Of Anger Management, Benedict XVI and the SSPX. Wherein Fr. Z imagines dire things.

Do the SSPXers think that Pope Benedict is so patient and kindly that he would never withdraw his outstretched hand?

Perhaps that is it.  Maybe that is why they dawdle and find excuses not to accept what the Holy See has offered and have a canonical structure of their own.

It would be a mistake to think Benedict’s patience is endless.

My old mentor, the late Msgr. Schuler, was calm guy, unruffled by most things. Even in the face of drastic challenges, he was cool. I only saw him angry twice. His face changed. It was scary.  Happily, he wasn’t angry at me!

My old mentor, the late Card. Mayer, was a calm guy. He was a monk, and old. He was battle-hardened. He had seen it all. He was the holiest man I have ever known.  I only saw him angry once. He didn’t raise his voice. It left a deep impression on me, to be sure.  Happily, he wasn’t angry at me!

I used to talk with Card. Ratzinger pretty frequently, years back. I’d pick his brains. I’d talk to him about horrible things written about him. I would challenge and disagree and demure. I never saw him angry.  I haven’t really heard of him showing strong anger either.  I know people who know Papa Ratzinger better than I.  Everyone who knows him affirms that His Holiness is kind, and calm, and patient and sweet-tempered guy. He has the level-head and level-spirit that allows the workings of the theological virtues and the fruits of the Holy Ghost.

I can imagine, however, that if he got to the point where he was actually angry at someone or about something, there could be instant and sharp consequences.

The fact is, even level-headed and holy men get angry.

Let us turn our thoughts now to the followers of Lefebvre.

The Holy Father has offered the SSPX, through the CDF, point after point and chance after chance.  He has offered them pretty much everything they need.

Some will say, “But Father! But Father! The Second Vatican Council….”

NO!  He has.  He really has.  There are ways to work through the problematic issues raised by Vatican II within the Church and those avenues would be open to the SSPX.

I think that what the SSPX has done in regard to the “Doctrinal Preamble” and the Pope’s overtures could be quite … vexing.  Their maneuvers might vex a saint.

The Holy Father is about the last man on earth who would need anger management.  I fear, nevertheless, that the SSPX will manage to make him angry.

I read statements from the SSPX leadership and watch the temporizing and listen to their musings about “Eternal Rome”, as if they were the lone true ones, being truer to a thruthier Church than Pope Benedict could ever fathom, and I can well imagine Pope Benedict getting more and more annoyed.

And we know how Benedict works.  He thinks through a problem patiently and then – BAM! – he moves.  That’s what happened with two of the big things in his pontificate: Summorum Pontificum and the Anglican Ordinariates.  There was lots of opposition, but he wanted them.  He consulted, bided his time and – BAM! - they happened.  In the first year of his pontificate he simply slashed several days off the schedule of the meeting of that sacred cow of collegiality, the Synod of Bishops.  He just did it.  In one year’s time Benedict has moved 4 bishops from their sees.

I resonate with a great deal of what the SSPX stands for and wants.  I believe the priests of the Society to be zealous for the salvation of souls. They have so much to contribute!  But as much as I have sympathy for most of their concerns, sometimes they remind me of a bunch of brooding Batman villains.  I long to say to them, “If you vex Benedict enough - BAM!  You guys are going to learn what it means to on the business end of schism.”

I hope they don’t slap Benedict’s outstretched hand away.  The other hand won’t be so nice.

Please, Society, please.  Don’t blow this.

In ancient times Opportunity was personified as a beautiful woman with very long hair in front but with a bald head in back.  The idea was that we must catch hold of Opportunity when she approaches, because when she has passed there is nothing to hold her by.

Seize your opportunity with both hands, men.

Submit to the Vicar of Christ.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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116 Responses to Of Anger Management, Benedict XVI and the SSPX. Wherein Fr. Z imagines dire things.

  1. Bob B. says:

    China’s Patriotic catholic Church has been pulling the Vatican’s chain for a lot longer and through the pontificates of all the popes since Pius XII. The only difference is that Pius XII didn’t put up with China’s antics and called them on it a number of times. There are similarities between the SSPX and China, but ultimately the question becomes, “When is enough, enough?”

  2. Darren says:

    I really really REALLY REALLY want to see the SSPX back fully in the church, accepting the hand of Peter, and not in schism. I really do. They have so much to offer.

    But, I wonder – as Karl Keating wrote in the last issue of Catholic Answers magazine (I don’t have it in front of me) that they, in Lefebvre’s stubborness to begin with, have done more to suppress the resurgence of the Traditional Latin Mass because so many people have come to equate tradition as on the edge of the church, teetering on schism. People will not notice the FSSP, will not notice Mater Ecclesiae and Fr. Pasley… etc etc etc… they will notice the SSPX and their separation.

    Should the SSPX not accept the hand reaching out to them, and should Pope Benedict XVI reach the limit of his patience… …I wonder how many priests will drop the SSPX after their name for the better letters of FSSP, as some did with the FSSP was formed. I wonder.

    I hope it doesn’t come to it, but my personal patience is extremely thin on the matter (I guess it is good that I am not pope, eh?). I’m personally tired of the games they are playing. One day Fellay seems ready to commit to unity, and the next he slips away. What gives?

  3. skull kid says:

    I don’t think there is any real similarity between SSPX and China.

  4. GregH says:

    NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Anything! Anything!…but the dreaded “Eternal Rome”

  5. kat says:

    Yes, Please SSPX…take what you are offered.

    It’s ok if you are placed under the local bishops, and if you cannot expand your work, your schools, your priories, your seminaries. because they refuse you. Don’t worry about it.

    It’s ok if you are not allowed to criticize errors, or fight openly against errors propagated by superiors in the Church. Just sit back and forget about all that stuff you have fought 40 years for.

    And please, as long as you are “regularized,” it’s no big deal if you abandon the souls in your care that do NOT have anywhere else to go, because their diocesen bishop is a hard-core liberal.

    Don’t worry, it’s ok. Just PLEASE take whatever you are offered. Get regularized. That’s the really only important think that matters; and certainly not the battle you have been fighting 40 long years. Give it up!!

  6. MarkA says:

    Father,
    With all due respect, I don’t understand why you write posts like this. [I can live with that.] I wonder if the objective is to drive up comment traffic. [LOL. Yah... that's right. It's for the traffic.]

    You state:
    “The Holy Father has offered the SSPX, through the CDF, point after point and chance after chance. He has offered them pretty much everything they need.”

    Father, are you personally aware of the contents of the Preamble that was negotiated between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Levada?

    Why was it reported in early June that Bishop Fellay’s response to the preamble was acceptable to Pope Benedict XVI and then on June 13, Cardinal Levada informed Bishop Fellay the Society’s response was not acceptable and required further discussions?

    The only official Holy See press release stated that “a draft document was submitted proposing a Personal Prelature” to Bishop Fellay. It did not state “He has offered them pretty much everything they need.” According to the official Holy See Press Office communiqué”
    “At the end of the meeting [June 13] the hope was expressed that this additional opportunity for reflection would also contribute to reaching full communion between the Society of St. Pius X and the Apostolic See.”

    Cardinal Levada and Msgr. Guido Pozzo are no longer involved in the negotiations from the Holy See. It is now Archbishop De Noia; I’m not sure of Archbishop’s Muller’s responsibilities for these negotiations.

    The Society’s reply to the June 13 response from Cardinal Levada will be delivered to Pope Benedict XVI shortly. Until then, I continue to pray and not speculate on dire things without any real inside information.

    Yours in Christ,
    Mark

  7. Father Z: “But as much as I have sympathy for most of their concerns, sometimes they remind me of a bunch of brooding Batman villains”

    More like spoiled brats, I sometimes think–not of Bishop Fellay, but of some of his ostensible SSPX supporters. And, on the basis of past comments, I may have more sympathy for them than you do.

  8. MarkA says:

    kat – Well said. Just add in a diatribe about disobedience and we’re all set ;-)

  9. Timothy Mulligan says:

    SURRENDER DOROTHY

  10. LouiseA says:

    Father Z,

    You write: “I think that what the SSPX has done in regard to the “Doctrinal Preamble” and the Pope’s overtures could be quite … vexing. Their maneuvers might vex a saint.”

    It seems to me that the Pope through the CDF is the one “maneuvering”. [I doubt it.]

    On June 7th Bishop Fellay says: “What has changed is the fact that Rome no longer makes total acceptance of Vatican II a prerequisite for the canonical solution.”

    Apparently Bishop Fellay had been mislead by those close to the Pope, because when Bishop Fellay met with Cardinal Levada on June 13th, Bishop Fellay found out that things were back to square one. In that meeting Cardinal Levada wanted Bishop Fellay to sign something that the SSPX had already been rejected the previous October!

    You can’t convince me that Cardinal Levada would try that maneuver without the Pope’s explicit approval. [You are free to be wrong. o{];¬) ]

  11. fvhale says:

    Evil plan decrypted from coffee stained napkin in Rome:
    Step 1. Regularize SSPX.
    Step 2. Place American LCWR under supervision of SSPX bishops.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  12. acardnal says:

    BAM! – KAPOW! – OUCH! – KABOOM! – SPLAT! Thanks Batman.

  13. Jon_in_the_Nati says:

    I have a handful of SSPX friends, and every one of them has, time after time, bent over backwards to show that they are not sedevacantists, or sedeprivationists, or whatever variation of the philosophy one uses. And I think they are quite honest. This is in contrast to my one SSPV friend, who bravely calls Benedict XVI an imposter and a fraud to my face after three or four beers.

    Point is, the more SSPX officials hem and haw, and dig in their heels, the more this looks like thinly-veiled sedevacantism. I want the SSPX back as much as anyone else, but the Society has to want it too, and it has to be willing to be a team player once it is back in right canonical standing. The longer this goes on, the more reason there is to question how much the Society actually wants it, and what kind of player it will be when it is back on the team. And that is unfortunate.

