SSPXers examining their consciences

Be sure to check out this post on Rorate. It seems that priests within the SSPX are doing some self-examinations.

From the May 2012 issue of Seignadou, the newsletter of the chaplaincy of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) for the schools of the Traditional Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux (France):

Whatever the state of Rome may be, of all that still remains that is disturbing in Rome, plain common sense and honesty should lead us to consider the current situation with different eyes than those of 1988! Recalling the saying of one of our bishops, we cannot be “eighty-eighters”! We are neither in 1975 with Paul VI nor in 1988 with John Paul II, but in 2012 with Benedict XVI. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] It can be said as much as one may wish to that the state of the Church is still of great concern, that our Pope has a theology that is at times strange, etc… we have said it enough, it seems to me; but let it not be said that the state of things is the same as in 1988, or worse. This is contrary to the reality and to the truth, and it cannot but be the effect of a more or less secret refusal of any reconciliation with Rome, perhaps of a lack of faith in the holiness of the Church, composed of poor sinners but always governed by her head, Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost. The Society of Saint Pius X is not the Church, [Well put.] and it can only “respect its founder’s heritage” by preserving his spirit, [Which includes unity with Peter.] his love for the Church and his desire of serving her as a loving son, with faithfulness to her founding blessings.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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101 Responses to SSPXers examining their consciences

  1. pawelthegreat says:

    Super excited!
    God bless our servum servorum Dei!
    However, I truly believe in a Novus Ordo Mass being said properly and very reverently!

  2. smmclaug says:

    That is a moving and bracingly honest column. Pray, pray for unity.

  3. GordonB says:

    I just have to say that I am sympathetic to those who prefer the extraordinary form, but to most of whom I speak about this, they echo a similar stereotype of those who prefer the extraordinary form– and that is sort of an arrogance or a superiority present in interacting with them (certainly not ALL, but there is a certain stereotype – right or wrong – that is attached there). I think the practice of the Extraordinary Form is not a good thing as a separate movement which exists in its insular community, but rather will have its best expression (and more fully benefit the faithful as a whole) when the EF and those who attend are again part of their local parish and the EF is offered as a part of each Parish’s regular weekend offering of mass schedules along side the OF. To me, they compliment each other the same way the OT and NT work together.

  4. Random Friar says:

    They are stubborn, but God can melt any heart. Be reconciled, brothers, and come home!

  5. TheAcolyte says:

    These sermon points are nothing more than what the SSPX has been saying all along – nothing new here.

  6. mrsmontoya says:

    Prayers continueing. My Tuesday morning rosary is offered for priests, religious and clergy, today especially for SSPX.

  7. Texana says:

    @Random Friar
    Could you please clarify exactly who is being stubborn? Perhaps those of us who love the Traditional Latin Mass have remained true to the Mass of All Ages whereas the revolutionaries of Bugnini took a sharp left turn into novelty creating a crisis of Faith.

  8. ivan_the_mad says:

    Great to hear … or to read, as is the case!

    As usual, when the headline contains SSPX, the comments are of the form “Four legs good, two legs bad!” :P (Eh? EH??? “form”? wakka wakka)

  9. Hidden One says:

    Dear Texana,

    I do not believe that a combative attitude is either necessary or desirable in this combox. I cannot definitively clarify on behalf of Random Friar, but even if I had known nothing of traditionalist Catholics before reading his comment and yours, I would have guessed from the latter that he meant traditionalists.

  10. mwk3 says:

    This is encouraging, considering that Benedict has been making strides towards unity for years, whereas the SSPX seemed content to stay where they were. Now it seems that they have started, as Fr Z puts it, to examine themselves and to make some ‘concessions’ to Rome, which I think is necessary. This is a good sign, with work still to be done.

  11. smmclaug says:

    If GordonB is so concerned about the insular practice of the EF, perhaps he should expend his energies protesting the treatment dished out to people who wish to celebrate it over the last few decades. Is he unaware of this history? It isn’t the people who love the EF who decided that they ought to be sequestered into separate ghettos, you know. Moreover, if there is an arrogance you detect in some of them (I wonder whether you’ve ever detected arrogance among other people too, or is that just an SSPX thing?), it may have something to do with the unbelievably degraded state of worship in places where the EF is looked on with horror and contempt.

    I just don’t think that, in the present miserable liturgical context, “some of them are arrogant” is an especially telling blow against the credibility of the SSPX, FSSP, ICC, or ordinary diocesan practitioners of the EF. To be treated with hostility by people whose aesthetic and theological sensibilities are so thoroughly pedestrian might, after all, cause some people to become arrogant about what they’ve worked so hard to preserve.

  12. asperges says:

    There are three points: (1) SSPX and its future is much more than simply a question of liturgy; (2) Yes, the old rite belongs in the parish as part of its structure: it does not need ghettoising; (3) There continues considerable hostility for the EF and all it is seen to stand for.

    If one wishes to talk of stereotypes, consider the mindset of those who would – and presently largely succeed in – keep(ing) it away from parish life. The reintegration of a sound liturgy is essential to harmony, sound doctrine and rebuilding of the Church at ground level. The Pope knows this. That is why he will not give up on this project.

  13. Chrysologus says:

    I have to admit that I’ve never understood how the SSPX justifies its separation from the Roman Pontiff, given their strict acceptance of traditional formulations of Catholic doctrine, which couples extra ecclesiam nulla salus with the belief that the pope is the visible head, possessing full, immediate, and supreme apostolic power, of the one, true Church. Aren’t they afraid that they will be damned for separating from this head? I am sure that they have a more or less coherent and rational response to this, but it’s always made me wonder because, on the surface at least, it seems like an obvious and grave contradiction in their theology and praxis.

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    As someone gravely afflicted with the sin of pride, I gotta say I’d rather be inside the Church trying to deal with it, rather than outside the Church trying to deal with it.

    There’s no prerequisite that you have to be a saint before you’re baptized, or that you have to be a wonderworking mystical ascetic coated with charismatic gifts before you can be reconciled to the Church, or that your marriage has to be supa-dupa-lovey-dovey-perfecto before the Church will convalidate it.

    So yeah, I don’t care how bad an attitude the cardinals or the SSPX may have, if they can just agree on the crucial stuff. All that matters is getting the difficulties smoothed out of the way and every duck in a row. Attitudes can improve later, because that’s what life in the Church is for. It would be nice if all of us Catholics suddenly became patterns of Christian behavior in the blink of an eye all at the same time, without the world having to end first, but I’m not holding my breath until it happens.

  15. Random Friar says:

    @Texana: That would be the SSPX.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    Excellent article and thank you Father for sharing this. I do think that we forget that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and those of good will. I hope for many SSPXers, priests and laity, to come home. I hope they have a great welcome from Catholics, priests, bishops, cardinals, the laity, etc.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    I’ve always thought that the SSPX wasn’t truly schismatic and this is the kind of thing that made me think it. Real schismatics don’t say things like this. And although this statement is more conciliatory than most, they’ve always said things like this to some degree. These people are Catholic but in some kind of trauma over what’s happened to the Church and so they’re in a “holding pattern.”

    We have real genuine raving schismatics in the Church, on its boundaries and just outside its boundaries. They don’t sound like this. They sound like the people giving Bishop Morlino trouble in Platteville, Wisconsin. That is to say, they sound like CTA and VOTF.

  18. Texana says:

    I pray that Catholics will be stubborn and keep the Faith!

  19. Geoffrey says:

    The statement also says: “our Pope has a theology that is at times strange, etc. …”

    Is there not a whiff of arrogance there?

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, in all quarters. So there are some OF types who are silly, and dismissive or downright hostile to the EF (and they know who they are) . . . so there are some EF types who seem to want to have a private club, badmouth the OF, and scare away any OF earnest inquirer from “their” parish (and they know who they are). So what? No parish and certainly no member of the Church is perfect.
    We need to all work together and pray together to get this reconciliation DONE. Then we can all work together and pray together to smooth over the rough edges and work out the details.
    My personal opinion: getting the EF into the “ordinary” parish will do much more good in the long run. Our EF parish here is lovely, and they are quite welcoming and don’t look down their noses at anybody. But they are a very small parish, and if they hold themselves aloof they have no effect on the vast majority of Catholics here.
    At least when our OF parish uses Latin, Gregorian chant and polyphony and the introits and antiphons, and we chant the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin every first Sunday, and our priests use the Benedictine arrangement on the altar, and we all work for more reverence in the Mass, 2,000 families are seeing it and hopefully learning something. And if we work hard enough and pray hard enough, that will lead in time to the EF being celebrated here — maybe first as a “special occasion”, then maybe once a quarter, and so it goes . . .

