Wm. Oddie on the Holy See/SSPX talks.

William Oddie, columnist for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, opines about the SSPX.

I have made my own comments about the talks between the Holy See and SSPX, saying that it was no surprise that a first round of talks should not produce unity.  More is need on both sides.

My emphases and comments.

The current Catholic Herald debate on the collapse of the doctrinal discussions between the Vatican and the SSPX is getting a substantial response, and has been noticed elsewhere in the blogosphere. The whole debate, according to one blog, The Sensible Bond, [A sensible blog, by the way.  I recommend it.] was predictable: “On the one side, high-minded papal loyalists cannot say enough about how disobedient the SSPX is, or how proud. On the other side, SSPX tub thumpers jeer about the hierarchy’s tendency to wink at all rebellions apart from the SSPX’s, and the busted flush of Benedict’s papacy which has seen him gravitate from liturgical traditionalist to Assisi tribute act in a mere four years”.

Well, I can’t say I’m neutral between the two points of view, definitely tending towards being a “papal loyalist” (despite some discomfort over Assisi, I think it’s just about defensible), though how high-minded you need to be to hold such views I’m not sure: it seems to me it’s a perfectly normal for a mainstream Catholic to be loyal to the pope. [That sounds about right.]

The real question is whether there was ever any realistic prospect that there might be any kind of rapprochement. Rome’s view is that the SSPX can be as critical as it likes about the distortions of Vatican II – what Pope Benedict calls “the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” – but in the end it has to accept the essential Catholicity of the Council itself. This seems to me entirely reasonable. SSPX actually demands that Rome should repudiate the Council and accept that the Mass of Paul VI is invalid, even Protestant. [I don't think many SSPXers think that the Novus Ordo is "invalid".  Am I wrong?  That would be, well, kooky.  Most of them think that it is valid but not spiritually adequate.  Any number of them refer to Protestant influences behind its genesis.]

VOTE FOR WDTPRSThis is grotesquely unreasonable. It is inconceivable that the Vatican would simply turn against an ecumenical council of all the world’s bishops. SSPX must have known this: so it has been playing an elaborate game whose outcome was probably clearly foreseen by Bishop Fellay. [What would that imply about Fellay? That he was not being sincere from the onset?  That he was desperate?  That ... what?] The Pope, on the contrary, clearly had hopes that the schism [That is not the word the Holy See uses.  It is perfectly normal to be guided by the Holy Father in this regard.] might be overcome. Well, he has done everything he could to explore every avenue towards reconcilation. Now it is over. [Who, exactly, says its over?]

The issues involved, however, will be with us for some time, and still have to be faced, since the casual acceptance of some supposedly “traditionalist” views has done considerable damage. One of these was summed up by one participant in the ongoing Herald debate: his view is essentially that the Novus Ordo is an invalid rite:

[...]

The rest of Mr. Oddie’s article includes a defense of validity of the Novus Ordo.  You can read the rest over there.

In the meantime, I haven’t seen a formal declaration from the Holy See confirming that the SSPX is in schism.  I haven’t seen any statement from the SSPX that they are no longer going to talk with official of the Holy See or delegated theologians.

But I am sure there are people on both sides who would prefer that the status quo be maintained.  Some of them are kooky, too, and they get too much attention.

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82 Responses to Wm. Oddie on the Holy See/SSPX talks.

  1. Sixupman says:

    Validity of the Novus Ordo: valid as conceived, not always valid as celebrated [Msgr. Perle said as much - Linzwise]; not efficacious generally as experienced; not reflective of propitiatory scarifice; etc., etc. etc. When Celebrated by ‘Tradional’ clergy, a la Fr. Simon Henry, Fr. Ray Matus, and increasingly others, the NOM is efficacious to the extent that it has been drawn closer to the TLM. But the situation of two Lectionaries is ludicrous.

    The problem for SSPX is one of trust and that lack of trust is well founded at diocesan level [e.g. Papa Stronsay monks and their Ordinary],. within elements of the Rome Curia, and, at parish level with uneducated clergy and laypeople – the latter seeing their own level of equivalence with the Ordained Priesthood [as enunciated by bishops whom I have personally encountered].

    I support BXVI, I do not support that element of SSPX which is neo-sedevacantis, which is virulentl;y anti-+Fellay. However, we now have the Ordinariate, with which I am sympathetic, yet appear unable to accommodate SSPX.

    We were lied to post-Vatican II, the clergy, [with noted exceptions - who saw clearly that the 'emporer was naked' and paid for their intransigence] were mesmerised by a compromise with Modernism [in breach of their Oaths at Ordination]. Trust, where is the trust for us laypeople when we witness LInz, German theologians and others denying the basic tenets of Catholicism and SSPX is condemned by the very people who either directly contradict BXVI or ignore him. Give us a break!

  2. LouiseA says:

    Saying that the talks “collapsed” is an inaccurate description of what is happening.

    The talks began in October 2009, the topics were pre-determined, and the schedule set to meet every 2 months in person and in the meantime in writing. It was not expected by anyone that the talks would last indefinitely. Bishop Fellay was very open that the SSPX was not dialoging for the sake of dialoging.

    As this was the first time that Rome actually listened to the SSPX’s legitimate concerns about the Council documents, and Rome displayed good will towards the SSPX by using Thomist-trained theologians, these talks are a previously unhoped-for miracle in and of themselves. The fact that these theological talks (they were not negotiations to try to achieve a compromise) lasted so long (a year and a half) is a huge blessing for the whole Church.

    Let us pray that the seeds that have been planted over the past year and a half not wither from lack of roots, or soon become choked by the cares of this world.

    2/18/2009 interview with Bishop Fellay:
    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-mershon-interview-fellay.htm

    Bp. Fellay: We will present to the Holy See our questions, our problems. We hope they will be phrased clearly enough so that the right and appropriate answers will be given. We definitely expect from the Holy Father and the Holy See a true clarification of the Council. What needs to be corrected must be corrected. What needs to be rejected must be rejected. What needs to be accepted must be accepted.

  3. paulbailes says:

    Dr (I think not “Mr”?) Oddie seems astonishingly misinformed about the SSPX position on the NOM … Fr Z has it much better with “valid but not spiritually adequate” (I would replace the “not spiritually adequate” with something stronger, but I think we understand each other).

    I’m also with Fr Z in that I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the Holy See/SSPX talks are ended … dici doesn’t seem to have anything.

    Dr Oddie’s exaggeration of the differences between the Vatican and the SSPX (see also his talk of “schism”, attribution of “game playing” to Bp. Fellay) serve little constructive purpose … one might have expected better from a commentator of his standing.

  4. kallman says:

    Let us pray seriously for the success of the talks between the Holy See and the SSPX such that full communion may be achieved without compromise on either side. Let us pray to Our Blessed Lady to mediate in this regard.

  5. Ezra says:

    I find it hard to take Dr Oddie’s thoughts on Rome-SSPX relations seriously when he makes such basic errors of fact as claiming that the Rome-SSPX talks have “collapsed” (+Fellay spoke of them coming to their foreseen, and natural, conclusion), and that the SSPX views the Novus Ordo as “invalid” (it does not).

  6. Johnsum says:

    What ever one may think of the Herald article, it is no accident that it was written at this time. The author concluded on his own or was told to write about this in this way because the time seems ripe for hastening a breakdown in the talks.

    It seems to me too, no matter how I wish it were otherwise, reconciliation between the SSPX and the Holy See appears further from realization than before the talks started.

    While the SSPX talks about the deconstruction of Catholic tradition, their detractors dismiss them as disobedient rebels. With the possible exception of Benedict XVI and a minority of Church leaders, there seems to be little genuine interest to reincorporate the FSSPX. The rest of the hierarchy just wants them to go away.

    It seems, come what may, those on the left are more committed to the new secular culture than to the proper interpretation of Vatican-2. The Council documents were written in an ambiguous fashion. The interpretation of the ambiguous texts have continued apace ever since. They call the basis for the distortions the Spirit of the Council. In reality, the Spirit of Vatican-2 is the Spirit of the Age, the basis for the emerging secular culture. When one side insists on dogma and the other side insists on nuanced interpretations there is no room for compromise much less agreement .

    The new culture has no use for Catholic Tradition let alone for such strong advocates of Catholic identity as the SSPX. I pray God will show us the way out of this mess. I desperately want to stay with Benedict XVI but he is not a young man anymore. Come to think of it neither am I.

  7. dropper says:

    I cannot speak for the SSPX, but I am almost certain that the leadership of the SSPX does NOT believe the NOM in and of itself to be invalid. I have read instances where they (mainly websites who speak on their behalf) have said that there are a great many Novus Ordo Masses that are invalid because of what the celebrant has added to, taken away, or just plain sullied.

    I would have to agree. I have seen clown masses, masses in which obvious sodomites were given Holy Communion, and many other abuses committed during a Novus Ordo Mass.

    Their is almost no doubt that the intent (at the very least) of these men made the masses invalid and scandalous.

    I have also seen exceptional holiness at the NO, chanted Masses with the priest leading us in prayer. Unfortunately it seems that these often times are the exception rather than the rule, but I pray that it’s only the way it seems.

    I do feel that one of the things that needs to take place is for the Holy Father to start acting more like Pius X and truly reform the NOM. I think he’s on the right track with the new translation of the Roman Missal, but I fear that it may be too little.

    May God be with the Holy Father and with the good bishops of the SSPX.

  8. This just goes to show how little neo-cons know about the SSPX and traditional Catholicism in general. This is willful ignorance born out of an ecclesiastic schizophrenia, a somewhat-modernism.

  9. Tony from Oz says:

    What a clueless article by William Oddie. Very odd indeed. Where has this fella been? His use of the term ‘schism’ and his gobsmackingly inaccurate characterisation of SSPX’ers as holding the Novus ordo to be invalid – rather than valid, licit but thoroughly impoverished, sub-optimal and hence undesirable – as Fr Zuhlsdorf points out, means that for me it would be hard to take this bloke’s analysis seriously on this topic. Do keep up your reading Bill!

    Quite apart from his tendentious presumption that the SSPX talks are ‘over’! Whilst I agree that it is a natural default position for a catholic to be loyal to the Pope, I do think one can achieve that without taking a mindless ‘ultramontane’ stance of Roma locuta causa finita est on every issue. IMHO, it is this over-ripe ‘loyalist’ tendency which has been exploited so successfully by modernists and Church liberals since the Council so as to send faithful Catholics on various ‘disobedience’ guilt trips – thus rendering them neo-conservatives who are unable to mention the various post-conciliar elephants in the room.

    No Catholic Herald subscription for me, thanks! [Because of this article? Silly.]

  10. smcollinsus says:

    Fr. Z said: Any number of them refer to Protestant influences behind its genesis.
    Yes. And, again, it has to do with Catholic identity. All any Catholic needs to do is attend a Eucharistic celebration in some protestant churches (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and even Baptist), and also attend an EF Mass. Once they return to an OF, simple human logic will affirm the above statement.

  11. Joseph says:

    This column would fit much better the flavor of that smelly paper, the NCR. Crass distortions are more their stile.
    Assisi just about defensible? What, another 10% and we can?

  12. Mike says:

    When Traditionalists use words like “Neo-Con” they are, I believe, doing what a friend of mine does when she talks about “Conservative” Catholicism–it’s kind of like “Grande” or “Vente” Catholicism…socio-babble that puts people into little boxes. There are complexities, of course, but there is also fidelity to Christ and his Vicar. Or not.

