SSPX formally expelled Bp. Williamson

Communiqué of the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X (October 24, 2012)

24-10-2012

Bishop Richard Williamson, having distanced himself from the management and the government of the SSPX for several years, and refusing to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors, was declared excluded from the SSPX by decision of the Superior General and its Council, on October 4th, 2012. A final deadline had been granted to him to declare his submission, after which he announced the publication of an “open letter” asking the Superior General to resign.

This painful decision has become necessary by concern for the common good of the Society of Saint Pius X and its good government, according to what Archbishop Lefebvre denounced: “This is the destruction of authority. How authority can be exercised if it needs to ask all members to participate in the exercise of authority? “(Ecône, June 29, 1987)

Menzingen, October 24th, 2012

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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83 Responses to SSPX formally expelled Bp. Williamson

  1. Thomas S says:

    Oh, irony!

  2. pledbet424 says:

    Schism begets schism.

  3. iPadre says:

    Time for our brothers at the SSPX to come into full obedience to the Vicar of Christ!

  4. HighMass says:

    I agree with ipadre, the SSPX must be obedient to the Holy Father, But wait a minute isn’t it time for those who are formally in the Church to be obedient also???? liberals …..???

  5. Father K says:

    ‘Refusing to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors.’ What a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Has it not occurred to ‘his lawful superiors’ that they refuse to show respect and obedience to their lawful Superior, His Holiness Pope Benedict? I believe Bishop Williamson was reprimanded for administering ‘unauthorised’ confirmations somewhere in South America recently. And these same reprimanders think nothing of going into other bishops’ diocese without their approval and administer not only confirmations but also ordinations to the diaconate and priesthood. They and the priests of the Society routinely hear confessions, and except in danger of death, give absolution invalidly. And don’t let any commentators try to take refuge in ‘ecclesia supplet.’ In these cases She does not, most decidedly. [And moreover ‘common error’ does not apply either]. I am a canon lawyer and I know that to be the case and I will not be drawn into an argument about it. I know what I am talking about.

    However, every cloud has a silver lining, maybe now Bishop Williamson is free to start his own schismatic sect, he may draw those of the SSPX who think that reconciliation with the Church is tantamount to supping with the devil. So perhaps his erstwhile ‘lawful superior’ will find a way to practice what he preaches and submit the SSPX to the authority of their lawful Superior, yes, Pope Benedict XVI.

    High Mass,

    I agree wholeheartedly. Time for all groups and factions ow obedience to show obedience to their lawful superiors, especially the Pope and Bishops in union with him.

  6. Thom says:

    While it’s tempting to declare this an ironic development of the “kettle calling black” sort, that is too simplistic a reaction in my opinion. Bishop Williamson’s actions towards the SSPX were well beyond resistance to perceived unjust governance; they were acrimonious assaults on the very life of the society. While I can’t defend the SSPX’s continued resistance to complete submission to the Holy Father, they are very far from the sort of rabble-rousing that Williamson was expelled for. There is still very much hope for final reconciliation for the SSPX, in my view; very little for Williamson.

    Overall, this is an encouraging event.

  7. Tim Ferguson says:

    I wonder if Bishop Williamson will appeal, and if so, to whom?

    Canon 700 – A decree of dismissal has no effect unless it is confirmed by the Holy See, to whom the decree and all the acts are to be forwarded. If the matter concerns an institute of diocesan right, the confirmation belongs to the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the religious belongs. For validity the decree must indicate the right of the person dismissed to have recourse to the competent authority within ten days of receiving notification of the decree. The recourse has a suspensive effect.

  8. Sarto says:

    Thom,

    Thank you for your balanced response.

    Almost all the other commenters,

    I don’t understand the snarkiness. Is it not good that the Society of St. Pius X is “cleaning” its own house? And, as Thom points out, it’s not that Bishop Williamson objects or has concerns, but that he is calling for an overthrow of his superiors, that he opposes, in principle, discussion with Rome until Rome converts (whatever that possibly means), etc.

    But beyond that, I’m sure that this event is confusing for some of our brothers and sisters who frequent the chapels of the SSPX. I don’t think we should use it as an opportunity to kick them around.

    In all things, charity!

  9. fib09002 says:

    Despite Bp. Williamson’s popularity, I doubt whatever he does at this point will last beyond his…well, I hate to say it, but he is kind of old. I think that he will probably take some followers with him from the SSPX, and start some new society, but that society will probably fizzle out after he is no longer with us.

  10. Oh boy, here comes yet another (possible) schismatic sect of the Catholic Church (as if we didn’t have enough of those already). On the other hand, I am glad that this has been done so that the SSPX can move closer to reunification with Rome. I am surprised that along with expulsion, Bishop Fellay has not asked the Pope for an official notice of Bishop Williamson being defrocked as a bishop.