  21. Mdepie says:

    Let me say up front that obviously at the end of the day, the Pope is the head of the Church, Vatican II is as much a council as Trent, and the SSPX will hopefully acknowledge the authority of both and begin to a process leading to reunion with the Church. I can not say I have direct experience of the Tridentine Mass, however given my experience of the Novus Ordo, and effeminate hymns like “Lord of the Dance” I can not imagine anything failing to be an improvement. As the father of three boys it is unimaginable to me that anyone can think the way the Mass is actually said these days would do anything but push boys away.

    Still I think the issues the SSPX and the traditional Catholic community ( Of which I am not a member though I sympathize with their concerns) is how much there is discontinuity of doctrine, if not formally, then in terms of how Catholics including the hierarchy actually behave or how we talk,
    When was the last time a Catholic figured used words like mortal sin, or sanctifying grace? Is the great commission still in effect? That is should a goal of evangelism be to convert people? Are people who do not believe Christ if God, the second person of the trinity, incorrect? That is if you are a Muslim or a Buddhist, or even a Baptist, are you a believer in a “false” religion. ? (Not in the sense that nothing that believe is true, but in the sense that when the a Muslim denies the divinity of Christ he is denying something that is as true as the fact that Paris is in France. ) The point is that pre Vatican II almost all Catholics, and certainly every Bishop would answer these questions in the same fashion. Now it is not clear they would. In fact I would wager there would be a lot of hedging on the questions that touch on religious truth versus indifferent ism. I think this is really the primary issue of the day, which Mass is said is probably not the only question. Maybe its not even the most important question. The real concern of the SSPX and “traditionalists” is I think, do we still believe that Catholicism is True, and that the doctrines that that Church taught in 1888, and 1988 and eventually in 2088 are the same.

  22. BaedaBenedictus says:

    An American Mother,

    And perhaps turn the altar back around in the OF so the two forms are no longer opposed in such a profound way. Alas, in most dioceses, ad orientem celebration is de facto banned.

  23. chcrix says:

    “our Pope has a theology that is at times strange, etc. …”
    “Is there not a whiff of arrogance there?”

    Possibly, but possibly not.
    Some of Pope Benedict’s theological (and “extra” cathedra) comments have caused me to raise an eyebrow. Not so much in disapproval as in mild surprise. A sort of ‘fancy that’ reaction. So it doesn’t have to be arrogance – it could be legitimate surprise. Sometimes I’m even surprised by something uttered by Aquinas.

    I always say that it is important to remember that Pope Benedict is NOT a church conservative. He is a church liberal – of the year 1958. He liberalism didn’t lead him off the reservation and he has remained unchanged while the rest of the ecclesiastical world shifted around him.

  24. heway says:

    Well, it certainly is a nice beginning and I hope they move forward…but…I attend a Novus Ordo Mass twice a week..the only times we have a priest. Our Mass is said reverently; mortal sin and sanctifying grace are mentioned frequently;confession is available before every Mass…and as the cantor who chooses the music to complement the liturgy, we have not sung or heard ‘Lord of the Dance’ for over 15 years.
    We have a couple who come from a TLM church in a city 5 hours away. They wish to kneel when the rest of the congregation doesn’t; never put their hands out for the ‘Our Father’; wear chapel veils; kneel for Communion, etc. If I were to attend the TLM church I would do those things that are done there and make their congregation comfortable. ‘When in Rome do as the Romans’, after all you won’t be committing sin, hopefully it will be done in charity.
    I personally don’t have a ‘favorite’. My reason for being there is in the tabernacle. My reason for participating is to give honor and glory to the One I hope to receive. I find all the banter and criticism to be a reason for division. Charity should prevail.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Well said, Mdepie. I wholeheartedly agree with the bulk of your comment. Just one thing that stuck out ~ you said “the Pope is the head of the Church, Vatican II is as much a council as Trent, and the SSPX will hopefully acknowledge the authority of both and begin to a process leading to reunion with the Church.”

    I’m not a member of a SSPX chapel, but I’ve done a bit of reading of books by them and I’d have to point out that they DO acknowledge that the Pope is the head of the Church, and they DO ackowledge that Vatican II was as much a council as Trent (although it was pastoral). And I don’t think they ever did hold those contrary views. Maybe you’re confusing the SSPX with some other sedevacantist group.

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  27. St. Rafael says:

    “our Pope has a theology that is at times strange, etc. …”
    “Is there not a whiff of arrogance there?”

    There is a difference between Pope Benedict the Pope, and Joseph Ratzinger the theologian who holds private opinions. Joseph Ratzinger the theologian was a member of the liberal periti at Vatican II and throughout his theological career held various questionable liberal opinions. When Ratzinger became Pope, he had to put his own theology and private opinions aside because he is now the Pope executing the office of the papacy entrusted with the Magistrium and tradition.

    For the most part Benedict has not really expressed or spoken some his old questionable views as Ratzinger the theologian, but every now and then some of his thinking has come out and raised some eyebrows and caused some confusion. There was a papal audience a couple of years ago when he started going off on some gibberish and absolute nonsense about the “Cosmic Christ.” The Cosmic Christ is Teilhard de Chardin’s Modernist gobbledygook. Teilhard de Chardin was an absolute heretic in his theology and evolutionist views. Popes are fallible in their speech of course, since they are not exceuting the Magisterium in most of their words and speeches.

  28. RichardC says:

    Amen!

    If there wasn’t an entity with the intials SSPX, it would need to be invented. And, or course, we want such an enity, with such initials, as part of the Catholic Church.

    @ BaedaBenedictus

    I agree with you, sir!

  29. wmeyer says:

    This is indeed excellent news. Now if only some of our more dissident liberals could be persuaded to the same sort of self examination….

  30. Cosmos says:

    “The real concern of the SSPX and “traditionalists” is I think, do we still believe that Catholicism is True, and that the doctrines that that Church taught in 1888, and 1988 and eventually in 2088 are the same.”

    EXACTLY.

  31. Warren says:

    To answer Geoffrey: yes, there is a whiff of arrogance in the cited phrase.

    Not to inflame passions too, too much: if the SSPX walks like a sect and talks like a sect, then… .
    The SSPX has yet to shake off the obvious stigma. They are defined by their protest, which makes them protestants does it not?

    The SSPX belongs in the Church. Some might say they are already in the Church. That’s wishful thinking, or perhaps hopeful thinking. Let’s hope and pray that their collective examination of conscience bears fruit that convinces them to submit to Peter and come home. It’s one thing to claim obedience to Rome, but actions are what count, not mere words.

  32. MAJ Tony says:

    I always say that it is important to remember that Pope Benedict is NOT a church conservative. He is a church liberal – of the year 1958. He liberalism didn’t lead him off the reservation and he has remained unchanged while the rest of the ecclesiastical world shifted around him. – chcrix

    Does that make Papa Benedetto the “Ronald Reagan” of the liberal periti? Reagan said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left him.

  33. pseudomodo says:

    SSPX = Catholics of the Strict Observance

    They will exist in the Church in the same way as the Carthusians and Trappists exist alongside the Jesuits and Maryknolls

  34. Long-Skirts says:

    THE
    TRADITIONALIST
    KNEELERS

    We are St. Joan,
    Philomena, Campion.
    The Faith in its whole
    Is what we do champion.

    We are St. Margaret,
    Pearl of York,
    Where the bowels of the Faith
    They tried to torque.

    We are Sir More,
    That’s Thomas, the Saint,
    Whose reputation
    They could not taint.

    We are vocations,
    In Catholic Church kneeling,
    Adoring His presence,
    It’s not just a feeling.

    We are descendents
    Of Martyrs and beggin’
    To stop all the men
    Who are turning us pagan!

    We are the poor,
    Uneducated ones,
    But in faith, well-informed,
    The heretic shuns.

    And when we are told,
    “Don’t kneel anymore.”
    Since we don’t hold doctorates…
    We kneel and IGNORE!!

  35. MarkA says:

    @Long-Skirts –
    Well said. Brava; Brava!
    [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]

  36. Maltese says:

    Vatican II is as much a council as Trent, and the SSPX will hopefully acknowledge the authority of both and begin to a process leading to reunion with the Church.

    Well, SSPX will tell you, and this is true, that they were both valid councils, but with differing levels of authority. A council proclaiming dogmas is different than a council espousing non-infallible doctrines. The hyper-inflated Vatican Council II declared no new dogmas, not one. Thus, if one questions its novel teachings, he can’t, for that reason, be termed a heretic.

    The SSPX has basically taken a conscientious objector to just a few doctrines in the documents of Vatican II (but, remember, these are doctrines, and not dogmas; the former CAN change).

    Read the eye-opener One Hundred Years of Modernism. The Church’s praxis has been turned on its axis.

    So, make fun of, or try to diminish the SSPX, but their praxis is the future of the Church.

