Holy See Statement about SSPX and avoiding “ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences”

I thought something was coming!

This is from the Holy See Press Office:

COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X

Vatican City, 16 March 2012 (VIS) – Given below is the text of a communique relating to the Society of St. Pius X, released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.

“During the meeting of 14 September 2011 between Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, the latter was presented with a Doctrinal Preamble, accompanied by a Preliminary Note, as a fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See. This defined certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’.

“The response of the Society of St. Pius X to the aforesaid Doctrinal Preamble, which arrived in January 2012, was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before being submitted to the Holy Father for his judgement. Pursuant to the decision made by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Fellay was, in a letter delivered today, informed of the evaluation of his response. The letter states that the position he expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems which lie at the foundation of the rift between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X.

“At the end of today’s meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X was invited to clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI”.

So, it has come now to the point where the CDF and, we must take it, Benedict XVI are talking to them about formal schism, in Vaticanese, “ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences”.

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77 Responses to Holy See Statement about SSPX and avoiding “ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences”

  1. Fr_Sotelo says:

    “Let’s not talk about schism, let’s not use that word” Castrillon Hoyos may have to eat crow because it seems as if the Society is wearing on the Holy Father’s patience and his next move may be to just call a spade a spade.

  2. GregH says:

    It looks like the CDF and, I assume, Pope Benedict has finally drawn a line in the sand.

  3. Legisperitus says:

    According to Rorate, the deadline is Divine Mercy Sunday.

  4. Tom Esteban says:

    Schism is coming.

    If they reconcile (praying with all my heart!) I’m sure a good chunk of the SSPX will not reconcile. If that happens, they’ll probably continue on ad infinitum as the ‘real’ SSPX or perhaps finally admit that the SSPX position is sedevacantism-without-the-guilt and just go full sede. I see this coming from the English and French. I pray that I am wrong!

    If they don’t reconcile… that’s it – schism. It seems that way anyway. Bishops, seminaries, ordinations, chapels, marriage tribunals, praying (à la the Orthodox) for “Rome to convert”. That’s schism. And as the years go on, they’ll have to consecrate more Bishops, open more seminaries and finally they’ll just get sick of their situation and, well, go on their merry way and leave the Church of Christ to make their own. Maybe, maybe not. I hope not. I pray not.

    We all want the SSPX regularized… I have a strong wish to see the liberals whine and moan :-D

  5. GregH says:

    Father Z,

    Can you please tell us your thoughts on this? Are we to assume this is the last chance for the Bishop Fellay to “get it right” so to speak and there won’t be anymore back and forth?

    [I don't think it is right to talk about "last chances" in our Holy Church, when all the people involved are alive and well. Dum spiro spero. That said, at a certain point, having invited and admonished repeatedly, eventually the law is applied.]

  6. Denis says:

    Neocats in, SSPX out…how thoroughly depressing and dispiriting.

  7. oldcanon2257 says:

    I read the news in this post with heavy heart. Through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and that of the Society’s namesake Pope St. Pius X, may these situations be resolved according to God’s will.

    Satan hates the Church, especially her bishops and priests, so I’m sure he will do whatever it takes to destroy unity (divide and conquer).

    How about we readers of Father Z’s blog offer rosaries daily until Divine Mercy Sunday? For the Holy Father, for the Church and the FSSPX, please. Our Blessed Mother is the most powerful intercessor with her Divine Son.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  8. Jack Orlando says:

    I have just learned this. It will take time to collect my thoughts. For now, off the top of my head:

    1. Fr. Z is right. The Vatican is talking about formal schism.

    2. I suspect that this schism is increasing likely. And that means …

    3. it’s time for my friends in the Society to decide. Either they go with the Society into schism or go to Rome and support the Extraordinary Form. I don’t see a third choice.

  9. Denis says:

    “At the end of today’s meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X was invited to clarify”

    So Bp. Fellay was “moved” and, consequently, “was invited”. Can this possibly be less clear? How can Bp. Fellay have secured an invitation simply by being moved? Was it someone else who was “moved” and then invited Bp. Fellay? Did Bp. Fellay accept an invitation because he was moved?

  10. acardnal says:

    This is a most unfortunate set of circumstances and grieves me because the SSPX can offer so much particularly with regards to liturgical celebrations. We must pray that the Holy Spirit will guide all concerned parties to an acceptable solution.

  11. Ambrose Jnr says:

    If it comes to schism, which I sincerely hope won’t be the case, would this also not strengthen the hand of the liberals all over the world and impact at the diocesan level the FSSP/Institute of Christ the King/IBP negatively, as collateral damage, notwithstanding that they are completely faithful to the Magisterium?

    And what about the reform of the reform in the liturgy…no more support for Latin in the Mass at the diocesan level, not to resemble the “schismatics”, as liberals will be delighted to state?

    The ramifications of all this, if it comes to that, seem pretty scary…can’t the SSPX not just get smart and agree to the Vat 2 statements which are the bone of contention by interpreting them away the way the 20th century jesuits did with just anything? For the good of the Bride of Christ…why would this not be a reasonable price to pay for the SSPX?

  12. Prof. Basto says:

    Vatican Radio reports that Rome has set a deadline for a reply by the Society: April 15.

    “http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/fr1/Articolo.asp?c=571988″

  13. irishgirl says:

    This is indeed heavy news. I know of an SSPX chapel in my diocesan city. I’ve even attended their pilgrimage at Auriesville Shrine in June (twice, both in heavy rain).
    I hope and pray that this is not the ‘last chance’ for reconciliation, and that the Vatican has not drawn the proverbial line in the sand.
    I agree with what Denis said above: Neocats (Neocatecuminal Way) in, SSPX out. Don’t understand this….
    We need the good and holy priests of the SSPX ‘IN’ the Church, not ‘OUT’!
    Praying and hoping for a solution by Low Sunday…..

  14. totustuusmaria says:

    It’s hard to foresee a better moment for the SSPX to restore communion of governance. And it’s not just governance that has been wounded, it’s communion of sacrament. The SSPX priests won’t assist at the Masses of their own ordinaries. Some wouldn’t even receive the Blessed Sacrament from the Pope in his own private chapel. Some reject an entire rite of the Mass, not only as imprudent and and a-historical, but as poisonous in itself. As such they have breached the communion of sacrament, at least to a certain degree.

    The Holy Catholic Church is a communion of faith, governance, and sacraments. If they are operating illegally outside of the jurisdiction of the Church, if they are are refusing obedience to the lawful decrees of the Ordinaries and even the Pope, if they have consecated Bishops and are orgaining priests and making judgements about the invalidity of marriages, and if they are refusing communion even with Bishops and refuse any participation in the Eucharistic rite that the Pope and the Bishops use, there is real concern about schism. And from the point of view both of Rome and the SSPX, there seems to be some problem with communion in faith. The SSPX accuses Rome of heresy over religious freedom, collegiality, and ecumenism. I do not know what the Holy See’s theological issues with the faith of the SSPX are — I personally don’t see anything I would call “heretical” in the faith of the SSPX — but there seems to be an issue of faith from the Holy See’s point of view too.

