John Allen on SSPX/Rome talks. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

My friend the nearly-ubiquitous John L. Allen, Jr, the fair-minded writer for the ultra-liberal dissenting National Catholic Reporter has an interesting piece about an upcoming meeting scheduled between SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay and the CDF in Rome to review their rounds of theological talks.

BTW…I haven’t written about this myself for two reasons.  First, when it appeared that this meeting might have a more interesting agenda than it does, I thought it best that everyone keep quiet about it and let it happen.  Second, the meeting is now known to be a matter of a routine next logical step.

Here is part of Mr. Allen’s piece with my emphases and comments:

What do China, Israel, and the Lefebvrites have in common?
by John L Allen Jr on Aug. 25, 2011

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

It sounds like the set-up to a bad barroom joke: What do Communist China, the State of Israel, and the traditionalist Catholic Society of St. Pius X (popularly known as the “Lefebvrites”) have in common?

In reality, there’s a serious answer. All three are bodies with which the Vatican is involved in seemingly eternal, and notoriously unresolved, dialogues. In each case, there’s a familiar rhythm – every six months or so, some new step forward is heralded, only to be followed by another step back as surely as night follows day.

The latest case in point comes with news this week that the leader of the breakaway St. Pius X group, the no-longer-excommunicated Swiss Bishop Bernard Fellay, will travel to Rome next month to meet American Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office. The purpose of the meeting is to review a recent round of talks between the traditionalists and a Vatican delegation.

I’ve learned from hard experience that prediction is a hazardous business, but here’s one I feel safe in making: Anyone expecting this meeting to end the dispute between Rome and Écône (the Swiss headquarters of the traditionalists) is going to be disappointed.

Last year, I prepared, but didn’t publish, a background piece on the dialogue between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, just ahead of a meeting in April 2010. At the time, it seemed like too much insider baseball and so I consigned it to a folder on my computer and forgot about it.

In light of this week’s news, I’ll offer it here. It’s a bit dated, but it nevertheless adds some flavor to the present discussion.

[...]

Though they may be heading nowhere fast, the talks have at least produced a few moments of mirth.

At one point, a Vatican delegate attempted to break the ice by putting things this way: “You think we’re in error, even if personally we’re not sinners because we’re in a state of invincible ignorance. You also say that error has no rights. Yet if you really believe that, what are you doing here talking to us?”

According to people in the room, that line didn’t exactly produce a seismic shift in positions, but it did at least make some of the traditionalists smile.

There is a lot more to the piece, and you can read it over there.

I am a little more sanguine about these talks than Mr. Allen seems to be.

Surely the time for these talks and then some concrete action on both sides is now, while Benedict XVI is Pope.

From the CDF’s side, as I have argued before, if the followers of Fr. Feeney, with their rigid interpretation of “no salvation outside the Church” can be reconciled without abjuring their positions – that is a very hard doctrine to grasp and interpret, after all, true as we affirm it to be – then why cannot the SSPXers be reconciled when they have problems with some things from the Second Vatican Council which are also points that are very hard to interpret?  Points which in the Council’s own documents are subject to differing interpretations?   When we are faced with doctrines that are very difficult to grasp, a certain measure of freedom should be allowed.

If we can have greater unity with former Anglicans, who can maintain many of their cherished traditions but in unity with the Roman Pontiff, if we can have an Ordinariate for them through Anglicanorum coetibus, then why can we not have some structure for the SSPX, who are closer to us in so many more respects?

For one thing, the Anglicans were willing to submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and were willing to give up things and make sacrifices for the sake of unity.   In the balance, they gained far more than they gave up.

The more difficult problem than the doctrinal discussion – and they are not easy – is probably just that some in the SSPX are now so comfortable or set in their positions that they may not be able to change.

We are now seeing a young set of SSPXers coming up who have never in their own lives known unity with Rome.  They have a mindset which they defend and they may not be able to leave it aside and make the hard choice for manifest unity with the Roman Pontiff and, what is more, obedience to his authority.

In both Pope Benedict and in Bp. Fellay we see men who are trying to bring the two sides together.  I pray that they succeed.  There will be resistance from some close to the process on both sides.  I suspect that even if they were to come to an accord, there would be a group that split off from the SSPX and there would be savage criticism and resistance within the ranks of those who are in clearer formal unity.

A wise mentor whose memory and lessons I hold dear once told me that at a certain point we must stop arguing and try to open hearts.

Perhaps you will include this petition in your prayers, that those who have closed hearts and minds on both sides will make the choice for reconciliation so that this wound in the Church’s unity can be healed and that men with a valid contribution to make to the life of the Church can finally be brought home and celebrated.

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82 Responses to John Allen on SSPX/Rome talks. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

  1. wolfeken says:

    The bishops and priests of the SSPX want to be fully reconciled with the Vatican. I think this is a point some critics of the SSPX fail to understand, as if Rome were forcing them to be going through these talks. To the contrary, the first thing one sees when logging on to the SSPX website is Pope Benedict XVI.

    The challenge, though, is how to say Group A can preach salvation is only possible for Catholics in in the state of grace, while Group B (probably 90% of those who attend the novus ordo) can say it really doesn’t matter because everyone is a winner.

    My hope and prayer is that the SSPX influences the current leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. The fact that high-ranking officials in the Vatican are even talking about the messed up Council of the 1960s and the destruction upon the Church wrought by it is amazing.

    The SSPX were largely responsible for the traditional Latin Mass being restored to today’s status — it was not magic. Maybe the SSPX can also be the force to change the absolute insanity with respect to nearly every single other change that came as a result of Vatican II. It’s not about how Vatican II was “interpreted.” It’s about Vatican II.

  2. Johnsum says:

    I am optimistic this time. I am hopeful that Cardinal Levada will be offering the Society something concrete – probably temporary canonical status in the Church. In the absence of a firm offer by the Holy See, why would Bp Fellay be going to Rome? What could he accomplish with just two low ranking aids in his party?

    Mr. Allen has his blind spots even though he be ever so fair-minded. When the result of the meeting is reported he will be ever so clever explaining the meaning of it. I can hardly wait to read it.

  3. Jucken says:

    The bishops and priests of the SSPX want to be fully reconciled with the Vatican.

    Not at all. They want the Vatican to be fully reconciled with them.

  4. trad catholic mom says:

    Father, I really don’t understand your apparent like of John Allen. And now he compared the SSPX to communist China and called them “Lefebvrites” which is not a name they call themselves but one only used by anti-traditionalists to imply a cult of personality.

  5. Centristian says:

    @wolfeken

    “The bishops and priests of the SSPX want to be fully reconciled with the Vatican. I think this is a point some critics of the SSPX fail to understand…”

    I think, in fact, what many people fail to understand is that that isn’t the case at all. The more accurate thing to say is that the bishops and priests of the SSPX want the Vatican to be fully reconciled to the SSPX. That’s why these endless talks are pointless.

    The “SSPX” clergy constitute an ongoing rebellion against the official hierarchy of the Catholic Church. You can’t incorporate a rebellion against the Church into the Church. The rebellion must end, first, then the rebels can be individually welcomed back if they repent. Imagine Lincoln giving the Confederacy an official standing within the Union after the Civil War, telling her officers that they can continue to serve their people as they see fit, and that they may perpetuate their confederacy, no less? This idea of regularizing the SSPX within the Church is no less absurd, in my opinion.

    The fact of the matter is that the Society of St. Pius X does not even exist. It was dissolved by the bishop of Fribourg in 1975, and all of the men calling themselves members of this no longer extant pious union are simply vagrant clerics with no formal association, no faculties, and no jurisdiction. The very fact that they still refer to a “Society of St. Pius X”, despite the fact that the Society of St. Pius X was legally dissolved four decades ago by the competent ecclesiastical authority should be enough to demonstrate just how rebellious these men actually are, and how little regard they have for the authority of the legitimate shepherds of Christ’s Church.

    “At one point, a Vatican delegate attempted to break the ice by putting things this way: ‘You think we’re in error, even if personally we’re not sinners because we’re in a state of invincible ignorance. You also say that error has no rights. Yet if you really believe that, what are you doing here talking to us?’”

    Amen, brother.

  6. danphunter1 says:

    The various priests of the SSPX of whom Masses I frequent all, to a man, want to be canonically regular.
    They acknowledge that the SSPX ‘s position is not a proper one.
    They know it, and want to be canonicaly regular.
    I have heard them say this myself.

  7. Anonymous Seminarian says:

    I sympathize with Trad Catholic Mom; I wonder what the motive is of Mr. Allen’s consistent use of “the traditionalists” as his preferred language to describe the SSPX, who as she points out, he compares to Communist China. This give us: Communist China [equivalent sign] SSPX [equivalent sign] traditionalists.

