SSPX Statement: We wait for the “serious debate” which will bring ecclesiastic authorities back to Tradition

At the SSPX site DICI we read the General Chapter Statement.

Bottom line: Not negative, but clarificatory.  They left the door open for more discussions under Archbp. Di Noia.

You can read the whole thing there, but here is the most interesting part with my emphases and comments:

[...] We have recovered our profound unity in its essential mission: to preserve and defend the Catholic Faith, to form good priests, and to strive towards the restoration of Christendom. We have determined and approved the necessary         conditions for an eventual canonical normalization. We have decided that, in that case, an extraordinary Chapter with deliberative vote will be convened beforehand.

[...]

The Chapter believes that the paramount duty of the Society, in the service which it intends to offer to the Church, is to continue, with God’s help, to profess the Catholic Faith in all its purity and integrity, with a determination matching the intensity of the constant attacks to which this very Faith is subjected nowadays.

For this reason it seems opportune that we reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to find the means leading to salvation; our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth; our faith in the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both the natural and the supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit. [A reference, I think, to the question of religious liberty.]

The Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, ["Pour toutes les nouveautés du Concile Vatican II qui restent entachées d’erreurs et pour les réformes qui en sont issues, la Fraternité ne peut que continuer à s’en tenir aux affirmations et enseignements du Magistère constant de l’Eglise..." If I read this correctly, they make a distinction between, on the one hand the Magisterium and, on the other, the teachings of Vatican II and the reforms that came from it, as if what pertains to Vatican II doesn't really belong to the "constant Magisterium".  On the other hand, the SSPX would not see as error what we read in Lumen gentium about the Pope being able to teach infallibly.  They would not say that what we read in Gaudium et spes concerning abortion as an abominable sin being in error.  So, clearly, some teachings of the Council are fine.   They can't be rejecting the entirety of the Council's textual content.] and also in regard to the reforms issued from it. We find our sure guide in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its teaching authority, transmits the revealed Deposit of Faith in perfect harmony with the truths that the entire Church has professed, always and everywhere. [Thus, since they perceive errors in what came from Vatican II, Vatican II can't be part of the Magisterium.]

The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of times the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities. ["...en attendant qu’un débat ouvert et sérieux, visant à un retour des autorités ecclésiastiques à la Tradition, soit rendu possible." The English is not entirely clear.  Such a debate would, for them, aim at "ecclesiastical authorities" returning to Tradition. "Authorities" would include, I suppose, Benedict XVI. I hope the "ecclesiastical authorities" don't take that as being inflammatory.  I suspect the SSPX did not intend it as inflammatory.]

We wish to unite ourselves to the others [sic] Christians persecuted in different countries of the world who are now suffering for the Catholic Faith, some even to the extent of martyrdom. Their blood, shed in union with the Victim of our altars, is the pledge for a true renewal of the Church in capite et membris, according to the old saying sanguis martyrum semen christianorum.  [It seems that the see themselves as being persecuted, perhaps in the role of "confessors".]

Finally, we turn our eyes to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is also jealous of the privileges of her Divine Son, jealous of His glory, of His Kingdom on earth as in Heaven. How often has she intervened for the defense, even the armed defense, of Christendom against the enemies of the Kingdom of Our Lord! We entreat her to intervene today to chase the enemies out from inside the Church who are trying to destroy it more radically than its enemies from outside. 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.

[...]

Given at Ecône, on the 14th of July of the Year of the Lord 2012.

Déclaration du Chapitre général de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X
Dichiarazione del Capitolo generale della Fraternità Sacerdotale San Pio X
Declaración del Capítulo General de la Fraternidad Sacerdotal San Pío X
Grundsatzerklärung des Generalkapitels der Priesterbruderschaft St. Pius X.

Meanwhile, in “Eternal Rome”, there was issued a Communique concerning the SSPX:

Vatican City,  (VIS) – Early this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the declaration which emerged from the General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.

“The recently concluded General Chapter of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X has addressed a declaration regarding the possibility of a canonical normalisation in the relationship of the Society and the Holy See. While it has been made public, the declaration remains primarily an internal document for study and discussion among the members of the Society.
“The Holy See has taken note of this declaration, but awaits the forthcoming official communication of the Priestly Society as their dialogue with the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ continues”.

So, the Holy See now waits for the SSPX to communicate officially with the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“.  An internal document is one thing, and what they tell the PCED is another.  This statement, though internal to the members of the SSPX (priests) is, however, public.  It is therefore also aimed at the people who support the SSPX.  Over the years we have seen some bombastic public rhetoric even while Bp. Fellay has moved the SSPX into a dialogue (serious or not) with the Holy See.

On the other hand, I am not sure how entering into a “serious debate” with the aim of getting the authorities of the Holy See to “return to Tradition” is going to win them any points.  Perhaps they will leave that part out of their next official communication with the Holy See.

In any event, perhaps this will keep the door open for new discussions with Archbishop Di Noia at the helm.  Benedict XVI moved him there for a reason.

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140 Responses to SSPX Statement: We wait for the “serious debate” which will bring ecclesiastic authorities back to Tradition

  1. GregH says:

    So Father Z,

    Is this good news or bad news?

  2. AndyKl says:

    Hooray!

  3. Timothy Mulligan says:

    It means that an open and serious debate was not possible due to Vatican shenanigans (including Levada’s hamfisted bait-and-switch maneuver).

    You see, folks, “BAM!” doesn’t work on everyone. It is quintessentially “neo-conservative” or “neo-Catholic” to believe that authority trumps truth.

    It doesn’t.

  4. What is wrong with this picture? The magisterium of Nuns and all the other modernists are in Union with the Holy See, but the SSPX is questionable because of some curiaista underming the content of the expression of tradition. I feel for His Holiness!

  5. David in T.O. says:

    I greatly desire the SSPX fully integrated and recognised. The boost to all of us fighting for restoration would be tremendous. At the same time, one looks and sees and hears statements made by those in the Vatican–in the CDF for example, and one can understand why it is that they are hesitant. When I ask myself the question, “What good has come from the Second Vatican Council” my brain begins to hurt; I’ve even been called a heretic for asking the question! Frankly, I would like to see the Holy Father declare infallibly what the errors are in the documents and what they are to be amended to say and mean and be done with it. For example, what does “subsist” mean. Does the Church of Christ “subsist” in the Catholic Church or “is” the Catholic Church the Church of Christ. If Church of Christ can subsiste in the Catholic Church can it un-subsist? Can it subsist elsewhere? How do we reconcile our modern concept of religious liberty with the Social Kingship of Christ?
    These are fundamental questions that must be debated and clarified and the fact that the documents need to be interpreted, that they don’t just interpret themselves is at the heart of the problem.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    I read this as basically consistent with Bishop Fellay’s comments earlier this year, that insofar as Vatican II restates prior teaching, or is at least consistent with it, it is part of the “constant Magisterium.” He doesn’t say the entire Council is outside the “constant Magisterium,” only “the novelties… which remain tainted with errors.”

  7. JamesHahnII says:

    Am I the only one who sees an exact parallel between the position of the LCWR and the SSPX? On the one end, Sr. Farrell says, “Well, there are issues about which we think there’s a need for genuine dialogue, and there doesn’t seem to be a climate of that in the church right now.” On the other, the SSPX states, “…while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities.” I also resonate with much of what the SSPX stand for, but at some point, it’s time to cut the posturing and get with the program. If they don’t, they run the risk of being another LCWR with better rhetoric. [And taste.] As a wise old man once told me, “Satan doesn’t care which side of the boat you get off on; the left or the right.” And, if the SSPX miss the boat this time, it may be a long, long time before it comes back to port. Much later than would be good for their souls, anyways.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Interesting comments on Rorate. This statement is an excellent sign.

  9. The SSPX says “For this reason it seems opportune that we reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church . . . by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth”

    Enough, already! Why should not the Pope, acting as Supreme Pontiff, without any further “dialogue”, simply set up the appropriate juridical structure and command obedience through it, with submission to any doctrinal or administrative conditions he may dictate?

  10. Supertradmum says:

    HenryEdwards, We must pray for Bishop Fellay. The structure can be, as pointed out on comments at Rorate, minus the cynicism of the author, that an archdiocesan structure, rather than a personal prelature could be the outcome.

    I pray that those who are horribly negative about these proceedings (not you, for you are always a gentleman) will be quiet while the negotiations are still going on. There is still too much acrimony on both sides and Bishop Fellay is only too aware of this.

    My mom used to tell the boys in the summer, “Now stop that arguing, and just go outside and play.” It always worked. They really loved each other. St. Joseph, pray for us. Blessed Mary, pray for us.

  11. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I think they have some basis for hoping that the “authorities return to Tradition”. Look at the New Mass itself or the other unprecedented and revolutionary changes, the ecumania, the Assisi shenanigans (which have continued with this pope, alas), the continued raping of church sanctuaries, the modernist actions of many bishops, Rome’s continued neglect in dealing with the poisonous heresy within the ranks—all this justified on Vatican II’s authority.

  12. Horatius says:

    I would love very much for the SSPX to return to the Church, but if Fellay equates any part of Vatican II with novelty and error, as he seems to do in this document, how can the Society return, since, forgive me if I am mistaken, the view of the Church is that the Council was, of course, specially guided by the Holy Spirit, as I also firmly believe (need I add, along with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI?).

    I have to say that, with every new declaration from the SSPX, my esteem and affection for its leaders goes down. Either they rejoin the Church of sinners, or they do not. Intransigence, pride, sanctimoniousness are stances I see taken and keynotes I hear sounded: the SSPX has, it seems, nothing to learn from the Church, but everything to teach Her. Hmm, in how many Protestant sects have I heard that since the Deformation?

    It is sad to witness blindness to brute facts, or, to change the metaphor, “mutism” before the holy work of the Church: the success of FSSP, the rise in vocations in traditional orders (Norcia), Summorum pontificorum, the ordinariate. These (a drastically short list of things seemingly unthinkable some years ago) will continue, Deo volente, no matter what SSPX leadership thinks, says, or does.

  13. mwk3 says:

    As it relates to questions of the interpretation of the Council, Mgr Gheraridini’s The Ecumenical Council Vatican II: a Debate To Be Opened (2009) is particularly helpful in clarifying many of the theological issues in play, particularly chs. 1-4.

  14. cgvnau says:

    I also sincerely desire an end to this separation so that the prayer of Jesus, that we may be one as He and the Father are one, might be that much closer to fulfillment. We know that unity is the will of God, but so often whether its dealings with SSPX or the Eastern Orthodox we let hardness of heart get in the way.
    Btw, I love that last paragraph that you quoted from SSPX, especially this part:
    “ How often has she intervened for the defense, even the armed defense, of Christendom against the enemies of the Kingdom of Our Lord! We entreat her to intervene today to chase the enemies out from inside the Church who are trying to destroy it more radically than its enemies from outside.”

  15. acardnal says:

    Comment by Fr. Anthony Cekada at Rorate-Caeili blog:

    ” Father Anthony Cekada said…
    The declaration is opaque enough to allow the SSPX/Rome negotiations to continue and in the meantime to provide some cover against charges of a sellout.

    The statements on the monarchical constitution of the Church take up the theme Bp. Fellay sounded in his letter of response to the three bishops, while the declaration’s statements on Vatican II seem to have been formulated to allow eventually for a “positive” (pro-accord) spin.

    So, the opera will continue, even though it may be awhile before the fat lady finally sings.

    19 July, 2012 12:05″

  16. Timbones says:

    Same old stuff as far as SSPX trying to “convert Rome”, they are like a dog with bone on that. Looks as if Fellay was taken down a peg or three as they will now vote if and when a new agreement might arrive! Democracy has triumphed in the SSPX! I don’t envy Di Noia his job, and I also see no agreement in the future. Time to say good night folks.

  17. JLCG says:

    @ David in TO
    You ask about subsist.
    I’ll quote from the Paradiso:
    “I say, and ask not,
    What thou dost wish to hear,for I have seen it
    Where centers every When and every ‘ Ubi’.
    Not to acquire some good onto himself,
    Which is impossible, but that his splendor
    In its resplendency may say ‘Subsisto’
    In his eternity outside of time,
    Outside all other limits, as it pleased him,
    Into new loves the Eternal Love unfolded.

    You see David the Church may say SUBSISTO in the same way.
    It means I Am

  18. wolfeken says:

    Father Z wrote: “Over the years we have seen some bombastic public rhetoric…”

    This includes the CDF’s Archbishop Müller, responding to SSPX criticism a few weeks ago: “I must not give an answer to every stupidity.”

    And Archbishop Müller said just three years ago, again on the SSPX: “The seminary should be closed and the students should go to seminaries in their home countries.”

    And Archbishop Müller said, also in 2009: ” The four bishops of the SSPX should all resign and in political and no longer comment on ecclesiastical policy issues. They should lead an exemplary life as a simple priest and chaplain as part of the reparation for the damage that the schism has caused.”

    Just in case anyone thinks the SSPX are the only ones guilty of bombastic public rhetoric over the years…

  19. Bender says:

    perhaps this will keep the door open for new discussions

    No. Absolutely not. This farce must end.

    All that has needed to be said has been said. All that remains now is for the SSPX to repudiate their odious errors, as spewed in this latest tract, apologize to all concerned and express contrition for the scandal they have wrought and the multiple calumnies and slanders they have engaged in, and to unconditionally submit to the Holy Father and the bishops and the Church as a whole.

    Either they will, or they will not. But the music is over, the dance is ended.