    I don’t mean to bash SSPX, either. I am hugely sympathetic, and pray for them every day.

  13. Legisperitus says:

    I don’t think the SSPX leadership “demands that Rome should repudiate the Council” either. They must know the best they can hope for is a strongly worded condemnation of all erroneous doctrines that draw support from the conciliar documents.

  14. paulbailes says:

    I’m with you Tony from Oz – if the Catholic Herald can publish this kind of fundamental error about a matter of great import (the SSPX position vs the Vatican), what other kinds of important mistakes does it make? I won’t be subscribing either.

    Cheers
    Paul

  15. Bornacatholic says:

    Although I truly am in favor or a reconciliation that would lead to an end of this dispute and calm the sturm und drang it was entirely predictable that these talks would ultimately fail because The SSPX does not accept the authority of all The Successors of Saint Peter; but because of who our great Holy Father is -with his Holiness, intellect, knowledge, skill, and patience – the SSPX seems willing to explore a reconciliation but a reconciliation premised upon the person who occupies the office of The Papacy is tenuous, at best, and surely doomed because the next Pope is not likely to be another Benedict.

    Said otherwise, The SSPX acts as though they have the authority in this matter and they either ignore, or try to finesse away, the actual authority permanently attached to the Divinely-Constituted Office of The Papacy and about which reality they must both acknowledge and exhibit obedience.

    There is simply no other way to be Catholic.

    And the SSPX’s acceptance of that truth and its acceptance or rejection of that truth is always conditional; “Well, if the Pope did thus and such” or “If the Pope stopped doing thus and such” then, of course, we’d be obedient:” and all conditioned obedience reveals the one who exercises a conditioned obedience is the one who exercises authority.

    Unless The SSPX exhibits in its actions the reality that they completely accept the legitimate universal authority possessed and exercised by each and every occupant of the Papacy since Peter then these talks are doomed to failure.

    But, of course, if they did accept that Dogmatic Truth and acted on that truth in their order, then these talks could be wrapped-up in about one hour.

    That these talks were necessary in the first place is due to the fact that since its inception The SSPX neither acknowledges or accepts the total implications of that particular Dogmatic Truth and all of the sturm und drang are mere moons and satellites constantly circling around this central reality.

  16. Centristian says:

    “I don’t think many SSPXers think that the Novus Ordo is “invalid”. Am I wrong?”

    I have known many, many [?] people attached to the SSPX who will tell you that the “Novus Ordo” is invalid, and evil. [I am skeptical. Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. I have met a LOT of SSPXers over the years and it is a rare one who says that the Novus Ordo is INVALID.] Enough of them will tell you to your face that to merely attend the “Novus Ordo” is a grave sin. Many “SSPXers” bandy the words “Novus Ordo” about as a term to denigrate anything that they view as modern and abhorrent:

    “The internet is ‘Novus Ordo’.”
    “That dress she’s wearing seems pretty ‘Novus Ordo’ to me.”
    “No, I’m not going to see that movie; it’s ‘Novus Ordo’.”
    “Don’t say ‘cool’; that’s ‘Novus Ordo’.”

    Or they’ll use the term to describe Roman Catholics who are not Lefebvrists:

    “‘Novus Ordos’ stand for Communion.”
    “My children aren’t going trick or treating; that’s what ‘Novus Ordos’ do.”

    I couldn’t say what percentage of those who ally themselves with the SSPX actually believe that the “Novus Ordo” is, in fact, invalid, but the institutional SSPX comes quite close enough to suggesting as much. From their American website:

    ____________________________________________________

    D. THIS BEING SO, CAN IT BE SAID THAT THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE IS INVALID?

    This does not necessarily follow from the above defects, as serious as they might be, for only three things are required for validity (presupposing a validly ordained priest), proper:

    matter,

    form,

    and intention.

    However, the celebrant must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer in and of itself guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged).

    Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more so with time.

    ______________________________________________________

    So perhaps it isn’t intrinsically invalid, but the suggestion is that it almost can’t help but be invalid, on account of the personal lack of faith of non-SSPX priests.

    What would they suppose of a Tridentine Mass celebrated by one of those allegedly faithless “Novus Ordo” priests, I wonder?

  17. MarkJ says:

    Centristian said: “I have known many, many people attached to the SSPX who will tell you that the “Novus Ordo” is invalid, and evil.”

    And according to many polls, there are many, many Catholics sitting in the pews at Novus Ordo Masses who do not believe in the Real Presence, who defy the Pope on abortion and birth control, and who do not believe in the need for Confession…

    From the SSPX website, their driving motivation is not to separate themselves from Rome or to deny the authority of the Pope, but to separate themselves from doctrines that are new and in seeming contradiction with all that has been proclaimed before Vatican II. And this is exactly what the SSPX-Vatican talks are all about. Until the contradictions can be cleared up, the SSPX will maintain their stand.

    One question: if the Pope were to decide that a new round of Crusades was needed to retake the European continent from the Muslims, would a Catholic be free to dissent from this and not participate? The Popes of the past ordered the Crusades and promoted them with great enthusiasm, and in the end they were a disaster… in the minds of the SSPX, the current Popes have ordered a New Mass that ultimately works against Faith and Tradition (and they have plenty of statistics to back it up – witness the collapse of the Church in Europe and Canada), so they refuse to go along. Is there a difference here that I am missing?

  18. wmeyer says:

    I am inclined to suspect that many who rail against the SSPX have not read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics, just as few of the spirit of Vatican II folks have actually read the Vatican II constitutions and decrees. It is all too easy to rant, and so much harder to read, and to reason. What I found in the Open Letter…, and I suspect would find in SSPX folks, if I knew any, was a profound sense of conscience and deep faith.

    In reading any recent account of the SSPX break with Rome, I would be as skeptical as I am of latter day accounts of the proceedings of Vatican II by those who were not there. Researching history and making an accurate presentation is hard work, and many in our time choose the easier path, summarizing anecdotal evidence (with which they agree) as though it were fact.

    I am sure that most who follow the SSPX–and those who attend FSSP Masses–would consider the Novus Ordo to be pretty barren, pedestrian, as compared to the rich Tridentine form. But then, so do I, though I have never visited an SSPX chapel, nor attended Mass in an FSSP parish.

    I was in college when the changes were applied. I’m struggling mightily not to use the terms which better express what I feel was done to the liturgy, as they would be incendiary. I have been told by a local catechist that the Latin Mass was never “taken away.” Utter nonsense. In Michigan, where I was raised, there was no evidence of its existence, almost overnight. My uncle, on the other side of the state, switched to a parish reputedly favored by the Mafia–the Latin Mass remained the only Mass, in that parish.

    All evidence shows that the drop in vocations and the shrinking attendance at Mass both date from the post Vatican II changes. Though those changes may not have been the cause, is it so very wrong to consider whether changing back might not also alter these trends? I’m an engineering type. We learn early on to change one thing at a time, and assess the result. If it is negative, restore the original form. This logic has been too long ignored, both in the Church, and in public education. Can we not learn from experience, reason together, and cease clinging emotionally to changes which were so dear to some at the time who were barely adults?

  19. robtbrown says:

    However, the celebrant must intend to do what the Church does. The Novus Ordo Missae will no longer in and of itself guarantee that the celebrant has this intention. That will depend on his personal faith (generally unknown to those assisting, but more and more doubtful as the crisis in the Church is prolonged).

    I’ve seen that text on their site, and it is p-poor theology. For some reason they suppose Minimal Intention not to be minimal.

    Minimal Intention is always general and always the same for every Sacrament: To intend to do what the Church does. MI is never specific–it is not Transubstantiation for the Eucharist nor Healing of Original Sin and Elevation via Participation in the Divine Sonship for Baptism.

    That’s why a non believer can validly Baptise–he doesn’t first need catechesis.

    Given that the Minimal Intention is general, the Specific Intention (of each Sacrament) is to be found in the Sacramental Form.

    I have great sympathy with the liturgical positions of the SSPX, but sometimes it seems that they are making a great effort to be stupid.

  20. robtbrown says:

    Johnsum says:

    While the SSPX talks about the deconstruction of Catholic tradition, their detractors dismiss them as disobedient rebels. With the possible exception of Benedict XVI and a minority of Church leaders, there seems to be little genuine interest to reincorporate the FSSPX. The rest of the hierarchy just wants them to go away.

    That’s irrelevant. When the SSPX finally returns, they will bring their properties with them, regardless whether an ordinary wants them or not.

  21. disco says:

    I believe the Novus Ordo is valid, but that is mostly because I believe, as St Ignatius did, that we should always be willing to believe that what appears to us as black is actually white, if the hierarchy of the church so decides. Some Novus Ordo masses look awfully black to me.

  22. Tom Smith says:

    This gives some insight into where the SPPX are coming fromvis a vis the talks. From the first assistant to Bishop Fellay

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6cCxAlWA_g&feature=player_embedded

  23. Supertradmum says:

    A few points: firstly, Bishop Fellay does not always state what the SSPXers in the pew believe. As Centristian has stated above, my friends in the SSPX will not, literally, cross the street and go to the FSSP Mass because they either believe it is invalid, or they see the FSSP as “traitors” and a “threat” to the SSPX. I am sorry to relate, but I have heard this from some in the pews I was told by one SSPX friend that “We don’t need to worry about the Summorum Pontificum, and the problems of the NO.”

    Secondly, the article does seem to lack in exactitude, as I do not think the talks are over. I believe that Bishop Fellay does want reconciliation, but not all the priests and not all the current bishops do. I do think both sides have real issues and that these need to be addressed. Vatican II is not the only issue. The commentator above mentions the Open Letter of Lefebvre which points out some of these issues. But, as time has gone by, more issues have arisen in the congregations. The popular SSPX stance is rather fluid as well as set.

    Thirdly, the issue of Catholic identity is huge. My SSPX friends are adamant about things “Novus”. I hear this even in my area, where people must travel 183 miles to get to a SSPX Mass, when there is a TLM here in the diocese. These families do not want their children acting “Novus”, dressing “Novus”, as I have heard similar phrases to Censtristian locally. I have heard young people say “That’s so Novus.”

    Lastly, I want the SSPX to come back desperately, as we need the love of tradition and learning of some of the people and the reverence and dedication of the priests. Those good Catholics would enrich the Church.

    May I add that I applied to an SSPX school once and was told my resume was “Very Novus” by a priest who was interviewing me. He used that term like that. It was hard to explain I had lived in a wasteland of no TLM for years. I was glad in the end not to get the job, as I learned that the ethos of the parish included great antipathy to the FSSP, which were then establishing parish in the same place. This is a bit of the hardening of attitudes, as I would have taught nothing but straight down the wicket Catholic doctrine, and I dress like a typical trad women in long black skirts and modest whatevers. The current culture of the SSPX is not necessarily based on intellectual argument, but on biases which may never be overcome. I am afraid that in some places it has become “cultic”, which no one wants to discuss. I can deal with the intellectual arguments and issues, but one cannot argue habits of a group mind-set.

  24. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian: What would they suppose of a Tridentine Mass celebrated by one of those allegedly faithless “Novus Ordo” priests, I wonder?

    I have heard of “rad trads” who would not — for whatever reasons — attend a Tridentine Mass celebrated by a “Novus Ordo priest”.

    However, I am blessed to be located in an area with a relative plenitude of wonderfully orthodox and liturgically exemplary “Novus Ordo priests” who celebrate the TLM also, and whom nobody — aside from one of these utterly whacko types — would ever think of as “allegedly faithless”.