  8. FrAWeidner says:

    @wolfeken – I understand the whole SSPX argument of Vatican II being a “pastoral council” and so forth. That carries some weight. If, by its nature, it is about pastoral means of stating prior doctrine, there could conceivably be strategic errors in it since pastoral strategies are not by their nature infallible. However, no at one the Council ever turned around and said it wasn’t an ecumenical council. It was, and is. There are several instances in the Council documents of doctrinal matter presented which was always part of the deposit but had long been de-emphasized, and it seems that the timing was right for those reiterations. I’m aware of the whole “Holy Spirit missed that council” joke and all, but it seems to me, as a little OF diocesan priest, that one 1) must hold that, whatever minor errors in strategy it had as a pastoral council, it was by its nature still an ecumenical council, and 2) thereby, one must hold that there were points made in Vatican II that the Spirit did intend and which were, by that very origin, good for the Church on some level (which, as we all know, does not by any means omit the strong possibility of suffering in their reception). Churchfolk may quibble about what those points were (and His Holiness and Abp. Fellay should probably be the quibblers here), but must (it seems to me) hold that they exist. It does not seem that the wholesale scuttling of Vatican II could or should be anywhere near the table in any Holy See-SSPX talks. To do so would really serve to threaten if not thwart the interior logic of the faith. I understand that Vatican II is by its nature different from the other councils, but scuttling it entirely would eventually call into question all of those other councils as well as the divine institution of the Church. It seems to me that square one of being a Catholic is to hold that the Holy Spirit has guided and continues to guide the Church to all truth. If not at an ecumenical council (albeit a “pastoral” council), then where?

  9. Mike says:

    Centristian,

    Interesting points, but there are also comments over the months and years from Fellay that the de facto position of the Society is something else.

    Fellay strikes me as an honest man. I don’t think he would be making these things up.

    Also: if there is a break off of the fever-swamp loonies in the group, this will be a good thing. There are some rational positions that can be held by nutters.

  10. Dorothy says:

    “even if they were to come to an accord, there would be a group that split off from the SSPX”
    Yes, Father, human nature being what it is, I think it is inevitable. What a sad thought. However, nil desperandum. This seems to call for an additional clause to our prayers for the restoration of the SSPX to full unity: that by the grace of God the hearts of all those attached to it may be guided along with it to follow the path of restoration.

  11. danphunter1 says:

    We will see what the Holy See has in store Sept. 14.
    All else is speculation.

  12. MJ says:

    “I suspect that even if they were to come to an accord, there would be a group that split off from the SSPX…”

    I have been thinking the same thing. My suspicions are that Williamson will be the one to head this splinter group (if it forms). I really pray and hope I’m wrong and that no splinter group forms at all. That’s my guess though.

  13. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian,

    The Holy See, via the Congregation of the Clergy, gave official approval to the Society of St. Pius X on November 1, 1970. Once this occurred, the local bishop of Fribourg could no longer suppress the SSPX, as only the pope now has that authority. That is why the suppression of the SSPX was illegal and therefore null and void. Archbishop Lefebvre attempted to have his case heard before the Roman Rota (the legal right of every Catholic), but the prefect, Cardinal Staffa, was told by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Villot, that if he accepted the Archbishop’s case, he would be sacked. The Archbishop quipped in response to this injustice: “At least the Communists grant you a kangeroo trial!”

    Lastly, the SSPX certainly does not have the view that Rome should conform to the SSPX, but rather, Rome should conform to the Catholic Faith, particularly through Catholic Tradition (e.g., by rejecting the Modernist errors its adopted). The same was true during the time of St. Athanasius in response to Pope Liberius during the Arian Crisis: stand for true doctrine and restore the Church from the Arians.

  14. Tom Piatak says:

    Fr. Weidner is exactly right.

  15. TheAcolyte says:

    One more point: the comment about “many youth in the SSPX being raised with a separatist mentality” is completely false! The youth are consistently taught of the obedience and fidelity they owe to the Holy Father, as well as to pray for him and their local bishop during Mass. The point has also been frequently made of the importance of the local bishop and cathedral (as the mother church of the diocese), such as during the 2000 Jubilee, when many SSPX chapels in the USA arranged to make visits to their local cathedral to obtain the Jubilee indulgence.

    This was attempted at my chapel with the parish’s altar servers, but they were inexplicably kept locked out even though the visit had been arranged in advance! They waited patiently outside on the front steps in front of locked doors for almost half an hour (while someone tried to figure out why the lockout was occurring), until what appeared to be a pre-arranged act of having a nearby parish suddenly arrive and literally *rush* in stampede fashion the front doors which miraculously opened at that very moment from the inside by the hands of a middle-aged woman.

    The adults were all convinced that this was not merely coincidental, because we had been told a half-hour earlier someone would open the doors for us (even though we arrived on the dot when they were supposed to have already for our group, arranged several days in advanced and confirmed the day before!).

    In any case, ecumenism seems only to be applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Baptists and others. Perhaps if the servers had been dressed up as Wicca priests, they would have gotten in easier to pray for the pope and the diocesan bishop.

  16. mrose says:

    As I am sure you’ve noticed, Fr. Z, your opinion of Mr. Allen differs significantly than, say, Rorate’s.

    If he is so “fair-minded,” I must say in all honesty that I wonder what is he still doing writing for that publication rife with heretical content?

    Anyways, there seems to exist much disagreement over what the SSPX, or at least many of its members and superiors, think and whom must reconcile with whom or what. In any case, I submit that the SSPX must be obedient to the divinely established hierarchy that is the Church; many in the Vatican could probably do well to listen well to what the SSPX is saying about the Mass, about religious liberty and ecumenism, etc., and lastly and perhaps most importantly, both “sides” MUST submit to, uphold, and proclaim the true Catholic Faith as it comes to us from the Apostles.
    That’s my two cents.

  17. Lot says:

    I agree with what some have said here already. For two parties to be reconciled both have to want to be reconciled. What have the SSPX done to show they want to reconcile with the Church? I mean really. They have attended the meetings called for in Rome, but based on what was said by there representatives, they have shown no indication that they are ready to move in any substantial way.

    I remember what a Priest friend of mine said when I was first entering the Church; “Ecumenism means You come in ism”. The Church does not bend to us, we bend to the Church if we wish to become members of the Body of Christ in full communion.

    I know many will say this doesn’t apply to the SSPX, but it does whether we are individuals seeking the Church or disaffected groups. And I still feel that there is a strong case to be made that the members of the SSPX who want to be in communion with Rome are those who made use of the FSSP. I know; another area to be strongly argued, but those are the plain facts as I see them.

    Lot (Doyle C.)

  18. Centristian says:

    @TheAcolyte:

    “That is why the suppression of the SSPX was illegal and therefore null and void.”

    Well, of course, that is the typical SSPX response to everything the official hierarchy does that the SSPX doesn’t like: to declare it illegal, null and void, and then bring up Pope Liberius. The fact that the dissolution of the SSPX was considered “null and void” by a renegade archbishop and his fellow renegades doesn’t make it true. The official Church interprets the SSPX as dissolved, therefore it is. (The late) Archbishop Lefebvre and the men he ordained are not competent to judge the validity of the acts of the hierarchy…the hierarchy are.

    According to my understanding, Archbishop Lefebvre wanted the SSPX to graduate from the status of a mere pious union to be formally recognized by a Vatican dicastery, skipping the next step in the diocesan process, altogether. The Vatican rejected that request, and the bishop of Fribourg later repealed the SSPX’s status as a pious union, thereby dissolving it. Lefebvre appealed to the Apostolic Signatura, but they rejected his appeal (which they have the right to do). The Society of St. Pius X ceased to exist, therefore, on May 6, 1975.

    All of this having been said, I offer my hopes that many, many priests of the so-called Society of St. Pius X will turn their back on the Lefebvrist rebellion and join the ranks of the legitimate diocesan clergy. Individually, they should be welcomed with open arms. As an institution, however–as an organized rebellion–the “SSPX” should just be in fact what it actually is in law: dissolved.

  19. danphunter1 says:

    ” What have the SSPX done to show they want to reconcile with the Church?”

    Well, aside from the fact that the SSPX is not excommunicated and therfore is in the Church, just not canonically regular,
    the Society did nothing to have the excommunications lifted against the four bishops.
    As I understand it the lifting of the excomms was a unilateral move by the Holy Father.
    He can regularise the SSPX as well,unilaterally, weather the Society wants it or not.
    They felt no pressing need for the lifting of the excomm’s either as they believed them to be null and void.
    I hope and pray that the Holy Father doeas the same thing Sep 14.

  20. Fr. Weidner,

    The question of “pastoral council” versus “ecumenical council” has always seemed to me a semantic red herring. Of course, Vatican II was an ecumenical council—that is, a validly convened universal council of the world’s bishops.

    However, so far as I can ascertain, this council did not—unlike most previous ecumenical councils—take any new doctrinal or dogmatic decisions or actions that bore on Catholic truth and would entail the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Instead, the actions and decisions of Vatican II—as detailed in its sixteen constitutions, declarations, and decrees—are, as I understand them (and aside from reiterations of previous doctrine) all of a pastoral or prudential character not involving new matters of definitive truth. Unfortunately, it is a fact painfully obvious in the history of the Church that the Holy Spirit has never protected her against prudential or pastoral mistakes.

    It happens that the Council’s deliberations took place at a fulcrum point in history, on the cusp of a worldwide upheaval that it did not anticipate. Its recommendations were therefore framed for a world that would disappear almost before the ink was dry.

    Now, almost a half century later, the Church lives in an entirely different world and has entirely different problems than those the Council could have anticipated. In particular, it would not have foreseen that the implementation of its recommendations would coincide with a collapse of faith and liturgy that is probably unparalleled in Church history.