  14. FrJLP says:

    @Fr. Z: Excellent! I fully agree. Sadly, I think they might learn about the “business end of schism”. But I pray that James 4:10 sinks into their minds and their hearts and that they take the Holy Father’s hand.

    @kat: Wow! What an uninformed diatribe! Have you any concept of what a personal prelature is??? In spite of such whining sentiments as yours, I pray for full union every day. May the Lord bring it to fruition, in spite of unhelpful sentiments such as yours.

    @fvhale: Now THAT would be a “checkmate” for the ages! Hahahaha!

  15. LouiseA says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Several days ago you wrote this in a comment under another post: “While clearly the Prefect of the CDF has a great deal of influence in the dealings of the Congregation, it is also the role of the Prefect to snap to attention when the Roman Pontiff tells him to do something. At that point, the Prefect of any Congregation puts aside his personal positions and does what the Pope says. The role of the Prefect in the CDF is not to function so much as a theologian, but rather to make the trains run on time. Moreover, much of the work will have to be done by the newly appointed VP of the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei”.”

    So you believe that Cardinal Levada went rogue on June 13th?

  16. robtbrown says:

    LouisaA says,

    On June 7th Bishop Fellay says: “What has changed is the fact that Rome no longer makes total acceptance of Vatican II a prerequisite for the canonical solution.”

    Apparently Bishop Fellay had been mislead by those close to the Pope, because when Bishop Fellay met with Cardinal Levada on June 13th, Bishop Fellay found out that things were back to square one. In that meeting Cardinal Levada wanted Bishop Fellay to sign something that the SSPX had already been rejected the previous October!

    You can’t convince me that Cardinal Levada would try that maneuver without the Pope’s explicit approval

    My understanding is that the change was engineered by Msgr Pozzo, whose authority has since been superceded by Abp DiNoia.

  17. kat says:

    @Jon_in_the_Nati
    In order to play on the same team, you have to fight the same opponents. Not run the ball into the other’s goal. When the SSPX is regularized, they will work hard to be the best player they can–in fighting the Church’s opponents. But they aren’t going to “sign up” (to use your sports analogy) just to then sit on the sidelines watching the opponents destroy their team.

    As far as questioning what the SSPX wants, I have many more than a “handful” of SSPX friends, and they have been praying for the success of these talks along with everyone who has been doing so here. Some people who attend their chapels are sedevacantists…and they attend because they feel they have no where else to attend. But they do not speak for the SSPX itself. Those SSPX chapels that happen to be located near SSPV and other real sedevacantist chapels do not have the sede’s in their own chapel, since those people have somewhere else to go.

    And most people I know who attend the SSPX really want nothing more than to continue living a Catholic family life, with Mass and the Sacraments, a school if at all possible, and not bother getting involved in all this banter. And they would like to be recognized by Rome as Catholic.

  18. MarkA says:

    kat – Amen!

    FrJLP – What an uncharitable comment!!

  19. Darren says: …I wonder – as Karl Keating wrote in the last issue of Catholic Answers magazine (I don’t have it in front of me) that they, in Lefebvre’s stubborness to begin with, have done more to suppress the resurgence of the Traditional Latin Mass because so many people have come to equate tradition as on the edge of the church, teetering on schism.

    I have been saying this myself. The SSPX has done a lot of harm to the cause of reviving the TLM by making people equate it with fanaticism. Sorry, but that’s the truth. Ask anybody who is trying to get the TLM re-established in hostile territory.

    kat says: Don’t worry, it’s ok. Just PLEASE take whatever you are offered. Get regularized. That’s the really only important think that matters; and certainly not the battle you have been fighting 40 long years. Give it up!!

    Hey Kat: from outside the Church, the SSPX can do NOTHING. They have quit the field of battle and retreated into their mountain fastness, abandoning parish and chancery to the liberals and leaving the rest of us outgunned and outmanned. And the liberals like the ghettoization of the SSPX, because then they don’t have to look at them or be confronted by them. Sure, they do the equivalent of dropping propaganda leaflets from time to time, but they don’t actually join the battle. Napoleon said the side that stays behind its fortifications is beaten.

  20. kat says:

    @Fr. JLP

    Yousaid: @kat: Wow! What an uninformed diatribe! Have you any concept of what a personal prelature is??? In spite of such whining sentiments as yours, I pray for full union every day. May the Lord bring it to fruition, in spite of unhelpful sentiments such as yours.

    Actually Father, I don’t think it is the personal prelature part that became the problem, since the interviews with Bp. Fellay that seemed to be more positive described exactly what he hoped from them. None of us here know for certain, since it hasn’t been made public, but it sounds like the problems became once again more doctrinal. If it became a matter of having to a) not be allowed to criticize Vatican II; or b) not being allowed to continue the SSPX’s work as it has been, Bp. Fellay said in a couple of interviews he was “not going to commit suicide.”

    And I have been praying hard and have been really hopeful and even rather excited about the SSPX finally being recognized as Catholic and regularized. But I would never expect them to give up their work, or give up their vocal fight, just to do so.

  21. Most SSPXers (at least the ones I am friends with) consider themselves to be quite Catholic, and don’t recognize or accept that they are not in Communion with Rome, or at least don’t want to admit that being separated from Rome is not good! Isn’t accepting the authority of the Pope and the local Ordinary as the lawful minister of the Pope essential to being a Catholic? It is not for Rome to recognize them, but for them to recognize Rome, as having authority over them.

  22. Fr Jackson says:

    Father Z,
    I can more or less confirm what LouiseA said above as being the real issue.
    You commented “There are ways to work through the problematic issues raised by Vatican II within the Church and those avenues would be open to the SSPX.” – There are ways, yes, but unfortunately the latest version of the doctrinal preamble was not one of those ways. And I am truly puzzled why at the last minute the CDF took that big step back in presenting a version of the document with those unfavorable changes.

  23. Sword40 says:

    I can’t be mad at either parties because I have no knowledge of what was in the “Preamble”, or of any of the intricacies of the talks. Therefore I can not render an opinion. (except maybe a WAG).
    I am rather tired of all this speculation . And as far as “take what you are offered” is concerned; no way not even with Rome. If they offer is legit, then publish the full text. Only then can any of us render an honest opinion.

  24. kat says:

    @Miss Anita Moore:
    Many people who began the fight in their parishes when it all began, as they saw they were losing the battle, either a) gave up the fight and joined the ranks, hating it all the way (like several posters here say occasionally); b) quit going to church altogether because they hated the changes but saw no other options (I know many people like this); or c) left it and took their children somewhere where they could give the children the fullness of the Faith before they lost their souls because of erroneous Catechism and religion in the Catholic schools. If you think people who have “run away” to SSPX chapels have chosen the “easy way,” then you are not too familiar with those families. They struggle and struggle, often financially, very often verbally and with condemnation from their family members, and suffer from being seen as “less than CAtholic” when that’s ALL they really want to be. No…they have not run away from the fight. They have chosen to give their children a way to learn the Catholic Faith without ambiguity.

  25. kat says:

    Thanks Fr. Jackson, for popping in and confirming some of the speculation. It is all truly disappointing to those of us who were hoping for good things!

  26. Fr Jackson says:

    Well, since everyone is giving their theories, I’ll just say that I don’t expect dire things (like declarations of schism, excommunication, etc.) because the Pope realizes that some maneuvering went on below him that he probably didn’t want, so now he will counter-maneuver… And that usually takes place on “Rome time” which means months… I’m taking for granted that the Pope really does want a resolution of the SSPX’s situation: I think he has demonstrated that already beyond doubt.

  27. Fr. Jackson: I am truly puzzled why at the last minute the CDF took that big step back in presenting a version of the document with those unfavorable changes.

    The simple solution to that puzzle is that, when push came to shove, that’s how Pope Benedict wanted it. The CDF is “La Suprema”, but these things are not done entirely apart from the Supreme Pontiff. This is what I am talking about when I opine that the Holy Father does not have unlimited patience. I would like to be wrong and eventually learn that this was all just a big misunderstanding, miscommunication. But I suspect that the Holy Father’s patience has worn thin.

    Again, I hope I am wrong. Look, I haven’t been at the PCED for a looong time now, but (to cross over from DC to Marvel for a moment) my Spidey Sense is tingling.

    I hope that the SSPX leadership has that sense as well and knows that it is time to make the move.

  28. acardnal says:

    Fr Jackson says:
    18 July 2012 at 3:20 pm
    Father Z,
    I can more or less confirm what LouiseA said above as being the real issue.
    You commented “There are ways to work through the problematic issues raised by Vatican II within the Church and those avenues would be open to the SSPX.” – There are ways, yes, but unfortunately the latest version of the doctrinal preamble was not one of those ways. And I am truly puzzled why at the last minute the CDF took that big step back in presenting a version of the document with those unfavorable changes.

    Correct. And it was shortly thereafter that Pope Benedict put AB diNoia into the picture to fix this mess! I hope he does.

    I seem to recall that Bp. Fellay said or implied in some of his recent interviews – might have been the video with CNS – that they could press their case for change from the Church like many saints have done, e.g. St. Catherine of Siena. BUT if they were told in the Preamble to be silent, well . . . .

  29. Allan S. says:

    I would agree 100% with Father Z., … except for the issue around Card. Levada’s apparent “take aways” of June 13. In collective bargaining law, this is called “bargaining in bad faith”. What else was the SSPX to conclude, other than that Rome and the Holy Father had thought it over and didn’t want them back after all, but didn’t want to take the fall for the decision (thus, the presentation of a reworked preamble known to be unacceptable).

    Perhaps the SSPX should simply return an early version (that was acceptable to Rome) and sign it, saying “OK, we’re in”? [That would be a deft move.]

