Holy See Press Office on SSPX June ordinations

There was a communique from the Holy See Press Office today about the scheduled SSPX ordinations to take place in Germany.

In English:

COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
REGARDING THE ORDINATIONS ANNOUNCED BY THE FRATERNITY OF SAINT PIUS X

In response to frequent questions which have come to this office in the last days regarding the priestly ordinations of the Society of St. Pius X scheduled at the end of June, there is nothing else to do but refer to what the Holy Father affirmed in his Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church from last 10 March: "As long as the Society (of Saint 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 ordinations are, thus, still to be considered illegitimate.

    In the same letter, the Pope announced his intention to provide a new status for the Commission "Ecclesia Dei", joined to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There are reasons to believe that the definition of this new status is close. This constitutes the premise for the beginning of the dialogue with those responsible for the Fraternity of Saint Pius X in view of the desired clarification of the doctrinal, and, in consequence, of the disciplinary questions which still remain open.

 

Well… the statement is correct.  The priests of the SSPX do not have permission to exercise ministry for the Church.  Valid orders is not enough.  They need authorization to exercise those orders from legitimate authority.  They have valid orders.  They don’t have permission.  Period.  There are no "emergency powers".

At the same time, the moves of the German bishops can hardly be seen as friendly to the Holy Father’s work to reintegrate the SSPX.  Perhaps there are cultural factors at work.  In addition to their fear of the style of liturgy they would bring, they are probably afraid of the furor in the press that will erupt from accusations of anti-semitism, etc.

The Holy See Press Office cannot say, "Hey, its okay that the SSPX have ordinations!" Clearly, it is wrong for the SSPX to do this.  On the other hand, the Holy Father, and Cardinal Castrillon would like – and we would all like – that the SSPX come in as a body rather than piecemeal. For the sake of such a plan, it may be necessary to tolerate an otherwise unacceptable act, such as additional ordinations.  Pressuring the SSPX not to have ordinations at this point might work to tear apart the internal unity of the SSPX priests and their followers.

Istthere negativity being transmitted on the part of those who craft the language of these types of press releases?  What counts is what the Holy Father communicated to the leadership of the SSPX by his actions and through his lieutenants in this matter, Card. Castrillon and now, soon, Card. Levada.

The point about the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"…

It seems pretty clear that the Commission will soon go under the CDF.  The doctrinal discussions with the SSPX will have to be worked out at the CDF.

It seems to me that the liturgical component of the Commission will now be shifted to the CDW.  Under Card. Canizares, and with Archbp. DiNoia, the older forms will have some sympathy in the CDW.  There are also a few very good men in the CDW who will be able to handle questions and issues.  I wouldn’t be surprised if, when it is really time for the CDF to take up the PCED for the doctrinal discussion, men such as the experienced Msgr. Perl wouldn’t go back to the CDW where he was before 1988 and the formation of the PCED.  That would make sense.

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74 Responses to Holy See Press Office on SSPX June ordinations

  1. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    I dunno, I don’t know that we can allow what even you call an “unacceptable act” just because we want to be nice. The fact is that the SSPX are not in full communion with Holy Mother Church, and as such should not be performing sacraments.

    Just because we want them to become regularized doesn’t mean we should lose our principles.

    After all, why not let someone who wants to become Catholic receive the Eucharist. In both cases it is presumably only a matter of time before they are truly Catholic, and the friendly gesture could strengthen their resolve.

  2. Matthew says:

    I appreciate your analysis, Father, but could you provide us with some insight as to how this whole Bavarian Ordination-excommuncation thing will play out? What are the possible ways in which this can end?

  3. Patrick says:

    I wouldn’t be too hard on the German bishops. You can bet beyond a shadow of a doubt that if the SSPX were planning ordinations in a diocese run by Arch. Burke, they would be fore-warned and excommunicated for such actions.

    If Bishop Fellay is serious about coming home he ought to postpone even if just out of respect for the Holy Father.

  4. If Bishop Fellay is serious about coming home he ought to postpone even if just out of respect for the Holy Father.

    I find it difficult to argue against this statement; it comes down to prudence.

  5. David says:

    Salvatore Giuseppe,

    This is not a matter of full communion, but of canonical status. There’s no comparing the bishops, priests or seminarians of the SSPX to those not in communion with the Catholic Church. There’s also no comparing these ordinations to a clear desecration of the Holy Eucharist. The ordinations are clearly wrong, but they do not amount to desecration.

    I think a temporary canonical structure will be granted and accepted before the ordinations take place. The PCED had to have envisioned this problem materializing when the excommunications were lifted, and I think B. Fellay’s recent comments seem to indicate that just such an arrangement has already been discussed recently.

    We will wait and see and pray.

  6. Mary says:

    “There are also a few very good men in the CDW…” Hey, I know one of those guys! :D

  7. John L says:

    Can you enlighten us as to why a statement on this matter is issued by the press office of the Holy See? The Vatican press officer has as much authority to pronounce on these ordinations as I do; authoritative statements from the Holy See must come from the Pope or from an office of the Curia.

  8. Jack says:

    If the Church has been willing to tolerate modernists for the past forty years in order to prevent wholesale schism whilst reparing the damage ‘brick by brick’ then I think they can tolerate the actions of the SSPX in Germany, as for the comments that Bishop Fellay should postpone the ordinations out of respect, Please remember that this is the same order that has actually attempted to preserve tradition for the last 40 years and has taken full broadsides from the modernists within the Church for doing so, We OWE these guys alotta slack.

    Having read a few of Fellay’s newsletters/interviews (I’m not SSPX) one can clearly see that he is trying (a) to bring the SSPX back to regularised status and (b)at the same time is trying to get those SSPX members who HAVE developed a quasi-schismatic mindset such as Bishop Williamson to follow him, this guy is one helluva tight-rope walker

  9. Paul S says:

    Yes, the priests ordained and the bishops ordaining as it has been in the past are immediately suspended. Which is why I never seek confession from a priest of SSPX. Any talk of ‘re-excommunication’ is only acting contrary to our Holy Father’s valiant efforts. If I may suggest there may be an element of jealousy on the part of some of the German bishops sturm und drang against the ordinations. As in: “Ach, du lieber, these bishops actually have priests to ordain…let me see, the last time I ordained a priest was well, there was one last millenium, and there was that deacon last year; but he kinda left after I gave that sermon in favor of womens ordinations…..”.

  10. tzard says:

    It strikes me that this press release de-fuses calls for excommunications. We’ll see how the German Bishops react.

    Essentially, nothing’s changed, which in a sense has protected the SSPX to a certain extent.

  11. RichR says:

    What is the urgency in ordaining these men? With all the flak that the Holy Father has taken for the SSPX, would not a delay in ordaining the priests be an olive branch extended to the Holy See? Wouldn’t it be a pledge of dedication to the negotiations process? What good-faith efforts have the SSPX shown up to this point? What gestures of goodwill have they shown? What sacrifices have they made for the Holy Father in acknowledging their filial devotion. I sympathize with many of their complaints, but this starts to look like ingratitude.