    In my experience, those “allegedly faithless Novus Ordo priests” (as you refer to theom) do not celebrate the Tridentine Mass, nor even go anywhere near it. Indeed, they seem to avoid it the way the Devil is said to avoid holy water or a crucifix, or to recoil when Latin is spoken. (A la the bumper sticker “The Devil hates Latin, too.”)

  25. GregH says:

    Henry Edwards,

    Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to Bishop Fellay off the record? It always seems he has to toe the party line between condeming the Council to keep his camp happy and keeping discussion open with Rome so it doesn’t appear to the outside world that the SSPX is a parallel church.

  26. Bornacatholic says:

    In his Sermon on the Occasion of the Episcopal Consecration (June 30, 1988) Mons Lefevbre committed a grave sacrilege and scandalised who knows how many Catholics to the point where they became concretised in the now-no-longer-a-Schism when he said this.

    Of course, you well know the apparitions of Our Lady at La Salette, where she says that Rome will lose the Faith…

    That was an execrable and indefensible statement because it is well known that that part of the message of LaSalette has been condemned and any Traditionalist who does not know that is not worthy of the name Traditionalist

  27. wchoag says:

    Centristian said: “I have known many, many people attached to the SSPX who will tell you that the “Novus Ordo” is invalid, and evil.”

    This is my experience as well. It was even an opinion that I once upon a time shared when I was a zealous Lefebvrist in my green youth. One must distinguish between the official line of the SSPX and the opinions of its individual members (bishops, major and minor clerics, consecrated religious, and oblates and tertiaries). These latter were once all over the place under the umbrella of Catholic traditionalism, but have become more uniform and often more radical over time as moderate elements have left the Society to normalise their positions with the Church.

    Then one must further distinguish between the official SSPX line and the opinions of it lay adherents and sympathisers who are not members of the Society. The laity is often far more radical–extremist–than are the actual members of the Society–at all laity, of course, but many! They have continually been the unpredictable variable in the reconciliation equation. Sure, the SSPX could reconcile but in the process lose huge segments of its lay supporters. In concrete terms, we are saying loss of financial support and potential law suits for real property. The laity have been effectively left out of this reconciliation process, yet they are integral to a successful outcome. But some of their opinions are so extreme and so fixed that they would disrail the process.Would they even willing to sit at the discussion table in the first place? I doubt it!

    As Supertradmum points out above: “The current culture of the SSPX is not necessarily based on intellectual argument, but on biases which may never be overcome. I am afraid that in some places it has become “cultic”, which no one wants to discuss. I can deal with the intellectual arguments and issues, but one cannot argue habits of a group mind-set.”

    There is culpability to go around on the whole Écône Affair. This should have been resolved in the 70s–the early 80s at the latest–in a manner favourable to all. We are now in the midst of hardened attitudes and inflexible positions that typify a schism allowed to set with time. Now time–a long, long period of time–may be necessary to restore ecclesial unity.

  28. Centristian says:

    “In my experience, those ‘allegedly faithless Novus Ordo priests’ (as you refer to theom) do not celebrate the Tridentine Mass, nor even go anywhere near it. Indeed, they seem to avoid it the way the Devil is said to avoid holy water or a crucifix, or to recoil when Latin is spoken. (A la the bumper sticker ‘The Devil hates Latin, too.’)”

    Henry Edwards, I think that is most everyone’s experience, generally speaking. But as you also point out, and as Supertradmum points out, there are many “rad-trads”, as you call them, who would never attend a Tridentine Mass celebrated by a diocesan priest in a diocesan church.

    That comes, I believe, from the cultish mentality that Supertradmum rightly acknowledges and a conviction, ultimately, that everything about the Second Vatican Council, its liturgical reforms, and everything that has followed since is more or less invalid (or worse than invalid). Not merely the Mass, but the sacraments as well. Therefore, there is a doubt amongst Lefebvrists that priests ordained in the current rite are validly ordained. Some have no doubts.

    The same goes for every other sacrament. If I may relate a personal experience that illustrates that tendency on the part of Lefebvrists to view “Novus Ordo” everything as probably invalid, when I joined the SSPX’s American seminary in 1989, I was advised by the Vice Rector (a man named Pierre Delaplace) to be conditionally re-confirmed by Richard Williamson (the rector at the time). When I asked why, he expressed a concern (this is a SSPX priest-professor talking) that the bishop of my diocese may have used invalid matter when confirming me and therefore my Confirmation may have been invalid. When I explained that I was, in fact, confirmed by a very orthodox old auxiliary bishop, Delaplace insisted that matter was the issue, since my more liberal ordinary bishop would probably not have performed the Chrism Mass properly, thus the oils used were not genuine (I’m not making this up).

    Bewildered, but ultimately yielding to his advice, I agreed and I was conditionally re-confirmed with three other first year seminarians in a closed ceremony in the main chapel by Richard Williamson.

    But that’s typical of the way the SSPX reacts to everything about the Church. Everything is of dubious validity, everything is tainted, nothing is of God anymore. Only in the SSPX can true Catholicism be found. Only in the SSPX can the true Mass and the true Sacraments be found. And yes, “SSPXers” do routinely refer to the Tridentine Mass as the “True Mass”, implying, necessarily, that the current Mass is a false Mass.

  29. Bornacatholic says:

    The commentator above mentions the Open Letter of Lefebvre which points out some of these issues.

    Dear Supertradmum. True enough. But the letter may as well be entitled – Letter to Confuse Catholics – because the Documents of Vatican Two that he rails against in that letter are the very ones he signed as a participating Father of that Council.

    Were the Conciliar Documents Orthodox when he signed them?
    Were the Conciliar Documents heretical when he signed them?

    For a quarter of a century he and his supporters claimed he never signed the Conciliar Documents he later came to repudiate and denounce.

    http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/Archives/Fidelity_archives/SSPX8.htm

  30. kgurries says:

    Respectfully, the question of “validity” is not the real issue. Probably, 90% within the SSPX will agree that the NOM is valid. But the same folks will make the argument that a “Black Mass” is equally valid. Either way, it is considered by most to be something that should be confessed if actually attended. The more interesting statistic is how many think the NOM is “licit.”

  31. Martial Artist says:

    Fr. Z,

    You wrote concerning the majority of the SSPX and the Novus Ordo Mass, that

    Most of them think that it is valid but not spiritually adequate.

    While I, being quite newly Catholic, consider myself unqualified to opine about the SSPX, I would have to say that I find the Novus Ordo Mass, in its present rubrics and language, less than fully spiritually adequate, most especially so on those rare occasions when I find it necessary to attend Mass at a location other than the parish where we are enrolled, which means that I must listen to nothing but contemporary OCP music. On those occasions, I find that I must work very diligently to attain the sense of awe and reverence appropriate to my own participation in the Mass. When I am deprived of not only Gregorian chant, but also of even so much as traditionaly hymnody (of the sort found, for example, in the Adoremus Hymnal), my “gut level” reaction is as if the Mass had been deracinated. I was very happy when some months ago, our Pastor celebrated Mass ad orientem, and I am hoping that Holy Mother Church moves even further in that direction.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  32. StellaMaris says:

    I read this article on another blog a day or so ago. As a member of an SSPX chapel, I was saddened, not only by the comments, but also by the writer’s tone. Our family made the very difficult decision last year to stop attending Mass in our Diocese and begin attending Mass at an SSPX chapel. At that time, we knew very little about the Society as a whole. We only began going there because we could not find a Latin Mass within a 2 or 3 hour drive one way. (It would take another post to explain why we, converts from either Protestantism or atheism, were drawn to the Latin Mass in the first place.) But once we began attending SSPX on a regular basis, we soon discovered that we were missing so much. Honestly, just as the doctrinal talks between the SSPX and the Vatican are difficult, the attitudes between Catholics in diocesan Churches and SSPX chapel goers are also difficult with some being quite hostile, as the author of the article seems to be. It doesn’t help. From my own experience, SSPX chapel goers have very real reasons for attending Mass there. We need honesty, not propaganda. It is a widely know fact that the current form of the Mass is open to abuses. It really is hard to know what is abusive and what is not. For three weeks in a row, we had a lay person, one of whom was a Protestant, give a “talk” during the sermon. Most people don’t even recognize that there is something wrong with that. There are some priests, and I personally know of 1, that don’t believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. Really. It’s very confusing, to say the least. We have found peace at SSPX. Personally, I don’t really understand why the Pope can’t do what he has done with the Anglican’s. They haven’t had to do anything except accept the Pope as the Pontiff and agree to the Catechism. Or why can’t the Pope admit what everyone else knows already–that there are problems with the documents of Vatican II that need clarification, acceptance, or downright ejection? From my understanding, once upon a time it was easy to recognize a Catholic from the rest of society. Today, a Catholic is virtually indistinguishable from any one else. Mater Salvatoris, ora pro nobis.

  33. asophist says:

    As some one who rediscovered the TLM, along with my faith, via an SSPX chapel in my city, I owe them my fervent prayers and inestimable gratitude. I was with a group who frequently took the pastor out to brunch after the last Mass on Sunday mornings. The pastor was a very erudite individual, having possessed no fewer than three doctorates (theology, philosophy, mathematics). At one of these brunches, a lady asked the pastor about the validity of the Novus Ordo Missae. The pastor insisted that it was valid, despite the misgivings of most of those at the table. You see, like any other group of people selected at random, the vast majority are not intellectuals; that is, they do not comprehend that a thing can, at the same time, be valid, yet lacking. And you may explain ’til you’re blue in the face that “illicit” does not imply “invalid”, without seeing the light of understanding in the eyes of your fellow interlocutor. I suggest that we not be so hard on the average SSPX-er in the pew: he/she is no more informed on theological or doctrinal matters than any other average Catholic.

  34. Centristian says:

    “I was very happy when some months ago, our Pastor celebrated Mass ad orientem, and I am hoping that Holy Mother Church moves even further in that direction.”

    Me too. I’d really love to see that. As it happens, I am comfortable with the current Missal, (I’ll be even more so with the new English translation). Although I genuinely value the pre-Conciliar Missal, I would be sad to say goodbye to today’s selection of Eucharistic Prayers through merely reverting back to exclusive use of the Roman Canon. I also would not want to lose the second reading and certain other advantages that it seems to me the current Missal has over the previous one.

    What I detest, however, is the “ordinary form” that the “Ordinary Form” has taken on. Much more than seeing the pre-Conciliar Mass restored universally (isn’t going to happen), my hope is to see, more and more, the current Missal celebrated according to the old “form”. Why can Mass according to the current Missal not be celebrated with beauty and dignity and solemnity, ad orientem, just like Mass according to the previous Missal was? Why must using the current text always mean a banal, uninspiring liturgy?

    Well, it shouldn’t mean that, and we should stop insisting that only the pre-Conciliar Missal can be celebrated that way. The current text of the liturgy certainly can be celebrated according to the old form of the liturgy, it’s only that Catholics both to the left and to the right have decided that “Novus Ordo” means contemporary and vernacular and casual and whatever else. It’s Mass. Mass should be celebrated like…like Mass…no matter which book the celebrant is reading from. Shouldn’t it?