  37. Geoffrey says:

    “Pope Benedict is NOT a church conservative. He is a church liberal – of the year 1958…”

    I was under the impression that the terms “conservative” and “liberal” properly belong to the secular-political realm, and not to the Catholic Church. Regarding the Faith, one is either orthodox or a heretic…

  38. Jason Keener says:

    It seems the biggest problem the SSPX has with the post Vatican II period is the issue of religious liberty. Frankly, I don’t understand how anyone can disagree with “Dignitatis Humane.” It really seems it is the SSPX who has the strange theology, not Pope Benedict XVI.

    All people, even those who express religious error in public, should ordinarily have a right to be tolerated by their civil governments. Simply, God gave no authority to civil governments to be the final arbiters of religious truth who are then tasked with shutting down public religious error. It is more sensible that public religious error be countered by dialogue, prayer, and friendship between individual citizens and religious groups. Would the SSPX also want the government to be the final arbiters of what is true and false in families or what is true and false in academic journals too?

    There may have been times in the past when more naive Catholic populations needed the government to protect the unity of the population in the Catholic Faith by repressing religious error, but those days are long gone. Today, people have ready access to information, etc., and can handle issues of religious truth without any intereference from a government that is already busy with many other tasks. What the common good demanded in the era of Pope Pius IX is not what the common good demands today. That is why we have seen a development in the Church’s thinking in the area of religious liberty.

    Lastly, it must be said that DH did not give people a right to religious error, for holding religious error is the abuse of a right. DH did, however, explain the right of people, within limits, to be tolerated by their civil goverments when they express religious error in private or public.

  39. Maltese says:

    @ Jason: It seems the biggest problem the SSPX has with the post Vatican II period is the issue of religious liberty. Frankly, I don’t understand how anyone can disagree with “Dignitatis Humane.” It really seems it is the SSPX who has the strange theology, not Pope Benedict XVI.

    Jason, the problem is not practical, its philosophical. With notable exceptions Catholic governments have largely tolerated non-Catholic religions to exist in the state. Yes, one has the freedom to worship whatever one wants. That is not the point. The point is whether or not the state should sanction one religion over another. Even today most Italian public schools have crucifixes in their classrooms, as did France, until recently.

    So, philosophically, does one really have the moral freedom right to choose a false religion, or, for that matter, to kill someone? One may choose to do so, in either case, but that does not give them the “freedom” to do so, get my drift?

  40. ContraMundum says:

    The problem is that when the SSPX fans who comment here examine their conscience, at least in terms of SSPX and its whole agenda, they come across as rather more superficial than the Cat in the episode The Inquisitor of the BBC series Red Dwarf.

    So, “their praxis is the future of the Church.” Really? Not the Chaldean Catholic Church? There are more of them than there are of SSPX, after all, and their roots are every bit as deep. That’s to say nothing of, say, the Maronites or the Ukrainian Catholics.

    Nope. Nothing will do but for Marcel Lefebvre to be treated as a Saint, Doctor of the Church, and modern prophet — almost a second Peter.

  41. Random Friar says:

    @Contramundum: Extra points to you, good poster, for the Red Dwarf reference!

    As for SSPX: The FSSP managed to reconcile itself, from the same fraternal concern and issues. It is possible. It is desirable.

  42. I’m praying that God guides us this May so that the resolution to the “SSPX Saga” is mutually enriching and joyous. :)

  43. Maltese says:

    Contramundum, it’s not a numbers game. Remember the Church started with a renegade band of a few souls. So, who cares how small the FSSPX is, her praxis is, like I said, the future of the Church.

  44. Cantate says:

    @heway: “Putting their hands out for the Our Father” is forbidden. Your bishop should stop the practice. Members of the congregation are not to join hands, nor lift them at “For the Kingdom and power….” Neither are they to hold them in the orans position, which is a liturgical gesture reserved to the priest. These practices, and some others, are straight out of the pentecostal/charismatic movement, and part of the aberrations at Mass that followed Vatican II.

    I do hope the SSPX is re-united, but I understand completely their points of view. They kept the Faith that we all did, prior to Vatican II. We who prefer the “usus antiquior” do not call ourselves traditionalists; we are Roman Catholics and we prefer the Mass of the ages, and the Catholic culture that accompanied it. Some of us still go to the Novus Ordo/Bugnini Mass at times; others, not– because it seems deficient, and seems to be a Consecration within a Protestant service. All one has to do is to place and old-rite missal side by side with a Novus Ordo missal (or that throw-a-way Word of God, the “missalette” ) and read the text of the Mass prayers to see the beauty of the former and the poverty of the latter. So much beauty of prayer was eliminated.
    The ancient rite was not broken and did not need fixing. I am grateful for Pope Benedict XVI loosing it across the world. He was gracious to the bishops in telling them that they no longer had to “make the decision” whether or not to allow it. Some dioceses and parishes still dig in their heels and relegate it to the worst hours, or worst places. But that Mass will not die, Deo gratias!

  45. “Well, SSPX will tell you, and this is true, that they were both valid councils, but with differing levels of authority. A council proclaiming dogmas is different than a council espousing non-infallible doctrines. The hyper-inflated Vatican Council II declared no new dogmas, not one. Thus, if one questions its novel teachings, he can’t, for that reason, be termed a heretic.”

    If it was merely a “pastoral council,” this means it would have no “novel teachings” to begin with, let alone to question.

    Whatever there is that is open to interpretation must be done in light of whatever earlier council, or existing dogma or teaching, has stated. Vatican II was an ecumenical council, and the members and adherents of the SSPX are going to have to learn to accept that. And even if Bishop Fellay and Pope Benedict XVI were to “kiss and make up,” so to speak, thousands of priests and laity associated with the Society may or may not go along. Remember, they’ve been fed a steady diet of “Vatican II is a false council” for years. They can qualify that any way they want to, but read their material on a given day, and you’ll find that. I long for a reconciliation as much as anybody. At the same time, such an exercise will only be the beginning.

  46. “Pope Benedict is NOT a church conservative. He is a church liberal – of the year 1958…”

    But this isn’t exactly 1958, is it? The man once known as Father Josef Ratzinger underwent a transformation over the years, especially around 1968, during the student riots that happened where he was teaching. Until then, he considered speculative thinking in theology to be safe territory when grounded in tradition. Given the prospect of social disorder had a profound effect on him, which found its way into his writings from that point on.

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    BaedaBenedictus,

    It’s coming. Our parish church is quite traditional even though it was built in 1994, and I’ve remarked here before that the sanctuary was designed in such a way that it would not be a major renovation to move the altar back against the east wall, which already has three steps and a reredos (it would take a substantial hydraulic lift though since the altar weighs over 4 tons). The center panel of the reredos could easily be redone to place the tabernacle behind the altar (it’s currently at the head of the south aisle). The current sanctuary area could be extended to create a choir (I’ve never liked the chairs up behind the altar. They’d look better in choir stalls where they belong.)
    And the new chapel built just two years ago has the tabernacle already installed in the reredos. Six or eight strong men could just pick up the smaller altar there and walk it back. And the chairs are already along the side walls.
    We are making progress.

  48. trad catholic mom says:

    Yes, I don’t see anything new here either.

    Except for yet another opportunity to bash the SSPX by those who oppose them.

  49. Jason Keener says:

    Maltese,

    At the Council, the official spokesman for DH, Bishop de Smedt, explained that “Dignitatis Humane” was not to be understood as giving someone a right or moral freedom to hold private or public error because holding religious error of any kind is the abuse of a right. Just because someone is in the terrible position of holding private or public religious error and is abusing their duty to profess the truth does not mean the civil government automatically has a corresponding right to repress that error. Academics may also publish errors in their journals that may harm the common good. Does that mean that some big Obama-type government entity automatically gets to step in and repress the error because it is erroneous? No, the error is dealt with through the patient and thoughtful exchange of ideas between academics. Moreover, God said that the wheat would grow with the chaff until the end of time. Ordinarily then, governments should not be in the business of repressing other people’s errors except where it is absolutely necessary for the basic functioning of society.

    It is also an abuse of my God-given intelligence to walk the streets of my town with a sign that says 2+2=5, but that does not mean the civil government therefore has a right to stop me from abusing my intelligence and the intelligence of others just because I happen to be in error. Error indeed has no rights, but people have a right to be shown patient toleration when they are in error.

    I do agree with you that civil governments should, when possible, show some favor to the true Catholic Religion through special tax breaks for the Catholic Church, putting crucifixes in public buildings, etc. DH also upheld this idea when it taught in paragraph #1 that it “leaves intact the traditional moral duty of individuals AND SOCIETIES towards the True Religion.” Even if the government shows some preference towards the Catholic Church through these measures, as it should, that does not mean the government has a right to repress everyone else who is in private or public religious error. A government can at the same time favor the Catholic Church AND respect the right of people to be tolerated patiently in their own religious beliefs. Again, please note that the government cannot respect religious errors or give people a moral right to those errors because no one has a right to religious errors, but the government can respect a different right—the CIVIL RIGHT of citizens to be left alone by their government or shown patient toleration when they are in error, as God ordinarily shows patient toleration to us while we are in error.

