Meanwhile, on Fr. Z’s Planet…

From CNA:

Pius X leader gives cool reaction to peace Vatican offering
By David Kerr

Rome, Italy, Oct 4, 2011 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A senior figure [Fr. Niklaus Pfluger] in the breakaway traditionalist group, the Society of St. Pius X, says it could be “very, very difficult” for the Vatican and the Society to agree on terms for reconciliation.  [Immediately after saying this, on Fr. Z's alternative universe Planet (read "bearded-Spock-reality"), Fr. Pfluger was taken into the parking lot and beaten with an axe-handle before being handed a one way airplane ticket to Chicago and his assignment as assistant to Fr. Pfleger and was told to keep his mouth shut.]

[...]

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56 Responses to Meanwhile, on Fr. Z’s Planet…

  1. cresci says:

    It’s going to be seen more and more from now on. The old applies, cunctando regitur mundus.
    Some won’t like to leave their current and somewhat comfortable positions, for something unknown and uncertain…

  2. disco says:

    Ha ha ha. I have no idea what this gentlman looks like but when I read the name I immediately pictured pfleger with a goatee, maybe even wearing a roman chasuble. Perhaps at pflugers church there is a great image of white Jesus with arms crossed.

  3. tealady24 says:

    At the very least riding off on a motorcycle. With a goatee of course.

  4. JamesA says:

    Hey, I think I like the “bearded-Spock-reality”. Hmmmm…lots of possibilities ;- )

  5. Andy Lucy says:

    “Your agonizer Fr Pfluger… or perhaps you’d prefer a period in the Agony Booth… and, no, I am not referring to the confessional at St Sabina’s!”

  6. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    Actually I hear there are great pastoral needs in the missions to Uzbekistan…

  7. spock says:

    “Terror must be maintained or the Empire is doomed; it is the logic of history….”
    Where’s my Tantalus Field ?
    Forget the agonizer.
    Somebody is going to get zapped….

    Evil Spock

  8. Ezra says:

    The full interview, posted on Rorate Caeli, is much more promising; one might almost be tempted to accuse David Kerr and/or the CNA of making mischief. E.g.:

    It is pointless to compare the present situation with the talks in 1988. At that time Rome wanted to prevent any sort of autonomy for the Society; the bishop that they maybe were and maybe were not going to grant would in any case have to be subject to Rome. That was simply too uncertain for Archbishop Lefebvre. If Marcel Lefebvre had given in, Rome could in fact have hoped that a Society without its “own” bishops would someday come round to the conciliar way. Today the situation is completely different. We have four bishops and meanwhile 550 priests worldwide. And the structures of the official Church are breaking down faster and faster. Rome can no longer confront the Society as it did more than twenty years ago.

    What do you think are the chances for a positive answer? Will the Society of St. Pius X agree to the preamble?

    Here diplomacy plays an important role. Rome wants to save face in public. The pope has already been accused too often of lifting the “excommunication” of our bishops without preconditions. If it had been up to the majority of the German bishops, then the Society would have to sign a blank check recognizing the whole Council first. Incidentally, they are demanding that now as before. Pope Benedict has not done that. Moreover free access to the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass [i.e. Tridentine Mass] was the second condition required by the Society. Therefore Rome complied twice with the Society’s wishes. It is clear that now they are demanding a document that can be presented to the public. The question is, whether one can sign the document. In one week the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X will meet in [Albano Laziale, a suburb of] Rome to discuss this together. Of course it has to be clear to Cardinal Levada and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith too that they cannot insist on a document that the Society cannot justify in turn to its members and faithful.

    One last question: Who gained the greater advantage from the theological talks: Rome or the Society of St. Pius X?

    That is a very important point, and so I will say it again: We are not that concerned about any advantage of our own. We want to make the treasure that Archbishop Lefebvre entrusted to our safekeeping available again for the whole Church. To that extent, canonical recognition would be a gain for the Church. In that way a conservative bishop, for example, could ask Society priests to work in his diocesan seminary. Of course the regularization of relations would also mean that Catholics who were perhaps kept away from the Society by the label “suspended” will now venture to take that step. But that is not what this is about. For forty-one years the Society has grown steadily, even in spite of being beaten with the “excommunication” stick. We are concerned instead about the Catholic Church. Together with the Archbishop we too would like to say [the words of St. Paul cf. I Corinthians 11:23], “Tradidi quod et accepi” – We hand on what we ourselves have received.

    The passage David Kerr has chosen to dwell on seems, to me, to be intended as a sop to the Williamsonite faction who are likely to view any agreement with huge misgivings, if not outright rage. It is hardly representative of the larger picture painted by the interview.

  9. St. Rafael says:

    Pretty much a hack piece by CNA. they do a disservice. Rorate has the entire interview of Fr. Niklaus Pfluger. It was a very thoughtful interview. For fairness and context:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/10/trying-to-make-sense-of-things.html

    Q: “The doctrinal preamble is of great interest to all concerned. Both sides agreed on confidentiality, and so we cannot expect you to speak about its contents. Allow me nevertheless to ask: What do you think of the document?

    A: The document allows for corrections from our side. That is necessary also, if only to exclude clearly and definitively even the appearance of ambiguities and misunderstandings. So now it is our duty to send Rome an answer that reflects our position and unambiguously represents the concerns of Tradition. We owe it to our mission of fidelity to Catholic Tradition not to make any compromises. The faithful, and the priests even more, understand very well that in the past Rome’s offers to the various conservative communities were unacceptable. If Rome now makes an offer to the Society, then it must be made unambiguously and unmistakably clear that it is for the welfare of the Church and hastens a return to Tradition. We think and feel with the Catholic Church. She has a worldwide missionary task, and it was always the most ardent desire of our founder that Tradition should flourish again throughout the world. A canonical recognition of the Society of St. Pius X could accomplish just that.

    Q:Critics say that Rome is trying to set a trap for the Society with this preamble and to take advantage of it. Once it was canonically integrated, the Society might perhaps introduce its “charism of Tradition” into the modern Church, but it would also have to accept conciliar thinking and other ways of doing things for the sake of “pluralism”.

    A:This criticism is altogether justified and should be taken seriously. For how can we avoid giving the impression that this amounts after all to a tacit acceptance, so to speak, that would in fact lead to this parallel diversity and relativize the one truth; that is indeed precisely the basis of Modernism.

    Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II but also many other examples make it clear that the leadership of the Church now as before is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences. Therefore any “offer” made to Tradition must guarantee us the freedom to be able to continue our work and our critique of “modernist Rome”. And to be honest, this seems to be very, very difficult. Again, any false or dangerous compromise must be ruled out.

    It is pointless to compare the present situation with the talks in 1988. At that time Rome wanted to prevent any sort of autonomy for the Society; the bishop that they maybe were and maybe were not going to grant would in any case have to be subject to Rome. That was simply too uncertain for Archbishop Lefebvre. If Marcel Lefebvre had given in, Rome could in fact have hoped that a Society without its “own” bishops would someday come round to the conciliar way. Today the situation is completely different. We have four bishops and meanwhile 550 priests worldwide. And the structures of the official Church are breaking down faster and faster. Rome can no longer confront the Society as it did more than twenty years ago.

    Q:What do you think are the chances for a positive answer? Will the Society of St. Pius X agree to the preamble?

    A:Here diplomacy plays an important role. Rome wants to save face in public. The pope has already been accused too often of lifting the “excommunication” of our bishops without preconditions. If it had been up to the majority of the German bishops, then the Society would have to sign a blank check recognizing the whole Council first. Incidentally, they are demanding that now as before. Pope Benedict has not done that. Moreover free access to the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass [i.e. Tridentine Mass] was the second condition required by the Society. Therefore Rome complied twice with the Society’s wishes. It is clear that now they are demanding a document that can be presented to the public. The question is, whether one can sign the document. In one week the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X will meet in [Albano Laziale, a suburb of] Rome to discuss this together. Of course it has to be clear to Cardinal Levada and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith too that they cannot insist on a document that the Society cannot justify in turn to its members and faithful.

    Q:One last question: Who gained the greater advantage from the theological talks: Rome or the Society of St. Pius X?

    A:That is a very important point, and so I will say it again: We are not that concerned about any advantage of our own. We want to make the treasure that Archbishop Lefebvre entrusted to our safekeeping available again for the whole Church. To that extent, canonical recognition would be a gain for the Church. In that way a conservative bishop, for example, could ask Society priests to work in his diocesan seminary. Of course the regularization of relations would also mean that Catholics who were perhaps kept away from the Society by the label “suspended” will now venture to take that step. But that is not what this is about. For forty-one years the Society has grown steadily, even in spite of being beaten with the “excommunication” stick. We are concerned instead about the Catholic Church. Together with the Archbishop we too would like to say [the words of St. Paul cf. I Corinthians 11:23], “Tradidi quod et accepi” – We hand on what we ourselves have received.”

  10. SimonDodd says:

    That second answer quoted by Ezra is astonishing! Right—Rome wants to save face! *eyeroll* Projection, much? When the doctrinal preamble was announced, I thought it would fail because of pride and a warm nest on the SSPX side, but reading that quote, if Pfluger is representative of them, these people already seem to be living in an alternative reality. Just amazing.

    Fr Deacon Daniel says:
    “Actually I hear there are great pastoral needs in the missions to Uzbekistan…”

    Archbp. Bugnini was exiled to Iran, although I suppose it was a different time and that may have been thought more of a plum. I’ve sometimes thought that you could handle a number of problems that way, though: “There’s good news and bad news, chaps. The good news is that you’ve all been made bishops—the dioceses of McMurdo, Palmer, Rothera, Halley, Amundsen-Scott, Wilkes Land, Mare Tranquilitatis, and Ascraeus Mons. The bad news is that they aren’t titular sees.”

  11. St. Rafael says:

    http://www.sspx.org/district_news/prayers_request_for_october_7th_sspx_meeting.htm

    “As announced by DICI, the Superior General, Bishop Fellay, has called all of the SSPX’s superiors to a special meeting at the Society’s house in Albano, near Rome.

    This meeting is important for the future of the entire Church, and because its main session will take place on October 7th (the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary), the United States District Superior, Fr. Rostand, is requesting special prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary on this day through recitation of all 15 decades of the Rosary.

    As this day will also happen to be the First Friday for October, Fr. Rostand encourages all who can to spiritually assist the SSPX by fulfilling that day’s devotions to the Sacred Heart—attendance at the votive Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

  12. Jucken says:

    He is right, folks. Just take a look at how the Fraternité people identify themselves: they are “the Tradition”.

    Perhaps not even Blessed Pope John Paul II himself knew how right he was when he wrote “the root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition”.

  13. SimonDodd says:

    Another gem from the interview: “We want to make the treasure that Archbishop Lefebvre entrusted to our safekeeping available again for the whole Church.” What treasure, possessed by them but beyond the reach of the Church at large, do they suppose that they are guarding? Tradition? We have that. The usus antiquior? We have that. A supercilious condescension toward the Church? That we will have with us always. I just don’t understand what planet they’re living on, beards or not.

  14. St. Rafael says:

    We have four bishops and meanwhile 550 priests worldwide. And the structures of the official Church are breaking down faster and faster.

    How many priests were even taught traditional Catholic scholastic theology in the seminaries? How many of them do not dissent from a single Church dogma or doctrine? Know Latin? Know the dogma and doctrines of the Church? Know the TLM?

    It seems that it is the dioceses around the world, that are collapsing due to a lack of priests, and an infestation of disordered Homosexual men to the priesthood who dissent from Church teaching and commit sexual crimes.

  15. Legisperitus says:

    Not everything that’s difficult is unlikely.

  16. Lamentably Sane says:

    I don’t think Fr Pfluger’s statement, read within its context, is at all controversial. Regularising the SSPX and allowing it to function with freedom despite the incredible hostility of the bishops of many countries is certainly going to be ‘very very difficult’. I think all he is trying to do is caution that this may take time, and that we should not get carried away and assume everything is wrapped up. After all, these decisions are yet to be taken.

  17. benedetta says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Fr. Z.

  18. Geoffrey says:

    “Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II but also many other examples make it clear that the leadership of the Church now as before is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences. ”

    This bit leaves me very unsettled. The SSPX does not seem to be willing to be open to anything, in this case, the hermeneutic of continuity. They are in the right, and “modernist” Rome is in the wrong. Arrogance, anyone?

    “What treasure, possessed by them but beyond the reach of the Church at large, do they suppose that they are guarding? Tradition? We have that. The usus antiquior? We have that. A supercilious condescension toward the Church? That we will have with us always.”