    So it is surely with no disrespect to an ecumenical council that Pope Benedict has inaugurated a thorough reevaluation of Vatican II and its interpretation. The present Vatican-SSPX talks may be situated within this reinterpretation, but the project is far more important for the Church than for the SSPX. Because, whatever its arrogance and obstinacy, or the sheer looniness of some of its members, and whatever problems of its own it may have, the SSPX has remained separate from the abuses that have permeated most of the Church in recent decades.

  21. Maltese says:

    All of this having been said, I offer my hopes that many, many priests of the so-called Society of St. Pius X will turn their back on the Lefebvrist rebellion and join the ranks of the legitimate diocesan clergy. Individually, they should be welcomed with open arms. As an institution, however–as an organized rebellion–the “SSPX” should just be in fact what it actually is in law: dissolved.

    Weeell, I guess we know your position, then! “turn their back on the Lefebvrist rebellion”! And you say “dissolve” not once but twice! Last I heard the Vatican was trying to regularize a “dissolved” Society.

  22. MJ says:

    Centristian, the SSPX’s Rule was canonically established by the Church and it has not been dismantled by the Church. I don’t believe a bishop saying it is dissolved means it is dissolved…not sure that Bishop you mentioned had the authority to do that.

  23. Papabile says:

    The ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium is always raised as being a stumbling point for the SSPX. And, indeed, the way it is popularly conceived, I would understand why. (BTW…. I do NOT attend a SSPX chapel.)

    But, absolutely no one wishes to address what the Note Previa of 1964 binds us to actually believe vs set aside.

    APPENDIX From the Acts of the Council

    Notificationes’ Given by the Secretary General of the Council at the 123rd General Congregation, November 16, 1964

    A question has arisen regarding the precise theological note which should be attached to the doctrine that is set forth in the Schema de Ecclesia and is being put to a vote.

    The Theological Commission has given the following response regarding the Modi that have to do with Chapter III of the de Ecclesia Schema: “As is self-evident, the Council’s text must always be interpreted in accordance with the general rules that are known to all.”

    On this occasion the Theological Commission makes reference to its Declaration of March 6, 1964, the text of which we transcribe here:

    “Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding. The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church’s supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ’s faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation.”

    **The following was published as an appendix to the official Latin version of the Constitution on the Church.**

    A preliminary note of explanation is being given to the Council Fathers from higher-authority, regarding the Modi bearing on Chapter III of the Schema de Ecclesia; the doctrine set forth in Chapter III ought to be-explained and understood in accordance with the meaning and intent of this explanatory note.

    Preliminary Note of Explanation

    The Commission has decided to preface the assessment of the Modi with the following general observations.

    1. “College” is not understood in a strictly juridical sense, that is as a group of equals who entrust their power to their president, but as a stable group whose structure and authority must be learned from Revelation. For this reason, in reply to Modus 12 it is expressly said of the Twelve that the Lord set them up “as a college or stable group.” Cf. also Modus 53, c.

    For the same reason, the words “Ordo” or “Corpus” are used throughout with reference to the College of bishops. The parallel between Peter and the rest of the Apostles on the one hand, and between the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops on the other hand, does not imply the transmission of the Apostles’ extraordinary power to their successors; nor does it imply, as is obvious, equality between the head of the College and its members, but only a pro- portionality between the first relationship (Peter-Apostles) and the second (Pope-bishops). Thus the Commission decided to write “pari ratione, ” not “eadem ratione,” in n. 22. Cf. Modus 57.

    2. A person becomes a member of the College by virtue of episcopal consecration and by hierarchical communion with the head of the College and with its members. Cf. n. 22, end of 1 1.

    In his consecration a person is given an ontological participation in the sacred functions [lmunera]; this is absolutely clear from Tradition, liturgical tradition included. The word “functions [munera]” is used deliberately instead of the word “powers [potestates],” because the latter word could be understood as a power fully ready to act. But for this power to be fully ready to act, there must be a further canonical or juridical determination through the hierarchical authority. This determination of power can consist in the granting of a particular office or in the allotment of subjects, and it is done according to the norms approved by the supreme authority. An additional norm of this sort is required by the very nature of the case, because it involves functions [munera] which must be exercised by many subjects cooperating in a hierarchical manner in accordance with Christ’s will. It is evident that this “communion” was applied in the Church’s life according to the circumstances of the time, before it was codified as law.

    For this reason it is clearly stated that hierarchical communion with the head and members of the church is required. Communion is a notion which is held in high honor in the ancient Church (and also today, especially in the East). However, it is not understood as some kind of vague disposition, but as an organic reality which requires a juridical form and is animated by charity. Hence the Commission, almost unanimously, decided that this wording should be used: “in hierarchical communion.” Cf. Modus 40 and the statements on canonical mission (n. 24).

    The documents of recent Pontiffs regarding the jurisdiction of bishops must be interpreted in terms of this necessary determination of powers.

    3. The College, which does not exist without the head, is said “to exist also as the subject of supreme and full power in the universal Church.” This must be admitted of necessity so that the fullness of power belonging to the Roman Pontiff is not called into question. For the College, always and of necessity, includes its head, because in the college he preserves unhindered his function as Christ’s Vicar and as Pastor of the universal Church. In other words, it is not a distinction between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops taken collectively, but a distinction between the Roman Pontiff taken separately and the Roman Pontiff together with the bishops. Since the Supreme Pontiff is head of the College, he alone is able to perform certain actions which are not at all within the competence of the bishops, e.g., convoking the College and directing it, approving norms of action, etc. Cf. Modus 81. It is up to the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff, to whose care Christ’s whole flock has been entrusted, to determine, according to the needs of the Church as they change over the course of centuries, the way in which this care may best be exercised-whether in a personal or a collegial way. The Roman Pontiff, taking account of the Church’s welfare, proceeds according to his own discretion in arranging, promoting and approving the exercise of collegial activity.

    4. As Supreme Pastor of the Church, the Supreme Pontiff can always exercise his power at will, as his very office demands. Though it is always in existence, the College is not as a result permanently engaged in strictly collegial activity; the Church’s Tradition makes this clear. In other words, the College is not always “fully active [in actu pleno]“; rather, it acts as a college in the strict sense only from time to time and only with the consent of its head. The phrase “with the consent of its head” is used to avoid the idea of dependence on some kind of outsider; the term “consent” suggests rather communion between the head and the members, and implies the need for an act which belongs properly to the competence of the head. This is explicitly affirmed in n. 22, 12, and is explained at the end of that section. The word “only” takes in all cases. It is evident from this that the norms approved by the supreme authority must always be observed. Cf. Modus 84.

    It is clear throughout that it is a question of the bishops acting in conjunction with their head, never of the bishops acting independently of the Pope. In the latter instance, without the action of the head, the bishops are not able to act as a College: this is clear from the concept of “College.” This hierarchical communion of all the bishops with the Supreme Pontiff is certainly firmly established in Tradition.

    N.B. Without hierarchical communion the ontologico-sacramental function [munus], which is to be distinguished from the juridico-canonical aspect, cannot be exercised. However, the Commission has decided that it should not enter into question of liceity and validity. These questions are left to theologians to discuss-specifically the question of the power exercised de facto among the separated Eastern Churches, about which there are various explanations.”

    + PERICLE FELICI
    Titular Archbishop of Samosata
    Secretary General of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council

  24. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, the Roman Rota did not have the right to reject Archbishop Lefebvre’s appeal; that was a gross act of injustice as well the attempted illegal suppression of the SSPX.

    Also, don’t forget that for over 40 years the “official Church” (meaning the liberal bureaucrats presently in control – i.e., those infected with Modernism, once solemnly condemned as un-Catholic but somehow “approved”) said that the traditional Roman Mass had no legal rights as Quo Primum had been abrogated. The Archbishop and many others fought this false charge and eventually were proven correct by Pope Benedict XVI. The same also occurred regarding the false and invalid excommunications against the SSPX’s bishops.

    Canon law, doctrine, and Church precedence (such as the important case of the Arian Crisis which was a fact and therefore applicable to other similar situations) give us the weight necessary to realize that the “official Church” is often not in sync with THE Church, that is Christ. Case in point: Dignitatis Humanae cannot be reconciled with Mortalium Animos or 2000 years of the Church’s existence.

  25. Centristian says:

    @MJ:

    “Centristian, the SSPX’s Rule was canonically established by the Church and it has not been dismantled by the Church. I don’t believe a bishop saying it is dissolved means it is dissolved…not sure that Bishop you mentioned had the authority to do that.”

    MJ: the Society of St. Pius X came into existence in 1970 as a pious union incorporated by and within the Diocese of Fribourg on an experimental basis. It never graduated to any greater status beyond that of an experimental pious union within the Diocese of Fribourg. It never achieved official status within the diocese, much less universally. The successor of the bishop who assented to the creation of the SSPX ended the experimental status of the SSPX in 1975. At that point it ceased to be.

  26. Centristian says:

    @TheAcolyte:

    “Centristian, the Roman Rota did not have the right to reject Archbishop Lefebvre’s appeal; that was a gross act of injustice as well the attempted illegal suppression of the SSPX.”

    It was to the Apostolic Signatura that the appeal was filed, not the Roman Rota.