  30. Fr Jackson says:

    Fr Z,
    You may be right that the Pope really did want the document that way. But what puzzles me about that theory is that he knows the SSPX well enough to realize that certain things in there were going to be immediate red lights.
    Let’s just suppose for example, if you want to leave some room for discussion, you might make the SSPX sign something that says simply that they recognize the New Mass as valid; but if you want to close the door to discussion you would make them sign something that says it is not only valid but “legitimate” – and since you know that the SSPX does not look upon the New Mass as a legitimate organic liturgical development, you’ve just slammed the door, so to speak.

  31. Marianna says:

    The obstinacy of the SSPX seems to parallel the “obstinacy of heresy”.

    I could never imagine Bishop Williamson becoming a regular (so to speak) part of the Universal Church, and from what I gather, Nostra Aetate is a significant stumbling block for others in the group. I can’t think of any “way round” it that would ever be acceptable to the Pope.

  32. acardnal says:

    Correction to my post above: add “within”. Should read “. . . could press their case for change from within the Church like many saints have done . . .”

  33. acardnal says:

    Bp. Willliamson is not even in the picture anymore. The Holy See has said they will deal with him individually, AND,moreover, the SSPX did not invite him to the recently concluded General Chapter.

  34. LouiseA says:

    The Pope absolutely knew and approved of what was being presented to Bishop Fellay on June 13th. To believe otherwise is to see the Pope as a powerless prisoner in the Vatican…and that is just not the case.

  35. Allan S. says:

    Louise,
    I do not believe you are correct, but if so then the deal was scuttled by the Holy Father not the Society. Again, I believe that the June 13 bad-faith-takeaways deal was a ‘parting shot’ by an off-the-leash Prefect, and that others can get it back on the rails. I also agree that the Society needs to meet the Holy Father on this as far as they can go without signing something that says they have been wrong about everything they stand for for the last half century. Especially since they are not wrong about everything.

  36. Marianna says:

    Glad to hear Williamson wasn’t invited to the SSPX General Chapter, and I look forward to hearing in the near future that they’ve kicked him out altogether, as they ought to have done long ago.

    I stand by my remarks about Nostra Aetate.

  37. jhayes says:

    The simple solution to that puzzle is that, when push came to shove, that’s how Pope Benedict wanted it.

    I don’t have the insight on the internal workings of the Curia that Father Z does, but that is my sense too.

    I believe it came down to “You cannot teach, as an official representative of the Church, that any of the documents of Vatican II is in error. As long as you don’t do that, you are free to discuss within the Church how best to understand statements of VII as they relate to earlier statements.”

    That’s really no different from saying “You cannot teach, as an official representative of the Church that Humanae Vitae is in error.

    I think it is clear that Benedict does not accept that any of the documents of Vatican II are in error or that they contradict the prior Magisterium of the church, properly understood. He has suggested some principles for properly understanding earlier encyclicals and other statements, but it’s clear that it will take many years of discussion to sort through the issues.

    One reporter claimed that the final meeting fell apart when the Vatican refused to include language from the SSPX referring to “errors in Vatican II.” I don’t know if he is correct but it seems that that language would have been a deal-breaker for Benedict.

  38. dominic1955 says:

    I also want them formally back in the Church, I do think they have much to offer. However, speaking as a parishioner of such an (FSSP) parish, we need to find ways to un-ghetto ourselves as parishes. Is the restoration of someone’s hodgepodge of memories of what it was like back in the 1950′s and various peculiarities of dress, diet, political conspiracies, and moral rigorism born of not wanting to seem lax really restoring Tradition? I don’t think so. Tradition is so much grander than the trivialities that seem to have come as part and parcel of the Traditionalist movement, especially amongst the laity.

    With the SSPX, I think the best thing that could happen would be to be incorporated back in. To mainline them would naturally result in smoothing out radicalist factions. An emphatic yes to the restoration of traditional liturgy and theology but no to the kooky modesty police and simplistic cultural war reasons for being a “Traditionalist”.

  39. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    What worries me is that they continue to hold ordinations, and that one day, one of them will get the bright idea that a new bishop is needed…Benedict has been (in my opinion) extreeemmmeeellly generous in not saying anything about all of the ordinations that they are doing. I expect he would not be so quiet if the idea of another bishop were brought up.

  40. kat says: If you think people who have “run away” to SSPX chapels have chosen the “easy way,” then you are not too familiar with those families. They struggle and struggle, often financially, very often verbally and with condemnation from their family members, and suffer from being seen as “less than CAtholic” when that’s ALL they really want to be. No…they have not run away from the fight. They have chosen to give their children a way to learn the Catholic Faith without ambiguity.

    I am talking about the SSPX, not their followers. The SSPX is a society of clergy. Laymen are not, to the best of my knowledge, members of the SSPX.

  41. robkphd says:

    I think that the SSPX reveals itself through its obstinacy. The Church appears very small in their mind, perhaps even excluding all of us who remain fully and without qualification in the Church. This reminds me of the early heretics who saw themselves as the “true” Church and the rest of the Church as inferior, less than, or even the heretics. I wonder how long it would take the SSPX’s doctrinal errors to become full fledged heresies if they don’t get completely back in the barque of Peter.

  42. Stu says:

    Amen.

    I remain hopeful.

  43. Jan B. says:

    Dear Father, You said that Rome offered SSPX ‘practically everything it needs.’ But where do you get that? Rome did not! Or rather, it seemed to, and then renigged. It apparently withdrew SSPX’s ability to criticize the Council in a toe-to-toe debate at least. And dear heart, that can’t be! I know you care about abortion. It’s directly, unequivocally related to the concept of religious liberty. Don’t you know that was new at the Council? I know you care about homosexuality and its pernicious effect on our society. That, too, has been fueled by the novel concept of freedom of conscience (meaning, new, freedom of behavior under the law instead of the traditional freedom of internal judgement). The decline of sacramental marriage is related to the Council’s take on human sexuality, its purpose, its mission. I could go on. We *must* criticize the Council. You must, too, if you are to be consistent. If that capability is withdrawn then there is no future for SSPX ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ and there is no future for any of the rest of us, either.

  44. Thom says:

    On the other hand, there are very many individuals and societies that have been just as obstinate, if not more than, the SSPX on various matters that haven’t been disciplined harshly, if at all. That’s not to say that the SSPX won’t be. I’m just presenting a counter-argument.

  45. Thom says:

    “Obstinate” isn’t the right word. “Stubborn” fits better I think.

  46. moon1234 says:

    I think what MANY fail to realize in their comments here is that what the SSPX publically about VII and the current state of the Church is also held, privately by almost if not all of the traditional groups.

    Go into the FSSP and ICRSS and ask one of their priests to affirm that what is in Humanae Vitae is good and without error. I bet you will not find ONE who will do so. While I love the FSSP and ICRSS there is a sort of capitulation that you can feel when speaking with them concerning these issues.

    I know when speaking with the ICRSS they refer to the Novus Ordo as the Nervous Disorder. I know at least three priests who would rather use the 1955 Missal and not the revised Holy Week either.

    To lay all of this at the feet of the SSPX is sort of disingenous. Many groups have similar feelings, they are just not publically pointing them out. Even some of the Diocesan priests I know reject Humanae Vitae, et. al. They just don’t wear there sentiments on their sleeves.

    Where problems creep in is when you get the “Champions of VII” who want to come in and stir the pot in more traditional circles. They cause all sorts of disruption. Most traditionalists just want to live a life according the norms of the Catholic faith as they were BEFORE VII. We just want to happily ignore all of the crap that came after VII. We are not going to embrace it, but we sure don’t want anyone trying to tell us we MUST accept it.

    The SSPX, in my mind, are very courageous. They publically say the things that are unpopular that others wish they could say, but would be smacked for saying. I will never understand how LCWR are considered Catholic (they even reject some of the more important dogmas of the Church) and the SSPX is held outside of the faith. It will NEVER seem right in my mind.

  47. moon1234 says:

    @Salvatore_Giuseppe

    You are right to understand that if a resolution is NOT forth coming they will in the end ordain more Bishops as the existing four age. The Pope recognizes this. Any new consecrated bishops would again be under a canonical penalty, but in todays world, valid vs legitimate doesn’t mean much to many as Rome doesn’t enforce the laws she already has on the books. They blindly look the other way at all of the foolishness that goes on now. This is one reason for the assertion that there is a crisis in the Church.

    The SSPX has never dwindled in numbers either. They have only grown in numbers in the last three decades. If Rome never addresses the existing problems within the Church that stem from VII and the permissive attitudes towards doctrine, then Europe and other countries will exist of Catholics in name only. That is already the case in MANY European countries. In another 50 years it is not without comprehension that France’s practicing Catholic population could be more than 50% SSPX.

    My grandmother told me before she died that the Church will shrink the size she was at her begining before things turn around. She said there will be those who call themselves Catholic, but they will not be recognizable as Catholics in their actions or their words. How prophetic that was when she told it to me almost two decades ago.

  48. kevinf says:

    Fr. Z haven’t you got a “gold star for the ages” for FvHale ?
    (sounds of my ribs crunching from excessive laughter)

  49. Charles E Flynn says:

    To review, falling off the Barque of Saint Peter on the starboard side is not superior to falling off the port side, because one winds up just as wet, and in danger of drowning. The current effort of the successor to Saint Peter might be considered a “man overboard” drill.

  50. St. Rafael says:

    Anyone who thinks the Pope actually runs the Vatican is misinformed. The Popes lost control of the Vatican decades ago with the reorganization of the Curia. The Secretary of State runs the Vatican. The Modernists have had control of the Vatican and Curia from Cardinal Villot all the way down to Sodano and Bertone.

    Levada pulled the fast one and the bait and switch with his June preamble that restored all the language from the rejected September preamble. Let’s see if the mess will be fixed.

  51. St. Rafael says:

    The SSPX will be regularized with or without Benedict. Pope Benedict is 85. He is dying. He won’t be around in a couple of years. The SSPX bishops, priests, and seminarians are going to outlive Pope Benedict. It might be up to Benedict’s successor, to regularize the SSPX and clean out the Curia.

