishop moral or immoral in and of itself?
    Or do you hold that a consecration *with* approval is one act and that one *without* approval is a completely separate act?

    If so, how would you judge the act of a suspended Priest hearing a Confession? How would your opinion be modified, if at all, if the penitent was on his death-bed?

  109. Heather says:

    To Sam Schmitt…you must be tired after knocking down all those straw men.

  110. Henry says:

    Hmm … Ab. Lefebvre was disobedient. Hence the SSPX preserved the Mass that had shaped the Faith. Then a pope was elected who could restore that Mass to the Church. Apparently, less for its own sake than to provide a model for reforming the ordinary liturgy. Finally the SSPX question becomes the occasion for a legitimate re-interpretation of Vatican II.

    So a single archbishop’s seeming rejection of the Council turns out to the slender thread on which it’s authentic implementation ultimately hangs.

    For want of a nail …. the war would have been lost. Who can comprehend, or even pretend to explain, the mysterious ways of the Lord in working His Will in so perverse a world?

  111. Michael says:

    “Is the act of Consecrating a Bishop moral or immoral in and of itself?” – It is not “in and of itself” immoral, but to be good an act has to be done by good means, and even so it can be made immoral by circumstances. A violation of the Canon Law is the bad means, and the circumstances like refusal to respond positively to explicit appeal by the Pope makes it worse.

    “If so, how would you judge the act of a suspended Priest hearing a Confession?” – The same should apply.

    If, however, “the penitent was on his death-bed”, hearing confession would not be the violation of the Canon Law. That is the reason why any priest, even non-Catholic, can absolve legitimately and validly.

  112. meg says:

    Thank you, Henry. That says it all. Beautiful.

  113. RBrown says:

    “Is the act of Consecrating a Bishop moral or immoral in and of itself?” – It is not “in and of itself” immoral, but to be good an act has to be done by good means, and even so it can be made immoral by circumstances. A violation of the Canon Law is the bad means, and the circumstances like refusal to respond positively to explicit appeal by the Pope makes it worse.

    The problem has nothing to do with circumstances or means.

    The genus of a moral act may be good in itself but not good in its species. Thus:

    The consecration of a bishop is good (genus)
    The consecration of a particular man (e.g., schismatic, homosexual, heretic, etc.) is evil.

    The same is true for sexual relations

    As a genus it is good.
    As a species it is evil outside of marriage.


    “If so, how would you judge the act of a suspended Priest hearing a Confession?” – The same should apply.

    There is no doubt that the priest would not have faculties. But, as I said earlier, the principle of Ecclesia supplet may apply in such cases.

    If, however, “the penitent was on his death-bed”, hearing confession would not be the violation of the Canon Law. That is the reason why any priest, even non-Catholic, can absolve legitimately and validly.
    Comment by Michael

    It’s the same situation. The pope, via canon law, gives the faculty for the Sacrament to any priest for death bed absolution.

  114. RBrown says:

    Addendum:

    The consecration of a bishop is good (genus)
    The consecration of a particular man (e.g., schismatic, homosexual, heretic, etc.) is evil.
    (species)

    +++++++++++++

    It’s the same situation as the example of the consecration of a bishop.

    The pope, via canon law, gives the faculty for the Sacrament to any priest for death bed absolution.

  115. LCB says:

    RBrown’s comments, as always, deserve careful reading by all.

    It seems some folks in this thread are doing an excellent job considering this issue, and have started to recognize that if you have suspended ministers, you have invalid marriages and invalid confessions (except at the moment of death).

    Henry and meg,

    So that means disobedience is okay as long as something good comes from it? I thought disobedience was disobedience period. Shouldn’t Padre Pio have refused his superiors when they told him to stop offering mass publicly and hearing confessions? After all he had the Stigmata, not them, he should decide.

    Being sincerely disobedient doesn’t somehow justify disobedience. It just means that you’re sincerely in error.

    Carry it out to its logical conclusion and you’ll see that the foundation contains an error.

  116. LCB says:

    Heather,

    I’m not convinced those are straw men. We’ve heard many of those arguments in this thread.

