Will all the SSPX sign on?

Our friends over at Rorate have posted a 1 June interview of SSPX Bp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais. He may be a bishop, but he is not the Superior of the SSPX. Bp. Bernard Fellay is the Superior.

The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith said that the three SSPX bishops (Tissier de Mallerais, Williamson, Galerreta) who are not the Superior (Bp. Fellay) would have to be dealt with in some step in addition to the reconciliation of the SSPX with the Roman Pontiff.

I also have in mind the fact that recently we saw a copy of a letter from the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” stating rather forcefully that people who on days of precept attend some independent chapel on the fringe of, in the orbit of the SSPX, but not actually under the aegis of the SSPS, do not fulfill their Mass obligation.  Let that be a warning to those who do not embrace what Rome is offering.

That said, Bp. Tissier de Mallerais’s comments in 1 June (NB: a couple weeks in advance of the new developments) are a unsettling.  Here is a quote:

R.: Some believe that the statute of personal prelature proposed to you will provide sufficient guarantee to you concerning all danger of abandoning the combat for the faith.

Bp. T.: That is incorrect. According to the project of prelature, we would not be free to create new priories without the permission of the local bishops and, additionally, all our recent foundations would have to be confirmed by these same bishops. It would thus mean subjugating us quite unnecessarily to an overall Modernist episcopate.

Not positive.

Alas, those of the SSPX who may refuse to be reconciled with Rome run the risk of being as irrelevant as the LCWR.

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34 Responses to Will all the SSPX sign on?

  1. Rich says:

    Here here!

  2. acricketchirps says:

    “Hear, hear,” I think you mean.

  3. czemike says:

    I think Rome and the SSPX actually reached this deal back in 2001. The parties were about to announce it when someone at the CDF noticed what a buzz it was causing on the web and how hilariously absurd the theories and speculation were. Both parties agreed to keep the deal a secret and continue acting like they were still negotiating (except Bp. Williamson who is trying to scuttle it ex post facto) when in fact all they do at their meetings is review what bloggers are writing and laugh their butts off. Comic relief as a form of managing stress is highly effective, even for overworked Romans prelates… have you noticed how young the Pope looks for being 85 years old? :-)

  4. rosshalde says:

    Ok, so in all reality and honesty. While I attend a diocesan parish that celebrates the TLM, I am sympathetic with the Bishop. What will happen when some large percentage of bishops that are hostile to all things Traditional deny the SSPX the right to operate? We know that some bishops are wonderful, but others are heterodox on their best days. Do they have the right to deny Catholics the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.

    Here is another way of asking the question. Did Catholics have to listen to Nestorius just because we was Patriarch? Or does his heresy all Catholics the right to be disobedient to the man and obedient to the faith? This is not rhetorical, but a serious question.

  5. Bp. T.: That is incorrect. According to the project of prelature, we would not be free to create new priories without the permission of the local bishops and, additionally, all our recent foundations would have to be confirmed by these same bishops. It would thus mean subjugating us quite unnecessarily to an overall Modernist episcopate

    Without attributing any particular intention to the bishop himself, can anyone verify that what he says about personal prelatures is actually correct? My understanding from the only one existence is that they do not have the restrictions the bishop mentions. Wouldn’t that be true of any personal prelature, or is that particular to the Opus Dei?

    Additionally, since we don’t have the details of what this new personal prelature would look like, we may not be able to know if this is a genuine possibility or a premature concern.

  6. Spaniard says:

    Apart from the practical observations about the Prelature, this bishop certainly sounds unsettling. “The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) has never left the Church”, “This project of “officialization” of the SSPX leaves me indifferent. We have no need of it, and the Church has no need of it.”, “we are currently in a state of war in the Church”, “But Pope Benedict XVI, while he is Pope, remains Modernist”… And many more quotes. I am none to judge (he thinks he is), but this doesn’t seem the penitent attitude of the prodigal son. If he has no sympathy for the Church, he should not speak at all, for he is not the only one affected by his opinion, he is a shepherd of souls, leading hem away from the Church, and away from Christ

  7. acardnal says:

    @Father Maurer: Because there is only one Personal Prelature – and only one has ever existed , we have no precedent other than what occurred with Opus Dei. They cannot operate in any diocese without the permission of the Ordinary. The few diocesan parishes they pastor have been given to them by the Ordinary. They remain diocesan property. I know of one parish in Chicago. We can be hopeful that the Holy Father in his wisdom will promulgate statutes appropriate for the SSPX’s situation that gives them the freedom they need to do their apostolate and be fruitful. The Holy Father is aware of the hostility of some bishops to the SSPX.

