Pope Benedict may make his SSPX decision before the end of May

Our friends at Rorate, who are always on top of these things, posted that – according to a French news source – the Holy Father may make a decision about the SSPX before the end of May.

From the French-language religious news agency I.Media:

Benedict XVI’s decision regarding the return of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) to the full communion of the Church will take place from now up to the end of the month of May 2012, Vatican sources close to the dossier have indicated to I.MEDIA. For the moment, the response of the SSPX to the “doctrinal preamble” prior to any agreement, delivered by Rome in September 2011, is still being studied by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Received on April 17, the response of the Superior General of the SSPX, Bp. Bernard Fellay, will be submitted to Benedict XVI afterwards. The latter has made multiple gestures, since 2005, with a view to obtain an agreement that would mark the end of a breach of nearly 24 years.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Do not forget to pray for a positive resolution of the division.

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54 Responses to Pope Benedict may make his SSPX decision before the end of May

  1. Brad says:

    May = BVM

    Whatever the most beloved creature wants, she gets. It is true joy to even try to contemplate her sitting at the right hand as mediatrix of all graces, even the ones we don’t know to ask for.

  2. AnnAsher says:

    Yippee Skippy !!!

  3. Pax--tecum says:

    Veni Creator Spiritus!

    May the Holy Ghost be with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict. I hope the FSSPX will come back into the sheepfold of the successor of Peter. Bishop Fellay realises that you can’t be Catholic without submitting to Peter.

  4. When going to Mass today, receive the Eucharist with this intention. Vital!

  5. Were I advising his Holiness (pause and laugh all you wish, now resume reading, thank you…), I would suggest making the decision as quickly as possible; before anyone finds a way to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

    To that end, it occurs to me our prayers might include seeking protection for all concerned against exactly that sort of interference, whether natural or supernatural.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Wow and many prayers..to Our Lady

  7. Fr Martin Fox: prayers might include seeking protection for all concerned

    A very good idea.

  8. dspecht says:

    “…will come back into the sheepfold of the successor of Peter.”

    Such comments show part of the disaster of this modern time.

    They – as false and repeatedly remarked as such – would be (only) boring if they were not showing an abundant ignorance (or arrogance) and were not insulting a group that fought a long time for tradition – and for things we all love and fight for more easy now…..

    To repeat it again: Even the Vatican agrees that the sspx is not in schism – so they do NOT HAVE to COME BACK in THE SHEEPFOLD! THEY ARE IN!
    They only lack of a canocial structure. Well, and call them disobedient – call them names (even if also insulting). But it is simply and clearly wrong (and extremely insulting and unfair, unjust) to speak as they should have to come home into Chruch!

    [Settle down.]

  9. Bender says:

    Spare us the indignation here. [And now we see what has happened, and what so often happens in a combox. The intentions in the post were 24 carat well-intentioned. Someone get's his back up about a non-existent slight. Comments go careening off into the ditch.] Whether or not the SSPX is officially in schism, are they in full communion with the Holy Church?

    The answer to that is a clear NO. They might be on the same field as the flock, they might be kind of going in the same general direction, but they have set themselves apart from the fold. Let me repeat that with emphasis — they have set themselves apart from the fold.

    If the SSPX were in full communion with the Church — in body, mind, heart, and spirit — there would be no need for this reconciliation process. If such is “boring,” it is only because obstinence does tend to get tedious after a while.

    Yes, Pope Benedict is Pope of Christian Unity. Just as Pope John Paul II was the Pope of Christian Unity, and Pope Paul was the Pope of Christian Unity. It is time that the SSPX comes back to that home of Pope Paul and Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.

  10. St. Rafael says:

    We must pray very much for the Holy Father. The biggest opponents of the SSPX being regularized come from within the Vatican. The Holy Father is alone because his friends don’t want the SSPX. The CDF is opposed to the SSPX, as is every single Modernist, neo-Modernist, neo-Catholic, conservative, or from any other type of camp that exists within the Vatican. The Holy Father is going to have to do it alone, and with a lot of fortitude, because it doesn’t matter to him that the SSPX are going to be given ordinary faculties without accepting the new Mass and Vatican II.

    You got all the Modernists and conservatives up in arms because there has been nothing but lectures, speeches, and threats about how everyone has to accept Vatican II to be Catholic, coming out of the Vatican in the last couple of days. Vatican II is their religion, dogma, and faith. Well these people of a certain age and generation are going to be in for a very rude awaking soon in a couple of years, because no one under the age of 30 cares about Vatican II, or could give one hoot about any of the documents of Vatican II. They are trying to force the SSPX to accept something most young Catholics don’t even believe in or accept themselves. The Vatican II generation is blind to their own fate, that their views are fading, that they are getting long in the tooth, and to the sad reality that everyone is just waiting for them to die already.