  117. Henry says:

    LCB,

    I did not offer any personal opinion as to whether any particular act of disobedience was right or wrong. But surely almost everyone would agree that disobedience to lawful authority generally is objectively wrong. That said, I assume some would fall short of arguing that obedience is always the highest virtue in each and every situation.

    At any rate, I have no affinity or connection whatsoever with the SSPX, and have remained loyalty to the Church through thick and thin down through the decades, attending not only Sunday but daily (OF) Mass when I could (like now), I now am ready to raise a genuine question whether we’re not beginning to see the will of God in the sequence of events I sketched.

    It would not be the first time in history that He has used such an imperfect vessel.

  118. Michael J says:

    LCB,

    Every Martyr in the Church exists because they were disobedient to lawful authority. Surely you are not suggesting that they were “sincerely in error”?

  119. LCB says:

    Henry,

    I am sorry that in my lack of charity I misinterpreted your post. Thank you for taking the time to correct me.

    Michael J,

    Surely you don’t take your own comparison seriously? I don’t think a person can be a “loyal dissenter” to the Church. That’s for the likes of Curran, America, NCR, and the Women’s Ordination crowd. You’re either down with obedience to the Holy Father and the laws he issues or you’re not.

    A person can claim to be a citizen of a Kingdom and a follower of a King, and illustrates this by doing the King’s will and following his laws. Or a person may be an enemy of that Kingdom, publicly say so, and work to thwart the King and his will. But for a man to claim “I follow the King, I am a citizen of his Kingdom, and to prove it I shall break his laws and thwart his will.” That simply makes no sense.

  120. meg says:

    I think Henry’s post is eloquent and wise and puts this whole discussion where it always belonged: in God’s hands.

    Since I’m not familiar with your position in general, I can only say that from the few posts I’ve read I think this situation is more nuanced and delicate than you will allow.

    From an earlier post by wsxyz I learned that as Cardinal Ratzinger Pope Benedict played more of a role in this affair than I had realized; I wonder how this affects his handling of it today.

    I am thankful that the Pope and Bishop Fellay are both exquisitely tactful and diplomatic men and I leave the resolution of the dispute to them, second only to God’s will.

    I pray that the beautiful Latin Mass that predates Vatican II, which resulted in my conversion several years, and is now at the center of my family’s life never be harmed in any way and be allowed to continue into eternity.

  121. meg says:

    Oops – my last post was to LCB.

  122. Michael says:

    RBrown
    I am not trying to object for the objection sake, but I am intrigued.

    As far as I know for an act to be good it must fulfil three criteria: good in itself, the means must be good, and the circumstances must not be of such nature that would make a good act – bad. Did I get it wrong?

    I have already applied these criteria to the consecration of bishop in violation of Canon Law, and to the exercise of specifically priestly functions if he is suspended, i.e. again in violation of the Canon Law. In both cases the violation of the Canon Law is involved, plus the straight refusal to respond positively to the Papal appeal in the first case.

    Where would these two examples fall in your scheme?

    I take it that the third one is clear: no violation of the Canon Law is involved – so there is no problem.

    Regarding the supplied jurisdiction, I don’t think it is applicable if the Legislator doesn’t consider it applicable. The example isn’t like the underground consecrations of Ukrainian bishops

  123. mfg says:

    wsxyz: Thank you for explaining the circumstances leading up to the Lefebvre consecrations of the 4 SSPX bishops which makes it that much easier to understand BXVI’s lifting of the excommunications. And God blesshim for it. We have all been guilty of past mistakes and happy when an occasion arises to put them to rights. Please pray for BXVI and Bishop Fellay, although I don’t think Bishop Fellay will ever follow Card. Levada’s prescription: Acceptance of VAT 2 and the Novus Ordo. No way. This would be a repudiation of his whole life and the mantle placed on his shoulders by Archbishop Lefebvre. The only hope I see is one not to be expected: One-on-one conversations, meetings, communications between the two principals involved with no interference from third parties: Cardinals, Curias, Dicasteries, Secretaries, under-secretaries, other people, etc.