  27. MJ says:

    Centristian, on 11/1/1970 the Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg approved the constitutions and proceeded to the canonical foundation of the SSPX in his diocese.

    On 2/18/1971 Cardinal Wright, prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, officially approved the SSPX.

    When a few priests from the outside wished to join, the Roman Curia detached totally these priests from their bishops and even from their religious orders to make them depend exclusively on the Society of St. Pius X.

    I’d say that makes it more than just “experimental pious union within the Diocese of Fribourg”. Hence, the Bishop of Fribourg could not dissolve the SSPX, since it had “graduated” to a status larger than just within his own diocese.

    For the record, I do not attend an SSPX chapel.

  28. Johnsum says:

    Just a point of clarification. The SSPX bishops, priests, and lay Catholics associated with them ARE in the Catholic Church. They do not need to be re-admitted. The bishops’ and priests’ authority to act as bishops or priests have been suspended. Consequently, if the say Mass or confect the sacraments their actions are illicit but the sacraments remain valid. [That isn't the case with confession (which, of course, you don't "confect".]

    So, the September 14 meeting should clarify the SSPX bishops’ and priests’ canonical status. If they are given a canonical status, even temporarily, they will be just like the NO diocean clergy down the street. [That isn't necessarily the case and speculation about that point isn't helpful.]

  29. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Mr. Allen writes for a reprobate fishwrap. It’s entirely possible that the “Lefebvrite” reference was added by editorial staff at the reprobate fishwrap. I’ve never known of Mr. Allen to be so goofy as to suggest that “Lefebvrite” is a “popular” term for describing the SSPX – though I suppose it could be popular in certain circles. To many readers of the reprobate fishwrap, associating SSPX and the state of Israel with the Maoists would both be considered an insult to the Maoists.

    I hope and pray for the success of these discussions between the representatives of the Vicar of Christ and the representatives of these devout clergy and laity whose unity with the rest of the Church is currently impaired.

  30. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, yes you are correct: it was the Apostolica Signatura, not the Roman Rota; mea culpa. This from sspx.org:

    JUNE 5, 1975
    Archbishop Lefebvre submits an appeal to the Apostolic Signature in Rome, in substance:
    ” …it would be for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to determine whether my Declaration were at fault. Please provide evidence that this commission of cardinals had been expressly mandated by the pope (who by his own authority can bypass the Congregations) to decide as has been done.* And if I be at fault, of course I can be censured, but not the Society which was founded in due canonical form.”

    * (This evidence was never produced. A doubt about the validity of a law excuses from observing it (PRINCIPLE 10a). How much more does doubt about the authority of the legislator!)

    Cardinal Villot arranges that the appeal is not accepted. Cardinal Staffa is threatened with dismissal if he dare to accept an appeal from Archbishop Lefebvre. Vatican Encounter, pp. 85 and 191 [APPENDIX II].

    JUNE 29, 1975

    Pope Paul VI is convinced to write to Archbishop Lefebvre that he approved of all the actions of the commission of cardinals, however, it is impossible that mere papal approbation in June could empower this commission which had met the previous February [PRINCIPLE 10b].

    On this whole process, Archbishop Lefebvre observes:
    ” …we have been condemned, without trial, without opportunity to defend ourselves, without due warning or written process and without appeal.” (Open Letter to Confused Catholics, p. 150 [APPENDIX II])

    Over and above the canonical question, there remains that of natural law. Must one observe a censure when no crime can be pointed out or when the very authority not to mention the identity of the judge is unsure?

  31. Legisperitus says:

    Johnsum:

    Father Pfluger and Father Nély are not “low-ranking aides.” They are the Assistant Superiors General who were elected along with Bishop Fellay in 2006. It is a common mistake to refer to the four bishops as the “leadership” of the SSPX, but in fact the other three bishops hold no special rank in the organization. The only “leaders” of the SSPX are Bp. Fellay, Fr. Pfluger, and Fr. Nély, and they will all be present at this meeting.

  32. Everyone: I want to caution everyone about getting too worked up about this upcoming meeting. I also want to caution against lots of speculation which could confuse people.

  33. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, this statement is not correct: “MJ: the Society of St. Pius X came into existence in 1970 as a pious union incorporated by and within the Diocese of Fribourg on an experimental basis. It never graduated to any greater status beyond that of an experimental pious union within the Diocese of Fribourg. It never achieved official status within the diocese, much less universally. The successor of the bishop who assented to the creation of the SSPX ended the experimental status of the SSPX in 1975. At that point it ceased to be.”

    The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy, issued a decree on November 1, 1971 approving the statutes of the SSPX and erecting it as a priestly society, or a pious union of priests (this is not an “experimental” title, but a canonical distinction). Just a few months later, Rome granted the SSPX permission to INCARDINATE clergy and religious into its priestly society: one of the first to apply was Fr. Urban Synder from the famous Gethsemane Trappist Monastery in Kentucky. Others also quickly followed .

    These canonical actions on the part of the Holy See demonstrate without a doubt that the SSPX, like the Jesuits, etc., were no longer bound to the local bishop where they originated, but were canonically dependent on the Holy See. This is further proven by the fact that the Archbishop came to the USA in 1971 to consult with the bishops of Covington, KY and Philadelphia, PA to see if an SSPX house (or seminary) could be erected in their dioceses.

    By the way, Archbishop Lefebvre once stated that the SSPX essentially had a canonical status similar to an institution of pontifical right, though not declared so.

  34. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, by the way have you seen this further recognition of the SSPX: http://www.realclearreligion.com/index_files/category-sspx.php:

    Wanganui Dominican Sisters: “Of course, our loyalty to the Society of St Pius X and to Bishop Fellay, as our superior, remains undeviating. We are grateful to them for setting our congregation up and for all they have done for us spiritually and temporally. May God grant that we always prosper under the umbrella of the SSPX!”

  35. Centristian says:

    @MJ:

    “I’d say that makes it more than just “experimental pious union within the Diocese of Fribourg”.

    I might say so, too, if the information you presented was accurate. I don’t believe it is, however. The Vatican never raised the SSPX to any greater status than it enjoyed within the Diocese of Fribourg. Lefebvre wanted Cardinal Wright to do that, but he declined. Then the bishop of Fribourg dissolved the experimental pious union called the Society of St. Pius X in 1975.

  36. The discussion about the previous status of the SSPX is interesting. It would be more interesting with some documents.

    That said, I remind everyone that the Holy Father thinks there is a problem with the status of the SSPX, as does the CDF and, now part of CDF, the PCED, etc. It seems to me that the Holy See is the competent in this and not the SSPX itself.

  37. Centristian says:

    Father Z:

    There was a letter written in 1971 from Cardinal Wright to Archbishop Lefebvre that the SSPX alleges gave formal recognition to the SSPX (as what seems unclear). They frequently cite this letter but never seem to reproduce it in full (that I’ve come across, anyhow). I cannot find the text of this letter, but all references to it that I can find are on pro-SSPX sites. At any rate, the pro-SSPX crowd say that this letter constituted a formal instrument by Cardinal Wright’s congregation officially making the SSPX something more than what it was established as by the bishop of Fribourg. The mainstream contention, however, is that the letter was nothing more than a friendly letter, and not at all a formal instrument constituting the SSPX.

  38. Legisperitus says:

    You certainly don’t see Bishop Fellay shrugging his shoulders and saying “Problème jurisdictionnel? Quel problème jurisdictionnel?”

  39. TheAcolyte says:

    The Holy See also officially and publicly stated for over 40 years that Quo Primum had been abrogated, even despite a secret commission of cardinals conveyed by Pope John Paul II agreeing to the opposite, finally vindicated by Pope Benedict XVI. So if they were wrong on that point, what else are they wrong about?

    Ultimately, the legal force of Quo Primum was vindicated by canon and liturgical law; the same is true regarding the SSPX actual canonical status, etc., etc., etc.

  40. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, there are two documents, and their facsimiles (and texts) have been previously published in “The Angelus” (see the commemorative 25th SSPX anniversary issue in 1995) and other publications before : 1) Cover of letter of praise by Cardinal James Wright, the prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, 2) the actual decree of erection. What you are referring to having seen is #1.

  41. TheAcolyte says:

    PS: I should have clarified that #2 is the November 1, 1970 decree of erection from the Congregation of the Clergy, that is, the Holy See.

  42. TheAcolyte says:

    “The mainstream contention, however, is that the letter was nothing more than a friendly letter, and not at all a formal instrument constituting the SSPX.”

    Where did this tid-bit factoid come from? Have you ever read that Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos or Cardinal Leveda even state this? The answer is a resounding “no” as every well-informed person on this subject knows that the SSPX was granted full canonical status by Rome as well as the ability to incardinate, and this is still recognized by Rome TODAY (even if some attempt to say that this status was “revoked” through the “suppression” of 1975).

  43. Jason Keener says:

    As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, at least two doctrinal issues still continue to bother me. Unfortunately, the CDF has still not offered any clarifications that would seem to be satisfactory.