  20. SuscipiatDominus says:

    “Pour toutes les nouveautés du Concile Vatican II qui restent entachées d’erreurs et pour les réformes qui en sont issues”
    I am in no way a French scholar or translator, but, I would translate the above passage as:
    “For all the novelties of the 2nd Vatican Cuncil which remains attached to errors and for the reformers which derived therefrom.” [Interesting. I don't think that is what the French is saying. But we need to think through the issue of the "novelties".]

  21. SuscipiatDominus says:

    Whoops, I meant, “and the reforms which derived therefrom.”

  22. Jack Orlando says:

    Horatius (above) is doing a good job standing at the bridge.

    This statement by the SSPX is depressing. Is the SSPX saying “no” and “no way”? It seems so; and consequently it seems also so that the plausibility of no regularization of the SSPX is drifting past possibility to probability. Fr. Z still has argued that hope still has grounds. I pray he is right.

    In the meantime, to remove the splinter in Rome’s eye obliges SSPX to remove the beam in its own. (And real splinters, please. What demonstrable evidence is there that the CDF changed the Holy Father’s text?) There may well be contractions between V2 and earlier teaching; yet the following is the perception, perhaps bedimmed, of the SSPX’s own contradictions:

    “We revere our founder/but ignore that he signed the V2 documents.

    “We are outraged that the Liberals and Modernists dissent from the teaching of the Church and the authority of the Magisterium/but it’s permissible when we do so.

    “We demand clarification of V2/and we’ve done the clarifying.

    “We demand the reconciliation of V2 with past tradition/and we say it can’t be done.

    “We demand serious debate with ecclesiastical authority/ and “serious” means seeing it our way.

    “Truth trumps authority/and we have the authority to define what the truth is.

    “We follow our conscience/which doesn’t need to be informed by ecclesiastical authority.

    “We pledge allegiance to the Pope/but not obedience

    “We stand with those Catholics suffering in China and Nigeria/but we’re not standing within the Church”, (which would do more good).

    These contradictions need clarifying. For the Society to persist in these contradictions makes it much harder for the rest of us who are trying to work for the TLM. Who wants to identified with such disobedience? or simply with such thinking? Sorry to be so blunt; if anyone’s patience is running out, it’s mine.

  23. Andrew says:

    Ecclesiastical unity is not a mere consequence of professing the “right” faith. It is an integral part of the faith. Faith presupposes unity. Revelation is transmitted and lived only through unity. Once a branch is cut of it begins to dry up. Unity is an effort. It is a calling. It is not a camaraderie of like minded folks. It is a commitment based on fidelity. There is no christianity without unity. It is contradictory to think that one can have the “right faith” outside of Ecclesiastical unity. One can only be a christian through God’s calling: a calling to unity in the One Church, the mystical body of Christ.

  24. Horatius says:

    No, SuspiciatDominus. Read, “For all the novelties of the Vatican II Council which remain stained with errors and for the reforms which are the result of it.”

    Sounds like SSPX is NOT going to come back anytime soon.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Bender, there is no “farce” here, but genuine concern on both sides, SSPX and trad, for real renewal in the Church through Tradition and the TLM. We must be charitable, or we are part of the problem of division.

  26. Fr. Selvester says:

    This is beginning to become ridiculous. How they scan make such sweeping statements about acknowledging the authority of the Holy See and then presume to dictate conditions is beyond me. I don’t think we need to say, “Submit or get out” because ultimatums don’t usually solve things. But this pope has bent over backwards to try and effect a normalization of their status and has suffered within the Church and without because of it. Their best bet is with him and he’s not getting any younger! It always seems to come to this point where they are asking the Church to repudiate Vatican II or else. As I said, ultimatums rarely solve things. I think, at long last, it really is time to say to the SSPX, “Farewell; keep warm and well fed” and then simply be done with it all.

  27. aviva meriam says:

    I’m exhausted just from reading all of this….. Can only imagine how those involved must feel….
    How much damage to the faith of the laity are these constant battles (LWCR and SSPX) creating?

  28. Horatius says:

    Thanks, Jack, for that list, which ought to be required reading for Catholics, an essential part of their kit bag of apologetics. I had forgotten their founder signed the documents. In Pope Paul’s letter to him, I now see even more charity, since he rather gently did not, I think, mention that fact to him.

  29. Bender says:

    there is no “farce” here, but genuine concern on both sides, SSPX and trad, for real renewal in the Church through Tradition and the TLM. We must be charitable, or we are part of the problem of division

    It is clear that, throughout this long drawn-out process, the SSPX, as a whole, has never intended to submit to the Church, rather, it has sought to have the Church submit to them. Indeed, the very idea of “negotiating” with the Church is bordering on the fraudulent.

    The most charitable thing to do now is to disabuse the SSPX of these delusions of theirs, to stop being an enabler of their continued error and obstinance, and to clear state that the SSPX is in absolutely no position to assert “conditions” for returning. Either return or don’t. Period. Unconditionally.

    If they do not wish to return, then there is nothing more to discuss. They can go their merry way. Of course, the door is not slammed on them forever. They are free to return at any time they wish and to submit to the Holy Church as she is, and as she has been guided by the Holy Spirit, without the errors that the SSPX falsely and erroneously accuses her of. But this pointless back-and-forth, which has born the fruit of nothing but continued obstinance, needs to come to a close.

  30. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    I’ll bet they can get another 40 years of ARCIC style junkets and dinner out of this.

  31. TheAcolyte says:

    There is an English version is available at sspx.org – not sure where Fr. Z got his from. [From the SSPX site DICI, exactly as I indicated at the top of the entry.]

    The SSPX accepts what is correct in Vatican II (thus is part of the Magisterium), but rejects what is erroneous as it does not conform with Catholic Tradition (what has always been taught and practiced; cf. St. Vincent of Lerins) – thus these contradictions cannot be part of the Magisterium. When these errors are taught by ecclesiastical authorities, they are being taught as private teachings, not as authentic teachings of the Church (for as Christ the Church cannot teach error though its ministers can).

    Otherwise, traditionalists pray and await for the day when the ecclesiastical authorities will realize how they have been infected with the errors of Modernism (as condemned by St. Pius X et al) and then return their minds and hearts to the authentic teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church – Tradition.

  32. kiwiinamerica says:

    Ah well……..life goes on…….with or without SSPX.

    This won’t be easy, folks. When a group such as SSPX considers that it and not Rome is the guardian of Catholic orthodoxy (as it clearly does), that has certain unavoidable consequences. One is that the urgency for regularization largely evaporates. A second is the belief that Rome must change. A third is the belief that SSPX is condescending to do Rome a favor by participating in these discussions and not vice versa.

    That’s not a sound basis on which to reach an agreement and in those circumstances, it won’t happen. This process must be seen by SSPX as a homecoming to the father’s house, not a forced incarceration in a lunatic asylum. In other words, there must be a humble submission to the Pope’s authority not a grudging tolerance of the “old fool”. I don’t see that right now and for that reason, I’m still pessismistic that SSPX in toto will return. I’m positive that Williamson will never return and that leaves Fellay with the knowledge that regularization with Rome will come at the price of splitting SSPX.

    At present, he’s not prepared to pay that price. Perhaps he never will.

  33. Bender says:

    There is only one thing to say in any discussions — one.

    And that is that the Pope and the bishops, as the successors of Peter and the Apostles, are the judges of doctrine, dogma, and liturgy. The Magisterium decides what is and what is not authentically the Catholic Faith, including the effect and impact of the Second Vatican Council.

    Conversely, the SSPX are NOT the judges of doctrine, dogma, and liturgy.

    Therefore, any objections that the SSPX might have only anything concerning doctrine, dogma, and liturgy, including Vatican II, are completely irrelevant. There is nothing to discuss on these matters. They are outside the province and competence of the SSPX to decide.

    Whatever the Pope and bishops say about these matters, so be it, they are the judges, not me, not you.

    The ONLY thing for the SSPX to decide is whether to accept and submit to the authority of the Pope and bishops or not.

  34. Bryan Boyle says:

    One does have to wonder just how much patience the Holy Father has remaining to deal with this renegade band. The SSPX is acting more and more as just another protestant sect and less and less of what they claim to be.

    You can’t be more Catholic than the Pope. The SSPX is not guaranteed the charism possessed by the Supreme Legislator. It’s time they understood that. While they do, no doubt, have grievances, and I’m sure that there are a lot in the Curia and in dioceses around the world who wish they would just dry up and go away…this cat-and-mouse game is getting old. Real old. And I’m a big fan of recapturing our Catholic identity and casting off the crud that the wackos impressed on us over the last 40 some very odd years, but, I’m thinking the rope that’s been thrown overboard for them to grab on to is, at some point, going to get yanked back in, and the ship sail off without them.

    We used to say in the broadcast business, after a particularly trying live recording session that had blips, bloops, and downright mistakes, that “we’ll fix it in the edit suite” rather than tossing out the whole thing because it wasn’t ‘perfect’. It might just be time for the SSPX to figure out, honestly, whether or not they’re willing to swallow their pride, stop lecturing the Supreme Legislator about things outside their competence, and get on with helping to ‘fix it in the edit suite’ or insist the performance be perfect (in their eyes) before coming back.

  35. LadyMarchmain says:

    Father Z commented: “[Thus, since they perceive errors in what came from Vatican II, Vatican II can't be part of the Magisterium.]” With respect, Father, I believe this may overstate the matter and may impute a more extreme position than SSPX actually holds about Vatican II. I believe the SSPX seeks clarification and realignment of the 5% of Vatican II documents that are troublesome, so that they are made more consistent with the Magisterium. Similarly, KiwiinAmerica, this statement also exaggerates the SSPX view of its role: “When a group such as SSPX considers that it and not Rome is the guardian of Catholic orthodoxy…” I feel it would be more accurate to say that SSPX does not see itself, but rather, the Magisterial teachings of the Church, as the repository of Catholic Orthodoxy. The SSPX perceives its mission as being to adhere to those teachings, especially given the fruits of the alternative direction taken by many in the Church. Father Selvester, with respect, I don’t believe the SSPX are demanding that Rome “repudiate” Vatican II. After all, Archbishop Lefebvre himself signed off on the Council. I am no authority, and I have read only some of the SSPX publications but my understanding is that their concern is to rectify the many “reforms” that were not even recommended by the Council, and to bring those 5% of the Council documents that are under discussion into clear alignment with traditional Magisterial teaching. Holy Father has endorsed this view himself with his statements on the “hermeneutic of continuity” and his pontificate has shown clear steps in that direction with Summorum pontificum and the new translation, part of the “Marshall Plan” Father Z refers to. Based on the documents I have studied, I believe the SSPX theologians do recognize the Vatican II Council as part of the Magisterium and know that each Council finds ways to clarify and restate doctrinal issues as a means of developing our understanding of Magisterial teachings, and this may result in a new level of understanding. But this new level ought not to render obsolete or completely nullify earlier doctrinal teachings of the Magisterium. What is needed, not just for the SSPX-Rome discussion to go favorably, but for ALL the faithful who are confused and exhausted and demoralized–is a strong and clear statement from Rome confirming the 2000 year Magisterial teachings of the Church and harmonizing the Vatican II documents with that traditional Magisterium rather than with the implicit, philosophical modernist worldview that has inflitrated and disoriented the Church. The Vatican II documents are worded in such a way as to permit a spectrum of interpretations, particularly in the areas the SSPX has indicated: religious liberty and collegiality. Holy Father has said that where many interpretations are possible, the statement must be interpreted according to tradition. The implications of this harmonization need to be spelled out clearly and the place of the traditional liturgy upheld. No one is asking for a complete rejection of the Council, just for open discussions and a long overdue, necessary course correction.

  36. WurdeSmythe says:

    > to Whom every man and every society must submit. [A reference, I think, to the question of religious liberty.]

    Partially, and only secondarily. Specifically, this is a reference to the recognition of God’s rights, not only over individual hearts, but over all of society. Individuals, families, institutions, and governments must publicly and formally acknowledge and embrace God’s authority and attempt to abide by His laws, working in union with the Church He established: the Catholic Church.

  37. RobertK says:

    In other words no unity!. I wish the sixties and seventies had never happened. Sex and drugs, that is how you bring a Church down. EPCUSA is a perfect example. And the sixties and seventies did just that. Destroyed the traditions of a two thousand year old church and made it NOT the norm to follow traditions. Now the RCC will probably suffer the same outcome as the rest of western Christianity. The Vatican DEMANDS that the SSPX accept everything V2 put on the table, as well as the the “new traditions” that came out of it’s misinterpretation. But the Pope puts no mandates on the rest of the Roman Rite. And if he did, they simply would ignore him. As they have been doing ever since Summorum Pontificum. But you MUST except the REFORM of Vatican 2. No matter how it’s interpreted. Give me a break!!!. Do we need to accept Vatican 2. Or do we need to except the OUTCOME of Vatican 2. Like the misinterpretatons. That is the question. Because I far as I can tell. No one knows how to properly interpret it. I do hope the Orthodox hierarchy are looking closely at how the modernist Roman Rite bishops and others mandate certain things for unity. My rant!!. The Pope may be the Pope of Christian Unity. But are Catholics ready for unity. I don’t think so. To many obstacles and visions!.

  38. Horatius says:

    Only five percent? That is not how Fellay speaks in the most recent document.

    “No one is asking for a complete rejection of the Council, just for open discussions and a long overdue, necessary course correction.”

    How nice of the SSPX not to ask for the impossible, but the Church is not in its hands, any more than are magisterial teachings, contrary to what it seems to imagine. Again, it ignores the good to trumpet the bad. That is the way of heresy and schism, Protestant in spirit and in effect.

  39. Pingback: THURSDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit

  40. Father Z wrote: “Over the years we have seen some bombastic public rhetoric…”

    wolfeken wrote: This includes the CDF’s Archbishop Müller, responding to SSPX criticism a few weeks ago: “I must not give an answer to every stupidity.”