  11. The U.S. district superior of the SSPX has asked for a novena that the Holy Ghost may give the graces of light and strength to the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, and to the Superior General of the Society, Bishop Fellay. The novena consists of praying the Veni Creator Spiritus and adding the Memorare (Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary) starting on May 8 and ending on May 16, the vigil of the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, as posted here:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/05/rome-sspx-us-district-superior-matter.html

  12. leonugent2005 says:

    I agree that Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI are popes of christian unity. I’m wondering who the popes of christian unity were before the council?

    [Rethink.]

  13. dspecht says:

    First: Fr. Z., of course, if you want, you can delete this my comment if you think it is carrying things further into the ditch.

    But I do not agree that it was an unnecessary “back up” about a “non-existent slight”. I do assume that the post was well-intented, 24carat, and see it only as an insult on an objective level, not subjectively intended so. But be it that way – I spoke also of ignorance, and I asume it was just ignorance, not arrogance – then it is still a wrong and missleading (and objective unjust) statement. But more.

    Because: this ignorance results of ingorances and also real arrogances (and more than insults) of other commenters and such journalists like those of the “fishwrap”.

    So if “fishwrap” and all the modern media are speaking – wrongly – of schism, of coming home into the Church etc. re sspx, that should not stand uncorrected. Especially in this crucial times.

    Even more so if you see that “well-intended” minds buy it and get confused – and then confuse others in re-posting this falsehood.

    That was my reason for writing what I wrote. It still seems to me very important. We should not move on a “fishwrap”-niveau, I think, and should be very carefull in choosing the words (yes, that is also a reminder for me!).

    [So, has this been sufficiently derailed now?]

  14. May I suggest that we all pray with true zeal for the Holy Spirit to bend what needs to bend and warm that which is cold?

    Pentecost falls close to the end of the month of May. From now until then, I propose diligent prayers for the reunification of the SSPX. And may this be of special attention during the time between Ascension THURSDAY and Pentecost.

  15. Mike says:

    Amen to that, Father.

    Sometimes I think it’s useful to think in ten year increments. Otherwise, we can get dispirited. While the future isn’t automatically better, it seems to me, with Benedict, with the new translation, with the freeing of the TLM, with the lifting of the exocommunications, with the doctrinal talks, and especially, with the news and “hints” coming from the SSPX, that the Life of the Church is truly moving in the right direction, ie., away from the 1970s, and towards the Lord.

  16. Marc says:

    What amazes me is just how quickly things have changed. This rediscovery of Tradition and the Usus Antiquior (I know, he good people of SSPX/FSSP have never lost it and have held fast to it–and we THANK YOU!). I think the regulars who attend the SSPX chapels will be shocked to see how many so-called “Novus Ordo Catholics” start attending Mass in their chapels once things are normalized. Even if one does not care for the Pontificate of Benedict XVI (a.k.a the Pope of Christian Unity), he must be admired for the skill at which he is moved the Church since his elevation to the Throne of St. Peter. When historians look back, I think Benedict XVI might be considered a greater force of change in the Church then Bl. John Paul II.

  17. wmeyer says:

    I shall continue to pray for reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome. The Church needs priests and bishops of deep commitment and resolve. Surely these men have shown that.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Bender says:

    Spare us the indignation here. Whether or not the SSPX is officially in schism, are they in full communion with the Holy Church?

    The answer to that is a clear NO. They might be on the same field as the flock, they might be kind of going in the same general direction, but they have set themselves apart from the fold. Let me repeat that with emphasis — they have set themselves apart from the fold.

    Many NO bishops, priests, and prominent lay Catholics have also set themselves apart from the fold.

  19. robtbrown says:

    Pentecost.

  20. ContraMundum says:

    Yeah. Between Trent and Vatican II, priests never sinned. Never. And TLM priests still never sin. That must be what you mean; the only thing that can “set a Catholic apart from the fold” is sin.

    The problem here, right now, is institutional, not personal. We do not know if Fellay is presently in a state of grace or not; even if SSPX receives approval from the Holy See, we will still not know whether Fellay is in a state of grace. However, as you have pointed out in the past, Fellay is a Catholic, and he is no longer under sentence of excommunication. Fellay is Catholic, but there is currently no Catholic organization called the Priestly Society of St. Pius X. That’s what this is about; will SSPX, as an institution (not just as a collection of individuals), have a recognized and legitimate role in the Catholic Church? Are members of SSPX to be reconciled only individually, like converts from the Southern Baptists, or will their be a means for reconciling them as a coherent, functioning group with its own customs, like converts from the Anglicans?