  11. Father K says:

    Tim Ferguson,
    ‘I wonder if Bishop Williamson will appeal, and if so, to whom?’ Neat point! That is one of the difficulties of separating oneself from the Pope – who does one appeal to? I don’t suppose he would consider appealing to anyone – in his own mind he is the one who is in the right. Everyone, and I think he believes everyone else is wrong unless they happen to agree with him.

    When the Bishops were lawfully excommunicated latae sententiae and then this penalty was subsequently declared, they just dismissed that and went their merry way. For years an ocean of ink was spilt trying to justify their belief they were not actually excommunicated, but in vain, the fact remains that they were until the Pope lifted the excommunications. If Bishop Williamson does in fact ordain another Bishop to carry on his new schism, [and what choice does he have?] then he will be excommunicated again latae sententiae; it has happened before in the history of the Church.

  12. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Revolution eats its own children.

  13. Imrahil says:

    It is basically well known that the SSPX, which once was a canonically established pious union under 1917 canon law basically considers its dissolution not to have taken place. Now that view may very well be questioned, especially given that the Pope in an official letter confirmed the dissolution. But that’s that, and – frankly – I do not see the point in ridiculing this assumption whenever the SSPX acts upon what they never cease to assume.

    Given this assumption, there is such thing as a Superior General, and – again given the assumption – the Superior General has the authority of a superior general.

  14. VexillaRegis says:

    @Father K: “They and the priests of the Society routinely hear confessions, and except in danger of death, give absolution invalidly.” This is the worst thing they do – people may go to hell, thinking they have a chance of going to heaven (or pugatory). Terrible and sad. Would you mind expanding a little on the rest of that paragraph about why ecclesia *non* supplet and why common error doesn’t apply? I’m just interested, not trying to get you into any arguments about it at all. On the contrary, I might need good ammo when discussing with certain people over coffee on sunday… Thanks.

  15. APX says:

    “refusing to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors”

    “Hello, Pot? This is Kettle calling. You’re black too!”

    They say the reason many people can point out the vices and issues of other people is because they possess the same.

  16. JacobWall says:

    “This painful decision has become necessary …” It is indeed painful. I don’t see any victory or irony in this. Gloating serves no purpose. While I hope that this move brings the SSPX closer to achieving valid canonical status, in itself the fact that Bp. Williamson pushed things to this point is a tragedy. Besides a bishop of the Church now being that much further from obedience to the Church, from what I also understand he has a very strong and dedicated personal following (which is never a good thing in itself.) There are souls at stake here – souls who are following this man down the “vias inferum.” This is a painful tragedy.

    I do pray that good will come of it and the SSPX will be closer to achieving canonical status.

  17. Fr.WTC says:

    Bp. Williamson may simply continue as is for the moment. He will gather a group about himself who will continue to call themselves the society of st. Pius X. Only that he (williamson) and not Bp. F. Will be at the helm. Fr. K I have a question. If the society has no juridical personhood how is it that in the eyes of the roman authorities one may fulfill their Sunday obligation in one of their chapels and not at an independent chapel?

  18. asperges says:

    Much more hinges on the reconciliation of SSPX than the minutiae of their dissent. A way has to be found. This latest development will help. Williamson has been a poisonous influence and a major stumbling block to recent proceedings with the Vatican. Little more will be heard of him in the long run. He has utterly burned his boats: some will follow him into oblivion no doubt.

    The Vatican is well-informed /wily enough to have anticipated the split within SSPX. Perhaps this is what it was waiting for. At any rate I should most surprised if one side or the other did not seek to resume negotiations soon and the chances of them now succeeding are much improved, Deo Gratias. If anyone can achieve reconciliation, it is certainly this Pope.

  19. Dismas says:

    Econa locuta est, causa finita est? Weird stuff indeed!

  20. MKR says:

    Perhaps Williamson will just refuse to accept the legitimacy of this expulsion. I mean–if you can refuse to accept the legitimacy of an excommunication by the pope, then you can surely do the same for an expulsion from a canonically irregular priestly fraternity.

  21. Legisperitus says:

    Presumably, whenever the SSPX is regularized (Deo volente) the confirmation of Bp. Williamson’s expulsion will be part of that.

  22. I’ve wondered for some time if the idea wasn’t to try to keep Bishop Williamson “inside,” because he can cause less mischief than if he is cut loose. That would explain why he wasn’t cut loose sooner. Now we’ll see.

  23. tzard says:

    One Irony is now it seems easier for Bp. Williamson to reconcile with Rome, notwithstanding his opinions on various things, including Rome itself. But now he is not tied to the Society and preserving its ability to fulfill its goals. He can act independently and regularize his orders.

    As to whether that’ll happen, that’s another story which we’ll find out soon.