    How much would anyone really object to the “Novus Ordo” Mass if it were celebrated just like the Tridentine Mass? If it looked and sounded (and smelled) just like Mass according to the 1962 Missal? What would any Lefebvrist say, I wonder, of the validity of a “Novus Ordo” Mass celebrated by a priest ordained by Richard Williamson or Bernard Tissier de Mallerais or Bernard Fellay–or one celebrated by any of those men, themselves–ad orientem, while wearing baroque vestments and lace?

    If their objection is that the “Novus Ordo” Mass is usually invalid because of the priest, and not inherently, then why should they not celebrate the “Novus Ordo” according to the old form, since it is valid? Why can they not bring themselves to do it, since it is, after all, valid and since it can be celebrated with dignity, pomp, and solemnity?

    And if they were to celebrate a solemn Mass ad orientem according to the current Missal (with all the smells, bells, and lace), I wonder how many men and women in the pews would spot the difference. I wonder if the “traditionalist” movement would even exist today if the texts of the Mass were changed at Vatican II, but not the form of it.

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    Bornacatholic: Were the Conciliar Documents Orthodox when he [Ab. Lefebvre] signed them?

    Surely, one may assume that he thought they were. I recall the story that he voted “placet” on Sacrosanctum Consilium only after being assured by his theological advisor — as I’ve heard were other bishops who did not read the conciliar documents for themselves — that it was pretty much the same ole same ole that bishops routinely sign without reading, and would not have any big adverse effects on the liturgy of the Church. Of course, it later turned out that Catholics of all stripes were confused — at least to the extent of general disagreement — about precisely what the documents of Vatican II said. Which indeed is the subject of the current discussions (if indeed they are still current).

  36. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Supertradmum: “The current culture of the SSPX is not necessarily based on intellectual argument, but on biases which may never be overcome. I am afraid that in some places it has become “cultic”, which no one wants to discuss. I can deal with the intellectual arguments and issues, but one cannot argue habits of a group mind-set.”

    You are definitely correct to have those fears, and they are justified. Just take a look at this site http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/index.html of which the author covered in depth especially the near-violent fleeing of a Fr. Rizzo from St. Mary’s Kanzas in the early 1990′s (specific article and AGENDA section 2) and also some of the odd “Big Brother/1984″ activities that have taken place within the society and its schools especially at St. Mary’s school in Kansas in that time period (AGENDA section 4).

    Before anyone gets at that keyboard in a spirit of anti-charity, Just ask yourself, why would someoe go into this much depth to cover the SSPX in this manner? This isn’t just another blog this is an expose. Although, perhaps St. Mary’s is a part of SSPX left unchecked by their superiors?

  37. Denis says:

    Here’s the same question, turned around: what percentage of parishioners in the average OF parish would deny the real presence? Is it higher or lower than the percentage of SSPX-ers who deny that the OF is valid? I ask this because someone who attends the NO and sees it as nothing more than a communal celebration is, in a sense, and without knowing it, denying the validity of the the OF.

    I’m not being facetious; it’s a real problem. I try to attend the EF whenever I can, but I belong to an OF parish. For a good percentage of members of the latter parish, the idea that Christ is substantially present in the sacramental host and wine, behind a veil of accidental properties, is a bunch of pre-V2 voodoo. For them, it is, at most, something quaint that’s on the books in some official way, but no longer binding–sort of like strange city ordinances to which no one pays attention. Aren’t these people denying the validity of the Novus Ordo, as much as the misguided SSPX-ers described by asophist?

  38. Mitchell NY says:

    “Why must using the current text mean banal and uninspiring liturgy”….That is the inherent flaw of the Pauline Missal. Because it almost never is, has been , or will be said correctly. The mentality linked to that Missal will forever be associated with change, and thus the abuses. So although the Missal itself has integrity, the use of the Missal does not. As well stated in the above post. If anyone thinks they can change the world’s perception, and therby change daily use in almost every parish to conform to the Pauline Missal, say the black do the red, I think they are chasing stars. Not to mention the places where the Missal and GIRM remain silent, leading to more creativity. Restore the 1965 Missal for those interested in a vernacular Mass while retaining some Latin as Vat II ordered and you will see how fast people adjust because their attitudes and mindset have not been shaped around that Missal.

  39. Denis says:

    A question for supertradmom:

    I don’t doubt that what you say is true, and I agree that it is problematic. However, here’s yet another “turnaround” sort of question: How many Catholics in good standing, who affirm Vatican II, and attend an OF parish, would have misgivings about the FSSP? And how many would speak derisively of the mantilla, and the manner of dress of the typical traditionalist? How many would scoff at the idea that one ought to dress for Mass differently than one dresses to go to the football game?

    Tragically, the “cultic” closed-mindedness that is, no doubt, attributable to many in the SSPX, is equally a feature of the typical OF parish.

  40. Childermass says:

    For what it’s worth, at my local SSPX chapel one of the priests was ordained in the new rite and not re-ordained. One of the congregants objected to this, thinking that priest was not a real priest. When the pastor got wind of it, he ordered the congregant that she was barred from Communion until she received it from this Novus Ordo-ordained priest.

  41. Summers says:

    Centristian,
    I agree with you when you say:

    “How much would anyone really object to the “Novus Ordo” Mass if it were celebrated just like the Tridentine Mass? If it looked and sounded (and smelled) just like Mass according to the 1962 Missal?”

    This very example happens EVERYDAY at St. John Cantius in Chicago where the Novus Ordo is celebrated in Latin ad orientum. I have stated it before and I will state it again, were traditional Catholics to witness the Novus Ordo celebrated this way, as it is at St. John Cantius, in Latin, ad orientum, all male servers, with Gregorian Chant, they would NEVER miss the Tridentine Mass. Guarantee it. When I lived there in Chicago and attended St. John Cantius and had the choice to go to either the Novus Ordo in Latin or the Tridentine Rite I opted to go to the Novus Ordo in Latin without hestiation. And I was not alone. The Novus Ordo in Latin was by far (this was 2004) the most popular Mass. Not the Tridentine Mass. Things may have changed now but that was how it was when I lived there.

  42. Supertradmum says:

    Bornacatholic,

    I agree with you 100%. The Letter and the signing of the documents do not mesh. I was merely pointing out some of the issues. That Lefebvre signed the documents, when others did not, has always intrigued me. Did he change his mind? Was he pressured by others?

    Denis,

    The opinions of a group of people, such as the NO congregations, are so varied and usually tolerated by all, that the definition of “cult” would not apply. Opinions do not make cults, and cults are by definition, a minority grouping. Such words as exclusive, authoritarian, exploitative, manipulative, inbred, and irrational may apply to cults. Cults demand a high level of comformity, even in outward things. Those who belong to the Catholic Church are so varied in cultural aspects, and tolerant of such cultural differences, that one cannot call, thankfully, the Church a cult, although some nutsy liberals have done so in recent times.

  43. kgurries says:

    Summers, why do you think so many preferred the Novus Ordo (properly done) to the TLM? I don’t doubt what you say….but am really curious.

  44. Supertradmum says:

    Bornacatholic,

    I agree with you 100%. The Letter and the signing of the documents do not mesh. I was merely pointing out some of the issues. That Lefebvre signed the documents, when others did not, has always intrigued me. Did he change his mind? Was he pressured by others?

    Denis,

    The opinions of a group of people, such as the NO congregations, are so varied and usually tolerated by all, that the definition of “cult” would not apply. Opinions do not make cults, and cults are by definition, a minority grouping. Such words as exclusive, authoritarian, exploitative, manipulative, inbred, and irrational may apply to cults. Cults demand a high level of conformity, even in outward things. Those who belong to the Catholic Church are so varied in cultural aspects, and tolerant of such cultural differences, that one cannot call, thankfully, the Church a cult, although some nutsy liberals have done so in recent times.

  45. Denis says:

    Supertradmom,

    I wasn’t suggesting that the Church is a cult. I was referring to a uniformity of (false) opinion of many but not all OF parishioners. You overestimate their toleration. They are typically as intolerant of the SSPX as the typical SSPX-er is of them, and as intolerant of the EF as SSPX-ers are of the OF. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all people in either group, and it probably applies to the less informed more than to the well informed in both groups. But the typical OF-er would be as unlikely to wear a mantilla to Mass as a SSPX-er would be to wear bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

  46. Bornacatholic says:

    This post is a sort of hodgepodge of items that foreshadow many of the objections promoted by the SSPX as to why they do not have to be obedient or accept Vatican Two or accept the Pauline Rite.
    I don’t know if it is on there any longer but the SSPX website used to carry this advice from its then Superior Rev Peter Scott about The Sunday Obligation:

    “Remember that if you cannot get to a true Catholic Mass celebrated by a good traditional priest, you should not attend the New Mass or the Indult Mass, and this even if it is the only traditional Mass available”.

    As for rejecting Vatican Two because it is heretical or modernistic or too liberal etc, Cardinal Ratzinger states:

    It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him… That also with regards to its contents, Vatican II is in the strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their texts word for word in decisive points.

    It is impossible for a Catholic to take a position for or against Trent or Vatican I. Whoever accepts Vatican II, as it has clearly expressed and understood itself, at the same time accepts the whole binding tradition of the Catholic Church, particularly the two previous councils… It is likewise impossible to decide in favour of Trent and Vatican I but against Vatican II. Whoever denies Vatican II denies the authority that upheld the other councils and thereby detaches them from their foundation. And this applies to the so-called “traditionalism”, also in its extreme forms…Every partisan choice destroys the whole (the very history of the Church) which can only exist as an indivisible unity

    But such attitudes inside The SSPX are completely understandable given that its Progenitor thought that Pope John Paul II was the antichrist. As he stated in his 1987 letter to his four priests he planned to consecrate Bishops: The See of Peter and posts of authority in Rome being occupied by Antichrists, the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord is being rapidly carried out even within His Mystical Body here below.”

    At times, the poor man’s statements echoed the words of Martin Luther.

    Martin Luther, “These [church laws] hold good only so long as they are not injurious to Christianity and the laws of God. Therefore, if the Pope deserves punishment, these laws cease to bind us, since Christendom would suffer.”

    Marcel Lefebvre, “In the Church there is no law or jurisdiction which can impose on a Christian a diminution of his faith. All the faithful can and should resist whatever interferes with their faith…. If they are forced with an order putting their faith in danger of corruption, there is an overriding duty to disobey.”

    The SSPX always conditions its obedience upon what it thinks Tradition is and a conditioned obedience is no obedience at all.

    POPE LEO XIII SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE

    In defining the limits of the obedience owed to the pastors of souls, but most of all to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, it must not be supposed that it is only to be yielded in relation to dogmas of which the obstinate denial cannot be disjoined from the crime of heresy.

    As for the Fruits of The Council argument, the SSPX cites the truly lamentable decline in many of the objective numbers of Clergy, Religious, Mass attendees etc etc and blames the Council for those statistics and so I wonder if they also think that when the far worse situation of public pederasty by priests prevailed in the late 10th and early 11th centuries – so bad it required public admonishing by Saint Damien in his book Gomorrah -that that was attributable to The Fourth Council of Constantinople?

  47. Henry Edwards says:

    STM: That Lefebvre signed the documents, when others did not, has always intrigued me. Did he change his mind?

    There’s less than meets the eye here. Before approving the documents, he read them (or had them explained to him) in continuity with tradition — as did, my reading of contemporaneous documents associated with the drafting and consideration of Sacrosanctum Concilium indicates, most of the Council Fathers. But then his view of the same documents changed — as have the views of many — after the Council when he saw them applied almost entirely in discontinuity with tradition.