    First, does the Catholic Church still really believe that civil governments have a duty to support and promote the true Catholic Religion in appropriate ways when it is possible to do so? Of course, #1 of “Dignitatis Humane” upheld this traditional duty of civil governments towards the True Religion, yet I have seen no evidence that the recent Popes have continued to promote the duty of civil governments to submit to Christ’s Kingship and recognize the unique rights of the Catholic Church in civil society. For example, Pope Benedict’s “Caritas In Veritate,” an extremely long document, only mentioned that governments must promote religious freedom.

    Second, how is it morally legitimate for Catholic laity and clergy to join with non-Catholics in prayer services, etc., where non-Catholics are dressed up as priests and bishops, etc.? Are not such ecumenical gestures by Catholics a cooperation in or implicit approval of the objective evil of non-Catholics who have set up what are parallel churches to Christ’s One Catholic Church? Evil cooperation with the activities of parallel churches and their ministers may not be done so that the good of Christian unity may eventually come of it because it is an immutable moral principle that evil can never be done to bring about a good. We should patiently ask Protestants to abandon their parallel churches and come into communion with the Catholic Church that Christ Himself established. We should evangelize Protestants. We should pray for Protestants, but we should never cooperate in their errors.

  44. Tim Ferguson says:

    at what point did Pope Benedict XVI declare that Quo Primum was not abrogated?

  45. Ezra says:

    Isn’t the more usual term “Lefebvrists”? In any case, I don’t think it need be hostile. Sure, you have the Calvinists, Lutherans and Arians, but you also have the Dominicans, Franciscans and Norbertines. Let’s hope that one hundred years from now, the Lefebvrists are counted among the latter.

    It would be fascinating to learn more about the Wanganui case. It would be equally fascinating to hear the Society’s more ferocious critics opine on the matter.

    Second, how is it morally legitimate for Catholic laity and clergy to join with non-Catholics in prayer services, etc., where non-Catholics are dressed up as priests and bishops, etc.?

    This is an excellent question, though the issue (as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer have demonstrated on their blog) is more complicated than it might first appear. Certainly, those clergy who are willing to join with mitred non-bishops in common prayer might like to explain why seeming to endorse artifice in religious worship is OK, but – say – attending a non-wedding between two men is not. Are offences against the First Commandment lesser than offences against the Sixth?

  46. RichardT says:

    TheAcolyte refers to a claimed “November 1, 1970 decree of erection from the Congregation of the Clergy, that is, the Holy See”.

    But not even the SSPX claims that. Its own website (www.fsspx.org/en) says that the decree of erection on November 1, 1970 was by the Bishop of Fribourg, not by Rome.

    Nor does it mention any other formal action by Rome that would make it more than merely a organisation of Fribourg diocese. And if it is only erected by the Bishop of Fribourg, then the Bishop of Fribourg can close it down.

    If there is also an official erection by Rome, then:
    1) it wouldn’t be on the same day as the erection by the Bishop of Fribourg (there would be no need for a diocesan bishop to erect a society that was simultaneously being erected by Rome); and
    2) why isn’t there a copy of it on the SSPX’s huge website?

    By this stage I don’t think any of this matters; if the SSPX is going to be reconciled with Rome, then there will presumably be a new constitution, a new status and a new erection. If it isn’t, then does it really matter? But if you are claiming that there was a formal erection by Rome, we’d like to see a copy.

  47. mattmcg says:

    I happened to be at the ordinations in Winona this year, where Bsp. Fellay spoke about the status of reconciliation with Rome. Let’s just say the whole thing did not sound promising. Let’s pray for unity. My wife has a family member who will be ordained in the order next June.

  48. robtbrown says:

    FrAWeidner says:

    I’m aware of the whole “Holy Spirit missed that council” joke and all, but it seems to me, as a little OF diocesan priest, that one 1) must hold that, whatever minor errors in strategy it had as a pastoral council, it was by its nature still an ecumenical council, and 2) thereby, one must hold that there were points made in Vatican II that the Spirit did intend and which were, by that very origin, good for the Church on some level (which, as we all know, does not by any means omit the strong possibility of suffering in their reception).

    I think you’re positing an obligation (“one must hold”) that exists only in your personal piety. In any Ecumenical Council we must hold that it contains nothing that directly contradicts doctrine (heresy).

    We are not, however, obligated to hold that every pastoral strategy found in the documents is of Divine Origin. I’ve noted here before that Chapter IV of Sacrosanctum Concilium is not very good (and I’m being generous).

  49. Seamas O Dalaigh says:

    Father,

    The comparison of the SSPX with Communist China is absurd; the comparison with the State of Israel (I’m thinking of Bishop Williamson here) is… well, just poor taste.

    I’m not so sure we’ll see a Tridentine Ordinariate. Perhaps something on the model of a personal prelature might work.

    I will certainly be praying for those involved in the talks and that their hearts may be open. Cor ad cor loquitur.

    James Daly

  50. Jucken says:

    “The Holy See, via the Congregation of the Clergy, gave official approval to the Society of St. Pius X on November 1, 1970. Once this occurred, the local bishop of Fribourg could no longer suppress the SSPX, as only the pope now has that authority.”

    That’s completely irrelevant. The SSPX was only erected ad experimentum for a period of six years. Since Msgr. Lefebvre never got an approval from either the Holy See or the local Ordinary at the completion of the six-year period, the SSPX is canonically gone.

    That would suffice to prove that the SSPX has been validly suppressed. Nonetheless, a commission of cardinals convoked by Pope Paul VI to investigate both Msgr. Lefebvre and the SSPX dispatched a letter to Bp. Pierre Mamie granting him the right to withdraw the approval previously given to the SSPX.

    “The same also occurred regarding the false and invalid excommunications against the SSPX’s bishops.”

    Quite the opposite, actually. By remitting the excommunications, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that they were real: he couldn’t have removed something that didn’t exist!

    “The Holy See also officially and publicly stated for over 40 years that Quo Primum had been abrogated, even despite a secret commission of cardinals conveyed by Pope John Paul II agreeing to the opposite, finally vindicated by Pope Benedict XVI.”

    You’re confusing the bull Quo Primum with the Roman Missal. None, not even the Pope, can abrogate an Immemorial Ecclesiastical Tradition. Pope Paul VI could have abrogated the Roman Missal of 1962 if he wanted because it does not constitute Immemorial Ecclesiastical Tradition due to the great changes by Abp. (then Fr.) Annibale Bugnini. Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI can abrogate the new Roman Missal if he so desires (I wish!), or even the 1962 Roman Missal. No one can abrogate the Immemorial Roman Rite of Mass as codified by Pope St. Pius X and published by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 though.

    The bull Quo Primum was replaced by Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution Missale Romanum and thus was derogated.

  51. vivaldi says:

    What is clear is that the SSPX do not consider themsleves in error and actually hope to enlighten the Romans, whom they believe to be in error. What is true is this: Regardless of what the Conciliar Constitutions and Decrees state, the reality and gravity of the crisis of idendity and the widespread Heresy in the Church completely vindicates the SSPX’s concerns and position. The Council DID mark a point of rupture in the transmission of the Faith – if not in theory at least in practice. What the SSPX will secure from Rome before any agreement is made is a refutation of the error that abounds in the Church – which will probably not come in the form of a “syllabus of errors” or a critique of the Conciliar documents but actually in the form of a reaffirmation of the Church’s traditional understanding and teaching regarding the thorny issues (which nobody could deny are thorny); religious freedom, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, inculturation, collegiality, the new missal. Let is pray that Holy Mother Church can reaffirm her belief and that She actively works to bring about the end of the heresies that oppose Her true Doctrine. The SSPX will be Her biggest ally in the fight.

  52. FrAWeidner says:

    Robtbrown, you misread my comment. I said it seems that “one must hold that there were points made in Vatican II that the Spirit did intend and which were, by that very origin, good for the Church on some level.” That’s a completely different conclusion than that reflected in your complaint: “We are not, however, obligated to hold that every pastoral strategy found in the documents is of Divine Origin.” I never said you did. “There were points” =/= every pastoral strategy in the documents is of the deposit.

    This is my reasoning: that it is ludicrously absurd to hold that 1) every declaration, movement, iteration of Vatican II was pastoral and thus subject to error (I hold this premise, and I think you do too); *and* 2) every one of these was in fact in error; *and* 3) it was still a valid ecumenical council. My personal belief, and it is indeed my personal belief but I also find it to be logically airtight, is that one must hold that Vatican II is a valid ecumenical council to be a faithful Catholic (since the Council declared itself to be a council, and because of the standing of ecumenical councils in the magisterium and the transmission of the deposit), and furthermore, that, overall and in at least some pastoral stratagems presented in each of the individual 16 documents, had to serve some positive purpose approved and intended by the Divinity, those parts which may constitute arguably misbegotten (or, as Henry Edwards so eloquently explained, nearly instantly obsolete) pastoral strategy notwithstanding. A valid ecumenical council that shoots a complete and utter blank? Sure. In short, my assertion is that a good Catholic *must* logically hold that some parts of Vatican II were good and necessary. I don’t see any problem with pointing out this or that line of the documents of the Council and arguing, “it was bad pastoral strategy to say that,” or, “boy, did that approach turn into a fiasco,” but I don’t think it can logically possibly constitute faithful Catholicism to say that the entire Council was a peace of junk, which is the way many SSPXers come across in their pronouncements sometimes (see above). Vivaldi’s “if not in theory at least in practice” critiques not the letter of the documents, but “the spirit of the Council.” Pretty much all faithful non-SSPX Catholics, including Pope Benedict XVI, would join in that critique. “The spirit of Vatican II” is not the letter of the Council nor the faith (it is certainly rather contrary to the letter of the Council and heresy against the faith), and the official Church never said it was.