  8. anilwang says:

    rosshalde,

    While Nestorius was in good standing, I believe traditionally, the attitude has been obedient to the faith and obedient to the man, especially if one is consecrated to a Bishop. The saints definitely fall into this category. Nonetheless, fraternal correction is not only allowed but required when we see a brother, even a brother in the hierarchy, sin or mislead the faithful. Popes have repeatedly been rebuked. St Paul and St Catherine of Sienna provide two clear examples of this.

    WRT to “Do they have the right to deny Catholics the Traditional Mass and Sacraments?”, clearly they do not given SP and UE. There are channels of appeal, and eventually the bishop will be replaced by someone who will toe the line. In the mean time, I believe the parable of the the Widow and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8) provides a perfectly valid traditional response to disobedient bishops who are still in good standing.

  9. If there is an SSPX chapel near my home I would be happy to attend provided they are in union with the rest of the Church. That includes being in union with the “modernist” bishops they don’t like. If I have to be in union with crazy priests and bishops who can’t understand a word of the Latin I say to them then so does the SSPX. That is part of being a Christian. The point is that we help each other and try to make each other better.

    I burned up a lot of my emotions praying really hard for reunion of the other so called “christians” with the Catholic. At some point we have to realize that they have fully committed themselves to the sin against the holy spirit. When I studied what was really going on in many groups outside the Catholic Church, I found that a deep hatred of Catholicism, far over and above whatever love of Christ they profess, was their main doctrine. They have hardened their hearts. As such, in such groups we discover that the sacrament of reconciliation is rare or non-existent. How many Greek so-called “orthodox” have ever gone to confession in their life? I have known many members of the Greek Church and the Russian Church and I have yet to ever meet even ONE member who has ever gone to confession or even KNOWS what it is. In contrast the Japanese secret Christians (all Catholics by the way) who had to endure persecution and keep their faith secretly with with no priests for 300 years all still knew what confession was even though they could never engage in that sacrament due to the lack of priests.

    I’m happy, overjoyed even, that some of the SSPX will finally have reunion with Rome. I am ready to embrace them and support them fully as fellow Catholics. But I did sort of predict that a lot of the SSPX members would not have enough courage to fully follow Christ. I hope it does not happen, though it probably will be the case, that more than half of the SSPX will not return and those that do will be hated and vilified by the ones who stay out. It is the same pattern over and over again. There was a group from the Assyrian Church of the East a few years ago that came back to Rome and that is exactly the pattern that happened to them.

    On a side note, why hasn’t Nacy Pelosi been excommunicated yet? If we play our cards right, maybe we can see her exit at the same time as the LCWR.

  10. LouiseA says:

    The question, “Will all the SSPX sign on?” is very premature and assumes several intermediate events/steps which may not even happen. So, why speculate?

  11. jhayes says:

    This communique on the SSPX site regarding yesterday’s meeting is not encouraging:

    “During this meeting, Bishop Fellay listened to explanations and further details from Cardinal Levada, to whom he presented the situation of the Society of Saint Pius X and spelled out the doctrinal difficulties posed by the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae.  The desire for additional clarifications could result in a new phase of discussions.”

    http://www.dici.org/en/news/communique-of-the-general-house-of-the-society-of-saint-pius-x-june-14-2012/

  12. Imrahil says:

    Dear @ quomodocumque,

    passing over any assertions of my own unworthiness to say as decided things as what follows (there certainly many would be due),

    maybe we might leave out assertions that the separated brethren (not invertedcomma-Christians either)
    have fully committed themselves to the sin against the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you, and sorry.

  13. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Members of the SSPX are like dogs that have been kicked a few times. I can understand why they are wary of trusting local bishops and Rome herself, after their experience of the 1970s: local bishops attacking them and a timid, weakened Paul VI hanging them out to dry.

    Essentially they won’t accept the questionable teachings of the Council, and they want nothing to do with the Novus Ordo, and they won’t publicly make any statement in support of either. I think it is reasonable since both (especially the latter) are pretty unprecedented in Church history and have preceded massive confusion and crisis.

    If the Holy See is offering them a canonical solution (1) without requiring them to make such statements, (2) along with protection by Her from hostile liberal bishops, then I don’t think Bernard Tissier de Mallerais or others similarly wary have a leg to stand on. They must overcome their distrust and agree to the proposal offered by Rome.