    The proof of this construction of events is in the historical fact. Sacrosanctum Concilium was approved by a final vote of 2,147 to 4 (with Lefebvre among the majority). Does anyone think for a moment that two thousand bishops ordained well before Vatican II would have favored what they regarded as a radical break with tradition? Of course not.

    The explanation is what Cardinal Ratzinger has indicated somewhere — that the bishops did not generally think that much needed to be done with the liturgy, and in approving Sacrosanctum Concilium they did not think they were doing that much. Notwithstanding the evident novelty of this enlightening perspective to most of the commenters in this and other similar threads.

  48. shane says:

    Henry Edwards: that the bishops did not generally think that much needed to be done with the liturgy, and in approving Sacrosanctum Concilium they did not think they were doing that much.

    This statement in 1963 from the American hierarchy seems to indicate otherwise:

    The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated on 4 December is the first achievement of Vatican Council II. It will affect the spiritual life of prayer and worship of all Catholics. It will make the Church more comprehensible to all men.

    This it is the first great step in the Church’s inner renewal begun by Pope John XXIII and now being carried out by all the bishops in union with the chief bishop, Pope Paul VI.

    The bishops of the United States, having taken part fully in the discussion, amendment and acceptance of this document, welcome it wholeheartedly and dedicate themselves to fulfil its purposes.

    On the one hand the constitution is a statement of the Church’s doctrine and discipline. It explains the meaning of public worship. It gives a clear mandate to deepen the liturgical understanding and activity of the people. “This full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else”.

    At the same time the constitution is a document of change and revision. In broad terms it directs a reform of rites and texts so that they may be simpler and clearer. Putting such changes into effect must await specific action by a commission set up by the Holy Father.

    One important change, however, has become the immediate concern of the bodies of bishops in the different countries or regions. This is the concession of the vernacular languages in the liturgy for the sake of the peoples’ understanding, piety and easier participation.

    Such concessions are possible without waiting for the revision of rites but depend upon the action of the bodies of bishops for the respective regions. For the Mass the Council has allowed the vernacular for the lessons and for the parts of the people, in effect, for most of the parts said aloud or sung up to the Canon and for such parts as the Sanctus, Our Father, etc. For the sacraments and sacramentals the vernacular is allowed throughout. For the Divine Office the clergy must receive permission from the individual bishops or ordinaries.

  49. Henry Edwards says:

    Shane: Once again, does anyone think for a moment that two thousand bishops ordained well before Vatican II would have favored what they regarded as a radical break with tradition? Surely the statement is absurd. So one needs to look behind the boilerplate to see what is actually meant.

    There was, indeed, a belief that the limited amount of vernacular to be allowed — no one at the time envisioned the Canon ever being in the vernacular — would greatly encourage the “active participation” that all the earlier twentieth century popes had urged–starting with Pope Pius X who introduced the term actuosa participatio and its goal, but without suggesting any change in the Mass whatsoever. The point is that the Council Fathers could envision changed extent of participation in the Mass, but without significant change in the structure of the Mass itself.

    If you will re-read the U.S. bishops 1963 statement, perhaps you can see that it is entirely consistent with this view (and that of Cardinal Ratzinger which I quoted). Namely that much change in the participation of people could be effected without much change in the Mass itself. Which, again, is just about how much change the Council fathers envisioned.

  50. asophist says:

    shane – thank you for supplying this statement. It makes me want to say, “Father forgive them for they knew not what they were doing.” To remake Fr. Z’s motto, “Destroy the liturgy, destroy the world,” I say is what it amounts to.

  51. asophist: That should motivate all evironmentalists and green movement people to agitate and protest for reverent liturgy!

  52. muckemdanno says:

    Oddie sounds typical of many of the “neo-cons” in the Church regarding the SSPX. They want to be the most “conservative” people in the Church, so they have to badmouth the SSPX and pretend these people are not in the Church or are only “partly” in the Church (sic).

    At first reading of this article, it is clear that Oddie is dishonest on 3 points:
    1) He says SSPX is in a schism. The excommunication was retracted/withdrawn/forgiven, however you want to say. The Vatican NEVER said SSPX was in schism, even before the withdrawal of the excommunication. But, Oddie pretends that the “schism” still exists.
    2) He calls the talks between Rome and SSPX “negotiations.” Nobody of any knowledge or authority ever called these talks “negotiations”. These talks were doctrinal discussions, both sides emphasized that these talks were not designed to “negotiate” a juridical structure for SSPX.
    3) He pretends that the SSPX rejects that an ecumenical council of the Church took place in the 1960s. They don’t. They accept that a council took place…as Popes John and Paul said, which has been repeated by Cardinal Ratzinger, a “pastoral” council. Oddie, typical of liberals, uses vague language to make an assault on SSPX…they don’t accept the “Catholicity” of the Council. What does that mean? What actually is the authority of the Council? SSPX can have their opinions about the best pastoral practices for any given time and place. If V2 had various pastoral proposals or even commands, we can all have our own opinions about how effective they are. The Council made no new dogmatic statements that we are all obligated to believe, according to Pope Paul, and Cardinal Ratzinger.

  53. muckemdanno says:

    And the SSPX has not been condemned with any specificity at all for any doctrine that they teach, so there is no doctrinal problem. To the extent that there is a “problem” it is that SSPX refuse to accept the idea that the Church should be a “big tent” for all kinds of doctrine, not that SSPX hold any doctrine to be true which the Church condemns as false.

    There are two big things that the SSPX did…

    (1) Before they were suspended, they continued to use the old Latin missal, which all priests were wrongly told was forbidden. (1a) Because of this, they were suspended and they had their juridical existence revoked. (1b) They continued to offer mass and the sacraments anyway, on the grounds that they were wrongly suspended…the Pope now concedes that the old missal “was never juridically abrogated” and therefore “was always permitted.”

    (2) They consecrated 4 new bishops, for which they were issued decrees of excommunication…which is now forgiven.

    It is time for Oddie and the other “neocons” to give up the fight. The SSPX is in the Church, whether you guys like it or not.

  54. wmeyer says:

    I pray for the day when the SSPX will be in full communion with Rome. There is a chapel here about as far away as my current parish, and I’d switch in a heartbeat.

  55. JMody says:

    Several interesting points -
    I’m pretty sure that the position of Abp Lefebvre was that the NO Mass was so minimalist as to be undesirable as a hazard, but certainly still valid. A source I read once compared it to a bridge over a deep chasm or raging river. Would you want one “encrusted” with as much light and markings and guard rails and “repetitious” signs and gestures as possible, or one with no real rail, and minimal lights, and maybe no lane markings?

    Some of the early comments say the Pope CAN’T just ignore or shelve or ‘void’ the Council — actually, this seems to be exactly what St. Gregory did with the Second Constantinople Council which compounded instead of clarified a heresy-du-jour. Where are the Catholic-press gripes about that?

    And again — just as the US Congress is finally having a discussion about what cuts they really should make, the Vatican is finally having discussions about what if anything is wrong or hazardous or poorly phrased in re the Second Vatican Council. Calls for a Sysllabus of Interpretation have not been met with scorn or rebuke. It is, as Father Z says, one brick at a time. But it IS proceeding.

    And as for intent of the Council Fathers — clearly some intended to undo quite a lot. Clearly the Pope was excited about the New Mass. But as time went on, he supposedly cried to see Eastertide vestments not laid out for him, and he vehemently opposed a proposed (by AB, no less!) change to the Rosary as too damaging and unsettling to the core of faith. And there is his oft-quoted reference to the smoke of Satan entering the Church. So he clearly thought some things could (did?) go too far.

  56. spock says:

    I don’t actively support the SSPX. However, it is very difficult for me to envision organizations like the FSSP or Institute of Christ The King flourishing had the SSPX not been there in the first place. ( if that is incorrect, I would like to know) To me, that’s why their current status is so unfortunate. If we can’t get it right with people this close to us, then forget Assisi.

    As we say in engineering, “It’s Unobtanium.”

  57. Bornacatholic says:

    I>The Vatican NEVER said SSPX was in schism, even before the withdrawal of the excommunication

    Dear Muckemdanno. That is not true. Here is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger back when he was Prefect of The CDF speaking to the Chilean Bishops on 07/13/98:

    In recent months we have put a lot of work into the case of Lefebvre with the sincere intention of creating for his movement a space within the Church that would be sufficient for it to live. The Holy See has been criticized for this. It is said that it has not defended the Second Vatican Council with sufficient energy; that, while it has treated progressive movements with great severity, it has displayed an exaggerated sympathy with the Traditionalist rebellion. The development of events is enough to disprove these assertions. The mythical harshness of the Vatican in the face of the deviations of the progressives is shown to be mere empty words. Up until now, in fact, only warnings have been published; in no case have there been strict canonical penalties in the strict sense. And the fact that when the chips were down Lefebvre denounced an agreement that had already been signed, shows that the Holy See, while it made truly generous concessions, did not grant him that complete license which he desired. Lefebvre has seen that, in the fundamental part of the agreement, he was being held to accept Vatican II and the affirmations of the postconciliar Magisterium, according to the proper authority of each document.

    There is a glaring contradiction in the fact that it is just the people who have let no occasion slip to allow the world to know of their disobedience to the Pope, and to the magisterial declarations of the last 20 years, who think they have the right to judge that this attitude is too mild and who wish that an absolute obedience to Vatican II had been insisted upon. In a similar way they would claim that the Vatican has conceded a right to dissent to Lefebvre which has been obstinately denied to the promoters of a progressive tendency. In reality, the only point which is affirmed in the agreement, following Lumen Gentium 25, is the plain fact that not all documents of the council have the same authority. For the rest, it was explicitly laid down in the text that was signed that public polemics must be avoided, and that an attitude is required of positive respect for official decisions and declarations.

    It was conceded, in addition, that the Fraternity of St. Pius X would be able to present to the Holy See – which reserves to itself the sole right of decision – their particular difficulties in regard to interpretations of juridical and liturgical reforms. All of this shows plainly that in this difficult dialog Rome has united generosity, in all that was negotiable, with firmness in essentials. The explanation which Msgr. Lefebvre has given, for the retraction of his agreement, is revealing. He declared that he has finally understood that the agreement he signed aimed only at integrating his foundation into the “Conciliar Church.” The Catholic Church in union with the Pope is, according to him, the “Conciliar Church” which has broken with its own past. It seems indeed that he is no longer able to see that we are dealing with the Catholic Church in the totality of its Tradition, and that Vatican II belongs to that.

    Without any doubt, the problem that Lefebvre has posed has not been concluded by the rupture of June 30. It would be too simple to take refuge in a sort of triumphalism, and to think that this difficulty has ceased to exist from the moment in which the movement led by Lefebvre has separated itself by a clean break with the Church. A Christian never can, or should, take pleasure in a rupture. Even though it is absolutely certain the fault cannot be attributed to the Holy See, it is a duty for us to examine ourselves, as to what errors we have made, and which ones we are making even now. The criteria with which we judge the past in the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism must be used – as is logical – to judge the present as well.