    Henry 6/25–1:29pm Thank you, You hit that nail smack dab on its head. These are exciting times to be alive in the Church albeit a long time in coming.

  124. Heather says:

    For the broken records…

    For nearly 40 years, priests who wanted to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass were persecuted. Some may recall that Fr. McLucas was suspended for that reason. Now, with the MP, we have confirmation that the Trads were right all along—the Mass was never abrogated. *All those punishments were unjust.* The trads were right and those who persecuted them were abusing their authority.

    Adherence to the Latin Mass was the reason that the SSPX was originally suppressed in the 1970s—in violation of canon law I might add.

    Thank you SSPX for Summorum Pontificium.

  125. Sam Schmitt says:

    Heather,

    You mention straw men, but as LCB has noted, most of my arguments were made on this thread. For example, you yourself (and many others) have made the argument in (1), JAS (4), “not a saint yet” (7) and Merriweather (9). Most of the others I have heard many times on other similar threads; I have merely stated them in a rather stark form to highlight their inconsistencies.

    Anyway, I would love to know the name of a saint who was disciplined by Rome or other legitimate religious authority – even unjustly – and defiantly disobeyed anyway, all the time loudly proclaiming his own arguments and reasons. (St. Athanasius is not an example.)

  126. Jordanes says:

    Michael J said: Every Martyr in the Church exists because they were disobedient to lawful authority.

    True, if we leave out the innumerable martyrs who were disobedient to unlawful authority . . . .

  127. Michael J says:

    LCB,

    I thought too late that you might think I was drawing a comparison. I was only trying to demonstrate the falsity of your overly simplistic notion of obedience.
    You claim that disobedience is always and everywhere wrong. I am merely asserting that
    1. in some (most) cases, disobedience is morally wrong
    2. in others, disobedience is morally neutral
    3. in still others (perhaps the rarest of all) disobedience is virtuous.

  128. Martin says:

    I can see that the SSPX feels that they are justified in taking the actions that they have, that is why I do have some sympathy for them. But to me, wouldn’t it be more prudent not to attend/ support an organization, if they are illicit.
    Why would anyone attend/ support the SSPX when they (must) know that while they may have valid ordinations and sacraments, they are not licit?
    And as many others have already stated, wouldn’t they have done more good be working to change what they feel is wrong within the Church, by staying with the Church.
    I think that would have given them more of a voice for change, rather than being labeled as a “dissident group”.

  129. Martin says:

    Heather,
    To say that priests who wanted to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass were persecuted, is not correct.
    There were priests who said the Mass in Latin and were in full communion with Rome and the local Bishop.
    There is a Franciscan order near where I grew up that always said the Mass in Latin, and my brother actually joined the order and was taught Latin.
    So the assumption by the SSPX that it was an emergency situation and that they felt Latin would die (in our Church) is unfounded.
    Clearly there were Latin Masses which were celebrated, and the priests not persecuted.

  130. Martin says:

    Hmm … Ab. Lefebvre was disobedient. Hence the SSPX preserved the Mass that had shaped the Faith. Then a pope was elected who could restore that Mass to the Church. Apparently, less for its own sake than to provide a model for reforming the ordinary liturgy. Finally the SSPX question becomes the occasion for a legitimate re-interpretation of Vatican II.

    So a single archbishop’s seeming rejection of the Council turns out to the slender thread on which it’s authentic implementation ultimately hangs.

    For want of a nail …. the war would have been lost. Who can comprehend, or even pretend to explain, the mysterious ways of the Lord in working His Will in so perverse a world?

    Henry,
    You claim that the SSPX preserved the Mass that has shaped the faith…
    Really? I must be missing something.
    The Mass was not officially declared to be celebrated in Latin until 609AD. I can’t imagine what language the faithful celebrated the Mass in before that time…. Maybe it was in the language of the people (like the NO Mass is…)
    I think back to the Biblical account of the Decent of the Holy Spirit. Did the Holy Spirit descend on the Apostles so that they were heard in Latin? Or was it that they were heard in “their own language”… Seems to me that God wanted the people to hear their own language.
    In that regard, should the SSPX really have such an issue with the language of the Mass? No they should not.
    It is fine it they have a preference to one form over another (the LM is very reverent), but your personal preference doesn’t make you right. Nor should you place your preference above obedience.