    Indeed, I wonder whether the following description–taken at face value– of Card. Muller as authoritarian might suggest he’s just what’s needed for CDF:

    “No one could hear the Pope Benedict XVI speak without be astonished at how such a gentle, soft-spoken man could be the kind of heretic-hunting fanatic that he was made out to be. But when I heard G-L M a few years back, he sounded just like the sort of old-style religious energumen that showed up in media reports. But it wasn’t just the 1930s style top-of-the-voice noise of his sermon, but also its triumphalisticly anti-Protestant argument — he was preaching on the sacrificial character of the Mass– that gave this impression. It has been said that in his professorial days Müller used to write letters denouncing his colleagues to the CDF, and it is certainly true that as bishop he used the rod far more vigorously than one expects in Germany. He is constantly bringing cononical sanctions against heterodox theologians, suspending priests, and otherwise annoying the liberals. It seems that in Bishop Gerhard-Ludwig Müller the CDF at last has a prefect who relishes a fight.”

    http://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/

  41. WurdeSmythe says:

    > The ONLY thing for the SSPX to decide is whether to accept and submit to the authority of the Pope and bishops or not.

    Thankfully, they’ve already done that. It’s why they are able to name the Holy Father and the local Ordinary in every Mass.

    The question now is how to understand and follow the directives of Vatican II in continuity with Tradition. For example, when it comes to how seminaries are to operate, you would be hard-pressed to find seminaries that are more faithful to the directives of the Council than the SSPX seminaries: Latin is taught, strict hours are kept, seminarians are in cassock both in and out of the seminary, etc. But what are we to make of the Council’s novel notions that are manifested in the idea of “collegiality,” which obliges a bishop to surrender much of his autonomy *in his own diocese* to the local bishops’ conference? Or that constrains the ability of the Pope to act as he would, lest he face open schism by the united bishops? Traditionally, the Pope’s jurisdiction was universal and immediate — but now? In 1976 the American bishops told Rome that — in the spirit of Vatican 2 — they were supreme in the U.S., not Rome (c.f. U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Call to Action conference in Detroit). In the name of collegiality , Rome let the schismatic declaration pass with little comment (the same conference called for an end to celibacy for priests and male-only clergy, acceptance of homosexuality and birth control, and even lay involvement of every level of the Church in important decisions). If that is what the Council is about, how can that be interpreted in light of Tradition and the constant belief and practice of the Church?

    The resistance to the novel reforms did not start with Abp. Lefebvre or the SSPX. The Archbishop was invited to go places all over the world because millions of Catholics around the globe immediately saw the contradictions between the Church of their fathers and the new conciliar Church. In the name of collegiality, many bishops who might have helped them were neutralized or rendered impotent by collegiality. And people quit the Church left and right during the chaos.

    An old Irish saying had it that, “If the Pope says the sky is green, then the sky is green.” That is a thoroughly Catholic attitude; it also presumes the Pope is acting in his Traditional capacity. The Council changed his ability to do that.

  42. WurdeSmythe says:

    > it ignores the good to trumpet the bad.

    In terms of the Council documents, plenty of it is in keeping with the Church’s constant belief and practice; other parts are ambiguous and need to be clarified; other parts are a failure and need to be removed from consideration.

    In terms of the Church as it stands today, the number of grave problems and abuses is staggering. It’s a stark example, but insisting that we overlook the negative and focus on the positive is like congratulating a leper for still having one good hand.

  43. LadyMarchmain says:

    Horatius, Nothing is impossible with God.

    I must admit I don’t understand your comment about Bishop Fellay and this recent statement. Again, he targets the novelties only, not the entire Council. If read in the context of other statements and articles on the SSPX website, the novelties are clearly indicated as affecting only about 5% of the Council documents.

  44. mattkennel says:

    This is very painful to listen to. Let us all pray for Christian unity! I wouldn’t even say I’m intimately involved, but it brings to my mind the touching appeal of St. Augustine to the Donatists, borne of the burning love and deep pain in his fatherly heart, when he asked them: “If we be in unity, what means it that there are two altars in this city? What, that there are divided houses, divided marriages? That there is a common bed, and a divided Christ?” (Homily 3 on First John)

  45. Horatius says:

    Referring to the matter as being “how to understand and follow the directives of Vatican II in continuity with Tradition” is surely another example of SSPX willful ignorance, smacking of disinformation: His Holiness has long written, even before his pontificate, of continuity. As to what this implies further about SSPX leadership, I tire to think of it.

    What people call tradition, especially with a majuscule, is in the hands of the Church, not SSPX, whose founder SIGNED THE DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II. As important, tradition is hallowed because true–not just because it is tradition. The failure to see truth persisting when tradition changes, as it so often has in the life of the Church, is a peculiar sort of blindness. A-historical, it is like excluding the Apostles after the Ascension as Catholic because they had no New Testament.

  46. Johnno says:

    A lot of odd comments here, especially by those chastising the SSPX to get with the program or Get Out.

    The problem is complex.

    The SSPX are convinced that there are some things in Vatican II that teach error.

    So to ask the SSPX to submit completely to everything in V II means they are being asked by the Church hierarchy whom they recognize has authority to obey error.

    Assuming the SSPX’s criticisms of V II are correct, then NO ONE, NOT EVEN THE POPE can order anyone to obey and hold fast to an error! If they are then their authority is null and void in this matter.

    If St. Peter told St. Paul to get with the program and demand that Gentiles be circumcised and enter into the Old Covenant through Judaism to become Christian, then St. Peter would have been wrong. Even if St. Peter excommunicated St. Paul, St. Paul would still be in communion with the Church.

    And that’s the problem we have here and with some people simply demanding the SSPX get with the program. If indeed what is said in V II is error, then it it their God Given duty to be stubborn about it.

    I feel their desires are reasonable. The Vatican should clarify what Vatican II says, change whatever wording needs to be changed to be more defined and less interpretive. Like the ‘subsists’ issue someone brought up. Sure we can bend over backwards and reinterpret a vague word like ‘subsists’ to be more specific, especially given how… oh… Vatican II’s job was supposed to make the faith more clear to modern man, not make it even more confusing! Just do it! We can obviously see so many are confused, even the faithful in Rome and apologists and theologians who have no problem seeing V-II as legitimate can’t agree on many things. Catholics dissidents the world over are freely destroying the faith and saying V-II supports them. So the SSPX are not in some alternate universe where only they suffer from the delusion that V-II is problematic.

    The same can be said for things regarding religious liberty. Some argue it makes all religions seems equal. Some defenders of V-II I’ve heard say the document with regards to religious liberty was not supposed to apply to the Church, but rather was an address to secular nations as to how to properly conduct religious liberty. If so, then please clarify who these documents are supposed to instruct and who they are supposed to be binding on, or just ‘useful advice’ to… Furthermore why is the Church in the business of telling the secularists how to be secular? Does it tell the Hindu’s how to be more authentically Hindu? (which oddly enough some Catholics are actually doing in the ‘spirit of VII’) Why bother?

    Just cut with the vague and sophistic language and say that the Catholic Church IS the Church of Christ, the Church that He established, that the Catholic Faith is the only true faith. That all nations and people and religions are bound by conscience to learn about it and convert. And with regards to the salvation of non Catholics, that people of other faiths can be saved through the grace of final perseverance in charity and forgiveness if they possess invincible ignorance, NOT because of their false faiths, but because of God’s mercy and the prayers of the Catholic saints and faithful who save them despite their false faiths, THROUGH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, because outside of the Church there is no salvation, because the Catholic Faith is the objective truth about reality. That’s clarity we desperately need. I explain this to non-Catholics and they can understand and respect it. Even marvel at it! And I do that without needing the endless documentation of V-II to explain what should be so beautifully simple and concrete. Sometimes we as Catholics really can get too caught up in unnecessary complications when what is needed is the simplicity that is Christ. The Pharisees and Sadducees got caught up in highly technical legalities and law and corporate interests that tried to please everyone, both the Jews and the secular authorities. Christ on the other hand taught the people the faith through simple parables that cut to the heart of the matter and drew clear lines in the sand. Which approach does everyone suppose the Church seems to be taking nowadays?

  47. Horatius says:

    LadyMarchmain,

    Fellay can do as he pleases. That is his business as the leader of a break-away group. He can say it is five percent, or twenty-five–on the basis of what scholarship I have no idea. It is not his place to adjudicate a Council, which is guided by the Holy Spirit, to pontificate to the Pope, or to define what tradition is or is not. The pathetic thing, if one is in sympathy with SSPX, is that so little, that five percent, prevents SSPX from full communion. I think this is what causes frustration, such as my own, and impatience among Catholics, like me, who would love to have them back. Thank God for our Pope, who seems to take it all in stride.
    Wurde,
    No, the point is that if Christ came for sinners, then the Church must, too. Fellay comes off as a latter-day Puritan, too good to mix with the lepers–the more than billion Catholics, the priests, prelature, and religious–you mention. Naturally, you yourself are in no position to judge the Church, given its magnitude. We can safely say that the Church will sin, is sinful, given that its rock denied Christ three times. But that makes the return only more urgent. If SSPX is truly Christian, really concerned with the Church, it should join up right away to save Her. The shuffling of words in a diplomatic mission is all it seems to be doing outside of its own sphere, and they are not very kind words, at that.

  48. LadyMarchmain says:

    Horatius, I am having difficulty following your arguments, for example:
    “A-historical, it is like excluding the Apostles after the Ascension as Catholic because they had no New Testament.” Please explain yourself?

    I think we are agreed that truth cannot change. Therefore even Mother Church herself cannot change it. I don’t believe the SSPX has said in any of their documents and statements that they have anything “in their hands” as you put it, that rightfully belongs to the Church. I don’t believe this is a matter of the SSPX failing to see that “truth” is unchanged even when “tradition” (not sure how you define that) “changes” is an oxymoron. If by tradition, we mean the Magisterial teaching of the Church, that cannot change.

    Please define your terms. What do you mean by “tradition”?

  49. Cavaliere says:

    Wolfeken suggests that the statement from Archbishop Müller, responding to SSPX criticism a few weeks ago: “I must not give an answer to every stupidity.” is an example of bombastic rhetoric.

    The criticism came from a priest of the SSPX, not the SSPX, who was accusing him of being a heretic. I think the Archbishop was well within his rights to answer as he did. Note he never once said the SSPX was stupid as his detractors imply. Ironic that those professing a strong love of truth play so freely with it.

  50. LadyMarchmain says:

    Correction: I meant to write: “I don’t believe this is a matter of the SSPX failing to see that “truth” is unchanged even when “tradition” (not sure how you define that) “changes”. That statement is an oxymoron.”

  51. Sam Schmitt says:

    @WurdeSmythe

    That’s nice the SSPX mentions the pope at every mass. But as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. The simple truth is that they have set themselves up as the arbiter of what is Catholic truth and what isn’t, regardless of how much they claim to follow the pope.

    The question now is how to understand and follow the directives of Vatican II in continuity with Tradition.

    You’re right – and fortunately the Roman Catholic Church already has a way of deciding this question – it’s called the Magesterium. It is true that not every detail has been worked out: maybe only 5% is problematic, as some have said. But it doesn’t matter how much or how little is rejected – the principle remains: it is Magesterium, residing with the pope and the bishops united to him, which declares what is Catholic truth, not any other group of Catholics like the SSPX. If they reject this principle, it is hard to see any way forward.

  52. acardnal says:

    In response to some commentators here, the SSPX does not promote its own Magisterium or theology – quite the contrary. If one takes the time to read their literature,and books and the writings of Levebvre, you will see that they simply quote what the popes have said, the Church Fathers, and pre-VII counciliar documents and catechisms – especially the doctrinal Council of Trent. They don’t fabricate theology or Truth to suit their agenda. They quote what the Church has always believed and taught everywhere for the last 2000 years.

  53. dnicoll says:

    “We have determined and approved the necessary         conditions for an eventual canonical normalization” ? What arrogance! It is not for the SSPX to determine this, it is for the Roman Catholic Church – which they remain outside of, and from this statement clearly wish to remain so. Negotiations have been ongoing for years now, and one of the most sympathetic Popes for their position – and yet they still issue weasel words but refuse to bend the knee. Time to shake the dust from our feet. If you are traditionalist there are several structures within the church already. As far as I’m concerned, “hasta la vista, baby”.

  54. Cavaliere says:

    @wolfeken And Archbishop Müller said just three years ago, again on the SSPX: “The seminary should be closed and the students should go to seminaries in their home countries.”

    @wurdesmythe, The ONLY thing for the SSPX to decide is whether to accept and submit to the authority of the Pope and bishops or not.

    Thankfully, they’ve already done that. It’s why they are able to name the Holy Father and the local Ordinary in every Mass.

    What is one of the greatest fears of the SSPX? That they fully return to union with the Church and then fall prey to the whims of “modernist” Bishops and/or Rome and that at best they become “pseudo-Traditional” like the FSSP or IKC, etc. (their words not mine) or in worst case are completely destroyed. Let’s say that Archbishop Muller acted on his earlier statement and sought have the SSPX seminary shut down. Would the SSPX allow this? Certainly not. Would the members of the SSPX recognize the authority of the local Ordinary or the Pope (if the order came from him) in shutting it down? Again the answer would be no. So they can give lip service all they want to about respecting the authority of the Pope. Actions speak louder than words.

  55. MarWes says:

    Can someone explain to me, please, why (in the words of Horatius above) “the view of the Church is that the [V II] Council was … specially guided by the Holy Spirit” ? As far as I know, ecumenical councils are considered infallible – just like the pope – only in the matters of faith and morals, thus not every conciliar document is necessarily infallible. Only anathemas and doctrinal statements within those documents would bear such protection. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.