    Let’s not confuse institutional recognition with an individual state of grace.

  21. ContraMundum says:

    “… will THERE be ….”

    Lead poisoning had nothing on the internet for making us all stupid.

  22. ContraMundum says:

    Oh, and before someone bashes me for my “uncharitable” remark of 8:01 pm, please note I am criticizing my own spelling mistake.

  23. Son of Trypho says:

    I honestly suspect that this is the best chance the SSPX will get for reunion on terms that are mutually acceptable in the near term – they have no guarantee of who will succeed Benedict XVI.

    Benedict XVI has experienced the pre-Vat 2 era and therefore has some understanding and sympathy of their particular charism and practices. A bishop who has not may not have the same view and understanding and this could be to their detriment.

  24. Centristian says:

    @ContraMundum:

    “Fellay is Catholic, but there is currently no Catholic organization called the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.”

    The ghost of it remains, nevertheless. Solution? “If you are annoyed by a haunting, turn down the thermostat. If the ghost is using the Stirling Engine approach above, it would not be able to extract any useful energy if the temperature of your house is the same as the temperature of its grave.”

    ;^)

  25. ContraMundum says:

    Benedict’s successor is less likely to be a problem than Fellay’s successor. Any bishop chosen to be Pope will be (or quickly become) familiar with diplomacy (he will have to deal with countries) and with different liturgical viewpoints (he will have to deal with the sui iuris Churches and the Orthodox). On the other hand, Fellay’s successor, if the reconciliation does not take place, would likely be more hardened into a position of defensive suspicion.

  26. St. Rafael says:

    @ContraMundum

    Wow. Just wow.

    That must be news to Pope Benedict and the Vatican. It must make them wonder who it is they are negotiating with. If they are not Catholic, what are they? If they are not Catholic priests, what are they? Maybe the Vatican will realize they have been calling them the wrong name for decades.

    Also, mortal sin cannot “set a Catholic apart from the fold”. A Catholic in a state of mortal sin is still Catholic. The only difference is that they have no sanctifying grace and their soul is dead and no longer has the life of the trinity within it. They don’t stop being Catholic. They are a dead members of the Church in regards to salvation, but they don’t leave the fold of the Church. They are not outside of the Catholic Church.

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    robtbrown,
    Many NO bishops, priests, and prominent lay Catholics have also set themselves apart from the fold.
    All the more reason that we should get THESE sheep back in the fold —
    Still praying hard.

    Fr. Z,
    Our music director has written a wonderful setting (chant-based like so much of his work) of the Veni Sancte Spiritus, for the patronal feast of our parish. The setting of “Flecte quod est rigidum/Fove quod est frigidum/Rege quod est devium” is sung alternately by S/A and T/B, with each group taking the lead alternately. Gentle, harmonious, sweet in the very best sense. We should dedicate it to this intention — at least I will. We’ll be rehearsing it a lot before Pentecost.

  28. ContraMundum says:

    @Centristian

    I’m glad you enjoyed that little exercise; I had fun putting it together.

  29. Centristian says:

    ContraMundum:

    In the wildest and darkest recesses of my imagination I could never have conjured the possibility of posting a comment in Fr. Z’s combox about the Society of St. Pius X, referencing an excerpt from an essay deriding the exploits of the plumbers from “Ghost Hunters”. And yet, there we have it. Thank you for this truly surreal moment.

  30. The Cobbler says:

    To be honest, I think this whole thing is… sorrow-worthy. I would almost be surprised if the SSPX doesn’t get canonical standing, some agreement hashed out about V2, doctrine, the Novus Ordo, etc. I would definitely be surprised if the division healed — because frankly, I’m pretty sure there’s more division on the ground (or at least on the internet) than there is between, say, Archbishop Fellay and Pope Benedict. Many Catholics, among whom I would have included myself not long ago, don’t see any reason to trust people who said (also not too long ago) that they have to continue in their canonically sticky position till the doctrinal points are resolved precisely because they’d lose their leverage with Rome if their situation were resolved, don’t see any reason to want unity with people who suggest that an apparent violation of canons was licit because any other course of action would have violated divine law (which would imply that those of us who have carried on giving Rome the benefit of the doubt for now are in violation of divine law, unless my logic is sloppier than usual), and feel personally invested in the matter because their own interest in Tradition has been met with charges of heresy/schism/excommunications that had a grain of truth — that were credible to ordinary Catholic laypeople not of the radical liberal variety — only because there were excommunications for certain bishops for acting out against the aftermath of V2 (albeit mainly for the fact that bishops were consecrated without papal approval, of all the little details!)… On the other hand, the SSPX supporters are set on resolving a lot of wrongs they’ve endured or that they think they’ve endured, some of which (if you ask me) are real and some of which (again, if you ask me) are only perceived. There’s a level of distrust on both sides that’s hard to tone down precisely because quite a bit of it is natural or even just. But it’s got to where some people talk as if liking Scott Hahn were a mark of heresy or criticize Catholics for the grave crime of surviving the Novus Ordo with their spiritual lives apparently intact and others talk as if the SSPX hadn’t even done what they have so far to ask for the sticky situation they got in to be cleaned up (and if I’ve ever been among those, please forgive me).