    Incidentally, Pope Benedict XVI has also pointed out in several speeches that traditionally Catholic countries like Italy should indeed have crucifixes in public buildings, etc. It would seem clear then that Pope Benedict supports idea that favor be shown to the True Catholic Religion where it is possible. Of course, it would not be prudent or sensible for the Pope to insist that all public buildings in Iran display crucifixes. One must be able to walk before they can run.

  50. Long-Skirts says:

    Random Friar said:
    “The FSSP managed to reconcile itself, from the same fraternal concern and issues. It is possible. It is desirable”

    VATICAN II PLUS TWO =

    And where are the schools
    The daily Mass
    Lines to confess
    A uniformed lass?

    And where are the schools
    The Latin class
    Cassocked priest
    Candles in brass?

    And where are the schools
    To strengthen souls
    Shape their wills
    Set the goals?

    And where are the schools
    The altar boy
    Assisting priest
    Like Christ, their joy?

    And where are the schools
    Oh, time you lied
    Two generations
    Have gone and died.

    And where are the schools
    Which don’t derive
    That two plus two
    Are sometimes five?

    S – S – P – X
    They’re found in large
    Where struggling families
    Let priest take charge.

    For the good of the whole
    Priests’ lives are laid
    So many may come
    Not be afraid.

    And win the Faith
    From Christ-like hand…
    St. Pie the Tenth
    Two and two are grand!!

  51. robtbrown says:

    Chrysologus,

    Yes, it’s a contradiction. But so also was the Bishop of Rome, Paul VI, ordering priests not to use the historical Roman Rite.

    If we want to talk about the flaws in the SSPX, let’s also not leave out the Montini Papacy.

  52. I am crying. That was so very beautiful.

  53. Centristian says:

    “And where are the schools…”
    My diocese has lots of Catholic schools.

    “…The daily Mass…”
    Every parish in my diocese offers daily Mass. Many of them offer daily morning Mass and daily noon Mass, with some even offering a third Mass in the evening. The local SSPX parish, on the other hand, does not offer daily Mass. It offers one single illicit Mass once a week.

    “…Lines to confess…”
    Every parish has confessions scheduled; one Jesuit church, in particular has long lines every day. And all of them have priests who can validly absolve their penitents, incidentally, which cannot be said of the local SSPX church that is open only once a week for a couple of hours.

    “…A uniformed lass?”
    You’ll find uniformed young ladies at every Catholic elementary school and at every Catholic girls’ school in this diocese. The SSPX parish here hasn’t got a school, however. No school. No uniformed lasses.

    “And where are the schools…”
    Still lots of them, here.

    “…The Latin class…”
    At many of those schools, and at many of the public schools, for that matter.

    “…Cassocked priest…”
    See ‘em all the time.

    “…Candles in brass?”
    Every single church that I’ve ever been in, even Protestant, has these. I have them in my dining room, for that matter.

    Oh, why continue? Did somebody mention arrogance?

  54. zama202 says:

    As a Catholic born in 1962, who as an altar boy in 1973 had no idea that just four years before Mass was celebrated in Latin, who only discovered the Traditional Mass in 1988 at the Manhattanville College chapel, who went on to start the Bronx chapter of Una Voce, and who now attends his typical mediocre NO parish Mass – but has never attended a SSPX Mass or event – I can say that the tendency for traditional Catholics to separate themselves from the general NO population it is mostly because they are treated as lepers by fellow Catholics and by the clergy.

    I have often been lied to by chancery officials and received intimidating calls from local pastors for simply petitioning for Traditioanl Masses in accordance with Ecclesia Dei.

    My sympathies and prayers are totally with the SSPX (as well as the FSSP, ICKSP, and all Traditional Orders and priests). With the SSPX able to exert more influence perhaps someday my mediocre NO Mass (and many others) will be – at least a bit more – reverent.

    Charles

  55. Mdepie says:

    Maltese says” So, make fun of, or try to diminish the SSPX, but their praxis is the future of the Church.”

    I do not think I would diminish or make fun of the SSPX. I think this whole debate over Vatican II being “pastoral” versus dogmatic is part of the problem. It is an effort by those who disagree with Vatican II to be able to say they do not accept some of its teachings because they are “not dogmas.” I do not wish to debate dogma’s versus pastoral teachings. This kind of talk is the sort of thing “professional Catholics” do. It strikes me as a kind of nit picking that fails to grapple with the central issue which is this:

    It is clear that on a number of teachings, forms of worship, practices the Church is now doing things and saying things which it used to condemn. In some case we may more or less like the new teaching ( so some may like the American contribution to Vatican II, which is the acceptance of religious liberty ). Others may see this as modernism. Either way either the issue is the conflict between a valid council and its teachings, and the prior equally valid history of the Church. How to reconcile them? I would make the point that the teachings of Vatican II have never been adequately reconciled with what went before. This problem has been amplified by the horrendous committee speak that Vatican II is written in. The Text itself is so verbose and ambiguous that it is susceptible of any number of interpretations. Because of this one can largely do anything and consider yourself in some way in communion with the Catholic Church. It is this problem that leads to “the Spirit of Vatican II”. Is there any other council in the history of the Church were the “spirit” of the council is such an issue? The problem is further amplified by the fact that modern Catholic theology now can not see, or does not care about the obvious contradictions between what is said in the gospels and prior teaching of the Church… and the theological ideas that are currently appealing post Vatican II. So we have the kind of thing said by Hans Urs Von Balthasaar suggesting that we may hope “all men be saved” including people who I presume torturers and murderers. This is not obviously consistent with prior teachings of the Church that many would be lost. My point is not primarily whether some clever theologian can not somehow square Von Balthasaar with prior teaching. Some have tried. My point is that the modern Church is chock full of this kind of thing, such that an honest appraisal would say that one of two things is true, either there has been a serious profound misunderstanding of what Catholicism teaches post Vatican II, or the Church was simply wrong about a great number of issues prior to Vatican II, because their have been a large number of …Ahem… developments. It is this dilemma that the magisterium needs to grapple with, and the problem that is the central feature of the SSPX issue. At least the SSPX issue pulls the curtain from over the elephant in the room.

  56. Taylor says:

    It is the spirit of disobedience which tears the Church apart. It is God who holds SSPX at bay…until they are ready to be obedient. They are correct that SSPX is not the Church. They have disobeyed the Pope and have caused scandal. They have separated themselves in their own self-righteousness. Now let them have humility and obedience and begin to love God again and show themselves capable of being part of the Body of Christ again.

  57. jhayes says:

    Mdepie, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote a long article for “First Things” about “The Population of Hell” reviewing views over the centuries, including that of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s.

    He pointed out that the church has no definitive teaching on the number of people (if any) who will go to Hell.

    Several studies published by Catholics early in the twentieth century concluded that there was a virtual consensus among the Fathers of the Church and the Catholic theologians of later ages to the effect that the majority of humankind go to eternal punishment in hell. Even if this consensus be granted, however, it is not binding, because the theologians did not claim that their opinion was revealed, or that to take the opposite view was heretical. Nor is the opinion that most people attain salvation contradicted by authoritative Church teaching….

    The search for numbers in the demography of hell is futile. God in His wisdom has seen fit not to disclose any statistics. Several sayings of Jesus in the Gospels give the impression that the majority are lost. Paul, without denying the likelihood that some sinners will die without sufficient repentance, teaches that the grace of Christ is more powerful than sin: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). Passages such as these permit us to hope that very many, if not all, will be saved.

    All told, it is good that God has left us without exact information. If we knew that virtually everybody would be damned, we would be tempted to despair. If we knew that all, or nearly all, are saved, we might become presumptuous. If we knew that some fixed percent, say fifty, would be saved, we would be caught in an unholy rivalry. We would rejoice in every sign that others were among the lost, since our own chances of election would thereby be increased. Such a competitive spirit would hardly be compatible with the gospel.

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/08/the-population-of-hell-23

    It’s an interesting article and worth reading the whole of it.

  58. Taylor says:

    Let those who glory in their pride stop sinning.

  59. Taylor says:

    “The whole of your faith is founded upon obedience, for by it you prove your fidelity.”
    [St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, 1347-1380 A.D.]

    SSPX: Obey Christ’s authority established in Peter!

  60. What exactly were Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s strange opinions?

  61. Phil_NL says:

    It’s interesting to see this passages appears to focus more on the changes in the Church between 1988 and 2012. And while that’s natural – in terms of what the SSPX would like to see, it would be hard for even the most ardent Rome-basher (no offense intended, but it’s clear that some are simply aptly described by that) to deny that the situation now has improved – it’s not the main point.

    The main point would be what has remained constant, namely that unity with Peter is essential, and that – even though things may be said that sound ‘strange’ – Rome is the (only) one that has the power to determine what is and isnt within the scope of Catholicism.

