Papal spokesman on SSPX, last minute gesture from Pope Benedict

There has been some chatter about the possibility that before 28 February Pope Benedict would do something for the SSPX. An 11th hour sign of benevolence, perhaps.

I doubted that.

Today the papal spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, mentioned this in his briefing, saying:

“given the extraordinary circumstances the provisions for the reconciliation of the Priestly Society of St Pius X have been entrusted to the next Pontificate”.

One more time, …

I have written time and again that the SSPX was going to wake up one day and experience the business end of the stick.

The membership of the SSPX should converge on Rome this week.  They should, all together, crawl on hands and knees across St. Peter’s Square and beg the Pope to admit them to his presence.  They should implore the Pope to let them kiss his shoe, accept their promises of obedience, and the regularize them before he resigns.   Regularize them one by one or as a group.

Never mind a gesture from the Pope.  Make the gesture to him.

As I have been saying since 22 October 2009… Benedict XVI is still the Pope of Christian Unity.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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227 Responses to Papal spokesman on SSPX, last minute gesture from Pope Benedict

  1. Thank you Father for the reiteration. I agree totally and completely.

  2. robtbrown says:

    With the recent news of German bishops permitting the use of the morning after (abortifacient) pill in Catholic hospitals, I wonder why it is so important to the Vatican that the SSPX “accepts Vat II”.

  3. iPadre says:

    Amen!

    Wake up brothers. These are difficult times and we all need one another more than ever. Turn to Peter and enter the Barque before it’s no longer possible.

  4. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I’ve been watching you IMPLORE the SSPX for years to get serious and reconcile while they could under B16. You may truly say that, to the extent it was in your power, you did all you could to encourage that reconciliation. Now, it’s over, and the focus shifts from reconciling a group to rescuing individuals. That door, again as you have observed many times, is always open.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Dr Peters, I do not think it is over. The bishops and priests most likely do not agree. Felay needs to get as many behind him as he can. Pray for all involved.

  6. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Now, it’s over, and the focus shifts from reconciling a group to rescuing individuals.

    Why would an individual SSPX priest want to reconcile now rather than some years ago?

  7. Let the SSPX reconcile now, while it still can. It may not get another chance. And if the Society re-enters the Church tomorrow smaller than what it is today, so be it. If it becomes regular, others will step in to take the places of those who stay behind.

  8. robtbrown says: Why would an individual SSPX priest want to reconcile now rather than some years ago?

    Among other reasons, because he is now a lot closer to death than he was some years ago.

  9. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    rotbrown. dunno, i’m just saying, he could. why wait for the group? individuals die and go before God everyday. As individuals.

    supertradmom, depends on what “it” you have in mind. The pope has expressly closed to door on an institutional reconciliation. Could he re-open “it”? sure. I don’t think he will. I could be wrong. oto, if the “it” is individual reconciliation, sure, that “it” is always possible.

  10. robtbrown,

    Sounds like they have the same sound policy as the US. If a woman has been raped and according to tests it is likely that conception has not already occurred, a pill to prevent conception maybe administered. This is completely moral as the pill is acting against the unjust aggressor, not against a defenseless baby. This reasoning has nothing to do with Vatican II. It’s the same sound, traditional moral theology that the Church has taught for years.

    Regarding the SSPX: cue the conspiracy stories of how Pope Benedict was forced into this or that or threatened with schism, blah, blah, blah. Never have so many words been spilt over a little group of 500 priests who find Vatican II documents soooo haaaard to read. If they come home, I think it will be one at a time, which is probably for the best.

  11. Rotbrown – I think you are misrepresenting the position of the German bishops (or was it one bishop). The point was allowing a drug which did not cause abortion, nor prevent implantation but did prevent fertilization in the case of rape. That’s morally licit.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown, on Rorate this week, a spokesman for the priests said they most likely would not come in individually. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-priests-of-fraternity-of-st-pius-x.html

  13. They should…but, considering their public hardness of hearts and continual fine parsing of any statement that comes forth from the See to reconcile them, I’m thinking that ship left the dock, corporately, a long time ago.

    Individuals, yes, will figure it out. But the society, as a whole? I’d be surprised. Grateful, yes, but surprised nonetheless.

  14. Ralph says:

    “robtbrown says: Why would an individual SSPX priest want to reconcile now rather than some years ago?

    Among other reasons, because he is now a lot closer to death than he was some years ago.”

    That is the best answer I have ever seen to that often asked question.

    Well done.

  15. Jack Orlando says:

    Thank you, Father Z. You are right.

    The news service Zenith reports Fr. Lombardi’s statement as follows:

    Regarding the issue of the Society of St. Pius X, he reaffirmed that the date of 22 February to decide the issue is pure hypothesis and that Benedict XVI has decided to entrust the matter to the next Pope; therefore, a definition of relations with that society should not be expected by the end of this pontificate. [emphasis added]

    Earlier this week, circulating around the blogosphere, were reports about Archbishop Müller having said that, with no official response from the SSPX about accepting the Church’s terms by Feb 22nd, then the Church would begin the regularization of individual priests of the SSPX. This is something a bit different than to entrust the matter [of the regularization of the Society itself] to the next Pope. Does the announcement today from Fr. Lombardi render null and void this earlier alleged statement? It seems so.

    I said back on Dec 28th, after Felley’s frankly bizarre address in Canada, that there will be no regularization of the Society; that a declaration from the CDF of schism will come in a few months; that it’s time to say adieu, arrivederci, adios, lebwohl, cheerio, sayonara, and so long to the Society; and that it’s time to focus on other matters. I see no reason now to change my views. The new Pope likely will not make the Society a priority; Benedict XVI was the Society’s last chance.

  16. Given Fr. Lombardi’s record of accuracy in the past, my first reaction to this announcement was to wonder idly whether to take it as confirmation that a final agreement had indeed been reached, and would be announced on February 22.

  17. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    HE, you are so bad. Tsk, tsk.

  18. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear Fr Z. With all due respect – and continued appreciation of your blog otherwise – your suggestion (“crawling on hands and knees…”) on this point betrays an ignorance of SSPX priests. We don’t come away convinced of anything after reading that – it’s simply unhelpful.

    We had a priests’ meeting recently and during informal discussion your blog came up – something generally found to be interesting and useful. But we also talked about what we called the “Fr Z complex” which goes something like this: “I survived the horrible modernist seminary, so there is not a state of necessity and the SSPX just can’t be right.” But then we SSPX priests just look at each other and shrug because such anecdotes of horror reflect the reasons (generally) why we are where we are…

    I think it’s great you made it. But not all of us would have. Nor might we be strong enough to do what you do, relatively alone.