    If you wound or breach communion in governance, sacraments, AND faith, the argument that there is some sort of schism becomes very strong. Eventually, as Fr. Sotelo put it above, you have to call a spade a spade. If there actually is a schism, it is not an act of charity to whitewash it in hopes that there will be a convergence as the years go by. Charity, instead, demands clarity.

  15. heway says:

    Well, Bishop Fellay obviously does not need my prayers – there is no compromise for him.
    I have 3 friends who are at this moment facing the pain and ulitmate death from cancer – that is where my prayers are centered, and on God’s will. My country is in dire need of prayer and here I am thinking of my children and grandchildren – that they may enjoy religous freedom. Bishop Fellay knows and has known the ‘score’. The word is ‘obedience’ which cannot be obtained without humility.
    Btw Father, we thoroughly enjoyed The War of the Vendee. Maybe a look at what is to come? [It is you who have said it.]
    Thanks for suggesting it.

  16. Denis:

    I believe that portion was translated with a misplaced modifier. It should have read:

    “At the end of today’s meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, [the Holy Father invited] the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to clarify”

    …or something like that.

  17. Phil_NL says:

    @Denis: Unless I’m very much mistaken, it should be read as: “At the end of today’s meeting, [HH BXVI], moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, [invited] the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X [to clarify his positions] ”.

    Which would be Vaticanese for: “Ok, son, I like you and would hate to declare a formal schism, so for the sake of all of us, I’m going to give you one more chance to repudiate your errors!” I wouldn’t even be suprised if the actual words in the conversation were a lot closer to those above than the phrasing in the communique.

    And ironically, that would exactly be the tough-talking many SSPX-adherents love to see in popes….

    Of course, the situation is beyond sad. In all likelihood, the only real demand made of the SSPX is that they’d acknowledge the successive popes has a right to issue the documents they signed; I very much doubt they would be required to agree with their contents – just accepting them as part of the Church, as they’d be unlikely to have any partical effect om them anyway. So it boils down to obedience, and if Fellay cs don’t want to give that, it’s over.

  18. TheAcolyte says:

    Something critical is being forgotten: the SSPX is already (and always has been) in communion with Rome. Both Canon Law and Church precedence prove this without a shadow of a doubt. It is the same situation as with St. Athanasius and Pope Liberius – only this crisis is far worse.

  19. wolfeken says:

    The fact that neither side is giving up is encouraging. [Right!]

    As I try to remain hopeful, I can’t help but re-state that this is about fitting a square peg in a round hole. It is about coming up with a plan where the Second Vatican Council and the liturgy/sacraments/discipline/beliefs/interpretations in place during 1962 can somehow co-exist. I don’t see how that is possible.

    The SSPX does not believe in any other changes that came during and after the Second Vatican Council (and I side with them). Religious liberty, ecumenism and liturgy/sacraments. So it’s a matter of granting the SSPX the freedom to disagree with any and all of the changes, or not.

  20. anilwang says:

    It’s still too early to tell. Given the previous request for clarification, I’m guessing Bishop Fellay is hedging his bets and being ambiguous in the hopes that he won’t cause a schism within the SSPX. The apparently Pope isn’t letting him off the hook.

  21. AnnAsher says:

    God of mercy move the hearts of men with the fire of your Divine love and reveal to them Your Holy Will.

  22. ppb says:

    Ambrose Jnr: If there is a formal schism (God forbid), there will probably be a temporary period of confusion in some areas as priests and laity on both sides shift allegiances, but on the whole I don’t think it will be at all negative for the FSSP, etc. On the contrary, I suspect far more will leave the SSPX for groups in full union than will do the opposite. Also, the whole association of the traditional Mass with “schism” has been greatly weakened in the past five years thanks to Summorum Pontificum, so I think a lot more people in all levels of the Church now comprehend that the EF has an accepted place in the Church – certainly a lot more than was the case, say, ten years ago.

  23. Sixupman says:

    I would be more impressed if +++Levada and his cohorts devoted their efforts to those of real schismatic thought in the Dicasteries of Europe and elsewhere.

    +++Levada is placing +Fellay in the same Catch 22 position in which Msgr. Lefebvre found himself when is brother bishops turned on him for sticking to his Oath.

  24. Mary Jane says:

    I am still hopeful…but I am worried, too. This entire situation is very near and dear to my heart right now. I have a number of good friends who “are SSPX”, and I really am worried about what they will do if the Society does not reconcile but ends up in formal schism.

    Personally, I think the SSPX (and a lot of laity who attend SSPX masses) are really confused about a lot of things, including the OF, the FSSP, etc. Anyone who isn’t SSPX is automatically labeled “suspect”. The OF, oh well it’s sinful to go. The FSSP, well they “compromised” – oh and they celebrate the 1962 missal not the 1957, gasp! – so stay away from them too.

    Anyway, rambling now…but I think we need to double our prayer efforts! I hope with all my heart that the reconciliation comes about, and that there isn’t a small group that persists and breaks away.

  25. Legisperitus says:

    anilwang: I hope you meant “apparently the Pope” rather than “the apparently Pope”!

  26. Ted says:

    From my understanding, the SSPX claims to hold the doctrines that the Church held just prior to Vatican II. If they are right and the Church did change its doctrines after Vatican II then there clearly is a conundrum.
    But I wonder if the two parties might not be talking past each other, as was largely the case with Martin Luther and the Church after Germany had been infected with the Nominalism that subtly modified the meaning of the theological words that each party was using. After 50 years, it is quite possible that the sense and usage of their theological vocabulary has paralleled the evolution of two the different weltanschauungs.
    In any case, it would be interesting to see the texts of these negotiations.

  27. wmeyer says:

    With the Church under attack from so many sides at once, it would be a tremendous gift for the SSPX to return to full communion with Rome. Hopefully, the change in status of existing SSPX chapels to full churches would also be cause for reflection on the part of those still dissenting and innovating in the name of the Spirit of Vatican II.

    I pray for both sides of the discussions, and for an end to the separation.

  28. Geoffrey says:

    I will continue to pray that the SSPX opens their eyes. The Holy Father has been so very generous to them. Couldn’t they meet him even half way?

    A technical issue: The excommunications for the illicit consecration of bishops was lifted. If the SSPX are not officially reconciled, what canonical measures are there? Excommunication again? Talk about embarrassing. Still, it was a show of good faith on the part of the Holy Father.