    Common sense would tell me: put a moratorium on illicit ordinations (even if they don’t see it as such) at least for a short time so that there are no distractions.

  12. Larry says:

    So let me get this stright. To save a sinner or a whole gob of sinners we should let them have just one more sin! Now that might play real big with adulters, perverts of various stripes and maybe a mafias don who just needs to clear up a few loose ends. If they want back in the good graces they should stop being disobedient—PERIOD. Jesus did not tell a single soul, “Hey I’ll give you salvation; but you only get one more big sin; deal?” LOL [The Church is precisely for sinners.]

  13. Rose says:

    Well put, RichR.
    As for the press office issuing this communique…good move. Impersonal, technical answer. Removes the issue from the Curial heavies yet answers the question and sends a signal. Someone is directing the PR this time around.

  14. Mike M says:

    Fr. Z,
    If discussions proceed well, how long would you reasonably expect it to take before SSPX could feasibly join the Church? I know it’s a difficult thing to predict, but I’m wondering about an optimistic but reasonable estimate.

    I don’t really know how reasonably one can expect SSPX to leave its seminarians in limbo for an extended period of time. If the Holy Father wants to bring the SSPX back into the Church, I think part of talking to them includes operating under the assumption that they’re going to continue to perform the activities that make them what they are.

  15. Clayton says:

    IMHO, there might be some merit to putting a moratorium on all locally imposed penalties against the SSPX. If the Holy See is going to be guiding the doctrinal/canonical negotiations, it is reasonable to suggest that the Holy See alone ought to determine what penalties, rewards, comprises, etc. are to be given to that Society. I think, first of all, for the sake of these poor seminarians, who have undergone a long and rigorous formation process, allowing them to receive ordinations might be a way to dispose a new generation of SSPX priests favorably to the Holy See and speed negotiations. Secondly, it might be wise to, as an initial step towards reintegration of the SSPX, allow the Society priests to exercise their ministry in their chapels ONLY, except the Sacrament of Matrimony and the sacraments of initiation (except in emergencies of course), while asking them to limit themselves to the liturgical norms provided in Summorum Pontificum. I wish that these would be the initial steps to doctrinal discussions preceding full canonical recognition.

  16. David O'Rourke says:

    All the Vatican has done is state the obvious. This very day a couple hundred SSPX Masses are celebrated as they are every day and it is a given that they are all illegitimate.So too will the ordinations be illigitimate, with or without the communique from the Vatican Press Office.

    Should they receive further punishment if the ordinations proceed?
    No! Not if the Holy FAther wants to heal the schism and we know he does want to.

    The Hholy fAther has voiced his view in the past that other fractures such as the Refomation and the Great Eastern schism might have been forstalled or at least lessened had the Popes shown more prudence and forbearence. This pOoe doesn’t want to make the same mistake

  17. Larry says:

    David O’, You can’t heal someone who won’t take the medicine. Putting a smiley face on deliberate disobedience by persons who have the “Fullness of the Priesthood” is not healing nor is it honest to the sinner. You can’t be absolved for sins you refuse to repent of. The priest in Florida who has left the Church and married is not gong to be chased after and begged to come back and be a good little boy and these old men need to understand–they screwed up a lonngggg time ago and they are continuing in their disobedience. If these guys were liberals and making a mockery of the Mass you would be out to hang them. Just because they speak Latin and wear old vestments doesn’t mean they are good guys. The devil speaks Latin with the best of them.

  18. Jack says:

    Larry I don’t think you get the point, both the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay want regularization of the SSPX, however due to the bad blood which resulted from John Paul 2nd’s heavyhandedness over the Econe Consecrations the SSPX want certain assurances. Also your comparison to Fr Oprah is invalid, he has betrayed his vow to God wheras the SSPX has if anything been more faithful than many priest in the West to the Church even when modernists were blasting them with full broadsides. Also I agree with Clayton that the Holy See should grant provisional faculties to celebrate Mass licitly, hear confessions and administer the last rites.

  19. Jon says:

    Do not be afraid. Do not be upset. God will bring Rome and the S.S.P.X. together in peace.

  20. Matt Q says:

    Patrick wrote:

    “If Bishop Fellay is serious about coming home he ought to postpone even if just out of respect for the Holy Father.”

    )(

    Then the schismatic Eastern churches should do the same. They want to get back to Rome, knock off their ordinations and phony sacraments also.

    = = = = =

    Jack wrote:

    “If the Church has been willing to tolerate modernists for the past forty years in order to prevent wholesale schism whilst reparing the damage ‘brick by brick’ then I think they can tolerate the actions of the SSPX in Germany, as for the comments that Bishop Fellay should postpone the ordinations out of respect, Please remember that this is the same order that has actually attempted to preserve tradition for the last 40 years and has taken full broadsides from the modernists within the Church for doing so, We OWE these guys [a lot of] slack.

    Having read a few of Fellay’s newsletters/interviews (I’m not SSPX) one can clearly see that he is trying (a) to bring the SSPX back to regularised status and (b)at the same time is trying to get those SSPX members who HAVE developed a quasi-schismatic mindset such as Bishop Williamson to follow him, this guy is one helluva tight-rope walker.

    )(

    Thank you, Jack. You said it. We do owe SSPX. If the Holy Father really wants to heal schism, he’ll have a far greater chance of success with the Society than he will with the Eastern Schismatics.

    Why do people drool and slobber when speaking of the SSPX but yet gush, admire and fawn over the Eastern churches–who really are in schism. Since AD1054. I know people who would rush to see one of their liturgies yet develop some strange illness when it comes to the idea of going to a SSPX Mass. Can we detect a little two-faced-ness here? Is it because healing the Society will mean all the naysayers will have to confront the fact the Second Vatican Council in its current presentation is flawed, inaccurate and in various points, erroneous, and conversely their own way of thinking? IMO, that is the case.

    = = = = =

    Clyaton wrote:

    “IMHO, there might be some merit to putting a moratorium on all locally imposed penalties against the SSPX. If the Holy See is going to be guiding the doctrinal/canonical negotiations, it is reasonable to suggest that the Holy See alone ought to determine what penalties, rewards, comprises, etc. are to be given to that Society. I think, first of all, for the sake of these poor seminarians, who have undergone a long and rigorous formation process, allowing them to receive ordinations might be a way to dispose a new generation of SSPX priests favorably to the Holy See and speed negotiations. Secondly, it might be wise to, as an initial step towards reintegration of the SSPX, allow the Society priests to exercise their ministry in their chapels ONLY, except the Sacrament of Matrimony and the sacraments of initiation (except in emergencies of course), while asking them to limit themselves to the liturgical norms provided in Summorum Pontificum. I wish that these would be the initial steps to doctrinal discussions preceding full canonical recognition.”

    )(

    You’re quite the vicious one there. What moratoriums, restraints, etc., do you wish on the Eastern Schismatics? Aren’t they more deserving of it than the SSPX? I say stop inviting them to Rome for all these big-production Vespers and all that fluff until they come to. If they are not inviting the SSPX to any of those functions, why invite those Eastern folk, who are so much more divergent in their thinking and theology than the SSPX who wish uphold Sacred Roman Catholic Tradition and Truth?

