SSPX Bishop Fellay in Rome for the vigil of the decision of the cardinals

I had read this on La Stampa, the Italian daily, through the scribal services of the intrepid Andrea Tornielli.  However, knowing that it was on La Stampa, I figured it would also be on Rorate.  I was not wrong.

You might want to review Lumen gentium 25.

For the parameters of dissent or questioning or expressing outwardly questions or dissent, a good source is the late Avery Dulles’s Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith.  

A doubt about some non-revealed definitive teaching is not heresy.  Also, presumption should always favor the Magisterium.  Theologians who have doubts and who may even dissent are invited, as we find in Donum veritatis, to express their concerns privately to the CDF.   If they have useful observations, they can actually be of service to the Church!  In all cases, people must avoid scandal, which – as Dulles put it – “harms the Church in the eyes of the general public” and which divides Catholics against each other.

That said, my emphases and comments:

Fellay in Rome for the vigil of the decision of the cardinals

One further step towards the resolution of the crisis willed by Benedict XVI: Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X, was in Rome in the past few days for a meeting of clarification with the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. From what Vatican Insider has learned, some modifications to the doctrinal preamble proposed by Fellay were examined and discussed. The outcome of the meeting appeared to be positive. On Wednesday, May 16, in the morning, in the Palace of the Holy Office, the “Feria Quarta” meeting of the Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will take place, [PRAY, friends, PRAY!  Pray to the Holy Spirit to guide their discussions and decisions, to open minds if they are closed, to give insights if people are confused, to warm hearts if they are cold.] called to express itself on the modifications to the text sent by the Lefebvrian Superior. The result of this collective discussion, which includes Cardinals and Bishops of the Roman Curia, but also of relevant dioceses – among others, Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, will be present -, will be delivered to the Pope in the following days.

Benedict XVI[who obviously has his own views and desires … and great expertise…] will receive from the hands of the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal William Levada … the opinions expressed by each one of the Fathers of the “Feria quarta” and will thus be able to evaluate not only the outcome of the final vote, but also the individual reasonings of each, in order to then make his decision in full autonomy.

[This part is supposition, unless there is a leak, which would be bad …] From what has been learned, the modifications proposed by Bp. Fellay insist on underlining the importance of Tradition as a stable element. The essence of the preamble, the point of departure, was the nucleus of the doctrinal part of the agreement signed in 1988 by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, who declared the “acceptance of the doctrine contained in number 25 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council on the ecclesial Magisterium and the adherence which is due to that magisterium.” Regarding the dissent from some conciliar passages, he affirmed: [NB] “With regard to certain points taught by the Second Vatican Council or concerning later reforms of the liturgy and law, and which seem to us able to be reconciled with the Tradition only with difficulty, we commit ourselves to have a positive attitude of study and of communication with the Holy See, avoiding all polemics.” [Rorate note: Tornielli is quoting the words of the May 5, 1988, protocol, not any present text.]

Surprises are always possible, but what already took place in the previous “Feria quarta” meeting dedicated to this matter, as also the opinions already declared by Bishops and Cardinals, lead to believe with great probability in a positive outcome. [Get that?] An outcime which would have been favored also by the latest meeting of Fellay with Ecclesia Dei.

What has on the other hand caused concern in the Vatican was the content of the letter that Bishops Tissier de Malleraus, de Galarreta and Williamson sent one month ago to the Lefebvrian Superior Fellay. A very stern letter, …

[…]

You know the rest about the division of the three hard-liners.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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59 Responses to SSPX Bishop Fellay in Rome for the vigil of the decision of the cardinals

  1. Burke says:

    Perhaps a Memorare every waking hour until the decision is made public is in order?

  2. Baron Korf says:

    I’d love to see this come to a positive and holy outcome.

  3. Laura98 says:

    Prayers being said now…

  4. rcg says:

    Isn’t this wonderful? These people had a serious disagreement and had the guts to do something about it, however wrong it was. They had profound and reasoned difference, not one driven by their carnal or political desires. And they are at least humbly considering the right course of action.

    I pray for them and that their example will be followed by others.