  53. jflare says:

    So..according to Allen, on at least one of the occasions of meeting, SSPX membership spoke in French, while Vatican membership spoke in Italian. Both sides required translation as they went.
    Given the Church’s official language preferences, the reasons for those preferences, and also given the views that SSPX has professed over the years, here’s my bonehead question:

    Why didn’t both sides speak in Latin?

  54. RichardT says:

    FrAWeidner doubts that there can be “a valid ecumenical council that shoots a complete and utter blank”.

    Never mind whether or not it shot blanks at the time; that’s history. But what about now?

    It was a Council convened to examine not the eternal verities of the Faith, but the Church’s relationships with the world as it then was. The world has changed, so surely it is possible to say that now, 45 years later, none of what it says is relevant any more?

    It would hardly be the first time. What relevance does the Council of Vienne have today? (it supressed the Templars, but we seem to have lost most of the rest of its decisions) The First Council of Lyon was only slightly more relevant; that decided that cardinals are to wear a red hat.

    Several of the Ecumenical Councils spent most of their time on matters that were purely temporary. Deposing a few bishops or abbots, approving or removing religious orders, financing crusades, that sort of thing. Lyon II is typical of several Councils:
    - a temporary tithe, to pay for a Crusade to the Holy Land that never happened;
    - an attempted reconciliation with the Orthodox churches that came to nothing;
    - a proposed Crusade to Mongolia that never happened;
    - a few abbots and bishops were deposed and a few orders supressed;
    - new rules for Papal elections, but they were scrapped four years later.
    The only thing it did of lasting value, confirming the Dominican and Fransiscan orders, doesn’t need an ecumenical council.
    Unless I’ve missed something, as an Ecumenical Council it did absolutely nothing that affects the Faith, or the Church’s teaching, or that even governs Her internal laws that has any relevance today. But it was a valid Ecumenical Council. Is it time to view Vatican II in the same light?

  55. tecumseh says:

    Wise words Father, I agree with your view. I’ve been attending SSPX masses since the early 80′s…not exclusively, but I have always thought that Archbishop Lefebvre was on the right road. At the time of the Excommunications I hadn’t been to mass with the SSPX in for a few years, but at that time I had to stick my neck out and support the underdog, a very British way of thinking allegedly, so I started attending SSPX masses again.

    There are some “die hard Holy Warrior” types who seem to be looking for argument and will not listen to reason…..hopefully they will follow Bishop Fellay who I think has already for some time had an arrangement with the Pope. Another man to watch is Fr Franz Schmidberger, the former Superior general, he is a very sound man…..if I were Pope, I’d give him a Cardinals hat tomorrow.

    It is time for the Society to prove its self, one thing to keep the Traditional Mass in a ghetto type situation…..now it has to go out and get its hands dirty in the dying diocese.
    The bishops at least in Britain, have given up the ghost, they are hopeless. The Society must help breath new life back into dead institutions.

  56. benedetta says:

    I am not qualified to say anything on these matters, having little to no knowledge of the points and I do not attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form. But I just wanted to say that I will be praying for the Holy Father and for all affected by these discussions.

  57. robtbrown says:

    I began studies in Rome in 1986, spent a few years back in the States, returned in 1989, finally finishing in 1997. In that span of years I noticed a serious change in attitude toward Vat II. During the Montini Papacy ecclesiastical PC was that Vat II and everything that followed (incl exits from the priesthood and no vocations) was the Holy Spirit at work.

    By 1986 that attitude had begun to wane. Still, seldom was there heard criticism of the Council from profs, priests, or seminarians. IMHO, the principal reason was demographic–those in positions of authority (hierarchy, profs, and pastors) were products of the old shut-up and obey formation. Liberal strategies were simply said to be “pastoral”, no matter how much damage they prduced.

    By the time 1997 rolled around, there was open criticism not only of the situation in the Church but also of flaws in Council documents. The shut-up and obey generation was already retired or a few years away from it, but the biggest reason, IMHO, was the remarkable figure of Cardinal Ratzinger, whose ascent in the Church was outside the normal cursus honororum. Despite becoming a Cardinal at 50, he had never positioned himself for promotion. He never hedged on doctrine, and his high intelligence and exceptional knowledge disabled the usual liberal name calling. In 1986 his influence on the Church was just beginning. By 1997 he was easily the most influential Cardinal.

  58. wolfeken says:

    Father Weidner wrote: “In short, my assertion is that a good Catholic *must* logically hold that some parts of Vatican II were good and necessary.”

    I disagree. Never before (at least in the past several hundred years) has a council been called in good times that resulted in bad times. This is likely the reason (thank you Holy Ghost) it was pastoral.

    The problem here (as the SSPX has identified) is Vatican II. Again, not how Vatican II was interpreted. Rather the cause of negative outcomes is Vatican II itself, from its documents and their specific calls for unncessary reform to the numerous options that come from ambiguity. Give someone an option and he will naturally take the easy way out — a horrible way to run a Church.

    Father, can you name five things Vatican II did that were “good and necessary”? (And not something the Council merely re-stated, but actual new things, which is the point of a council.)

  59. TheAcolyte says:

    Jucken,

    1. The SSPX was not erected by the Holy See ad experimentum; it was formally erected as a society of priests and granted the right of incardination. Peter Vere is not a trustworthy source.

    2. The commission of cardinals did not have the authority to grant Bishop Mamie the power to suppress the SSPX. The commission was also an ambush tactic of the liberal bureaucrats, pressured by the worried French episcopacy.

    3. The use of the phrase “remission of the excommunications” was the Vatican’s damage control semantics because they did not want to lose face they had falsely accused Catholics of being excommunicated and in schism for nearly 20 years. Bishop Fellay commented that they were asked by the Roman authorities to compile a statement about the “excommunications” but knew that what the SSPX would not be acceptable to the Roman authorities and what the latter wrote would not be acceptable to the SSPX (because it would obfuscate the truth of the matter). As it was, what Rome published, the SSPX has always accepted and explained as being an implicit declaration that the “excommunications” of 1988 were always null and void, as both canon law and canon lawyers clearly make evident.

    4. Quo Primum was never abrogated nor derogated and has full force of law. The fact is, Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution, Missale Romanum, did not properly promulgate the Novus Ordo Missae (several studies have been done on this topic), nor did its legal wording abolish or diminish the law then (and still) in force: Quo Primum.

    I am not confusing the two, because Quo Primum is the basis for the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, which is one and the same (even if revised during the centuries) as that codified and promulgated in 1570. Hence, why the papal bull Quo Primum was always printed in every edition of the Roman Missal until 1968 (the transitional editions, 1965-1968). Thus the Immemorial Mass is the traditional Roman Mass, whose essence can be traced back to Pope St. Gregory the Great (who codified the Roman Canon) and beyond, making it the most venerable rite of the Catholic Church.

  60. TheAcolyte says:

    I should further clarify that the 6-year ad experimentum clause of Bishop Charriere’s permission for establishing the SSPX in his diocese, was merely the first step of the process that every newly-established religious congregation goes through: first through the local diocesan authority.

    The 6-year period was established because often it could take Rome that long to review and approve the rules/statutes/constitution of a newly-founded religious congregation for final approval.

    In the case of the SSPX, Archbishop Lefebvre only had to wait a few months, which was rather unexpected, thus clearly showing the Providence of God and His blessing upon the new priestly society that would do so much (and continues) for the Catholic Church.

    When Rome gave its final seal of approval, Bishop Charriere’s 6-year experimental period was superseded by actual, formal establishment.

  61. Centristian says:

    @TheAcolyte:

    “1. The SSPX was not erected by the Holy See ad experimentum…”

    That’s true. It was not erected by the Holy See ad experimentum. It wasn’t erected by the Holy See, at all. It was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre with the approval of the bishop of Fribourg (and Lausanne and Geneva, as someone pointed out) as an experimental pious union within that bishop’s jurisdiction.

    “2. The commission of cardinals did not have the authority to grant Bishop Mamie the power to suppress the SSPX. ”

    I would agree. The bishop, himself, had the inherent authority to dissolve an experimental pious union within his own jurisdiction. It wouldn’t be up to a commission of cardinals to grant the bishop authority that he already held by virtue of his episcopal office. But if there was a dispute about to whom the SSPX owed its existence, certainly those cardinals were competent to say “not to any Vatican congregation; we didn’t erect anything. It’s back to the bishop of Fribourg, then, because the SSPX subsists strictly within his jurisdiction.”

    “…it was formally erected as a society of priests and granted the right of incardination.”

    I’d love to see the proof of that. The actual Vatican documentation whereby the Holy See formally erects the Society of St. Pius X as…a society of priests? Is that even a thing?

  62. TheAcolyte says:

    Centristian, the Holy See’s document, from Cardinal James Wright (with his accompanying letter of praise), that fully establish the SSPX as a pious union of priests, or priestly society living in common but without religious vows (which is essentially what other similar congregations such as the Sulpicians, SOLT, etc. are as well), was published in The Angelus several years ago. So it does exist.