    One of the basic discoveries of the theology of ecumenism is that schisms can take place only when certain truths and certain values of the Christian faith are no longer lived and loved within the Church. The truth which is marginalized becomes autonomous, remains detached from the whole of the ecclesiastical structure, and a new movement then forms itself around it. We must reflect on this fact: that a large number of Catholics, far beyond the narrow circle of the Fraternity of Lefebvre, see this man as a guide, in some sense, or at least as a useful ally. It will not do to attribute everything to political motives, to nostalgia, or to cultural factors of minor importance. These causes are not capable of explaining the attraction which is felt even by the young, and especially by the young, who come from many quite different nations, and who are surrounded by completely distinct political and cultural realities. Indeed they show what is from any point of view a restricted and one-sided outlook; but there is no doubt whatever that a phenomenon of this sort would be inconceivable unless there were good elements at work here, which in general do not find sufficient opportunity to live within the Church of today.

    For all these reasons, we ought to see this matter primarily as the occasion for an examination of conscience. We should allow ourselves to ask fundamental questions, about the defects in the pastoral life of the Church, which are exposed by these events. Thus we will be able to offer a place within the Church to those who are seeking and demanding it, and succeed in destroying all reason for schism. We can make such schism pointless by renewing the interior realities of the Church. There are three points, I think, that it is important to think about.

    While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the Traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there. After the council there were many priests who deliberately raised “desacralization” to the level of a program, on the plea that the New Testament abolished the cult of the Temple: the veil of the Temple which was torn from top to bottom at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross is, according to certain people, the sign of the end of the sacred. The death of Jesus, outside the City walls, that is to say, in the public world, is now the true religion. Religion, if it has any being at all, must have it in the nonsacredness of daily life, in love that is lived. Inspired by such reasoning, they put aside the sacred vestments; they have despoiled the churches as much as they could of that splendor which brings to mind the sacred; and they have reduced the liturgy to the language and the gestures of ordinary life, by means of greetings, common signs of friendship, and such things.

    There is no doubt that, with these theories and practices, they have entirely disregarded the true connection between the Old and the New Testaments: It is forgotten that this world is not the Kingdom of God, and that the “Holy One of God” (John 6:69) continues to exist in contradiction to this world; that we have need of purification before we draw near to Him; that the profane, even after the death and the Resurrection of Jesus, has not succeeded in becoming “the holy.” The Risen One has appeared, but to those whose heart has been opened to Him, to the Holy; He did not manifest Himself to everyone. It is in this way a new space has been opened for the religion to which all of us would now submit; this religion which consists in drawing near to the community of the Risen One, at whose feet the women prostrated themselves and adored Him. I do not want to develop this point any further now; I confine myself to coming straight to this conclusion: We ought to get back the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy. The liturgy is not a festivity; it is not a meeting for the purpose of having a good time. It is of no importance that the parish priest has cudgeled his brains to come up with suggestive ideas or imaginative novelties. The liturgy is what makes the Thrice-Holy God present amongst us; it is the burning bush; it is the Alliance of God with man in Jesus Christ, who has died and risen again. The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills. In other words, the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director.

    Aside from the liturgical questions, the central points of conflict at present are Lefebvre’s attack on the decree which deals with religious liberty, and on the so-called spirit of Assisi. Here is where Lefebvre fixes the boundaries between his position and that of the Catholic Church today.

    I need hardly say in so many words that what he is saying on these points is unacceptable. Here we do not wish to consider his errors, rather we want to ask ourselves where there is lack of clarity in ourselves. For Lefebvre what is at stake is the warfare against ideological liberalism, against the relativization of truth. Obviously we are not in agreement with him that – understood according to the Pope’s intentions – the text of the council or the prayer of Assisi were relativizing.

    It is a necessary task to defend the Second Vatican Council against Msgr. Lefebvre, as valid, and as binding upon the Church. Certainly there is a mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.

    The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

    This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy – the form in which the liturgy was handed down – suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the faith – for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. – nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation. I myself, when I was a professor, have seen how the very same bishop who, before the council, had fired a teacher who was really irreproachable, for a certain crudeness of speech, was not prepared, after the council, to dismiss a professor who openly denied certain fundamental truths of the faith.

    All this leads a great number of people to ask themselves if the Church of today is really the same as that of yesterday, or if they have changed it for something else without telling people. The one way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is; one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith.

    In the spiritual movements of the postconciliar era, there is not the slightest doubt that frequently there has been an obliviousness, or even a suppression, of the issue of truth: Here perhaps we confront the crucial problem for theology and for pastoral work today.

    The “truth” is thought to be a claim that is too exalted, a “triumphalism” that cannot be permitted any longer. You see this attitude plainly in the crisis that troubles the missionary ideal and missionary practice. If we do not point to the truth in announcing our faith, and if this truth is no longer essential for the salvation of Man, then the missions lose their meaning. In effect the conclusion has been drawn, and it has been drawn today, that in the future we need only seek that Christians should be good Christians, Muslims good Muslims, Hindus good Hindus, and so forth. If it comes to that, how are we to know when one is a “good” Christian, or a “good” Muslim?

    The idea that all religions are – if you talk seriously – only symbols of what ultimately is incomprehensible is rapidly gaining ground in theology, and has already penetrated into liturgical practice. When things get to this point, faith is left behind, because faith really consists in the fact that I am committing myself to the truth so far as it is known. So in this matter also there is every motive to return to the right path.

    If once again we succeed in pointing out and living the fullness of the Catholic religion with regard to these points, we may hope that the schism of Lefebvre will not be of long duration.

    It is crystal clear Holy Mother Church is not going to repudiate an Ecumenical Council and it is crystal clear it is not going to simply jettison its Divinely-Constituted Universal Jurisdiction and Universal Authority and it is crystal clear that Holy Mother Church has bent over backwards and sideways to do what it can to end the schism and reconcile The SSPX and it is also crystal clear that many who support the SSPX appear to be woefully ignorant of its history and its actual principles and positions and that ignorance is, I think, attributable to the false propaganda the SSPX has spread to confuse its followers.

    I write that because if I can find-out these simple facts there is no reason others can’t if they are interested in knowing the truth about Lefevbre’s schism.

    I pray the SSPX will be reconciled for many reasons but it is up to The SSPX. It has to take the courageous decision to exercise humility and accept the very few conditions for a reconciliation. It takes real men to do such a thing.

    And if they can not accept Vatican Two and the authority of the Magisterium they will remain on the same path that the Old Catholics took after Vatican I.

  58. StellaMaris says:

    BornaCatholic
    With all due respect, I think your interpretation of the SSPX argument is just wrong. ABL believed with all sincerity that the Church, after VII, had become clouded in ambiguity. He understood the Council to be pastoral and not dogmatic. This is, indeed, the case. However, because many of the documents can be interpreted in many ways, ABL felt the Church would be headed down a very dangerous path and become lost. He wanted to insure that this did not happen. In his opinion, he never faltered from 1,960 years of Church teaching. He, and all his supporters, were faithful totally to the Magisterium. This can be of no doubt. The Church today HAS changed. I can only mention a few as time and space are limited: Today’s Ecumenism is not the same as prior to VII. Religious liberty–the right of man to follow his own conscience in religious matters–was condemned by Pope Pius VI. The Salvation of man has changed–now all people are saved regardless of one’s religious beliefs. Prior to VII, Baptism was required to rid the soul of Original sin and the Sacraments were given as a remedy to save our sick souls. The idea of spiritual warfare is unknown in the modern Church. Gone is the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Gone is the idea that Satan roams about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Left in that vacuum is the “theology” of the body. Gone is the knowledge that we are sinners prone to ignorance, weakness, malice, and concupiscence. Gone is the concept of sacrifice, remediation, and redemption. Now we are all just sinners, joined by our Baptism in a “community” of Christians. The new concept of “collegiality” has run the Church amok and put the bishops, especially in the U.S., at odds with Pope. This bishops here think they are running the show–and so do the faithful. This concept is completely and utterly false. The Church now is “the people of God.” No longer is the Church clerics and laity with the clerics exercising the ministry. No. Now the laity exercise the ministry–altar services, lectors, catechism teachers, etc. What exactly do the priests do now anyway? A priest can’t do anything now with out consulting the parish council or the school council or whatever. There was no consultation or voting or democracy like this prior to VII. And what about the practice of “Eucharistic hospitality?” I watched in utter horror as a priest “gave” the Holy Eucharist to my brother-in-law, an Evangelical Lutheran that year, at my father-in-law’s funeral. Most people believe that SSPX is about form–the form of the Mass, the bells and whistles, the vestments, the Latin–they are wrong. It is about content–the Liturgical prayers, the role of the priest vs. the laity, the Sacrifice, the unchanging Church. These are the issues that must be addressed. Why has the Church changed when indeed She cannot???

  59. Henry Edwards says:

    StellaMaris, could we agree that Church–triumphant, militant, and penitent–is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow? But, unfortunately, that the dreary picture you paint is how too many people see her, too much of the time and in too many places.

  60. Bornacatholic says:

    He, and all his supporters, were faithful totally to the Magisterium

    Dear Stella Maris. He certainly tried to convince his supporters that was the case but reality gives us a quite different truth.

    Here are just a few of his scandalous and heretical statements about Holy Mother Church:

    “This conciliar church is a schismatic church because it breaks with the Catholic Church of the centuries …This conciliar church is schismatic because it has taken as the basis for its updating principles opposed to those of the Catholic Church.The church which affirms errors like these is both schismatic and heretical. This conciliar church is thus not Catholic.”

    “The Church that affirms such errors is at once schismatic and heretical. This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic. To whatever extent Pope, Bishops, priests, or faithful adhere to this new Church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church.

    “Rome has apostacised, the Roman churchmen are quitting the Church, their program of de-christianising society is an abomination

    The truth is that since 1991 Lefevbre has arrogated to himself and to his Tribunals the power to Bind and Loose – stealing the power of The Pope. He, with Bishop Fellay’s knowledge, approval and assistance, set-up what I would call a Petit Ecclesia but most of this information has been kept from the supporters of The SSPX because once they read or hear of it they must simply gainsay the facts or confess they were lied to and do what they can as fast as they can to return to The Catholic Church.

    I doubt that even 10% of those who support The SSPX have read the execrable statements of Mons Lefevbre – two from as far back as 1976 -calling Holy Mother Church a schismatic and heretical Church.

    I think Mons Lefevbre was clearly a madman when he made these statements and took those actions and thus, hopefully, was not culpable for what he said and what he did. But there is no way possible for one who loves Holy Mother Church to find a commonality with such a schismatic who, like all the other schismatics before him, accused Holy Mother Church of being schismatic and heretical.

    I take no pleasure in rolling-out these facts about The SSPX but they have a duty to be honest with their followers and they have not been honest in the past and they have put in mortal danger the souls of their followers.

    I know it is too much to expect Bishop Fellay to publicly repudiate their history of fetid, malign, and mendacious claims and accusations against The Successor’s of Peter and Holy Mother Church but a reconciliation can be had with this great Pope of Unity who will not make those demands of them.

    Frankly, were I Pope, I’d have told them to go to hell long ago

  61. Centristian says:

    Bornacatholic:

    I thank you for having the audacity to say about the Lefebvrists something that nobody wants to acknowledge, namely that their nonsense originates with Lefebvre! Seems logical enough but there are so many people out there who insist that Lefebvre was sweet and saintly and benign and that his movement was hijacked by Williamson and other crazies.

    That’s alot of bunk. Lefebvre was the original pope-hating, anti-semitic, conspiracy theory-loving crackpot and perhaps the craziest one of them all. [I think you are straying very close to the edge with this.] Where does one suppose the rest of them got their weird ideas from? They all take their cues, ultimately, from the writings, preachings, beliefs and example of Marcel Lefebvre.