  24. Tina in Ashburn says:

    As an aside: “one may fulfill their Sunday obligation in one of their chapels”

    This understanding must be taken in context of the whole law. In emergency situations, yes, we can fulfill Holy Day obligations, and receive certain Sacraments, at the point of death for instance. For instance, if I’m in Russia and have no other access to Mass, I can receive Communion from an Orthodox.
    Unfortunately, repeating this behavior, attendance, belonging to the group, day in and day out, does not constitute an emergency. Continually behaving this way creates the schismatic mindset – that is the danger. [Yes I recognize that many are in a terrible location where the worst of Church practices must be endured, but in this case ‘emergency’ becomes a subjective definition as an excuse to go elsewhere – I do sympathize!! And egad, why don’t liberal abuses get more attention and clarification? ]

    By taking this ‘emergency’ as an excuse for adhering to the SSPX, how is this behavior not unlike the liberals who insist on lay distribution of Holy Communion because, it seems, every day is an ‘emergency’ and thus allowed. There are many examples of stretching these allowances and creating a rule from an exception.

    Thus, getting back to the mainstream comments here, the big issue with bringing the SSPX back into the fold has been the consistent disregard for the authority of the Pope, and the visible Church. Because the SSPX leaders and followers have been calling the shots all these years, disregarding the truth about their loss of faculties, and lack of a bishop attached to Rome – most of the SSPXers have developed such a contempt for what they believe the visible Church is – they may never come back.

    The splintering off of Williamson is another symptom of the revolutionary mindset that was the basis for the founding of SSPX and the ordination of the four bishops without Rome’s approval.

    Perhaps this will be good, and allow the more even-tempered to re-unite with the Church while Williamson and followers continue, sadly, off on their track.

  25. wolfeken says:

    Wow, on some of the comments here.

    I can only assume that several people above would rather the SSPX die than to have negotiations re-start now with the Vatican and the Society.

    So much for Christian Unity.

  26. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Tina in Ashburn, whatever be said about the Sunday obligation, but… you do not need an emergency to go there, nor is it in any way sinful to attend any of their Masses, etc. Not only have various dubia been answered this way, it also has an actual reason, namely that they have not been suspended vitandi.

  27. LouiseA says:

    How about a prayer for him? It must be painful.

  28. Ignatius says:

    So many years advocating and promoting disobedience… and finally, they realize disobedience is bad! How ironic! And sad…

  29. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of the reconciliation of the SSPX with the Pope, and a reality check for Williamson. And that he also comes back to the Pope. No time like the present, when it comes to reconciliation.

    2. Because at least SSPX priests are known to be really priests, however messy the state of their faculties and obedience to the Church, whereas Fr. Independent might be anybody.

  30. woodyjones says:

    Well, my good friends who are close to Bishop Williamson will not like this thought (at least not at present), but I saw on another blog the comment that recalls Fr. Claude Barthe, who was expelled from the SSPX for sedevacantist views, and who then, in an independent status, evolved over several years back to fully accepting the Holy Father and his magisterium, becoming reconciled with the Church and now a member of the Institute of the Good Shepherd. For Bishop Williamson, as well as for the other “strict observance” fathers like Frs. Chazal and Joseph Pfeiffer, their very independent status may allow them to rethink things in a Rome-ward manner, rather than the reverse, as is so often assumed. We shall see.

  31. Tom Ryan says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    24 October 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I pray he employs that rebellious streak of his and beats the rest of the Society to unification.

    How’s that? Oh, the irony

  32. woodyjones says:

    And for that very reason, the possibility that good may come out of it, I would suggest charity all around.

  33. A Sinner 2 says:

    The SSPX proved capable of expelling a very high-ranking “dissident” representing 25 percent of the society’s bishops. Isn’t it long past time for the Vatican to do the same?

  34. cyrillist says:

    “Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.”

    Okay, I fully understand that there’s never a bad time to say, “Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity,” any more than that there could be a bad time to say, “Say the black, do the red” or “Brick by brick.” But really, doesn’t this one have a bit of a non sequitur feel about it? Unless it’s meant to imply that +Williamson’s expulsion was part of the Holy Father’s master plan all along? Odd.

    (And as full of charity as I try to be re the SSPX, I can just imagine +Fellay doing a face-palm and thinking, “Oh man, the conservatives are going to have a field day over this one…”)

  35. Johnno says:

    The SSPX doesn’t deny the authority of the Pope or the Church. They intend to follow it. What we have is a situation where the SSPX believe the Pope is ordering them to obey errors. An authority the Pope and Church does not have over anybody.

    Resolving this requires the Pope and Church to show the SSPX that what they believe are errors are not errors snd refute the SSPX. Or if the SSPX are right, then to clarify troublesome language and errors in the Vatican II documents. Or if nobody can decide, then reach a resolved position where the SSPX can operate following only the previous Church Councils and Liturgy independent of Vatican II, which is apparently non-binding depending on who you ask and which documents you refer to…

  36. Glen M says:

    This is sad but not unexpected news. I predicted that if a SSPX-Vatican deal got done then Bishop Williamson and a minority of faithful would refuse it and go their own way.