    Very well said!

  19. BobP says:

    Whatever happened to “internal matter within the Church”? If this is supposed to be all so secretive, I would hate to trust them with my confession.

  20. moon1234 says:

    I really do not understand the vitriole that is still put towards the SSPX. They may be arrogant, but so were most doctors of the Church. I hope and pray that they can reconciled. The “tradition” they are referring to is no so much the TLM, etc. It is a mindset, a formation of conscience and way of thinking.

    Most religious do not think in or rely on tradition in this way anymore. They are either legalistic or more of an “anything goes” mindset.

    Until you have been imersed in traditional practices, teaching, etc. and then re-enter the “modern” Church, it is very hard to see or understand this mindset. It is not something that is easily conveyed. The best way that I can say it, is it is like when you were a child and implicitly trusted your home, father, mother, etc. A feeling that you are HOME, but not just home, rather being unified with all of those who came before you and wishing to pass those same traditions and knowledge on to the next generation.

  21. Phil_NL says:

    Mission to Uzbekistan sounds just about right.

    Contrary to some commenters here, the complete piece looks just as arrogant, if not more so! Especially this passage:

    Rome wants to save face in public. The pope has already been accused too often of lifting the “excommunication” of our bishops without preconditions. If it had been up to the majority of the German bishops, then the Society would have to sign a blank check recognizing the whole Council first. Incidentally, they are demanding that now as before. Pope Benedict has not done that. Moreover free access to the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass [i.e. Tridentine Mass] was the second condition required by the Society. Therefore Rome complied twice with the Society’s wishes.

    So, what do we have here?

    1. Rome ‘wants to save face’ – as if Rome needs to save face to begin with; fact of the matter is that, like it or not, Peter is in Rome. Unless you want to go all sedevacantist – and every time you mention that word in the same sentence as the SSPX you get two dozen coments they are nothing of the kind – that means that Rome is right. Period. And doesn’t have to ‘save face’, it simply wants to make sure its rightful positions aren’t misunderstood, internally or externally. Not much content in that first line, but not a good start.

    2. “the Society would have to sign a blank check recognizing the whole Council first”. Well, sooner or later, you will have to do just that. And then hand that blank check to the Holy Father. There are genuine concerns about what the council mandated and what it didn’t, there are genuine holes in the proper meaning of the council, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the Holy Father to determine what the council means, and the SSPX has to recognize it as such. You cannot negotiate part of the council away. It’s there, and it’s a council. Live with it. Only then can all of us sit down and see what kind of mess we’re in exactly. But the council stands, in asmuch BXVI chooses to let it stand, and if the SSPX doesn’t want to recognize the council, then they cannot be serious about reconcilliation. Rome is the lawgiver, not the SSPX.

    3. “Moreover free access to the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass [i.e. Tridentine Mass] was the second condition required by the Society.” Ah, so the NO isn’t a Catholic sacrifice of the Mass?! And the SSPX set conditions before it even deigned to talk to the Holy Pontiff? Well then, who’s the guy that runs the Church then? You’d almost say that it was Fr. Pfluger. Let’s face it, if they deny that the NO is a Catholic Mass, we’re done. You can argue it’s defective, or inferior, you can hold it’s horrendous, you may detest it and refuse to celebrate or attend it. All no problem (except the Chrism Mass, perhaps). But you cannot argue or even imply it’s not Mass. Nor does the availability of any form of the Mass negate from the obligation of a Catholic to be in communinion with Peter, and for religious to follow canon law.

    Conclusion: for all the good that might come out of it, I’m getting more than a bit sick and tired of the continuous ‘the SSPX is Pope’ litanies. Yes, you had a lot of invective directed at you over the years, but that doesn’t change which side is Rome. So, my dear brethren, BXVI is Pope. You’re bound to obey him in these matters, especially when it comes to issues like the Council and the NO Mass. If you think you can somehow erase the last 60 years, you’re deluding yourself. You don’t even have the right to ask that, much less demand it. It would become the SSPX if they would accept the Holy Father’s authority with a whole lot more grace.

    Because at the end of it, it all boils down to the authority question. Is the Pope the Supreme Lawgiver of the Church, or not? All other problems can be sorted quite easily – and quite satisfactorily too, I daresay, for those who don’t want to impose their view on matters on the whole Church or else stay on the doorstep – once that authority is recognized. It’s strange that traditionalists are so rebellious in that sense…

  22. Timbones says:

    I don’t think there is or was much hope for an agreement between Rome and the SSPX. If you read the talk Fellay gave in 2004 he made it clear he would not settle for anything less than “Rome coming to Tradition”. He wanted the excommunications lifted he said because they were hindering recruitment for the SSPX. He wanted the TLM available to all priests. He got those things. He never intended the doctrinal talks to do anything except underline the differences between Rome and the SSPX. I feel sorry for the Holy Father, I think Fellay took him “down the garden path”. Now, what can the pope do? Re-impose the excommunications?
    Read Fellay’s talk here: http://sspx.org/discussions/what_catholics_need_to_know.htm

  23. puma19 says:

    well what a gloomy prognosis.
    What struck me in that interview was what he said about the beatification of Blessed John Paul II.
    He said it was ‘unthinkable’. Does this mean he regards the miracle as false? Is he denying the divine intervention into the miracle attributed to JPII’s intercession? This is very scary and deeply unwarranted, when it involves a great pope and indeed a most holy and saintly pontiff whose suffering in his later years, not to mention to the assassination attempt were great and supreme examples of the pontiff following in the footsteps of his Saviour. Unbelievable.
    pax

  24. robtbrown says:

    SimonDodd says:

    That second answer quoted by Ezra is astonishing! Right—Rome wants to save face! *eyeroll* Projection, much?

    Actually, I think he has a point. Rome cannot say that certain texts of VatII aren’t very good and so can only say that those texts are open to legitimate discussions. Likewise, Rome cannot admit to the deficiencies of the 1970 Missal (e.g., Offertory, the Mysterium Fidei, and the 2d Eucharistic Prayer), and so has to say, as Msgr Pozzo did, that the sense of the sacred and of mystery are found in the Novus Ordo but are more emphasized in the 1962 Missal.

    “What treasure, possessed by them but beyond the reach of the Church at large, do they suppose that they are guarding? . . . The usus antiquior? We have that.