    I just think, what on Earth do people think is going to happen if the SSPX is regularized and “Novus Ordo Catholics” _do_ start going to their Masses? That everyone will realize their differences were superficial and dance together in rainbow-bedecked sunshine, as if that weren’t the sort of unrealistic, unhuman hippie crap that both SSPX supporters and their opponents among Traditional-minded Catholics both detest? Isn’t it more likely that we’ll be fighting an uphill battle against entrenched disagreement that might not even have anything to do with whatever’s actually in the crucial doctrinal discussions, that SSPXers will treat newcomers as if they were the ones in trouble all along and newcomers will turn around and say we should’ve excommunicated the followers of the SSPX rather than regularizing the society? Sure a lot of people sympathetic to the SSPX have said they think it would be good for the Church to have the SSPX’s situation cleaned up and have them helping us with no room for doubt or scruple, but do the SSPX’s followers even think those folks are Catholic? If so I haven’t read any sign of it, haven’t seen anything that would lead me to expect mutual hatred to diminish among the ordinary folk here amid the confusion.

    I’ve tried to steer clear of cynicism, but at some point when faced with a big problem someone’s gotta say in realism, not cynicism, “Well, that’s a big problem!”

    Of course, if I think this is bad, Lord knows what it’d take to reconcile us with the Eastern Orthodox…

  31. Supertradmum says:

    The Cobbler, if and when the SSPX situation is regularized, I shall be one of the first to start attending their Masses and going to their priests for Confession. I have waited for this for years and years, only being obedient to Holy Mother Church regarding the sacraments and Church law. I hope to be totally accepted.

    As to the Eastern Orthodox comparison, there can be none, as blood was shed over that schism. Talk to Ukrainians for one side about that, as well as some Orthodox Catholics for the other side, who have studied, or grown up with generational memories of the sacking of Byzantium.

  32. ContraMundum says:

    “St. Raphael”

    Look, I could build an exact replica of St. Peter’s Basilica, but unless it gets the blessing of the bishop, it isn’t a Catholic Church. Just ask Tom Monaghan. He built a very nice chapel for Ave Maria University, but it wasn’t a Catholic Church until the bishop said so.

    For that matter, a “Catholic university” is not just one with a lot of Catholic faculty and staff, it has to have the right approval. Oh, and the same issue comes up with “Real Catholic TV”. It ain’t really Catholic without the right permissions.

    In the same way, not every roomful of Catholic priests — yes, even validly ordained Catholic priests — is a legitimate priestly fraternity.

    It must make them wonder who it is they are negotiating with.

    What do you suppose happens when someone feels a calling for a new religious order? Do you think they first get approval, and then attract a core of like-minded followers? No. They already have a small group by the time they ask to be recognized.

    Right now SSPX is a group of Catholic priests, but it is not a Catholic institution. If it were, the Holy See might likewise wonder what they were negotiating about.

    Also, mortal sin cannot “set a Catholic apart from the fold”.

    If you attended an OF Mass today, you would have heard the parable of the Vine and the Branches, including the part about “if you abide in Me”. What do you suppose constitutes not abiding in Him and being cut off from the Vine? So yes, there certainly is a sense in which mortal sin can separate us not only from Christ, but also from His Body, the Church, the fact that we remain in another sense a part of the Church notwithstanding.

    At any rate, I was responding to rotbrown’s assertion (which he has made more than once) that “[m]any NO bishops, priests, and prominent lay Catholics have also set themselves apart from the fold.” In the sense of sin, no doubt; other senses are best left to the competent authority, which is not you or rotbrown or me but the Church.

  33. ContraMundum says:

    I think the way I should have phrased it is that a branch of a vine does not become something else, like a limb from a pecan tree or a sprig of parsley, when it is cut off; it is still a branch of vine, only cut off and in immediate danger of death unless reattached. It still retains a nature identifying it with the vine, but it is nonetheless truly separated from the vine.