    My question is where will he go?

    Unfortunately, this development might be in the greater good. It could be Bishop Williamson was obstructing a reunification.

  37. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    It has long been my fear that the SSPX will one day soon find need for a new round of episcopal consecrations, setting all talks back to the 1980s again. I fear that this is one large step towards that happening, should Williamson decide to create a “SSPII.V” (as the theoretical order has come to be referred here). Similarly, as someone pointed out, the SSPX just lost a quarter of their leadership. With an order as large and spread out as they are, that will hurt the ability to administer. One hopes they don’t see a need to fill that void…

  38. scarda says:

    I heard Bp Williamson preach, years ago, and he was inspiring. May God pity him, because he has strayed so far from the Church and the Lord that he clearly loved.

  39. Tim Ferguson says:

    Imrahil says, “Given this assumption, there is such thing as a Superior General, and – again given the assumption – the Superior General has the authority of a superior general.”

    Even given that assumption, if the Superior General has the authority of a superior general – that authority does not extend to dismissing a professed religious without recourse to the Holy See (or to the diocese, in the case of diocesan order). If the SSPX are still a pious union, and still subject to canon law, the Superior General does not have plenipotentiary power.

  40. Imrahil says:

    Indeed; and I was on the point of writing that “however, dear @Tim Ferguson made such a very interesting comment to the effect that…” I left that out because I wanted to keep it short. It opens a bundle of other questions. The SSPX would then, always given the assumption, be an association on diocesan level… under the authority of which diocese? etc.

    Interesting.

    On the other hand, the SSPX are not *religious* (nor 1917 equivalent) in that sense. We’d have to check out first whether that holds for non-religious too.

  41. Cavaliere says:

    What we have is a situation where the SSPX believe the Pope is ordering them to obey errors. An authority the Pope and Church does not have over anybody.

    Oh what bitter irony and hypocrisy. The SSPX refusing to obey legitimate authority because it would cause them to follow what they perceive is error. In other words their conscience is telling them that documents like Dignitatis Humanae are in error and that no one has the authority to compel them to act against their conscience. And what do they most object to in DH? Of course the paragraph that states that one cannot be forced to against their conscience. Nope you just can’t make this stuff up!

  42. Fr. A.M. says:

    Tim Ferguson : ‘Canon 700 – A decree of dismissal has no effect unless it is confirmed by the Holy See, to whom the decree and all the acts are to be forwarded. If the matter concerns an institute of diocesan right, the confirmation belongs to the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the religious belongs. For validity the decree must indicate the right of the person dismissed to have recourse to the competent authority within ten days of receiving notification of the decree. The recourse has a suspensive effect.’

    – actually Tim, SSPX does not have canonical/jurdical status in the Church. It is not even an association of the faithful. Their situation needs to be regularised.

  43. aviva meriam says:

    This whole situation is exhausting.

    How much longer will this go on?

  44. AnnAsher says:

    Wow. Williamson’s disobedience and difficulties acknowledged but I wonder how Bp Fellay reconciles that authority statement with his position towards the Holy Father ?

  45. AnnAsher says:

    Seconding Sinner 2’s suggestion

  46. Sarto says:

    Cavaliere,

    “In other words their conscience is telling them that documents like Dignitatis Humanae are in error and that no one has the authority to compel them to act against their conscience.”

    I’m afraid you’re missing the point of their argument. They are not claiming that they don’t like DH because it’s against their conscience, and that’s why they’re objecting. They’re claiming that it violates revealed Truth so they can’t follow. It’s akin to you saying, “I don’t accept there is a tree there.” Well, there is a tree or there is not a tree, but it has nothing to do with your personal opinion. Reason requires us to assent to external reality, to bend our mind to the tree’s existence, so to speak. Similarly, DH is either in continuity with the perennial teaching of the Church (a la Quanta Cura) or it is not. Your opinion, my opinion, any of our desires, etc. simply don’t matter. What matters is our correspondence to the revealed Truth of our Faith.

    That’s not to say that conscience doesn’t apply, but the SSPX would argue that the traditional understanding of obligation towards a conscience (only a formed conscience is to be obliged) would stand. Too often today, we use conscience to mean feeling, which is not at all what the scholastics meant.

    Regarding the rest of this thread, where is the charity?

  47. rcg says:

    This still makes me cry.

  48. Tim Ferguson says:

    Charity requires speaking the truth. I see a good deal of charity on this thread.

  49. jhayes says:

    They’re claiming that it violates revealed Truth so they can’t follow.

    But only the Pope can decide whether it does. No?

  50. Sarto says:

    “Oh, irony! ”

    “Schism begets schism.”