  29. Centristian says:

    “So, it has come now to the point where the CDF and, we must take it, Benedict XVI are talking to them about formal schism…”

    Which was, I believe, the original characterization of the situation when Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre first consecrated the four bishops in 1988, a characterization which lasted, I think, until the excommunication of the four bishops under Pope John Paul II was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI. Then, suddenly, we weren’t allowed to use the “s” word any longer, it seemed, regardless of the fact that the situation had not changed one iota. But soon, apparently, we’ll be able to call it what it is, again…unless Fellay somehow miraculously sees the light and suddenly realizes that the Pope and the hierarchy have a legitimate right to govern the Catholic Church.

    Now, I suppose, the four bishops will be re-excommunicated (despite, once again, no change at all in their behavior), but this time along with all the priests and religious and all other persons who qualify as “members” of the so-called Society of St. Pius X. I wonder if the same will hold true of the laity who support them.

    If it’s finally going to become a situation whereby the Lefebvrists are labelled schismatics “for real this time,” I’m glad. The confusion concerning the correct characterization of the Lefebvrist situation had become quite bewildering. If they are deemed, once again, finally, to be in formal schism, this will put the matter to bed for faithful Catholics. The Lefebvrists will continue to deny it until the end of time, of course, claiming that THEY are the authentic remnant of the Church, and that it was Rome and the hierarchy who separated themselves from the Catholic Church (as they say now, for the most part, in any case).

    Once the terms “schism” and “rupture” are formally cemented for good, however, bringing to an end forever Econe’s occasional coquettish flirtatons with Rome, will the Lefebvrists have any other choice but to take the next logical step toward an open embrace sedevacantism? I wonder. I don’t see what other direction they would go in, frankly. How can they remain indefinitely in a Church that “is” the Church, but at the same time “isn’t” (which is essentially the way they characterize the Church of today). That just doesn’t seem to be a sustainable situation: a Church crippled by an everlasting “Crisis” which provides them with their “supplied jurisdiction”.

    They can’t forever say that the chastisement that will fix everything is coming soon. They’ve been relying on that chastisement (“Three Days of Darkness” and the like) for decades, now. At some point, when decades have turned into a century and no heavenly chastisement has occurred, that idea has to be scrapped. Perhaps they’ll wait that long; who knows.

    My hope and prayer is that, if schism it is to once again be, that many of the good priests and religious and laity who are currently united to the Lefebvrist organization will wake up, see that what they belong to really amounts to a schismatic cult, and come back home. This is my constant hope and prayer with respect to the “SSPX”.

  30. anilwang says:

    Legisperitus, oops. Thanks for the clarification/correction.

    One more reason to use Latin. Word order doesn’t turn you into a sedavantist!

    TLM: In hoc signo vinces

  31. ContraMundum says:

    Let’s keep a few things in mind.

    1. A formal rupture is not necessarily worse in the long term than the informal rupture that is the status quo. The SSPX bishops may not currently be excommunicated (though I think they would be if this becomes formal), but my understanding is that neither they nor their priests are authorized to licitly say Mass. They are in a sort of de facto rupture, which is why these talks are necessary. If the talks fail, the adherents (not just the priests who are formally part of SSPX, but also the laity) of SSPX will have to choose. Some will join Rome who would otherwise have remained in de facto rupture.

    2. A formal rupture may be followed at some point in the future by a reunification. It’s a generational question. Are the younger priests in SSPX more in favor of a healed relationship with Rome, or do they see that as a wild goose chase by their elders? If the latter is the case, the situation is much more urgent.

    3. No matter what happens with these talks, some will come back to Rome. No matter what happens with these talks, some will refuse to come back to Rome. This is not all-or-nothing; it’s about percentages.

    4. Let’s not blow SSPX out of proportion. They have about as many priests worldwide as the combined dioceses of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Tyler, TX. Not insignificant by numbers, but scarcely overwhelming, either. They represent a little more than 0.1% of Catholic priests (by which are probably meant Latin Rite priests). Of course, their followers will insist that they are much more important than their numbers indicate. They should not expect such arguments to impress people who are not already SSPX adherents.

  32. ContraMundum says:

    They can’t forever say that the chastisement that will fix everything is coming soon. They’ve been relying on that chastisement (“Three Days of Darkness” and the like) for decades, now. At some point, when decades have turned into a century and no heavenly chastisement has occurred, that idea has to be scrapped. Perhaps they’ll wait that long; who knows.

    You underestimate how creative people can be with these kinds of predictions. Just look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They still maintain that Jesus “really” returned in 1914, but only in an invisible, spiritual way. Harold Camping tried that kind of out last year, too; I’ll give him a little more respect than I give most such crackpots, because he at least finally admitted that he was wrong.

  33. “3. it’s time for my friends in the Society to decide. Either they go with the Society into schism or go to Rome and support the Extraordinary Form. I don’t see a third choice.”

    I do. Various groups within the Society, and/or individuals affiliated with them, will return to perfect communion on their own. In time, the Society will be a remnant of its former self, with hardliners following one or two of the remaining bishops, persisting in what amounts to a prolonged siege mentality.

  34. dspecht says:

    ContraMundum:

    You and others seem to overlook that many approved apparitions and private revelations are in favor of such a chastisement. (The third secret of Fatima, Don Bosco, …).

    And we have all the prophecies that there shall be at least a triumphe of the Church after a unprecedent decline (cf. Fatima, Don Bosco, Ludwig Maria Grignon d.M., Maximilian Kolbe, Katharina Emmerich, …). – Katharina Emmerich is very clear re that: there is a decline and destroying of the Church, so that the Church is nearly totaly destroyed — and then the HEART of MARY appears and a JUNGER and more SEVERE POPE will expell many, many (original: “SEHR VIELE”) bishops and priests out of/from the Church, because they were bad – and install totally different clergy!

    So we have to wait for this JUNGER, STRICTER POPE and the triumphe of MARY — and that is not some stupid SSPX-thought, but what all this approved prophecies and Saints tell us!

  35. dspecht says:

    last comment: must be “YOUNGER” Pope, not “junger” (sorry, original is in German…!)

    And well, not all of this prophecies/Saints speak of this YOUNGER, STRICTER POPE – but all speak of a decline and destroying and some chastisement and turning point and glorious triumphe.
    But ANNA KATHARINA EMMERICH f.e speaks expressely of this YOUNGER and STRICTER/MORE SEVERE POPE, who will clean the CHURCH by expelling many many bishops and other clergy!!

  36. Legisperitus says:

    The last thing the devil wants is Rome and the SSPX reading off the same page. Therefore we should pray for that result.

  37. ContraMundum says:

    I see you combine “approved” and “Third Secret of Fatima”, yet you do not seem to be talking about the approved content of the Third Secret of Fatima. As for the unapproved speculations regarding the content of the third secret, you’re entirely right; I am overlooking them.