    The idea of “rescuing individuals” makes sense from the abstract canonical standpoint. But the problem never really was an abstract canonical one. Most (all?) SSPX realize that a priest alone trying to do what you do is an exception, not the rule. You are the exception that proves the rule. Hence it would really surprise me to see SSPX priests suddenly giving up the security of the Fraternity that protects us, gives us community life and a structured and protected field of apostolate. And one day, since the Holy Ghost is ultimately in charge, what we are doing will once again be considered acceptable. We live by that Faith and in that hope.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    I still do not understand the SSPX’s problem with reconciling to Rome. It is simple binary logic: if parts of Vatican II were in discontinuity with Tradition (not really possible, but grant it, ex hypothesi), then they would not be required to obey them and they should just wait for a few centuries until the dust settles and the matter is re-examined; if there is no discontinuity, but, rather, a misunderstanding, then they should just wait for clarification, but assume that a solution exists. Either way, I can’t see a reason to stay separated from Rome. Their logic makes no sense at all, unless, they really believe that God abandoned the Church at Vatican II, which is impossible. I mean, God has never abandoned a Council, before, has he? Why now?

    The Chicken

  20. Supertradmum says:

    Masked Chicken, I am surprised at you here, as usually you get things. Let me help. The Society is concerned that if they join without certain reassurances, that not only will their Society be in danger of being suppressed by future Popes or bishops (notice the suppression of the Jesuits for political reasons in the past) but also that the things which they want addressed will never be discussed within the Church. These are only two concerns, which are real and pressing. Also, they still have not heard whether their bishops would be accepted, as either part of the Personal Prelature, or in an Ordinariate style situation, to my knowledge.

    I do not know what has been accepted or not accepted. I am under the impression that the language of ecumenism in the documents is a huge issue, which needs to be addressed. This is all I can think of at this time…Rorate had the entire list recently.

  21. Geoffrey says:

    Someone above mentioned that Bishop Fellay is “closer to death”. All of the SSPX Bishops are getting older, and they are technically already down by one bishop (Williamson). I think the new pontificate just might see some new bishops consecrated, and then it will be 1988 all over again…

  22. ljc says:

    Fr. Jackson, you could get the security of fraternity, community life and a structured and protected field of apostolate with the FSSP or any other traditional order. I follow the Pope precisely so that I will have “security” and “protection” from the devil, the world and myself. Security and protection come from obeying the Pope, not disobeying him.

  23. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Masked Chicken, I am surprised at you here, as usually you get things. Let me help. The Society is concerned that if they join without certain reassurances, that not only will their Society be in danger of being suppressed by future Popes or bishops (notice the suppression of the Jesuits for political reasons in the past) but also that the things which they want addressed will never be discussed within the Church.”

    Oh, I get it, it is just that, logically speaking, they can’t really do anything about the first situation (the Jesuits got re-instated, after all) and the second situation is not in their hands, but that of the Holy Spirit who will safeguard the Truth.

    All of this boils down to a lack of trust that God is in charge.

    The Chicken

  24. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says:

    robtbrown says: Why would an individual SSPX priest want to reconcile now rather than some years ago?

    Among other reasons, because he is now a lot closer to death than he was some years ago.

    But some years ago there were members of the SSPX the same age as some are now.

  25. Gratias says:

    Go with Father Z on this one.

  26. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    I still do not understand the SSPX’s problem with reconciling to Rome. It is simple binary logic: if parts of Vatican II were in discontinuity with Tradition (not really possible, but grant it, ex hypothesi)

    It depends on what is meant by Tradition.

    If it refers to doctrine, then there is two kinds of discontinuity: 1) That which contradicts doctrine, which I agree is not possible, or 2) That which does not contradict doctrine but it nevertheless ambiguous–this is possible.

    If Tradition, however, refers to non doctrinal matters, then it must be said that there are more than a few examples of discontinuity in Vat II. Some examples are found in Ch 4 of SC: The imposition of the 4 week Psalm cycle on those following the Rule of Benedict (contradicting the Rule) and the imposition of community office on orders like the Jesuits that have no history of it. I also think Presbyterorum Ordinis offers a view of the priesthood not in continuity with almost every monastic and religious order.

  27. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear ljc,

    The FSSP priests that I have met have been excellent men. But I saw them suffer from isolation, living alone, or – worse – in a presbytery with non-FSSP priests who did not share their ideals (to say the least). Their fields of apostolate were cramped by restrictions from the bishops who seemed to barely tolerate their presence (I worked on a marriage case with one of them, or tried to until the poor FSSP priest was completely undercut by the bishop). Besides, I am a teacher, and the FSSP just closed their only school in this country – and the reasons they had to close, I think, back up the general trend of what I am saying.

  28. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Geoffrey, the same unhappy thought has crossed my mind. To see why it seems more than possible, see my “Benedict XVI’s remission of the Lefebvrite excommunications: an analysis and alternative explanation”, Studia Canonica 45 (2011) 165-189; reprinted in Canon Law Society of Great Britain & Ireland Newsletter, 172 (Dec 2012) 1, 8-29. Sorry, it’s not on-line.

  29. robtbrown says:

    Should be:

    I also think Presbyterorum Ordinis offers a view of the priesthood not in continuity with the Tradition of almost every monastic and religious order.

  30. Ralph says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    Not as a criticism but as a question – why is the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter not an option?

    From the outside, viewed by a layman, it seems to have what the SSPX has, but with unity with the Holy Father.

  31. Garth says:

    The Masked Chicken is spot-on. There is a lack of trust here.

    Yes, the Jesuits got suppressed, and unjustly so to boot. What did they do in response? They humbly obeyed their orders and disbanded. They didn’t declare an ‘emergency situation’ and keep operating illicitly. God honored their obedience by pretty much bringing the order back from the dead – but even if He hadn’t seen fit to do so, can anyone doubt that they were right to obey?

    robtbrown, individual monasteries are free (with approval from the Holy See, of course) to create their own Psalters, and many have. But in any case, I don’t see how the Rule of St. Benedict can possibly be regarded as Tradition in the strict sense – it came far too late.

  32. Ralph says:

    Father Jackson.

    I see you responded to my question while I was writing.

    Sorry to ask twice!

  33. JonPatrick says:

    Ralph, from what Fr. Jackson says above, I think the difference is that under the SSPX they have their own bishops but under FSSP or ICKSP they would be at the mercy of the local bishop who may or may not be sympathetic to traditional liturgy and devotions.

    If there was an ordinariate similar to what the Anglicans have that might alleviate much of this concern.

  34. Supertradmum says:

    Ralph, the FSSPs have to say the NO is asked to do so by a bishop, as one of them told me. Also, the FSSPs have no bishops and as such are only where sympathetic bishops allow them to be. There are many, many, many dioceses without FSSPs.

  35. Mary Jane says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    I wanted to comment on something you wrote: “And one day, since the Holy Ghost is ultimately in charge, what we are doing will once again be considered acceptable. We live by that Faith and in that hope.”