    If Rome does not offer such a solution, I can understand why they would reject it, since the rejection would be a matter of conscience and principle rather than built-up bitterness.

  14. kallman says:

    It is not helpful to put part of the SSPX and the LCWR in the same basket.

  15. leonugent2005 says:

    Being reconciled: You’re aggravated if you do and you’re dammed if you don’t!

  16. Cavaliere says:

    It is not helpful to put part of the SSPX and the LCWR in the same basket.

    I don’t know why not. There are members of the SSPX who believe they are the true Magesterium of the Traditional Catholic Church in contrast to the Conciliar Church Magesterium of Vatican II. Years ago I witnessed disobedience among several SSPX priests I knew toward their lawful superiors in one of the U.S. priories. A disobedience that is still manifest.

  17. Pingback: Will all the SSPX sign on? | Catholic Canada

  18. Geoffrey says:

    When and if the SSPX is regularized, they will be just like the LCWR if they continue to maintain their disobedience, hostility, etc. Just because they claim to be “traditional” does not absolve them, nor does it make them paragons of orthodoxy. As Fr Z has wisely quoted: “you can go into the ditch on either side of the road”. The remedy? “Sentire cum Ecclesia”!

  19. jhayes says:

    Sounds as if the next step will not be until July:

    Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that “the ball is in the society’s court” to accept the Vatican’s response and clarifications…

    When asked whether giving Bishop Fellay a formal proposal of a prelature was a sign the Vatican had approved the bishop’s response to the doctrinal preamble, Father Lombardi told journalists that all doctrinal differences had to be resolved before any formal recognition could be made.

    “However, evidently (the prelature proposal) was presented so that if the doctrinal issue is resolved, the canonical part is ready,” he said….

    The Vatican spokesman said the society would be holding its general chapter in July, which would be “an occasion for reflection and exchange” of ideas concerning its next step.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1202506.htm

  20. tzard says:

    Remember, the next step in discussions could be about doctrinal matters – perhaps clarification of VII. According to recent statements, that discussion has been separated from regularization of the society.

    Also, the rules for Opus Dei are according to Canon Law. But Canon Law is different from common law in that proper interpretation of it is dependent on the intent of the writer (the Pope) not the words themselves. So, the Pope can decide the interpretation so the rules do not apply in this case, or he can change the law, or he can create exceptions – in law. The alarmist statements about the insufficiency of a prelature are so premature as to be laughable, if the consequences were not so serious (the salvation of souls).

  21. kallman says:

    SSPX are not advocating for women’s ordination, contraception, abortion, homosexuality.

  22. Cavaliere says:

    SSPX are not advocating for women’s ordination, contraception, abortion, homosexuality.

    Funny thing though. I don’t recall seeing any parishoners from the SSPX chapel around here at the Good Friday Prayer Rally at Planned Parenthood, nor were they there at either of the Defend Religious Liberty rally’s. I don’t see them taking a public position in support of the Catholic Bishops in MN regarding the marriage amendment either. Now I don’t think they are in favor of those things but where are they? If you are part of the Church as you say, join in, these issues affect you too. I wonder why in my four years attending a SSPX chapel I never heard mention of a day of helping out at the homeless shelter, visiting those in prison or any of the corporal works of mercy. Sure people helped around the parish but never outside it. Only heard how evil Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Church were.

  23. Phil_NL says:

    I suppose it’s inevitable that some part of the SSPX, or at least their adherents (but they take their positions from SSPX clergy, often enough) will decide to go it alone. There are plenty of ‘functional sedevacantists’ in the society, and if they get priests and/or a bishop with them, count on them evolving into full-blown schism.

    And while this would be bad for the salvation of souls, it’s all too human to have a small sigh of relief there vis-a-vis bp Williamson, whose anti-semetic rants and general lunacies would be a major headache for the Pope. Reconcilling him would probably involve him getting a life-long prohibition to talk to the press, and I doubt him being able to obey such an order.

    We’ll see where it goes, it’s in God’s hands.

    PS: @kallmann : and the LCWR aren’t ordaining bishops. Both groups have a problem with obedience to Peter, both are in the ditch. That these are different ditches, is immaterial for some discussions, as it is here.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    Who chose these bishops who do not want the TLM in their parishes? Is a problem, as I have witnessed personally. God bless the SSPX and I pray and fast they will come in

  25. Jack Regan says:

    Will all the SSPX sign on?

    No way. But we shouldn’t let that worry us too much.