  34. Supertradmum says:

    As a gardener, I can assure you that a branch cut off is dead branch of that plant. A Catholic in mortal sin is a dead Catholic, not a dead Buddhist. Duh. As Catholics, we are covered by canon law and church law from baptism until death. This is why there are different rules in the Church for Catholics and non-Catholics regarding marriage, for example. As to the SSPX, these members are Catholics, not in full union, and with regard to sin, I cannot, nor can any of us state, as to their consciences, individually whether mortal sin in involved. I think not in every case. However, the group is in the state of schism. That is what we are praying about. Are there NO people in schism? Yes! And it would be helpful for their souls if they were declared either in schism or excommunicated. The fact that some NO people practice contraception or have irregular marriages and receive Communion, for examples, should be a reason for severe strictures, as disobedience is disobedience regardless of the issue. That the SSPX has been singled out, in a sense, for punishment, at least before the lifting of the excommunications, is a sad aspect of governance, as one sees daily in our own Church tolerance of other evils at the local level. Yet, if I had two children who were disobedient for different reasons, they would be punished, for their own good. We are praying for an end to this separation for the good of the whole Church.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Son of Trypho says:

    I honestly suspect that this is the best chance the SSPX will get for reunion on terms that are mutually acceptable in the near term – they have no guarantee of who will succeed Benedict XVI.

    Also: There was mistrust in 1988, but the SSPX has seen that the FSSP has been treated well by Rome. Further, Summorum Pontificum changed the parameters.

  36. The Cobbler says:

    @Supertradmum,
    “As to the Eastern Orthodox comparison, there can be none…”
    Just in case it wasn’t clear, that was my point: whatever the SSPX situation is, it happened within living memory and no literal battles have been fought over it, which means it pales to almost insignificance next to other divisions the Church faces.

    Regarding the rest of your comment, do let us know how it goes… I say I’d definitely be surprised if quarrelling faded away anytime soon, but surprise can be a pleasant and refreshing thing, a very good thing if our expectations were negative — and whether the expectation itself was good or bad is another matter (I mean, it’s no sense always expecting the worst just so we can be pleasantly surprised). I’d like to hope that my fears are based on the disproportionate noise of the internet, as despite my interest in the old Mass and in attempts to retain the disciplines from before the council (granted, possibly with some genuine tempering/reforming in some areas if such really was necessary; I am not an expert on the theology/spirituality that the council was supposed to address and would rather like to get a better understanding of it all in any case) I have been waiting to see how the discussions with the SSPX play out before, shall we say, getting to know them personally.

    Aaaaand I’m doing that giant parenthetical statement thing again, so I should probably take my leave for the evening.

  37. Pax--tecum says:

    @dspecht
    What I meant was that, allthough they are allready in the Church, they have not yet reached the fullness of unity with the Holy Father. That’s the problem. Rome has permitted the EF, Rome has lifted the excommunications, so now it’s time to come back. There’s – at the moment – no excuse to say no. The Holy Father really wants them inside because he needs them!

  38. Son of Trypho says:

    Pax

    I don’t think that Benedict needs the SSPX in the Church, I rather think that he feels an obligation to restore them to unity based on his position as leader of the Church, and at a more personal level, because of his involvement in the 1988 situation.

    The SSPX, even when reunified, is not going to lead some dramatic Counter-Reformation in the Church or society – they will be a marginal group amongst many (eg. Opus Dei, Charismatics, LCWR etc) who will be pushing and developing their own vision and agenda amongst many.

    Without them making significant efforts to cultivate patrons and allies and providing services of value to the Church, they will end up relatively marginalised and disregarded – essentially like the FSSP is.

    The fact is that the majority of laity will not subscribe to their views or practices in the short-mid term. The catechesis of the laity is so poor that they simply wont understand or even accept their views on a whole range of things. They will need to consolidate and develop their group – possibly even have to start providing services to dioceses’ with priest shortages eg. confessions and home visits etc and get around in the clericals to show people that there are priests and assist local bishops and get in their good graces.

    All of this stuff is slow and long term – Benedict will be long gone before it has a major impact. Even then, I suspect (and pray not) that there will be a major schism within the Church with liberal elements splitting off if some of their grievances aren’t addressed – eg. clerical celibacy will probably be the proximite cause.

  39. St. Rafael says:

    @Supertradmum

    Ecclesia Dei made it known years ago that Catholics are free fulfill their Sunday obligation at an SSPX chapel. Ecclesia Dei even affirmed that you can even give them money at the colletion plate. It’s perfectly reasonable to attend their chapels when there is no TLM close by. It’s especially justified in certain dioceses. Foe example, like the one in Las Vegas. There is not a TLM offered in the entire diocese of Las Vegas. The only TLM available is the one offered in the SSPX chapel.

  40. Supertradmum says:

    St. Rafael–This is not the case for some of my spiritual directors who have said that regularly we cannot do that. I am not going to argue with or disobey a good, trad, spiritual director. I think this point was discussed on this blog a few years ago as well with other conclusions.