    “Frankly, were I Pope, I’d have told them to go to hell long ago.” [?!?]

    Pope John Paul II did tell them to go to hell (almost literally, as it happens). Why Pope Benedict reached into Hell in a futile attempt to rescue the damned is beyond me. As it happens, he got burned for his efforts.

    One day the Vatican will see that the Lefebvrists do not represent anything so august as branch of Catholicism whose schism rends Christian Unity asunder. One day they will realize that the SSPX are just a weird cult, unworthy of all the attention and energy Rome has thus far expended upon them. I believe they may well be realizing as much now. I hope so. [These comments are unworthy.]

  62. robtbrown says:

    Shane,

    I am puzzled by the document you cite. Who issued it? In 1963 there was no USCCB, and it doesn’t seem to have been produced by an US Council. Further, SC was promulgated in Dec, the same month that this document originated.

  63. robtbrown says:

    BornaCatholic,

    1. What Cardinal Ratzinger said in speaking to the Chilean bishops is not co-terminous with an official Vatican document.

    2. Not to defend the SSPX, but you seem uninformed about its early history. Abp Lefebvre, his seminary, and the SSPX was approved in the early years. It was only after the hyperliberal French bishops (i.e., almost all of them) began blaming L for taking all their vocations that the trouble began. They had the ear of French Cardinal Villot, who was Paul VI’s Sec of State, and the persecution (not my word but that of a well known Cardinal) began.

    3. I cannot overemphasize how bad the situation was in France c. 1972.

  64. robtbrown says:

    Centristian,

    In your diatribe against the Lefebvrists (most of which I agree with), you seem to have forgotten two relevant facts: In the entire Latin Church the SSPX priests were about the only ones who were using the historical Roman Rite and whose liturgy was in Latin.

  65. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Centristian. Thank-you for the support.

    What is so nettlesome is that even when his statements are made public those who succor the SSPX simply gainsay them. What he said about the Pope and The Church – The Pope is the Antichrist and the Church is schismatic and heretical – are things office-holding members of the Southern Baptists stopped saying publicly fifty years ago.

    I think he was prolly a madman and what he said in his sermon at the Episcopal Ordinations was, at least for me, evidence of that.

    Just recently, the priest who takes care of the priory of Bogota, Colombia, brought me a book concerning the apparition of Our Lady of “Buon Suceso,” – of “Good Fortune,” to whom a large church in Quito, Ecuador, was dedicated. They were received by a nun shortly after the Council of Trent, so you see, quite a few centuries ago. This apparition is thoroughly recognized by Rome and the ecclesiastical authorities; a magnificent church was built for the Blessed Virgin Mary wherein the faithful of Ecuador venerate with great devotion a picture of Our Lady, whose face was made miraculously. The artist was in the process of painting it when he found the face of the Holy Virgin miraculously formed. And Our Lady prophesied for the twentieth century, saying explicitly that during the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, errors would become more and more widespread in Holy Church, placing the Church in a catastrophic situation. Morals would become corrupt and the Faith would disappear. It seems impossible not to see it happening today.

    I excuse myself for continuing this account of the apparition but she speaks of a prelate who will absolutely oppose this wave of apostasy and impiety – saving the priesthood by forming good priests. I do not say that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in the archives of this apparition.

    Of course, you well know the apparitions of Our Lady at La Salette, where she says that Rome will lose the Faith…

    To have introduced that private revelation in that context and in that way and then to slyly refuse to say the prophecy referred to him to was to assure that he attendees would, of course, conclude that he was chosen by God to save the Church.

    And then, he cited that condemned part of the LaSalette message to seal the deal.

    It is simply beyond belief that solid Orthodox Catholics would think that God would choose as a saviour of the Church a man who called the Pope the Antichrist and called the Church a heretical schismatic church.

    The day of The Episcopal Consecrations was a day of evil and madness.

  66. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Mr RobtBrown.

    I am going to go out on a limb here by writing that I think Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger knew what he was talking about 0n 07/13/98 when he publicly identified, before Chile’s Bishops, Lefevbre’s schism.

    And, of course, there is this:

    APOSTOLIC LETTER
    “ECCLESIA DEI”
    OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
    JOHN PAUL II
    GIVEN MOTU PROPRIO

    Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s. 2 July 1988, the tenth year of the pontificate.
    Joannes Paulus PP. II

    In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience – which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy – constitutes a schismatic act

    The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition…

    It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ himself entrusted the ministry of unity in his Church

    In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.

    So, we have the Prefect of The CDF, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, publicly, before the Bishops of Chile, calling Lefevbre’s schism a schism and that speech was made ten years after (No ref. to Alvin Lee intended) Pope John Paul II called Lefevbre’s schism a schism.

    Of course, I well know that these facts will be simply gainsaid by those who support the SSPX because they consider the SSPX the Church and they consider the Church an heretical schismatic apostate (pick any word you like) outfit that they must remain out of if they are to save their souls. And ain’t that a curious Tradition?

    Of course to subscribe to that irrational ideology is to completely overturn more than 2000 years of Tradition but, as St. Bill Belichick says, “It is what it is.”

    As to the history of Mons Lefevbre, I am well aware that others are to blame for his refusal to obey Rome. In his refusal to accept blame for his own actions and his propensity to slough-off the blame onto others, he is the archetypal liberal Traditionalist – blaming others for his own failures.

    I have read these excuses for scores of years and I long ago stopped feeling embarrassed for those who make such arguments on his behalf. The truth is easily known about his schism and his long history of disobedience to the competent authorities but, due to mysterium iniquitatis, the indefensible defense of it all continues.

    All of that having been written, I really do want The SSPX to reconcile because there is, potentially, a lot of good that could come of that reconciliation

  67. Bornacatholic: You cite Ratzinger. I think we can stay out on that limb in imagining that the same man, today, does not call the SSPX thing a “schism” (Benedict might think it is a schism – who know? – but he, the CDF and PCED are not saying openly that it is) and that he, who lifted the excommunications of the bishops, desires that the SSPX come into union with him as Supreme Pontiff.

  68. Henry Edwards says:

    Dr. Brown: Shane, I am puzzled by the document you cite. Who issued it? In 1963 there was no USCCB, and it doesn’t seem to have been produced by an US Council. Further, SC was promulgated in Dec, the same month that this document originated.

    Of course, you know how the game was played at that time. Whatever the document’s actual provenance–and even it it turns out to be genuine–it has the telltale appearance of a typical circa Vatican II press plant alleging to speak on behalf of a body of bishops that might not have even seen much less approved it. Many of these things were floated in the press during and after Vatican II, and played a role in the promotion of a liturgical revolution that the bishops (as Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned in the Fontgombault proceedings) lost control of, and went far beyond anything the great majority of bishops at Vatican II ever envisioned.

  69. Hristoroquen says:

    +JMJ+
    Gentlemen,
    I think we must remember that the Holy Father was a leading periti at the council. I am sure some of you will take this opportunity to lambast the FSSPX again. The Church is in a terrible crisis. If you don’t see that, well, then you really don’t see much. If you do see the crisis, certainly the greatest in the Church’s history, then how do you think it came about? The FSSPX has been the bastion against the modernist siege. Its stance and fight, has allowed what tradition exists today to survive.

    I will let His Lordship Bishop Fellay speak for himself and let the tempest ensue:
    54 ANSWERS
    from Bishop Fellay
    Given in February 2011
    Doctrinal Discussions: Part 1
    1. Your Excellency, you have decided to attempt doctrinal discussions with Rome. Could you remind us of the purpose?

    You have to distinguish between Rome’s purpose and ours. Rome indicated that there were doctrinal problems with the Society [of St. Pius X] and that these problems would have to be cleared up before any canonical recognition, problems which obviously would be up to us to resolve, concerning our acceptance of the [Second Vatican] Council. But for us it is about something else: we hope to tell Rome what the Church has always taught and thereby to show the contradictions between this centuries-old teaching and what has been done in the Church since the Council. As we look at it, this is the only goal that we are pursuing.

    2. What sort of talks are these: negotiations, discussions, or doctrinal explanation?

    You can’t call them negotiations. That’s not what they’re about at all. There is on the one hand an explanation of doctrine, and on the other hand a discussion, because we have in fact a Roman interlocutor with whom we are discussing the documents and how to understand them. But you can’t call them negotiations, nor a search for a compromise, for it is a question of Faith.

    3. Could you recall the method that is used in the work? What topics have already been addressed?

    The working method is the written method; texts are composed which then become the basis for further theological discussion. Several topics have been addressed already. But for the moment I will leave that question up in the air. I can simply tell you that we are coming to the conclusion, because we have made the tour of the major questions raised by the Council.

    4. Can you describe the Roman panelists?

    They are experts, in other words, theology professors who are also consulting members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. One can say that they are “professionals” in theology. One is Swiss, the Rector of the Angelicum, Fr. Morerod, O.P., another is a Jesuit who is somewhat older, Fr. Becker; another is a member of Opus Dei, the Vicar General, Msgr. Ocariz Braña; then Archbishop Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the moderator, Msgr. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

    5. Has there been a development in the thinking of our dialogue partners since they read the presentations by the SSPX theologians?

    I don’t think that you can say that.

    6. Bishop de Galarreta, sermon during the ordinations in La Reja in December 2009, said that Rome had agreed that the Magisterium prior to Vatican II would be taken as “the only possible common standard” in these talks. Is there some hope that our counterparts will reconsider Vatican II, or is that impossible for them? Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block?

    I think that you have to pose the question another way. Pope Benedict XVI made distinctions during his speech in December 2005, by which we see very clearly that one particular understanding of the Council is no longer permitted and therefore, without speaking directly about a re-examination of the Council, there is despite everything a certain intention to revise the way in which the Council is presented.

    The distinction may seem rather subtle, but it is precisely the distinction relied on by those who do not want to alter the Council and nevertheless recognize that, because of a certain number of ambiguities there has been an opening leading to forbidden paths, and that we must remember that they are forbidden. Is Vatican II really a stumbling-block? For us, no doubt whatsoever: yes!

    7. Why is it so difficult for them to admit a contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium?

    The answer is rather simple. The moment you recognize the principle that the Church cannot change, if you want to have Vatican II accepted, you are obliged to say that Vatican II did not change anything either. That is why they do not admit that they find any contradiction between Vatican II and the previous Magisterium, but they are nevertheless at a loss to explain the nature of the change which quite evidently has taken place.

    8. Besides witnessing to the Faith, is it important and advantageous for the Society of St. Pius X to go to Rome? Is it dangerous, and do you think that it might last a long time?

    It is very important that the Society give this witness; that is the reason for these doctrinal talks. It is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome and trying, why not, to make it understood even more throughout the Church.

    There is one danger: the danger of keeping up illusions. We see that some Catholics have managed to lull themselves to sleep with illusions. But recent events have managed to dispel them. I am thinking about the announcement of the beatification of John Paul II or the announcement of a new Assisi event along the lines of the interreligious gatherings in 1986 and 2002.

    9. Has the Pope been following these talks closely? Has he commented yet on these talks?

    I think so, but have no specific details. Has he commented on these talks? During the meeting last summer with his former students at Castel Gandolfo he said that he was pleased with them. That is all.

    10. Can we say that the Holy Father, who has been dealing with the Society of St. Pius X for more than 25 years, is proving to be more benevolent toward it today than in the past?