    More and more faithful (and priests) these days are discovering the Extraordinary Form of the sacraments and, and the faithful desperately need priests who provide good catechesis. This is not unacceptable. But…is not a matter of acceptability. There is a vital element lacking (I think you know what that element is), and it cannot be obtained by good intentions or desires.

    God bless you, especially during this season of Lent. I continue to pray for the reconciliation of the SSPX.

  36. Supertradmum says:

    Ralph, there are countries without the FSSPs

  37. Mary Jane says:

    Supertradmum, I am a member of a large FSSP parish, and I have never heard of a situation where a FSSP priest was asked to (or required to) celebrate the OF. Celebrating the OF is against the charisma (I think that is the right word) of the FSSP.

  38. Mary Jane says:

    Ralph, who said, “From the outside, viewed by a layman, it seems to have what the SSPX has, but with unity with the Holy Father.”

    It does (except as already pointed out, the FSSP does not have bishops). The FSSP recognizes the authority of diocesan bishops, obeys that authority, and does not compromise (nor is it required to compromise) its charism (that’s the right word :), which is very closely bound with the books of 1962. The FSSP accepted basically the same offer that Archbishop Lefebvre signed but later recanted.

  39. TNCath says:

    Fr. Jackson, now is the time for all good priests of the SSPX to submit their obedience to the Church and this Holy Father. Living in isolation as a member of the FSSP is a lot better than living in isolation from the One True Church and the Holy Father. Think of the Cure of Ars and all the other wonderful priests who lived their vocations under difficult (if not dire) circumstances. With prayers and best wishes.

  40. Mary Jane says: Supertradmum, I am a member of a large FSSP parish, and I have never heard of a situation where a FSSP priest was asked to (or required to) celebrate the OF. Celebrating the OF is against the charisma (I think that is the right word) of the FSSP.

    Yes, Mary Jane, it happened several years ago (before Summorum Pontificum to an FSSP priest in Alaska. He took a lot of flack from the rad-trad crowd because he complied.

  41. LouiseA says:

    All this “now or never” emotional pressure on the SSPX is based on a presumption that no future Pope will be as open-minded or as friendly to the SSPX or the Cause of Tradition as Pope Benedict. I believe this is an incorect premise. Benedct XVI was on the Progressive side during Vat2, and had an important role in both the 1988 and 2012 failed attempts to solve the irregular situation of the SSPX. Presently there are a few more conservative cardinals/papabiles than he, without such a personal attachment to Vat2. We have reason to hope.

  42. Athelstan says:

    That Rorate story is correct: If the CDF approaches individual Society priests, they’ll get only a few. Maybe a few dozen, tops (out of 500). The reality is…if an SSPX priest wanted to make a deal, he’s had options (FSSP, ICK, IBP, et al) to go to for a while now.

  43. Supertradmum says:

    Anita, thank you. I lived in Alaska and knew about that situation you described. Yes, it caused some chagrin. Some of my friends only went to an unauthorized, that is, not by the bishop, priest after that, who I do not think is there any more. I did not go to those Masses.

  44. maryh says:

    @LouiseA
    Presently there are a few more conservative cardinals/papabiles than he, without such a personal attachment to Vat2. We have reason to hope.
    This is what I personally don’t understand. Isn’t a more conservative Pope more likely to disband the SSPX for disobedience?

  45. LouiseA says:

    @Maryh,
    The more conservative (I.e., Traditional) anyone becomes, the more he or she believes the same way the SSPX does. The more Traditional the Pope, the more he will help, not punish, the SSPX in their good efforts to save souls.

  46. Bill Foley says:

    Since we are discussing SSPX–indeed Saint Pius X would urge them to obey the Vicar of Christ–and the possible reconciliation with Christ’s true Church where they will have to accept the Second Vatican Council, here are a few words from our present pope regarding Vatican II.

    Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican II

    Benedict XVI spoke to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Friday, 27 January 2012.

    “And I am particularly grateful to the Congregation which, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, is preparing for the Year of Faith, seeing it as a favorable moment to re-propose to all the gift of faith in the Risen Christ, through the enlightened teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the precious doctrinal synthesis offered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

    “The coherence of the ecumenical endeavor with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and with the entire Tradition, has been one of the areas to which the Congregation has always paid attention, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.”

    “However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism—totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council—demands our vigilance.”

  47. Supertradmum says:

    maryh, I think the terms conservative, liberal and traditional are not helpful in this discussion. The correct terms would be “pro-Tridentine Mass” or “anti-Tridentine Mass”. There are many conservative priests, bishops, and most likely, cardinals who are not fans of the TLM. For example, some people see Cardinal Dolan as conservative, but he is not a fan of the TLM, and in fact, upbraided a young priest last year for having his first Mass as a Tridentine one.

  48. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Benedict was many, many, things in a unique combination that, I think, made him more likely than any reasonably imaginable successor to effect a reconciliation at the institutional level. Now he’s leaving. So.

  49. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi TNCath, “living in isolation from the One True Church” – We don’t accept that this is what we are doing. Nor does Rome, who no longer speaks in this way either. You are using dialectic language left over from the “bad old days”.

  50. Mary Jane says:

    LouiseA said, “The more conservative (I.e., Traditional) anyone becomes, the more he or she believes the same way the SSPX does.”

    This is not correct. I am very Traditional, I attend the EF exclusively (grew up with it), and I used to think the way the SSPX does but I have learned that this way of thinking is incorrect.

  51. Pingback: Papal Abdication – how things stand « Dominus mihi adjutor

  52. LouiseA says:

    @Maryh, No offense, but just your use of the term “EF” indicates, at least to me, that you are not as conservative as you think you are. :)

  53. Ralph says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    ““living in isolation from the One True Church” – We don’t accept that this is what we are doing. Nor does Rome, who no longer speaks in this way either. You are using dialectic language left over from the “bad old days””

    How do you view your position / state within the Church?

  54. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi Ralph. We believe that we are Catholics in a canonically irregular situation – not “outside” the Church.

  55. Mary Jane says:

    LouiseA, no offense taken. Usually I stick to EF here on Fr Z’s blog, but I also say TLM, Mass of All Time, etc. :)

  56. Ralph says:

    Fr,

    What does canonically irregular mean to you (and I am not asking you to speak for all if the SSPX – just your opinion)?

    I looked up irregular in the online dictionary and it said, ” not being or acting in accord with laws, rules, or established custom.”

    Is that how you see yourself? Outside established laws or rules of the Church, yet still a member?

    BTW – I am not asking to be argumentative. I would like to try and understand how a member of the SSPX views things. I am not critical, just interested.