  56. Horatius says:

    Lady Marchmain,
    If you believe the claim that “tradition changes” is an oxymoron, then there is nothing much I can say to explain myself. History teaches not that Christ invented the Mass, but rather he instituted it in the Eucharist. Yes, I am simplifying, but if that is not tradition changing, nothing is. Is a Solemn High Mass the Agape meal? No, but the Catholics who celebrate the latter were no less Catholics than we. So, even though tradition changed, the truth–and the reality–did not.

    The Catholic Church on earth is where the truth is, but that truth is also a mystery, always, so expressions of it are bound to vary in liturgy, for example, about which entire books have been written, and it is the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which alone decides those expressions.

  57. Johnno says:

    Sam Schmitt -

    The problem is that the Magisterium hasn’t clarified about who V-II is for, nor to what extent it is binding etc. It is entirely vague, non-dogmatic (except where it restates dogma from previous councils) and overall is simply ‘pastoral.’ It is a council that is entirely unique in the entirety of Church History. Confusion reigns everywhere. Until the Magisterium clearly defines what V-II is and sorts out the issues the SSPX are bringing up, the Magisterium can’t really tell them what to do other than to just ‘go along to get along.’ But if there are errors present, the Magisterium has no authority to order anyone to obey error, and that’s what’s at the heart of this matter. If there are no errors, then the Magisterium should infallibly state so, or do the job of pointing out the errors of the SSX with regards to their criticisms of V-II. Thus far this has not been done. It is in fact no different than the LCWR, where Rome points out what they are doing wrong, and the LCWR is pretending it never got the message and refuses to even acknowledge or even respond to the issues at hand. The LCWR wants vaguries, and it seems the Vatican likes vagueries too if it doesn’t feel the need to clarify difficult matters pertaining to V-II. The SSPX wants clear definitions about parts of V-II. So either the Vatican must refute the claims of the SSPX logically, or admit there are issues and make amendments and clarifications to V-II. Not simply just throw its weight of authority around, though wonder of wonders why they hesitate to against more obvious heretics. These are some topsy turvy times we live in…

  58. Acardnal said “they don’t fabricate theology to suit their agenda.”

    Ummm…like claiming they have the power to forgive sins when they don’t. Or claiming power to judge the validity of marriages. That’s pretty fabricated theology.

    Let’s keep in mind they are a group of men who every single time they celebrate Mass commit an objective mortal sin. This is also a group of men who presumably receive “absolution” from priests who cannot give it. All that makes for an organization infected with sin. And then we’re supposed to trust their judgement of the Church?

    If they come back, they come back. Tradition is quite alive and well and growing without them. Speak with any newly ordained priest or a priest from ICKSP or FSSP. The problems will be gone forever in another 10-15 years whether they return or not.

    I always find it telling that one of the most esteemed traditional cardinals, Cardinal Burke, told his faithful that one who attends a Mass said by an excommunicated priest (which the SSPX bishops were a few years ago) commits a mortal sin.

    I hope they come back for their sakes. But the Church doesn’t need them, they need the Church.

  59. The Society is not acting as the arbiter of Truth. Rather, in trying to hold onto the truth, they were thrown outside the camp. I truly believe that if it were up to +Fellay and the Holy Father, the society would have already be regularized. The difficulty is in the peripherals. It’s not so simple as all that. This is a very complicated move involving many factors, many of which are hostile to traditional Catholicism. +Fellay and the others have to worry about that.

  60. jhayes says:

    I would translate the two critical paragraphs of he Declaration this way. The part I have put in bold type doesn’t give much hope.

    As to all the new things from the Second Vatican Council that still remain marred by errors – and the reforms that stem from them, the FSSPX’s only choice is to hold firm to the declarations and teachings of the unchanging Magisterium of he Church.  The FSSPX finds its guiding principle in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its teaching testimony, transmits the revealed deposit of faith in perfect agreement with all that the whole Church has believed always and everywhere. 

    Similarly, and  until it is possible to have an open and in-depth discussion aimed at bringing the leaders of the Church back to Tradition, the FSSPX finds its guiding principle in the unchanging Tradition of the church, which passes on and will continue to pass on until the end of time all of the teachings needed to preserve the faith and attain salvation

    The French version of that is:

    “Pour toutes les nouveautés du Concile Vatican II qui restent entachées d’erreurs et pour les réformes qui en sont issues, la Fraternité ne peut que continuer à s’en tenir aux affirmations et enseignements du Magistère constant de l’Eglise ; elle trouve son guide dans ce Magistère ininterrompu qui, par son acte d’enseignement, transmet le dépôt révélé en parfaite harmonie avec tout ce que l’Eglise entière a toujours cru, en tout lieu.

    Egalement la Fraternité trouve son guide dans la Tradition constante de l’Eglise qui transmet et transmettra jusqu’à la fin des temps l’ensemble des enseignements nécessaires au maintien de la foi et au salut, en attendant qu’un débat ouvert et sérieux, visant à un retour des autorités ecclésiastiques à la Tradition, soit rendu possible.

  61. Horatius says:

    It is an interesting question, MarWes, you raise. What you say is true. However, do you think that I, as a Catholic, should not follow a Papal Encyclical? Infallibility, however rare, in no way impairs the truth and authority of the Holy See. If I have not understood the Pope, that is my problem, but I have but to knock and doors will open: I have my pastor, confessor, spiritual director, Bishop…the list is not short…for help. If I–horribile dictu–disagree with the Pope, after I have exhausted all those other sources, I wonder if what another Pope said does not apply, “To reason right is to submit.”

  62. LadyMarchmain says:

    dnicoll: This statement (“We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization”) refers to internal processes in the SSPX specified in the next sentence (that before anything is signed there will be a general Chapter meeting). I consider this a very positive statement as it shows the SSPX preparing itself for said “eventual canoncial normalization.”

    Patrick Thornton (a lovely Irish name :-) said: “Ummm…like claiming they have the power to forgive sins when they don’t. Or claiming power to judge the validity of marriages. That’s pretty fabricated theology.”
    The basis on which the SSPX advances a certain jurisdiction is contained in Canon law. There has been absolutely no fabrication of theology. The only point arguable, as I understand it, is whether or not the state of emergency exists.

    Horatius: I did not say that the phrase “tradition changes” was oxymoronic; I said that your statement that the truth could not change but tradition could change was oxymoronic. I see now that by “tradition” you mean external practices. That is not how I understand the word, “tradition” as first of all, I include in that, the tradition of magisterial teaching. This is a very complex area, and even if we try to say something like, changing the words of a prayer doesn’t mean the truth of what we believe changes, already we are up against “lex orandi, lex credendi.”

  63. Joan M says:

    Sigh….. All I see in this is continuing arrogance. I marvel at the patience of Pope Benedict XVI. The whole mess (SSPX) happened because of arrogance and continues from arrogance. I cannot see any good result happening.

  64. Cavaliere says:

    @acardnal They quote what the Church has always believed and taught everywhere for the last 2000 years.

    Uh no. They believe what the Church has taught for the past 1960 years until Vatican II. Their disdain for Vatican II and practical denial of its teaching is equal to the progressives praise and (distorted) view of Vatican II and their rejection of any councils prior to it. Vatican II states that where there is a question of the interpretation of certain documents they must be understood in the context of the Traditional and consistent prior teachings of the Church. Attempts to manipulate the texts by progressives into a denial of earlier teaching is unwarranted and false no more how widely accepted that interpretation might have been. Granted there are documents which really seem to contradict what was clearly taught before. However then we are back to the declaration from the Council itself that they must be understood in context of the Traditional teaching, end of story.

    It is oft asserted what the SSPX wants. Problem is there is no cohesion among the SSPX itself about what they want. Make no mistake that if an agreement is ever reached between the SSPX and Rome that probably one third at least aren’t coming along. Some will argue that only 5% of the documents are the problem. Others will blame every innovation that followed VII as called for in VII. The Novus Ordo as it was promulgated was never called for by Vatican II and yet there are many who will blame Vatican II for its existence, same with communion in the hand, extraordinary ministers, etc. even though there is no reference or justifications for any of them in the documents.

  65. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:

    Horatius states the founder of the SSPX “signed the document” (meaning the V2 documents). You MUST know that he did not sign them all.
    And Horatius wishes to push the idea that Catholics must follow the Pope because he always “reason[s] right.” Everyone on this site knows that is boulderdash.
    In addition, Horatius states the SSPX “should join up right away”—sorry, but if the pack is running off the cliff, I’m not joining them and hopefully, neither is the SSPX.
    Sorry Horatius, but your slick way with language gets my masonic radar up.

  66. Horatius says:

    Well, Ladymarchmain, I really do not follow you.

    What tradition is is what the Church teaches that it is (Dei verbum, for instance), and I go by the Church, besides the commonsensical meaning which the Latin language gives to the word, TRADITIO, which means a handing down, i. e., person to person. Obviously, that can be applied to any aspect of the Church.

    The Church does not, to my knowledge, confine tradition to externals, but clearly externals change, for instance, in liturgy: if you do not think so, there are some books I can recommend.

    I fail to see why you would be critical of my position. SSPX is not the arbiter or the guardian of tradition or of truth. The Catholic Church is. Fellay is returning to Rome, or he is not. But never is Rome returning to him.

  67. Clinton R. says:

    Oh these ambiguous documents of Vatican II and their heterodox interpretation! How much division have they caused? Even His Holiness, Benedict XVI says they can be interpreted in different ways. If the documents had been written in the clarity of the Council of Trent, might there not be this division we see in the Church Militant? I sympathize with the SSPX. There have been so many abominations (especially liturgically) and a tremendous loss of faith in the last 50 years. It is frustrating to see liberalism and heterodoxy to rule the day. The Catholic faith has grown in places where the SSPX has evangelized. If this was 100 years ago, Bishop Fellay’s expression of the Catholic Faith would be in line with what the Church taught. Now, it is considered rebellion. That is how far we have fallen away from the teachings of the Catholic Church in the last 50 years. Now, we largely get “we must get along to go along” teaching, where all religions are good and pleasing to God and no one need be a member of the Catholic Church for salvation. That said, the Catholic Church was founded by Our Lord upon St. Peter. The successor to St. Peter is Pope Benedict XVI, so despite the novelties the SSPX rightly protests against, one cannot be inside the Catholic Church while being outside the Barque of St. Peter. Someone brought up Donatism. Maybe that is the closest resemblance to this current conflict. Like I’ve said before, man will not be able to resolve this. May Our Lord Bless His Holy Church with His infinite wisdom so the divisions in His Church will be healed. +JMJ+

  68. Cavaliere says:

    @Clinton RIf this was 100 years ago, Bishop Fellay’s expression of the Catholic Faith would be in line with what the Church taught. Now, it is considered rebellion.

    Is it their expression of the Catholic Faith or the fact that they ordained 4 bishops without permission of the Holy See which was considered rebellious? When Pope Benedict lifted they excommunications of the four did he say they were improperly imposed to begin with? No. There are many within the Church who hold doctrinally similar positions with the SSPX but I don’t see them as being considered rebellious.

  69. WurdeSmythe says:

    dnicoll: “We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization” ? What arrogance
    No, not at all. They are obliged to state clearly what their position is, and they submit what they believe will resolve the problems. What they’ve said is, “From our perspective, this is what will iron out the problems.”

    Cavaliere: “What is one of the greatest fears of the SSPX?”
    As a group, one of their greatest fears is that they might betray our Lord Jesus Christ by compromising the Faith with modernist Churchmen who have lost the Faith or who have gravely compromised it (e.g. Card. Muller). After that, that they might compromise the integrity of the SSPX, which is an effective antidote against modernist errors. Years ago, Abp. Lefebvre was asked why he didn’t just submit to the new Mass and keep his Faith for himself. “Because that Mass is stronger than I am,” he replied: he knew that if he accepted it, he risked losing or diluting his Faith, as have so many other Catholics.

    Here’s a question for this list: what do you do when two Popes disagree? Clearly there can be only one Pope at a time; what I’m describing is two successive Popes. If one Pope clearly condemns something, and a subsequent Pope clearly endorses the same thing, which Pope do we submit to? Being told there is no contradiction when there clearly is doesn’t solve the problem; ‘a priori’ arguments that such a thing could not happen are of no use because it’s happened a number of times in the history of the Church; appeals to obedience , meanwhile, avoid the problem, and do not excuse. Traditionally, the Catholic answer was that we accept the teaching of the Pope who is in accord with the constant belief and practice of the Church. This the SSPX does.

  70. kgurries says:

    The good news is that the SSPX clearly profess to follow the uninterrupted guidance of the Magisterium. What is disturbing is that they seem to pick-and-choose what can be classified as Magisterial. It would seem that portions of Vatican II and post-council Papal acts are considered by the SSPX as anti or non-Magisterial. This is an interesting twist from the Sede thesis where a (false) “Pope” who proposes “errors” is not really Pope at all. In this case a (true) Pope who proposes “errors” to the faithful is not really acting in a Magisterial capacity (i.e., false or anti-magisterium).

    http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2012/02/tale-of-two-syllogisms.html

  71. SimonDodd says:

    Pride wins over truth once again. It is apparent that SSPS’s talk is a dog-and-pony show and it has been indulged long enough. I agree with Fr. Selvester (above), and with Archbp. Muller (quoted above): At a certain point, it’s time to say put up or shut up; SSPX says that they believe in the Catholic Church, papal authority, and extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, which we all know is a lie, so Benedict should finally put the ile to rest by putting it to the text. SSPX is in schism; make it official that they’re outside the church (extra Ecclesiam nulla salus), then create a personal prelature and tell them that they can come back any time they want (papal authority). But enough of this silliness. The same goes for LCWR. Alas, we will be weaker without them, and they without us.