  5. GregH says:

    I am stunned that Bishops De Galaretta and Tissier de Mallerais are on the same side as Williamson. I thought for sure that they would be on the same side as Fellay. What a potential disaster the Pope has on his hands if Bishop Fellay signs but the other three balk. If it was only Williamson who declined then the chances of a new schism would be small. But if all three balk, it is a real possibility.

  6. BaedaBenedictus says:

    My dream: a Mass to celebrate and seal the deal in the Sistine Chapel: HH Benedict as celebrant with Msgr Fellay as deacon and Fr. Schmidberger as subdeacon.

  7. Kate says:

    I’m on the edge of my seat, full of hope for this to end well. We have been praying every day here!

  8. Geoffrey says:

    What with the other 3 SSPX bishops not too keen about all of this, what is the likelihood of them leading a large portion of the SSPX out of any agreement and creating some sort of additional break-away group? The SSPX that comes home to Rome could be very small…

  9. Melchior Cano says:

    Geoffrey,

    I think your concern, though understandable, may be premature. The only thing we know so far is that the three other bishops have concerns about regularization, which they expressed in a private letter to their superior. To me, this seems normal, and is actually a good sign, since the existence of the letter implicitly shows (and the text of the letter explicitly states) that the three bishops recognize the authority of Bishop Fellay to make these decisions for the Society.

    I think now is certainly the time (as Fr. Z states) for prayer, and for hope, but not the time for concern. I also think that if (and God forbid it) one or more of the other bishops leave the Society, they will not take a huge number of clergy and faithful with them. In the end, the majority back Bishop Fellay and trust his providential role as Superior General.

  10. ContraMundum says:

    A doubt about some non-revealed definitive teaching is not heresy.

    You lost me with that one. Can you give an example of a definitive teaching that is not revealed? The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not explicit in Scripture, but it has always been a part of Tradition, and my understanding is that Magisterium is a part of divine revelation, too. The same with an all-male priesthood.

  11. St. Rafael says:

    Prayers for the Holy Father. The CDF meeting is only a formality. The Modernists such as Ricard, Levada, and Schonborn are going to discuss and hash out some nonsense and then give their opinions and recommendations to the the Holy Father. The Holy Father alone, will make his own decision. The decision of Pope Benedict is all that matters. The Holy Father must act in the face of opposition, and we should pray that he is successful.

    As far as the dissention among the SSPX bishops, we shouldn’t pay too much attention to that. The letter by the three bishops was written in mid-April. That was awhile ago. We don’t know what developments have taken place since then. It’s all speculation anyways. People shouldn’t automatically assume Williamson, or the other bishops aren’t going to come around. There are always surprises when it comes to who stays or who goes.

  12. Texas trad says:

    If there is ceremony at the Vatican for the SSPX priests and bishops such as the one given for all the Anglican priests on January 1st, my friends and I will be there to cheer our very good friends among the priests arriving to greet Pope Benedict. The picture of 500 SSPX priests in their cassocks with Bishop Fellay walking the plaza with Pope Benedict waiting on the steps, is just overwhelming. We are so there to wave to all our priest friends in the SSPX. Truly, truly an amazing time.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    Let’s say that 1/4 of SSPX adherents (by which I mean priests and laymen alike) follow Fellay, with 3/4 remaining behind. Would it make sense for this part of SSPX to remain independent, or could/should it be folded into another traditional group, perhaps FSSP? Would either group be willing to see this happen?

  14. SonofMonica says:

    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for these three, your bishops, that they might put aside all fear and consternation, and instead find comfort and protection within the bosom of Holy Mother Church.

  15. When — not if, but when — the SSPX becomes regular, what will that mean on the ground? Will that mean the priests’ and bishops’ suspensions will be lifted? Will Catholics be able to receive the Sacraments from them? Will the SSPX have a structure similar to the Anglican ordinariates? What jurisdiction will (in some cases hostile) local bishops have over SSPX priests?