  63. Jucken says:

    Oh boy, here we go…

    “Peter Vere is not a trustworthy source.”

    What am I supposed to do with this? This is not even an argument!

    “The commission was also an ambush tactic of the liberal bureaucrats, pressured by the worried French episcopacy.”

    You should get your head checked, you seem a little paranoid. [How is that not an ad hominem attack? Stick to issues, not personal comments. In other words, make your case, but for the personal digs... knock it off.]

    “As it was, what Rome published, the SSPX has always accepted and explained as being an implicit declaration that the “excommunications” of 1988 were always null and void”

    Yeah, the SSPX is an expert at adulterating the meaning of Vatican statements.

    Quo Primum was never abrogated nor derogated and has full force of law. The fact is, Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution, Missale Romanum, did not properly promulgate the Novus Ordo Missae (several studies have been done on this topic), nor did its legal wording abolish or diminish the law then (and still) in force: Quo Primum.

    Bold assertions. False regrettably. Read “The Pope, the Council, and the Mass: Answers to Questions the Traditionalists Have Asked” (Whitehead, K. D.; Likoudis, J.). Here’s an excerpt from pages 57 and 58:

    “In 1568, in his Apostolic Constitution Quod a Vobis, the Pope established the new Roman Breviary with language fully as strong as the language he used in Quo Primum. In fact, Quod a Vobis contains exactly the same concluding paragraph as Quo Primum, warning anyone against making any change in what had been enacted. Yet, in spite of that, Pope Saint Pius X, in 1911, did not hesitate to revise the Roman Breviary by means of his own Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu – just as pope Paul VI would later revise the Roman Missal by means of his Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum.”

    I am not confusing the two, because Quo Primum is the basis for the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, which is one and the same (even if revised during the centuries) as that codified and promulgated in 1570.

    No it isn’t because it suffered great changes (not revisions) by Fr. Annibale Bugnini under Pope Pius XII during the 50′s completely altering the liturgical calendar and the rites for the Holy Week. It is just as fabricated as the Missal of 1969, and that is precisely why the Fraternité cannot stand up for Catholic Liturgical Tradition any more that can, say, the FSSP, the PAASJMV, the IBP, et cetera ad nauseam. All of them follow the 1962 transitional extraordinary form of the Novus Ordo.

  64. Centristian says:

    “It is just as fabricated as the Missal of 1969, and that is precisely why the Fraternité cannot stand up for Catholic Liturgical Tradition any more that can, say, the FSSP, the PAASJMV, the IBP, et cetera ad nauseam. All of them follow the 1962 transitional extraordinary form of the Novus Ordo.”

    ??? Huh? ???
    *expression of bewilderment*

  65. TheAcolyte says:

    Jucken, Peter Vere had an axe to grind against the SSPX, thus the tenor (and conclusion) of his articles which do not stand up against authentic interpretations of canon law or Church precedence. In a word, just like with civil attorneys, a canon law license is not a guarantee of a good and accurate canon lawyer. Ultimately this is an ad hominem argument, which usually I shy away from – because in this case and as I previously mentioned, the facts completely prove the opposite of Mr. Vere’s statements.

    “You should get your head checked, you seem a little paranoid.” Just look at the historical facts… (and there are plenty of books available, such as “Apologia Pro Lefebvre” from Michael Davies) they speak for themselves… and of the paranoia of the liberals (Modernists) towards anything traditional.

    “Yeah, the SSPX is an expert at adulterating the meaning of Vatican statements.” Uh, wasn’t it the Vatican and other episcopal conferences that for years told Catholics that the traditional Roman Mass was forbidden? Despite that Pope John Paul II’s cardinal commission determined the opposite (i.e., that is, the arguments of traditionalists based upon canon and liturgical law, had always been correct)? Have you forgotten so soon July 7, 2007, when Summorum Pontificum finally justify traditionalists and their arguments? It might take over 40 years for the truth to come out, but it will eventually.

    As secretary of the Liturgical Commission, Fr. Bugnini had no real influence over the revisions that took place between 1948 and 1962 (which certainly were *not* unorthodox), particularly because many of these reforms had been contemplated for nearly 200 years, and in some cases, since Trent – thus many on the commission, particularly those actually in charge, shared the same orthodox ideas for these reforms. It should be further noted that non-liberal liturgists had been recommending the same types of revisions, nor did Archbishop Lefebvre (or Cardinal Ottaviani) disagree with these reforms. The Bugnini of the Consilium though was radically different, and it’s an important and crucial matter of making these proper distinctions and putting matters into proper context.

    Regarding this quote: “In 1568, in his Apostolic Constitution Quod a Vobis, the Pope established the new Roman Breviary with language fully as strong as the language he used in Quo Primum…”

    Quo Primum did not forbid the missal from being changed by the Holy See. The restrictive wording was directed to the bishops and missal printers, who previously had enjoyed the ability to make developments of their own. Thus future revisions were restricted to the Pope, who later granted this same authority to the newly-created Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1588.

    In fact the “dire” wording used in Quo Primum was quite common at that time for various papal documents, even being used to summon a person to Rome for an audience with the pope! Unfortunately, many traditionalists have improperly implied this wording as a defense against the New Mass (or any type of change). But change for the better is the not issue (not is the liturgy a fly trapped in amber) as demonstrated by the two other papal bulls printed in every missal just after Quo Primum up to 1968: Pope Clement VIII’s Cum Sanctissimum (1604 – reforming the missal and adding more propers, such as for Non-Virgins), and Pope Urban VIII’s Si quid est (1634).

    Likewise, the revisions made up to the 1962 missal were congruous with Tradition and should be accepted, even if people wish to nit-pick certain things (you can do the same with Trent’s reform of the missal as well, if you like).

    The New Mass did not consist of an organic development (change for the better) , but a revolution which purposely introduced theological deficiencies by Bugnini and gang to remove any “stumbling blocks” to ecumenism with Protestants. Thus our critique of the New Mass is theological first and foremost.

  66. robtbrown says:

    Jucken,

    It is well known that the French bishops had much to do with the Vatican turning on the SSPX. I was in France in the early 70′s (and was confirmed at the Cathedral of Bourges). The French bishops complained to Rome of Lefebrve criticism of them and blamed the SSPX for their lack of vocations. Paul VI was a Francophile with a liberal French Sec of State was Villot.

    Likoudis and Whitehead are simply wrong. The Missal of 1962 is a revision of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pius V (itself a revision), thus the presence of Quo Primum. The Missal of 1970 is not merely a revised Missal but rather, as Paul VI himself said, an innovation, a new rite (also see Ratzinger on this question). That is why Quo Primum is nowhere to be found in it.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6691126.HTM

  67. TheAcolyte says:

    robtbrown, thanks for weighing in!

  68. robtbrown says:

    FrAWeidner,

    Before I begin, let me say that I think there are some good things in Vat II. Two pastoral examples are the call for participatio actuosa and for reform of Moral Theology. A doctrinal example is that Lumen Gentium increases the authority of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium to cover secondary objects of Infallibility.

    Vat II was obviously a valid Ecumenical Council. I do not, however, agree with your reasoning that because of that, Conciliar documents must contain some good pastoral strategies. If that is so, we cannot explain any problems with the documents–they were part of the same valid Ecumenical council.

    Three documents easily come to mind:

    1) Sacrosanctum Concilium, which contains text that can be used to justify everything from the SSPX position to balloons on the altar and liturgical dancing.

    2. Gaudium et Spes. Dreamy and naive, it is the only document that refers to the Eucharist as a meal.

    3. Presbyterorum Ordinis. An inadequate presentation of the Catholic priesthood.

  69. TheAcolyte says:

    robtbrown,

    “1) Sacrosanctum Concilium, which contains text that can be used to justify everything from the SSPX position to balloons on the altar and liturgical dancing. ”

    Rather confused; how does this “justify… SSPX position”?

  70. Jucken says:

    You’re getting circular. Let me just focus on the Mass here:

    “As secretary of the Liturgical Commission, Fr. Bugnini had no real influence over the revisions that took place between 1948 and 1962″

    This is irrelevant really, the fact is that there weren’t “revisions”, there were “dramatic changes” to the Missal during the reigns of Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII. The removal of the 2nd Confiteor, the revival of the then infamous “dialogue mass”, the complete removal of the Institution Narrative altogether from the Missal, I could go on. Not to mention that the new rites for the Holy Week made it almost unaltered into the Novus Ordo. I wonder why…

    “(which certainly were *not* unorthodox)”

    Even if they were orthodox, this is just as irrelevant, the point is the changes were fabricated and not, to use your own words, “organically” developed.

    It should be further noted that non-liberal liturgists had been recommending the same types of revisions, nor did Archbishop Lefebvre (or Cardinal Ottaviani) disagree with these reforms.

    Not really no. Msgr. Lefebvre did not impose the 1962 Missal until the beginning of the negotiations with Cardinal Ratzinger in the early 80′s, probably in the hopes of cutting a deal with the Holy See. Until then, he simply did not care: he would let “his” priests use whatever they liked from before 1969. In Ecône, for instance, they used a transitional nineteen-sixty-something Missal combined with some local traditions and pre-1955 practice, but without Psalm 42 in the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. In Germany and the US on the other hand they used pre-Bugnini books.