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  42. robtbrown says:

    Son of Trypho says:

    I don’t think that Benedict needs the SSPX in the Church, I rather think that he feels an obligation to restore them to unity based on his position as leader of the Church, and at a more personal level, because of his involvement in the 1988 situation.

    Disagree. He needs the SSPX for several reasons: 1) For liturgical reform (esp in France and Germany) that cannot be undermined by any bishop; 2) the SSPX has 500 priests; 3) as a display of Papal authority, by which the SSPX (and their properties) will be directly under Rome.

    The SSPX, even when reunified, is not going to lead some dramatic Counter-Reformation in the Church or society – they will be a marginal group amongst many (eg. Opus Dei, Charismatics, LCWR etc) who will be pushing and developing their own vision and agenda amongst many.

    I was in Rome when Escriva was beatified. Anyone who saw how many Opus Dei members were in Rome (as well as cassocked priests) would never say that they were a marginal group–their presence is especially significant in S America. In fact, there was at least one ship anchored on the coast that had been chartered to bring OD members to Rome.

    And their canon law and theology faculties have siphoned off students from the Jesuit Gregoriana.

    If the SSPX will be of little influence, then why were the French and German bishops adamantly opposed to regularization (and Summorum Pontificum)?

    Without them making significant efforts to cultivate patrons and allies and providing services of value to the Church, they will end up relatively marginalised and disregarded – essentially like the FSSP is.

    Seeds must be planted before plants grow and produce fruit.

  43. Son of Trypho says:

    robtbrown

    I can only hope your vision is realised and mine is not however I remain pessimistic for a number of reasons.

    The SSPX may have some impact in France re. liturgical reform but I’m sceptical of what their impact will be in Germany or elsewhere. Look at Austria where the priests and faithful are essentially in revolt – do you seriously think that people like this are going to sit through the EF when they are led by people like Abp Schonborn? This type of feeling is not restricted to Austria but is widespread everywhere. Look at the Diocese of Sion where their HQ is – the bp advocates for married clergy and a different sense of episcopal collegiality i.e. dimunition of Papal control.

    The 500 priests is great – but that will not fill the vacancies that are increasing everywhere. And besides they would have to adjust to working within existing Church structures – at the moment they are usually tending to a limited number of people within a limited space. They could be requested to tend to different communities all over a diocese which will be a major change in their lifestyle and activities.

    Papal authority will not be reinforced by this move in the eyes of anyone but faithful and obedient Catholics (who are inclined to recognise the authority as it is). At the moment the Pope cannot even reign in the excesses of nuns who are opposing the bishops in the US, or direct his fellow German bishops to use the correct wording in the Mass.

    Opus Dei are a marginal group – the majority of Catholics (those who identify as such whether they are or not) do not subscribe to their views, practices or work. They have more influence that many others and have cultivated alot of patrons etc but in the end, they are only one particular charism amongst many.

    The French and German bishops were opposed to the SSPX for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, it was to their benefit to have the SSPX outside – they don’t have to deal with them. A war of ideas is much easier to fight when you don’t have to acknowledge your opponent’s idea in the first place. Regularisation confers legitimacy.

    Secondly, both the French and Germans have ideological positions which are strongly antithetical to those held by the SSPX. They don’t want these alternative views distributed in their territories. They see the SSPX as regressive and reactionary on the religious, social, political levels. They also see them as a potential force for division in their administration – something that noone wants to deal with. Additionally, they don’t want them operating under their own mandate simply because they are outside of their control.

    Thirdly, both French and Germans have concerns about extremism within the SSPX – and these concerns are legitimate eg. Bp. Williamson (of which SSPX members acknowledge that some of his views are outside of the pale). These have serious implications at the political/social level in both France/Germany.

  44. robtbrown says:

    Son of Trypho,

    What vision of mine? I articulated no vision.

    1. Reformation in the Church will take years, but it needs to begin. And it will begin by planting seeds everywhere. Priestly formation needs to be reformed, but the pope understands that Latin drives sacerdotal formation.

    2. As I said above, the French and German bishops also opposed Summorum Pontificum. The situation in France and Germany is not good. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that the French bishops in the 70′s wanted the SSPX suppressed was that whatever priestly vocations there were headed to Econe.

    BTW, I was confirmed in France (Bourges) and have a good friend who publishes a Catholic newspaper in Germany.

    3. I don’t know why you brought up Austria. It is a small country of little influence. Cardinal Schonborn, whom I used to know a bit when I was in Rome and he not yet a bishop, is a weak ordinary. He wants out of Vienna, but it won’t happen. It is a monument to journalistic incompetence that he is mentioned as papabile.