    “Hello, Pot? This is Kettle calling. You’re black too!”

    “Econa locuta est, causa finita est? Weird stuff indeed!”

    “So many years advocating and promoting disobedience… and finally, they realize disobedience is bad! How ironic!”

    “Oh what bitter irony and hypocrisy”

    These, Mr. Ferguson, strike one as less than charitable. And if we’re discussing that truth = charity, which of course it does, then does that not make the SSPX charitable when they point out that Assisi I, II, and III are harmful to souls, that it is not, in fact a good thing for a Pontiff to visit synagogues without preaching Christ Jesus, that a pope kissing the Koran does not fulfill the mission to Confirm his brethren in the Faith, that having vespers with pretend “bishops” from the Anglican community confuses the faithful and in fact confirms heretics and schismatics in their positions?

    I think, in these cases, especially given the tone used by the SSPX, it does. The comments in this thread lack the clarity and focus that charity requires. And yet, it is many of these same commentators who decry the SSPX for pointing out these signs of the times.

    Diabolical disorientation indeed.

  51. Sarto says:

    jhayes said, “But only the Pope can decide whether it does. No?”

    Well, no not entirely. It is the Pope who is the guarantor of the Faith and the revealed deposit of Truth, yes. And it is the Pope’s job to uphold and confirm that Faith, but what if he doesn’t? DH either reconciles with Quanta Cura or it doesn’t. Heck, it seems clear that Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI both taught/legislated as if the Traditional Mass were abrogated, and yet Pope Benedict XVI tells us it never was. Were they right before and he right now?

    Apart from the exercise of the solemn magisterium defined by Vatican I, it is possible for Popes to err (a la Peter and Jewish Dietary Law, or Pope John XXII and the Beatific Vision)

  52. Cavaliere says:

    @Sarto, I’m not missing the point of their argument and I never suggested what you said I did regarding their reasons for opposing DH. They don’t like DH because they claim that the clause regarding freedom of conscience in their opinion contradicts previous teaching. The Popes have said that it does not contradict and that it can be interpreted in light of tradition. DH also says as much in the paragraph preceding the one in contention.

    As you said Similarly, DH is either in continuity with the perennial teaching of the Church (a la Quanta Cura) or it is not.And who is the authority to make that decision? You, me, the SSPX, the Popes?

  53. Quote: “actually Tim, SSPX does not have canonical/jurdical status in the Church. It is not even an association of the faithful. Their situation needs to be regularised.”

    It HAS been regularized ever since the foundation of the FSSP in 1988. That group was composed of the part of the SSPX who remained faithful to Roman discipline after the consecration of bishops without a pontifical mandate. The canonists here can tell you what the penalty for that crime is.

    His Holiness should direct that all future inquiries from the SSPX members about regularizing their condition should be directed to the superior of the FSSP. Then decisions can be made as to which of them are able to “sentire cum ecclesia” to become members of the FSSP.

    The “corporate unity” game with the SSPX has about as much chance of success as the unity game with the Anglicans. I say that in sadness, without anger or judgment.

  54. JesusFreak84 says:

    I’m just as happy to see +Williamson out. I don’t understand why he was made a Bishop in the first place. (FWIW, I was 4 when the consecrations happened and didn’t know anything about pre-VII anything until almost the end of college.)

    +Williamson can lead the SSPX-SO and be as irrelevant as the SSPV, as far as I’m concerned. While the other 2 Bishops aren’t keen on Rome, either, they at least will obey their Superior General, I believe, and +Fellay does seem to truly desire in his heart to be united to his Pontiff, but unwilling to just reunite on his own and leave behind everyone else, which is, IMHO, understandable.

    Anyway, praying this is ultimately a positive step for more souls than not. ^_^

  55. j says:

    Am I correct in commenting on what a monumental step this is? My understanding is that the SSPX has kept Williamson “in the fold” partly due to the fact that they only have a certain number of Bishops, and that a death or expulsion would seal their ultimate fate vis-a-vis any alleged Apostolic Succession. I cannot believe that Fellay does not understand that they cannot do this unless the Society has somewhere to “go”. They cannot reconcile or survive as independent without Williamson, without Williamson they can only reconcile. So they must be reconciling, no?

  56. JARay says:

    I too have heard +Williamson preach. I was very impressed and he said nothing at that time about which, I could disagree. It seems to me that what is most distressing are his public comments regarding the Holocaust. Any fair-minded person would have to disagree with him regarding the historical accuracy of the Holocaust and his rejection of it. He does have a definite way with him in rubbing up people the wrong way and saying the wrong thing. He certainly is most combative in his ways and has drawn down scorn upon the SSPX as a whole, which is hardly to his credit.
    Maybe his dismissal from the Society was a painful neccessity. It may be a blessing in disguise.