  131. Martin says:

    Henry,
    I forgot to add; ArchBishop Lebrvey(sp) signed 15of the 16 documents in the Second Vatican Council.
    It would seem that he didn’t reject too much of the Council (not as much as the SSPX seems to currently reject even)
    You are right that this situation brings to the from a legitimate occasion for re-interpretation for Vatican II. But who should do the (re)interpretations? Surely not the SSPX, but the One Church that was given the sole authority here on earth over these matters, by Christ Himself; The Holy Catholic Church. Not the SSPX.

  132. Henry says:

    Martin: I must be missing something.

    It looks that way. For instance, the official language of both the ordinary form and the extraordinary form is Latin, so the difference must lie elsewhere, in which the pertinence of your subsequent remarks may be questionable.

  133. Henry says:

    Martin: ArchBishop Lebrvey(sp) signed 15of the 16 documents in the Second Vatican Council.

    And, in particular, he approved Sacrosanctum Concilium, the constitution on the sacred liturgy. Unfortunately, we still await its faithful implementation, but finally begun by Pope Benedict XVI gloriously reigning.

  134. Martin says:

    ssoldie,
    It is not right to assume that those who oppose the SSPX only want them to celebrate the Mass in the NO form.
    I for one do not support the SSPX, nor do I agree with their actions 9but I do agree with some reasons for doing said actions… if that makes sense…).
    With that said, I oppose the way they are going about their business.
    However, I do not want to suppress the Latin Mass, in any way. As I (and many others) have stated, if that was the SSPX’s only gripe then go to the FSSP.
    But they have other things that they feel are more important, like their personal interpretations of tradition and the Second Vatican Council.

    Also, by grandstanding this idea about the Latin Mass, the SSPX seems to think that the Church doesn’t have the authority to change the language of the Mass. Sorry but the Church alone does have that power and authority.
    As I’ve said, the Mass wasn’t officially Latin until 609AD. But the Church had the power and authority back then to change the language of the Mass to Latin. Then why would the Church not have the authority to do the same now? It was the Church who was given the authority to administer the Sacraments, not the SSPX.

    I have to ask, when an SSPX priest hears Confession, does he do so in private? If he does then he isn’t following the “tradition” of the Church like he claims to be. The Church in its early days required public Confession, and public penance. The sinners had to stand up at Mass and proclaim their sins in front of all the people. Well the Church doesn’t do it like that anymore. So to admit that the Church has the power and authority in one case to change the way the Sacrament is administered, but then deny it in another situation seems a bit absurd to me.

  135. Martin says:

    Henry,
    Do you mind telling me what I’m missing?
    If the OF and EF forms of the Mass are officially in Latin, then why is the Mass allowed to be celebrated in English (and any other language which is it celebrated)? It is because they need a “universal” language to start from. Something to base all translations from. So what is your point about the EF and OF being officially in Latin?

    Simply put the Church has the authority to change the language that the Mass is celebrated in. You don’t have to like it. If you don’t like it, then find a TLM which is also in union with the Vatican.
    If the EF and OF forms are both officially in Latin, then what am I missing?

    As far as Lefbvrey, yes you showed one out of the 15 that he signed…. Why don’t you show us the one that he didn’t sign and seemed not to agree with and start from there. But alass it would seem that the current SSPX could not readily admit to agreeing with all but one of the documents. After all they have stated that the Second Vatican Council is a “new religion”. how can it be a “new religion” if it was Lefbvrey himself who agreed with all but one document? Seems a bit absurd to me.

    And aren’t we all still awaiting the faithful implementation of the Second Vatican Council? After all we (might) agree that there is ambiguity in the wording of the documents, would we not? If there was ambiguity, then they couldn’t have been faithfully implemented, could they?
    So they should work with the Church to correct the ambiguity, not work against the Church by being disobedient.