    It requires a certain egocentrism to think that today we are living in a time of crisis greater than the rise of Islam, greater than the Protestant Reformation, greater than the Masonic revolutions of the 1800′s, and greater than the rise of both Communism and National Socialism. Those crises did not result in anything as dramatic as 3 days of darkness, but they were surely not as great as the current crisis! After all, we know that we are at the crossroads of history, because it is when we are here!

    I expect chastisements, to be sure, but the normal kind. The chastisement for eating too much is to get fat. The chastisement for spending to much is to go broke. Western Civilization has been doing lots of things like that, each of which comes with its own chastisement, and it looks like the bills for several things will all come at the same time. This looks to be seriously unpleasant, and undeniably traceable to the mistakes we’ve been making, but not undeniably supernatural.

  38. St. Rafael says:

    This is all very sick. The SSPX does not deny a single dogma or doctrine and yet they have to jump over hoop after hoop just to get ordinary faculties, while the Pope allows heretics into the Church with a heretical theology and a Protestant liturgy in the form of the Neocath Way. The Church is collapsing on all sides with a massive apostasy and rampant Modernism among the priests and bishops. The Pope can regularize the SSPX any time he wants, but does not do it, while at the same time he allows Freemasons to remain in top posts in the curia and allows Freemasonry to control the Vatican.
    It’s going to take World War III to wake up the Pope and the many Modernists and apostates in the Church to how absolutely they have failed in every aspect of their mission, ministry, and governance.

  39. BobP says:

    @manwithblackhat

    I agree. The SSPX will be broken up, one way or another. This has always been obvious from the philosophical differences between the four bishops.

  40. kgurries says:

    Until April 15 there is still reasonable hope for reconciliation. But why do the odds of reconciliation greatly diminish after that date? Perhaps the Holy See feels compelled to make public the doctrinal preamble as well as the nature of the doctrinal problems? Will it be accompanied by some kind of formal condemnation of doctrinal errors? If this comes to pass, and without heroic humility on the part of Bishop Fellay, reconciliation seems much more distant.

  41. ContraMundum says:

    I’m afraid SSPX has no history of “heroic humility”.

  42. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    In the recent past I’ve read some of Fellay’s statements as suggesting he would push his case as far as he could. I think the HF is letting him know the time for brinkmanship is over. BXVI’s birthday is 4/16. It would be a great gift to him for his efforts at achieving reconciliation if Fellay were to finally allow himself to be called home to Rome.

    If they don’t, I’m gonna start calling the “Western Old Believers.” It’s the same kookiness.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    This made me so sad to read. Heavy heart. I pray the Holy Father will do the surprising thing (to some) and turn fully towards the SSPX -stance! Holy Mother, intercede for us.

  44. BaedaBenedictus says:

    ContraMundum,

    “It requires a certain egocentrism to think that today we are living in a time of crisis greater than the rise of Islam, greater than the Protestant Reformation, greater than the Masonic revolutions of the 1800?s, and greater than the rise of both Communism and National Socialism.”

    Easy for you to say. Virtually my entire extended family has apostacized outside of an 88-year-old great aunt and a group of SSPX-going second cousins. And my bishop is selling Hans Küng and John Shelby Spong books out of his cathedral (which, by the way, has had its statues and sanctuary smashed and bulldozed out to accommodate a Cranmer table set in the middle of the nave). Most of the parishes of the diocese have closed in the last 40 years, vocations are just about nil, and of the remaining priests, most have a shaky-at-best adherence to the Catholic faith and have happily turned the diocese into an ugly liturgical black hole.

    Do I begrudge my second cousins from going to the SSPX church? Not at all.

    Perhaps Rome can stop inflicting what’s left of our diocese with bad and worse “shepherds” along with requiring the SSPX to get with the Vatican II program in religious liberty and ecumenism.

    BTW, I don’t frequent SSPX churches, but then I don’t have any children to worry about drowning in the surrounding ecclesial cesspool.

  45. Legisperitus says:

    Rorate now has an article up from Le Figaro which takes a more optimistic view.

  46. RichR says:

    I cannot see the Superior General of the SSPX comforting his flock by saying, “We must wait for a better time.” This is their best opportunity before separatism becomes a permanent way of life with the next generation.

  47. ContraMundum says:

    What are the younger generation of SSPX priests and parishioners like? Are they more willing to compromise, more willing to actually obey the Pope instead of just praying for him? Or are they more convinced that the Pope needs to “turn fully towards the SSPX”?

    If the former, reunion may be possible after the current leadership generation dies off.

    If the latter, it may already be too late; even if the current leadership generation were to reunite with Peter, they might well be disowned by the younger generation.

  48. The Egyptian says:

    someone please explain to me how the SSPX (whom I am hoping come to their senses) and the neocat way can coexist in the same Church, talk about oil and water.

  49. @The Egyptian –
    It can work because 99.9% of all Catholics are not affiliated with either group. They are both just 2 tiny minorities in the Church.

  50. Capt. Morgan says:

    The Egyptian asked: “someone please explain to me how the SSPX (whom I am hoping come to their senses) and the neocat way can coexist in the same Church, talk about oil and water.”
    That’s easy. Read this document just released this week:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_doc_20111129_teologia-oggi_en.html

    I quote from the document;
    “To some extent, the Church clearly needs a common discourse if it is to communicate the one message of Christ to the world, both theologically and pastorally. It is therefore legitimate to speak of the need for a certain unity of theology. However, unity here needs to be carefully understood, so as not to be confused with uniformity or a single style. ”
    When you read the document you will see where we are today. This and that; up and down; yes and no. Vatican Council II speak. Which is what Bishop Fellay is being asked to give assent to. You see, once you compromise you have fallen. But compromise is all we have had for the past 50 years, and you can see the fruits.

    Oh Holy Mother of God, Pray for Your Son’s Church.

  51. It looks as though the Holy Father is asking everyone to choose sides in the upcoming battle, and one is either with the Church or against her, just as Jesus said that one is either for Him or against Him. There isn’t going to be any middle ground, just as there is no “third option” apart from Heaven or eternal separation from God. And rest assured that the far left will be given this choice just as the far right has been.

  52. Margaret says:

    @Contramundum– I have a family member who “married into” the SSPX. The spouse was born and raised into SSPX, confirmed by Lefebrve himself. The couple now has a beautiful, young, growing family. They are fully two generations into this. The spouse and children have never known anything else. The one time I know the spouse attended a Novus Ordo Mass (family wedding) I noted out of the corner of my eye spouse suddenly needed to use the restroom shortly before the consecration… (I apologize for the awkward phrasing, I’m trying to avoid use of gendered pronouns to keep it as ambiguous as possible.)