  57. JesusFreak84 says:

    He’s also a 9/11 “truther” =-\

  58. Charles E Flynn says:

    Traditionalist Group Ousts a Bishop, by Reuters.

    I worked for many years with a Holocaust survivor. I saw the identification papers issued to him by the predecessor of the CIA right after he was liberated from his concentration camp, which he referred to as the “Buchenwald Preparatory Academy”. His favorite movie was “Patton”, because it always had “the right ending”. If you had the privilege of eating a meal with him in a restaurant, he would tell you what it was like to go to bed at night in a camp surrounded by tanks with swastikas on them, their guns pointing inward, and to wake up one morning surrounded by tanks with stars on them, their guns pointing outward.

    My colleague was a Jew who would enter a Catholic Church and light a votive candle to the Virgin Mary, because, “You cannot go wrong with a good Jewish mother”.

  59. jflare says:

    It would be most interesting to me to know how much of the Society’s dissent from Rome’s authority and whatnot have come from whom.

    I mean that in this sense: We’ve noticed on this blog that, in his comments, Bishop Fellay typically sounds as though he still expects Rome to “come to Jesus” in it’s intentions. Considering that he’s the Superior General of the Order, excuse me, Society, though, his statements will have a certain political element to them. He must satisfy both the hard-line factions within his flock AND the more moderate views. At the same time, Bishop Williamson has been noticeably unwilling to change his tune at all.
    I can’t help but wonder if Bishop Fellay has taken time in reconciling with Rome in no small part to keep Bishop Williamson and his faction..in the fold.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Bishop Fellay and the rest of SSPX start working more vigorously to reconcile with Benedict. Seems a plausible thing to me, anyway.

    I must say though, it’s a rather sad thing to have to expel Williamson. He DOES have a soul to save too, after all. Sad thing that.
    I will say this though: At least Fellay appears to have the will to make such a thing happen. I could wish that some of our regularized bishops would be so inclined.

    “It (SSPX) HAS been regularized ever since the foundation of the FSSP in 1988.”

    Fr Augustine, this statement strikes me as being..problematic. Essentially, you would seem to declare that SSPX would simply be incorporated into FSSP. I think it comparatively unlikely that such an approach would necessarily work at present. Though it’s true enough that FSSP essentially reunited with Rome after separating from SSPX, it’s ALSO true that the two groups have been distinctly not the same group for close to a quarter century now. Even if they think in similar ways, I have to think they don’t agree with each other even with regard to who would be in charge. ..And let’s face it, I don’t see Bishop Fellay surrendering his authority as Superior General without complaint.

    I guess it could be made to happen if SSPX continues efforts to reconcile with Rome and FSSP would be willing. I don’t know though. It might be a match made in Purgatory, at best.

  60. VexillaRegis says:

    @Charles E Flynn: “My colleague was a Jew who would enter a Catholic Church and light a votive candle to the Virgin Mary, because, “You cannot go wrong with a good Jewish mother”.

    How beautiful and deeply touching! I can’t help thinking of the good thief who also understood:
    Et dicebat ad Jesum: Domine, memento mei cum veneris in regnum tuum. Et dixit illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi: hodie mecum eris in paradiso.

  61. VexillaRegis says:

    and I wonder if Bp. Williamson has thought about what The Best Jewish Mother would say about him denying the full extent of the murder of Her own people during the Hitler era.

  62. David Collins says:

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

    “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”

    “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools!

    “Oh faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you?”

    “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.”

    Do these, Sarto, also strike you as less than charitable?

  63. Rachel K says:

    Unbelievably ironic quote from Archbishop Lefebvre!!
    I totally agree with Fr K on this one- it is almost funny, if it weren’t so tragic, that the SSPX are repeating history on a smaller scale (except that there is no real authority here).
    And Bishop Williamson? I have no time for him. Personally I see signs of psychopathy in the man- he is clearly a head case, probably a megalomaniac in his own little world, there are signs of pathological narcissism there too.
    I am especially intolerant of his holocaust stance, my father-in-law having spent part of the war in Belsen where his parents starved to death. We shouldn’t forget that in Germany (and other places in Europe?) his comments were a serious criminal offence. And quite rightly too.

  64. robtbrown says:

    Sarto says:
    I’m afraid you’re missing the point of their argument. They are not claiming that they don’t like DH because it’s against their conscience, and that’s why they’re objecting. They’re claiming that it violates revealed Truth so they can’t follow. It’s akin to you saying, “I don’t accept there is a tree there.” Well, there is a tree or there is not a tree, but it has nothing to do with your personal opinion. Reason requires us to assent to external reality, to bend our mind to the tree’s existence, so to speak. Similarly, DH is either in continuity with the perennial teaching of the Church (a la Quanta Cura) or it is not. Your opinion, my opinion, any of our desires, etc. simply don’t matter. What matters is our correspondence to the revealed Truth of our Faith.