    I can well understand that it would be a lot easier for the SSPX to accept that if Rome charts a course they see as more tradition-friendly, as BXVI, gloriously reigning, certainly has. It would be easier still if the canonical structures could be fixed (I expect no problems there) and the messy nature of VII be adressed (little chance, I suspect; barring that the SSPX would have to accept that the rest of the Chuch is legitimately Catholic if they follow the Holy Father, and be follow a more stricter interpretation among themselves).

    But easier as it may be, Deo Gratias, at the end of the day the choice wouldnt depend on how receptive his Holiness is, but on the very nature of his office. And that was the same back in 1988.

    But by all means, let everyone be in full unity, be welcome and enrich a Church that sorely needs it, and let bygones be bygones.*

    *Eclessicitically speaking – I’d still refuse to join a dinner with Bp Williamson due to his lunacies in other fields.

  62. Long-Skirts says:

    Centristian said:

    ““…Candles in brass?”
    Every single church that I’ve ever been in, even Protestant, has these. I have them in my dining room, for that matter. ..Did somebody mention arrogance?”

    “It’s only arrogance if you’re wrong”

    AMBIGUITY

    One day Assisi
    The next day Latin
    One day The Way
    Some use a paten.

    Some let ministers
    Eucharistic-chick
    Hand out Our Lord
    So you can have your pick.

    Sometimes queer giving
    Advent Vespers, neat!
    Holding hands in the air
    Kneelers obsolete.

    One Holy Catholic
    Apostolic Church?
    Good for some let others run
    In circles as they search.

    For we are all approved
    Don’t ever rock the boat –
    Like those who open schools have classes
    Teaching souls to float.

    Saintly Thomas More
    Could’ve had it all
    Private Latin Masses
    Behind a purpled wall.

    But no – he chose the scaffold
    Where truth and lie collide

    Heads were cut –

    Entrails gut -

    Ambiguity couldn’t hide!

  63. Texas trad says:

    I have been going to SSPX masses for 10 years. I have met all the bishops in various places and I have heard all of them speak publicly. They have all spoken openly about finding a time in the future when traditional Catholicism is welcomed and embraced at the Vatican. I believe, knowing a bit about Bishop Fellay, that the time is coming. Most people don’t know that Bishop Fellay has been meeting frequently with Pope Benedict for years and years. They meet privately away from the press and detractors at the Vatican. They have met at Pope Benedict’s summer residence. All the of talks and private meetings appear to have come to fruition. SSPX will have full autonomy and have the p.p. it needs. The pope has privately agreed to that. Pope Benedict wants this and Bishop Fellay wants this. Bishop Williamson does not. He will go his own way and form a new fraternity and he will not lack for attendees. Many, many within the SSPX are sedes, and they will not follow Fellay into union with Rome. But we wait. The Vatican is saying a decision by mid May. It will be glorious to see. Many SSPX priests and attendees are thrilled about this.

  64. JARay says:

    Truly I look forward to the reintegration of the SSPX and Holy Mother Church. Many times I have been to Mass and joined in with the singing, in Latin.
    I have always been impressed by Bishop Fellay and I was not exactly unimpressed by Bishop Williamson. I most certainly do hope that the latter does not just go off on his own if a rapprochment is effected.

  65. Supertradmum says:

    Centristian, love to know where you live to see all these things. The only Catholic schools in my area right now are full of non-practicing Catholic teachers, or liberal teachers, who believe in universal salvation, women priests, civil marriages, the fact that Sunday Mass is not required, contraception etc. Also, in a month, I have seen two priest in cassocks, one an Ordinariate priest and one from Poland. There is no Latin offered in the Catholic schools, and most people have never seen nor heard a TLM. Confessions in most places are once a week, or by request. If there are any places for rent in your diocese, let me know.

  66. Widukind says:

    Cantate stated:
    “They kept the Faith that we all did, prior to Vatican II. We who prefer the “usus antiquior” do not call ourselves traditionalists; we are Roman Catholics and we prefer the Mass of the ages, and the Catholic culture that accompanied it. Some of us still go to the Novus Ordo/Bugnini Mass at times; others, not– because it seems deficient, and seems to be a Consecration within a Protestant service. All one has to do is to place and old-rite missal side by side with a Novus Ordo missal (or that throw-a-way Word of God, the “missalette” ) and read the text of the Mass prayers to see the beauty of the former and the poverty of the latter.”

    Why do some make it so difficult to allow others to embrace them? All of this wonderful news, and I am open to their return. But when I read comments as were stated by Cantate, I am not so sure that I would want to embrace them, as my embrace seems to be belittled by them. Cantate said that he is not a “conservative” but a Roman Catholic. Am I not too a Roman Catholic? And then the tell-tale slogan “the Mass of the ages” is thrown my way. Is not the Mass the Mass of all times, let alone of the ages (alibi celebrated properly)? It is all about Christ and His presence, which is above all time. Then the other pejorative epitaths “Bugnini” and “throw-a-way”…. For those who are most earnest and solicitous for the betterment of the Church of Christ on earth, none of this is unknown and we get the limitations and the problems that are present. Why preach to us the obvious, unless there might be a bit of, oh my, superiority? “I have endured, so hug me! I have been faithful, so kiss me!” Well, so have a lot of others in the Church endured and remained faithful, and have always stuck with the Church. We are not asking for anything from you but to accept our welcome. I pray that I do not awaken, and find to my horror, that I have kissed the ugly step-sister, rather than embracing my sister

  67. Elizabeth says:

    I have a serious question for Centristian. Where the heck do you live? I’m serious; I’d really like to know where all that you listed exists!

    Thank you.

  68. Supertradmum says:

    Elizabeth, same question I just asked……

  69. Okay, that does it! What does a guy have to say around here to get Long-Skirts to write a poem “dedicated” to him?

    I’m feeling … excluded. (sigh!)

  70. ContraMundum says:

    Let’s consider a man who has not been to Mass in 30 years who begins talking with his local parish priest. During this time he has made in public a number of proud and disdainful comments about the parish and about Catholics in general, but now he is thinking of reconciling with the Church. Still, he has a few issues he needs to work out, which is why he is talking with the priest.

    This would definitely be movement in the right direction, but it would be a serious mistake to publish in the newspaper the schedule for his next meeting with the priest, what topics have been and will be discussed, and speculation as to how well the talks are going. It might well exaggerate the man’s sense of importance, and it could stir up resentment among those who have been insulted that so much attention is being paid to him while he still has not repented. These effects could delay or complicate his eventual reconciliation, and they could help ensure lingering hard feelings on both sides even after the reconciliation is accomplished.

    So when one sinner does penance, let there be joy before the angels of God — but no celebration in the Church Militant. Most of us do not see the angels rejoice when we leave the confessional and do our penance — because it would not be good for us to see that.

    I obviously mean this to be taken in terms of societies, too. Each news item about how the talks between the Holy See and SSPX inevitably results in exactly the same kind of problems outlined above. It would be better to wait and give no reaction until the Holy See has announced full reconciliation, which we all hope will happen soon.

  71. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Supertradmum. I was hoping if another person chimed in with your question, we might get an answer! Looking again at Centristian’s comment, I would say in agreement that here in the huge Archdiocese of Chicago we do have:

    1) a lot of Catholic schools;
    2) the girls and boys do wear uniforms to their schools;
    3) there are plenty of daily Masses, I think, which you’d expect in such a large area. They are overwhelmingly Novus Ordo, of course, but that wasn’t the question, was it?
    4) candles in brass, I’ve seen at the nearby Novus Ordo parish by me.

    Otherwise:

    1) I’ve never seen priests in cassocks anywhere except at the Institute of Christ the King, the SSPX chapel, St. John Cantius (a dual Ordo church), and Miles Christi priests who travel here from Michigan to offer Days of Recollection on a monthly basis. Also, perhaps some of the Opus Dei priests, but not all.
    2) I don’t know for sure but I’d be surprised if Latin is taught anywhere here except maybe as an elective at the private Catholic High School level. Could be wrong on that ~ it might be required, not an option, at some of the private high schools.
    3) I can’t say for sure about Confession availability diocese-wide either, but my impression is that the norm is Confession on Saturdays for 45 minutes and 15 minutes before the earliest daily Mass. I’m sure there are exceptions to this broad generalization, but it’s still pretty scarce around here. And I wonder how many churches offer the Sacrament of Confession using a traditional Confessional Booth. However, there are LONG Confession lines at St. John Cantius where there are at least 3 priests (on Sundays, I’ve seen up to 5) hearing Confessions before every Mass, every day. I wouldn’t be surprised that this is the case also at the Institute of Christ the King, the SSPX chapel, and probably at the Opus Dei church (St. Mary of the Angels).

    Just wanted to give Centristian SOME agreement with his/her statements.

    Elizabeth

  72. Centristian,

    “Every parish in my diocese offers daily Mass. Many of them offer daily morning Mass and daily noon Mass, with some even offering a third Mass in the evening.”