    Benedict will be the transitional Pope the bridges the bad negligent Popes from future Popes of reform. I really hope Benedicts’s successor is the second coming of Pius X. May he be the father that the Church has been waiting for. I think he will the the Pope of St. John Bosco’s vision.

  52. Timbones says:

    The reason the SSPX won’t come to an agreement is because they want the whole ball of wax, they want the pope “to convert to Tradition”. That’s absurd in itself, but I won’t go there. This has always been Fellay’s aim, he stated it plainly in a talk in 2008 and has never abandoned that point of view. Unfortunately for the SSPX, it is the absolute “raison d’etre” for their existence. Those like MarkA who claim a deal was “close” missed the boat. MarkA’s points in this regard are based purely on media speculation and nothing else. The SSPX has missed the boat too, and the boat is the bark of Peter. There will never be a Pope who will disavow Vatican II. The only good thing that I see coming out of this is MAYBE people will finally stop listening to Andrea Tornielli. He’s been rumoring a “deal” since 2009 and he’s ALL WET!

  53. sparksj3 says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Discussing this at the present moment is, I think, largely an exercise in futility as almost nothing is known about anything. We do not know the outcome (or content) of the doctrinal discussions. We do not know the contents or status of the Doctrinal Preamble. We do not know what was decided at the Society’s General Chapter. We only have slight indications of the structure of the proposed Prelature. The number of factors that are unknown greatly exceed the known factors.

    In any case, it does seem known that the biggest difficulty is what the Holy See requests of the Society on the doctrinal level. As far as practical issues go, Bishop Fellay has already positively acknowledged what many thought would be unthinkable: namely, a firm and concrete relationship with local ordinaries. To his credit, it appears he is willing to submit further than many within traditionalist circles would like. In these practical details, Bishop Fellay has, from what little we know, shown himself quite docile to the arrangements of the Holy See.

    The doctrinal question is considerably more thorny as the Society believes it to be a matter of conscience and loyalty to the magisterium.

    The Society sees, at present, that a direct affirmation of Dignitatis Humanae would by necessity imply a rejection of Quanta Cura, Mirari Vos, and other pre-conciliar teachings. Obviously, they find that they could never proceed down that path with a clear conscience. That is something that I think many fail to factor into the question: with this, it is not so much a matter of docility, but of conscience. (Yes, I know the two go together–this is obvious.) Yet in this case the question is rendered more thorny because even theologians such as Cardinal Ratzinger clearly and explicitly acknowledge a rupture in the Conciliar documents.

    At least with regard to the Religious Liberty question, Cardinal Ratzinger himself has written (as a private theologian) that what the Council taught on Religious Liberty is quite different from what Pius XI and Pius XII taught on the topic, and that the document’s opening re-affirmation of traditional teaching is a flaw given the core teaching in the text. (See his section on the drafting of Dignitatis Humanae in Theological Highlights of Vatican II for a complete treatment of the issue.) If Cardinal Ratzinger believed that the teachings of Vatican II served as a corrective to the prior teachings on Religious Liberty, that would seem to imply that DH could not be easily reconciled with these past teachings. Further, does this mean that accepting DH as being without error implies a position, however implicit, that the teachings of Pius XI and Pius XII needed corrections and were therefore erroneous or at least flawed? That itself opens up problems as well.

    I hope and pray that the day will soon arrive when a magisterial resolution to these thorny questions is issued. Until now, we have seen precious little that clearly attempts to reconcile the contested teachings–despite the urgent call to such issued by John Paul II in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta.

    I agree with you, father, that the “Eternal Rome” distinction leads very quickly to very large problems. Yet, I fear it is only a consequence of such troubling controversies as the Religious Liberty question. It seems to me to be a sort of natural coping mechanism. Because a Catholic is tied to a teaching authority that is concrete yet also timeless, any perceived rupture in teaching will have consequences that are also conducive to rupture. How is one to resolve a situation wherein the magisterium teaches one thing in 1865 but, allegedly, teaches something else in 1965? In this case, there has been invented an “eternal Rome” vs. “non-eternal Rome” paradigm to try and sort out the problem. It is erroneously platonic, and can easily lead to a protestant ecclesiology, but I think it is at least understandable given the present climate.

    Until these things get resolved, this whole situation is liable to keep going around and around and around. You mention, father, that the society will be given ways to work out these questions. I hope and pray this is true! But, if the text proposed requires first an affirmation of something they find to be irreconcilable with the teachings of Pius XI and Pius XII, is this not a dead end street? Is it not putting the cart before the horse?

    In the meantime, these present contacts between the SSPX and Rome are not over–let us pray strongly they come to good fruit.

  54. muckemdanno says:

    Fr Z, you may have some certain information regarding these negotiations, discussions, offers (whatever they are called) that the rest of us do not have. As far as I am concerned, everything reported in the press is simple rumor. The general public does not know anything about what was allegedly “offered” or “rejected.”

    I have to imagine that Fellay has not rejected any “offer” of any sort of official status in the Church. I am sure if he has rejected or will reject anything, it won’t be an “offer.” It will be a statement of doctrine that he rejects, not an offer. And if this causes the pope to declare them in schism, to excommunicate them, then good. The pope will have to publicly specify why. And we Catholics will finally be told which doctrine taught by the Church (presumably by Vatican 2) must be believed as dogmatic, revealed truth, which the Society rejects, and is therefore excommnicated. [You made an interesting series of leaps at the end.]

  55. LouiseA says:

    AllanS,

    Perhaps the Pope was not exactly enthusiastic about the doctrinal document presented to Bsp Fellay on June 13th, but he had to have seen it beforehand and given the “go-ahead” on it. At this stage in the process, there is no way he was not fully aware of this critical document.

    We don’t know the Pope’s reason(s) for doing this, though, and there’s no point in speculating.

  56. kgurries says:

    The notion of a bait-and-switch is not very plausible. Pope Benedict is so closely involved and it would be unjust to accuse him of manipulations. What seems more likely is that Bishop Fellay simply assumed that a given version of the preamble allowed for a certain rejection of the “errors” of the council (magisterium). Apparently the latest version rules out that interpretation. This was always the big stumbling block and it remains so. The SSPX want to maintain that the teaching authority (magisterium) proposed errors against Faith and Tradition to the faithful. Archbishop DiNoia gave a recent interview and pretty much summed it up as follows:

    “[...]membership and full communion involves faith that the Holy Spirit is preserving the Church from error and that communion with the See of Peter is part of the reality of being in full communion. It’s not accidental. So, if they comply, it has to be with the necessary requirements of being fully Catholic, not simply what the Pope says or what I say.… They have to say: “Yes, I do believe the Church is preserved from error by the Holy Spirit.” Then I can say, “Okay, then; you’re a Catholic.” The society has been fed by people who use the word “error.” “Error” is a vague word in the Catholic tradition. There are many different levels of error. Sometimes it means you’ve fallen into heresy; sometimes it means that you are rash.”

    “[...]What I’ve tried to argue is that all they have to do is to say there’s nothing in the Council that is contrary to Tradition and that every text, or every part of it that is controversial, should be read in context of the Council — and read it in light of the Tradition. It seems to me, despite their difficulties, they should be able to do that…”

  57. jdscotus says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Unless you know something the rest of us don’t, it makes no sense to agree to anything. We simply do not have enough information to know what we are agreeing to. The SSPX would be fools to fall for that Pelosiesque ploy.

  58. Deo volente says:

    @sparksj3

    You seem to forget that Father Z’s “Spidey” sense is tingling. Perhaps he has certain knowledge he can’t divulge. Also, Ches of the marvelous blog, The Sensible Bond, predicted this would be the outcome some time ago. I pray for the SSPX to be fully integrated into the Church daily, but we shall have to see.

  59. jhayes says:

    In any case, it does seem known that the biggest difficulty is what the Holy See requests of the Society on the doctrinal level….

    The doctrinal question is considerably more thorny as the Society believes it to be a matter of conscience and loyalty to the magisterium.

    But, of course, the doctrinal issue is the essential one.

    The problem is that their understanding of the magisterium is different from Benedict’s understanding of the magisterium. Benedict’s understanding is, by definition, the Church’s understanding.

  60. MarkA says:

    Timbones – My comments were not based on media reports, especially those by Andrea Tornielli. My comments were based on public, direct quotes by Bishop Fellay at various points in June. I don’t believe your comment:
    “The reason the SSPX won’t come to an agreement is because they want the whole ball of wax, they want the pope “to convert to Tradition”.” reflects Bishop Felay’s public statements in June. I give you great credit, however, as a great mystic and seer of the future with your comment “There will never be a Pope who will disavow Vatican II.” ;-)

    My main question was and is to Father Z – Do you have any “inside” information to which you base your assertions in this post? Either way, as an act of charity, please state so clearly. It could avoid a fair amount of calumny in the comments thread of your SSPX posts.

    So many posts and comments on the SSPX posts appear to assume powers of the Lord – the ability to see into other people’s hearts, as compared to commentary on public statements or events.

    sparksj3 – Very intelligent comments. Bravo!

  61. Supertradmum says:

    I am truly concerned for the souls of all those good people who may be forced to make a decision for or against Rome if the SSPX do not come in. That is what the bottom line is here. The trouble is, as I have has such comments on my blog, is that many of the SSPXers do not see that they are separated in any way and actually think Rome and the Pope are in error.

    This type of thinking is seriously flawed and leads to the type of pride which gave Luther and Calvin et al the permission in their consciences to leave the Church. We should be praying as souls are at stake. I have very dear friendships and personal ties which will, perhaps end in a no decision.

    I also ask people here not to make judgement or statements which will increase separation. We are like a couple considering divorce at the counseling stages. One small misunderstanding can end discussions. As to Vatican II, if all were honest, the problems started much earlier than that. The documents are open to interpretation. That the Pope gave the SSPX permission not to agree to all in the documents but to be open to further discussions and studies is all they need. But, what do many want is a Church which is full of perfect people and perfect people in Rome. Some husbands become disillusioned with marriage as their wives get older and get wrinkles, grey hair, gain weight. They want the perennial Barbie Doll they married and cannot accept imperfections. Such is not love. http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/what-is-missing-is-lovean-open-letter.html

  62. Marc says:

    Great post Fr. Z.