  72. St. Rafael says:

    What an absolutely beautiful statement from the SSPX. That statement and apologia is enough for regularization and ordinary faculties. They should be given faculties right away. They don’t need a preamble.

    The statement makes it clear that they don’t dissent from a single Church doctrine. Then why are they being subjected to months and months of drafts of different doctrinal preambles? Why the jumping through hoops? Why do they even need to sign a preamble? The Holy Father can regularize them any day he wants with a a flick of the wrist and his signature. The Holy Father doesn’t need a preamble in order to regularize them.

    If Pope Benedict gives them a sufficient canonical stucture and freedom from the bishops, that is enough. They don’t need preconditions. All the SSPX need is freedom from the bishops. The Holy Father doesn’t have to require anything else. He can do it any day he wants.

  73. SuscipiatDominus says:

    Ah, Horatius, and Father Z,
    I saw entachee and thought attaché, my bad. Also would the end mean something around, “have been issued”?

    Sorry, just an amateur. Thanks!

  74. Rushintuit says:

    Only Pope Benedict has the individual power of infallibility defined at Vatican Council I. The Holy Father could use that power to declare once and for all, in favor or against Vatican II. The vagueness is perpetuated on the Pope’s side and it is intentional. Modernism calls the shots in the Vatican.

  75. Rex Scotorum says:

    I rather tend to agree with Fr. Z. I think the Pope’s patience may indeed be growing strained. If one sets aside all the non-information and misinformation surrounding the most recent interactions between SSPX and the Vatican and concentrates on what we know or must reasonably assume, the reason for the Pope’s probable impatience (righteous anger?) is not hard to understand.
    Up until the last round of talks, the Society has been dealing essentially with members of the Roman Curia. Not so in this most recent round of talks. As was made very clear, the matter was finally to be placed in the hands of the Pope himself for his definitive determination… and that makes all the difference in the world (and in the next, quite possibly).
    The Society handed their ammended version of the doctrinal premable to the CDF whose Cardinal and Bishop members then meet in formal session to evaluate the document. Thereafter the SSPX premable together with the CDF evaluation of the same were ultimately handed to the Pope for his supreme and final decision. It is now clear as anything can be that the SSPX premable was found to be doctrinally deficient by the Pope himself. It did not, in his judgment, conform to the Church’s teaching about the Magisterium or was actually contrary to that teaching. In the language of SSPX, it contained serious doctrinal error! This finding was communicated to the CDF by the Pope and thereafter by the CDF to SSPX. In addition, a revised premable was placed before SSPX, either authored by the Pope himself or by the CDF in accordance with his wishes. It is this preamble that the SSPX are now rejecting.
    Herein lies the tragedy, which the Roman authorities have already warned could have incalculable consequences. In rejecting this ammended preamble, which it must not be forgotten is a doctrinal preamble, there is every reason to believe that SSPX are directly rejecting an articulation of the Catholic faith authored or authorised by the Pope himself in exercise of his papal magisterium. By so doing they rightly run the risk not only of being declared schismatic but, ultimately, of heresy itself.
    Thus it has ever been when individual Christians set themselves up as the authentic arbiter of the deposit of faith, especially when they do so against the Pope and the episcopate gathered in General Council. By rejecting certain conciliar teachings they not infrequently end by rejecting authentic doctrine concerning the Magisteriun iteself.

  76. Alice says:

    Growing up, I had a neighbor who was a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) pastor. My mother was always trying to convert him by telling him about Catholic tradition and at one point he told her that he just couldn’t see the difference between what Lefebvre did and what Luther had done 500 years ago. The older I get, the more I agree with him.

  77. AaronStreeting says:

    Such a debate would, for them, aim at “ecclesiastical authorities” returning to Tradition. “Authorities” would include, I suppose, Benedict XVI. I hope the “ecclesiastical authorities” don’t take that as being inflammatory. I suspect the SSPX did not intend it as inflammatory.

    Now hold on here. I am confused. It seems to me that the SSPX is not looking for reconciliation. They want the Church to bow to them and change for them, when they are the ones in error. While they might have been treated unfairly in the past and while they might bring a lot of gifts to the table, this blatant unwillingness to unify with the Catholic Church and the Vicar of Christ AS THEY ARE shows me that they are more interested in saying the Church is in error than in coming into communion with the rest of the Body of Christ. In my opinion, the SSPX should be required to admit that they are in error before the Church accepts them corporally into communion.

    At this point, it might be wiser for the Church to work with individuals and communities within the SSPX, because the larger organization doesn’t seem open to the truth of their error.

  78. Cavaliere says:

    As a group, one of their greatest fears is that they might betray our Lord Jesus Christ by compromising the Faith with modernist Churchmen who have lost the Faith or who have gravely compromised it (e.g. Card. Muller). After that, that they might compromise the integrity of the SSPX, which is an effective antidote against modernist errors. Years ago, Abp. Lefebvre was asked why he didn’t just submit to the new Mass and keep his Faith for himself.

    From the close of Vatican II until 1988 the SSPX was able to exist without the loss of Faith in what was clearly the darkest period of the post Vatican II era. St. Athanasius lived when practically the whole Church was Arian yet he did not retire to a hut and wait for the Church to “return to Tradition.” Is the SSPX being asked to “submit” to the Novus Ordo or just accept that it is valid? Was Archbishop Lefebvre’s faith so weak that he feared he would lose it by saying the new Mass? Was it the Novus Ordo that caused many people to lose the Faith or did it merely expose the lack of Faith that many church goers had despite the external appearances that the Faith was alive and well prior to Vatican II. Despite the generations raised on the rote memorization of the Baltimore Catechism they were not strongly grounded in their beliefs. There are clear differences in the texts of the old and new Mass and Church doctrine is better expressed in the old versus the new but did the average person in the pew realize the distinctions. My bet is they didn’t and when the progressives came in saying this is what the Church teaches now they went along without seriously contesting them.

  79. Cavaliere says:

    @rushintoit. The vagueness is perpetuated on the Pope’s side and it is intentional.

    Further proof that what the defenders of the SSPX have on the side of doctrinal integrity they equally lack in caritas.

  80. Horatius says:

    Wurde writes, “Traditionally, the Catholic answer was that we accept the teaching of the Pope who is in accord with the constant belief and practice of the Church. This the SSPX does.” How the SSPX and its members so blithely state that this is tradition and that that is tradition, usually with a t in majuscule, but never with anything but steamrolling quotations (though not a single reference is made here) is quite beyond me. That conclusion, too, deserves a word of its own if I may (and I will): “This the SSPX does.” So the SSPX says. Saying so does not make it so. Cherry picking scripture, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints of the Church from outside of the Church does not make it so. Schism does not make it so. Sectarianism does not make it so. Failure to study the documents of Vatican II with the least pretense to historical scholarship does not make it so. Failure to understand Vatican II in historical context does not make it so. But SSPX actions belie its words: Fellay is returning to Rome, not the reverse. That is because the Church is the arbiter and guardian of truth–not SSPX. May God grant SSPX the grace to come back to the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, soon.

  81. Horatius says:

    Not to worry, SuscipiatDominus. As for the end, I think I translated it, and it is correct. Bonne journée!

  82. acardnal says:

    @PatrickThornton: Faculties are a matter of Canon Law not theology.

  83. albizzi says:

    Suscipiat Dominus,
    “entachées d’erreurs” must be translated by “stained by errors”, not by “attached to errors”.
    That’s quite a different sense.

  84. JesusFreak84 says:

    Perhaps the SSPX partially feels that changing both the CDF Prefect and the ED head at the “last minute” of discussions was a move in poor faith? Were it me, I would feel that the rug was pulled out from under me at the last minute, especially with Muller being on the record as having a chip on his shoulder against them.

    The proverbial “ball” seems to be back in Rome’s court, but I don’t see Muller lifting one finger to bring the SSPX back in (he said the Bishops should “resign,” not reunify,) and so he’ll probably say, “Fine, whatever, so be it. I don’t care.” And I really don’t think he does. The SSPX is too easy of a whipping boy while the CDF refuses to excommunicate or censure the actual heretics and etc.

  85. Cavaliere says:

    @acardnal wrote
    @PatrickThornton: Faculties are a matter of Canon Law not theology.

    Meaning what?

  86. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:

    Dear Moderator: not able to post?

  87. jhayes says:

    It’s probably worthwhile remembering the Vatican’s announcement after rejecting +Fellay’s January draft:

    The response of the Society of St. Pius X to the aforesaid Doctrinal Preamble, which arrived in January 2012, was examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before being submitted to the Holy Father for his judgment. Pursuant to the decision made by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Fellay was, in a letter delivered today, informed of the evaluation of his response. The letter states that the position he expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems which lie at the foundation of the rift between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X.

    At the end of today’s meeting, moved by concern to avoid an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences, the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X was invited to clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI.

    LINK

    Sounds as if, seven months later. we are back to the same point.

  88. WurdeSmythe says:

    Cavaliere asks, “Was it the Novus Ordo that caused many people to lose the Faith or did it merely expose the lack of Faith that many church goers had despite the external appearances that the Faith was alive and well prior to Vatican II.”

    That’s quite an indictment of pre-conciliar Catholics. The tree is judged by its fruits: Churches and seminaries and houses of formation began to abruptly empty when the new Mass arrived on the scene.

    Cavaliere continues, “Despite the generations raised on the rote memorization of the Baltimore Catechism they were not strongly grounded in their beliefs.”

    My own sense of it is that pre-conciliar Catholics knew their Faith much better than Catholics of today, who frequently don’t believe in the True Presence, the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Birth, or Papal Infallibility, and who often miss Sunday Mass, use artificial birth control, and vote for pro-choice political candidates. In fairness to them I’ll add that most of them haven’t weren’t well catechized by their pastors.

    Cavaliere concludes, “when the progressives came in saying this is what the Church teaches now they went along without seriously contesting them.”

    Rather, the progressives pointed out that they now held the reins of power in the Church, and that obedience was owed to their novel declarations as a result. The faithful who did not know their place and do as the new committees told them were ostracized and denigrated. Faced with a choice between doing what they had habitually done all their lives and disobeying their parish priest – who either supported the changes or was silent in the face of them under obedience to his bishop – many did what they were told. Many others, recognizing the plain-as-day contradictions between the old and the new, quit going to Church altogether. I know a chap who was told by his parish priest in the 1970s that desiring the Latin Mass was a mortal sin; my friend subsequently applied to Rome and became a uniate Catholic. As a matter of historical record, millions of Catholics did protest the changes; many of those people supported Abp. Lefebvre because he kept his Catholic sense and insisted on the Catholic Faith, whole and unadulterated.

  89. WurdeSmythe says:

    JesusFreak84: “Perhaps the SSPX partially feels that changing both the CDF Prefect and the ED head at the ‘last minute’ of discussions was a move in poor faith?”

    In fact, a change was welcome, for a variety of reasons. Cardinal Muller does not have any sympathy for the SSPX; in this case, if past performance is an indication future conduct, responses to the Society are likely to run the gamut from cold to contrarian.

  90. Cavaliere says:

    Churches and seminaries and houses of formation began to abruptly empty when the new Mass arrived on the scene.

    The fact that the two events coincide does not necessarily prove cause and effect. Seminaries are filling up again following both forms. There are also quite a few orders of orthodox sisters and nuns whose houses of formation are bursting with vocations and these with few exceptions are adherents of the Novus Ordo.

  91. Cavaliere says:

    @wurdesmytheMy own sense of it is that pre-conciliar Catholics knew their Faith much better than Catholics of today,

    They may have been able to give answers to catechism questions but that does not necessarily mean they “knew their Faith” Many of those “faithful Catholics” were only all to quick to jump on the artificial birth control bandwagon. Humanae Vitae was published in 1968 a year or more before the Novus Ordo was promulgated.

  92. FrJLP says:

    WurdeSmythe seems to forget that the people who made up the mass exodus in the late 60s and the 70s were those baptized from the Rituale Romanum, catechized with the Baltimore Catechism, worshiped and communed with the TLM, etc. Those are the people that left…not the generations after the Council. And, a great number of the “problem priests” who have come to light in these painful years were educated in pre-conciliar seminaries with manuals and the Summa and traditional piety. I mention this to say that it seems disingenuous to blame these problems wholly on Vatican II when it seems that the problems, at least seminally, pre-date the Council and have much to do with a social revolution. We have to be careful to avoid this false idea of a “golden era”…

  93. acardnal says:

    @Cavaliere: No comparison numerically with numbers of priests, seminarians and religious before V2 compared to after. We’re talking hundreds of thousands worldwide. I think I remember 40,000 seminarians in the US before V2 and NO. How many now? Yes it’s increasing but a long long way to go!

    And Mass attendance: 80 percent on Sundays before V2 and NO Mass. Now about 30-40 percent.

    Long lines at Confession on Saturday afternoons before V2 and NO. Now, sometimes I am the only one there.

    The bad fruit of V2 and NO is there for all to see.

  94. acardnal says:

    @FrJLP and Cavaliere: the people who made up the mass exodus in the late 60s and the 70s were those baptized from the Rituale Romanum, catechized with the Baltimore Catechism, worshiped and communed with the TLM, etc

    I am old enough to have experienced both eras. I don’t know about either of your ages. But I suspect many of them left because of confusion. They were taught the Baltimore Catechism and believed it, and now it is meaningless. They assisted at the TLM for decades and now it’s vacuous – just hand holding and balloons and tapestries and folk songs. Latin and Mass ad Orientum gave way suddenly to the vernacular, and Mass facing the congregation. “Hey, look at me. I’m the center of attention now. I need to get a rainbow colored stole and chasuble. Go down and shake hands with everyone leaving the Lord alone on the altar. And so on and so on and so on.” These were radical, Radical, RADICAL changes. This is why many laity, priests and religious left. Got married. Went bonkers! What to believe? What is truth?