  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Geoffrey,

    if – God prevent! – they should break away, then it’s quite likelily the fault of the leaker… as he made their positions official and could create some sense of “prestige” in them… (Should you, dear Excellencies, by some chance read this, let me in charity remind you of the saying of the great Chancellor Adenauer, acclaimed “a Pius brother by today’s measures” on the German SSPX website, that: “nobody can or may hinder me from learning something more every day”.) However, I hopefully, but (hopefully) not altogether blindly think that this danger is not the greatest. After all, the bishops only need to carefully and with open heart and mind read through General Fellay’s letter… – I grant that the bishops’ actual position in the SSPX by far outranks their official position, according to which a 1988 bishop as such has nothing, nada, zero to say (that is within the SSPX!). Still, if the General accepts and the other bishops, even should they resist and still break away, get no substantial assistance by the side of the Assistants and District Superiors, then I (with the same hope) think that it is their followers that will be the small fraction among today’s SSPX adherents.

    Dear @ContraMundum, Magisterium is no part of Divine Revelation (except perhaps when it judges infallibly on Divine Revelation). The Immaculate Conception is part of Divine Revelation (Divine Revelation not the easiest to be seen, but still Divine Revelation); it was dogmatized as such. There are, I figure, good grounds that the all-male priesthood is Divine Revelation, but I think (do not take my word on that) that it has not as such been definitely taught; it has of course still definitely and unchangeably be taught…! The schoolbook example for a definite teaching outside the area of Divine Revelation is the invalidity of the Anglican Orders. Obviously a historic fact of the years 1530 onwards is not part of Divine Revelation (which ended with St. John’s death).

  17. Elizabeth says:

    St. Rafael ~ I’m so with you and your line of thought. It’s all about the Holy Father’s decision, his alone. The rest is formality and a distraction to us. As for the possible dissension of bishops, we shall see. If I took a guess, I’d say only +Williamson will stay out, but perhaps not even him, pray God!

  18. mwk3 says:

    In addition to the practical and canonical issues that Sister rightly notes, I think there will be some interesting implications for theology, obviously for Vatican II hermeneutics, but also I think more generally as it applies to the ‘meaning’ of being a Catholic theologian. I can see this causing quite a bit of angst in many theology faculties, which is good, as many people need to be irritated, and the SSPX are good at that.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: folding groups together — I doubt that will happen unless folks feel like it. The Church can have an infinite number of religious orders, societies, etc., and they don’t all have to be large or unified or centralized.

    Re: SSPX members under diocesan control — Again, probably not, unless people feel like it.

    But of course, I’m not the Pope, nor do I play him on the Internet. :)

  20. ContraMundum says:

    I can see this causing quite a bit of angst in many theology faculties ….

    I doubt it. Theology faculty are in many cases already off in Cloud-Cuckoo Land. If they have succeeded so long in ignoring the constant teaching of the last two Popes and the majority of bishops who at least nominally have supported them, there’s no chance whatsoever that they’ll be troubled by 4 (or is it 1?) bishop(s) and the 500 priests mentioned earlier.

  21. ContraMundum says:

    I don’t see SSPX agreeing to be under diocesan control, so that is undoubtedly one of the items under discussion.

    There would be practical benefits to reuniting FSSP with SSPX; the real question is whether personal grudges form too large a barrier for that to happen. I’m not sufficiently familiar with either to even guess the answer.

  22. Traductora says:

    Whether the comment about Fellay wanting to assert the importance (no, the necessity) of Tradition is a leak or a guess, I hope it’s true. Every day, every Mass, every moment of Catholic life now just makes me want to scream “don’t you people know who you are and where you came from?” But they don’t, and it’s not their fault.

    Until there is a formal reassertion of the importance of Tradition, we will continue to wander, to stumble – and to dissipate. Bring back Tradition and you will bring back the Church and its people.

  23. acardnal says:

    Speculation is that the SSPX could become a Personal Prelature with certain rights reserved to it and some reserved to the diocesan bishop in whose diocese they serve.

  24. jhayes says:

    From what has been learned, the modifications proposed by Bp. Fellay insist on underlining the importance of Tradition as a stable element.