    I can say nothing bad about them personally– they are pious, fun-loving, diligent, kind, generous people. Their virtues no doubt put mine to shame. Yet, although they “pray for the pope at every Mass!” as they repeatedly point out, I unfortunately am not convinced that when push comes to shove, that they will follow said Pope.

  53. ContraMundum says:

    @Capt. Morgan

    “Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.”

    That’s to be expected when you’re dealing with someone who (1) knows what he’s talking about and (2) is careful about what he says.

  54. ContraMundum says:

    @Margaret

    Yes, and in the same sense I can tell you that some of my Protestant relatives are just the same. I have a 2nd cousin who, last I heard, was trying to join a “tentmakers” organization, trying to find a way to get a job in North Africa so he could work as an “undercover” missionary.

  55. Virgile says:

    As a matter of fact the Vatican is now talking about a formal schism.
    On the one hand you have a lot of French Bishops and lay people who are obviously strongly opposed to the idea of any reconciliation between the Society and the Church. For them, the Society doesn’t even exist. So it may possible that many lay people in the Society are now wondering about what could be the point of a reconciliation for them.
    On the other hand, you have quite a lot of people inside the Society who are supporting the idea of a reconciliation. If there is any schism, it is most probable that it will occur first whitin the Society itself – and it has in a way already begun.
    At least in France, most of the “neocat” who stick to the same ideological view of their religion since decades now will disappear sooner or later – and the surviving one will find increasingly difficult to stay in the Catholic Church. It may be that another schism is already on is way. Who knows…

    V.

  56. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    “Choose this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15)

    Two brief observations.

    First, I hope and pray that the majority of the members of the SSPX – if not all – will take this as the clarion call that they need to finally affirm that the Holy Spirit still animates, guards and guides the Church in full communion with the Successor of St Peter, which also includes the Second Vatican Council, called, authorized and approved by Peter with the communion of Catholic Bishops throughout the world. To be sure, the Church does not always say the best things in the best way at the best times. But who are we to sit in judgment upon the Church?

    In fact, as an Eastern Christian I for one think a better case could be made that Vatican I represents more of a rupture with Sacred Tradition than Vatican II, despite the Latin Church’s liturgical shenanigans that followed in the latter’s post-conciliar wake. (N.B. I am not making such an argument. I am only saying that a more worthy case could be made for that in some respects, especially as it pertains to claims of universal jurisdiction when interpreted through an ultra-montanist lens, than the case made by many of the self-appointed critics of Vatican II.)

    Secondly, once the Society (God willing) returns to full unity, let us pray that the Holy Father continues to devote more of his energies to working with the bishops to eliminate the “soft sectarianism” within his own sui iuris Latin Church, especially where offending clergy and laity continue to experiment with the liturgy. Restore ad orientem worship, chant, incense, sacred iconography and vestments, mystagogical catechesis, the PROPER Order of Initiation, the Divine Praises and many of the other rich traditions reflecting the universal patrimony of the Churches, both Eastern and Western. It is scandal that I as an Eastern Christian have a greater liturgical affinity with High Church Anglicanism with which I am not in full communion than with the average Latin parish down the street with which I am in full communion.

    The full flowering of the liturgical genius of Latin Catholicism is necessary to manifest the eschatological glory of the Face of Christ reflected in all of the traditions of the Catholic Church. No rite should be left behind!

    I believe that the restoration of full unity with the Society, purified of any self-will, will be a positive step forward in this regard. Prayers for the Holy Father, for Bishop Fellay and the other Bishops, Priests, Deacons and faithful in the Society.

  57. Panterina says:

    How sad. The SSPX risks becoming just a small footnote in the history of our glourious Church, while instead it could become a major force by working together with Rome for the salvation of souls for all faithful and people of good will.

  58. dspecht says:

    ContraMundum:

    No, I spoke of the “approved”, official third secret of Fatima – it is perfectly in line with the visions of Don Bosco: A Pope fleeing over the dead bodies of clergy, beeing attacked, … blood and death, ruins…..

    But, as I said before, I do not want to stress the chastisement, but the other aspect of many prophecies: a radical Church-decline, troubeling times, a big crisis — and then some turning-point through the triumphe of our Mother, the m.b.V. Mary and her immaculate heart.
    And, as A. K. Emmerich says, there is a need for an expulsion of many, many bad bishops and priest to clean and renew the Church — I am waiting and waiting for that…. — what will be done after all, according to K. Emmerich, by a stricter and younger Pope!

  59. ContraMundum says:

    Very well. The official third secret of Fatima could mean just about anything. Certainly John Paul II thought that the bishop dressed in white who falls to a gunshot referred to the assassination attempt against him — which, after all, took place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. As for the other bloodshed, well, he 20th century was full of it. There will be martyrs in the future, certainly, but the vision did not necessarily have to do with anything yet to come. If you want it to refer to the future, it might as well refer to many future events. To steal a line from Battlestar Galactica, :”All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.” As regards saintliness and apostasy, persecution and perseverance, that line is true.

    A younger pope? That’s not much of a prophecy. Benedict XVI is the oldest pope in 109 years.

    A stricter pope? A stricter pope would not be in talks with SSPX. A stricter pope would leave them to stew in their excommunication and ponder this from the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

    Hence there are but three classes of persons excluded from the Church’s pale: infidels, heretics and schismatics, and excommunicated persons. Infidels are outside the Church because they never belonged to, and never knew the Church, and were never made partakers of any of her Sacraments. Heretics and schismatics are excluded from the Church, because they have separated from her and belong to her only as deserters belong to the army from which they have deserted. It is not, however, to be denied that they are still subject to the jurisdiction of the Church, inasmuch as they may be called before her tribunals, punished and anathematized. Finally, excommunicated persons are not members of the Church, because they have been cut off by her sentence from the number of her children and belong not to her communion until they repent.

    They might also ponder the traditional teaching about what happens to those who die in such a state. That’s what a stricter pope would do.

  60. ContraMundum says:

    Very well. The official third secret of Fatima could mean just about anything. Certainly John Paul II thought that the bishop dressed in white who falls to a gunshot referred to the assassination attempt against him — which, after all, took place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. As for the other bloodshed, well, he 20th century was full of it. There will be martyrs in the future, certainly, but the vision did not necessarily have to do with anything yet to come.

    If you want it to refer to the future, it might as well be archetypal and refer to many future events. To steal a line from Battlestar Galactica, :”All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.” As regards saintliness and apostasy, persecution and perseverance, that line is true.

    A younger pope? That’s not much of a prophecy. Benedict XVI is the oldest pope in 109 years.