  95. jbpolhamus says:

    To the Hole See Press Office, awaiting a valentine to the Ecclesia Dei Commission, I think they just said “We negotiate with the Pope, not with Ecclesia Dei.”

  96. Texas trad says:

    acardnal:
    I agree with you 100%. TLM is what must come back to the church. No one can possibly prefer the novelties of the happy clappy mass compared to the solemnity of the Latin Mass. Liturgical dancing? Saw it. With the permission of a Texas bishop? Couldn’t believe it. That’s what ended it for me. Latin only for 10 years.

  97. WurdeSmythe says:

    Cavaliere wrote, “Humanae Vitae was published in 1968 a year or more before the Novus Ordo was promulgated.”
    And readily forgotten or overlooked by many of the…bishops. A number of the faithful found comfort in this fact: it confirmed them in their decision on the matter.

    FrJLP seems to have misunderstood my point. The people who left the conciliar Church after the Council recognized that the worship and Faith being given them was not what they’d been raised on. This was a great incentive for the conciliar exodus. One does not have to be a saint or even a well-catechized parishioner to recognize that; just sufficiently attentive.

    FrJLP wrote, “it seems disingenuous to blame these problems wholly on Vatican II…”
    Not wholly, just primarily. Meanwhile, the modern Church is disintegrating.

  98. Cavaliere says:

    Acardnal, I’m sorry but your statistics prove nothing. Throughout the Church’s history there have been periods of greater or lesser fervor regarding the Faith without a corresponding radical shift in the liturgy. How does one explain the fact that practically all the Catholics in England followed Henry VIII into apostasy?

  99. WurdeSmythe says:

    Taxes trad wrote, “No one can possibly prefer the novelties of the happy clappy mass compared to the solemnity of the Latin Mass.”
    There’s quite a number in fact. They’ve been told for a long time that the Latin Mass is the hiding place for brooding Batman villains, which scared them off; what’s left but the HCM?
    In the Tridentine Mass, we honor God in the way that He wants to be honored; the faithful are also strengthened in their efforts to save their souls. The new Mass, meanwhile, diluted this goal to try to make the Church more appealing to non-Catholics, particularly Protestants; it facilitated an identity crisis, both in the clergy and among the laity.

  100. acardnal says:

    @Cavaliere: fear of death.

  101. acardnal says:

    @Cavaliere: remember, only ONE bishop, Fisher, died a martyr.

  102. FrJLP says:

    @acardinal: Thank you for your recollections and, yes, I would suppose, as well, that many left for just what you suggest. I was born after the Council and not raised in the Catholic Faith because my grandmother was excommunicated under the particular laws established at the Baltimore Councils for attempting re-marriage without an annulment. She left the faith completely afterwards and none of her seven (“illegitimate” according to the Bishop of Buffalo) children were raised in the faith. Praise be to God I found it on my own to the witness of many holy men and women faithfully living the Gospel in the post-Conciliar Church. Nevertheless, I have met, for example, some priests who left and attempted marriage because their spiritual directors assured them that the discipline of mandatory celibacy…and I am privy to other inanities as this. And, I have in my files a copy of the libretto for “A Clown Mass for Four Voices” and “Holy Spirit Bonfire Mass” that we cleaned out of our seminary cabinets when I was head sacristan. Yet, it still seems awfully simplistic to me to assume that the majority of this mass exodus has to do with the post-conciliar changes. For as many as I have met who have left in the wackiness, I have met more who left because of cruelty in school systems, draconian leadership, and general views that the Church no longer seemed relevant to an evolving world. Many I’ve met who left, so they claim, because of tepid responses in their area to the civil rights movement and other such issues. And others because of philosophies learned in university. Myriad reasons seemed to cause the exodus, it seems. And, I think, that the Church needs to look painstakingly at all of these contributing factors…including the varied ruptures after the Council. I sympathize with the SSPX on many things. I really do. But, I don’t think that a return to Catholicism in 1959 (or any date you’d like) will fix anything. The seeds of this exodus, many of them, were sewn before the Council. And the Faith instilled before the Council didn’t seem enough to stave off the exodus.

    One of the many reasons that I am sympathetic to the liturgical goals of the SSPX is anecdotal to my own conversion. When I found religion on my own, I did so through a Pentecostal church. It was fine and I didn’t know anything else…but still seemed rather empty. Finding refuge in used book stores as a youth, I found an old St. Joseph Daily Missal. I bought it as arsenal in my quest to convert Catholics to Christianity…but what I found in there (the catechesis about the Mass, the Liturgy itself, the texts for feasts, the prayers for the Dead, etc.) was food for my soul. It took a long time, but I eventually found the courage to go to Mass. Not knowing about Vatican II or Catholic liturgical wars, I was expecting what was in that Missal. Where I ended up was a Novus Ordo healing Mass and I cried. I cried because I had learned the beauty of the Mass and this thing before me seemed but a shell. So, I am sympathetic. But, what became important to me was visible and actual union with Peter. It meant a sacrifice on my part, but I needed that concrete union and could not align myself with the SSPX chapel in my area. Throughout my Catholic life, I’ve attempted to worship with Latin Mass communities; but, as I’ve written earlier, several attempts spanning our Nation and parts of Europe have put me into contact with some of the most critical and uncharitable parishioners I’ve ever encountered…who, on many occasions, let me know in no uncertain terms that my novice ways were not welcome or appreciated. So, I am in the mainstream of the Church and, as a priest, do my best to celebrate the Novus Ordo with as much dignity as the Mass deserves and teaching my people the beauty and mystery of the Sacrament of the Altar in a “hermeneutic of continuity”. I want everyone to experience in the Mass the awe and wonder thatI experienced when I first read that Sacred Liturgy contained in that old, battered St. Joseph missal.

  103. WurdeSmythe says:

    Cavaliere asks an interesting question: “How does one explain the fact that practically all the Catholics in England followed Henry VIII into apostasy?”
    Under Henry, the Mass was not much changed; the king also still insisted on celibate clergy. It was under Edward his son (a puppet in the hands ambitious nobles), and then Elizabeth, where things really went south in terms of the liturgy. Henry was also not an understanding monarch: his majesty lied to the Englishmen of the Pilgrimage of Grace (a spontaneous uprising in the country to retain the Faith) to get the combatants to return home; after the army disbanded, Henry had the leaders rounded up and executed. The English were especially tractable after that.

  104. Cavaliere says:

    @WurdeSmythe wrote, “Humanae Vitae was published in 1968 a year or more before the Novus Ordo was promulgated.””And readily forgotten or overlooked by many of the…bishops.”

    Yes and priests too. However this cannot be blamed on “Vatican II” There was a whole cultural upheavel that occurred during this period when many of the traditional structures Catholic or not underwent significant changes. As FrJLP correctly pointed out, the progressives who implemented their agenda post Vatican II were all formed under during the pre-Vatican II era. It is idealistic to think that by simply going back to that pre-Vatican II era and getting rid of the Novus Ordo will fix the confusion.

    No one can possibly prefer the novelties of the happy clappy mass compared to the solemnity of the Latin Mass.

    Sadly there are and again they are usually older folks brought up with the Baltimore Catechsim, TLM, processions etc, who I bet to this day could still recite for you many of the anwers from the BC or give you the latin responses from the Mass if they were altar boys. However as you said those are novelties and they were created by the whim of individuals, not any teaching of the Church.

  105. acardnal says:

    @FrJLM: Thank you for that short bio Father and I thank you for your service to the Church. I mean that sincerely.

    You mention some important factors as to why so many pre-V2 Catholics left and I agree it is complicated. Many issues involved. AND I am not one of those Pollyanna Catholics who can only envision the “good old days of yore.” I do remember asking my Grandfather once when I was in High School and he was in his eighties what he thought about all the changes in the Mass. He hated it!! Wasn’t really the Catholic Church any more. More like Protestant worship services. And he was right . . . .now that I know more than I did back then.

    FYI, I am not a member of the SSPX nor have I ever attended a Mass at their chapels. I am waiting for them to be canonically recognized by the Vicar of Christ which I VERY much desire. My story is long, too, but I have in recent years migrated back to the TLM/EF and am very grateful to Bp. Morlino that the EF is celebrated in my diocese. Unfortunately, we do not have the FSSP or ICKSP here. I wish we did. I LOVE the EF. And have only rarely experienced in all of my international travels any OF Mass that was celebrated with any reverence and solemnity. Sad. There was a priest in metro – D.C. who would celebrate the NO Mass in Latin, ad Orientum, with a schola. Beautiful!

    Do you celebrate the EF? If not, please learn it and celebrate it and bring it to others . . . especially with a schola. I am sorry about your bad experiences with some TLM parishioners. You impress me as being a good and holy priest. Thank you.

  106. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @WurdeSmythe: With all due respect, please stick to facts in respect of Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller. There is no cardinal Mueller at the CDF currently. Calling him a heretic, based on statements taken out of context, is close to unacceptable, to put it politely.

    Also, one should distinguish between his statements as CDF Prefect since early July and his statements as bishop of Regensburg…only the former would reflect the stance of the Holy Catholic Church and have any import for us who don’t live in the diocese of Regensburg. I am not convinced that Archbishop Mueller is anti-SSPX: I am convinced he is anti-people who contest the Church’s authority…once the SSPX is fully back in the fold, I think they will have nothing to fear from Archbishop, then Cardinal, Mueller…

    Wouldn’t it be the supreme irony the Holy Spirit is capable of if archbishop Mueller turned out to be the next Pope who restored tradition and cracked down on heresy in a way not seen for 70 years within the walls of the Vatican? Who knows, maybe he will turn out to be everything traditionalists are hoping Bishop Athanius Schneider would be?

  107. Virgile says:

    The former priest of my parish used to forbid calendars with the photography of Benedictus XVI to be sold at the end of the Mass. According to him, the pope was just an old man with old ideas – and the REAL Church did not even have to listen to his “pathetic” attempt to revive the past. But that’s OK for him to say that because he is in “full communion” with the Pope.
    Last time I went to the TLM – it usually takes place in a convent near the town where I live – a Lady explained to me that the local Bishop reluctantly gave his authorization for the TLM (a big lie here…) because the priest was a very old an sick man (he is 87!) – and that the Mass was not intended for “young” and “normal” people. Then she tried to explain to my children how bas it was to go the mass in Latin and how wrong the Pope was to etc. I then discovered that she was a Sister… but that’s OK because she is in “full communion” with the Pope.
    Of course, I have thousand of other stories about people in “full communion” with the Pope. Like far too many people, certainly…
    Mgr Fellay may not be – or is not – in full communion with the Pope. For a very ordinary lay person like me it sounds somehow like a kind of… joke?

  108. acardnal says:

    Oh, I wanted to say that the recent translation of the NO missal is a HUGE improvement. The prayers are much more in sync with the prayers of EF missal – except for the fact that the NO missal omits a LARGE number of prayers, especially in the Offertory, that are in the 1962 missal.

  109. wmeyer says:

    acardnal: The translation is an improvement, but there are yet numerous priests ad-libbing, and someone, please, needs to correct the abuses of the responsorial psalms, where arrangers seem to believe they can improve upon the “lyrics.”

  110. Ambrose Jnr says:

    Btw, Mueller’s appointment pretty much means the death knell for the LCWR, in my opinion…the worst thing that could happen to them from a power politics perspective, but the best thing from a supernatural perspective…

  111. WurdeSmythe says:

    FrJLP, thank you very much for your account. I was also born after the Council, so did not live and breathe the old way of doing things. I’m also a convert – my parents adored Voltaire, and I was left in a state of bewilderment in matters religious; I drifted into a bored atheism, had a change of heart and meandered through a few Protestants congregations, and then became a Catholic a number of years back. For a number of your comments I found myself nodding my head in agreement and understanding.

    You wrote, “it still seems awfully simplistic to me to assume that the majority of this mass exodus has to do with the post-conciliar changes.”

    A decent source on this is Kenneth Jones’ “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators” — http://tinyurl.com/7x2tyrv . It’s a compilation of the numbers on the topic using material from the USCCB. The book is a few years old, but still useful; I mention it because the author is not SSPX and so might win a more sympathetic hearing in some quarters. The chief point is that the Council is the great divide.

    “I have met more who left because of cruelty in school systems, draconian leadership…”

    I’ve met them too. My father – who was raised Catholic but left after the Council – tells the story of a severe nun. I’ve observed that his accounts have acquired new gross details and atrocities over the years; I’ve sometimes wondered if that’s because it’s considered fashionable to embellish such stories? Anyway, severe methods of discipline and draconian leadership were a characteristic of the era and not particular to parochial schools. Also, having been raised in public schools, I never understood why the Church was singled out for poor administration.

    At the same time, my father also told me that when he was a youngster he wanted to be a priest, so I don’t imagine Sr. Gabriel could have been all that rough on him. No, dad didn’t give up on the Church until after the changes. He’d been raised to think that the Mass was a Divine gift from God, and then suddenly it was being tinkered and toyed with. You don’t tinker with a Divine thing, he reasoned. Clearly, the “changing with the times” that afflicted the Church during and after the Council reinforced the notion of the Church being Divine was overstatement. And who needs that?

    I’ve spoken with some people who said that this just proves some souls were not well-taught and were weak in their Faith. Perhaps – but does that mean only a scholar or a hero could have retained his Faith after the Council? I think it’s a fair question.