    4. Opus Dei is much more influential than you realize.

    5. You don’t seem to realize that papal influence is exercised primarily through bishops, then through priests. SP and the putative reunion of the SSPX with Rome both are exercises of the Holy See’s liturgical authority, which has been dormant for most of the years after 1965. Such an exercise undermines the vernacular Church, which is why SP has been resisted by so many bishops and priests. If the SSPX is regularized, however, resistance of bishops and priests is irrelevant.

  45. Son of Trypho says:

    robtbrown

    My apologies, perhaps I read more into your responses than was warranted. I understood that you were inferring that the integration of the SSPX will lead to significant changes in the culture of the Church – something I don’t disagree with if certain circumstances are met (but I am pessimistic of).

    I can’t speak with the authority and knowledge that you have on the situation in the French/German Churches with your experiences and contacts, but rather from my own observations and interpretations (which I admit could be completely and utterly wrong.)

    I brought up Austria as part of the German speaking world where similar tendencies/ideas exist. I’m certain you could find parallels in Germany or France (or Belgium) in a similar vein.

    I must admit though that I am sceptical that the Church is going to return wholesale to a Latin liturgy as an eventual result of the return of the SSPX, but I suspect that you think this is credible?

    I also think that you underestimate the problems that priests and bishops can put in the way of the SSPX if they come into conflict. Even now the FSSP clergy (or even clergy that take up the EF) have problems with interaction with their peers in certain places and have been poorly treated.

  46. robtbrown says:

    Son of Trypho says,

    I must admit though that I am sceptical that the Church is going to return wholesale to a Latin liturgy as an eventual result of the return of the SSPX, but I suspect that you think this is credible?

    You’re talking about step 10. I’m talking about step 2. The important thing is that the direction is being changed.

    I also think that you underestimate the problems that priests and bishops can put in the way of the SSPX if they come into conflict. Even now the FSSP clergy (or even clergy that take up the EF) have problems with interaction with their peers in certain places and have been poorly treated.

    I taught at the FSSP seminary.

    Bishops either invite the FSSP into their diocese–or they don’t. If they do, those FSSP priests are not treated poorly. Do they get along with other priests in the diocese? Probably not, but there is very little unity even among the NO priests.

    If the SSPX is regularized, they bring their properties with them–they are already in those dioceses. They are directly under Rome, and the local ordinary, no matter how much he might dislike them, will be of little import to their lives. Further, once those bishops retire who are opposed to the SSPX, their replacements will be chosen from those men who are more favorable.

  47. robtbrown says:

    Should be:

    I also think that you underestimate the problems that priests and bishops can put in the way of the SSPX if they come into conflict. Even now the FSSP clergy (or even clergy that take up the EF) have problems with interaction with their peers in certain places and have been poorly treated.

    I taught at the FSSP seminary.

    Bishops either invite the FSSP into their diocese–or they don’t. If they do, those FSSP priests are not treated poorly. Do they get along with other priests in the diocese? Probably not, but there is very little unity even among the NO priests.

    If the SSPX is regularized, they bring their properties with them–they are already in those dioceses. They are directly under Rome, and the local ordinary, no matter how much he might dislike them, will be of little import to their lives. Further, once those bishops retire who are opposed to the SSPX, their replacements will be chosen from those men who are more favorable.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Does anyone know why my text within this box disappears when I use the Preview function?

  49. Imrahil says:

    Austria is important in so far as in it (excluding Vorárlberg with Protestant majority) the notion that the Church somewhat is Society has become of great extent; to a significantly higher extent than even Original-Bavaria (i. e., Bavaria excluding Franconia and Swabia). Still, in majorly Catholic Swabia the new Bishop, formerly of Görlitz in the ex-GDR, was admonished (by a laymen representative) that “a bishop in a majorly Catholic diocese cannot expect from his faithful what a bishop can expect of a small herd as in Görlitz” (no direct quote), in the case in question: in Görlitz one can ask people to come to Mass, in Augsburg, Mass must come to the people, therefore: no celibate etc. etc.; the usual stuff; I point to the reasoning.

    Austria goes even farther; the governor of Upper Austria seriously once thought it genuinely impossible that in the name of Catholicism, some moral demands are made that State and Society as a whole do not make. (I regret that I do not have the original words.) I mean many around here disagree with the Church or (unwilling, and rightly so, to lose all ties with the Mystical Body of Christ) water down what it says, but noone – here – disputes the theory that she can theoretically, in principle, teach what State and Society do not teach as yet. In the words I have in mind, the governor does not only dispute it but cannot even imagine it.