    You’ve unwittingly shown the flaw in the SSPX interpretation.

    It’s not a matter that the perennial teaching says A, but DH says that A is not true. Rather, it’s that DH can be interpreted in two different ways: That A is still true, but that A is no longer true. That DH admits of two different, even opposing, interpretations (which Rome has acknowledged) means that it is a flawed document. It doesn’t, however, mean that DH contradicts perennial teaching.

  65. StWinefride says:

    @Rachel K says: “Personally I see signs of psychopathy in the man- he is clearly a head case, probably a megalomaniac in his own little world, there are signs of pathological narcissism there too”.

    Perhaps, and paradoxically that gives me hope that God will be merciful to him come his personal judgment should he die unreconciled to the Catholic Church. But even then no one will probably ever know whether he showed signs of repentance in his last few seconds on earth. Only God knows the secrets of the heart.

    The Church is going through her “Passion”. These are crazy times and along with that go crazy actions. I have no doubt that Bishop Williamson loves the Catholic Faith – he converted from Anglicanism in 1971. He is obviously upset about what has happened in regard to the dilution and protestantisation of the Catholic Faith. I am very grateful to the SSPX for teaching me the truths of the Catholic Faith via videos I came across on Youtube many years ago. I grew up in Belgium (think Rhine flows into the Tiber) and I spent weeks watching them, amazed about what I was hearing – this was my Faith and I was finally being taught it. I don’t attend their Chapels because of the regularisation issue but will always be indebted to them – my children have been properly catechised and will themselves be able to pass on the truths of the Catholic Faith in whatever vocation God calls them to.

    I pray for the SSPX and try and remember that Satan may win some battles, but he lost the war a long time ago. And that is the reason for our Hope.

    St Michael the Archangel, pray for us!

  66. robtbrown says:

    Father K,

    I am a theologian not a canon lawyer, but what a friend, a canon lawyer who worked in the Cong of the Clergy, told me contradicts your opinion on Ecclesia Supplet. Acc to him:

    Per C 144 it is possible that Ecclesia Supplet applies to the SSPX, but the SSPX in wrong in insisting with certitude that it applies.

  67. JesusFreak84 says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not for the SSPX to even determine if Ecclesia Supplet applies, no?

  68. robtbrown says:

    One other comment: Although jurisdiction is here used within the context of law, it and all canon law must be interpreted according to Salus animarum, which is a theological concept. (In fact, all canon law is a manifestation of theology, and any holes in the present code exist because of flawed theology that came out of Vat II)

    Salus animarum, IMHO, demands a generous (i.e., wide rather than narrow) application of c.144. Further, any narrow application raises questions about the validity of Absolution gives by Orthodox priests (even though not exactly the same situation).

  69. JesusFreak84 says:

    I would think for Baptism, at least…..I mean good gravy, if the Church will accept a Baptism by some lesbian Presbyterian “priestess,” rejecting one done by the SSPX is just ridiculous.

  70. robtbrown says:

    JesusFreak84 says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not for the SSPX to even determine whether Ecclesia Supplet applies, no?

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mershon/080711

    Note what is said about c. 144.

  71. JARay says:

    I just tried to log in again using a different browser instead of the one I used last time and it seemed to cause problems so I have reverted to my old browser and this one is accepted.
    The whole matter of “ecclesia supplet” has been used by the SSPX for years. I have refused to go to confession to an SSPX priest because I do not accept this arguement. There is indeed a requirement that any priest hearing confession must be in good standing with the Local Ordinary and have his permission to hear confessions. No SSPX priest that I know of has this permission and therefore I judge that he has no permission to hear confession anywhere, except in the case of proximity of death, when any priest, in good standing or not, is indeed empowered to grant absolution “ecclesia supplet”. The point about Orthodox priests is an interesting one. Surely the same prohibition applies to them also! None of them has permission from the local Ordinary to administer Reconciliation. Yet they do, just as the SSPX do also. I leave this in the hands of God and somehow feel that the Divine Mercy may well apply in such circumstances.

  72. robtbrown says:

    JesusFreak84 says:

    I would think for Baptism, at least…..I mean good gravy, if the Church will accept a Baptism by some lesbian Presbyterian “priestess,” rejecting one done by the SSPX is just ridiculous.

    Baptism is no problem. The question concerns whether SSPX absolutions are valid.

  73. robtbrown says:

    JARay says:
    There is indeed a requirement that any priest hearing confession must be in good standing with the Local Ordinary and have his permission to hear confessions. No SSPX priest that I know of has this permission and therefore I judge that he has no permission to hear confession anywhere, except in the case of proximity of death, when any priest, in good standing or not, is indeed empowered to grant absolution “ecclesia supplet”.