  57. Denis says:

    Either regularizing the SSPX is the right thing to do or it isn’t. If it is the right thing to do, why will it suddenly become impossible under the next Pope? Are we now assuming that the next Pope is going to be an unjust man? If, on the other hand, regularizing the SSPX is not the right thing to do, Pope Benedict XVI was in the wrong and it’s a good thing that it didn’t happen. I think that the “regularization” of the SSPX is just, and that it will happen in due time. It seems that the SSPX have more faith in the Papacy than many of the people predicting that the next Pope will go full metal Jack Chick on them.

  58. maryh says:

    @LouiseA
    @Maryh, No offense, but just your use of the term “EF” indicates, at least to me, that you are not as conservative as you think you are. :)

    None taken. Especially since I’m pretty sure you meant the other Mary, Mary Jane.

    I’ve never been to an EF or TLM in my life (unless one of those is what we had before Vatican II – I’m not sure of my terminology).

    Personally, I would like to see every parish have at least one Latin Mass every Sunday (as well as enough priests and parishioners to make that easily workable), along with a NO-type Mass with sacred music, some Latin, tabernacle in the sanctuary front and center, ad orientem, no altar girls, no EMHC’s, and communion on the tongue kneeling or at least a real option for it. Not all of us can dip down all the way to the ground and get back up again without causing a major slowdown in the line, not to mention that the floor in our Church is not only NOT carpeted but isn’t even smooth – it has a pebbly texture.

    I actually think there can be such a thing as too much Latin for some people. After all, part of the reason for Vatican II was that people were ignoring the Mass for their private devotions, and I think that having everything in a foreign language contributed to that for some / a lot of people.

  59. robtbrown says:

    Christopher Mc Camley says:

    Rotbrown – I think you are misrepresenting the position of the German bishops (or was it one bishop). The point was allowing a drug which did not cause abortion, nor prevent implantation but did prevent fertilization in the case of rape. That’s morally licit.

    The drug in question is levonorgestre, marketed by Bayer as Levonelle. There seems to be some question whether it is merely contraceptive but not an abortifacient. There are certain claims now that it does not function as the latter.

    From the site itself:

    Levonelle® One Step is thought to work in different ways depending on where you are in your cycle. For example:

    It may stop an egg being released from the ovary (i.e. prevents ovulation)
    It may prevent sperm from fertilising any egg that may already have been released
    It may stop a fertilised egg from attaching itself to the lining of the womb

    http://www.levonelle.co.uk/about-levonelle/how-does-it-work.htm

    Obviously, the third possibility is the problem. At one time Catholic Hospitals in Connecticut first gave a pregnancy test. It had to be negative for levonelle to be given.

  60. FranzJosf says:

    I do wish that the Holy Father would simply tell them, “We’ll give you a canonical structure in such a way that you can preach what the Church has always preached.”

    Thank you, Fr. Jackson, for weighing in. Although I do not frequent their Chapels, mainly because I don’t live near one, I have great respect and sympathy for the SSPX, and I try to emulate them, as a layman, by passing on what I have received.

    I was studying in Rome in the Jubilee Year, when they processed into all four Patriarchal Basilicas singing the Credo. Bishop Fellay gave a press conference, unbeknownst to him at the time, right across from Cardinal Kaspar’s residence or office; I forget which. It was reported at the time that officials in the Curia were saying things like, “These people are Catholic; we must do something for them.” and “Bishop Fellay says absolutely nothing heretical.” et al.

    I’m no canonist or scripture scholar, nor do I wish to argue with anyone here or try to prove I’m right, but I’m sympathetic to their state of necessity claims. As I understand it, they want to be able to preach from their pulpits or in press conferences or wherever that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. What’s wrong with that? But there are far too many in powerful positions within the Church who don’t want them to do that.

    It’s merely my opinion, but I think that is one of the reasons that the Holy Father is so troubled with their lack of canonical standing. They want to save souls with the age-old truths, and he knows it. He’ll be out of power soon. I just wish he’d say to hell with the wolves and do it.

  61. Supertradmum says:

    Father Jackson, I apologize if you feel a bit misunderstood or treated without respect here by some. The Pope has made is clear that the SSPX would be warmly welcomed in as a Personal Prelature. I would hope the priests and Bishop Fellay can come to some sort of agreement on the details.

  62. Jack Hughes says:

    I find it hilarious that Louise A has the gumption to judge fellow Catholics and determine their status as ‘conservative’ or otherwise.

    I am an Orthodox Roman Catholic, I go to the Extraordinary Form (which I would like to be the normative) almost exclusively, I assent the teachings of Vatican 2 as properly interpreted by Tradition (funnily enough the guy in white Cassock does as well) and believe that the Ordinary Form is as intrinsically efficacious (when said as SC said it should be) as the EF (funnily enough the guy in the white cassock says so as well).

    Now Who are you going to follow, the Pope or some tired old Bishops who not only defy the Holy Father at every turn but openly spit in his face when he tries to encourage them to come home? Go and chew on that during lent

  63. Traductora says:

    Franz Josef, what exactly is it that the Pope should do? He can’t simply declare them “ok” if they don’t accept the few modest terms he has proposed, unless I’m seriously misunderstanding something.

    I think it’s terrible, because I have met them in Europe (on the Camino) and they would be a real asset. But their leaders appear to be from a “stiff-necked people”…and I don’t see how the Pope could possibly do anything unilaterally unless they want to make some movement, and obviously, they don’t. It’s a pity, because now they’re on their way to schism and oblivion.

  64. maryh says:

    @Denis
    Either regularizing the SSPX is the right thing to do or it isn’t.
    This is a prudential consideration, not a black and white question. And what is prudent depends on the situation at the time.

    IIRC, the only reason the SSPX is just canonically irregular, rather than completely outside the Church, is because Pope Benedict XVI decided to lift the excommunication. Which, IIRC, he did unilaterally, without any movement on the side of the SSPX.

    Up until Pope Benedict XVI, I think maybe you could say that nobody really tried to approach the SSPX to bring them back in. So you could say that Pope Benedict was acting in charity to forgive the disobedience of his brothers who were well-intentioned.

    But it seems to me that it’s going to be a lot harder for another Pope to pull that off. Unless the next Pope is very careful, it’s going to look like disobedience paid off for the SSPX. Why would any Pope, no matter what he thought of the Latin Mass, or whether he was conservative or traditional, want to do that? Why wouldn’t he just expand the obedient orders and disband the disobedient one?

    I appreciate that they might have to face difficult situations with bishops. But while we generally don’t get to choose our own crosses, God always promises to give us the grace we need to carry them if we ask, and to pick them up again when we fall.

  65. TNCath says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    Well, whatever the language, it’s time to regularize your status and submit. Either you accept and believe everything the Church teaches and believes as taught by the Holy Father and the Magisterium or you don’t. If you don’t, then there is no need to care about regularizing your status, is there?

  66. FranzJosf says:

    Traductora,

    They don’t say anything heretical, but they have problems with some prudential and disciplinary problems, and they have problems with implications–I use the word advisedly–of some Council documents that seem to indicate that there are other ways to the Father, contradicting the Gospels.