  71. Centristian says:

    @robtbrown:

    I read the letter of Pope Paul VI that you posted a link to on EWTN’s website. What a weird, weird letter. It’s so imprudently-worded and does not at all persuade one of the value of his liturgical reforms. Just the opposite, in fact. I was at once astonished and appalled by it; I cannot believe Paul actually imagined that the words he chose would warm anyone to the liturgical revisions. I would go so far, in fact, to say that the letter is ugly. In fact, it reads like a fake. I don’t suppose but it is one, but it has that flavor to it, almost as if someone forged it and attributed it to Pope Paul in an effort to put him in a bad light.

    The ugly letter by Paul notwithstanding, it does nothing to justify the rebellion of the SSPX.

  72. TheAcolyte says:

    Jucken, the topic at hand is about the SSPX and its relations with Rome.

    So the issue of the reforms of the missal is not the actual discussion here; thus I don’t think this is the proper topic forum where arguments ad nauseam about liturgical reform should be engaged.

    Happy to do so elsewhere though.

  73. Jucken says:

    I see. I apologize. But as I said, you were starting to get circular on that matter, so I refrained from replying.

  74. Dr. Brown,

    Thanks for reminding us of the 11/26/1969 general audience in which Pope Paul VI discussed the “new rite of the Mass”.

    CHANGES IN MASS FOR GREATER APOSTOLATE Pope Paul VI
    Address to a General Audience, November 26, 1969

    Our Dear Sons and Daughters:

    1. We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 [in Italy].

    2. A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead.

    We see that Pope Paul used the term “new rite”–nuovo rito in the original Italian–three times in these first two paragraphs, and several more times in the rest of this brief document.

    Apparently he was not aware that he was only introducing a new form of the same rite of the Mass, rather than a truly new rite.

    Of course, we here (present parties) gladly accept Pope Benedict’s declaration that the older and newer forms are indeed to be considered juridically as variant forms of one and the same Roman rite.

  75. Centristian,

    “It’s so imprudently-worded and does not at all persuade one of the value of his liturgical reforms.

    At this point, it’s an interesting historical question as to whether Paul VI was himself persuaded of their value.

    I have not seen enough evidence to decide the question. But one theory is that he was stampeded by the utter liturgical chaos of the late 1960s–and the Novus Ordo may in fact have reduced the number of EPs in common use from hundreds to several–but later came to bitterly regret his action, or at least the disaster (e.g., “smoke of satan”) that resulted on his watch.

  76. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    The manipulation has run it’s course – game over.

  77. RichardT says:

    TheAcolyte said (12:02 pm):
    “the Holy See’s document … that fully establish the SSPX as a pious union of priests … was published in The Angelus several years ago. So it does exist.”

    Then why isn’t it on the SSPX website where we can all see it? Why is the only founding document referred to on their website the Fribourg diocesan one?

    I’m not denying that it exists, just that if it does, and if it does what it is said to do, it is very odd that it isn’t there, and isn’t even mentioned. Their website is large and well-produced, with several pages about the foundation and history of the SSPX, so it is very odd that this document, which would give the SSPX its legal identity in canon law and which can only be favourable to them, is not even mentioned.

  78. TheAcolyte says:

    RichardT, normally religious institutions don’t publish their decrees of erection, constitution, statutes, etc., as these are usually considered private matters. This is probably one reason why the SSPX has not put these documents on its website, because despite the crisis, it nevertheless deserves the usual precedence concerning such matters. The document from Bishop Charriere on the other hand, is of historical value and has been superseded by the one from Congregation of the Clergy (which Rome itself does not dispute that it had a permanent nature).

    Thus whatever the SSPX has published of its founding documents, it has only done so in order to vindicate itself against ridiculous and uninformed charges – such as those made by Peter Vere, who obviously did not have all of the facts because he did not have access to all of the necessary documentation when he wrote his articles.

  79. Jucken says:

    The reason why Cardinal Wright’s letter is not on their American website is because it is not at all an official approval letter, neither a decree of erection, not even a decree of praise, but merely an encouragement letter. Here is the letter on their Asian district website.

  80. @wolfeken: “I disagree. Never before (at least in the past several hundred years) has a council been called in good times that resulted in bad times.”

    And, there still hasn’t been one. The current problems in the Church, IMO, are not primarily the *result* of Vatican II – they are coincidental. The precursors to the Sexual Revolution (and many other social movements) of the 60s had been in motion long before VII. Nor can the other big blows to America, and thus secondarily to “the West” as a whole, in the early 70s (Vietnam War turning into a debacle; cancellation of the last Apollo missions & general end of the “space race” era, combined with rise of anti-nuclear hysteria & general anti-technology attitudes…) be blamed on Vatican II in any way.

    I also don’t think it’s accurate or helpful to call modern liberals “Modernists”; Modernism (in the early-20th-century-Church, Pascendi dominici greges sense, not the more general cultural sense) was such a poorly defined thing that IMO it’s not an especially useful term outside that specific historical context; it too easily becomes a general “bad thing” term because it’s so vague that it can be applied to anyone or anything with liberal-ish tendencies. (I’m not, for that matter, convinced that it was entirely wise to “codify” the idea of ‘Modernism’ as Pius XI did; the things he pointed out as wrong were indeed false, but the linking of them all together under a single term apparently parallel to other big historical heresies — Arianism, Monophysitism, etc. — creates, IMO, a tendency to think of it in an inaccurately unified and very misleading way.)

    In any case, to the degree Modernism had a unifying trend at all, it was very Progress! and Reason! based. Modern secular opposition to the Church (with some exceptions e.g. Richard Dawkins) tends to be post-modernist, and post-modernists tend to be more interested in cultural/sexual/gender etc. diversity and alternate viewpoints than in things like reason or progress (concepts which they may even argue are limiting or Western-centric or whatever).

  81. EDIT: the above was badly phrased. I should have mentioned that what I say about secular opposition outside the Church is, IMO, true of harmful trends within the Church as well: the main thrust, at least in “the West”, is now post-modernist and not modernist.

    Liberation theology is a different matter; I’m tempted to argue it’s essentially neither, though I can see elements of both incorporated.

  82. jflare says:

    “…can you name five things Vatican II did that were “good and necessary”?”

    I’ve contemplated this thought many times these past 10 years. I have no way of knowing if you’ll find merit in my “five things”, but I’ll offer them here: (Forewarning: Most of these have been wildly abused)

    1. Vatican II authorized the use of the vernacular.
    If you read the actual documents related to the liturgy, you discover the Council Fathers never intended to eject Latin from the Mass. They intended, rather, to better enable those new to the faith to learn more thoroughly about the faith, it’s teachings, and it’s practices in their own language, but ultimately share the Church’s universal language.

    Given that SSPX apparently didn’t have any interest in speaking Latin in these discussions, I’d say they make a pretty sound argument for use of the vernacular in various ways.

    2. Vatican II challenged the faithful to read the Bible more thoroughly than before. We can argue the merits/de-merits of 1 yr and 3 yr cycles or whether one Council or another encouraged reading the Bible or not. I generally understand though that prior to the Council, the average Catholic had only nominal knowledge of what God wrote via His human authors.

    3. The Council Fathers challenged the Church to understand the WHY behind the various actions almost as well as they knew the WHAT. I’ve heard numerous stories about how the Church had become quite rigid about correct practice, but hadn’t properly catechized people about what the practices truly meant or how. Any organization needs a thorough evaluation now and then. Leadership definitely needed to reconsider why they required this or that practice.

    4. While the Council has been often accused of spawning various trials, a tape by Fr Groeschel persuaded me that, rather than inflicting those trials, the Council’s decisions helped force various frames of mind into the light of day. This is to say, many faithful had already begun efforts to..alter..how they believed and practiced. Fr Groeschel’s tape specifically mentioned how certain orders of nuns had already begun walking a rebellious path well before the Pope convoked it. Sad that clergy didn’t squelch some of the worst foolishness with stern reminders of the Church’s actual teaching, but at least the Church began to address problems that had begun to fester beneath the surface.

    5. Vatican II insisted that Chant and organ should maintain pride of place, but also allowed for other forms of musical worship. Really good guitar music can’t be found easily even today, nor do skilled musicians–for organ, guitar, or piano– precisely grow on trees, . Even so, we do have some options that’re worth having today in the musical celebration corner.

    OK, I’m going to “cheat”:
    6. Vatican II never told us to leave old prayers and devotions behind. It DID, however, challenge us to pray from the heart, even if we couldn’t think of much to say. I get the distinct impression that many would not offer prayers spontaneously before the Council. Nowadays, we’ve gone to the other extreme, so it’s very difficult to form a Rosary group spontaneously.

    And…
    7. Whatever you may think of ecumenism, Vatican II challenged us to dare to pray with our separated brothers and sisters now and then, NOT to behave as though we had a monopoly on faith. ..Even if we technically do…. If I can’t be bothered to pray with a man unless I can prod him to pray a Rosary or other memorized prayer, how on earth (or in heaven) do I expect to gain his trust and show him more of Truth?
    I doubt if I can.

    So, there you have it. My list of ( a few) things Vatican II did right. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.