    1. Any priest, even laicized, can validly grant absolution when someone is in danger of death, but it is not a matter of Ecclesia supplet. It is explicily granted by the Pope himself in canon law (c 976)

    2. The question is not whether the SSPX has faculties given by proper delegation. I don’t know anyone who thinks that they do. Rather, it is whether Ecclesia supplet applies to their situation. I think it is POSSIBLE that it does.

    The question is

  74. The Masked Chicken says:

    Good grief! What must some poor Protestant or atheist think reading these comments…kicking someone out of the Church for disagreeing with the Designated Hitter Rule (DH)? Utterly uncivilized :)

    The Chicken

  75. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    Good grief! What must some poor Protestant or atheist think reading these comments…kicking someone out of the Church for disagreeing with the Designated Hitter Rule (DH)? Utterly uncivilized :)

    The rule permitting the Designated Hitter is diabolic.

  76. Sarto says:

    Dear Fr. Thompson,

    All due respect, but it seems pretty clear that the Holy See does not agree with your understanding fo the matter vis a vis the Fraternity of St. Peter.

  77. Phil_NL says:

    I’d say Fr. Thompson is spot on, save one issue: the FSSP would hardly become a more pleasant place if large numbers of the SSPX would turn to it. In such a process, one can make an informed, balanced judgement only if numbers are low. If there are a lot of people involved, it inevitably becomes a checklist, and – sadly – many in the SSPX have been separated from Rome for so long that there is lots of entrenched bitterness, and they would fall through the cracks.

    BXVI wouldn’t be doing the FSSP any favors if that approach were chosen – which may very well be a reason why he doesn’t.

    As for the original topic: about bloody time – Williamson is a lunatic.

  78. Fr. A.M. says:

    Fr. Augustine, O.P. ‘His Holiness should direct that all future inquiries from the SSPX members about regularizing their condition should be directed to the superior of the FSSP’

    Yes, indeed Father, ‘regularizing’ their condition. Though I suspect that the Holy Father has something else in mind than affiliating SSPX with FSSP, as we have seen with the recent dialogue.

  79. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Rachel K,

    We shouldn’t forget that in Germany his comments were a serious criminal offence.

    It is considered a very heinous thing which closes you out for all your life from decent society; probably for the same reason that Catholics feel so much more upset with heresy or quasi-heresy than with mere sin.

    Also, any criminal offence justly established is, in a sense, serious.

    But that said, what you say is not true. By any definition of “serious criminal offence” (e. g. “= felony”, but also in wider definitions), Holocaust denial is not among them. It is punished with precisely the same frame of possible punishments as unqualified theft.

  80. Alan Aversa says:

    @JA Ray: Actually, Bp. Carraro of Verona, Italy, granted the SSPX priest in his diocese faculties (source), and SSPX priests do individually request their ordinaries to explicitly grant them faculties so they don’t have to rely on Ecclesia supplet.

  81. Alan Aversa says:

    We must remember: Bp. Williamson is still an un-excommunicated, validly ordained, non-heretical Catholic bishop.

    Also, for all those who think the SSPX has a schismatic mentality and has not been trying very hard to regularize its situation in the Church, Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican is an excellent free-source.

  82. robtbrown says:

    My guess is that Rome wanted the SSPX to hang on to Williamson as long as possible, but that now his intransigence is a major impediment to union.

  83. joan ellen says:

    Am I hearing that there are 2 other ways for the SSPX to regularize itself, besides talks with Rome and the Holy Father?

    1. Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. says: 24 October 2012 at 7:01 pm “It (SSPX) HAS been regularized ever since the foundation of the FSSP in 1988.”

    I’m taking that to mean that the SSPX could regularize itself by joining the FSSP, and if that is the meaning, it provides an interesting frame of reference and a simple way for individual priests and individual SSPXers to regularize themselves with Rome, if not the whole kit and kaboodle of the SSPX. The latter as suggested above may not be wise in view of all of the work already done .

    2. Alan Aversa says: 26 October 2012 at 1:36 pm @JA Ray: Actually, Bp. Carraro of Verona, Italy, granted the SSPX priest in his diocese faculties (source), and SSPX priests do individually request their ordinaries to explicitly grant them faculties so they don’t have to rely on Ecclesia supplet.

    I’m taking that to mean that an individual SSPX priest can regularize himself by asking the Bishop of the Diocese where his SSPX Chapel resides for faculties to hear confessions, and etc., and if granted, that seems to be a simple remedy to regularization for himself and his parishioners.

    3. BUT…how would the seminaries, convents and schools be regularized?

    4. How, would the 3 Bishops be regularized? Would they have to agree to regularize as priests and forgo their status as Bishops? Perhaps, in the hope that, God willing, the Holy Fr. would appoint them as Bishops at sometime in the future?

    God…please bring the SSPXers back into regularization with Rome according to your good, holy, perfect, and pleasing will.