    What I’ve discovered is this: I can say the same things that the SSPX says to an Archbishop with whom I have more than a passing acquaintance, and he doesn’t throw me out, and on most points he agrees with me. (I don’t quote the SSPX, I just make statements to him about what I believe and why, although we have discussed the SSPX.)

    Here’s the difference: I’m a private individual and the SSPX is highly visible, with the international press trumpeting everything they say, stirring up bad ecumenical PR. I’m so sorry that the powers that be in the Church treasure ecumenical relations higher than I think they ought to be valued, but that is merely my private prudential judgment.

  67. Capt. Morgan says:

    We have Priests in Germany refusing to Follow Rome, in full communion. We have Bishops refusing to implement S. P., in full communion. We have Priests in Oregan ignoring their Bishop’s requests, in full communion. We have a wildly popular Priest in Chicago who can do whatever he wants, in full communion. We Have Catholic Colleges and Universities ignoring the Holy Father’s wishes, still calling themselves Catholic. We have all the heresy and heterodox ideology one could ever imagine, in Parishes and Dioceses all over the US and much of Europe, still in full Communion.
    And yet, we have one group, rooted in the Actual, Unadulterated, unabridged Traditions of the Church, and they, THEY, must submit! Really?
    50 years of poison fruit.

    Gospel of St. Matthew, Ch 7
    “[16] By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.” from http://www.drbo.org/index.htm

    Thank you Fr. Jackson. And thank you SSPX for holding the line. Hold Fast!

  68. Cavaliere says:

    Fr. Jackson,
    You describe yourself as in a “canonically irregular situation” within the Church. Yet every time you say Mass it is illicit. Every time you give absolution it is invalid and the penitent leaves your confessional in the same condition as they entered. (I’m open to the idea of God’s mercy on that soul despite the lack of valid absolution) The argument of supplied jurisidiction is no longer valid, at least in many Dioceses. In St. Paul/Minneapolis there are 4 weekly Masses in the EF and others once or more per month. There has been the Sacrament of Confirmation in the EF the past two years and will continue. Why doesn’t the SSPX close their chapel here and move them where they could be more useful?

    you said, But I saw them suffer from isolation, living alone, or – worse – in a presbytery with non-FSSP priests who did not share their ideals (to say the least).

    Were not the missionaries throughout the ages often alone? How many new orders and congregations founded throughout the centuries had to endure great hardships and persecution from Bishops and other leaders? Look at the lives of St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross as but two examples of reformers rejected by their peers. If the work of the SSPX is of God then it will survive within the formal structure of the Church. And I know first-hand that all is not/has not been harmonious within the priories of the SSPX.

    I was one who personally attended a SSPX chapel for several years and had two children baptized there before realizing that my soul, and those of my family, was in danger by continuing to attend their Masses. You recognize the isolation and suffering of the FSSP priests, well you have the opportunity to join them and work to strenghten them and their mission as well as work for a true restoration of traditional Catholic teaching. But what presumption to think that they and others like them will endure great sacrifice and sufferning to restore tradition just so you and the rest of the SSPX can one day triumphally say, well you are good enough for us to re-join now.

  69. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says:

    Mary Jane says: Supertradmum, I am a member of a large FSSP parish, and I have never heard of a situation where a FSSP priest was asked to (or required to) celebrate the OF. Celebrating the OF is against the charisma (I think that is the right word) of the FSSP.

    Yes, Mary Jane, it happened several years ago (before Summorum Pontificum to an FSSP priest in Alaska. He took a lot of flack from the rad-trad crowd because he complied.

    The problem developed because just after the FSSP began, its priests were in residence in Novus Ordo parishes, where they sometimes were asked to help out with Novus Ordo masses. The problem doesn’t come up anymore in the US because the FSSP has its own parishes.

  70. Cavaliere says:

    @ Captain Morgan

    Here is another parable that answers your question and all those who cite various problems within the Church to excuse the disobedience of the SSPX.

    And he put before them another parable; Here is an image, he said, of the kingdom of heaven. There was a man who sowed his field with clean seed; 25 but while all the world was asleep, an enemy of his came and scattered tares among the wheat, and was gone. 26 So, when the blade had sprung up and come into ear, the tares, too, came to light; 27 and the farmer’s men went to him and said, Sir, was it not clean seed thou didst sow in thy field? How comes it, then, that there are tares in it? 28 He said, An enemy has done it. And his men asked him, Wouldst thou then have us go and gather them up? 29 But he said, No; or perhaps while you are gathering the tares you will root up the wheat with them. 30 Leave them to grow side by side till harvest, and when harvest-time comes I will give the word to the reapers, Gather up the tares first, and tie them in bundles to be burned, and store the wheat in my barn.

  71. robtbrown says:

    TNCath says:
    Fr. Jackson,

    Well, whatever the language, it’s time to regularize your status and submit.

    Don’t you think it’s also time for Rome to restore the Roman Rite?

  72. Robtbrown, sad to say, there are still NIMBY bishops who behave as though the old law giving them discretion on access to the TLM is still in effect. In such dioceses, the TLM is, at best, banished to remote corners where few can attend.

    Fr. Jackson, I understand how you feel. I am devoted to the TLM in a very stuck-in-the-seventies diocese that still bristles with hostility toward it, and therefore I am considered a fringe nutjob. But from where you are, in the canonically irregular fastness of your Society, you are no help to me and people like me. As long as your Society is irregular, the liberals can just tell me to go to you and quit bugging them. I need you here, in the trenches, getting in their faces and refusing to be exiled to an isolated enclave where they don’t have to look at you. You must understand that the liberals LIKE you to be where you are, leaving parish and chancery and laity — me — to their tender mercies. But I need you HERE, fully armed with faculties. I’m only a foot soldier; you are an Apache helicopter. You are not joining, let alone winning the battle as long as you stay within your fortifications. You and your conferes MUST reconcile with Rome.

  73. robtbrown says:

    Fr. Jackson,
    You describe yourself as in a “canonically irregular situation” within the Church. Yet every time you say Mass it is illicit. Every time you give absolution it is invalid and the penitent leaves your confessional in the same condition as they entered. (I’m open to the idea of God’s mercy on that soul despite the lack of valid absolution) The argument of supplied jurisidiction its no longer valid, at least in many Dioceses.
    Having

    I don’t think the argument of Ecclesia supplet is so easily dismissed–I don’t think just because Rome has finally provided for a TLM in certain places, the situation is all that different. What about all the years when people had no choice but the SSPX? The truth is that the liturgical innovations were extraordinary injurious to Catholic parish life.

    Having said that, I think the SSPX argument of ES certainty is presumptuous. IMHO, it is a possibility based on suprema lex est salus animarum.

  74. wmeyer says:

    Don’t you think it’s also time for Rome to restore the Roman Rite?

