Some speculations about the SSPX and Holy See

You know about the dust up over the upcoming SSPX ordinations scheduled in Germany, and the Holy See’s tisk-tick press release.

I have had a few conversations about these things lately.

There is some suggestion flowing to me from different sources, whom I cannot name, that SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay may be prepared to accept some sort of "provisional status". 

Soon after the excommunications were lifted, Bp. Fellay seems to have refused to sign a document asking for the lifting also of the suspensions.

If this is true, I can understand why that would be, in light of the problems brewing in Germany.

For some background

We all know that the SSPX leadership wants to resolve doctrinal issues before the canonical.  However, given the new exigencies, perhaps some provisional or transitional status could help advance the rapprochement.

This is a good time to offer some prayers and ask the guardian angels of all involved to help them come to a good solution, soon.

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25 Responses to Some speculations about the SSPX and Holy See

  1. Bob K. says:

    Any speculation Father what the Holy See will do to the Austrian Bishops who allow the Sacrifice of the Mass to be turned into a circus!. Or will they just give advice and hope it just get’s better. Basically allow them to do what they want. Like Fr Jenkins they also get off easy. But the SSPX, who through action practice their Catholicism the way Catholics were taught before Vatican 2, and remain loyal to the Pope. [But they don't obey the Pope. Look... what everyone else does is not a justification.] Although not a perfect communion. Austria is acting more like heretics, vs schismatics, but nothing is done about it. That seems to me like the Pope is becoming very weak in exercising his power for the fear of loosing Austria. Please comment on this article from Rorate Caeli

    ” 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’.”

    Isn’t this worse than what the SSPX are doing?. Isn’t this the mentality that the SSPX are warning the Pope over. Is this not a greater defiance?. Does Rome realize that the SSPX could be “adding priests” to the church, since we all know of the priest shortage. The priest shortage is an emergency. Or is Rome going to give into Austria and their answer to the priest shortage. Women Deaconesses, and later Priestesses. And what is this “Initiative of the Faithful”?. Do they control the Austrian Church?. Maybe the Austrian Archbishop and his fellow Bishops need to be replaced!. And fast!.

  2. Jack says:

    Pretty much confirms what I’ve been thinking about Fellay, he wants to bring the SSPX over without losing anyone (see previous posts on the SSPX). Isn’t it remarkable that he’s so concerned about the souls under his care that he judges it more prudent for the society to remain in limbo? I’m beggining to think that in the next 20yrs (remember he’s only 51) a possible Pope Pius XIII.

  3. Mitchell NY says:

    A canonical situation is a good idea as it will give validity to what many still see as a schismatic society. This false analogy needs to be eradicated. Also they will receive more support from lay people seeking the traditional sacraments thereby making SP more effectual, which the Holy Father would like. For example if they had faculties now, the situation with German Bishops would not be at the level of consternation that it is now. It benefits all involved and most importantly, souls. Souls of people who would just like to worship according to the books of 1962. People who have no idea about theology, doctrinal issues, etc. People who are still denied Mass not to mention the other sacraments according to these books, in complete defiance to the Holy Father by rogue Bishops who will do anything to sabotage this reconciliation. I pray Bishop Fellay signs some type of accord and the process of re-integration moves forward toward the doctrinal issues. What a gift from God was this Holy Pope. I sometimes wonder if another had been chosen Pope where would we be with the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI is the Papa to get this done, and done correctly.

  4. mrsmontoya says:

    I just said the Litany to St. Gabriel the Archangel – patron of diplomats and communications.

  5. cjl says:

    Jack: I’m beggining to think that in the next 20yrs (remember he’s only 51) a possible Pope Pius XIII.

    I rejoice. Bp. Fellay is a saintly man, devout, prudent and gentle! God bless him.

    I will pray for him and his Society.