    But, with all these parish Masses available, didn’t you leave out the most important thing:

    “While the Tridentine rite in all its glory continues to be celebrated in some churches, every parish has [an OF] Latin Mass every Sunday morning, along with other vernacular Masses, celebrated with reverence, a well prepared homily, sung chant, incense, and beauty in appointments that leaves no one among us who remember the old Mass nostalgic for it. The lay faithful realize when they walk into a Church that it is not a meeting place but rather a place of worship and personal prayer, where Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament complete with Benediction, and other devotions such as the Way of the Cross and liturgical Morning and Evening Prayer can almost always be found.”

    Actually, I’ve quoted this paragraph from the famous article

    2030: Looking Backwards
    http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/2030.html

    written in the year 2000 by Fr. John McCloskey, in the form of a letter written by an elderly priest in the year 2030, looking backwards over the restoration of faith and liturgy that occurred during the first three decades of the 21st century. So perhaps it is premature to ask the question now. But I do think that reconciliation of the SSPX, with its attendant strengthening of the hand of proper liturgy within the Church, will hasten the day.

  73. ContraMundum says:

    @Henry Edwards

    I’m afraid I think it’s more likely that by 2030 the Mass will be celebrated with great reverence but few niceties, because it will have to be done in secret.

  74. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards:

    Thus it was at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, just as you promised, by the way. I didn’t want to leave, as you might well imagine. What a treasure that place is.

    Alas, no, such is not the case around my diocese (the Diocese of Buffalo, NY, incidentally, as a couple of inquiring minds wanted to know). Things could certainly be alot better, here, liturgically speaking, to be sure. While I make no pretense that the average US diocese is in any way stellar (although some really are), by my little dissection of Long-Skirts’…poem…I merely meant to highlight this weird notion that many Lefebvrists have that even the most basic elements of Catholicism–daily Mass, cassocks, confessions, Catholic schools, candlesticks(!)–can be found ONLY within the Society of St. Pius X and are no longer known to the Church at large! They’ve been that severely brainwashed so as to imagine that traditionally Catholic elements can only be seen anymore within the enclaves of Lefebvrism. Some of them really do imagine that the rest of the the Catholic Church is all clown Masses, feminists, and empty, barren churches. May the scales fall from their eyes.

    I know of no active parish in this diocese that does not offer daily Mass and at least weekly confessions (although, as I mentioned, there is at least one parish that has scheduled confessions twice daily…I know, I confess there). And I can’t believe that my diocese is unique in that regard. In every other parish, confessions may be heard by appointment if the scheduled confessions are inconvenient for someone.

    We also have around here a number of Eastern Rite Catholic churches that offer a daily liturgy (and weekly confessions), which the Lefebvrists conveniently forget about when deciding that they have no choice but to attend the illicit SSPX Mass once a week. I’m not sure what would be so repellent about the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or absolution granted by a Ukranian priest that causes them to feel an absolute need avail themselves of the ministry of a priest without faculties, but I digress.

    Every time I go to the cathedral, I see the clergy wearing cassocks. That isn’t the only place, however. I don’t want to suggest that cassocks are ubiquitous around here, but they can certainly be seen outside the Society of St. Pius X, for heaven’s sake.

    This diocese has many Catholic schools, and there are a number that are run by religious orders, including the Jesuits, the Felicians, the Christian Brothers, and the Franciscans. The students all wear uniforms. The SSPX parish, on the other hand, has no school at all. Nadda.

    As far as parish life goes, the Lefebvrists here worship only once a week in the same small Methodist church they’ve been located at for decades. Why anyone goes there at all (unless they are convinced that “Novus Ordo” priests have invalid orders) is beyond me, because…

    As far as the Tridentine Mass is concerned, there are currently THREE diocesen parishes that offer it each Sunday, and, in addition to those three parishes, the Tridentine Mass is celebrated sporadically at other venues thanks to the advocacy of a local chamber choir called Harmonia . The SSPX church, by contrast, offers only one Tridentine Mass (illicitly) at their little Methodist church, so the diocese even has the Lefebvrists beat (by a mile) on what they regard as their own turf!

    But it isn’t their turf, is it? No. It isn’t. The Extraordinary Form of Mass is the property of the Catholic Church, not the SSPX. The SSPX is the property of the Catholic Church, too, incidentally. I’m glad at least some of them have finally begun to realize that and to those Lefebvrists I say, enthusiastically, welcome home!!!

    To the poets, however, allow me to say, “snap out of it!” ;^)

    Tu autem Dne. miserere nobis.

  75. Fr_Sotelo says:

    As usual Centristian, juice comments! I always get the sense that you understand the pastoral implications here far, far more than most give you credit for. And I have served in eight, multi-ethnic parishes with both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form communities assisting at liturgy.

  76. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Centristian: You’ve very pointedly said several times now that the SSPX Mass is “illicit”. Come on, that’s just plain false.

    You’re not alone in using the term “Lefebvrists”. Am I wrong or is there a particular tone behind the use of that term, and who do you refer to?….anyone who is traditional?….anyone who is a SSPX priest?….anyone who attends SSPX chapels? It’s really quite inaccurate if you think about it. They are not the Society of Archbishop Lefebvre. The Society of St. Pius X is an actual, real society within the Church. Yes, they are within the Church. It sounds like you mean to be insulting; perhaps not?

    Reading the rest of your post directed to Henry Edwards, I almost took the bait to be uncharitable and duke it out regarding several other highlights within the post, but I’m going to refrain. You seem to be enjoying yourself too much as it is. Ah well.

  77. Elizabeth,

    I could say Ditto to most everything you say, except scaled down from Chicago to Knoxville, a southern appalachian river city with just a half dozen Catholic parishes, three Catholic grade schools and a Catholic high school. Though we may be somewhat ahead of you in cassocks, which are frequently seen on some of our younger diocesan priests–including all of the several who celebrate the TLM–though not on the older priests.

    I sometimes wonder whether those who describe the SSPXers post-Catholic wasteland full of clownish Masses, non-believing priests, liturgical dancers, no confessions, etc. live in the real world somewhere, or do they just need to get off-line and outdoors occasionally, for some fresh air and maybe even a real Mass.

  78. Gulielmus says:

    It may interest people to know that Bp Williamson’s latest newsletter is as insulting to Bishop Fellay as it is to Pope Benedict XVI, and that he says that of the SSPX bishops “the three with the one do not agree.” (It’s written in a flippant rhyming dialogue).

    Oh and everything Centristian mentions is true of the oft-maligned Archdiocese of Washington as well, albeit priests in cassocks are usually the young ones!

  79. Centristian says:

    Oh, Elizabeth…

    Not one single Lefebvrist priest has legal faculties from any legitimate ecclesiastical authority to celebrate Mass or to celebrate any other sacrament, for that matter. Therefore, every time any one of them acts as a priest, he is doing so illegally according to Canon Law…that is to say illicitly. That is what illicit means. Note: I do not say “invalidly”. Although their absolutions in the confessional are, indeed, invalid.

    I use the term “Lefebvrist” because the entire mess really began when the charter of the Society of St. Pius X was not renewed in the mid-1970s by the diocese in which it was established. The bishop under whose jurisdiction and within whose diocese the SSPX subsisted allowed the charter to expire, at which moment the Society of St. Pius X ceased to exist. The Society of St. Pius X, therefore, no longer exists.

    Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers simply decided to ignore that pesky little fact, and to go right on ahead calling themselves the SSPX as if nothing had happened. I do not choose to bury my head in the sand about that historical truth, however, the way Lefebvre’s followers do. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, they are not “The Society of St. Pius X” just because they insist upon calling themselves that 40 years after the Society of St. Pius X was dissolved. I use the term “Lefebvrist”, then, because it is a commonly used term, and because I can think of no other term by which to refer to them.

    By the term “Lefebvrist”, then, I refer to all those bishops, priests, seminarians, and nuns who constitute the organization that claims to be the dissolved Society of St. Pius X, all their affiliated religious orders who rely upon them for ordinations, seminary education, and other sacraments, and, finally, all those laity who identify themselves as being the “faithful” of this sect, and who share their separatist mentality. By “Lefebvrist” I do not, of course, refer to traditionalist Catholics who have nothing to do with the Lefebvrist sect. As I pointed out in my last post, in my own diocese, alone, there are traditionalists who attend any of the three Tridentine Masses celebrated at three different parishes around the diocese. These traditionalists, of course, are not Lefebvrists. They have nothing to do with the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre.

    If you want to regard a point of view which does not accept the Lefebvrist charge that the Church, at large, is utterly devoid of Catholicism as “insulting” and to equate responding to such assertions as “bait”, knock yourself out. I was once under the Lefebvrist spell, myself, and such tactics and attitudes are all too familiar to me.