    “and general views that the Church no longer seemed relevant to an evolving world.”

    Is it evolving or devolving? The mad rush after novelty is a perennial human failing; it afflicted most of the Council fathers, for one. At the Council, many clerics were made to feel shame and disgrace at their religious heritage. What went on there was a naked assault on the Church from within the Church; calculated, deliberate humiliation of the conservative opposition was just another tool in the toolbox of the modernizers.

    “I don’t think that a return to Catholicism in 1959 (or any date you’d like)…”

    There are two dates worth noting: ~33 AD, when our Lord instituted his Church, and today. The Church of 1959 was not able to withstand the modernist onslaught; a new Catholic solution, rooted in the Faith of our fathers and the Church’s constant teaching and practice, is what’s needed. The SSPX, in its limited and modest way, is doing what it can.

    “what became important to me was visible and actual union with Peter.”

    I understand that you think traditional Catholics who support the SSPX lack this. From our perspective we do not lack it at all. The Papacy is too necessary to the continuation of the Church and the Faith. What you see as disobedience and rupture we see as being a faithful witness to the Truth that our Lord entrusted to His followers, to be handed down without interruption until the end of time. Cordelia was the better daughter to King Lear, for all her unwillingness to flatter him in his dotage.

  112. acardnal says:

    @WurdeSmythe: Thanks for that book title, “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators”. That is the kind of statistical data I need .

  113. acardnal says:

    I don’t know how many readers of this blog know that Archbishop Levebvre was assigned by Pope John XXIII himself to the Vatican II Preparatory Commission. He prepared the schemas to be discussed at the Council! Unfortunately, shortly after the Council was convened, the modernist bishops denounced the schemas and it all went south from there. The so called periti and modernists assumed control.

    See “One Hundred Years of Modernism: A Genealogy of the Principles of the Second Vatican Council”
    by Dominique Bourmaud (Paperback)

  114. FrJLP says:

    @acardinal: It is always amazing to hear how the Lord weaves the tapestries of personal histories to help us mysteriously arrive at his Holy Church. I praise God for that every day, especially when I celebrate Holy Mass. I am visually handicapped and in need of the Missale Caecutientium…but when I come across copies, they were very unaffordable. Some commentors here suggested, once upon a time, that I make one of my own. I did, in a lovely binder made by a craftsman in Rome. I went to a famed parish in the “Eternal City” for training and they said that my book was not “sacred enough” for the Mass. I sought out brother priests at the collegio where I lived in Rome for training, and they wouldn’t help me without a “liturgically artistic” book. This just added to my previous experiences of parishioners attending the EF. So, I am in a booming Southern diocese. Before I was appointed to teach sacramental theology at our seminary, I was a parochial vicar at a bustling parish of 6,000 families. My goal was to affect the masses… If I preached about the beauty of the Liturgy, thousands would hear the sermon any given Sunday. If I eliminated Advent Taize and celebrated a Rorate Mass instead, thousands were reacquainted with a beautiful part of Catholic culture. If I celebrated Mass ad orientem in Advent, connecting it to the “People, Look East” idea of Advent, and thousands of people understood the concept of eastward worship, then something was happening. I just got to the point where I felt I could do more good promoting a “reform of the reform” then trying to pacify a few malcontents.

    And as a seminary professor, I believe the same thing. Let’s lead them back to a LOVE for tradition and an UNDERSTANDING of it. Let’s show them how to do that with both CLARITY and CHARITY.

    And in all things, acardinal, keep loving Holy Mass and keep praying that people find in this most sacred of divine gifts the ineffable and beautiful mystery contained therein. And pray, with me, that all who love Christ in the Holy Mass may do so in full, visible, tangible and undeniable Rock that Christ, Victim and Priest, placed as the foundation of His Holy Church.

  115. FrJLP says:

    “….in full, visible, tangible and undeniable unity with the Rock….”

  116. WurdeSmythe says:

    Cavaliere: “It is idealistic to think that by simply going back to that pre-Vatican II era and getting rid of the Novus Ordo will fix the confusion.”
    Not having been around before V2, I’m not the best source to ask about whether it is worth returning to. I have observed that the pre-Conciliar Church was not able to withstand the modernist onslaught, so I’m all for an updating of things – provided the updates are in agreement with what the Church has always said and done.

    “as you said those are novelties and they were created by the whim of individuals, not any teaching of the Church.”
    The clown Mass for four voices comes to mind. On paper, the new Mass is certainly valid. How often is the new Mass said according to what’s on paper? How many priests today believe in the True Presence?

    Ambrose Jnr, I haven’t called anyone a heretic – I am not qualified to make that determination. I have, on the other hand, observed that certain remarks are heretical, or at least favor heresy. To be a heretic properly called, a man would need to refuse correction from competent authority. Until such time as that happens, I’m content to simply say of Bp. Mueller (thank you for the correction) that his past statements about the Virgin Birth and the True Presence are not Catholic and are problematic.

    “Also, one should distinguish between his statements as CDF Prefect since early July and his statements as bishop of Regensburg…”
    I’ll be glad to make such a distinction as soon as he repudiates them. Until then, I presume he retains his previously expressed views.

    “Wouldn’t it be the supreme irony the Holy Spirit is capable of if archbishop Mueller turned out to be the next Pope who restored tradition and cracked down on heresy in a way not seen for 70 years within the walls of the Vatican?”
    It would be a supreme act of grace; I’d quite happily pray for that. I bear the man no personal animosity; I just recognize that he’s wrong on some important topics.

    “Mueller’s appointment pretty much means the death knell for the LCWR”
    Deo gratias.

    Acardnal wrote, “the recent translation of the NO missal is a HUGE improvement.”
    It is an improvement, yes.

  117. acardnal says:

    @FrJLM: If I can help you with acquiring the missal and altar cards you need to celebrate the TLM/EF, I would be pleased to do so.

  118. acardnal says:

    typo: FrJLP.

  119. kat says:

    The Sword of Christendom is a good book that shows a lot of the history of how and why the Faith of people was declining even before Vatican II, which is one of the reasons so many Catholics DID go right along with the changes. It goes back much farther, with lots of documentation. It was written by an SSPX priest, so perhaps some won’t want to read it for that reason; but the history of Satan’s attacks on the Church from way back is well worth the read.

  120. FrJLP says:

    @WurdeSmythe: On this, we can surely agree: “The Church of 1959 was not able to withstand the modernist onslaught; a new Catholic solution, rooted in the Faith of our fathers and the Church’s constant teaching and practice, is what’s needed. The SSPX, in its limited and modest way, is doing what it can.”!

    And this is where I sympathize with some of the Conciliar Fathers who, believing this very thing, were trying to bring the fresh insight of patristic studies and the like to the table. At the same time, there was a thrust in some of the Conciliar Fathers to address the place of the Church in the context of a social and philosophical revolution. The Council, then, reflects both timeless and time-limited insights. Then, what happens after the Council, especially w.r.t. the Liturgy and catechetics, is disastrous. Upon some of this, we can agree, as well. I appreciate the contribution of the Ressourcement theologians to the Council (and detest the liberal abuse thereof after the Council) because, when I was consistently criticized by the Latin Mass crown for myriad reasons, I ended up serving a Ruthanian Catholic parish for three years. That was a beautiful encounter with the Liturgy and Theology of the Fathers of the Church…minus the polemic of the Latin Rite “wars”. We DO need to return to the original “kerygma” to regain our “sensus fidelium” and continue from there. We can agree that we MUST reclaim Catholic theology and culture and identity. And again, while sympathetic to the SSPX, I just haven’t been convinced that their “tenuous” relationship with the Vicar of Christ and the polemics employed are the best way to achieve the goal… Just my observations! But, in all things and in spite of all things, keep loving and worshiping and serving Our Lord as He is made Present to us in Holy Mass.

  121. Dismas says:

    @WurdeSmythe says:
    19 July 2012 at 8:17 pm

    “What you see as disobedience and rupture we see as being a faithful witness to the Truth that our Lord entrusted to His followers”

    It’s difficult any longer to see any difference between the sspx or medj advocates. They’re arguments both sound the same to me. It’s no longer anger I’d be worried about regarding Pope Benedict and the sspx, I think the real worry would more correctly be identified as enmity.

  122. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @Wurdesmyth: Thank you for your clarifications. I concede the statements are ambiguous to the point of seeming problematic. I gladly join inpraying for the supreme act of grace mentioned.

    @Acardinal: It’s a substantial tangible improvement, but what it still needs and is vital is to have the offertory of the Mass of the Ages put in there and made compulsory whatever the Eucharistic Prayer chosen…hopefully with the Eucharistic prayers exclusively limited to No. I and IV much later on.

  123. MarWes says:

    @Horatius,
    “If I–horribile dictu–disagree with the Pope, after I have exhausted all those other sources, I wonder if what another Pope said does not apply, “To reason right is to submit.”
    Horribile dictu, some popes have been proven to make erroneous statements. Where would it lead you if you submitted to their heresies? The same applies to conciliar pronouncements. Many fruits of Vatican II are of dubious value, to say the least, and accepting them blindly is certainly neither virtuous nor wise.

  124. Everyone: I am patient. But my blog is not an open forum.

  125. dspecht says:

    As I said before – the real issue (and also to get the whole picture, so what sspx is fighting for) is the purity of faith – that is fought against by modernism since the 19./20. c. – and then Pius X and Pius XII condemned it. And they condemened the modern philosophy behind it, the ambigouse language etc.

    But this we see in Vat. II and in Müller &Co.

    Re Müller and the deeper problem of modern philosophy and heremeneutics: all who can read Geramn: an article form a German universitiy theologian (so non-sspx!), Dr. Obenauer from the uni. of Bonn
    He concludes that Müller is deviating from faith – and much worse: sticks to wrong modern “Hermeneutism”.

    http://www.katholisches.info/2012/07/11/jungfraulichkeit-in-der-geburt-zum-konflikt-zwischen-der-fsspx-und-erzbischof-muller/

    And re the origins of this modern philosophy resp. nouvelle theology (now sspx):

    http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/SiSiNoNo/1993_August/They_Think_Theyve_Won.htm

  126. Widukind says:

    As usual I come late to these discussions.

    The SSPX are a bunch of tree-huggers!
    It is the whole tree and forest metaphor.
    They are blindly holding on to that stalwart eternal
    oak tree, and seemingly fail to see that there is a forest around
    them. It is because they see their tree as the forest itself!
    Telling them that there are other trees just as noble and
    strong standing about them does no good. Because their
    tree is their tree and they won’t give up on it, period.

    In a way they are their own worst enemies. They want dialogue,
    but they also want to define what every word has to mean. If they
    do not, their logic will fail. The openess they want for discussion
    will not be theirs until they can open themselves up to the whole
    wide reality of who the Church is in her liturgy, culture, history, and tradition.
    They fail to see the true splendor of the Church, for they can
    only envision a church constructed from dry theological
    dictums, as impoverished as that might be. But, it is their church,
    even though it lacks splendor, for they have as its blueprint something
    so narrow and unadorned. Sort of the emperor with no clothes syndrome.
    I believe it is this living reality of the Church
    that they have severed themselves from, and in which
    rupture they now languish. I think they would rather suffer
    this agony simply because it belongs to them – that old
    pride thing. They cannot see themselves regrafted onto that
    living tree, for they fear that they may become truely
    alive once more, for it is with a life that is not of their own making,
    but a life that is far more than themselves.

    They want to be the branch that shakes the tree.
    If they shake the tree too hard, they might find it falling off from them.

  127. Horatius says:

    MarWes,

    You assume that you can judge the Pope. I do not assume that. You seem to me to throw around the word “heresy” rather too freely, while citing no historical evidence. I had suggested, in my reply to you, the grand colonnade embrace of the Church, from my pastor on up, which seems not to impress you, but which has nothing to do with blind obedience. Nor do I know what a conciliar pronouncement is. Getting up this morning, I prayed simple prayers. Later, I will pray lauds and later still compline. I will pray the rosary for my family and for FSSP, as I am a member of the CSP which supports that priestly foundation. In two days, I will be with my family in the New Mass, said with utmost reverence and propriety, with all Gregorian chant (concluded with one hymn) and Terce sung by the schola of Benedictine nuns and monks. Some of the oblates sing as well as the schola, and the laity joins in as possible: the graduale triplex is not for the faint of heart. In this blessed Catholic life of mine, I will not have any occasion for brooding over the myths of a “post-Conciliar” Church or “pronouncements,” I will be trudging along like MILLIONS OF OTHER CATHOLICS following tradition upheld and revitalized by our Holy Father. I hope SSPX has the sense to return to the Church, so that it can see Her for what She truly is.

  128. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:

    Horatius keeps pushing this idea that if you’re not in the supposedly “approved” sandbox with “millions of other catholics” you are somehow not Catholic because you believe the Holy Father has gone astray and is – in many instances – professing un-Catholic ideas; as did many of the V2 documents and post V2 documents eminating from the Church …at least the SSPX knwos when the sandbox is dirty..

  129. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:

    Widukind: —”dry theological dictums” and “impoverished”? “the living tree” and “regrafting”? Boy…you are truly the child of all revolutions. It’s a pity. Revolving with those ideas means you end up in the same place; steeped in the black hole of man is god.

  130. Horatius says:

    No, I do not push ideas, and it is not nice to put words in other peoples’ mouths. You seem to assume you can judge the Pope. I do not assume that. You are broken with the Pope. I am not. You make gestures at “documents” you do not trouble to cite. I happen to think that history has much to teach the Church. Judging the Pope on grounds you do not describe, you are of the belief–a very poor intellectual stance, by the way–”the Holy Father has gone astray,” etc., but you fail to make the slightest case for any of those claims of yours, all while impugning the Pope. You write as if Rome had something seriously to concede to SSPX, when it is SSPX that is attempting to return to Rome. You have no news at all for the Church to imply that there is sin in it.