    I am not sure. Yes and no. I think that as pope, he has responsibility for the whole Church, a concern about its unity, a fear of seeing a schism declared. He himself said that these were the motives that impelled him to act. He is now the visible head of the Church, which may explain why he acts like that. Does that mean that he is showing more understanding toward the Society? I think that he has a certain sympathy for us, but within limits.

    11. To sum up, what would you say about these talks today?

    If we had to do them over again, we would redo them. They are very important. Of capital importance. If you hope to correct a whole movement of thought, you cannot do without these talks.

    12. For some time now we have been hearing voices of ecclesiastics, for example Msgr. Gherardini or Bishop Schneider, who even in Rome are producing genuine critiques of the documents of Vatican II and not just of their interpretation. Can we hope that this movement will grow and make its way into the Vatican?

    I do not say that we can hope for it, but that we must hope for it. We must really hope that these initial critiques—let us call them serene, objective critiques—will develop. Until now Vatican II was always considered as a taboo [as something unquestionable], which makes the cure of this sickness, which is the crisis in the Church, almost impossible. We have to be able to talk about the problems and to go in-depth into these matters, or else we will never get to apply the right remedies.

    13. Can the Society of St. Pius X plan an important role in making Rome aware of this? How? What is the role of the lay faithful in this momentous matter?

    As for the Society, yes, we can play a role, precisely by presenting what the Church has always taught and by raising objections to the conciliar novelties. The role of the lay faithful is to provide proof in action, for they are the proof that Tradition can be lived today. What the Church has always demanded—traditional discipline—is not only relevant but really viable even today.

  70. robtbrown says:

    Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Mr RobtBrown.

    I am going to go out on a limb here by writing that I think Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger knew what he was talking about 0n 07/13/98 when he publicly identified, before Chile’s Bishops, Lefevbre’s schism.

    Once again, formally it is irrelevant what Cardinal Ratzinger said in a speech.

    Further, Rome now makes a distinction between schism and schismatic act, the former being a structure whose existence is ordered toward separation from the pope, the latter being, in this case, the formal act of consecrating bishops.

    Further, Ecclesia Dei Adflicta was promulgated so soon after the consecration that its use of the word “schism” that it may be interpreted as “the schismatic act”.

    I was hardly making excuses for the L and the SSPX. IMHO, he should have closed the seminary when he was ordered to do so in 1975 prior to his suspension. I am not defending his obvious disobedience, nor the incompetent leadership of Paul VI, nor, for that matter, the flaws in the Vat II documents.

    BTW, I am neither a liberal nor a traditionalist.

  71. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Fr. Z. I think you are spot on in your observation. In my zeal to place before all the evidence it was a schism what I wrote made it appear I was writing it still is a schism. As you write, who knows if it still is considered a schism.

    I do know that the last written evidence it was not a schism was something you posted in here but, as I recall, even in that text it was referred to as not being a schism in the introductory paragraph or two but later on in the text it was referred to as a schism.

    I am trying to remember what the text was and from what Curial Dept but because I am the same age as Israel, my memory ain’t what it used to be.

    In any event. I totally agree with you that it is our great Holy Father’s desire to effect a reconciliation and I marvel at his patience, sagacity, and intellect. We will not see the likes of him again for some time.

  72. robtbrown says:

    Bornacatholic,

    I am trying to remember what the text was and from what Curial Dept but because I am the same age as Israel, my memory ain’t what it used to be.

    Are you 3200 years old?

  73. Bornacatholic says:

    Further, Ecclesia Dei Adflicta was promulgated so soon after the consecration that its use of the word “schism” that it may be interpreted as “the schismatic act”.

    Dear Mr RobtBrown. That makes no sense in the context of how it was used in the sentence;

    Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.

    Try substituting “schismatic act” for “schism”

    Can one formally adhere to a schismatic act?

    As to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s publicly identifying Lefevbre’s schism as a schism being dismissed due to a claim it is not “formally relevant” is an odd non sequitur that has nothing to do as to whether or not Lefevbre’s schism was a schism.

    If there were any question about the nature or status of Lefevbre’s Schism then we can be confident that Joesph Cardinal Ratzinger would not have identified it publicly as a schism.

    The pains taken to deny the plain and simple truth of the reality that Lefevbre’s schism was a schism are so contrary to common sense as to be laughable.

  74. Bornacatholic says:

    I was born the same year as Israel; 1948.

    I can understand how I could been misunderstood to mean that I am 2011 years old because The Catholic Church is the new Israel, but, 3200 years old?

    I look younger than that :)

  75. asophist says:

    It seems to me a mark of charity to give one’s fellow Catholics the benefit of the doubt when they make rash and seemingly illogical statements. We do not all see things the same way. Abp Lefebvre’s statements as quoted above by Bornacatholic simply reflect his disappointment and disillusionment due to the changes wrought by the new liturgical and theological practices. To all appearances, he was right – even though he wasn’t – because not all things are as they seem. He seemed not to have separated the ACTIONS of churchmen from the nature of the Church. Given what he had been put through – the lies and deception of Vatican officials of the day, causing great disappointment and disillusionment – his feelings are understandable, even if, in the cold light of our reason decades later, they were illogical. I say, give the man a break. Besides, we all engage in polemics, don’t we?

  76. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear asophist. For Lord’s sake, man. He called the Pope the Antichrist. He called The Catholic Church a schismatic and heretical Church; he started a schism.

    No Christian Catholic, no matter how disappointed and angry he is, is ever justified in saying, repeatedly, that the Pope is the Antichrist and that the Catholic Church is heretical and schismatic and no longer Catholic. And that is especially true of a man who was an Archbishop.

    Those are not just the words of an angry man, those are the words of a madman who has lost The Faith; that is, if words mean anything at all.

    Earlier I wrote that no matter what evidence has been presented, Mons Lefevbre will continued to be defended by those who support The SSPX. If only they had the same undying loyalty to Holy Mother Church.

    Cest la vie.

    I could add a ton more of facts but I have already had a lot to write and Fr. Z. has been more than patient and generous in allowing me to make my case. I am done with this thread.

    Fr. Z. Thank-you and God Bless you for all of your tireless work on behalf of the Catholic Church.

  77. @StellaMaris: I do not recognize the picture of the post-V2 church you present. “The Salvation of man has changed–now all people are saved regardless of one’s religious beliefs.”

    Where does the Church teach this? Certainly not in any Magisterial document or Catechism I have ever seen.

    “Prior to VII, Baptism was required to rid the soul of Original sin and the Sacraments were given as a remedy to save our sick souls.”

    Sacramental doctrine has not changed.

    “Gone is the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.”

    I said it earlier today.

    Something else that bothers me is the idea that the current crisis (which does exist, though I’d say it is more a crisis of the wealthy West than of “the Church” — Catholicism in other regions seems far more vibrant) is somehow unique or worse than other such crises. This is hardly the worst crisis the Church has faced in 1980 years of existence.

    As Chesterton put it in a very different context:

    “She saw great Origen depart
    And Photius rend the world asunder;
    Her cry to all the East rolled back
    In Islam its ironic thunder.”

    The Church grew to cross the known world in a culture more toxic and far more hostile to Christianity and even more disdainful of human life than ours — that of the Roman Empire in its decadence. In the Fourth Century “the whole world groaned and wondered to find itself Arian”; yet Catholicism rolled on and Arianism was swallowed up utterly. We are baptized into the same Body and sealed with the same Spirit they were; why should this drive us to doubts about the Church when they did not while assailed by heresies greater and more prevalent?

  78. robtbrown says:

    Bornacatholic says:

    Further, Ecclesia Dei Adflicta was promulgated so soon after the consecration that its use of the word “schism” that it may be interpreted as “the schismatic act”.

    Dear Mr RobtBrown. That makes no sense in the context of how it was used in the sentence;

    “Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.”

    The editio typica doesn’t say that. Rather it states a general principle: Omnes scire debent formalem schismati adhaesionem gravem esse in Deum iniuriam atque excommunicationem prae se ferre lege Ecclesiae rite statutam. The translators assumed a definite article before “schism”, but it is not found in the editio typica.

    As to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s publicly identifying Lefevbre’s schism as a schism being dismissed due to a claim it is not “formally relevant” is an odd non sequitur that has nothing to do as to whether or not Lefevbre’s schism was a schism.

    If you would check what you said earlier, you would realize it it’s hardly a non sequitur . You insisted Vatican said it was a schism and pointed to a speech by Cardinal Ratzinger as proof. My point was–and is–that we cannot say the Vatican considers it a schism just because a Cardinal says something publicly. Further, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos said on more than one occasion that the consecration of bishops was a schismatic act but that the SSPX is not a schism.


    If there were any question about the nature or status of Lefevbre’s Schism then we can be confident that Joesph Cardinal Ratzinger would not have identified it publicly as a schism.

    See above.

    The pains taken to deny the plain and simple truth of the reality that Lefevbre’s schism was a schism are so contrary to common sense as to be laughable.

    Stop laughing and actually read the Latin.

  79. robtbrown says:

    Bornacatholic says:

    I was born the same year as Israel; 1948.

    I can understand how I could been misunderstood to mean that I am 2011 years old because The Catholic Church is the new Israel, but, 3200 years old?

    The age of Israel is often considered to be 3200 years. The simple paradigm is:

    c. 1800 BC: The Calling of Abraham
    c. 1200 BC: The Exodus
    c. 600 BC: The Exile.

  80. Bornacatholic says:

    I thought I was through with this thread but I see Mr RobtBrown wants to quibble as to whether or not The Lefevbre Schism was a Schism.

    Well, I can roll-out the evidence which confirms the obvious. I will begin with this:

    DECREE OF EXCOMMUNICATION

    From the Office of the Congregation for Bishops, 1 July 1988

    Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Tulle, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning of 17 June last and the repeated appeals to desist from his intention, has performed a scismatical act by the episcopal consecration of four priests, without pontifical mandate and contrary to the will of the Supreme Pontiff, and has therefore incurred the penalty envisaged by Canon 1364, paragraph 1, and Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law.

    Having taken account of all the juridical effects, I declare that the above-mentioned Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta have incurred ipso facto excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.

    Moreover, I declare that Monsignor Antonio de Castro Mayer, Bishop emeritus of Campos, since he took part directly in the liturgical celebration as co-consecrator and adhered publicly to the schismatical act, has incurred excommunication latae sentientae as envisaged by Canon 1364, paragraph 1.

    The priests and faithful are warned not to support the schism of Archbishop Lefebvre, otherwise they shall incur ipso facto the very grave penalty of excommunication.

    From the Office of the Congregation for Bishops, 1 July 1988.

    BERNARDINUS Card. GANTIN

    Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

    I have more evidence if more evidence is required.

    [DON'T. I worked in the Pont. Comm. "Ecclesia Dei" in its first years. I know a little about this. I long held that there was a state of schism. The Holy See has backed up from that term. I think we have to accept that. So, just DON'T. The horse isn't moving.]

  81. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Fr. Z. Thank-you. I have a bad habit of being too pugnacious in arguments.

    I will work on that during Lent.

  82. robtbrown says:

    Bornacatholic,

    I don’t think you’re being too pugnacious, but I do think that situation is more subtle than you seem to realize.

    The act of consecrating bishops was obviously a schismatic act, with L contradicting Papal Jurisdiction and Bp Castro Meyer being a co-consecrator. There is no doubt that those two (now dead) were in schism–also that the four new bishops are still in schism.

    That is not the same, however, as saying that the SSPX is in schism. This is the distinction made on more than one occasion by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, himself a canonist.