  136. Martin says:

    Sixupman,
    Are your really claiming by this comment that all priests and religious who are in union with the Vatican preach fallacies, and preach teaching that is contrary to the Universal Magesterium? Really?
    Please don’t make such general statements.
    Also it has been said that you can’t/ and shouldn’t try to justify something bad, with something else that is bad.
    Yes I would agree that there are people in the Church who preach false doctrine, but that doesn’t mean that teh Church Herself is in error…

    “Leaving aside Canon Law and lay canonists [and yes SSPX has fully qualified canonists in-house], for me it is what does SSPX preach [the side-track of the +Williamson group apart]: SSPX preaches the Faith in which I was brought-up. A great number of muy diocesan clergy and their superiors preach otherwise. SSPX clergy are to seek ‘Faculties’ from bishops who do not even adhere to the basis tenets of Catholic faith [‘Obedience’] – “Catch 22”. Mother Church did exist prior to Vatican II, which so many clergy and bishops now denigrate and congregations have been lied to by them. I have a tape-recording of a conference given to enclosed nuns, where the ‘Old Missal’ was referred to as a joke and in ‘Obedience’ they went along with it. The bastion against this brainwashing was their retired chaplain, who was, de facto, ostracised by his fellow deanery clergy. I have complained that SSPX, in given circumstances, lack Charity – but where is the Charity in the narcissistic Vatican II clergy [Orotarians and the like apart]?”

  137. LCB says:

    Martin,

    Are you familiar with the terms “Tradition” and “Archeologism”? You seem not to be.

  138. Antiquarian says:

    Sixupman said– “SSPX has fully qualified canonists in-house”

    I’m glad to hear it, but surprised, since their official websites avoid mentioning any, all the while using their own interpretations of canon law to justify their positions. A Fr. Rudolph Kaschewsky is quoted to support their contention that the excommunications were invalid, but while they call him a canonist, he wasn’t one, he was a linguist with no canon law background. They certainly could buttress their opinions by citing their authorities by name.

  139. Henry says:

    Martin: Do you mind telling me what I’m missing?

    I’m afraid this would take more time than I have, even if I didn’t need to finish evening prayer before leaving for an Opus Dei planned Mass — OF, of course, in case you’re unfamiliar with these issues — tonight in another parish in commemoration of St. Josemaria Escriva.

    Anyway, it sounds like you’re trying to engage debate with some sort of SSPX type. Sorry, I’ve been an unreserved papist for the past half century or so.

  140. FranzJosf says:

    Michael: Your point about not wanting to be offensive is well-taken, and I thank you; perhaps I’m too quick to the chase.

    And your points about the protestants and the orthodox are well-taken, although I might disagree on one point. Generally, those protestants who have two so-called sacraments have baptism and holy communion, not matrimony, if we’re speaking of main-line protestants.

    On other points, you and I will never agree. Nevertheless, given our Holy Father’s willingness to have doctrinal discussions, there must be things worth talking about, especially ecumenism. How do the SSPX depart from the Deposit of Faith? The Holy Father admits that there is a problem with the interpretation. You disagree?

  141. Martin says:

    LCB,
    I do know what tradition is. But I’m not aware of what “Archeologism” is. Do you mind telling me? I even looked it up in the dictionary and couldn’t find it….

  142. LCB says:

    Martin,

    Unfortunately dictionaries often lack the best words, which are often Catholic words.

    “Archeologism”, as it’s called, was addressed by Pius XII in his encyclical “Mediator Dei.” Paragraphs 62 through 64/65 are the key ones, if my memory serves correctly.

    Archeologism essentially means this: going back to what was done in ancient times, or placing certain ancient traditions above Tradition, merely because it was ancient (and somehow therefore more authentic).

    All things in the Church, especially liturgy, ought to be in organic continuity with the past. By organic continuity we mean natural, living, continuity from age to age. For example, the reception of Communion in the hand is controversial because it is mostly an “archeologism”– we have a handful of scattered references to it taking place, yet somehow the logic goes “Oh the early Church did it so we should too.” Well, not exactly, because we also have 1500+ years of Tradition that we need to be in continuity with.