    What do you mean we, kemo sabe? None of the 6 parishes here has a Latin mass.
    The nearest is 31 miles away. In fact, in none of the 6 even has a Communion Rail.

  25. albizzi says:

    “Does this mean he regards the miracle as false?”
    Puma19,
    We already discussed that matter several times.
    My opinion is that one cannot have double standards to assess miracles:
    - The Lourdes standard that gives time to time and reckon as true miracles only 80 ones among thousands, many years after they hapened.
    - The JPII’s beatification standard that declares as a true miracle the only purported miracle relating to him, some months after, while many doctors have expressed reserves.

  26. mrose says:

    puma19,

    Lots of people have expressed serious doubts about the miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession. And beatifications are not infallible. Canonizations are.

    We would do well to recognize these things. Doesn’t mean I disagree or the Church was “wrong” about those things, but the guarantee of infallibility does not cover the discernment of miracles or beatifications.

  27. levi1991 says:

    You act as if you’re surprised Fr, he’s not exactly saying anything new or particularly outrageous he’s just stating the facts. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  28. Jucken says:

    Let’s face it, if they deny that the NO is a Catholic Mass, we’re done.

    The corollary of their statement is even more frightening: not only the NO isn’t Catholic, neither is the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, the Ge’ez Rite, etc.

    Lots of people have expressed serious doubts about the miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession. And beatifications are not infallible. Canonizations are.

    But the Fraternité disputes recent canonizations as well, in particular that of St. Josemaría Escrivá.

    Face it guys, it’s not gonna happen. The Fraternité disputes everything from canonizations to the new Code of Canon Law (except obviously “Msgr.” Williamson’s load of bullmanure about the holocaust, that they don’t dispute of course because their bishops are infallible). Not to mention they are still too butthurt about their founder’s excommunication (that’s the real reason behind their opposition to Pope John Paul II’s beatification/canonization) and they have a maurrasianist political agenda to carry on.

  29. moon1234 says:

    WOW! The spittle is really flying out of the mouths in the last few posts. Keep in mind that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who said of the Novus Ordo “It is a banal on the spot creation.” and the “Vatican II was merely a pastoral council”.

    Had either of those two statements been repeated by the SSPX they would be crucified. I think the present Holy Father is in a tough spot. “I” believe that he would like to regularize the SSPX now. He sympathizes with them and their misgivings about the post-conciliar era. Fr. Pfluger is merely pointing out the obvious when he said that Rome must get something in return. All of the prelates who were involved with the liturgical reform of the last 40 years would be livid if Rome “capitulated” and said there were aspects of VII that were in error or less than in keeping with Catholic tradition.

    Fr. Pfluger is German. Most of the people of German decent that I know speak their mind and don’t hold back. That being said, there is something to said for getting the point across a little more bluntly.

    When and if the SSPX is given some type of official structure, there will be wailing and knashing of teeth in many liberal corners of the Church.

  30. Centristian says:

    Hello, and welcome to Switzerland’s newest hit game show, “State the Obvious”. Our first guest today is Father Niklaus Pfluger of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X.

    Of course it will be “very, very difficult” for the Vatican and the Society to agree on terms for reconciliation. How could it be otherwise given the history between them? I don’t see it happening, myself.

    The SSPX’s principal demand must be met by Rome in order for the SSPX to consent to submit to Rome: “Modernist Rome” must reject pretty much everything about Vatican II and fully embrace “tradition” (which does not include Vatican II), thereby becoming “Eternal Rome” again. And what is “tradition”? It is whatever the SSPX decide it is (since they have painted themselves as the very voice, champions, and embodiment of “tradition”) and it seems to have decided that “tradition” is the Church and the world as they were before Vatican II (in some cases before 1789), in every respect. Anything unlike the pre-Conciliar Church is “untraditional” and must be eradicated before the SSPX will consent to shake hands with the mainstream Church, again. That isn’t just the position of so-called “hardliners” within the SSPX. Let’s face it, they are all “hardliners”.

    How can the Church practically deny and ignore the Second Vatican Council and all of modernity for the sake of this small number of disgruntled reactionaries? Why should it? More importantly, how can the Church institutionalize within herself a rebellion against herself? The SSPX assume for themselves the prerogatives of pastors, of abbots, of the episcopacy, of Peter. They feel they can do so because a “crisis” in the Church (a crisis of modernity) gives them the license they need to wield authority that is not theirs to wield. How can that be regularized? How, for example, can clergy be made regular who warn their readers and listeners that Catholics must not ever attend Catholic Mass in its ordinary form? That it is of questionable validity, that it is even an occasion of sin? How can a rebellion against something be given sanction by it?

    On the other hand, as others have argued in the past (an argument that has managed to hit home with me), the SSPX are not wholly unlike mainstream clergy in their misbehavior. Look at all the clergy who are today “in good standing” with the official Church who daily show their disobedience and infidelity to the Magisterium, to liturgical prescriptions, to their bishops, to the pope, yet who are able to function and enjoy office and position within the Church just the same. If such clergy can operate sanctioned by the hierarchy, why not SSPX clergy, too? Shouldn’t those clergy causing problems on the Left, so to speak, have to agree to a “preamble”, too? No? Then perhaps neither should the SSPX. Let the SSPX clergy have faculties and let them operate their seminaries and let them ordain priests every year, licitly. I mean, if the trouble in the mainstream is free to operate without much interference, why make the trouble on the Right jump through so many hoops?

    Now, if you regularize SSPX clergy, you’ve suddenly got “official” Catholic priests who routinely utter bizarre “fringe” themes from their pulpits (The Holocaust is a Zionist hoax, the U.S. Government orchestrated 9/11, women must not wear slacks and should not go to college, the pope is a confused liberal, John Paul II is not blessed, Freemasons run the Vatican, Catholic Mass is possibly invalid and may be an occasion of sin, TV is intrisically evil, democracy is wrong and all monarchies should be restored) thereby making the official Church look silly (or worse), on the one hand.

    On the other hand, you have, today, “official” Catholic clergy, religious, theologians, and professors speaking up in defense of gay marriage, women’s ordination to the priesthood, contraception, and a whole host of liberal (and often heretical) themes, ideas, and movements contradictory to the faith and to the objectives of the Catholic Church. Why can rebellious clergy on the Left pay lip service to the Church and continue to operate licitly in their ministries but not rebellious clergy on the Right? Never mind the excessive problems on the far Left, what about the thousands of mainstream priests who every Sunday ruin the celebration of Mass with banality and innovation, turning a beautiful thing into a joke?