    But, of course, that is what the whole dispute has been about. Benedict has said that Tradition is stable in its principles but contingent in the expression of its application to specific times and circumstances (Christmas 2005). The question is whether the SSPX accepts that as “stable.”

  25. ContraMundum says:

    Well, if the majority of SSPX won’t obey the Pope (but they pray for him) and they won’t obey their superior general (but they pray for him), I wonder how much longer before they ditch the idea of bishops altogether (but they’ll pray for them, of course).

  26. Jucken says:

    I wonder why you’re so surprised. The three “hard-liners” are just doing what they’re used to do: being contumacious. Except that now their spell has turned against themselves.

    Abp. Lefebvre created a group of insubordinates. When you raise snakes, it’s just a matter of time before you get bitten.

  27. Texas trad says:

    This agreement specifically excludes any local bishop jurisdiction. Absolutely will not answer to any local bishop. The SSPX has been offered that deal for 20 years and have always walked away. Not possible.

  28. Oneros says:

    There’s a real question, though, of what to do when Magisterium in the past, of equal rank, says something different than Magisterium today on these non-de-fide manners. Sure, the Church could bind you in obedience to silence debate. But I see no reason why, outside that, debate should not be allowed on matters that are clearly open to it. There’s no reason to give more authority to a statement of equal authority just because it came LATER in history. Consider them both, weigh the evidence, debate civilly. I think that’s really all that can be asked on these questions.

  29. Sword40 says:

    Williamson and the other two will probably opt out and back into excommunication. Fellay will come in. I’m betting on about 75% of the laity will follow Bp. Fellay. The property issue will arise and local chapels will have some problems, but most SSPX chapels will continue.

    Those who opt out will have no where to go except to the sedevacnatists such as SSPV or CMRI.

    Pray for them all.

    Seminarians are going to be put to the test as are the Seminaries themselves. It will be a smaller more “pure” SSPX.

    The same thing will be happening throughout the church.

  30. AGA says:

    I suspect that Bishop Fellay will receive some sort of assurance that Archbishop Lefevebre’s eventual cause for canonization shall not be arbitrarily block. The man and the movement are too closely linked to allow for ideological roadblocks in the process. [PUH-LEEZ. Let’s get them back into unity wtih Peter, okay?]

  31. ContraMundum says:

    I suspect that Bishop Fellay will receive some sort of assurance that Archbishop Lefevebre’s eventual cause for canonization shall not be arbitrarily block.

    I doubt that very strongly. Then again, I don’t think any “arbitrary blocks” are necessary.

  32. robtbrown says:

    AGA says:

    I suspect that Bishop Fellay will receive some sort of assurance that Archbishop Lefevebre’s eventual cause for canonization shall not be arbitrarily block. The man and the movement are too closely linked to allow for ideological roadblocks in the process.

    Huh?

  33. discerningguy says:

    It would be wonderful to have a Solemn Papal Mass.

  34. AGA says:

    You seriously don’t know any saints who died excommunicated? Hold on let me get my 9 year old to explain that to you…… [Please expand, but… no… actually don’t. This is a rabbit hole.]

  35. Imrahil says:

    There’s no reason to give more authority to a statement of equal authority just because it came LATER in history.

    Yes there is: lex posterior derogat legi priori.

    If the Church just wants a previous non-de-fide teaching to unbinding henceforth, she can do so, as she has done in 2007 (or probably 1992) with the unbaptized-children-issue.

    Hence, Gregory XVI. with his condemnation of religious freedom (as such) has no authority over the faithful (save the authority of his arguments, in so far as somebody allows himself in conscience to dispute a fallible but nevertheless firm Church doctrine).

  36. Texas trad says:

    AGA is right. Look at St. Padre Pio. Though not excommunicated, he was restricted from saying mass for a period of time. The Church was hard on him.

  37. kat says:

    St. Joan of Arc was burned as a hertic!!

    But I seriosly doubt “canonization of Abp. LeFebvre” would be part of an agreement. That is in God’s hands (as is everything, of course, but, …that is for sure !) : )

    [Rabbit hole. Soon to be a troll hole.]