    In short, the Church of 2009 must be in continuity with 1959, 1859, 859, and 459.

    So when you referenced the form of confession, and the language of the Mass, I suspected you weren’t familiar with the terms. I further suspected that if you better understood these concepts, your opinion might be significantly shaped by them. For that reason I asked the question.

    The encyclical can be found here, and was given in 1947: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_20111947_mediator-dei_en.html

    Paragraph 62 reads: 62. Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer’s body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.

    I hope that helps Martin. I think this post has dropped off the main page, but I’ll watch it for a few days to see if you’d like to continue discussion of the matter.

  143. Martin says:

    LCB,
    No. Having a better understanding doesn’t change my mind on it.

    Here is one reason why….
    You said that we have 1500 years of tradition to go by…. But the Church is 2000 years old.
    This would mean that at some point (lets just say for discussion the year 500AD) that the changes were made.
    So wouldn’t be people living in the Church in the year 500, say “Hey we have a tradition. Why are you changing it?” After-all, at that point they had 500 years of tradition they had to follow as well.
    But alass, the changes were made.
    Changes do not go against tradition. Not at all. It is the (more important) tradition that we follow the Church and support Her. After all it was the Church (not us) that was given the promise by God. The Church has more wisdom and understanding than we do.

    One last point, if the Church was so rigid in following all the “traditions” that the Church has always held, then we would never have had the Latin Mass in the Universal Church. (We’d still be confessing in public at Mass…) among other things.
    Changes come and go. But the Church stays the same.
    Trust that the Church has more wisdom than me and you, and that She knows what she is doing.

  144. LCB says:

    Martin,

    You may find Pope Benedict’s book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” exceptionally helpful in understanding these matters more deeply.

    A key concept behind the Church’s liturgy is that the liturgy be in organic continuity with the past. Rough and harsh breaks with the past are a bad thing. So even though the mass slowly and gradually developed (organically) and changed over the centuries, that’s normal and to be expected. However, for people to show up one day and find that the entire mass had changed radically, that is bad because it represents a break of continuity. Natural organic evolutions= good, sudden violent breaks with the past= bad.

    Finally, if we are to assert that the natural evolution of the liturgy over 1500 years was bad, and that going back to certain ancient practices merely because they are ancient is superior to the natural evolution, then serious questions about the Church are posed. Did the Church somehow “get it wrong” for 1500 years? Etc.

    If you reread your post of 10:04, you may find an underlying line of thought that essentially asserts the Church of 1959 is somehow opposed to the Church of 2009.

    Finally, I believe you are misunderstanding the difference between tradition and Tradition.

    I look forward to further dialog with you on this matter.

  145. Martin says:

    LCB
    I’m not saying that a natural evolution is better or worse. I’ll leave that to the Church, as I feel that She has more Wisdom and understanding on this matter than I do. I think others would be wise to do the same. If there is things that need to be changed (and I think that there are a few things) then I’m confident in the Church’s ability to do just that, as it has in the past and over the last 2000 years of our history.
    To say that because the Church “went back” or that the Church went forward, does not mean that the Church somehow got it wrong for 1500 years….. Not at all. Some would look at it that way. But I think those would be the ones trying to find fault in the Church.

    I’m sorry that you got that line of thought from my post, but no. I don’t feel in anyway that the Church is opposed to the Church (at any point in it’s history). Now with that said, I do think that there are people that do think the Church is opposed to Herself. When they claim that the Church is abandoning it’s tradition in lieu of the “new religion” of the post conciclicar Church, then yes, those people think the Church is opposing itself. I can’t agree with that at all.
    I may be confusing Tradition and tradition….
    I would also like to continue this dialogue because I’ve tried to have numerous conversations with “traditionalists” and they either don’t go well, or they say because I don’t agree I don’t understand….
    I wish there was a way to contact you privately, so to continue this (if you wouldn’t mind either)….