  50. Jan B. says:

    @cobbler, I will regret commenting before I’ve finished the coffee, but I just wanted to say I’ve thought the same thoughts and expressed them less well, but our SSPX pastor kind of cleared it up for me recently. He said we were going to train so many traditional priests (and religious) to replace the modernist pastors and bishops as the positions become vacant. We will spam them with priests. We all know how well that works! It can happen if the deal offered and accepted puts no fetters on the theological criticism of VII, and sources inside are saying it’s that deal.

    The struggle for souls) has to go on in the hearts of the faithful in the pew, where much misinformation has previously been fostered, and true teaching neglected. Pastors can do that. What a struggle, yes. But it can happen. SSPX vocations are up, and we can all help there in so many ways, with prayer and funding, and sons and daughters. Father said that if you are still breathing, of average health and average intelligence, and recognize the need for traditional priests and religious in our Church, you may have a vocation and go for it! He didn’t say go for it but I have to refill the coffee. And by the way, Cobbler, it is my experience that people who are most deeply concerned for souls are those with the most concern about the possible failure to address all the doctrinal issues at once. I know it affects the apostolates the most. A ‘new evangelization’ makes no sense when every attempt ends in the dead end of, ‘Can’t say that, Can’t do that, that’s sectarian,’ as in the present attempts–I’ve read some of the literature, it’s totally limp and useless right now due to the doctrinal problems. But if we have traditional priests today who will become bishops tomorrow, that’s as good and even better than fighting something out at the top while Aunt Jenny still thinks that anyone may receive communion and gay marriage is charitable. Anyway, I’m an activist to the core, and I can see the point, and am hoping I put it well enough that you can too.

  51. James Waters says:

    I wholeheartedly concur with the need for prayers – especially to Our Lady in this month of May – for a favourable outcome and for protection for those involved, above all our Holy Father and Bishop Fellay.

    However, as a former ardent supporter of the SSPX, and still an attendee for family reasons and for want of a stable alternative EF (long story), I can attest that “reintegration” will be extremely difficult on the SSPX side. Outsiders who are sympathetic to the SSPX may be unfamiliar with the internal culture of the movement, and the profoundly schismatic, even cultish, spirit that exists in many – not all- quarters of this milieu. A “them and us” mentality is rife – the SSPX is a kind of alternate church, the rest of the Church is barely Catholic, if Catholic at all, the Pope is a modernist and not to be trusted, the SSPX is the only safe haven, etc. Bishop Fellay is a good, gracious and sensible man, I believe, but many of his clergy and faithful are not. It may well be that years of marginalisation, and hardship, have left people bitter and mistrustful, but bitter and mistrustful they certainly are.

    Will a reconciled SSPX still be able to call the Pope a dangerous liberal or modernist? Confer conditional ordination on priests joining their ranks (yes, this does happen), conditional confirmation on new laity in their chapels (I was guilty of that)? Tell people they may skip Sunday Mass if they cannot attend a Traditional Mass – in fact, even say it is a SIN to attend the Ordinary Form (yes, they do say that)? Or, as is the case here in South Africa certainly, and probably elsewhere too, that one should boycott EF Masses said by priests who still say the OF – even if it means missing Sunday Mass? Or that one should only go to SSPX confessors, except in danger of death? Or that marriage to a dreaded “Novus Ordo Catholic” should be treated as a mixed marriage (Southern Africa SSPX District Policy published circa 2003 and not publicly rescinded to my knowledge)? Will Bishop Williamson continue his line of writing and preaching? And Bishop Tissier?

    I do foresee real cultural problems within the ranks of the SSPX – for too long, they have been an isolated little group, doing battle with the big bad church and outside world, the sectarian spirit is well entrenched and people’s worlds will be turned upside down if the necessary cultural and ideological shift happens, as happen it must.

    Please God that this will not impede reconciliation, and that the Williamsonite and Tissier element rather separate than hold back the whole SSPX.

  52. Phil_NL says:

    Something noteworthy in this respect, over at rorate: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/05/letter-of-general-council-of-society-of.html

    The first part letter of Bp. Fellay c.s. is really a must-read. I have repeated asked aloud here whether the SSPX would be willing to face the core issue, namely the nature of the Church and the papacy, and the fillial obedience owed because of it, but this letter clearly shows that at least Bp Fellay has no problems doing so. In my opinion, for a long term perspective, this is in fact the best news on this front in a long time.

    It also implies that the other three bishops are less willing to face the issue, or if they are, have few problems with diving of the cliff of sedevacantism. Alas not unexpected (and one more lunacy wouldnt be much of an issue with Bp Williamson). But let’s focus on the positive.

  53. Supertradmum says:

    James Waters, thank you for your honest and spot-on analysis. I have come up against some of the hard-line ideas myself. However, I am praying a novena for the success for all these talks. I want to be in the same communion as you are. God bless you and your family.

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