    = = = = =

    Larrry wrote:

    “The devil speaks Latin with the best of them.”

    )(

    Yes, Larry, he also speaks Greek, Armenian, Russian and all those other Schismatic-church languages.

  21. dominic says:

    Fr. Z,

    I realize that SSPX priests have not been given the power of jurisdiction from the lawful pastors of the Church (i.e. the Holy Father and the bishops in communion with him), but isn’t it true that they have an extraordinary supplied jurisdiction by reason of canons 1335 and 144? (Mind you, I’m no canon lawyer…I’m just interested by the SSPX’s claims)

    Canon 1335 allows a censured cleric to administer the sacraments “for any just cause.” If you following the SSPX’s line, the theological and liturgical crisis in the Church would probably constitute a “just cause.” But even if you don’t believe that… [I don't think that in the Church you can have a just cause when you openly defy the Vicar of Christ's will.]

    Canon 144 supplies jurisdiction to priests if there exists common error, meaning that the faithful go to a priest whom they mistakenly belive does have jurisdiction. So SSPX priests have jurisdiction by the very fact that certain Catholics belive they do and go to them for the sacraments.

    So…doesn’t this mean that they DO have “emergency powers”? [NO. There are no "emergency powers".]

  22. Manrique Zabala de Arízona says:

    Let’s think outside the box for a second.

    What if Msgr. Fellay requests a permission from the Pope?
    What if Card. Castrillón or any other Vatican figure is sent to ordain the priests like in any other Ecclesia Dei community.

    +Adveniat Regnum tuum+

  23. Andrew, medievalist says:

    I pray that the Society come back into the Church where, no doubt, they will do much good work.

    Their actions, however, at this particular time, appear (perhaps there are unknown factors at work) very disrespectful of the Holy Father. Perhaps there are internal rifts in the Society, for it seems odd the +Fellay would come to Rome in order to advance reconciliation while his fellow bishops illicitly perform episcopal functions.

    How does the Society profess such loyalty to the Holy Father, when this very move serves only to give his enemies ammunition and when such disrespect can only damage the path to reconciliation?

  24. Dino says:

    Isn’t it curious that the bishops making the biggest fuss right now are from the same “neighborhood” as the priest formerly of the Archdiocese of München-Freising?

  25. Sixupman says:

    I have one word – LINZ! A second word – ++Schonborn! Linz demonstrates a religion which is not Catholic, and, you argue Faculties – what would such Faculties be worth in Linz? ++Schonborn has just issued a document which is completely anti-Rome and ant-Catholic as we know it. The German hierarchy are Protestant inclined [as is my parish priest], they were jealous of Msgr. Lefebvre’s fully authorised seminary and moved against him. That is their motivation to-day! In the foregoing light, arguments as to Faculties are a nonsense. Catch 22: ‘Obedience’ to a bishop who does not believe in the Articles of Faith of The Church of which he is an ostensible member – Bah!

  26. Sal says:

    I have the same reaction as Sixupman. I know two
    wrongs don’t make a right, but after viewing the
    sacrilegious activities in Linz and reading
    Cardinal Schoenborn’s statement, I find myself even
    more sympathetic to the SSPX, even though they, too,
    are disobedient.

  27. Maureen says:

    If it strains your charity, don’t think of it as “allowing one more sin”. It’s more like “noting but not punishing further shenanigans by various kids in the class, which they would do anyway, and not following the protests and demands for punishment by various other kids, in the service of getting the whole class over the last few steps to Point B”.

    There comes a point, when there is a ton of wrangling going on, when calls of “He’s kicking me!” and “He started it!” are not really worthy of any answer. At that point, any attempt to answer or correct behavior is giving people too much power to stop matters in their track. But a lot of this behavior comes from stress over being inbetween and tiredness. Secretly, they want to get there; they just want attention to be paid to their stress more than they can manage to move toward the end of it. That’s why the kids stop fighting once they get to Point B; they have better things to do.

    We also don’t know whether there are other things going on, which are the real story. I’m sure the SSPX does lots of herding of cats. Fellay may be ordaining in an attempt not to lose certain parts of his base who would get upset if he submitted meekly and just waited. The Vatican knew about this crew going in, and is prepared to roll its eyes and keep going.

    That’s the really nice thing about having our Pope’s positions be so clear and so orthodox. Since everybody knows already what he teaches, and that his teaching isn’t going to change no matter what anybody says, he doesn’t have to condemn every action counter to that teaching explicitly and in the strongest terms. He can glance at people to remind them they are doing wrong, instead of having to give them the evil eye and a lecture and a punishment. He can roll his eyes and keep walking down the road, and the children will hurry to get back on the road and catch up.

    It’s the teachers who shilly-shally who have to punish and flail about, because they have to persuade everybody that they really mean it this time.

  28. viennaguy says:

    It comes down to this: Fr. Z should be head of the Press Office.

  29. Matthew says:

    Fr. Z, you note that the German bishops’ actions are not friendly toward the aims of the Holy Father. But they are exercising their legitimate authority and following the canons of the church. Do they fulfill their responsibilities by ignoring an ordination in their diocese that has no legitimacy according to church law? I am hopeful that the Holy Father’s efforts bear fruit and the members of SSPX come back to the Church. But I don’t think they can carry on as though they are in schism and expect open arms from our bishops.

  30. C. says:

    If Bishop Fellay is serious about coming home he ought to postpone even if just out of respect for the Holy Father.

    If they ought to suspend ordinations, then they ought to suspend Masses, and if they ought to suspend Masses then they might as well simply go away and die.

    Fellay is right that the Holy Father wants the SSPX back intact, with all its priests and seminarians and chapels and faithful. Reread the Holy Father’s March 10 letter and stop imputing your legalistic worldview to him. Would you send a seminarian back into the world unordained at the end of his course of studies, possibly losing his vocation or tempting him to seek ordination from someone else? Would you house him indefinitely, preventing the acceptance of new seminarians and possibly losing their vocations or tempting them elsewhere?

    I think the Combox Popes need to be more serious about their day jobs.

  31. chironomo says:

    I’m not going to even pretend to totally understand the complete SSPX situation, but it seems to me that what the Holy See is saying is something like “Since the SSPX doesn’t have canonical status in the Church, we have no jurisdiction to tell them to not ordain Priests.” In the case of Bp.Lefebvre….. he was a Catholic Bishop who could have penalties imposed on him as such. But the current Bishops (and I don’t mean this in any but the most strict sense, so don’t get on my case!)are not Bishops under the authority of the Holy See, and as such, the Holy See can’t control what they do.

    Am I wrong in this point? What do the German Bishops want? To excommunicate Priests and Bishops whom they think are illegitimate in the first place? I think they are afraid that they WILL BE valid Priests and Bishops soon, and the more of them there are, the bigger the problem to those who oppose them…..whee are these Bishops when the Womynpriests “ordain” their candidates?

  32. Roland de Chanson says:

    I agree with Jack that Fellay is one hell of a tightrope walker. But if he looks down, he’ll see there is no net. Once back in Rome, he will be forced to implement any and all novus ordo contaminations of the ancient rite. I would make it a pre-condition to the restoration of unity that the pope celebrate publicly and frequently the Traditional Mass in his own diocese of Rome.