  131. Fr Jackson says:

    I would say that “Legisperitus” (above 8:06 am) really hit upon a key distinction that is important in understanding the SSPX approach to the Magisterium and Vatican II. It is NOT simply a distinction between the Magisterium on one hand and Vatican II on the other (as Fr Z commented in red). Rather, the thesis is that of considering an organ of the Magisterium (i.e. Vat II) that, in addition to reaffirming much of what was previously taught, has also affirmed certain “novelties,” and this according to a mode that had not been seen before in history, namely an assembly convoked as an ecumenical council that nevertheless chose a “pastoral” mode of Magisterium (e.g. choosing not to include condemnatory canons, etc.). Hence, when this assembly reaffirms content that was taught before, there is no problem recognizing the mode of ordinary infallibility (what has always and everywhere been taught); but when it affirms a “novelty” (which can either be a completely new expression or – in the worst cases – an expression that appears to go against previous teaching) then we must recognize not only that we are confronted with a mode of teaching that is not quite like anything ecclesiology has seen before, but also that it does not clearly fit into the categories of either ordinary or extraordinary infallibility.

  132. Dennis Martin says:

    Fr. Jackson, yes, you probably have underlined an important issue. But “novelty” in theology is not an objective thing. The use of “homoousios” was novel at one point and was attacked by Arius for being novel. Transsubstantiatio was a novelty in theology at one point. In each case, the proponents of these terms (and the same applies not just to terms but doctrines) insisted that these were developments that said better what had always been taught, that homoousios obviated certain slippery and ambiguous terms that the Arians and others used to give cover to their denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

    That the teaching of Vatican II on religious was novel rather than faithful development is itself a polemical taking of sides. That Vatican II taught any true novelties rather than faithful developments (even if sometimes infelicitously and ambiguously phrased) is the question. The SSPX asserts it to be the truth. Whether it is the truth is the matter at issue.

    Joseph Ratzinger and other faithful theologians have pointed to things in the VII documents that could have been better stated, that were ambiguous etc. But he rejects the claim that Vatican II taught out and out novelty. He recognizes that this is an interpretation, just as the Spirit of Vatican II Concilium crowd (falsely) interpreted the documents. All magisterial documents, even those of the highest level of authority, will be subject to interpretation as time goes on.

    The SSPX is within bounds to offer the “this and this and this are novelites” interpretation.

    Up to a point. But the very genius of the Catholic faith, unlike fissiparous Protestantism, is that there is a means in place to resolve disputes over the interpretation of even the highest level of magisterial doctrinal teaching. It’s called the bishops (sometimes bishops in council) and the Holy Father.

    It is not imperious or an abuse of power for the Holy Father, at some point, to say, okay, “we’ve had the discussion and the debate. Here is the determinatio quaestionis.+ He is the one who gets to decide when that point has arrived. I don’t know if it has. But when it arrives, then the SSPX, if they are sincere in their protestations of loyal adherence to the Catholic faith, have to stop insisting, “eppure si muove.”

  133. Widukind says:

    Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:
    Widukind: —”dry theological dictums” and “impoverished”? “the living tree” and “regrafting”? Boy…you are truly the child of all revolutions. It’s a pity. Revolving with those ideas means you end up in the same place; steeped in the black hole of man is god.

    Dear AMDG,
    You are so off the mark! Those who know me know me as conservative and orthodox.
    I am considered by some to be reactionary, unless that is a way of being revolutionary.
    I stand by what I said. There is a great divergence that I am trying to express. When interfacing
    with ultra-conservatives (the SSPX, and whoever else you want to inlcude) my heart aches
    at what they seem to miss. Every pore of theirs oozes with anger, rancor, huffiness, and superiority. There is no possible way to meaningfully communicate with them. In my study of
    history there is one thing I have come to learn and it is that the Church and her tradition are far greater than what meets anyone’s eye. One comes to see both the wideness and the depth of who the Church is, of how she is both ancient and new, and the compendium of the wisdom of the ages and of the Holy Spirit. My sadness comes not from my own blackhole, but from that which others are placed in by their own thinking and what they want me to be placed in with them. Where is the joy – I mean a tangible, real, authentic, spiritual, grace-filled joy? I am sorry but I find none in such people. They may take on some pie-eyed glaze on hearing about some far off eternal Rome. But there is no joy. There is a failure to embrace the whole of the Church, and to love all of her. And yes, you can have joy in the midst of turmoil and suffering. So, I am not simplistic. This joy is the living reality of the Church of what I have spoken. Give me a fractured but joyful Church. I want nothing of your black hole!

  134. dspecht says:

    @ Widukind

    anger, rancor, huffiness, and superiority. There is no possible way to meaningfully communicate with them.

    My personal experience – with many different sspx priests and laypersons – is quite the opposite. I did not see only “anger, rancor huffiness….” – and you can better communicate with them than with any liberal,

    If you read the last interview with Gaudron (see RORATE) re Müller, you see a calm, thoughtfull, clear argumentation. And not ultara-conservatism or else but only orthodoxy. Gaudrons holds the orthodox faith of Mary beeing corporal virgin. Müller rejects the corporal aspect of viriginity. And Gaudron explains in a calm, scholarly way why Müller is wrong in doing so. – The sspx proofs itselfe to be only sound and orthodox, not ultra- conservative or else by such statements. (I beg you to read Gaudron before any further discussion.)

  135. Jan B. says:

    Father said, ‘And, a great number of the “problem priests” who have come to light in these painful years were educated in pre-conciliar seminaries with manuals and the Summa and traditional piety. I mention this to say that it seems disingenuous to blame these problems wholly on Vatican II when it seems that the problems, at least seminally, pre-date the Council and have much to do with a social revolution.’

    There was liberalism being taught, and traditional being suppressed, in seminaries prior to the Council, but the teachings were the novelties of the Council and I think it’s not wrong to identify it all as ‘the Council.’ However, it is more correct to say that liberalism was being taught–and it didn’t come just from the Council, it was a perfect storm of two devastating wars and the secular leadership that remained after them (us and our Americanist heresy!), of the on-going effects of the Reformation, of the emergence of communism (itself an effect of the Reformation, according to some historians). And I guess you’re right, we should stop saying ‘It’s the Council’ and go back to saying, ‘It’s liberalism.’ But in our world, it’s the Council, even when the Council’s novelties only reflect, and did not ‘start’ liberalism.
    However we phrase it, we have to stop arguing in abstractions about who’s in and who’s out and whether or not the Holy Spirit guides a pastoral council the same way as a doctrine-stating one, and whether or not Bishop Fellay is ‘arrogant’ to question the Council, and argue *the specific novelties that have been raised* and thanks be to God will now be raised again, we are assured by this document. Those novelties are about how we get saved and whether we need the Church to save us (ecumenism and the nature of the Church) , who’s in charge (collegiality), and whether secular society is even possible or not (religious liberty). That is, whether we can have a sustainable society without Christ at the center. Those are the issues at the heart of this argument, not the false ones thrown up by the worst commenters here. When we stay there and argue those, all the false parallels fall away. (Like the ridiculous one of, SSPX and LCWR are the ‘same’–both disobedient!! Please child!)
    There are lots of people who don’t want to see these issues hammered out. Abortionists don’t–they conduct their murder under the banner of religious liberty, everybody who is active in the pro-life movement knows it well. The divorced/remarried and divorcing/anticipating re-marrying sure don’t want to see any rollbacks of the Reformation spirit. Those who are ripping off the poor ever and ever more fiercely, with no resistance anywhere, don’t want to hear a debate about putting Christ and His commandments back at the center of our socities and our Catholic social services. That’s what this is about, our real world and our suffering! I guess to want to debate these things, you have to admit secularism has failed, the Reformation failed, we must restore Christ in all things. And some of us just don’t want to. It makes me wonder what’s going on in their private lives to keep insisting on this false obedience, when we owe obedience first to the Truth as it has been defined by doctrinal Councils that were properly vetted by the Curia under the care of the Holy Spirit. Not to that hot mess known as Vatican II where some of the chief players, like Rahner, brought their girlfriends, and Yves Congar celebrated their lies in the famous leaked memo and got caught out.

    Please! Consider the real issues at stake! Our children are being enslaved and this is so all about that!

  136. dspecht says:

    Jan B.

    Exactly – of course it was also before Vat. II – otherwise how should the bad ideas being introduced to Vat. II?!

    But that does not make Vat. better – how could anybody think so?!

    The fact that liberalism and nouvelle theologie was spread before Vat. II and then the very same men that sticked to it influenced the texts of Vat. II makes it much clearer that Vat. II itselfe is part of the problem.

  137. Horatius says:

    The ability to pronounce upon the past, including Vatican Two, is evidently not an inner light granted by God to the SSPX. On the contrary, to be deep in history is to cease to become SSPX, to judge from the comments in the blogosphere. As a scholar who studies Church history, at work on the biography of a great Bishop called as a Father to the Council because of his command of Sacred Scripture, I take exception to the suggestion of the ‘scholarship’ of this or that supporter of sectarianism, schism, irregularity, or pride as shedding light on the problem. I see no evidence of scholarship. I really do not want to get into details–wearing out my welcome on what Fr. Z has already mentioned is not an open forum–but I am disgusted by the low, anti-Catholic and un-Christian uses so much pseudo history is put to, over and against the great efforts of His Holiness to receive SSPX back into the Church. This sham history, crassly ignorant and crammed with half-baked anecdotes, twisted perspectives, and outright lies, goes hand in glove with a blithe, self-satisfied rhetoric, endlessly repeated, befitting not the Church of Christ but a Protestant sect. If the Pope welcomes SSPX back to the Catholic Church, for which I do pray, Catholics will have the greater opportunity to teach the Society that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor of the truth, even in speaking of the past.

  138. Fr Jackson says:

    @Dennis Martin
    It is not imperious or an abuse of power for the Holy Father, at some point, to say (…) ‘Here is the determinatio quaestionis’
    It seems to me that if the Pope were willing to step in and clarify certain theological problems that would indeed be most welcome. But that’s not what we are looking at in these latest documents. Rather, these are cases of “theological mutism” (to quote Bishop Fellay) that is, sidestepping the issues to try to resolve things with blanket statements.

    …the highest level of magisterial doctrinal teaching…
    The point of my post was to say that to move forward one must recognize that this is NOT what we are dealing with when speaking about Vatican II. The particular mode of teaching at the Council was unlike anything else we had seen at ecumenical councils up to that time. It was, in any case, less solemn than previous modes.

    Remember, from the beginning (I mean since 2001) Rome has pushed for a juridical solution that ignored doctrinal questions. That was particularly the political approach of Cardinal Castrillon between 2001-2009. It was the SSPX who insisted that doctrinal questions be dealt with. Rome finally accepted that in 2009 and the doctrinal talks began. This is why it is frustrating to see documents drafted in 2012 that don’t seem to take into account the views that were exchanged during that time.

    So, the reality is that getting Rome today to be willing to tackle doctrinal clarifications is and has been a struggle. It is simply not their present forma mentis. I find that your comments above don’t really take this into account.

  139. Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam says:

    Forget it people; Horatius has to have the last word. [Ehem... what is it that you are trying to have?] Everyone who is a Catholic understands that even the lowliest among us (even those who don’t run to cite a text every other line of typing) is able and has a duty to “judge” the Pope as he states. If the Pope is saying/doing things a Pope hasn’t done in the past and shouldn’t be doing now (you know; things like hanging with heretics and pagans at their “worship services”) then we are able to make a judgment as to that particular action or pronouncement. This whole idea about not being able to “judge” the Pope and following everything the Pope says/does even when it isn’t a doctrinal pronouncement is something that only came into vogue with V2 and beyond. Personally, I think it’s quite possible Horatius is a liberal/mason/troll. [?!?] AND the fact that an earlier and much more in-depth comment of mine regarding freemasonry was NOT posted to this site leads me to think something may be afoot with Fr. Z. I think what I stated was a bit too hot…. [You have an inflated opinion of your comments and I am a really busy guy. You can spend some time in the moderation queue.]

  140. Horatius says:

    Not to have the last word, much less flog a dead horse, but I think that the name calling, an impressive collocation, replete with slash bars, about sums up the quality of the previous post, directed against me personally. Granting oneself license not to quote is no way for faith and reason to be engaged and put into action. In fact, any number of reasons, well documented in the Church, exist for Catholics to obey the Pope. To suggest otherwise is to run up against the history SSPX, like Protestants, conveniently ignores. I write this response, which I expect nobody will read, not to have the last word, but out of the sad knowledge that elements within SSPX have made a cult of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, every bit as much as the Christadelphians have made a cult of the Bible. How widespread that heresy is, I cannot say, but it has ramified to all manner of calumny, distortions, and lies against the Church and already splinters SSPX itself: witness the video now circulating of Williamson wishing to oust Fellay. I trust in our Pope to bring SSPX within the one true holy and apostolic Church, the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church. That leads me to the other reason I am writing: the very same tactics used against the Church have been leveled at me, “liberal/mason/troll.” I suspect that this paranoid thinking will deselect, as the social scientists say, for renewed lives in the Church. That is, paranoids, scared at the light of day, can stay with Williamson, the Catholics with Fellay. I think of this comment, all in all, as a warning to good and true Catholics, but also as a reminder, not only of the generosity of our good great Pope, but also of the burgeoning Catholic resources, unthinkable just years ago, within our Church: FSSP, ICK, to name only two. There are also monasteries and parishes that worship with deep reverence and devotion.