    Yes, the SSPX are going to continue to assail Vatican II and everything about it, just as so many mainstream clergy are going to continue to assail everything good that came before it. At least if the SSPX were regularized, all those weddings and confessions they officiate at would be valid from now on. If Rome could look at things from this most cynical and practical of perspectives, it could at least embrace a temporary means by which to move forward…maybe. If it’s too Machiavellian to look at things like that, then so is allowing, for the sake of maintaining numbers and dollars, perpetrators of discord on the “left” to get away with everything that they have been and are continuing to get away with. I mean, if you’re going to let some people get away with murder, then you should let everyone get away with murder, right?

    Or, the Church could decide not to let anybody get away with murder any longer. She could point to the left and to the right (and everywhere in between) and tell everyone to cut the comedy, across the board. Forcefully. Consequentially. The Church could put her foot down and say no to liberal shenaningans; no to liturgical banalities; no to secularized “Catholic” universities; no to traditionalist extremism and fringe cults; no to Marcel Lefebvre and his progeny, no to Richard McBrien and his. It could just say no to all of it, to everything that is offensive and egregious when compared with the best desires and aspirations of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. No to it all…and let the chips fall where they may.

    I accuse the SSPX of being “hardliners”…but the truth is that I am a “hardliner,” too. It’s no secret to anyone who has read my remarks about the SSPX in the past that I do not want the SSPX to be officially embraced by Rome. Individual penitents who want to return to the fold, yes. The SSPX as an institution, no. I think the official SSPX are bad news and I hope Rome keeps them out. By the same token, however, I also hope Rome kicks out the rest of the comedians, too, no matter how much smaller the Church might become as a result. Stop trying to create little niches for everyone to fit in. Troublemakers to the left and to the right who need to perpetually refashion the Catholic Church in their own image shouldn’t be forever coddled and babied. At some point they should just be shown the door.

    Well, in the meantime, just give the SSPX clergy their faculties. It’s hypocritical not to let them run around and do their damage, licitly, when we let everyone else run around and do theirs.

  31. Ezra says:

    The Fraternité disputes everything from canonizations to the new Code of Canon Law (except obviously “Msgr.” Williamson’s load of bullmanure about the holocaust, that they don’t dispute of course because their bishops are infallible)

    I guess this explains why those comments saw him stripped of any public functions in the Society? I don’t assist at SSPX Masses, but the slander directed at the Society by some of its detractors never ceases to amaze.

    We have a Pope who has described the new rite of the Mass as a “fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product”, who has accused at least one Vatican II document of containing “downright Pelagian terminology”, who has spoken of the “filth in the Church”… and you guys are going to demand that the gates be barred to the Society’s canonical regularisation because some of their priests have voiced similar criticisms of the post-conciliar state of Catholicism? What about cases of real heresy and real, if silent, schism? Should every Jesuit be suspended a divinis on account of the fact that some West Coast SJs are busily promoting the rebuilding of Sodom and Gomorrah?

    Thank God this matter is in the hands of Cardinal Levada, Bishop Fellay, and – ultimately – the Holy Father. I dread to think what state the Church would be in if her administration were left to some of her more vocal lay “defenders”, who will turn a blind eye to all manner of sewage while crucifying those who dare notice the stink.

  32. Father K says:

    “They may be arrogant, but so were most doctors of the Church.” Well, maybe, maybe not, but at least the Doctors of the Church didn’t allow arrogance to lead them into a state of not being in full communion with the Church and administering invalid sacraments….

  33. robtbrown says:

    Centristian says:

    How can the Church practically deny and ignore the Second Vatican Council and all of modernity for the sake of this small number of disgruntled reactionaries? Why should it?

    Whatever the Church should deny and ignore is a function of the Truth.

    Disgruntled? You should be in the car with me after mass and hear what I say about the celebrant, Paul VI, JPII and his masses in football stadiums, the former archbishop here, etc.

    More importantly, how can the Church institutionalize within herself a rebellion against herself?

    Where have you been for the past 35 years. There has been rebellion within the Church from bishops, priests, sisters, and laity. Whatever the SSPX has said is nothing compared to what I’ve heard from those four groups.

  34. robtbrown says:

    Father K says:

    “They may be arrogant, but so were most doctors of the Church.” Well, maybe, maybe not, but at least the Doctors of the Church didn’t allow arrogance to lead them into a state of not being in full communion with the Church and administering invalid sacraments….

    Assuming you’re in a parish, what per cent of the people attending mass on Sunday do you think practice contraception, favor pro abort politicians, think gay unions are OK, have had vasectomies or tubal ligations, and don’t believe in transubstantiation?

  35. Geoffrey says:

    Centristian: Very well said!

    “Lots of people have expressed serious doubts about the miracle attributed to John Paul II’s intercession.”

    Yes, and those people all have one thing in common: they have issues with the authority of the Church, whether they be SSPX, SNAP, etc.

  36. albizzi says:

    “How can the Church practically deny and ignore the Second Vatican Council and all of MODERNITY for the sake of this small number of disgruntled reactionaries? Why should it?”

    Centristian,
    MODERNITY is the word not to be uttered because of course it is too close to MODERNISM that the late Saint Pius X defined as an heresy, furthermore, as a superheresy the “synthesis of all heresies”. And “reactionaries” don’t you think that we too often this word in the mouth of the fiercest Church’s ennemies, the leftists and the communists?
    Our Holy Father himself said that VATII council was not a superdogma but instead was mereyly a modest pastoral, non dogmatic council.
    Therefore since it issued no new dogma the faithfuls are free to ignore it if they wish so. Are you OK with that? I am not a sede, but I prefer to ignore that council that brought too much confusion and havoc among us, hoping that better days will come and cancel all its bad outcomes.
    I recently heard that in the recent talks between the SSPX and the Vatican someone, possibly our Holy Father, said that Vatican II was (I quote) “not essential to the Faith”. Did I dream?

  37. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Yea, Centristian!

  38. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Its all about obedience and sticking with the Church.
    The Church is more important than the Mass, Beatifications, Tradition, Scripture, etc. because She gives these.