    I think that as much as I pray for exactly that to occur, it is exceedingly unlikely, and that there is justified concern in Rome that such a change might lead to schism.

  75. inexcels says:

    It’s pretty sad that with all the external threats to the Catholic Church in this age we devote so much energy to these circular firing squads.

  76. moon1234 says:

    An excommunication does not make one non-Catholic. It deprives them of the ability to receive certain sacraments, etc. Just because a Bishop, Priest, etc. may be excommunicated does make them non-Catholic, outside the Church, etc. Excommunication is a canonical penalty, not an expulsion from the Church. Even those who are excommunicated are required to attend Mass on all required days. They can not receive communion, etc.

    The problem that the SSPX has with the “offer” that was extended to them is that they would not be allowed to criticize VII or the stuff that came after. Even “normal” Catholics are allowed to do that. The “offer” that was extended to them was WORSE than what was GIVEN to the Anglicans. The Anglicans were even allowed to retain a Mass form that was designed OUTSIDE of the Church.

    The SSPX are punished because they are pointing a spotlight on a subject that causes great problems today, even with young Catholics. I was not alive when VII happened. I was born in 1977, yet as I grew up I just felt something was wrong with Mass. I found old missals in my grandmothers attic one day and read through them. I wondered to myself for a VERY long time why this Mass was not said anymore. There was no internet at the time.

    Before my wife and I got married there would be times I would cry at Mass because I was so upset over the indignity of what was happening. I had to force myself to go to Mass on Sunday. There was no SSPX in our area at the time that I was aware of. It was the ICRSS that finally brought peace to my life. My wife and I were married by the priest of the ICRSS in 1999. My tears that day were of joy.

    I think what is happening with the SSPX is just terrible. There are many, many people who have issues with the NO, ecumenism, the almost pantheistic nature of many prelates today. We just don’t say anything for fear of being branded or attacked. It is easier to just move to where the Mass is celebrated the right way and not have to endure the whip of modernism.

    I am so very happy that we have Bishop Morlino in our Diocese. He has made so many positive improvements in the Madison Diocese. He is not afraid to stand up to the secular society. I think that many SSPX would find a happy home in his diocese if a solution can be found.

    As to the clarification on the documents from VII, I don’t understand WHY Rome has not responded to the questions posed to them? Why is the demand to obey greater than the demand to know the truth? Do we obey blindly? Even Paul rebuked Peter when he strayed from the path or truth.

  77. moon1234 says: Why is the demand to obey greater than the demand to know the truth? Do we obey blindly? Even Paul rebuked Peter when he strayed from the path or truth.

    Well, no. Paul did not rebuke Peter over a matter of doctrine. Paul rebuked Peter because Peter exercised poor prudential judgment in his behavior by treating the Gentile Christians differently than the Jewish ones.

  78. q7swallows says:

    To Fr. Z, Dr. Ed Peters, & Miss Anita Moore, O.P.:
    U.S. Left Coast DITTOS!

    Please, please, dear SSPX–Ignore the Vatican static and please deal straight with the Holy Father. Get in before the window potentially closes. We need you and your light so desperately . . . You have more friends than you think. We will help you vigorously in these trenches. Much love and appreciation and many prayers . . . .

  79. New Sister says:

    Anita Moore – well said.

    I also want to add, in reply to Fr Jackson’s comment [ostensibly made on behalf of several SSPX priests] that Fr Z isn’t that exceptional [though his blog is]. There are many, many faithful priests [and many quite young to boot] who love the TLM and desire Tradition to be practiced as pre-Vat II. They suffer white martyrdom under bishops who are so old and indoctrinated by modernism they won’t change… we have to wait it out. Your brother priests are suffering martyrdom and you should be here with them [as Ms. Moore put it – in the trenches]… not off on some island reading about it on blogs. We need you here, want you here, and are hurting because you’re not with us. You may think what you’re doing is brave, but it’s not. Those here enduring the martyrdom and feeding Christ’s sheep are brave.
    e.g., I went to a TLM last week, celebrated by a priest who was falling off the steps because liberals put up a new ironing board altar that left almost no room (12 inches, maybe?) for him to continue his ministry to us. This priest has poor eyesight and is unsteady, but that did not deter him! He was on his tippy toes to proclaim the Gospel, with his heel hanging over the step. In that ever meek, faithful priest I saw a war hero – we had our TLM and will continue to, thanks to Papa Benedict and these great priests who are with him.

  80. robtbrown says:

    wmeyer says:
    Don’t you think it’s also time for Rome to restore the Roman Rite?

    I think that as much as I pray for exactly that to occur, it is exceedingly unlikely, and that there is justified concern in Rome that such a change might lead to schism.

    Of course, it must be done gradually–the present implicit schism might produce explicit schism

    My point is that too many want to oversimplify the situation with the SSPX (whom I would hope to see reunited soon): Why don’t they just be obedient? Answer: It takes some time, just as it will also take time to restore the Roman Rite.

    .

  81. robtbrown says:

    moon1234 says:
    The problem that the SSPX has with the “offer” that was extended to them is that they would not be allowed to criticize VII or the stuff that came after.

    My understanding is that they would be able to criticize Vat II.

  82. Cavaliere says:

    @moon1234 The problem that the SSPX has with the “offer” that was extended to them is that they would not be allowed to criticize VII or the stuff that came after.

    Mostly what he have on this whole negotiation is pure speculation primarly based on leaked information from the SSPX camp. What you refer to as them not being allowed to criticize Vatican II is not what the Vatican has said. What the Vatican was asking them to agree to was that they (SSPX) not discuss every theological difference vis a vis VII in the court of public opinion. Assuming the SSPX would regularize, their priests could continue to teach on matters of the Faith just as they would have pre-Vatican II. If it was necessary to refer to a Vatican II document where there was an apparent contradiction to past teaching they could nevertheless give an interpretation of the document consistent with prior teaching. If the Church had a problem with their viewpoint then they would be forced to show how the SSPX teacher was wrong. The SSPX wants the Vatican to issue some sort of “Syllabus” clarifying contentious points before they will agree to return. That will never happen so long as they remain “in an irregular position.” If they come back they (SSPX) can force the hand of the Vatican into showing how these apparent contradictions can be reconciled with Tradition

  83. kallman says:

    The Vatican has announced that B16 has passed the SSPX discussions on to his successor. So, either this is a tactic to flush out SSPX at minutes before midnight (although the Vatican also denies any Feb 22 deadline) or, more likely, B16 has given up on them and closed the file.

  84. Traductora says:

    Thank you, Franz Josef. It seems to me that what BXVI is doing is giving them plenty of leeway, however; they would have to accept VII as valid, but they certainly don’t have to accept the interpretations of the documents as binding. Everybody offers their own opinion, although that has usually run towards the most liberal and destructive of interpretations. But one of the good things about the fact that the documents are so vague and wordy (to the point of being bloviating) is that there are legitimate interpretations which could make them much less unacceptable. Don’t forget, while JPII loved Gaudium et Spes best of all, it was the least favorite of BXVI, who said it was touched by Pelagianism. I think the SSPX could carry on this battle much better from within the Church than without.