  63. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum: “But, what do many want is a Church which is full of perfect people and perfect people in Rome.”

    Interesting that you mentioned that because as I recall Bp. Fellay said something very similar in one of his recent CNS video interviews. Paraphrasing: “We (meaning the SSPX) should not expect perfection here on earth. The people in the Church are imperfect and we should not expect it to be perfect before we are united.” This statement in conjunction with the one I mentioned previously about working to make changes from within the Church just as the saints did, for example, St. Catherine of Siena. Bp. Fellay has impressed me as being docile to full reconciliation.

  64. muckemdanno says:

    Supertradmum, you state regarding Vatican 2, “The documents are open to interpretation.” This is true, but this fact means that the documents themselves don’t have any objective doctrinal value. The meaning of the documents is determined by the reader, by the interpreter. The meaning of the documents is subjective. It all depends on perspective. It is all relative to the point of view of the reader. How can these be binding dogmatic statements if they are “open to interpretation?”

  65. Athelstan says:

    Hello Moon,

    Go into the FSSP and ICRSS and ask one of their priests to affirm that what is in Humanae Vitae is good and without error. I bet you will not find ONE who will do so. While I love the FSSP and ICRSS there is a sort of capitulation that you can feel when speaking with them concerning these issues.

    I know when speaking with the ICRSS they refer to the Novus Ordo as the Nervous Disorder. I know at least three priests who would rather use the 1955 Missal and not the revised Holy Week either.

    Humanae Vitae? Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical prohibiting birth control? Are you sure that you don’t mean Dignitatis Humanae?

    The 1955 printing of the Roman Missal *does* include Pius XII’s Holy Week reforms. I assume that what you man to say here is the 1920 Missal, or some reprint thereof.

  66. Timbones says:

    MarkA,
    Fellay’s remarks to the media have always been tentative and he always stressed there was in fact no agreement so I see no reason to think he really removed his stipulation that Rome “convert”. I don’t need to be a seer to tell you Vatican II isn’t going to be denied by a future pope because it is now part of Catholic tradition as numerous other authorities more qualified than me have stated. Like it was already approved and promulgated by a pope. SSPX on the other hand has always made extravagant claims that no pope has or will entertain. Back to square one.

  67. robtbrown says:

    Athelstan says:

    Go into the FSSP and ICRSS and ask one of their priests to affirm that what is in Humanae Vitae is good and without error. I bet you will not find ONE who will do so.

    Having taught in the FSSP seminary, I know many of their priests. I don’t know one who objects to Humanae Vitae.

  68. Johnno says:

    There is of course a theory to entertain, and it’s one I seriously entertain…

    That indeed there are saboteurs in the Vatican Apparatus, which is nothing historically new, and that with the case of things ranging from Vatileaks to otherwise, the Pope is not as fully in control as we’d like to believe. Heck, it’s a crazy divided Catholic world all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if that same schism exists within the Vatican itself.

  69. Prof. Basto says:

    Father,

    You make a very strong point about “Eternal Rome”. It is indeed frustrating to see the SSPX continue to use that language, and it can be the source of justified and holy anger, when they try to distinguish between an ethereal Eternal Rome and the present Supreme Authority of the Church.

    BUT, that said, I do need to lay bare my opininon that the SSPX does have a point when they complain about Archbishop Muller’s appointment as prefect of the CDF.

    If I may be frank, Father, I believe you yourself has downplayed, perhaps because you need to, perhaps because of your priestly office, the seriousness of Archbishop Muller’s strange ideas on such topics as the Dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, a dogma that does include, in its definition, the aspect of the miraculous maintenance of integrity, upon the birth of Our Lord, of the external elements denoting Virginity in the Blessed Mother.

  70. Prof. Basto says:

    Sorry Father, the “has” was a typo, I meant to write “you yourself have…”

  71. robtbrown says:

    I’m afraid I disagree with some of the comments above.

    1. It is entirely possible that someone like Msgr Pozzo added something to the Doctrinal Preamble after the pope had approved the document. Such tactics are not uncommon in the Vatican. Fr Z knows the story about Bp Sorrentino and the Congregation of Worship. And then there was a little incident with Veritatis Splendor.

    2. I find it hard to believe that the pope wasn’t being kept informed during the negotiations. And so I doubt that he was unaware of the substance of what Fellay said he agreed to with the Doctrinal Preamble. I don’t think the pope changed his mind and added anything. If BXVI was the one who did it, why move Msgr Pozzo out and Abp DiNoia in?

    3. Msgr Pozzo is someone who believes that there was a para-Council at the time of
    Vat II, and that the para-Council was responsible for interpreting the documents after the Council. Both are true. He does not, however, admit that any of the ideas of the para-Council found their way into the documents.

  72. Former Altar Boy says:

    Every day I pray for the Pope’s intentions including that SSPX would be reconciled during his pontificate. Father Z wrote about about the Holy Father holding his anger in check and another commenter spoke of his age and that SSPX might get a better deal under the next Pope. It is the opposite that I fear. The next Pope may withdraw the current offer and be less generous.

    As is quite clear from some of the writers above, and which I know from my own experience, the loyalty of most SSPX adherents is to SSPX and not to Rome. I accused an SSPX Kool-aid drinker of my acquantaince that they thought they were more Catholic than the Pope and he replied with a crude epithat I will translate as “You betcha.”

    To robtbrown: You edited out part of Athelstan’s comment about Humanae Vitae. I, at least, did not get the impression the orders he mentioned disagreed with the teaching, but when did you ever hear them give a forceful preaching on the subject? I’m still waiting in prayful anticipation.

  73. Thomas of Aquin says:

    I really do not nor cannot understand all of the “hatred” of Bishop Williamson that I am reading about in these comments, coming prominently from Marianne.

    Please do explain.

  74. chantgirl says:

    Perhaps Moon1234 is referring to the food fights that sometimes erupt in traditional Catholic circles about providentialism versus NFP when it comes to child-bearing. While I have seen some arguments debating the merits of the two systems among the laity, I have never encountered a priest who denigrates NFP unless it is a liberal priest who advocates contraception. If traditional priests dislike the idea of NFP, I have never heard them voice that.

  75. Cathy says:

    Perhaps the appointment of Archbishop Muller is a sharp consequence of our Holy Father’s running out of patience. While I do not know a whole lot about Archbishop Muller, I recognize that the Holy Father is the Pope, and I am not. If my expectation is that the Holy Father’s appointments must be approved by me, or by the SSPX, or by any other person than him, I am the one who is wrong. Our Lord chose and sent Judas, as well as the other eleven Apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God. I don’t remember seeing anything in the Gospel where those to whom the proclamation was extended, were absolved for turning away because the one sent by Our Lord, was Judas. I guess I recognize this invitation being extended by Christ through the Church, and I find it generous. That being said, at some point the Holy Father may simply have to shake the dust from his sandals and be at peace.

  76. Supertradmum says:

    Re. Muller. If you were in negotiations with a group and wanted someone in a key position whom you knew for a long time well, and with whom you could work and someone who would be obedient to you, would you not put that person in the position of power? I doubt that there are many bishops and cardinals who are falling over themselves to want to have the SSPX come in, in which case, the Pope would choose someone he knows he can influence. The Pope is an extremely intelligent man and in control.

  77. jbpolhamus says:

    Indeed, it would seem that the time is definitely not right for an agreement between the SSPX and Rome. It would also seem rather clear that Levada, either with or without the permission of the Holy Father, pulled a fast one. He either pulled it on his own and failed, or he pulled it with the permission of the Holy Father and failed, either way earning early dismissal. And either way, it convinced no one of anything other than that the time is not right. Perhaps the Holy Father himself knows this, and is willing to allow the situation to continue for the good of the preservation of tradition, and for the spurring effect it will have on the necessity of maintaining Rome’s “in house” options for Traditional growth. I’m afraid it’s a win-win situation either way. Tradition will win in the end, whether agreement comes sooner or later. Later, the SSPX may be the only organized branch of the church left standing.

  78. Phil_NL says:

    @Thomas of Aquin

    I’m not so sure ‘hatred’ is the right word, but Williamson is an utter disgrace for the episcopal state. For starters – and that’s more than enough already – he’s an antisemtic loon, denying at least in part the Holocaust. The only people doing that have a raven-black agenda, so at best he’s fallen for the most vile of conspiracy theories. At worst, well, let’s not go there.
    And then we haven’t started about his condemnation of women wearing trousers and so on…

    The only way I ever see Williamson reconciled is if he accepts a perpetual vow of silence against the media. There is no way he can open his mouth and not cause scandal.

  79. Pingback: Morning Catholic must-reads: 19/07/12 | CatholicHerald.co.uk

  80. moon1234 says:

    @Athelstan
    Humane Vitae is problematic, as it was explained to me, because it changes the rational for adherence to natural law from objective truth to subjective truth. The control of family size is left to the married couple based on subjective norms rather than objective truths. While it did condemn artifical birth control, it was a break with Church tradition that taught the objective reasons for why man should adhere to the natural law.

    For the first time it was clearly told to people that they can “plan” their families for “grave” reasons. This is subjective as it does mean the same thing to different people. It was used as license to limit family size.

    At least this is how it was explained to me. NFP was/is largely a decendent of Humane Vitae. It is used to push a “Catholic” form of contraceptive mentality that was not easy/possible before this document was released.

    The 1955 “Changes” were not published until 1956. I guess is why they refer to it as 55 or maybe my memory is bad and it was ’54. The main thrust was the lament of the changes to Holy Week.

    @robtbrown
    To be fair I head this much more from ICRSS. I only heard it from one FSSP priest, but then I only talked to one as well. Is it common for priests to object while in seminary to their teacher?

  81. dspecht says:

    Prof Basto has a point here (re Müller, CDF).