    Rome is worth a Mass.

  33. “I would make it a pre-condition to the restoration of unity that the pope celebrate publicly and frequently the Traditional Mass in his own diocese of Rome.”

    This presumes that the party in question is in a position to set pre-conditions. There are some basic norms for negotiating in good faith which are being ignored here. When you are reaching an accord with a superior party (and let’s remember, Rome and the SSPX are not equals), it is unwise for your leaders to go around speaking out of turn in public, and otherwise acting in any way, that gives even the appearance of bad faith. The late Cardinal Gagnon observed a lack of humility among Society priests he visited. Such a virtue is in short supply, but is precisely what is needed. They could be in full communion with Rome right now, were it not for this posture.

    The alternative is to nurture a “state of siege” mentality among the SSPX’s followers indefinitely.

  34. thouArt says:

    “At the same time, the moves of the German bishops can hardly be seen as friendly to the Holy Father’s work to reintegrate the SSPX. Perhaps there are cultural factors at work. In addition to their fear of the style of liturgy they would bring, they are probably afraid of the furor in the press that will erupt from accusations of anti-semitism, etc.”

    Fr. Z, are you kidding with this statement? The German Rhineland Bishops in the 1960′s were Satan’s right arm beginning the disaster of Vatican II! They have not changed in 40 years. These heretical Bishops fear with all their might the TRUTH that the Society will bring into the world, not anti-semitism!!

  35. JAS says:

    I am sorry but I just do not see any disciplinarian words in the statement from the Holy See Press Office.

    First, I point out it is the Holy See Press Office who has many times released inaccurate information on their own accord it would seem. Sometimes it has even appeared as if they were intentionally trying to undermine the Pope. Who is to say that that is not occurring here?

    In addition, the Press Office really has no authority to discipline. Hmmm, maybe that is why there are no true words of discipline here?

    Authorship of the statement is not attributed to the Pope, or any of the curial offices.

    Second, there is nothing new stated here. What is stated in this release has been said before and is agreed upon by all. Again, nothing new, nothing accomplished.

    The statment goes on to mention the new status of Ecclesia Dei, also old news at this point. We may not know the details, but we know it is going to happen.

    Now here is the interesting part, the statement then says:

    “This constitutes the premise for the beginning of the dialogue with those responsible for the Fraternity of Saint Pius X in view of the desired clarification of the doctrinal, and, in consequence, of the disciplinary questions which still remain open.”

    Sounds to me like they are saying we are in talks with the SSPX and these issues will be cleared during these talks, so we are doing nothing at this point. Which makes perfect sense.

    The SSPX has ordained priest in multiple countries every year with no mention from anyone, anywhere. Rome is aware of that. In fact, the ordinations getting ready to take place were scheduled well in advance. Rome already knew that, too. These ordinations were already scheduled at the time of the lifting of the excommunications, yet no one mentioned having a problem with them at that time and there was no mention at that time not to go ahead. Nor any mention since. Aside from the German bishops, I have not heard of any other bishops, or Rome bringing it up either – until this statement which really says nothing at all.

    There is no warning, no threat, no anything in this statement.

    One would also think that if Rome were considering discipline over this, they would contact the SSPX directly over this issue – either by summoning a meeting or sending a letter, which would then be followed by a public pronouncement. That also does not seem to have happened.

    So all you SSPX supporters – RELAX!

    All you SSPX haters – move along, you will not get your thrills today!

  36. JAS says:

    This was released prior to the release of the Holy See Press Office statement:

    Press Release regarding the Priestly Ordinations
    The Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, regarding the Ordinations to the priesthood planned for 27 June, 2009, declares the following:

    1. These ordinations are bestowed with the intention of serving the Catholic Church. We bestow these priestly ordinations because we wish to express our unity with the Church of Rome. This unity consists of the same doctrine, the same sacraments, and the holy sacrifice of the Mass of all times. The newly ordained priests, as well as all of the members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, recognize the office of the Pope and the authority of the Church. Just as all other clergy of the Fraternity, the candidates for ordination will pray by name for the reigning Pope as well as the local Ordinary – an expression of solidarity, which theFraternity has practiced since its founding more than 30 years ago. We do not want a parallel Church, but instead wish to preserve the incalculable treasure of Catholic Tradition within the one true Catholic Church.

    2. When Rome, on January 21, 2009, repealed the decree of excommunication that had been declared against the 4 bishops of the fraternity, the Holy Father surely intended it as a provision of life, and not of death. The generous gesture was primarily intended to be a confidence-building measure for the coming theological discussions with representatives of the Holy See, in which, through difficult negotiations, the difficulties which still remain will presumably be eliminated.

    3. An emergency requires and justifies corresponding emergency measures. Is there an emergency in the Church today? We refer to an appendix attached to this declaration, in which representative statements from popes, cardinals, bishops, and theologians are documented. Pope Paul VI, for example, speaks of the “self-destruction of the Church”, Pope John Paul II speaks of “silent apostasy”. Additionally we give two numerical examples: In 1950 in Germany, 13 million Catholics regularly attended Sunday Mass. Today it is less than 2 million – a reduction of more than 85 percent. The number of priestly ordinations in German dioceses in 2008 reached a record low of less than 100.

    It is a question of the existence or the dissolution of Christianity in Europe. Should the ordination of these new priests, who have been formed on the solid foundations of Catholic tradition and who are so necessary for the survival of the Church, be postponed? Instead, as true vocations become more and more uncommon, should we not with great devotion thank God for the grace of such vocations? There can be no talk of an insult to the unity of the Church and most certainly not of a rebuff of the outstretched hand of the Holy Father, for whom we pray daily.

    4. The bishops, in their fury, continuously invoke canon law. But consider an analogy: a valuable building is burning down, a group of courageous young men rushes to the blaze to extinguish the fire, or at least to contain it and then afterwards to begin with the rebuilding. But they are detained by law enforcement for having exceeded the speed limit. Isn’t the last canon of the 1983 code of canon law still valid today, according to which the highest law of the Church is the salvation of souls?

    5. Since the current problems are not of a disciplinary nature, the discussion has to be conducted at an entirely different level; in particular, at the level of faith. When Pope Benedict XVI, in his letter to the bishops of March 10, 2009, made the dramatic declaration that the faith is in danger of being extinguished in many parts of the world, is it not urgent that we together make every effort to ascertain the causes of this crisis of faith and to utilize the means at our disposal to remedy this crisis? In this spirit we renew our readiness to engage in dialogue with the German bishops in an atmosphere of peace and intellectual honesty, far removed from all polemics and unhelpful accusations.

    Zaitzkofen, June 13, 2009
    Father Stefan Frey, Rector of the Seminary

    That is how priest should speak!