  85. eulogos says:

    moon1234-I also remember the days when I left masses in tears.

    I just want to point out re your comments about the Ordinariate that they-at least in the US- are using a liturgy which was approved in Rome for the pastoral provision back in the 1980’s. The introductory and final parts of that liturgy are from the Book of Common Prayer and thus were written by Cranmer, outside the Church as you say. (They are nevertheless deeply imbued with Christian truth, as well as being extraordinarily beautiful, and have been allowed by Rome as containing nothing contrary to Catholic doctrine.) However the canon of the Anglican Use mass is the traditional Roman Canon in an English translation done by a contemporary of Cranmer. (Unless they use the contemporary form, in which case the current OF Roman Canon is used, but I have never heard this done, in Scranton, Boston, or Baltimore where I have attended Anglican Use masses. ) So what you say is not strictly speaking true, or is only partly true, and not the most important part.

    Susan Peterson

  86. eulogos says:

    Fr. Jackson, I myself would really not want to be in a ” canonically irregular situation.” I think there was probably quite a long time period in which the Eastern Orthodox could have been described that way before the separation hardened into schism. That is the clear natural direction of such situations. Please, please, come home, even if it has a personal cost, and bring your brother priests with you. There are many souls here who need your ministrations. We need your leaven. And I really think you need to be fully and safely home in full communion with the successor of St. Peter. Please…
    Susan Peterson

  87. Stumbler but trying says:

    inexcels says:
    “It’s pretty sad that with all the external threats to the Catholic Church in this age we devote so much energy to these circular firing squads.”

    Tomorrow is a very important feast day in the life of the Church, “Feast day of the Chair of St. Peter” as you are all aware. I am no SSPX scholar but after reading most of the commentary here and reading once again the same tired arguments…I agree with inexcels, no matter how many times one argues, one justifies, if you are not with Peter, you are not with the Church, period.
    I love the Church, warts and all, just like Jesus does. I reflect on the Church’s history and all of her failings and all of her glories and still, I will not go anywhere else.

    I am sad that the evil one has succeeded in causing division and distraction among so many while the Church is in need of much prayer and support especially from among the faithful.
    Our Holy Father did his best and from the looks of things was rejected in his extension of the olive branch, the doors were closed on him it would seem.

    I think I will go about trying my best to fulfill my daily duty and keep my eyes on Jesus and while I am at it, pray for all so that once again, the words of our Lord Jesus will resonate and take root in the hearts of all. “May all be one.” Amen

  88. Giocrypt says:

    Capt. Morgan makes an excellent point and one that is hard to overlook. I have been of the hope the Society could be reconciled however after seeing the latest scandal of the Curia with Card. Rivasi a creature of the making of Card. Martini by the way; then the schismatic move of the German Bishops as they smell the pontiffs’ blood in the water add to that the “what are friends for?” Situation with the always suspect head of the CDF Archbishop Muller who was caught with his hands on the cookie jar by trying to help his liberation theology friends at the former pontifical university in Peru. No, there is something that does not smell good on the whole situation with the Society and putting up barriers to their rehabilitation.

  89. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi TNCath. Well, we certainly do believe and accept everything taught by the authentic Magisterium. The issue is that we are being asked to sign things that go beyond that, for example the broad statement that “the new rite of Mass is legitimate” (in addition to being valid, which we have always accepted). Now, I think it is fair to say that many clerics and scholarly men already in communion with Rome have been allowed and are still presently allowed to make criticisms of the new rite that ultimately call into question some aspect of its legitimacy – for example, calling it a “banal, on the spot product”. In other words, this last offer from Rome to regularize the SSPX included a sort of muzzling clause that would make us accept a position less critical of the new rite of Mass than even Cardinal Ratzinger himself when he wrote those lines. Now, you could argue that this offer should still be accepted, but let’s not pretend that we are only being asked to accept what is clearly defined Catholic doctrine. (And you may recall from Bishop Fellay’s conference in December that these muzzling clauses were last-minute sudden changes to the text of the preambule made by certain…”enemies”… in June 2012).

  90. The Astronomer says:

    The Holy Father asked us once upon a time “pray for me that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

    Well, at least as far as the SSPX is concerned, at the end of Benedict the Sixteenth’s pontificate, the score is: WOLVES: 1 , SSPX: 0.

    I too live in a NJ diocese stuck in the 1970s. EF masses few and far between, LCWR wingnuts that plan our ‘liturgies,’ altar girls, mandatory twelve EHMCs at each sparsely-attended ‘Celebration of the Eucharistic Feast,’ washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday, open preaching for us to ‘compassionately embrace the ‘unique gifts and perspectives’ of our homosexual/lesbian brothers and sisters’…etc. My wife, a convert from the Episcopal faith, refers to our 1970s parish church as the “Bon Jovi Hall,” because we seriously expect him to walk up someday and strum out “Livin’ On A Prayer.” Surrounding towns are the same in their parishes.

    And to top in all off, in the Spring and Summer, there is NO dress code for girls and women. Miniskirts and cutoff jeans shorts with tank tops & sandals are very common…no modesty. We’ve reached the point where attending the NO in our parish has become an ‘occasion of sin’ for the men of the parish that still have active consciences. And when the church architecture is of the Theater in the Round variety, it’s impossible to avert your gaze.

    Am I bitter? You betcha. All these wackdoodles and wingnuts are in full communion with Rome, souls be damned…but the SSPX isn’t. Where’s George Orwell??? All of the hand wringing about “but it might bring a schism…” if Peter started ACTING like Peter. Anathemas and excommunications with bell and candle. Yes, it’ll be a smaller church, maybe much smaller. Our Lord never said true discipleship (not the Fishwrap definition) would be easy, only that he would be with us.

    P.S. I’m only 48 years old…

  91. Cavaliere says:

    Fr. Jackson wrote, Well, we certainly do believe and accept everything taught by the authentic Magisterium.

    That is a clever answer. What exactly do you mean by “authentic Magesterium”?My guess is that your idea of the “authentic magesterium” and Pope Benedict’s idea of the “authentic Magesterium” are going to be different. You say that you are being asked to say the Novus Ordo is legitimate (in addition to being valid) and by doing so that you are thereby being “muzzled” and prevented from making any criticisms against the NO. You say you wouldn’t even be allowed to call it banal or describe it as an “on the spot product” even though priests in full communion with Rome are allowed such criticisms. Please forgive me for saying so but that is abusurd. President BO is the legitimate president of the United States however I am not prevented from voicing any criticism of him or his policies. Making a criticism does not equate to questioning its legitimacy. Furthermore the novelties that have occurred in the Novus Ordo were not prescribed by Vatican II.