  38. AGA says:

    Kay, I never said that.

  39. Supertradmum says:

    Prayers, many, many

  40. robtbrown says:

    Texas trad says:

    AGA is right. Look at St. Padre Pio. Though not excommunicated, he was restricted from saying mass for a period of time. The Church was hard on him.

    He was prohibited from saying public mass, which is not even close to excommunication.

  41. robtbrown says:

    Geoffrey says:

    What with the other 3 SSPX bishops not too keen about all of this, what is the likelihood of them leading a large portion of the SSPX out of any agreement and creating some sort of additional break-away group? The SSPX that comes home to Rome could be very small…

    More likely that it will be very large, almost all of the Fraternity.

  42. RobertK says:

    The return of the SSPX and the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia next month. History in the making!. Pray, Pray, Pray,……

  43. Allan S. says:

    Geoffrey asked: I don’t see how. Has any canonized saint died in the state of excommunication?

    Yes. St. Joan of Arc.

  44. ContraMundum says:

    St. Joan of Arc’s excommunication was declared invalid by a Pope.

    Lefevebre was excommunicated by a Pope. There’s a difference.

    And if you’re thinking of Liberius excommunicating Athanasius, think again. Liberius was weak and had been arrested and exiled, and probably tortured as well. None of that applies to John Paul II excommunicating Lefevebre.

    Lefevebre’s “claim to fame” is disobedience and schism, a schism that has not yet been healed (the current talks are aimed at healing at least part of that schism) and which probably never will be (some fruits from that tree include SSPV, which, to mix metaphors, is over the horizon and not looking back). That will negatively affect the “reputation for sanctity” part. Then comes an examination of his writings. I doubt anything will come of his cause.

    [This is silly. Let’s get the SSPX back into clear unity with Peter.]

  45. Sixupman says:

    ContraM… :

    Excommunication by a pope who has let Mother Church disintegrate around him, with all manner of de facto schism abounding for all to see – but of course, all with ‘Faculties’. God help us.

    As for any diocesan control of SSPX, such would be pure poison. The bishops and Conferences generally stigmatise Traditionally inclined clergy and they can look to any preferment, only Vatican II, Eccleston Square [UK] sycophants can expect such. The elevation of Bishop Davies, in the UK, is a single light of hope.

  46. ContraMundum says:

    @Sixupman

    De facto schism vs. the real thing?

    You’re right that diocesan control is a non-starter for reconciliation, though, because of pride and distrust on both sides. Such a concession, however, really undermines the idea that a reconciled SSPX would really be in the Latin Church; if they’re not subject to the local Latin Rite Bishop, they really would seem to be in a state more parallel with Eastern Right Catholics.

  47. Jucken says:

    Lefevebre was excommunicated by a Pope.

    No he wasn’t. That’s just one of the many misleading assertions of the Fraternité, they want to blame it all on Pope John Paul II. But the fact is: Abp. Lefebvre was automatically excommunicated by force of canon law. Period. [NO. Not PERIOD. The excommunication was confirmed by the Congregation for Bishops, which had competence in the matter.] He most likely went to Hell, [?!?] unless he repented at his last minute. No I’m not judging him, I’m just repeating what the catechism says.

    And if you’re thinking of Liberius excommunicating Athanasius, think again.

    Oh come on, you guys seriously believe that lie forged by renascence protestants and illuminist historians to embarrass the Holy Church? Pope St. Liberius never excommunicated St. Athanasius, his “excommunication” was a forged document by emperor Constantine along with the Pope’s messenger Vincent. Pope St. Liberius was actually a valiant defender of St. Athanasius and was exiled for refusing to condemn him. He is listed as a saint outside the walls of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, his feast day was assigned on September 23 in pre-Vatican II liturgy (as recorded by the Acta Sanctorum). His name is listed in 16 ancient martyrologies, according to fr. Abe Arganiosa. He was highly praised by his contemporaries (including St. Athanasius) and by later popes and saints (including Pope St. Anastasius).