  37. JAS says:

    And this from Rorate-Caeli blog:

    The unstoppable Cardinal of Vienna
    During his visit to the Vatican with a delegation of Austrian Bishops in the past two days, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna delivered a message from his flock, as Italian news agency ASCA reports:

    In the Vatican, Card. Schönborn also presented the so-called “Initiative of the lay faithful” (Laieninitiative), a petition by relevant Austrian Catholics launched earlier this year, which asks for the abolition of compulsory celibacy, the return to activity of married priests, the opening of the diaconate to women, and the ordination of [married] ‘viri probati’.

    Hmmm…. what an example…

  38. Chris says:

    Fr. Z: “Clearly, it is wrong for the SSPX to do this.”

    Father, no offense, but I don’t think there’s anything clear about this.

    What if these talks take 20 years? Do you really think the Holy Father expects the SSPX to shrink because they can’t ordain priests? Do you think the seminarians who are ready to be ordained should wait years and years for it, or that the SSPX faithful should suffer a lack of priests and, possibly, salvation, until all is mended?

    Unless the Pope had hidden intentions in mind when he lifted the excommunications and expected them to stop ordaining priests, then he has permitted it through his personal silence on the matter. He is a smart man. I cannot believe he didn’t anticipate this problem.

    And I don’t believe for a second that the Holy See press office ran this rediculous statement by him before they printed it. That would mean they run all their rediculous statements by him and I know you don’t believe that either.

  39. Mitchell NY says:

    And don’t think the Holy Father is not thinking ahead few years. Sooner or later the SSPX will have to consider ordaining Bishops again, and I am sure the Holy Pope wants them completely regularized before this issue were ever to come up again.

  40. Hestor says:

    Do not be afraid. Do not be upset. God will bring Rome and the S.S.P.X. together in peace.

    The most sensible and comforting answer in this post do far…

  41. depeccatoradvitam says:

    Sorry so late on this one, but I found the wording of “illegitimate” and interesting one as canon law would speak of illicit and valid. These may be valid, but illicit for instance. However, what exactly is the intent of “official word” using the term “illegitimate”? Canonically it is not the same as illicit.

  42. Tom says:

    I’m no canonist, but my understanding is that there is a principle in canon law by which “supplied” jurisdiciction to administer the sacraments can exist in the absence of ordinary jurisdiction. Even under the more rigorous Code this principle was recognized: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Miaskiewicz–Canon%20209.pdf
    I don’t pretend to be able to judge the Society’s claim that it exercizes licit jurisdiction for Matrimony, Penance, and Orders by way of supplied jurisdiction, but one must admit that such a principle does exist: there can be cases in which ministers who would otherwise administer invalid sacraments due to lack of jurisdiction in fact minister validly because of supplied jurisdiction.

    Again, whether SSPX ministers are canonically correct in claiming this type of jurisdiction is definitely beyond my pay grade… but I imagine a press statement denying their claim is hardly sufficient refutation.

  43. mpm says:

    Comment by JAS — 18 June 2009 @ 8:12 am

    JAS,

    To be fair to Cardinal Schoenborn, he dissociated himself from the sentiments
    in the petition, which was co-signed by a number of “prominent” Austrians.

    For example, he made it clear that it is not his judgement that there should be
    any change in the discipline of priestly celibacy, i.e, he continues to believe
    that priestly celibacy should be continued “as is” in the Latin Rite.

    He also said that there are a number of Byzantine Rite Catholics in Austria,
    whose clergy can be, and are, married, and he is comfortable with that and them.

  44. Kenneth says:

    Father Z wrote: “I don’t think that in the Church you can have a just cause when you openly defy the Vicar of Christ’s will.”

    Dear Father, beginning with Pope Paul VI, the will of the Pontiffs has been to impose the Novus Ordo with said liturgy’s attendant liturgical novelties (Communion in the hand, altar girls, multiple Eucharistic prayers, Mass facing the people…just to cite a few novel practices) and novelties related to ecumenism (examples…prayer and worship with schismatics, permitting non-Catholics to perform liturgical functions…).

    Many Catholics have “defied” the above novelties…novelties supported and willed by the past few Popes. Do said Catholics have a “just cause” to “defy” the above practices?

    I thank you. Peace.

    P.S. I believe that Saint Paul, for example, once defied Saint Peter.

  45. dominic says:

    Fr. Z, with all due respect, you didn’t answer my questions about supplied jurisdiction and canons 1335 and 144…

    Even though I don’t attend their chapels, I must admit I really do admire the SSPX…They seem to know how to be priests, how to be orthodox Catholics…

  46. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    Matt Q:

    I think you may have missed a main point. The SSPX is in the process of bein regularized with the Church, while the Eastern Orthodox churches have no intent of doing so.

    One would expect the former to follow the wishes of the Pope, while the latter, who do not recognize his singular authority, have no reason to do so. So a moratorium on EO sacraments would fall on deaf ears, while I would hope a group who claims to follow the Vicar of Christ would listen when he says stop

  47. dominic says:

    The more I think about the SSPX, the more it makes sense.

    If Christ said that we could judge a tree by its fruits, then just look at the fruits of the SSPX…Its American seminary is gonna ordain 13 (THIRTEEN!) priests tomorrow. Meanwhile, my own diocese (Altoona-Johnstown in PA) is only ordaining 2 this year.

  48. Chris says:

    The problem with everyone saying the SSPX should stop in its tracks until they’re fully regularlized is that you have to suspend disbelief to understand why.

    True obedience is not that simple. Cannon Law does NOT trump the salvation of souls which you need priests to bring about.

    You watch a papal Mass in a stadium and see tribal women dancing around baskets and you have to think it’s fine — or think it’s not fine but that you just don’t understand progress. Then you look at the Mass of all ages but performed by “illegitimate” SSPX priests and think there is something fundementally wrong with it because they won’t obey their ordinary and by obey I mean stop doing everything they do on a daily basis.

    This Pope gets it — they aren’t going to do that and they shouldn’t have to do that. Therefor, as he takes steps forward, he never asked them to suspend their ordinations.

    If the Pope didn’t ask it of them, let alone demand it, then who is anyone here to demand they stop?

  49. Antiquarian says:

    “P.S. I believe that Saint Paul, for example, once defied Saint Peter.”

    No, not in the same way the SSPX has defied the recent popes. This is one of the most commonly stated justifications for the Society’s disobedience–”St Paul did it, too!” But St Paul travelled to Jerusalem to argue his case, and he convinced St Peter that he was right. He did not set up an independent organization that said, “We acknowledge the primacy of Peter and we pray for him daily, but we are right and he is wrong so we will do things our way and regard ourselves as the remnant of the true Faith.”

    Paul stayed within the Church and worked for what he thought was right. Many traditionalists did that in recent years, too, and I think they can claim St Paul’s actions as support– but not the SSPX.

  50. Michael says:

    Maybe someone else has already asked this question but can’t the SSPX ordain the priests in question in a different diocese?

  51. AP says:

    Dominic
    Yes, by their fruits you will know them.
    I would like to offer one example among many which
    the Society has produced. It was the swift & efficient
    relief to the victims of the tsunami in Asia.
    The Society, under the Asian District Supeior, was able
    to mobilize the material resources needed for those who were
    completely destitute. Through the Society’s efforts,
    many fishing towns were rehabilited and many fishermen
    were able to resume their fishing to support themselves
    and their families. You can read about this here.
    http://www.sspxasia.com/Countries/Singapore/sspxNewsArchive.htm
    I would like to ask those Society bashers for which
    good deed do you stone them? I assure you, the question
    of the “canonical status” was not called into question
    by the local bishops of the affect areas.