    I thoroughly agree that bringing the SSPX back into the fold is a good thing but I think we should steer clear or worrying too much about those who still want to protest and stay out of that fold, because there will always be some. There will always – always – be a far right, just as there will always be a far left, and there has to come a point at which we say that they are simply too far for us to bother with.

    It is inevitable that not all of the SSPX will join this prelature. After all, the SSPV have already split from the SSPX and then another group ‘Catholic Restoration’ split away from the SSPV. Indeed, we already have a group of SSPX who have come back to the Church called the FSSP!!

  26. Jack Regan says:

    One more thought…

    By and large, when an organisation splits and splinters, what it comes down to in reality for most people is property and land.

    What I mean by that is that the SSPX is a big deal (sort of) because it has like 900 chapels, 4 seminaries and a load of other bits and real estate around the world. I am presuming therefore that any group that splits away will have to leave these buildings. This, in turn, means that they’ll become rather irrelevant, like the group that split away from the Transalpine Redemptorists when they came ‘back in’ a few years back – those guys were saying Mass in somebody’s garage, if reports are to be believed!!

  27. Imrahil says:

    I wonder about the term sign on, though.

    At the moment the SSPX is dealt with corporately (and its non-General Bishops separately, according to the Holy See Communiqué, while I don’t know what precisely this means). The SSPX will corporately decide – I don’t know if the General may do so alone or if he needs, say, a general chapter decision or the likes for it (the other bishops at any rate have no formal place). But when that is settled – let us hope and pray -, then the SSPX is signed on, and that altogether. The General surely does not need to go around to the chapels and ask the priors and faithful whether they follow; they are regularized without further action.

    Some, God prevent, might secede. But in doing so they would as well secede from the SSPX. Even if they, God prevent, had a bishop.

  28. Jack Regan says:

    Some, God prevent, might secede. But in doing so they would as well secede from the SSPX. Even if they, God prevent, had a bishop.

    There will be some and, yes, they would be leaving the SSPX as well. And, yes, there probably will be a Bishop or two with them. But they won’t be the first, and they won’t be the last!!

    One final thought – I’m no liberal, but… do we really want Richard Williamson in full communion?? I like being able to tell people that he’s not really one of us when he goes on one of his rants about women wearing trousers, or the Holocaust not really having happened, or affection between children and parents being the work of the devil!!

  29. robtbrown says:

    acardnal says:

    @Father Maurer: Because there is only one Personal Prelature – and only one has ever existed , we have no precedent other than what occurred with Opus Dei. They cannot operate in any diocese without the permission of the Ordinary. The few diocesan parishes they pastor have been given to them by the Ordinary.

    For the most part Opus Dei priests do not run parishes. The primary work of their priests is at their study centers and in the centers where their numeraries live (owned by OD). I think that most of those centers are public oratories. In fact, if memory serves, there are some parishes in the US are not owned by the diocese but by a religious order.

    Once again: That OD or any religious institute needs the permission of the diocesan bishop before the establishment of a house in his diocese is always subject to the Pope. If BXVI gives permission, that suffices. Historically, the Holy See defers to the particular church, but the authority is always there.

  30. Phil_NL says:

    @Jack Regan: couldn’t agree more with your anxiety.

    However, Lunacy (capital intended) isn’t an excommunicable offense in itself. I therefore assume that were he to be reconciled, BXVI would give him an order, under holy obedience, to refrain from saying anything at all on a long, long list of topics, and nothing altogether to the press. I very much doubt if he could stomach such a command, but it is a sad fact that he was and is wholly unsuited for the episcopacy. If he wants to remain in that state, he better stop his anti-semetic drivel and other inane stuff.

    @supertradmum : I’d expect that the bishops would be ordered to recognize any exsisting SSPX outfits in their diocese (in so far they don’t split away from a reconciled SSPX), presumably in the same document that establishes their personal prelature. An expedited appeal process to the holy see in case of refusal wouldn’t go amiss either. I’d be highly surprised if something like that wouldn’t have been understood from day one; the SSPX would know it’s needed, as would the Pope. Out of courtesy to the bishops and not to awaken more resistance I would reckon both sides would not reference such fine print in public, but it would be beyond belief for these issues not to be considered already.