    Obviously the Fraternité has become protestant in heart, mind and practice if they spread such lies to embarrass the Church and justify their insubordination.

    Then comes an examination of his writings.

    Which basically consist of badmouthing the pope.

    [You seem to be judging everyone in the SSPX with as harsh a judgment (not yours to make, btw) as possible.]

  48. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Are we seriously squabbling about theoretical sainthood causes? Seriously?

    Let’s move along to something much more to the point: praying with Our Lord, “Ut unum sint.”

  49. robtbrown says:

    ContraMundum says:

    De facto schism vs. the real thing?

    You’re right that diocesan control is a non-starter for reconciliation, though, because of pride and distrust on both sides. Such a concession, however, really undermines the idea that a reconciled SSPX would really be in the Latin Church; if they’re not subject to the local Latin Rite Bishop, they really would seem to be in a state more parallel with Eastern Right Catholics.

    Disagree. A Personal Prelature is an example of the Pope’s universal jurisdiction, which is hardly Eastern. The SSPX will be given the maximum by the pope.

    BTW, all religious orders of Pontifical Right are all under Rome. A diocesan bishop has almost no control over a religious order that is in his diocese.

  50. ContraMundum says:

    The Pope’s universal jurisdiction extends to the Eastern Churches too, though. There are stronger arguments for what would tie a reconciled SSPX to the Latin Rite: mostly they are bound by the Catechism of the Catholic Church rather than an Eastern equivalent, and they are bound by Western canon law and the Western regs for the EF.

    That doesn’t change the fact that if they are not a part of the diocese, they will be practically cut off from the lives of most Latin Rite Catholics, just like the Eastern Rites are. They may celebrate a more beautiful liturgy, as the Eastern Rites do, but neither is poised to have much impact Our Lady of American Suburbia Catholic Community.

  51. jhayes says:

    Ths s how Opus Dei (a personal prelature) describes its relationship with the diocesan bishop:

    The life of the prelature is inserted, as a living part, within each diocese. Therefore the prelature is in constant contact with the diocese and its bishop. In addition, the intervention of the bishop is juridically required for the work of the prelature to begin in a diocese or to open new centers. The prelature always gives great importance to working in full harmony with the life of the diocese and with the bishop’s pastoral goals.

    http://www.opusdei.org/art.php?p=25474

  52. AGA says:

    If the Archbishop is indeed in Hell then the responsible Vatican authorities should have no problem allowing an eventual canonization process to go forth without unusual hindrance. [?!? Okay… that’s enough.]

    However, the vitriol against the Archbishop, as demonstrated by the combox, is almost surreal. We have major “conservative” princes of the Church claiming that not only Jews, but pagans, and even atheists can go to Heaven. We have “conservative” bishops publicly telling Catholics NOT to evangelize a dying Jewish man even if he asks you about Christ or Catholicism! And of course we have all the insanity from the vast field of liberal prelates. We have all this, but we know one thing fairly certainly: Lefevebre is likely in Hell! [Your comments will now go into the moderation queue.]

  53. Lori Pieper says:

    In regard to Joan of Arc, she was indeed formally condemned for heresy; I’m not sure whether any formal sentence of excommunication was ever pronounced. But it’s most interesting to note that her captors permitted her to go to confession and receive Communion in prison on the morning of her execution. Which would never have been done, of course, if those who condemned her had really thought her guilty of an excommunicable offense. At her rehabilitation trial, his is what most strengthened the case for the defense, which argued that her original trial and execution were simply a political ploy. By the way, if you haven’t read it, don’t miss Regine Pernoud’s marvelous book on that second trial – it’s a real page-turner, even if you already know the outcome.

  54. ContraMundum says:

    @AGA

    Frankly, I’d like to see the case of Pope Pius XII come up before any consideration of Lefevebre.

    In both cases, politics will probably stand in the way at least for the near future.

    If SSPX is unhappy with that, they need to show themselves to be faithful Catholics; that means more than being faithful to their “inner Pope”, something even Protestants do. SSPX is in no position to demand an accelerated process for Lefevebre, and any attempt to do so would likely result in the exact opposite.