  52. David O'Rourke says:

    A little more Love and a lot less triumphalism would be very helpful on this thread. Sure the Pope could go out on the balconey of St. Peter’s, stamp his foot and roar, “I am the Pope and you will do what I say or else”.

    Or, he could do what he must do as the chief Servant of the Unity of the church and do everything he reasonably can to regularize the position of the SSPX. I am confident that Pope Benedict will choose the latter.

    As for this irrelvant and thoroughly distasteful hate on for the Eastern Orthodox Churches which has started popping up I hope Father Z will stamp his foot and ban the perpetrator until he or she smartens up.

  53. Jerry says:

    There is a rather deadly brew of ultramontanism at work here. “Defying the will of the Holy Father” is contingent on the objective moral rightness of the Holy Father’s will.
    This tendency in these day among so-called conservatives to uncritically view the Holy Father and /or his immediate predecessors as automatically correct is an extremism that has its opposite in the anti-clericalism of the liberals.

    Until the Holy Father throws his magisterial authority against the liberals, condemning their doctrinal and pastoral errors, these foolish bishops who have never been punished for their heterodoxy will continue to mock God. And the conservatives from the Popes down, who pretend there is no crisis nor emergency are enablers of those liberals and are complicit in their mockery.

    The current unity of the Church is a false unity. The Church is fractured, torn apart and in schism. It’s not even unreasonable to believe recent Popes have been in schism from their own office by their attitudes toward Petrine authority. There is currently only a facade of an organization with very few people in that organization actually united with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. To worry about petty-fogging canonical arguments and legalistic games is an insult to the true unity of the Church.

  54. Kenneth says:

    I wrote: ““P.S. I believe that Saint Paul, for example, once defied Saint Peter.”

    Antiquarian replied: “No, not in the same way the SSPX has defied the recent popes. This is one of the most commonly stated justifications for the Society’s disobedience—”St Paul did it, too!” But St Paul travelled to Jerusalem to argue his case, and he convinced St Peter that he was right. He did not set up an independent organization that said, “We acknowledge the primacy of Peter and we pray for him daily, but we are right and he is wrong so we will do things our way and regard ourselves as the remnant of the true Faith.

    Paul stayed within the Church and worked for what he thought was right. Many traditionalists did that in recent years, too, and I think they can claim St Paul’s actions as support—but not the SSPX.”

    I agree that “many traditionalists did that in recent years, too, and I think they can claim St Paul’s actions as support…” but I’m not certain that I agree with your point regarding the S.S.P.X.

    By the way, was the S.S.P.X. established as an “independent organization” or (at least at its beginning) as a legitimate priestly society? Are the S.S.P.X. bishops and priests (as they are not excommunicated) “independent” or part of the Church?

    I posed the above questions not to antagonize but to seek information from you (and others).

    Again…I believe that we at least agree that many traditionalists have remained 100 percent Catholic while having “defied” (Father Z’s word) recent Popes who approved and imposed the post-Vatican II liturgical revolution.

    I disagree with Father Z’s declaration that it is impossible to have a just cause “when you openly defy the Vicar of Christ’s will.”

    Father Z’s above statement turns a Pope into an absolute monarch whose “will” is impossible to defy.

    That, to borrow Josef Cardinal Ratzinger’s (our Holy Father) phrase, is an “exaggerated notion of papal authority.”

    To have “defied” shocking post-Vatican II liturgical novelties and bizarre ecumenical gatherings approved by the collective “will” of recent Popes has been a just cause.

  55. Kenneth says:

    Father Z wrote: “I don’t think that in the Church you can have a just cause when you openly defy the Vicar of Christ’s will.”

    To return to Father’s statement…

    Father, I believe that you should have said that it’s improper to defy the Vicar of Christ’s will when the Vicar of Christ’s will is in line with Holy Tradition.

    If, for example, the Vicar of Christ expresses his will is to support the Traditional Roman Mass, then to oppose the Vicar of Christ’s will is improper as the Traditional Mass is, of course, 100 percent in line with Holy Tradition.

    If, for example, the Vicar of Christ expresses his will to overthrow Roman liturgical tradition in favor of shocking liturgical novelties, then to defy the Vicar of Christ’s will is most certainly a just cause.

    As Father Klaus Gamber reported, the traditional response by the Faithful to any (rare) attempt by Rome to introduce liturgical novelty into the Mass was one of staunch opposition.

    Once upon a time, the Catholic Faithful acted with great determination to oppose liturgical novelties, even when their opposition placed them at odds with Popes.

    Conversely, with the exception of brave Traditionalists, the majority of Latin Catholics have, during the past 40 or so years, simply rolled over to each shocking liturgical novelty approved by Rome.

    The result is that following their exposure to Rome’s post-Vatican II liturgical debacle, 80 to 85 percent of Latin Church Faithful have walked away from the Novus Ordo. The majority of Latin Catholics have little desire to assist weekly at Novus Ordo Masses.

    Conversely, Catholics who have “defied” Rome’s post-Vatican II liturgical “reforms” while having attached themselves to the Traditional Roman Mass, belong to parishes and communities that are filled with tremendous faith and generate vocations.

  56. Mark VA says:

    I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that five years from now we’ll still be discussing the latest developments in the negotiations between the Vatican and the (tiresome) SSPX leadesrship.

  57. JAS says:

    “To be fair to Cardinal Schoenborn, he dissociated himself from the sentiments in the petition, which was co-signed by a number of “prominent” Austrians.

    For example, he made it clear that it is not his judgement that there should be any change in the discipline of priestly celibacy, i.e, he continues to believe that priestly celibacy should be continued “as is” in the Latin Rite.

    He also said that there are a number of Byzantine Rite Catholics in Austria, whose clergy can be, and are, married, and he is comfortable with that and them.

    Comment by mpm — 18 June 2009 @ 11:40 am ”

    Baloney! You do not waste the Popes time bringing him petitions for things which go against Church teaching and cannot be (such as women in the priesthood, etc.), unless you are trying to intentionally back him in the corner and send some sort of threatening message. Cardinal Schoenborn deserves no credit at all for this. He knows the teachings of the Church on these issues and he knows Rome has spoken on these issues. His duty is to reiterate the correct teachings of Rome on these issues and to send the nutjobs on their way – not bother the Pope with this nonsense. No, I am afraid, the only credit Cardinal Schoenborn deserves is that of being a wolf! He is playing a game here, and this little delivery is some sort of warning or threat to let the Pope know what he is up to.

  58. RBrown says:

    Fr. Z, with all due respect, you didn’t answer my questions about supplied jurisdiction and canons 1335 and 144…
    Comment by dominic

    I’ll take it on. IMHO, it cannot be said with certitude that the principle of Ecclesia supplet applies to the SSPX. On the other hand, it also cannot be said with certitude that it does not apply to the SSPX.