  6. Roland de Chanson says:

    Mitchell: Souls of people who would just like to worship according to the books of 1962. People who have no idea about theology, doctrinal issues, etc. People who are still denied Mass not to mention the other sacraments according to these books …

    I am not an expert, but I am starting to believe that the 1962 MR is merely the terminus ad quem for liturgical orthopraxy. Bugnini and his cabal were at work in undermining the Mass and Sacraments before this. And yet Pope Benedict has modified even that Missal.

    We should not forget that the current “Extraordinary Form” (a chillingly sinister designation for the True Mass!) was allowed in a mere motu proprio, and by an “indult” preceding that. Such largesse can be rescinded as quickly as it was bestowed. These are tenuous threads for Fellay to grasp hold of; they may however be strong enough to hang him once his neck is in the noose.

    Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium: ubicumque lateat Satanae fumus, etiam in templo Dei.

  7. SARK says:

    Bishop Fellay has a very unusual combination of attributes. Profound intelligence, solid common sense, deep humility, a sense of humour, patient endurance and most importantly unshakable faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are so blessed that this heavy yolk has fallen on his shoulders. Providence has placed him there for a purpose.

    We must pray for him at the same time as pray for the Pope.

    JMJ

  8. Antiquarian says:

    “We are so blessed that this heavy yolk has fallen on his shoulders.”

    I hope this doesn’t mean people are throwing eggs at him! I’m not terribly sympathetic to the Society but I wouldn’t wish that on any Bishop.

    ; )

  9. Roland de Chanson says:

    Yes, then he’d be but a shell of his former self.

  10. mfg says:

    Sark: I agree.

    Please, all of us should pray the Rosary for Bishop Fellay and for Pope Benedict, especially today and tomorrow. These two men are burdened with heavy yolks. Different yolks but equally heavy.

  11. Maynardus says:

    “We should not forget that the current “Extraordinary Form” (a chillingly sinister designation for the True Mass!) was allowed in a mere motu proprio, and by an “indult” preceding that. Such largesse can be rescinded as quickly as it was bestowed…”

    I think the status of the “Extraordinary Form” is a bit less tenuous than all that. Summorum Pontificum didn’t simply “allow” the T.L.M., the two most important words in the entire document are numquam abrogatam, i.e. “never abrogated”. It would seem to me that that statement erects a fairly high barrier against any shehanigans by future pontiffs. Also do not discount the existence and growth of the Ecclesia Dei institutes, the traddie faithful, and, yes, the S.S.P.X. This is not 1964, we won’t be fooled again!

  12. Brian Mershon says:

    Ironic that obedience to a “T,” despite the dogmatic/doctrinal fog, is demanded most strictly and literally only for the traditionalists. [No. Obedience is required of everyone.]

    St. Thomas said something about the Faith being of a higher hierarchical value than obedience, because of course, obedience must be based upon Faith.

    Kind of wondering what exactly it is the SSPX is NOT being obedient about. The Vatican media statement did not demand they not ordain or else excommunications. It merely reasserted that their sacraments are currently illicit under the current code of Canon Law.

    Seems to me that Bishop Fellay has submitted to every “demand” of the Vatican, including its last year “ultimatum,” foggy as it was.

    How many priests, even those of the “reform of the reform” variety, have been “obedient” to the letter and the spirit of Summorum Pontificum? [Does that make a difference for their need to obey?] How about Pope John XXIII’s encyclical on the importance of retaining Latin? Looks like wholesale and widespread disobedience on those two fronts.

  13. Chris says:

    Ironic that obedience to a “T,” despite the dogmatic/doctrinal fog, is demanded most strictly and literally only for the traditionalists. [No. Obedience is required of everyone.]

    No, it’s not. It’s only demanded for traditions. Just look at 99 percent of Novus Ordo parishes these days. Look at “The Way” and giving Holy Communion to people seated. Look at all the abuses and next to nothing — or, in many cases, nothing — being done about it.

    So while obedience is “required” of everyone it’s only enforced on traditionals.