    I think you seriously overestimate the difficulties inherent in the preliminary examinations, though. These preliminary investigations are a part of the standard process that every candidate must go through.

  55. Archbishop Lefebvre may or may not have been personally and properly excommunicated by a pope. And he may or not have been the slender thread by which the traditional Latin Mass was preserved when a pope wanted to banish it forever. I have no basis for personal certainty about either matter.

    But there’s no ambiguity in my assessment of the veracity of combox theologians who are confident that they themselves know how God will ultimately weigh such matters.

  56. I’m turning on the moderation queue for this whole discussion.

    How disappointed I am.

  57. ContraMundum says:

    It’s a case of nerves.

    The analogy will seem odd, but this is just like what happens with the fans of two teams about to compete for a championship. Both sides are anticipating the game but powerless to really do anything about it. They become very thin-skinned and irritable. This usually changes after kickoff, because the fans then have something real to concentrate on.

    That’s what is happening here. The analogy is not perfect, mostly because the principle parties are supposed to cooperate more than compete, but the last few decades has created a sense of real antagonism between the “fans” of Pope Benedict XVI and the “fans” of Bishop Fellay (or alternatively, between the “fans” of Pope John Paul II and the “fans” of Archbishop Lefebvre, the former principle parties). This antagonism has gone beyond Texas/Oklahoma, Ohio State/Michigan, Red Sox/Yankees, or Cowboys/Redskins, because at least the sports teams have an outlet: they play each other. The reconciliation of at least some part of SSPX seems inevitable, and I think people will settle down once that happens; both Benedict and Fellay will see to that.

    In the meantime … if you run a sports bar and the ESPN countdown to the Alabama/Auburn game is sparking fights, you can keep calling the cops or you can change over to the NFL Network. Just because the fans can’t pull themselves away from the “inside stories” and trash-talking does not mean it’s good for them, or for the sports bar.

  58. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z is right. The status of Archbishop Lefebvre’s “cultus” or lack thereof in the Church is of very low priority in comparison with the present care of souls in the SSPX. These clergy and faithful are in dire need of the sharing of mutual edification and resources that would come their way by being fully united to the Universal Church.

    I have always seen that when SSPX clergy and faithful receive encouragement and support from the wider Church, they are grateful for this and pleasantly surprised. How much more grateful and edified would they be, and their spiritual state all that more improved, if this came to them unhindered by the present irregularity?

    Jucken is absolutely right that when you closely study the real history of Pope Liberius and Athanasius, that the similarities to Paul VI and Lefebvre fall apart. For instance, there simply is no hard proof that Liberius ever excommunicated Athanasius, who certainly did not believe that Liberius would ever do that to him. There are more similarities between Marcel Lefebvre and the famous Felicité Lammenais, the 19th century priest and apologist. Lammenais also died in the state of excommunication, but later, was widely spoken of by the Church with a combination of sorrow, regret, and yet respect as well. Like Lefebvre, Lammenais like Lefebvre did incalculable good for the Church, although his passion about certain directions of the Church caused him also to fall away and become embittered. In my opinion, the veneration of Lefebvre as a saint would simply not be received by the wider Church, and because of that non-reception, he could not be raised to the altars. But his memory will always provoke in the Church a certain gratitude for the good he did, IMO.

  59. AGA says:

    I initially raised the whole issue only because it was my guess that it was one of probably a handful of important issues for the Society leadership. I am not an associate, nor an apologist for the sspx. I do know that one can not easily disassociate an order from their founder. It is a very special bond. I also remember many years ago an ex-sspx priest, who is now a diocesan priest, telling me that he believes strongly that Abp Lefevebre is a saint and will eventually be recognized as such.

    It’s speculation indeed, but I don’t see it as a minor issue that comes a far distant priority on their agenda. And, I don’t think that the Bp Fellay would request for anything other than a dispassionate, unmolested process.

    After I posted my initial thought on this it was met with what I see as contempt for these priests and their Founder. I responded with too much sarcasm and harsh words, and for this I am sorry to Fr Z.