  59. I’m sure this will receive hostility, but to put it simply: a disobedient priest is a disobedient priest, whether he be a member of the SSPX or a Modernist. The Catholic Church does not need more dissidents. We need faithful priests.

    Now, one could perhaps debate whether excommunication is the proper response for the ordination of priests and deacons (it is for bishops). However, the German Bishops are not wrong for opposing the illicit ordinations in their diocese.

    Honestly, the SSPX argument to justify illicit ordinations to save the Church reminds me of the old “We had to destroy the village in order to liberate it.”

  60. David Kastel says:

    “[I don’t think that in the Church you can have a just cause when you openly defy the Vicar of Christ’s will.]”

    Fr, Z, this statement can only be correct if it is true that the Holy Father’s will is infallible…which it is NOT. The Holy Father’s will can be faulty, imperfect, uncharitable, etc. (I’m speaking in general, not necessarily in this particular case.) If the Holy Father is wrong, then his will can and in some cases should be defied. If his will is that you should commit murder, or some sacrilege, then you must defy his will. Fr. Z, please restate! Remember St Paul “withstood Peter to his face, because he was wrong” and Peter tells us “we must obey God rather than men” The Pope is not infallible in everything he says or does…and things are not always what they appear.

  61. David Kastel says:

    Fr Z, you may also have overstated the case against SSPX here “They have valid orders. They don’t have permission. Period.” But this statement from the Vatican says “The ordinations are, thus, still TO BE CONSIDERED illegitimate” instead of “ARE” illegitimate. There is a difference in interpretation allowed here, as far as the English reads. It is possible that they have received permission to go ahead with the ordinations, but this permission has not been made public yet.

    If the Press Office wished to be crystal clear, they could have said “ARE” illegitimate rather than “ARE TO BE CONSIDERED” illegitimate.

  62. @ David Kastel

    On the other hand, the SSPX share in no part of infallibility, and certainly the possibility exists they err. If the Catholic Church is the Barque of Peter and if we hold to EENS, then what does that say of the SSPX whose communion with Rome is defective at best?

  63. Larry says:

    Fr. Z as you point out the Church is for sinners and I am very glad of that! The point I was making is that God does not forgive sins in adavance nor would He forgive past sins if the sinner is deliberately intending to go on sinning. Disobedience to the Roman Pontiff and the Code of Canon Law is sinful and any bishop no matter how stupid would understand that. It is time to quit holding hands with those who think that they have a clearer line on the Will of God than Does the Church and It’s visible head on earth the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops in union with him. Humility and obedience are required and that is by those who seek a return. The Church is not standing on broken glass hoping that It will be accepted by these people. It is time that the CDF examine the issues and deliver a decision and it is up to those being examined to accept that decision or suffer the consequences. The alternative is to accept that all is relative and that is a can of worms that Benedict XVI has already condemned.
    Padre Pio accepted the Church even when the Church needed to further examine its decision. SSPX needs to learn from SAINT Pabre Pio.

  64. C. says:

    michael: can’t the SSPX ordain the priests in question in a different diocese?

    Of course, but then other bishops would be emboldened in their opposition, and the SSPX would have to flee from diocese to diocese until they find a “friendly” bishop, who would then himself be subject to Modernist Inquisition. That’s not tenable in the short term, and frankly not tenable under any sort of permanent disciplinary arrangement that might be made with the Holy See after a future doctrinal agreement. This is why there is a Personal Apostolic Administration in Campos, for example.

  65. JAS says:

    WHERE IS THE DISOBEDIENCE??????

    Rome has NOT made any statements requesting the SSPX NOT proceed!!!!!!!! NOT one!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT publically, and NOT otherwise!!!! Not even the bulletin from the Holy See Press Office says DO NOT do this. In addition, on a Catholic message forum I was reading yesterday, a German poster who lives in Germany said the German bishops are outraged by the bulletin from the Holy See Press Office. The German bishops feel that that release generally sided with the SSPX – which is what I have said all along.

    Not only is there NO statement from the Vatican saying DO NOT do this, we also have this:

    QUOTE:

    However, the SSPX communiqué argues that the ordinations will be taking place with the permission of the Holy See.

    “During the period in which convergence and understanding with Rome is being sought, the SSPX has a provisional legal status for an indefinite period of time until, after the theological talks are over, a definitive canonical ruling is found. That is what the ‘line of approach’ which has been agreed to by the Vatican foresees. In none of the talks up to now has there ever been any mention of ‘putting a stop to ordinations’ in general. On the contrary, the lifting of the excommunications was meant to show a willingness to cooperate without putting any restrictions on the life of the Society.”

    There was no comment from the Vatican on the SSPX’s statement.

    http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2009/06/sspx-defends-plans-to-ordain-21-priests.html

    Again, WHERE IS THE DISOBEDIENCE?

    As said before, these ordinations occur every year and are scheduled way in advance – Rome KNEW they were coming at the time they lifted the excommunications – yet they never mentioned anything about them. I wonder why?

  66. Larry says:

    The disobedience flows from the original disobedience in the ordination of Bishops in opposition to the Pope’s specific mandate.
    If it was wrong to ordain these bishops it follows that any ecclesiastical action they take is also in disobedience to the order of the Church. The fact that they cannot licitly perform these actions is disobedience. Your mother doesn’t need to tell you not to do something everytime you are about to do the same “something”. If she tells you you can’t go to the amusement park it follows that you can’t ride the roller-coaster since it is in the amusement park. If you are not licitly a bishop and lack all authority lowing from that then obviously you cannot licitly perform actions reserved to those who are validly and licitly ordained to do so.

  67. JAS says:

    Larry,

    Not so in this case. This is not business as usual. A lot has changed. The Pope lifted teh excommunications this year and he made no mention of placing any restraints on the SSPX at that time, or anytime since. He did not tell them, now don’t do this, or stop doing this, or from here on out…

    In addition, there has been no statement actually warning the SSPX not proceed, or asking them not to proceed. The German bishops have even requested Rome to let them know what to do and Rome still did not come out and say don’t do this. That is why the German bishops are upset witht he bulletin – it did nothing.

    In addition we have this from the SSPX:

    “During the period in which convergence and understanding with Rome is being sought, the SSPX has a provisional legal status for an indefinite period of time until, after the theological talks are over, a definitive canonical ruling is found. That is what the ‘line of approach’ which has been agreed to by the Vatican foresees. In none of the talks up to now has there ever been any mention of ‘putting a stop to ordinations’ in general. On the contrary, the lifting of the excommunications was meant to show a willingness to cooperate without putting any restrictions on the life of the Society.”

    There was no comment from the Vatican on the SSPX’s statement.

    http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/2009/06/sspx-defends-plans-to-ordain-21-priests.html

    So, taking all of this into account, it looks like they are not being disobedient. They are in a state of limbo in the Church, but they have not been asked to put their affairs into limbo. They have been left to run their affairs until all is worked out. The ending comments of the bulletin seem to indicate this line of thought as well.

    In addition, warnings usually are given at the threat of disobedience, along with a threat of the punishment to follow. We have no warnings or threats here.