    What realy saddens and frustrates me is that many here discuss only disciplinary issues – but seem to oversee the point a Catholic should be really concerned with – and shocked: that we have not only now as head of the CDF but also in many other high positions a man resp. men that deviate from faith, that hold some nouvelle theology, re-interpreting dogma in an antitraditional sense, beeing full of Kantian-Rahnerian transcendentalism, idealism, subjectivism etc.

    That´s the concern of the sspx. It is not about them getting some canonical structure. That is not what is really important – important is to cleans the Church for to have again some clear, unambigouse, thomistic teachings of doctrine It´ s about the purity of the faith.

    That many here think that is no iussue – that is what is really troubeling – and that they do not understand that this is exactly the concern of the sspx.

    No, it is NOT NORMAL that you have a head of the CDF that says the doctrine of vir. i. b. “is not about extraordinary phys. anomalies in the natural bith-process”!

    That´s the real problem – and that´s the concern of the sspx (as it is not normal that you have in 1965 a teaching that seemingly contradicts the theachings of 1865. That are the REAL problems many do not want to face.)

  82. dspecht says:

    And, as I discussed before under the other threads re Müller or sspx:

    The real problem of Müller or others like Cardd. Kasper, Lehmann, Schönborn etc. ist not that they hold some concrete heresy, error or at least problematic teaching.

    The deeper problem is their language, their philosophical framework, that is anti-thomisitc, Kantian-Rahnerian-transcendentalistic, French-German existentialistic and so relativistic.
    I read the dogamtics of Müller (in German) – it is this modern way of thinking and expressing, described just above, nouvelle-theological and philosophical – - as rightfully condemned by Pius XII in Humani Generis

    The problem is much deeper and much more dangerous & harmful for the faith as many here seem to realize. And it is the sspx that points to this REAL problems. Cf. also the most insightful articel re the origin of nouvelle theology (from M. Blondel on):
    http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/SiSiNoNo/1993_August/They_Think_Theyve_Won.htm

  83. jbosco88 says:

    There is a video on YouTube of Cardinal Ratzinger getting mad at a reporter. You can see the transformation – it’s astonishing. The reporter tries to touch the Cardinal, who promptly slaps him twice.

  84. Allan S. says:

    UPDATE: See Rorate…looks like a “No.”

  85. robtbrown says:

    Former Altar Boy says,

    To robtbrown: You edited out part of Athelstan’s comment about Humanae Vitae. I, at least, did not get the impression the orders he mentioned disagreed with the teaching, but when did you ever hear them give a forceful preaching on the subject? I’m still waiting in prayful anticipation.

    You’re right. The comments I replied to were from Moon. Apologies.

    I have seldom heard a homily on Humanae Vitae, convincing or otherwise. Most of the preaching I’ve heard in the past 40 years has not been very good, no matter what the subject.

  86. robtbrown says:

    Moon,

    Humanae Vitae is minimalistic morals, mostly concentrating on what someone cannot do. In so far as it affirmed the teaching against contraception, it is a very good document. On the other hand, in so far as it gives too much credit to those who object to the teaching or gives too little attention to the unitive aspect of marriage (as does Familiaris Consortio), it is deficient. All are typical Paul VI, whose papacy was so directed at the lost sheep that he ignored (and lost) much of the flock. That is not to say, however, that HV was “in error”.

    NFP is a method that guarantees that the act is not materially immoral. It is no guarantee that the intention is moral (if memory serves, JPII made this point).

    I never said that every FSSP priest I know had been a student. Some were, but others were already ordained.

  87. robtbrown says:

    jbpolhamus says:

    Indeed, it would seem that the time is definitely not right for an agreement between the SSPX and Rome. It would also seem rather clear that Levada, either with or without the permission of the Holy Father, pulled a fast one. He either pulled it on his own and failed, or he pulled it with the permission of the Holy Father and failed, either way earning early dismissal.

    You omitted a third possibility: That it was Msgr Pozzo who “pulled a fast one”.

  88. acardnal says:

    Communique from SSPX published. See http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

  89. Legisperitus says:

    It doesn’t seem that the Pope could “place” somebody in formal schism. Formal schism depends on the person’s intent. The Pope could “declare” the SSPX schismatic today, but he would be incorrect because they don’t deny his divine right to govern the Church.

    The Pope could also declare me married to Nancy Pelosi, but God knows I am not.

  90. Seamus says:

    The problem with the SSPX is that they won’t take yes for an answer.

  91. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Z., Prof Basto, who I hope chimes in here, on Rorate, made an interesting point that Fellay could have accepted the agreement previous to July 14th on his own, but now it must be approved by the entire General Council.

  92. prsuth33 says:

    For the record, then Cardinal Ratzinger did get angry and it was caught on camera. When “Nightline’s” Brian Ross approached His Eminence (now His Holiness) in Rome about Fr. Maciel, Cardinal Ratziner slapped him on the wrist, visibly upset and shaken…it is on youtube and in the documentary “Vows of Silence”.

  93. pmullane says:

    Fr, these comments reflect my own feelings in the situation.

    From an outsiders perspective, it seems that the SSPX lack someone with the ability to look at the ‘big picture’. Pope Benedict has put a lot of effort into the negotiations with them. There are many people within the Church who are hostile to the society. The Church has many priorities. Benedict has had to put much of himself into this effort to regularise their status. If these negotiations fail, then it will diminish the success of his Pontificate in the eyes of many. If the SSPX want to be a regularised part of the Church, the time is now. As you say, Benedict has great patience, but it is not infinate. he has tried to regularise the Society because their current situation cannot continue. They cannot continue to be ‘half in/half out’, and if something cannot continue, it must stop. Benedict is trying to make it ‘stop’ by bringing them into the Church in a proper established way. He is giving them everything he can give them. He is risking himself and his pontificate in the face of his enemies. He is doing this for them. But this situation must be resolved. If Benedict gives all that he can give them, and they still say no, a decision must be made. Are these people members of the Church or not? If they try to Consecrate a bishop without the Popes approval, what happens then?

    Its my opinion that thsi is their only chance. Never again in our lifetimes will a Pope try and bring the SSPX back into the Church proper, because Benedict gave all that could be given and was refused. No Pope in the future would eb able to spend this much capital on trying to reunite them to the Church, why would they? They could not give more than Benedict, he has given everything.

    The SSPX need to ask of itself some hard questions. The fact of the matter is this Pope, and every Pope since the council, has affirmed Vatican II. Its not going away. No Pope is going to abandon the Council. And the documents of teh Council can be read in the light of the tradition of the Church. The SSPX need to realise these facts and then make an honest decision. Do they believe that the Church as established by Christ is the Roman Catholic Church whose visible head on earth is Benedict XVI? Is this the Church Christ founded and the Church he told us he would keep from falling into error? If so, is this Church telling them that in spite of their feeble damaged and limited human minds, that the documents produced at the Second Vatican Council can be read within the Tradition of that Church? If not then where is the real Church? Where is the successor of Peter? And if this is not the Church of Christ, if it has fallen into error and they want to attach themselves to a vague notion of ‘eternal Rome’ they must be honest enough to say so.

  94. jhayes says:

    Moon1234

    NFP was approved by the Sacred Penitentiary as far back as 1880. The 1880 Response was confirmed by the Sacred Penitentiary in July 20, 1932, as follows:

    “Regarding the Exclusive Use of the Infertile Period

    “Qu. Whether the practice is licit in itself by which spouses who, for just and grave causes, wish to avoid offspring in a morally upright way, abstain from the use of marriage – by mutual consent and with upright motives – except on those days which, according to certain recent [medical] theories, conception is impossible for natural reasons.

    “Resp. Provided for by the Response of the Sacred Penitentiary of June 16, 1880.”

    The June 16, 1880 response was :

    “Spouses using the aforesaid method are not to be disturbed; and a confessor may, with due caution, suggest this proposal to spouses, if his other attempts to lead them away from the detestable crime of onanism have proved fruitless.”

    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt103.html#FN_9

  95. Pingback: SSPX Beauty Virginity Jay Richards Culture Wars Chick-fil-A | Big Pulpit

  96. dspecht says:

    @muckemdanno:

    Very good point:

    …It is all relative to the point of view of the reader. How can these be binding dogmatic statements if they are “open to interpretation?”

  97. Trevor says:

    When I read Bp. Fellay’s recent statement saying that the society would not budge, I really couldn’t help thinking back to John Paul II’s ideas about a “schismatic mentality” that he saw in the Society, one that he worried would deepen the longer the Society operated outside the visible structures of the Church.

    Of course, other prelates said then that it would be rash to say the SSPX was in ‘formal schism’. They said: “The Society simply hasn’t had the opprotunity to truly reject communion with the Pope.” “Perhaps they’ll cool off, and see things with clearer heads.”

    However, we’ve now had doctrinal discussions, and a willingness among the Popes and even most bishops to allow the Society some place in the Church. (Granted, many bishops wouldn’t agree with the Society’s distrust of any theology done since VII. However, I’m sure they would mostly be willing to allow the SSPX to tend to their little section of the vineyard…which is a huge development from the state of the hierarchy in 1988).

    But I think it’s becoming evident that the SSPX doesn’t really want to commit itself to the fullness of charity with the Pope, the rest the hierarchy, and the faithful (traditionalist or not). With one side of their mouth, they speak about ‘eternal Rome’ and saying all their Masses ‘una cum’ the Pope and diocesan bishop. And out of the other comes talk about the Vatican’s duplicitousness, their desire to destroy the Faith, etc. I can’t imagine the psychological strife it must cause to hold both these mutually exclusive ideas in together.

    The truth is that the Society is inattentive to history, because the Church has never been the closed-off, ideallic Body they wish to restore. (I don’t think it’s coincidental that these same criticisms were legitimately leveled against the neo-scholasticism taught in seminaries before VII. They’re simply acting in radical way from their education). If the SSPX really knew history, they’d see how much in common they had with the Donatists: with their claims to be following the ‘Church of the martyrs’, claiming to be fiting to preserve the ‘purity of the faith’.