    A stricter pope? A stricter pope would not be in talks with SSPX. A stricter pope would leave them to stew in their excommunication and ponder this from the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

    Hence there are but three classes of persons excluded from the Church’s pale: infidels, heretics and schismatics, and excommunicated persons. Infidels are outside the Church because they never belonged to, and never knew the Church, and were never made partakers of any of her Sacraments. Heretics and schismatics are excluded from the Church, because they have separated from her and belong to her only as deserters belong to the army from which they have deserted. It is not, however, to be denied that they are still subject to the jurisdiction of the Church, inasmuch as they may be called before her tribunals, punished and anathematized. Finally, excommunicated persons are not members of the Church, because they have been cut off by her sentence from the number of her children and belong not to her communion until they repent.

    They might also ponder the traditional teaching about what happens to those who die in such a state. That’s what a stricter pope would do.

  61. Johnno says:

    ContraMundum:

    We are not yet living in a state of crisis similar to that of Islamic invasion or the Protestant wars. But the point of Fatima is that we are on the verge of them, and if we do not do as heaven instructed, then God will not provide a miraculous means to deter the aftereffects of the obvious results of where the current Church is headed. Of course you don’t need prophecy to tell you that, but the point was it was indeed given and supposed to be revealed to the Catholic faithful at precisely the time the very engine of the Church crisis was gearing up, and it wasn’t for obvious reasons that are now known to us concerning the events of Vatican II.

    With regards to Fatima and refusing to release the entire 3rd Secret or consecrate Russia, the Church essentially decided to follow human wisdom above God’s providence, and we all know how that turns out historically. The censoring of the entire secret, the distortion of the revealed text to that of the interpretation of the Vatican Secretary of State, and the refusal to consecrate Russia or to essentially change the words of Consecration to be more globally politically correct has ironically been reflected in the fruits of Vatican II; where there is widespread apostasy, rebellion against hierarchy, priests who have been changing the words of the mass, laity who have been freely inventing their own means of participation etc. Something that Pope Benedict XVI is now attempting to fix but he’s got a high hill to climb. I expect he will succeed in many places (amongst those faithful to orthodoxy), but fail in many others (amongst those determined to follow their own theology anyway). The Vatican’s disobedience to God through Mary has resulted in the rebellion of priests and bishops and cardinals who should be obeying the Pope. And their decision to ignore Mary’s warnings about Russia and Communism, led them to follow Ostpolitic to avoid condemning communism, and now the very errors of communism have spread throughout the world, and Mr. Barack Obama is freely pushing them in America. 2017 marks the centenary of Fatima. Though some suggest the deadline for consecration could be 2029, arguable based on Christ’s warning to the Church compared to the Kings of France that they may have a 100 year deadline before the great revolt. The how and when is speculative, but certainly not something we should ignore any more than we would ignore potential terrorist threats and not take prudent action to avoid them.

    One of the very things at this time required for the consecration to be successful would be for the Pope to exercise his authority as the Vicar of Christ to order the world’s bishops to obey him under penalty of excommunication. I believe John Paul II and Benedict XVI avoided doing so because they knew the state of the Church and that many bishops would disobey and rebel and thus didn’t want to cause schism under their direct command. But schism is coming whether they wanted it or not. No faithful bishop who is orthodox would have any reason not to obey the Pope and not consecrate Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The ingenious thing about the consecration is that it would purge the Church of modernists and heretical clergy who do not recognize the Pope’s authority or dogma. If it were done back then before Vatican II, no doubt the council would’ve turned out remarkably differently. Even if we do it today there would be a great obvious separating of the sheep from the goats. A parting of the sea, between the faithful and the apostates along with the lukewarm. Furthermore, if a miraculous conversion of Russia did in fact occur, then it would also lead many of those separated to repent and return back to the true Church with full submission and belief. It would also be a witnessed miracle to the secular world that God exists, miracles happen, and the true religion is the Catholic Faith, precisely identifiable because it was the Catholic Church that consecrated Russia, it was Mary who was the intercessor, and it was done by the segment of the Church that was orthodox and followed and obeyed the Pope.

    Even more practical is to consider the worldly consequences of Russia becoming a Catholic State. This aftereffect could also spill over potentially to convert the Chinese as well, and now we’d potentially have two dominating world powers with a mighty military, with the force of nuclear deterrence and financial power that would have vetoing power in the U.N. against the secularism of America and Europe. The Church needs a sword. And God has chosen Russia. A type of new ‘Rome’ where a powerful nation once known for persecuting Christians will be converted in the manner of Rome. The Russian Orthodox who have preserved the old Slavonic liturgy will be the norm for worshipers. And in an ironic way, God will have triumphed over the forces of atheistic communism in the same manner they did, where after allowing their enemy to gain power, they took it by virtue of a coup d’etat, and Heaven intends to utilize the same tactic. There’s nothing quite like demolishing your foes like the simplicity of allowing them to almost complete construction of the Tower of Babel only to see their years of progress and hard effort fall due to a single act of God. After they are scattered it’ll certainly be awhile before they even think about taking on the Church and God again or committing anything vile. Hence a great period of peace will naturally result. Why, following an unexplainable miraculous event, the Pope could simply walk into the U.N. unimpeded and demand changes in accord with Church teachings and you bet world leaders will be listening.

    There is every reason to act prudently and obey God. Even if things don’t turn out as the Fatimists expect with regards to a miraculous conversion of Russia, the means necessary to perform the consecration alone would leave the Church better off by purging itself of illicit clergy who will enter schism and excommunication by their own free will from the clear violation of not following their oaths to obey Christ’s Vicar. Either way it is destined to happen. The Pope could do it sooner before things get too bad, or the Pope will naturally find himself easily able to do it afterwards once things are already at their worst. It is all in his hands, and we must pray for him because no doubt the weight of the decision alongside the gamble the Pope believes he’d take if the consecration doesn’t turn out due to his unbelief which we all share to some degree or another, could be ‘fatal.’ But the result of that fatality will happen regardless, so there’s no reason not to act. We have faith that God will protect His Church. He has promised us a means through the consecration and we’d only be finally obeying what He asked by ‘saying the black and doing the red’ according to the manner of which the consecration was asked: Russia alone to Mary’s Immaculate Heart by the Pope and ALL the world’s Bishops in a public ceremony that takes about 5-10 minutes. So, why not do it?

  62. dspecht says:

    ContraMundum

    It does not seem that you really are willing to get the point:
    It is not Fatima alone and not only the third secret – it is this togehter and in line with all the others, Don Bosco, M.-J-Jahenny, Ludwig Maria G. d. M., Maximilian Kolbe, etc. – oh,and do not forget to add Akita, about Fr. Z. just has posted!!