    You may not like the SSPX, but the Pope seems to like them.

    If I were a betting person, I place my bets on the SSPX. They have been right so far – the old Mass was never abrogated, ‘for all’ does not mean ‘for many’, the excommunications were lifted without any admissions, etc. on the part of the SSPX… You get the picture. They have been on the correct side of every issue so far and I venture to say we will find that they are right on many more.

    I say this as someone who does not attend the local SSPX Chapel, but is willing to see with unbiased eyes that the SSPX does a good job and is needed by the Church.

    And if it is disobedience we are worried about, why don’t you focus on the Church in China.

  68. craig says:

    Matt Q writes: “Then the schismatic Eastern churches should do the same. They want to get back to Rome, knock off their ordinations and phony sacraments also.”

    Dominus Iesus does not consider their sacraments phony. You got a problem with that, take it up with the CDF.

    The difference between the Eastern Orthodox and the SSPX is that the former make no bones about their lack of communion with Rome. They don’t run around declaring to all how they are so loyal to the Pope that they get the privilege of disobeying him. No, they declare (1) that they are the apostolic Church, (2) that they practice the apostolic faith once accepted by both East and West, and (3) that Rome altered or added to that faith whereas they did not, therefore it is Rome who is out of communion with them. Now, clearly the Catholic Church rejects claim #3, and disagrees to some extent with the scope of claim #2, but she has explicitly affirmed claim #1 — their apostolicity — in the above-mentioned Dominus Iesus.

  69. moon1234 says:

    it is presumably only a matter of time before they are truly Catholic

    That was good one. They ARE truely Catholic. PCED has said this. So many people think SSPX is somehow outside the church. They are NOT. They are acting without permission. This does NOT put them outside the church anymore than a disobediant child is seperated from his parents.

  70. moon1234 says:

    If discussions proceed well, how long would you reasonably expect it to take before SSPX could feasibly join the Church?

    The SSPX will not be re-joining the church. They never left. They have never become un-catholic. The who discussion now is about official permission to carry out their duties. “You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek” Even an excommunication does not take that away. An Excommunication is a way of forcing the receipient to examine his life, repent and confess his sins. It does not remove a priests valid holy orders (nothing can).

    So many people have been so confused that they somehow think the SSPX are uncatholic. Even the (formerly) excommunicated Bishops are still Bishops. They still have the faculties to ordain new priests even while excommunicated as long as proper form and intent is used. The new priests will not have any permission to minister to the people, but they will still be Catholic priests.

    Look at Campos in Brazil. They were regularized and *Poof* all of the priests now have permission to perform their duties. No re-ordination because they never left the Catholic Church.

  71. moon1234 says:

    This very day a couple hundred SSPX Masses are celebrated as they are every day and it is a given that they are all illegitimate.

    *“Concretely, this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit, i.e., contrary to Canon Law.*

    I think you are confusing illegitimate and illicit. The first=wrong, corrputed, disformed, etc. The second means without permission. There is a BIG difference.

    The SSPX are not illegitimate. Please see the following from Fr. Z’s own blog:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/07/guest-contribution-qa-with-the-pont-comm-ecclesia-dei-about-sspx-schism-and-sacraments/

    As for their sacraments being valid, please see the following from the PCED:

    *It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplies these faculties so that the sacrament is valid*

    So it seems that the sacraments are only invalid if the person receiving them know they are invalid. This is a really confusing situation. If you know your faith your confession is invalid. If your an ignorant person the sacrament is valid? So the church supplies official faculties in some cases and not others. This type of thinking is not only confusing, it contradicts itself. They either have faculties or they don’t.

  72. Allison Wiggins says:

    As a person who knows several of the SSPX bishops as well as many priests, I can tell you that Bishop Fellay is in regular and close contact with the Holy Father. The Pope refers to him as “Bishop Fellay”. As a frequent guest of the Pope, Bishop Fellay receives encouragement and support for the traditional movement. The Pope has seen the grave events of the past 40 years within the church. It is his fervent wish that talks go forward and the ordinations of yesterday were known well in advance to the Holy Father. Those who claim to speak for the Pope with news conferences, etc should be taken to task for their own disobedience!! The Holy Father never asked Bishop Fellay to cease ordaining.

    Kyrie Eleison,
    Allison

  73. JAS says:

    From Rorate Caeli

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Fellay speaks

    The relevant questions and answers from the interview granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to Austrian daily Die Presse (Sunday Edition):

    Die Presse: How is the dialogue between the SSPX and Rome, which created so much dust in January?

    Bishop Bernard Fellay: We have sorted out our ideas in early June. The decision of the Pope on the design of the talks will be announced in the next few days. It is true that a special Commission will be set up for the discussion – with some Roman theologians and some of our priests.

    The other major sticking point between you and Rome is the Tridentine Rite. Due to the Pope’s re-authorization of this Rite, this has at least largely been defused. Is this enough for you, or would you have expected even more?

    Fellay: I’m sure there will be even more coming. Not from us, but for Rome itself the liturgical situation must be improved. That will come.

    In a reconciliation with Rome, you probably need to make some kind of declaration of loyalty. Can you do this even if the church does not in all points return to dressing herself in the pre-Vatican II garment?

    Fellay: I would rather say: if Catholic principles have been clarified, even though not everything has been resolved, then it is possible. There is a very practical question, which is now evident and that is: how are we accepted? There is a very sharp blockade. That is presently stopping us from going on. If we see too much opposition, then we simply say: well, we will still wait a bit.

    Would not it be prudent to suspend the ordinations in order to improve the climate?

    Fellay: The problem exists only in Germany. In Rome, there is sympathy for these ordinations, even if they say it is illegal and not according to the canon law. We were told that we are in an intermediate state in which we can talk peace, in which Rome can also observe us. We have nothing against it, if Rome would send an observer to us. We have offered it, but perhaps not clearly enough.

    You therefore do not recognize any repudiation by the Pope of your acts?

    Fellay: That would be a wrong interpretation of the event. This is not a hostile act, I have written to the Pope and asked him to consider these ordinations not as a rebellion, but as a step of survival in difficult and complex circumstances.

    However you wish to interpret the ordinations, the Pope is being placed, at any rate, in an unpleasant situation.

    Fellay: I understand that well. This situation is very unpleasant for all. Let me repeat: this problem comes from the different currents in the church, which themselves can hardly endure. This problem can ultimately only be resolved by the Pope. But I’m not even sure whether it ever can be resolved.

    What is Bishop Williamson doing now?

    Fellay: He is in London. He prays, he is studying, nothing else.

    Is there a foreseeable end to the internal exile?

    Fellay: I see none. The whole matter depends on him.

    You would probably like a greater distancing from his Holocaust-denial.

    Fellay: If such statements recur, then it would be unbearable.

    __________________
    Tip and first translation: Catholic Church Conservation

  74. Patrick says:

    He knows canon law yet continues with the ordinations? That is the action of a man who believes he saves the Church rather than he is saved BY the Church.

    I pray for this very very confused young bishop. It’s a pity he never had the opportunity to gain a deep theological education.