  80. wmeyer says:

    Centristian: I have done more than a little research into the history of the SSPX, and would not be so confident as to declare them illicit. Were the situation just as you describe it, I think the Holy Father would not be working so hard to being these people back into communion.

  81. Long-Skirts says:

    Centristian said:

    “They’ve been that severely brainwashed so as to imagine that traditionally Catholic elements can only be seen anymore within the enclaves of Lefebvrism. Some of them really do imagine that the rest of the the Catholic Church is all clown Masses, feminists, and empty, barren churches. May the scales fall from their eyes.”

    Ummmmmmmmmmm….have you tried raising children in the Catholic Schools over the last 20 years? I was all over the midwest with our 10 children and every school and Church was worse than the last. It would take too long to go into what has happened in our so-called-Catholic Schools and Churches…anyone who can read knows the horrors of the homosexual predators within the Catholic Churches, Schools and not to mention the Seminaries. Not brainwashed anymore, just at peace having found the True Faith again with Priests who are true Good Shepherds. And yes, thank God there are truly good and well-meaning Priests in the Novus Ordo but they haven’t the courage to do what the SSPX Priests have done. Hopefully soon our Holy Father will call in the Cavalry who will continue their defence of Holy Mother Church and the Holy Office of the Papacy! Viva Cristo Rey!!!

    THE
    TRUE
    FORT

    Such names they call us
    That’s not what we are
    We are true Roman Catholics
    At the front of the war.

    Some just go AWOL
    Others defect
    Copying our stance
    Then say we’re a sect.

    A lot like in England
    Saint John Fisher’s day
    When his brothers said, “yes”
    This Saint replied, “nay”

    All alone in the Fort
    St. John Fisher stood
    Preserving, defending
    For the whole all that’s good.

    Not just for himself
    Those attached to what’s old
    Or reformers reforming
    Pretending they’re bold.

    We’re simply preserving
    Once again the True Fort
    While those with new orders
    Relinquish support.

    And with promises made
    To men hungry for power
    They mock stand and point
    From their all-approved tower.

    Hoping for all
    Catholic democracy –
    When in fact they’re a collegial
    Kleptocracy.

  82. Centristian says:

    Wmeyer:

    If they weren’t acting illicity, the Holy Father wouldn’t have to do anything at all to bring these people back into communion. Acting licitly would mean that they already enjoyed full communion.

  83. ContraMundum says:

    Centristian is right. They are not excommunicated, but that does not mean that they have faculties.

    It’s the same situation with the sometime “Black Sheep Dog”, Fr. Corapi. He is not excommunicated, and he has the mark of the priesthood on his soul, but he has no faculties to say Mass or hear confessions.

  84. robtbrown says:

    ContraMundum says:

    It’s the same situation with the sometime “Black Sheep Dog”, Fr. Corapi. He is not excommunicated, and he has the mark of the priesthood on his soul, but he has no faculties to say Mass or hear confessions.

    Faculties are not relevant to saying mass.

  85. AnAmericanMother says:

    Longskirts,

    While some believe that rhyme’s emollient
    Can cushion the deliv’ry of contempt,
    Its ultimate effect remains the same.
    Decrying Mother Church from sun to sun,
    As though you know the heart of every one,
    Appears not just a scandal but a shame.

  86. ContraMundum says:

    From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Secondly, faculties, by reason of their source, are Apostolic, episcopal, or regular. Faculties are styled Apostolic or papal when they proceed from the pope directly, or through the ordinary channels of the Sacred Roman Congregations. They are episcopal, if the power or privilege conferred proceeds from a diocesan bishop, by virtue of his own power or ordinary jurisdiction, as for instance, the faculties of the diocese, to hear confessions, say Mass, preach, etc., granted to priests who labour in the diocese for the salvation of souls. Faculties are regular when they proceed from superiors of the regular clergy by reason of their ordinary jurisdiction, or by virtue of extraordinary powers or privileges conceded to them by the Holy See. Lastly, faculties are general or particular: general, when granted for indeterminate persons, though they may be limited by time; particular, when granted to designated persons or for particular cases. General faculties conceded to bishops and other ordinaries are also called indults.

    If an SSPX priest is granted faculties by the local diocese, he could say mass within its territory; otherwise, not.

  87. Long-Skirts says:

    An American Mother said:

    “Decrying Mother Church from sun to sun,
    As though you know the heart of every one,
    Appears not just a scandal but a shame.”

    Well…somebody has to do it!

    The real scandal and shame has been the abuse of souls and the teachings of Holy Mother Church from “sun to sun” over the last 50 years by evil men and what’s even worse is the men who won’t defend her!

    COMBAT
    BOOTS

    I fight the flesh.
    The world’s no test.
    When I fight the devil
    I’m at my best.

    But combat boots,
    Size 8 for me
    When defending the Faith
    With poetry.

    An American AND Roman Catholic Mother!!

  88. ContraMundum says:

    Mdepie, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote a long article for “First Things” about “The Population of Hell” reviewing views over the centuries, including that of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s.

    What kind of wager would Pascal have made about the population of Hell?

  89. dspecht says:

    I am ashamed and deeply touched (and depressed) if I read so many uncharitable and I would say unjust statements, arrogant or ignorant or a mix of both re the SSPX here.

    Instead of beeing gratefull for there work of restoring the Old Mass and their benefit of getting the 2007-MP etc . – they are only blamed and called names. As I said, that is not only uncharitable but unjust or arrogant – or ignorant of the facts and the fight for Mass and Tradtition and Catholic live. And really depressing.

    Without the SSPX and their severity we would not be were we are now, also many non-SSPXers admit.

    Prblems that they put the finger on are now also touched by those in charge – the Old Mass, the new “offertory”-prayers, the problem of Hand-Communion, the “pro-multis-problem”, the problem of annulments (granted so easily the last years that it was in deed a “catholic-divorce-method”) etc.

    Now the hierachie admits more and more that these are crucial points – and starts to think about that these are problems not only because of abuses but also because of some “reforms” themselfe and – perhaps – also of Vat. II …

    - as the Archbishop L., the sspx but also some friends of them always claimed.
    And the sspx and their friends are still only blamed for having fought this errors and problems for so long….. and not thanked. – Well, perhaps that is the fate of all brave and saintly men and women. But sad – and unjust.

  90. ContraMundum says:

    The old Mass is not the act of defiance that got the SSPX bishops excommunicated. That was, very simply, sin, and insisting that we be grateful for their sin is a much more forceful example of uncharitable, unjust, and blatantly unreasonable behavior. If you simply enjoy being in a huff, fine, but you are doing nothing constructive by raising your blood pressure.

    Meanwhile, “thanks” for kicking the hornets’ nest again. They had almost stopped buzzing around.

  91. Indulgentiam says:

    Excellent news about the SSPX Our Lady guide them and protect them. Beautiful article. 

    Heway: “We have a couple who come from a TLM church in a city 5 hours away. They wish to kneel when the rest of the congregation doesn’t; never put their hands out for the ‘Our Father’; wear chapel veils; kneel for Communion, etc. If I were to attend the TLM church I would do those things that are done there and make their congregation comfortable. ‘When in Rome do as the Romans’, after all you won’t be committing sin, hopefully it will be done in charity”

    So in other words if it makes you uncomfortable its uncharitable? Um No, I charitably direct you to the CCC for the actual definition of Charitable. 

    What is going on between TLM adherents and the NO adherents in many parishes  is all out war. The NO adherents, that i have met, get their backs up and circle the wagons the split second ANYTHING that remotely smells of orthodoxy enters “THEIR” Parish.  They complain  LOUDLY  to everyone if you have the temerity to kneel for Communion and thereby interrupt THEIR “flow.” Refuse to shake  hands or hug the guy across the isle and you are officially labeled “a disturber of the peace!” Don’t stand in a “communal circle”  holding hands during the “sign of peace” (one of many Liturgical abuses BTW) b/c you prefer to quietly pray to GOD and you are labeled “stiff, unfriendly, lock-step trad.” Goodness! be so insensitive as to ask them to please lower their voices a little so that you can pray while they all  ”commune” before, during and after Mass and you are told that “perhaps you would be more comfortable praying in another part of the Church.” Soon enough a group approaches and lets you know right off that they are on some board or committee and “…well this is how we do things here and sweetie there is room for ALL ways of worship…” Except of course any way that requires silence in the Nave and DEFINITELY NOT anything that even looks orthodox.  They will look you in the eye and calmly tell you that this is the only time many of them “get a chance to see each other,  everyone’s so busy and all these days and this our time to commune you know…” These people have the audacity to complain to the diocese that the Priest is misusing funds when he announces that he is going to put in a traditional Altar. Never mind that the funds were donated by the Latin Mass community for that specific purpose. These people will run down a good Priests reputation and anyone or anything else that gets in their way.  They have staked out their little job titles, in the administrative quarters of the Parish. with all their perceived prestige and power and they are not turnin loose without a fight. Anyone who thinks that the reform of the reform is going to be accomplished without a good deal of blood, sweat and tears has not read Church history.  NO adherents in the vast majority of Parishes form the majority they know it and they let you know it. At the very least let’s be honest. In the war to bring back ALL that the Mass once was and should be again the TLM adherents are outnumbered and absolutely relegated to minority status by everyone from the Diocesan offices on down. However we are not whining about it b/c many of us see it as our due. I personally took the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass for granted for so long that it is only fitting that I now have to fight for the privilege of the TLM.  I see it as   1. An opportunity to practice apologetics and a bite your tongue till it bleeds PATIENCE  And    2. A very, very small price to pay for the huge privilege that is the TLM. To whom much is given much is expected. Anyone who has read the  Ottaviani Intervention and looks around at the Church today can have absolutely NO doubts about the fruits of the Novus Ordo. In every age the Church Militant has had its battles this one is ours so gird your loins y’all and prepare to go at it mano a mano its gonna get messy. Pray? yes! Fast? Absolutely!  But confrontations are what the Militant better get comfortable with. Breathe, eat and sleep apologetics b/c souls are at stake, there’s and mine Our Lady Queen of Victory pray for us!