  14. Brian Mershon says:

    Father Z, aside from the media’s spinning of all of this, what exactly has the SSPX been “disobedient” about during this entire process of reintegration since 2000?

    Certainly, if the Holy See wanted to tell Bishop Fellay as an order not to ordain priests, it had every opportunity to do so last Friday when Bishop Fellay visited Cardinal Levada, right?

    So again. Yes. Everyone who is Catholic–esp. priests and bishops and cardinals in a more precise way–owe obedience in matters of discipline–not just Faith.

    So again. What is it exactly that the SSPX is currently being disobedient about. They are in an irregular canonical state. They are not in schism. The bishops are not excommunicated.

    Does anyone really think the Holy Father wanted and expected all of the SSPX priests to stop offering the sacraments? to stop ordinations?

    Again, last Friday, Cardinal Levada had a great opportunity to express this to Bishop Fellay. Apparently, he did not.

  15. Carl says:

    The SSPX bishops are not excommunicated. That applies also to SSPX priests. But SSPX bishops and priests are suspended a divinis.

    What does that mean regarding their status, if you will, simply as Catholics?

    That is, despite being suspended a divinis, do they remain Catholics in communion with the Church? Are they free, for example, to receive Holy Communion?

  16. Steve says:

    “So again. What is it exactly that the SSPX is currently being disobedient about. They are in an irregular canonical state. They are not in schism. The bishops are not excommunicated. Does anyone really think the Holy Father wanted and expected all of the SSPX priests to stop offering the sacraments? to stop ordinations?

    Again, last Friday, Cardinal Levada had a great opportunity to express this to Bishop Fellay. Apparently, he did not.”

    Interesting points. We have nothing more than a Vatican press release that warned the SSPX not to ordain priests.

    However, it is ridiculous to believe that the Pope, who lifted the SSPX excommunications, desired that the SSPX would cease offering the Eucharist and additional Sacraments or even cease the Society’s upcoming ordinations.

    In other words, despite the Vatican press release in question, which is not a Papal document, are we to believe that Pope Benedict XVI expected the SSPX to shutdown “operations” as soon as he had lifted the excommunications?

    Therefore, who is behind the “Vatican Warns the SSPX” nonsense? The “Vatican Warning” does not seem to have come from Pope Benedict XVI?

    What is going on inside the Vatican? Something is terribly wrong there.

  17. Manrique Zabala de Arízona says:

    Provisional status?

    I’m going downtown to get a new Tee

    “I LOVE THIS POPE” :D

    Seriously, now: I really did not see that coming. It’s a great idea for the immediate problem at hand (Germany’s ordinations), and a good foothold to start convincing the most reticent, too.

    Let’s pray for that to happen.

  18. Tom says:

    After Paul VI lifted the excommunicatons
    on the Eastern Orthodox, how many bishops
    were itching to excommunicate when they
    continued with business as usual?

  19. Jordanes says:

    Tom said: After Paul VI lifted the excommunicatons on the Eastern Orthodox, how many bishops were itching to excommunicate when they continued with business as usual?

    The lifting of those excommunications did not thereby make the Orthodox bishops Catholic — since they’re not formally a part of the Church, they aren’t expected to adhere to church law. In contrast, the SSPX is, and insists that it is, Catholic — since they are Catholic, they’re expected to adhere to church law. So there’s no analogy between these two cases.

  20. Mark says:

    “Isn’t this worse than what the SSPX are doing?”

    Not really. The Cardinal is not ordaining married men or deaconesses in contradiction to Vatican orders, and there can be legitimate disagreement about mandatory celibacy for secular priests among Catholics, as long as they dont DO anything to contradict the discipline.