    And fine, if you agree that it can not be under this Pope that the triumphe and turning-point comes – because “…Benedict XVI is the oldest pope in 109 years. ” – then that´s exactly my point (and the sspx´ers)!
    But why “That’s not much of a prophecy” in the 1820ies is a mystery for me. I really get the impression that you are not interested in a fair and seriouse discussion but only want to throw mud on persons that take this approved visions seriously (and especially sspx´ers, of course, because they are all lunatics believing in those private revelations!)

    And no – it is not what you listed what this new, stricter Pope will do – A.K.Emmerich expressely states what he will do and in what way he will be strikter: He will expell many, many prelates, bishops and priests because they were bad and will replace them with totaly new stuff. (cf. f.e. Geheimnisse des Alten und Neuen Bundes, Visionen der gottseligen A-K-.Emmerich, aufgezeichnet v. C. Brentano, Christiana-Verlag, “Streitende Kirche”).

  63. dspecht says:

    ContraMundum

    It does not seem that you really are willing to get the point:
    It is not Fatima alone and not only the third secret – it is this togehter and in line with all the others, Don Bosco, M.-J-Jahenny, Ludwig Maria G. d. M., Maximilian Kolbe, etc. – oh,and do not forget to add Akita, about Fr. Z. just has posted!!

    And fine, if you agree that it can not be under this Pope that the triumphe and turning-point comes – because “…Benedict XVI is the oldest pope in 109 years. ” – then that´s exactly my point (and the sspx´ers)!
    But why “That’s not much of a prophecy” in the 1820ies is a mystery for me. I really get the impression that you are not interested in a fair and seriouse discussion but only want to throw mud on persons that take this approved visions seriously (and especially sspx´ers, of course, because they are all lunatics believing in those private revelations!)

    And no – it is not what you listed what this new, stricter Pope will do – A.K.Emmerich expressely states what he will do and in what way he will be strikter: He will expell many, many prelates, bishops and priests because they were bad and will replace them with totaly new stuff. (cf. f.e. Geheimnisse des Alten und Neuen Bundes, Visionen der gottseligen A-K-.Emmerich, aufgezeichnet v. C. Brentano, Christiana-
    Verlag, “Streitende Kirche”).
    And yes, I also belong to those lunatics that hope and wait this event will come soon – perhaps with the next Pope, totaly traditional and severe!

  64. moon1234 says:

    I keep seeing that the SSPX is a “small minority” of Catholics, yet they are larger than all of the eastern rite churchs, who are in full communion, with the only exceptions being the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Maronite Catholic Church.

    Do we refer to the Eastern rite Churchs as “a minority of Catholics” or that they need to come to their senses? The eastern rite churchs have their own code of canon law, their own liturgy, etc. Yet, we want to label the SSPX as schismatics, etc. The SSPX are closer to Latin rite Catholics than any of the eastern churchs and are larger than most other rites in the Catholic faith. If the syrian Catholic church can exist without problems, then what is the problem with the SSPX?

    People also forget that the SSPX have valid Bishops and if they choose to ordain new bishops, they too will be valid Bishops. By forcing the situation with the SSPX Rome seems to pushing them away and into Schism.

    The neocats are approved and the SSPX is chastised. I really feel alienated by Rome and I am one of their defenders.

  65. Nicole says:

    moon1234 – The SSPX priests do not have regular faculties for saying Mass, or in the ordinary to hear confessions and witness marriages. There are some cases, though, where jurisdiction is supplied by the Church for these priests to hear confession and witness marriages, such as in the case of ignorance or perhaps inculpable error (regarding the lacking of the SSPX priests) by the penitents or contracting parties, or in the danger of death, etc.

    The priests and Bishops of the Eastern Rites in communion with Rome enjoy regular faculties, and so are not prevented nor forbidden from using these in the ordinary.

    The SSPX DO have validly consecrate Bishops and ordained priests, but they are also supposed to be subject to the Roman Pontiff…which includes obedience to his laws (i.e., Canon Law). If the Pope says that the SSPX priests do not have regular faculties, then the SSPX Bishops should command their priests to stop attempting to provide these sacraments ordinarily. I don’t see how it could be otherwise, knowing that the attempted or completed sacraments provided by the SSPX priests would be invalid in most cases as well as illicit and therefore injurious to His Divine Majesty, Jesus Christ.

  66. moon1234 says:

    I keep hearing that they do not have faculties, yet Rome has said one can fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending Mass at their chapels? If that is the case, then is Rome supplying faculties since it was Rome that said a Catholic can fulfill his Sunday obligation.

    I think it rather mean to think that the SSPX is somehow outside the Church and all of the abusive liberals are “in” the Church. Where does this thinking come from?

    My point is that we have many structures in the Church that are NOT involved with Rome in almost any way. All of the non-latin rite Churchs are essentially left on their own, develope their own canon law, liturgy, etc. In the SSPX case they are following the Latin rite of 1962 and the teachings in place (Which were for the WHOLE latin Church) at that time.

    What this boils down to is Rome is saying they do NOT want to examine VII for doctrinal errors. They want blind obediance from some who want clarity on why Catholic tradition was abandoned/changed. Even saint Paul rebuked Peter when he felt he went to far. Obediance to the truth is required. Blind obediance, when truth can not be explained would be a fools errand.

    I think my last statement is going to be the stumbling block. SSPX has some very detailed analysis and want clarifications on very important theological issues. Rome does not seem to want to deal with them.

    Remember the Aryan heresy? It consumed most of the Church for centuries. It was a very few who held the traditional trinitarian teaching. Eventually the Aryan heresy was purged from the Church. I think we are living through a very similar time.

  67. Nicole says:

    When a person says that the SSPX priests do not have regular faculties, it means that they are in an irregular situation by law, as in, they are either not submitting to the law and allowing it to regulate them as they should, or at this point, no external act of governance has been placed on them by some Bishop who is already given a place of rule by the Pope or the Pope himself in order to bring these back into well known and clearly observed compliance with Church Law, manifesting that they are regulated by it. This lacking of regular faculties effects the licitness of the Mass that the SSPX priests offers, but also the general validity of the confessions these priests hear and the marriages they witness.

    These priests, by virtue of the power bestowed in their ordination, can confect (validly) the Blessed Sacrament regardless of whether they are regularized or not. This, however, does not make the fact that they do so a morally good behavior. It in fact would be called illicit behavior, as they have been forbidden to celebrate Mass at this point.

    This is a very similar situation to [most of] the English speaking Latin Church between ~1973 and ~2011 and the currently persistent situation of the eastern schismatics (so-called with the misnomer Eastern Orthodox). While I do not believe that the English speaking Latin Church was forbidden by a recent explicit ruling from Rome to offer Mass as they were, as it was offered in English all those years would have made for an illicit Mass. Also, while the so-called EO are not forbidden by a recent explicit ruling from Rome to offer Mass, since they are also not in a regular situation their Masses would be illicit.