    Yet, this ideallic Church is not the Church founded by Christ. As Augustine noted, the Church is a ‘hospital for sinners’, a glorious body where ‘wheat and tares’ exist side by side (and that’s part of the reason that makes it so wonderful). Theologians disagree; councils cause strife; for every good pastoral decision, a bad one; for every sinner, a saint. What separates the wheat from the tares is the desire of the wheat to remain where it’s planted, to remain within the field that is the Church. It’s not enough to simply desire to grow into the tallest, fullest plant-to focus on your own holiness. You must desire to minister to your brother tares. Just as the tares can’t be uprooted to early without risk to the wheat, the wheat cannot uproot themselves and move to a like-minded section of the field. Doing that will imperil the plants around it, and would also risk their own salvation (since which plant could plant himself as well as the Master who’d originally planted him?). This is the nature of schism, and this is sadly where the SSPX is headed unless there is a radical about face. And despite all the sacraments they provide, despite their purporteded orthodoxy and faithfulness to Tradition- schism can never bear good fruit.

  98. dspecht says:

    @Prof. Basto, sparksj3 (et al.)

    “Eternal Rome” is not at all abstract or platonic.

    It´s very concrete – it is the ordinary magisterium of Rome resp. the ordinary universal magisterium of the whole Church (if you take “Rome” in broader sense) , the – concrete – dozens of Popes and Cardinals for more than 1000 years, issuing enzcl. like Quanta Cura, Mirari Vos, Libertas – or putting up the Holy Inquistion etc. – or in a broader sense additional all the doctors, Father, theologians of the Church of the last two millenia.
    That´s concrete, isn´t it?!

    See what just Fellay pointed to: that what was hold by all, everywehre and always.
    And, as Vinzenz rightly says – if sm. teaching now is new and/or unclear, ambiguouse, disputed – then stick to the “everywhere and alwasy”. So many Vat. II or after-Vat.II teachings are at least unclear, disputed, …. – so it is quite Catholic to stick to the “before” – (see Vinzenz: before the dispute and unclearness began!) and to the “everywhere & always” – to the Popes (and theologians,…) before, of all ages – to the Rome and Church of all ages (before). To eternal Rome.

  99. Jane says:

    I am glad that the Pope is so patient. Most of us can only cope so far with trouble-makers.

  100. WurdeSmythe says:

    Fr. Z wrote, “But as much as I have sympathy for most of their concerns, sometimes they remind me of a bunch of brooding Batman villains.”

    Father, have you ever been to the SSPX seminary in Econe? Or Abano, which is closer to your location? I would not be surprised if your perspective of Society priests is colored by the media coverage, which is consistently ignorant of matters Catholic, and which is inclined to savage anyone who is clearly and manifestly non-Marxist. If you have not already done so, I think you would find enlightening a personal visit to one of the places I’ve mentioned, where there is singing rather than brooding, a deep sense of peace and calm, ready fraternal charity, and devotion to our Lord and Lady.

  101. WurdeSmythe says:

    Trevor wrote, “the Church has never been the closed-off, ideallic Body they wish to restore.”

    That is an interesting comment. Being a Catholic missionary society, the SSPX is unbelievably active in getting out of any closed-off locales to spread the Gospel. It has missions all over the world, including in the pagan lands of Africa and Asia. While the modern Church confirms non-Catholics in their errors with a sort of benign and smug indifferentism, the SSPX is earnestly working to win converts to the Faith. Closed-off the SSPX is not.

  102. cmcoop77 says:

    Amen, FR. Z, Amen

  103. Dismas says:

    @WurdeSmythe –

    “I think you would find enlightening a personal visit to one of the places I’ve mentioned, where there is singing rather than brooding, a deep sense of peace and calm, ready fraternal charity, and devotion to our Lord and Lady.”

    Are you promoting a visit to medj or an SSPX seminary? Surely, I see no difference in either cause any longer.

  104. WurdeSmythe says:

    I had in mind the main seminary at Econe, or the house at Abano. The SSPX keeps a chapel in Abano, in part so that seminarians will have a place to stay when they visit Rome. It is a component of the formation for some of the seminarians that they spend a year Rome to improve their knowledge and love of the city, which is at the heart of our Faith and has been home to so many saints.

  105. papaefidelis says:

    I do not foresee the SSPX matter resolving as a happy return “to the fold” and have not held my breath over it since 1988. Were they to return to the “fold”, it would require a submission to the authority of the Petrine office. If they were willing to submit to the authority of the Petrine office and considered this to be an important matter, they would have already done so, begging and pleading to be let back in. They are unwilling and will remain obstinate. Doctrine aside, there is also the matter of pride and its companion, autonomy. The SSPX bishops (at least Fellay and Williamson) have shown more than a little haughtiness in their attitudes towards the Rome (not as much as the “True Catholic Church”, formerly governed by Pope Pius XIII and his chickens in Montana, but that’s a different matter altogether). This situation reminds me of so many other things, most particularly the interminable dialogues throughout the 1980s and ’90s for the reunion of the Polish National Catholic Church, headquartered in Scranton, with Rome. Happily, “ecu-mania” has all but died; sadly, the dwindling PNCC still remains apart from the Barque of St. Peter. I pray that I am wrong.

  106. TheAcolyte says:

    This post is forgetting a key element: the Pope OWES IN JUSTICE to the SSPX its canonical recognition, which per Canon Law, was never taken away.

    It was the liberals who attempted to say that the Society of St. Pius X had been canonically suppressed, and when Archbishop Lefebvre (who also rarely got angry it should be noted) attempted to have his case heard before the Apostolica Signatura (the right of every Catholic, let alone the Superior General of a religious congregation and a former, long-time famous and greatly-appreciated Apostolic Delegate), Cardinal Villot forced Cardinal Staffa to illegally and unjustly reject his request!

    The fact is too, that when the Holy See granted the SSPX’s full canonical status on November 1, 1970 , the Archbishop’s – SSPX’s – doctrinal positions concerning VII and the New Mass were already well-known in the Vatican- which the SSPX continues to uphold to this day. Opposition to these doctrinal positions of the Archbishop and SSPX did not begin until the French Episcopacy started worrying about the number of seminarians being attracted to Econe.

    These important contextual points – which bring matters back into relief – seem to be ignored or forgotten by many.

  107. Tom T says:

    sparks j 3
    I also have read about Card. Ratzinger`s belief in the rupture with pre-conciliar documents and to be sure, the arguments of well known and well published philosophers and theologians from both perspectives in Rome are and have been well documented, in paricular with regard to religious freedom. I agree with your point there is much more to this than we have been afforded to know with a great deal to do with loyalty to the pre conciliar magisterium. I stongly agree with your well taken point that much needs to reconciled before a full communion can take place. These may well be discussions that are not made available to us due the sensitive nature of those arguments. Pax.

  108. Trevor says:

    @TheAcolyte

    The SSPX would benefit greatly from having it’s seminary professors actually go to a pontifical university and get a JCL. Then perhaps they’d realize how ridiculous their interpretations of canon law actually are. I’m find it mildly amusing that the SSPX basically uses ‘ecclesia supplet’ to justify just about everything it does, when more liberal clergy do the same thing to justify their practices. The truth is that they misunderstand the principle, and they’d realize that if their method for picking the professors wasn’t simply (“You did best in seminary Canon Law/Dogmatics class, therefore we want you to be our new expert. Read a few books, and you’ll be set.”)

    As far as there being a ‘diocesan conspiaracy’ to supress the SSPX, I’ll remind you that the SSPX was not founded as a religious order. It was approved as a ‘pious union’ basically a group of faithful with a common interest seeking to carry out some mission in the Church (a la ‘St. X Parish Holy Name Society’ or ‘The Hypothetical Group of Diocesan Priests Who Really Like the Sacred Heart Of Jesus and Wish to Encourage the Sacred Heart Devotion”). This is how the SSPX originally sought recognition from their diocesan bishop, basically as a group of diocesan priests and seminarians who like the Tridentine Mass). This was their original mandate. But then Archbishop Lefebvre exceeds that mandate and actually starts a seminary, and then when he applies for re-recognition, the new constitutions look much more like the constitutions of religious order than of ‘pious union’. Regardless of the diocesan bishop’s opinions on the Latin Mass, it’s quite obvious that the Archbishop has completely ignored basic canon law, and I’d assume even the most conservative bishop would have rejected the SSPX’s application, since it’s clear that the Archbishop basically ignored his authority and deceptively used the law for his own ends.

    The Pope doesn’t OWE justice to the SSPX in this case. While the SSPX continue to claim that their ‘pious union’ (i.e. The Society of St. Pius X: The Group of Diocesan Priests Who Like the Latin Mass), they ignore the fact that the Pope and the Curia have basically confirmed that this suppression was lawful (for the reasons I’ve already stated and the fact that the Archbishop began ordaining priests withhout approval of diocesan bishops). Do you really think that the Pope, the Supreme Legislator of the Church, would have been duped or co-opted by Curial offcials, an now he really doesn’t know the SSPX’s case? Please. Paul VI heard the SSPX’s claims about being ‘illegally supressed’. As did John Paul II. As did Benedict XVI, who on lifting the excommunions of theor bishops said that the priests are still suspended ‘a divinis’ and that ‘they have no canonical mission in the Church’. And these statements have been confirmed by Cardinal Burke, argueably the most knowledgable canonist in the Church and probably the most theologically conservative member of the hierarchy. Perhaps the SSPX will continue to say that the suppression was ‘unjust’ (for reasons only apparent to them), but then I ask how do they reconcile their experience with that of the Society of Jesus. The SJ’s suppression was undoubtedly politically motivated, yet the accepted that the Pope had the legal power to order the suppression. They didn’t go around claiming that it ‘didn’t count’. Some priests continued to fuction as itinerants, others went to their dioceses. None continued to ‘hold out’ or make convoluted arguments about ‘necessity’.