    If the Church does not agree to the SSPX’s demands, I won’t be surprised.

    Consider the scandal of the Passion – how could anybody be expected to stay with Jesus during His Passion? He performed miracles! He says He is the Son of God! How can all He represented be true as we watch Him judged, beaten, overcome, distorted and ugly, stripped of His glory and murdered like a criminal? During the Passion, that was the Church – apparently destroyed. Imagine those running away because this didn’t represent the Church they had in mind – preferring instead something that looked right, whole, and respectable.

    I see the SSPX not wanting to look upon the Church in its misery and instead prefer one of their own making. The Church of the present day is not to their liking, even though we are going through a punishment we thoroughly deserve and is done by God’s design and permissive Will. Why doesn’t the SSPX help the Church instead of standing outside, jeering at Her, pointing at Her misery?

    [Pray the rosary, stick with the Blessed Mother - she knew what to do during the Passion.]

  39. puma19 says:

    I have two reply comments:
    Centristian really made my day. Three cheers and a huge bravissimo for your blunt and direct comments. I thought 95% of your comment was spot on, especially when it comes to the SSPX and it’s ‘return’ to Roman jurisdiction, which I think is a long way off, as i can’t see them bowing down before the Vatican II Council.
    But I also have to make a point to those who questioned the miracle attributed to Blessed John Paul II. Fact: The Congregation for the Saints recommended such to the Holy Father, Successor of ST Peter and THE ONLY ONE who can formally pronounce and declare a miracle as such.
    Fact: Pope Benedict XVI did approve canonically of the miracle.
    Fact: The late Holy Father, John Paul II has been declared Blessed before the whole Church.
    To disagree with the decision of the Holy Father in this matter would be very serious and how any person, especially lay, could challenge this without access to all the medical records of the French Nun and the doctors who examined her, would be the fly in the face of objectivity.
    You can’t pick and choose your saints, blesseds and indeed miracles.
    To speak or act contrary to the Holy Father is in this instance of Blessed John Paul II just plain ludicrous, to say the least. We can’t just pick and choose which Blesseds some want or challenge miracles which the Holy Father has accepted as such.
    pax

  40. Anne C. says:

    What happened?! Wasn’t it just two days ago that we saw the video interview with the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, Msgr. Guido Pozzo? I just got done sending it to my cousin, who frequently enjoys debating with certain SSPX-ers on Facebook!

  41. St. Rafael says:

    Administering invalid sacraments Fr. K?

    That is simply not true. The sacraments are valid, but illicit. There is no dispute over validity. The sacraments are illicit, though the SSPX would make the canonical and theological defense of necessity, salvation of souls, and state of emergency. Whether right or wrong it is a valid argument.

    As far as being in “full communion” with the Church, no one really knows what in the world that means, because “full communion” is gibberish. Theological Modernist gibbberish. Catholic theology is simple. Inside the Church or outside the Church. Schism or no scism. The Vatican has made it clear there is no schism. SSPX are Catholics inside the Church.

    “full communion” is not scholastic. It’s a shame modern priests were fed nothing but the heresies of Karl Rahner, De Lubac, Von Balthasar, Congers, and de Chardin.

  42. Cavaliere says:

    Another gem from the interview: “We want to make the treasure that Archbishop Lefebvre entrusted to our safekeeping available again for the whole Church.” What treasure, possessed by them but beyond the reach of the Church at large, do they suppose that they are guarding?

    This past June in the Twin Cities we had Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form, celebrated for the first time in almost 40 years. We also have 4 EF Masses each Sunday in the Archdiocese and a number of priests who are learning how to say this Mass. We have also had Baptisms and First Communions regularly in the EF. You are right Fr. Pfluger, these times are not like 1988, and as the years pass so do many of the SSPX’s previously legitimate arguments. And while undoubtedly the inclusion of SSPX priests into a regular status in the Church would certainly be a value to all of us, it is the SSPX who needs the Church more than the other way around. Alas I fear too many of their adherents are perfectly content in their “ghetto” falsely believing they alone possess the fullness of Sacred Tradition.

  43. Cavaliere says:

    As far as being in “full communion” with the Church, no one really knows what in the world that means, because “full communion” is gibberish.

    I’m not sure exactly what it might mean either. However I do know as you mentioned that their sacraments are illicit. Now by definition that means they are not permitted or unlawful. So however you want to argue it “theologically” they (SSPX) continually are performing actions that the Church has declared to be unlawful. So like any action that one performs that is unlawful or not permitted, how long before that gradually weakens one’s conscience so they are no longer able to differentiate between right and wrong?

    There is no more “state of emergency” such as existed in 1988. If the SSPX really wanted to pass on Tradition they would accept the Church’s offering and become obedient to Her so that their works were Licit. In 1988 two groups began doing similar work, the SSPX illicitly and the FSSP licitly. We would have been much better off if the SSPX had been like the Fraternity of St. Peter. By remaining in an irregular position with the Church it has kept some people away that otherwise might have been wanting to go to the EF Mass and/or receive the traditional form of the Sacraments? I attended an SSPX Mass for several years and also taught in one of their schools but I never “drank the Kool Aid.” When I moved back home I went a few times to the SSPX chapel but eventually went and stayed at the Indult. Now what would have happened if I had just stayed at the SSPX chapel? Well for one we might not have as many regular EF Masses in the Archdiocese. Nor is it likely that we would have had an EF Confirmation this year. I say this not for praise but to illustrate what could happen if the SSPX would serve the Church and not themselves.

  44. Cavaliere says:

    “full communion” is not scholastic. It’s a shame modern priests were fed nothing but the heresies of Karl Rahner, De Lubac, Von Balthasar, Congers, and de Chardin.

    That depends on how you define “modern.” The young priests that I know were either not taught their works or reject them.

  45. St. Rafael says:

    There is no more “state of emergency” such as existed in 1988.

    You have got to be kidding me. How can anyone say that with a straight face? The Church is even a worse state than in 1988. Religious orders, the secular priesthood, faith, fidelity to doctrine, and morality have all collapesed rapidly since that time and continues to spiral down for the forseeable future unless severe dramatic action is taken by the hierarchy or an act of God occurs.