    I write about those other two examples above, because, as long as the Mass is valid, the bare bones are there for the Sunday Obligation to be filled. This is the same for the SSPX. Now, Rome or our Bishops could forbid going to the SSPX chapels out of a greater care to prevent scandal, but to my knowledge, they have not done so except in a general way. Individuals can choose not to attend such parishes as well for reasons of scandal, but a compelling need could quash the fear of such scandal.

    Obedience to Rome (i.e., the Roman Pontiff) is key here. It doesn’t suffice to profess the same Creed if one does not put into place an assent to everything that the Creed both explicitly and implicitly binds upon our belief and action. Also, while St. Paul did rightly give correction to St. Peter, as we have an example in Scripture, the SSPX Bishops are not doing the same thing as far as I can see. Up to this point, I haven’t seen much of them conferencing with the Pope or making explicit what their beef is with him. If they have no beef with the Pope, then there should be no problem here. Giving public correction is hardly asking for clarification as to WHY something was done.

    I don’t think that Rome is saying or has said that they do NOT want to re-open the documents of the Second Vatican Council. I think quite the opposite. It is silliness that a Bishop[s] is asking for clarity in issues that are already clear, anyway (i.e., in the First Vatican Council). I do remember reading of the Arian heresy, which is still present, in fact, but that has nothing to do with the SSPX presently. If the SSPX Bishops believe that salvation of souls is at stake, and this is a time like the time of the Arian heresy, then do they not have an obligation to speak both publicly and clearly in condemnation of such errors (not merely ambiguously and vaguely and in an undefined way address these issues, nor merely ask for clarification)? Isn’t it then time for them to ante up and stand up for the Faith if what these Bishops supposedly say is what they really believe?

  68. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    Nicole,

    You wrote:

    “This is a very similar situation to [most of] the English speaking Latin Church between ~1973 and ~2011 and the currently persistent situation of the eastern schismatics (so-called with the misnomer Eastern Orthodox). While I do not believe that the English speaking Latin Church was forbidden by a recent explicit ruling from Rome to offer Mass as they were, as it was offered in English all those years would have made for an illicit Mass. Also, while the so-called EO are not forbidden by a recent explicit ruling from Rome to offer Mass, since they are also not in a regular situation their Masses would be illicit.”

    You seem fairly confident in these assertions. I have yet to come across any writings from the Apostolic See stating that the liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox Churches are to be deemed “illicit,” or that the word “Orthodox” is a misnomer as applied to these ancient Sister Churches. Can you provide some official references with which to back them up?

  69. kat says:

    @Nicole

    You said
    “If the SSPX Bishops believe that salvation of souls is at stake, and this is a time like the time of the Arian heresy, then do they not have an obligation to speak both publicly and clearly in condemnation of such errors (not merely ambiguously and vaguely and in an undefined way address these issues, nor merely ask for clarification)? Isn’t it then time for them to ante up and stand up for the Faith if what these Bishops supposedly say is what they really believe?”

    They have both publicly and clearly spoken and written in condemnation of the errors they see , and “standing up for the Faith” as you write, for YEARS. But many times what they say and write is only heard and read by their “followers” because since people disagree with their actions, they sometimes don’t want to hear or read what they have to say.

    Abp. LeFebvre has many books out in print. Sermons and talks are often taped, and in recent years put out on cyber space. But if one wants to hear/read what they say, they need to go to the original sources, not just the blurbs copied and put out by others.

    Incidentally, what they write and speak is what you would have heard pre Vatican II. They don’t make up doctrines on their own. Their condemnation of what they believe to be errors is pretty public.

    As far as what is asked to be clarified by Rome and the SSPX, since no one has been privy to the doctrinal talks, and Rome nor the SSPX is sharing what the concerns are, we really cannot guess at ambiguities.

  70. acardnal says:

    Well said Kat.

  71. Nicole says:

    Fr Deacon Daniel – it takes common sense based upon the moral theology taught in the Catholic Church to know that a schismatic priest who offers a valid Mass does so illicitly. It also takes common sense based upon dogmatic theology taught in the Catholic Church to know that one who applies the name “orthodox” to himself when one is not orthodox is only doing so as an objective misnomer.

    kat – I have read much of what is published on the SSPX site attributed to Bishop Fellay and other SSPX priests. Not all of it is orthodox, for example, the exposition on the three baptisms. Also, I am familiar with some of the writings of Archbishop Lefebvre and find him very informative and mostly clear…so on that count what you write is true, but Abp. Lefebvre is now dead, leaving the four SSPX Bishops remaining who do not seem to express themselves in public in a clear and precise manner.

    I am personally very interested in the SSPX and hope that they return to communion with Rome, but it doesn’t really look like that is what is going to happen.

  72. acardnal says:

    @Nicole,
    What do you mean by “the three baptisms”? Are you referring to water, blood and desire? If yes, these are in the CCC #1258 and the Council of Trent’s catechism.

  73. acardnal says:

    To clarify my above, Nicole, the SSPX believes in the three baptisms as did their founder AB Levebvre. (I can give you a citation if you desire.) And NO, I am not a SSPX sympathizer. I want them to rejoin the sheepfold! I do read their materials so that I can better understand their positions from THEIR perspective. Anyone who has been in the armed forces understands this tactic. The article on their website – which I think you are referring to – is a refutation of Feeneyism.

  74. Nicole says:

    Acardnal – I know what is on the website of the SSPX in the USA shows they do buy into three baptisms. The article to which I am referring it the one called The Three Baptisms written by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer. This is not an expression of orthodoxy, nor does it seem to be an excuse with regard to what Fr. Peter R. Scott gives as a rule to judge a person as a heretic or not (http://sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/catholic_faqs__theological.htm#boundtopapalteachings). I personally find it at least unorthodox and at most unorthodox and contradictory to a rule published on their site.

    I also read their website to find out what they believe and what is going on with them.

    I really don’t want to take up more of Fr. Z’s patience on this issue which has become a tangent issue, so if you’d like to discuss this further you’re welcome to email me.

  75. jeff says:

    The Pixies might be 0.01% of the Church at the moment, but people don’t get just how badly the Church is collapsing (I’m writing from Australia, a much less religious country than the US, so perhaps it isn’t as severe over there). At current rate of decline there won’t be a Church in 40 years time. Children born into the faith are deserting in droves.

    Nobody would have foreseen 60 years ago that Evangelicals would overtake Mainstream Prots in weekly church attendance. 60 years ago “experts” would have told you that the Amish and Ultra-orthodox Jews were going to die out. They would have told you that Mormonism would remain an oddity barely known outside of Utah and the very idea of a Mormon president would be utterly laughable. But how wrong they all were!

    All these groups have babies, well defined leadership, they know what they believe and what’s expected of them as members of those groups.

    Did I mention that they had babies?