  92. ContraMundum says:

    The NO adherents, that i have met, get their backs up and circle the wagons the split second ANYTHING that remotely smells of orthodoxy enters “THEIR” Parish.

    You either (a) don’t get out much, (b) are living in an exceptionally screwed-up part of the country (such places do exist), or (c) are confusing what is good but not essential for what is best and absolutely essential. So, for example, in Greenville, TX, there is a very orthodox OF priest who is pastor of St. Williams. Please follow the link. I will admit to not finding anyone quite like him here in West Virginia, and some are admittedly kind of loopy — but not all; there are some good priests here, too.

    By the way, when Fr. Paul was assigned to St. Williams, there was a huge turnover. Some new people came from the Metroplex; some old people wanted to “sing a new church” elsewhere. The real situation is more complicated than the way you painted it.

  93. Indulgentiam says:

    contramundum:”You either (a) don’t get out much, (b) are living in an exceptionally screwed-up part of the country (such places do exist), or (c) are confusing what is good but not essential for what is best and absolutely essential. So, for example, in Greenville, TX, there is a very orthodox OF priest who is pastor of St. Williams. Please follow the link. I will admit to not finding anyone quite like him here in West Virginia, and some are admittedly kind of loopy — but not all; there are some good priests here, too.”
    A) 5 different states too many parishes to count
    B)I wouldn’t say so
    C)I did not confuse the meaning behind the post I was answering. I was answering a specific part of “Heway’s” assertions and perhaps your confused about that.
    I did not say anything about Priests other than to defend one. And I was not trying to explain all the complexities merely one aspect namely; the conflict between those who prefer the TLM and those who prefer the NO.

  94. ContraMundum says:

    @Indulgentiam

    And I was not trying to explain all the complexities merely one aspect namely; the conflict between those who prefer the TLM and those who prefer the NO.

    Um, yes, and the conflict, as you stated it, is that those who prefer the NO cannot stand orthodoxy. There are some who are that way, of course. There have been plenty of heretics who attended the Tridentine Mass, for that matter. There will be some today, just as there will be both NO parishioners and TLM parishioners who cheat on their taxes, cheat on their wives, etc. How about you don’t judge all NO parishioners by some bad experiences you have had, and I won’t assume all TLM enthusiasts are just like Mel Gibson?

  95. Indulgentiam says:

    @contramundum
    You clearly did not read my post very clearly b/c I write “the NO adherents THAT I HAVE MET” and later refer to “THESE PEOPLE” as in those that I HAVE MET PERSONALLY. How about you take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea before you read the posts. Slow down and read a little more carefully. To be clear I was speaking of the NO adherents that I have PERSONALLY MET in the 6 (not 5 I missed one befor) states and several Parishes that I have been too. In the Parishes that I have been too NO adherents are quick to pounce on any PERCEIVED slight no matter how careful a TLM adherent is with their language. C’est la vie.

  96. robtbrown says:

    The words conservative and liberal are variously applied. Very often they refer to doctrine: the conservative is fine with doctrine, the liberal is not. They can also refer to liturgy, with liberal referring to those who want expressionistic liturgy.

    Theologically, liberal and conservative can refer to the method.

    * The neo-scholastic method that was prevalent for about 350 years until Vat II is usually considered to be conservative theology. Sometimes confused with the theology of St Thomas, it has its roots in the earliest Franciscan theology, dating back to Alexander of Hales. It is a top down method that contained a lot of highly organized information. Unfortunately, it gave its students more knowledge of the answers than insight into the questions, lacunae that left it vulnerable to Modernism and Community of Man ideologies.

    * Liberal theology generally rejected this neo-scholastic method. Instead, it emphasized Scripture, the history of theology, and German philosophy. The likes of Rahner and Schillebeeckx produced a neo neo-Scholasticism that emphasized Existentialism to the point of usurping doctrine. IHMO, this is the aggiornamento approach.

    Although the Ratzinger approach had a strain of German Philosophy, his method was mostly that of ressourcement, with heavy emphasis on Scripture and the Fathers. Further, he is a known fan of St Bonaventure. In fact, he has criticized other ressourcement theologians who have ignored the Medieval doctors.

  97. ContraMundum says:

    Ah, well, New Orleans adherents are stinging in the aftermath of bountygate.

  98. Supertradmum says:

    Labels such as liberal or conservative regarding Catholics help understand a social and political reality, but orthodox and unorthodox would be more exact for doctrinal difference. However, the two overlap, as in the results of an American poll published yesterday which states that 51 percent of Catholics would now vote for Obama. Dare I say this, but none, absolutely, none of my SSPX friends are liberal in politics, as they are orthodox in Faith. I invite them all back with great happiness and joy on that great day….

  99. wmeyer says:

    I may be wrong, but I think that many of the people I am inclined to label liberal would argue if I called them unorthodox–they seem convinced that their particular interpretations of the Spirit of Vatican II are orthodox, and entirely correct. Perhaps even to the exclusion of pre-Conciliar understandings, which they seem to feel were simply in error.

  100. Roderick Alvernaz says:

    Random Friar says:
    1 May 2012 at 9:46 am
    They are stubborn, but God can melt any heart. Be reconciled, brothers, and come home!

    -Random Friar,
    We have to stop the polemics. The Church is made up of saints (with a past) and sinners (with a future). I have witnessed stubborn and rude behavior exhibited by both sides, there are hearts on both sides that could use melting. But I also know there pure hearts on both sides. I know this because I know people on both sides working for the same end.

    The truth is the SSPX did not really start to gain real numbers in the US (they may argue this) until the 1980′s. The FSSP, “erected as an institute of pontifical right in 1988″ (from their website), and had its start in the US in 1991. It has had a steep growth rate though I can’t say what percentage came from SSPX. Nor can I say what percentage came from local parishes once, in good conscience, parishioners could freely attend traditional Mass at an FSSP chapel.

    My point being; by the 1980′s it was not a knee-jerk response by isolated groups or small pockets here and there, off of some country road (as some detractors would have it). Real people in the pews were getting fed up with just plain silliness, and outright craziness. More and more people were, while maybe not running out the door to join up, were in fact longing for reverence and solemnity (even if they didn’t know it themselves). And these feelings continue to grow through the 1990′s, and into the 2010′s, even among our priests.

    It would be difficult, I think, to try and calculate the number of those within local parishes where the EF is now being offered. I know there are people in my own parish who fall into two categories; Those who attend the OF who were intrigued when the EF was first offered, continued with the OF, then slowly revisit the EF.

    The others are those “regular” parishioners who given the convenience of the EF right in their own parish returned to it right away. There might be SPPX who are seeking a closer parish or regularization. And some might be FSSP looking for a closer parish.

    I think all the rosaries that have been said, by the SSPX, the FSSP, and everyone else in local parishes nation-wide (in buildings traditional, modern, A-frame, gothic, in campus and hospital chapel, all small, grand, ugly and beautiful) have been heard by Our Lady of Fatima. But now is the time to redouble our prayers!

    I praise and thank God, and ask His continued blessing on his Holiness, Benedict XVI, his Excellency, Bishop Fellay, and their every good endeavor in the months and years of hard work to come. St. Peter, pray for us!

  101. sspxgerald says:

    Benedict XVI a.k.a Joseph Ratzinger is a Apostate,Blasphemer,Heretic,Deceiver,Liar.If you think that he aint,look it up,it’s on public record.The only “Pope” ever to undermine the Traditional Catholic teaching on contraception and Pope Paul VI Encyclical Humanae Vitae.Also a do nothing Pope, who is a accessory to the child paedophile holocaust engulfing the Church,both as Pope and when he was Prefect in the CDF.As a Sspx faithful,who wants reconciliation with this Criminal and Scum.

    [You need to start taking your medication again.]