    The evidence is overwhelming that the Society has always been horrendously bad at Canon Law.
    Of course, I suppose this is self-evident, because if they were actually good at
    canon law, we probably wouldn’t have had the 1988 episcopal consecrations.

  109. norancor says:

    [NB] I am not associated with the SSPX in any way whatsoever, nor to I attend their Sacraments. The view expressed here is my reading on the events only.

    In the general reporting that I have read from numerous different Society and non-Society sources, the SSPX appeared to have been ready to sign the Doctrinal Preamble as negotiated when they responded to the Holy Father in April. A read of sermons and press comments reflect the desire to complete reconciliation.

    In May, the CDF held a plenary, and within a few weeks, in mid-June, the dossier given to the SSPX had an array of new conditions that largely undid the substance of the talks that had occurred previously. The statement of the Society after the Chapter seems to state that this undoing of things was not acceptable, but they were open to further talks with the new leaders of the PCED and CDF.

    Heart of the Problem Today

    The crux of the issue, to me, is whether the Holy Father and the SSPX were in accord on an agreement in April, or did the SSPX make additional proposals in their April response? If they were not in accord, was the dossier given to the SSPX in June reflective of the Holy Father’s wishes? Lastly, if the Holy Father and the SSPX were in agreement, what occurred for a series of new demands/requests from the PCED or CDF to be inserted into the dossier in June?

    Two Problems I See

    First, I think idle speculation is just that. We don’t know the internals of any of these documents nor the substance of talks together or alone related to the events from mid-April to mid-June. I love you to death, Father Z, and read your blog almost daily, but implicit in the post here are assumptions about what has gone on that I don’t think are helpful. Are you aware of facts and conversations that we are not, and that is spurring your comments?

    Catholics in full Communion I do not believe should speculate on the motives of the SSPX because they don’t know what has occurred or been said.

    Catholic who are associated with the SSPX and therefore irregular should not speculate on the motives of the CDF and Holy Father because they don’t know what has occurred or been said.

    Second, the presence of a “crypto-sedevacantist” segment within the SSPX — right or wrong — and the general distrust of Rome bred over the past 42 years, assures that there will not be a negotiated settlement whereby the SSPX has to accept the four contested subjects of Vatican II, nor be restricted to the situation of other Personal Prelatures whereby they have to obtain permission from local Ordinaries to establish apostolates. Until such time as these two requirements are accepted by the CDF and the Holy Father, reconciliation will not occur.

    I offer those to requirements as statements of fact. I am not speculating on the justness, advisability, or prudence of those requests.

    Curial Conflict

    There is a matter of internal conflict, even with the new appointments. Abp. di Noia has stated publicly that he finds no reason for the SSPX not accepting the four unresolved issues with Vatican II to be a reason to refuse normalization of Communion and ministry. His boss, the new head of the CDF, Cd. Muller, disagrees strongly with that view and has been quite acerbic towards the SSPX. How does this variance of perspectives play out in future talks? What other groups of people, or bishop’s conferences, are putting pressure on the Curia not to settle with the SSPX? We know their are parties. We don’t know what their play is at this point.

    Eternal Rome

    There is an undeniable tension that exists with the SSPX reflected in Bishop Fellay’s recent statement, because unlike the Jansenists or Old Catholics, the SSPX are not attempting to avoid either revealed doctrine, nor new infallible declarations, of which there were none at the Council. Given the recent history of the Church, since the 1940s or so, and the state of things, it is not a stretch of the imagination to understand what “Eternal Rome” means when Bishop Fellay uses the term, even if it is an awkward and perhaps troubling phrase.

    The Magisterium

    There is also a general problem understanding amongst Catholics, even clerics, as to what the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium is with regards to Vatican II, when it applied, and what were the exceptions. I have read theological treatises from the past couple of centuries that still seek to clarify and define what the specifics are of the Magisterium in its application. Both Bl. John XXIII and Paul VI explicitly pushed aside the idea that any new dogmas were being promulgated, or even discussed, at the Council. Because of this, we are forced to grapple with the new or augmented teachings at the Council (your note about the change in episcopal theology), what these changes’ standing are as part of the ordinary Magisterium, and how are they at this point to be reconciled with previous teachings on the respective subjects.

    “That’s crazy” you say. “Of course the Council is part of the Magisterium. What disobedience!” you say. I would argue no, not really. More than one licensed theologian of the Church has submitted requests for clarifications to the Holy See on Vatican II. The CDF has needed to make numerous clarifications already, and more are in the offing. Some bishops have called openly for a clarification on the Council.

    This is about the Council itself, not it’s implementation. Ambiguity and alteration of certain points of doctrine occurred, and that led to misapplication. Some “Trads” will be quick to say that the ambiguities were purposeful. Others will say they weren’t, but numerous scholarly works are in circulation now on this very subject. The Holy Father himself, and more notably Bp. Athansius Schneider, has spoken on the need to reevaluate Vatican II in the light of Sacred Tradition, and that phrase “interpreted in the light of Tradition” has been used by every pope back through Paul VI.

    The Society as Symbol

    The SSPX are emblematic of an entire panoply of problems in the Church today. Given how serious the subjects are, I think, personally, it is unwise to castigate or bemoan either the SSPX nor the Holy See or its organs, at this point. All sides offer much prayer, as to outsiders. It is better to leave it to God Almighty, Who is perfect in all His attributes, and all His deeds.

  110. irishgirl says:

    Amen to what you said, Father Z!
    It’s still my constant prayer that the SSPX will be reconciled with Rome.
    I was at a picnic last Sunday with the parishioners from the SSPV chapel where I now go to Mass (I go there only for the Mass-I try not to get involved in the ‘politics’). After we got to the picnic grounds, I heard some of them comment about the falling through of the SSPX-Holy See negotiations. I said something to the effect that I was tired of all this ‘fighting and biting’ between Catholics.
    This is all so sad….

  111. TheAcolyte says:

    @Trevor

    Really the SSPX is “horrendously bad at Canon Law”? Then why was the SSPX finally proven right (42 years later albeit) concerning Quo Primum – e.g., that it had never been abbrogated?

    This despite the opposite being “authoritatively” and “dogmatically” opposed by a gaggle of pseudo JCL canon lawyers and bishops, and even Pope John Paul II via his infamous 1984 Indult and even the Ecclesia Dei Commission decisions and interpretations.

    Furthermore, the SSPX as a “pious union” of priests was not granted by the Holy See the ability to open seminaries (thus Econe case in point starting with Bishop Charriere), but also as well to incardinate clergy and religious – such as Frs. Urban Synder (an American Trappist of Gethsemane Monastery).

    Also, were you aware that Archbishop Lefebvre came to the USA in the 1970s to speak with bishops to found SSPX houses and an English-speaking seminary in this country? He specifically asked the bishops of Covington, KY and Philadelphia, PA, who were both receptive. This was after Rome had confirmed the canonical foundation of the SSPX. So your “canonical” estimation is inaccurate.

    In a word, a JCL is not everything – but correctly understanding the principles of Canon Law – particularly in light of their purpose: the salvation of souls – is though.

  112. TheAcolyte says:

    Correction; should read:

    Furthermore, the SSPX as a “pious union” of priests was not ONLY granted …

  113. TheAcolyte says:

    Very good comments of Michael Matt of “The Remnant” (http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2012-0731-brian-mccall-joy-clarity-sspx-general-chapter.htm):

    The Society is Not Schismatic
    For virtually its entire forty-two year history, the enemies of the Society have hurled the calumny of “schism” at her in an attempt to discredit her. Usually those hurling the term can barely define it. Schism is an act of the will. To be in schism means one denies the authority of the Pope and the bishops united to him and thereby chooses to cut himself off from the Church. Unlike being in a state of error which can occur unintentionally, one cannot unintentionally become schismatic.

    One must cut oneself off from the Church knowingly and willingly. The Declaration makes clear that the Society clearly embraces the authority of the Pope (in fact, they do so in contrast to virtually the rest of the Church who deny it in favor of democratic collegiality). The key profession of Faith quoted above specifically declares “the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth.” I challenge anyone to find an historical example of a known schismatic who publicly declared such. There will be none; for this statement is the direct opposite of the intention of schism. The prayer to Our Lady with which the declaration closes also contains this reaffirmation of the intention to avoid schism:

    May she deign to keep in the integrity of the Faith, in the love of the Church, in devotion to the Successor of Peter, all the members of the Society of St. Pius X and all the priests and faithful who labor alongside the Society, in order that she may both keep us from schism and preserve us from heresy.

    Hardly the words of schismatics! The Declaration clears the air by publicly professing adherence to the Supremacy of all the Popes, which includes the declarations and teaching of all over the course of centuries.

    Let the calumny against the SSPX finally and at long last cease and desist.

  114. TheAcolyte says:

    I mean, of Brian McCall.

  115. Maria says:

    @ TheAcolyte

    Schism – “One must cut oneself off from the Church knowingly and willingly. The Declaration makes clear that the Society clearly embraces the authority of the Pope (in fact, they do so in contrast to virtually the rest of the Church who deny it in favor of democratic collegiality). ”

    SSPX embraces the authority of Pope:
    Pope – asked to come home.
    SSPX – no, I want you to change this … that … etc
    Pope – no, it remains.
    SSPX – no we cant go back home.

    Does this embraces the Pope?

    Pope – okay with Vatican II
    SSPX – not okay with Vatican II

    Does this embraces the Pope?

    SSPX – okay with Pope
    SSPX – okay with The Mother Church
    SSPX – not okay with Vatican II
    Pope stands for The Mother Church and okay with Vatican II

    Does this embraces the pope?

    Since SSPX embraces the authority of the Pope, assuming on this, what if PBXVI will ask them to return now with everything as is or … Will SSPX say NO if they really embraces the Pope?

    I do want SSPX to come back home but it is really illogical for the reasoning the way the present themselves.

    God’s peace and joy!

    Maria