  21. JAS says:

    Mark-

    You are wrong. It was the Austrian bishops who were summoned to Rome and spent 2 days being chewed out by the Pope. Thisis a slap in the face to the Pope by the Cardinal. And there is no discussion to be had about women deaconesses – it cannot be! This is not merely a discipline. The Cardinal knows it cannot be – that is, if he is ANY kind of a Catholic at all. As for celibacy and married priest, the Pope has already spoken and the Cardinal is aware of this.

    Again, it is the Austrian bishops who were summoned to Rome and received the disapproval of the Pope. The Pope has not summoned the SSPX to Rome, has not issued any warnings, has not asked them no to procede, etc. All this, even after being asked to do so by the German bishops. That is why the German bishops are in an uproar over the bulletin that was released. Rome did not reprimand, scold, or threaten the SSPX and the German bishops are beside themselves.

    In addition we have the following:

    Taken from Le Monde online – “The Vatican regrets, but does not oppose, the ordination of 24 new integrist priests.”

    http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2009/06/18/le-vatican-deplore-mais-ne-s-oppose-pas-a-l-ordination-de-24-nouveaux-pretres-integristes_1208352_3214.html

    We also have this:

    “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.”

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

    The Remnant Newspaper has a very well put together piece on this whole thing:

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

    So like I said, you are wrong.

  22. Pablo H. says:

    Salutations.

    The Freemasons who are firmly in the drivers seat at the Vatican and pretty much in every Diocese office in the world, have accepted the fact people will not let go of the True Mass. So they are trying to control it being re-introduced; they think their magic and spells will control the Altars upon which the True Mass is being said. The SSPX is dangerous because they teach about the evil of freemasonry to their seminarians.

    “In today’s crisis of Church and world, our strength is in God alone, because humanly speaking we are powerless in the face of the trials confronting us. Our enemies are all-powerful, those inside the Church being much more dangerous than those outside. Just as the chief priests and ancients hated Jesus unto death, but they needed an Apostle to betray him, so we may blame Jews and Freemasons and others like them for engineering the destruction of the Church, but it has taken churchmen from within to do the actual betraying and destroying. Does Our Lord hate these traitors, as we can be sorely tempted to do? No, he seeks only their salvation, although their punishment will be horrible if they do not repent”.

    To settle any issues, the Holy Father and the SSPX need to declare war upon the Bugnini element within the Church. When the Pope said the True Mass had never been abrogated, why did he not also say, “Everything Bugnini did is now void”?

  23. RBrown says:

    YIt was the Austrian bishops who were summoned to Rome and spent 2 days being chewed out by the Pope. Thisis a slap in the face to the Pope by the Cardinal. And there is no discussion to be had about women deaconesses – it cannot be! This is not merely a discipline. The Cardinal knows it cannot be – that is, if he is ANY kind of a Catholic at all. As for celibacy and married priest, the Pope has already spoken and the Cardinal is aware of this.
    Comment by JAS

    It was not a slap in the face. It was an excuse–Cardinal Schoenborn was presenting evidence of how bad the situation in Austria is. He is someone who thinks, IMHO incorrectly, that the present liturgical situation can sustain doctrinal fidelity.

    It’s not a matter of a bishop being a liberal. To deal with such a mess a bishop must have the stomach for battle and/or be a shrewd manager of people.

    Two examples:

    Cardinal Schoenborn wrote a very good article on Evolution. After there was opposition, however, he began to backtrack and hedge the substance of the article.

    Further, he opposed Kurt Krenn, who was the only Austrian bishop who would fight the liberals. It is well known that the Cardinal has wanted out of Vienna for some time.

    I was told that one Austrian bishop while still a priest (I think it was Bp Klaus Kung–St Polten, before that Feldkirch) was constantly encouraging the ordinary to do this or that. Then he became a bishop . . . and did nothing.

  24. RBrown says:

    I am reminded of Cardinal Browne’s line that the only example of collegiality in Scripture is And being afraid, they all fled.

  25. JAS says:

    Just came across this over at Rorate Caeli.

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

    Please take note of the following comments:

    “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.
    …”

    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