    Just a couple of months ago the head of the bishop’s conference in Germany, the top German bishop, denied the atonement of Jesus Christ. Cardinal Lehman attacked Pope Bendict this week.
    The Austrian Church is in total revolt with the majority of priests demanding female ordination and other things. Cardinal Schonborn is completely caving in and trying to accommodate them. The Irish bishops want a married clergy. The Italian bishops are rejecting the very words our Lord Jesus Christ used in the Last Supper fo the chalice. He said “for many” and the Itlian bishops want “for all” even though he never uttered those words.
    The U.S. bishops are going to release “Faithful Citizenship” again for 2012 with no major revisions and the loophole, excuse, and cover to vote for pro-abortion politicians remaining intact. The USCCB, the conference of the U.S. bishops are still funding the CCHD program and it has been revealed that funding by the CCHD for pro-abortion and pro-Homosexual, pro-birth control, pro-Marxist groups has gone up in the last year from 21% to 24%! We have now increased the number of groups that receive funds for anti-Catholic work from 51 groups to 54 groups.

    I can go on and on, but the picture remains the same. The Church is plunged into her greatest crisis to date. There is apostasy everywhere.

  46. Jucken says:

    “I guess this explains why those comments saw him stripped of any public functions in the Society?”

    Which is not exactly a dispute. Compare how the Fraternité treats him with how they treat the Pope. As a matter of fact, most members and followers of the Fraternité defend him and support his statements, claiming that he wasn’t denying the holocaust and that he was just exercising his freedom of speech (freedom of speech which, by the way, they oftentimes oppose themselves just as they oppose religious freedom – how ironic!)

    “the slander directed at the Society by some of its detractors never ceases to amaze.”

    Great, now you call me dishonest. There is no reply to that.

    “We have a Pope who has described the new rite of the Mass as a “fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product””

    Which is very different than saying it is not Catholic. Holy Mass is by definition Catholic. The corollary of it not being Catholic is that it isn’t Mass (that’s why syncretic “masses” are invalid).

    “and you guys are going to demand that the gates be barred to the Society’s canonical regularisation because some of their priests have voiced similar criticisms of the post-conciliar state of Catholicism?”

    That’s a strawman and you know it.

    For starters I’m not demanding anything.

    Moreover, it’s not about their criticism of the state of affairs. It’s about their insolence and their agenda.

    “I dread to think what state the Church would be in if her administration were left to some of her more vocal lay “defenders”, who will turn a blind eye to all manner of sewage while crucifying those who dare notice the stink.”

    You can’t say that about me, you don’t know me, and it surprises me that Fr. Z allows comments like yours whereas he deleted some comments of mine for much less.

  47. Cavaliere says:

    I can go on and on, but the picture remains the same. The Church is plunged into her greatest crisis to date. There is apostasy everywhere.

    Yes, there is a crisis just like other periods in the Church’s history. Many of the circumstances you describe predate 1988. The religious orders were already emptying. Those that remained are dying off and will not be replaced by likeminded ones. The new orders are faithful and orthodox and thriving. Our seminary has the largest class in years and receiving a much better formation. Immorality was alive and well in the 70′s and 80′s. Again the sexual abuse crisis was waning by the 1990′s. There are certainly problems with the “Faithful Citizenship’ document. But the fact that it was even written says something. It certainly couldn’t have been written in 1988 at the height of the Bernardin era. Yes there are problems in Austria/Germany/Italy but again those go before 1988. The book The Rhine Flows into the Tiber was written long before. In Austria there are some 300 priests who have made public statements of dissent, which is no small number but hardly “the majority” of Austrian priests. Heterodox Bishops are retiring and being replaced by more orthodox ones. And I could go on. However, that is all irrelevant for two reasons.

    1) the ‘state of emergency’ argument was not solely dependent on the entire crisis in the Church but on specifics related to the survival of the SSPX. At the time Archbishop Lefebvre stood virtually alone. Today there are numerous priests, Bishops, and Cardinals and most importantly ,Pope Benedict, who support much of what the SSPX is seeking.
    2) The Church has faced grave crisis in her past. Is this one worse? Maybe yes, maybe no. However no group can determine by itself that it is the sole preserver of “Tradition” until the crisis passes, allowed to exist outside the visible Church structures.

  48. Peter in Canberra says:

    In any battle, discipline is needed. Don’t run out of the shield wall just because you feel like it Fr Pfluger …

    This is unfortunately being used as a stick to beat the talks and the SSPX with. eg: http://www.cathnews.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=28519

  49. thereseb says:

    Fr Z – your suggestion for dealing with Fr P is quite over the top. Set phasers to stun, and practise your vulcan death grip, instead – in case of emergency.

  50. Jason says:

    The SSPX will be regularized in God’s time. There will be many blessings that flow from that. One of them will be that the folks who direct slings and arrows against them will no longer be able to imagine that they have any basis to do so.

  51. Ezra says:

    As a matter of fact, most members and followers of the Fraternité defend [Bishop Williamson on the Holocaust] and support his statements

    Evidence for this “fact”? It’s all very well to complain about the alleged strawmen of others, but don’t expect those complaints to be taken seriously when you cheerfully use the same comment to erect your own.

  52. Centristian says:

    albizzi:

    “Therefore since it issued no new dogma the faithfuls are free to ignore it if they wish so. Are you OK with that? I am not a sede, but I prefer to ignore that council that brought too much confusion and havoc among us, hoping that better days will come and cancel all its bad outcomes.”

    I think it was the era during which the Second Vatican Council was convened that caused alot of the confusion and havoc, to be honest. Another significant problem was–I think it has to be acknowledged–the confused and perhaps inadequate leadership of a tortured pontiff. I refer, with all due respect, to Pope Paul VI. The 1960s combined with the enigmatic personality of Pope Paul turned out to be a disastrous combination, one that Pope John XXIII could not have forseen or imagined when he first summoned the Council. Had the Second Vatican Council been called during, say, the 1920s or 30s (as was actually discussed), with the same agenda, the results would have been, I think, quite different. Although I credit myself with no ability to accurately predict the past, I think one can justifiably imagine that had only Pius XI been struck with an inspiration to usher in a new Springtime, we might actually be enjoying it today. Had John XXIII been succeeded by someone other than Paul VI, we might be enjoying it today.