  31. irishgirl says:

    I keep hoping and praying for a full reconciliation.
    I’m also glad that the other three SSPX bishops are going to be dealt with individually.
    Bishop Williamson is a real loony-he’ll be a hard nut to crack.
    I don’t know too much about the other two, Galleretta and Tissier de Mallerais.
    We need the SSPX ‘in the Church’! I pray that it will have the humility to accept the Holy Father’s offer of the Personal Prelature. I’m sure that he will know what to do to help it in dealing with Bishops who are hostile to the Society.
    BTW-I myself attend an SSPV chapel. And before anyone here goes off and tells me that they are ‘outside the Church’, well, I disagree. I’ve gotten to know the priests and the Sisters of their female congregation. They don’t preach, or teach, heresy; they teach the full, unvarnished Catholic Faith. I go there only for the Mass, not for the ‘politics’. I stay clear of those issues. And I still pray for the Holy Father when I make my preparations for Holy Communion-I consider myself to be the lone ‘papist’ in the whole congregation. There are times when, after Mass, I try to convince a few of the more extreme members what the Holy Father is actually trying to tell us. It’s hard for me to be articulate, but I try. But I know that the ‘die-hards’ will never be convinced.
    I used to go to a chapel where the TLM was offered; we had the FSSP priests come twice a month, but in 2008 they were not allowed to by our local Bishop. And the diocesan priests who came the rest of the time now either have other assignments or are too ill, too far away or too busy to do so. So what are those of us who want the TLM supposed to do?
    Heck, I’ve even gone a few Sundays to the SSPX church in our Upstate NY diocesan city! I don’t find a problem with that, and the large congregations at both Masses are evidence that Catholics want the pure, unvarnished Faith, without all of the nonsense of the past forty-some-odd years. I’ve even been on a couple of their pilgrimages-couldn’t go this year because of financial constraints.
    I steer clear of the extremists and the politics; I get along with them fine when I avoid the ‘third rail issues’.

  32. robtbrown says:

    I also have in mind the fact that recently we saw a copy of a letter from the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” stating rather forcefully that people who on days of precept attend some independent chapel on the fringe of, in the orbit of the SSPX, but not actually under the aegis of the SSPS, do not fulfill their Mass obligation. Let that be a warning to those who do not embrace what Rome is offering.

    Not to deny the above, but I also think that the Christifideles have the right to Latin liturgy.

  33. leonugent2005 says:

    On the extreme left we have the magisterium of nuns and on the extreme right we have the magisterium of nuts. I pay no attention to either one. I do think that Msgr Fellay is showing some great leadership now and has the potential to bring about some much needed reforms in the church. He needs to be prepared not to get everything he wants however.

  34. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Jack Regan, forgive me to comment as a do-gooder would, but yes, I do want Bp Williamson take part in the whole of the regularization. He is a Catholic and a Catholic if he wants to remain Catholic must be accepted by Catholics as Catholic. And he is a bishop too. I’m aware that especially in Germany about 70% of the existing prejudice against the SSPX would wither away were he gone (not that the remaining prejudice wouldn’t still be big enough), but still: reputation is not worth a Catholic soul put off of the Mystical Body, even if said soul still would be saved in the end.

    He is also, dear @Phil_NL, not a lunatic. What he is, is – as he knows himself very much – an faith-untouching heretic. That is, just and precisely what a heretic is about faith, he is about much else. (However, in the case of the “affection of children and parents being the work of the devil”, if he really said that, he might be near enough to real heresy, at least definitely displaying a Manichaean tendency.) Now people who say so usually want to evoke the image of the villain-Church suppressing people who only wanted to state their opinion. I don’t. But these people (and dear @Phil_NL that does not include you, please take no offense) then can no longer see that there is such a thing as a really intolerable dissent, which is why the accusations of lunacy abound so much in recent times. (Need I mention that Norwegian heretic who has decided to commit terrorism?)

    What I do want is Bp Williamson justly punished for his opinions. Yes, for his opinions (viz. expressing them); for reasons that it would lead to far to explain these are not as protected by natural law as the really religious opinions are. I’d want him to accept the judgment he will receive – in all probability a fine – from the responsible court.

    But even if these opinions are both erroneous and outraging enough that the German state has decided to prohibit them, they still remain opinions of a cultivated man who is to be accepted as non-lunatic, however “criminally erroneous”, before there is proof to the contrary. And there may be no punishment without a law. Now there is a canonical law that could deal with Holocaust denial, but it does not allow for excommunication, and hence he would have to remain “in” in all senses. I would want, though, a canonical trial in presence of the Pope himself (cf. can 1405 No. 4) for grave breach of good manners and incitement of hatred using media of social communications (cf. can 1369).