    The results of the reign of Pope Paul VI and the impact that the cultural upheaval had upon the Church have not been good. I am, albizzi, “OK” with the idea that good Catholics often question whether or not Vatican II actually did any good at all. If you look around, you have to wonder, don’t you? I wonder all the time. I don’t see many good results. I see a Church, not in a Springtime, but in a bleak mid-Winter. Is it because of Pope John XXIII and his inspiration, though? Is it because of the Second Vatican Council? Or is it, perhaps, despite both? Pope Paul blamed the disappointing results on the “smoke of Satan” permeating the Church, entering “through some fissure”.

    I think the Church actually needed a Second Vatican Council and I believe that John XXIII was justified in convoking it. Yes, the liturgy did need some updating and developing and the Church, as an institution, likewise needed renovations. From what I understand, the curtains did need to be opened and, yes, some sunshine and fresh air needed to be let in (to use language employed at that time). It seems to me that the need for a rejuvenation of the Church and the liturgy was first being felt during the reign of St. Pius X (by the saint, himself) and that his successors little by little got us to a place where a pope could have the confidence to actually convene an Ecumenical Council that would address a major renovation of the Church at the approach of a new millenium.

    Unfortunately, however, the results of it all were not the results that were hoped for or intended. A mess ensued: a chaotic nightmare in place of Pope John’s dream. The understandable temptation of the Lefebvrists, then, is to blame the bad results on the very effort to improve the Church and the liturgy and to label that effort as the actual cause of all the destruction. The Council should never have been summoned. No changes should have been made to the liturgy, at all. The Church was much better off before Vatican II and the solution–the only solution–is to take the Church back to exactly the way it was before the Council was summoned and never let anything be changed, ever again. I can’t see things from that perspective, however.

    Obviously, the Church was not as pristine, perfect, and peerless before Vatican II as the Lefebvrists (and others) want to make things out to be, otherwise the Pope, himself, and so many others, wouldn’t have perceived a need to summon an Ecumenical Council to make adjustments to begin with. Clearly, there was plenty of room for improvement. Pope John’s good efforts to attempt to rejuvenate the Church and the liturgy must not be despised because of the unfortunate results. Pope John died, for one thing. The baton was picked up by Paul VI for another. Then the world became too groovy for the Church.

    So it is a mistake, I think, albizzi, if you don’t mind me saying so, to just flatly ignore the Second Vatican Council rather than to view it three dimensionally, taking into consideration the reasons for which it was called, the times during which it was summoned, and the personalities that participated in it. Yes, I hope all the messes and all the filth in our Church are cleaned up and that all the “bad outcomes” are one day corrected. Of course I do. Let’s face it, the Church of 2011 is rather like a great big disappointing cesspool in so many respects. But to my way of thinking, the solution cannot be just a wholesale retreat back to pre-Conciliar days, keeping the Church there in that pre-Conciliar moment forever, imagining that that is the solution. That is the Lefebvrist solution. I think that’s a lazy solution, to be honest. The Second Vatican Council was convoked for reasons that we should not simply ignore.

    I think the Church is fortunate to be blessed with the leadership, at the moment, of a pope who actually recognizes the value of reassessing the Second Vatican Council, its results, and who is not afraid to admit that the defectible human leadership of the Church managed, somehow, to perhaps fail to hear correctly what the Holy Ghost was telling them and who, as a result, managed to get it all wrong.

    The Pope seems to be calling the Church to look again at the reasons why the Council was summoned, to begin with, and see if we cannot, now, somehow achieve the results that were actually desired for the Church when Pope John first heard the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in his ear.

    To clean up the mess and then to actually try, once again, to achieve that “Springtime” represents an enormous challenge. Happily, the Church finds herself with yet another courageous octagenarian pope who sees that challenge before him and who has chosen to embrace it rather than shy away from it. The SSPX want the Pope to shy away from that challenge and simply go back to the pre-Conciliar days. That, to them, is “tradition”. The Pope, who is tradition, sees matters differently.

  53. Imrahil says:

    Some remarks. In any case, arguments should remain objectively correct and I objectively see that the (German) SSPX “doesn’t dispute” Williamson’s conspiracy-theories only in so far as it utterly rejects them.

    And no, it is not sedevacantism to state that the Pope is not right. It is probably something quite of less importance: incorrect. It is most surely incorrect where the good will of the Popes are concerned, and that includes Paul VI. But it is the Catholic teaching (!) that Popes can be incorrect. With saying that “the Pope is tradition”, dear @Centristian, you wanted to express something which truly is the case [that the Pope has the benefit of doubt for his views to be in conformity with tradition, and when he choses to do so, also can with different degrees of liability including one infallible, authoritatively interpret what is tradition], but – sorry – do you not hear which way these words, literally interpreted, sound?

    Then, it is defensible that Rome should not completely give in to reactionaries. But it is of note that any slight idea that a reactionary may hold to some reactionary views without objectively sinning (or in whatever words this thought is expressed) is nowadays called “completely giving in to reactionaries”. In this sense, Rome should give in to reactionaries. They should allow that a Catholic Christian may be a reactionary while possibly being Catholic.

    The Church is more important than the Mass, Beatifications, Tradition, Scripture, etc. because She gives these.

    And by the way dear @Tina in Ashburn, your sentence
    The Church is more important than the Mass, Beatifications, Tradition, Scripture, etc. because She gives these.
    is, except for “Beatifications” and “etc.”, quite debatable. We are not collectivists.

  54. Imrahil says:

    Sorry, I copied Tina’s sentence twice.

  55. Father K says:

    St Raphael

    Their absolutions are invalid as are their “assisting” at “marriages” The priests of SSPX lack faculties for these sacraments and the Church does not supply in these cases. There is no ‘state of emergency’ any more than there is for most ‘general absolutions.’ You may disagree but that is the fact of the matter. What does it matter if the term ‘full communion’ is not scholastic? Call it what you will: at present their status is irregular – all their bishops and priests are suspended from the functions of their office.

  56. Ezra says:

    Father K,

    all their bishops and priests are suspended from the functions of their office.

    This isn’t quite accurate. Those priests who were ordained in the years from the Society’s foundation in 1970 until Archbishop Lefebvre’s suspension a divinis in July 1976 are not affected by the automatic suspension which would seem to apply to priests subsequently ordained. While they may be in something of a limbo by virtue of not having been incardinated since, and so are unable to exercise some of their priestly functions, it is incorrect to say that they are “suspended from the functions of their office”.

    As for your comments about marriage and confession: would you say with equal force that absolutions and sacramental marriages which have Eastern Orthodox clergy as their ministers are invalid?