  92. Rachel K says:

    A VERY important point:

    Patrick Thornton:
    “Sounds like they have the same sound policy as the US. If a woman has been raped and according to tests it is likely that conception has not already occurred, a pill to prevent conception maybe administered. This is completely moral as the pill is acting against the unjust aggressor, not against a defenseless baby. This reasoning has nothing to do with Vatican II. It’s the same sound, traditional moral theology that the Church has taught for years.”

    Christopher McCamley:
    “Rotbrown – I think you are misrepresenting the position of the German bishops (or was it one bishop). The point was allowing a drug which did not cause abortion, nor prevent implantation but did prevent fertilization in the case of rape. That’s morally licit. ”

    There is no drug which can do this without also acting as an abortifacient.

    As a teacher of Natural Fertility Awareness, I was well-taught by a nurse and doctor who were both orthodox Catholics and experts in the field of fertility. They were instrumental in formalising the system of NFP used here in Europe and taught us clearly the method of action of each form of “contraception”, hormonal and mechanical, and the mechanism and function of other medications used in gynaecology which may touch on fertility.
    It is a common misunderstanding that pills can be given to prevent conception by stopping ovulation in the case of rape. There are several problems in this case scenario. The trauma of the attack often stops the woman from ovulating anyway, even if she were about to.
    It is very difficult to ascertain or test which part of her cycle she is in, unless she is an experienced charter of fertility.
    The drugs that would be given are the same hormones as the “Pill”, or the “morning after Pill”, which are in fact the same substance, differing only in dosage.
    These drugs have an abortifacient action and it is not possible to be sure whether they are acting in this way or not in any given situation.
    So, this is neither “morally licit” nor “the same, sound, traditional moral theology that the Church has taught for years”.

  93. Rachel K says:

    PS, Rotbrown, regarding a pregnancy test, it would not necessarily show positive even if conception has taken place as it would be too early for the rise in hormones needed to activate the test.

  94. jhayes says:

    DICI , the SSPX news site has posted this:

    “On Thursday, February 21, 2013, during a press briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, declared about the Society of St. Pius X that: the deadline of February 22 announced by the press (concerning the answer from Bishop Bernard Fellay to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Ed) was a mere hypothesis. Indeed, Benedict XVI has decided to entrust the issue to his successor. Therefore there is no need to wait for a settlement of the situation before the end of this pontificate.
    (Source: VIS – DICI of 02/21/13)”

    In the French version (which I assume is the original) the last sentence is

    ” Il est donc inutile d’attendre un règlement de la situation avant la fin de ce pontificat.”

    Which would be better translated as:

    Therefore, it is pointless to expect a resolution of the situation before the end of this pontificate.

  95. mamajen says:

    Fr. Jackson:

    I suppose it is possible that there is more than one Fr. Jackson in the SSPX. But if you are from where I think you are from, then I wonder why you believe that SSPX is the only option for you. There are several area parishes that have a TLM and at least one FSSP priest who runs a very traditional parish. Yes, there are many problems in the diocese, but I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that priests like you would essentially be “going it alone” without the benefit of the SSPX. It would be harder, yes, but not impossible. If there is more than one Fr. Jackson and I am guessing the wrong one, then I apologize.

    I don’t really like your “Father Z complex” idea either. I have a great deal of respect for Father Z, especially since he is a convert, but I don’t think that what he has done is inimitable (no offense, Father Z.). In fact, it seems to me that one of the main purposes of his blog is to help others be similarly strong and principled despite adversity. There’s nothing more annoying as a blogger than taking the time trying to help people, and they just say “Meh, you’re just special and I could never do that.” Nothing is impossible with God. I mean no disrespect, but your excuses are weak to me. If your organization as a whole will not reconsider, I hope that you personally will.

  96. Matt R says:

    Fr Jackson, I would suggest that the reason these dissident priests have not been under the same penalties as the Society’s priests is because the Society ordained more bishops than allowed by the Pope, and then declared an emergency within the Church to justify it, and those whom we might classify as Modernists didn’t. Two wrongs do not make a right; that is something I learned very early in my childhood.
    On religious liberty, which is something the SSPX has an issue with in regards to the documents of Vatican II- I wonder if the point has been argued by the CDF that it is a more full development of the doctrine, and that the Syllabus of Errors condemned a particular formula for religious liberty, more than it formulated the Church’s position on religious liberty and the role of the Church in governance. I saw an argument to that effect online, and thought it interesting at the very least.

  97. Jason Keener says:

    Father Jackson,

    I’ve traveled for many years in traditionalist circles, and with all due respect, you are simply wrong. Every reader of this blog acknowledges that there is a crisis in the Church, just as other grave situations have beset the Chuch before. A grave crisis in the Church, however, does not give the SSPX or any other group the authority to bash the Bishop of Rome by publically calling him a “Perfect Modernist,” as Bishop Fellay foolishly did to Pope Benedict XVI several years ago. No crisis in the Church gives the SSPX the authority to hear confessions without faculties, to continue ordaining priests, and basically setting up a parallel Magisterium. Also, we have all grown tired of the ridiculous notion that the SSPX adheres to “Eternal Rome,” while Pope Benedict is part of some strange “New Rome.” If Pope Benedict XVI is truly part of some strange “New Rome” that does not deserve true and full obedience, then SSPX priests should be logically consistent and become sedevacantists. So, either the SSPX better get on board with the rest of the sinners on the Barque of Peter or be left behind on the even worse shores of pride, isolation, and schism.

    Father Z did the absolutely correct and saintly thing in sticking things out in his seminary days. He did not have the arrogance of a Lefebvre who instead decided to set up a parallel Church and forget about working patiently and humbly within the structures of the Church for as long as it took. After all, as traditional moral theology teaches us, the end does not justify the means. In any event, the SSPX is delusional if it is waiting for some perfect situation in the Church to arise when they can finally come home. Such a situation will never come because we still live on earth. The Church, even its leaders, are made up of saints and sinners. At any given moment of time, one or more things in the Church will be wrong or not as good as they should be.

    I have also had the opportunity to read page upon page of SSPX and other traditionalist literature. Unfortunately, their writings often reveal theological flaws on issues like ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality, liturgical history, the development of doctrine, Sacred Tradition, among other things. One wonders if members of the SSPX have taken any time to seriously study the better theological writings of the post-conciliar age, such as those by Ratzinger, Cardinal Dulles, Father Brian Harrison, and others. SSPX adherents also often fall into the gravve error of romanticizing the past and thinking that everything in the 1950’s Church was glorious and beyond reform. That is a very historically inaccurate position. My parents and grandparents grew up in the Church of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Though some of their formation was good, they were also led to believe that holiness was something only for priests and nuns. Though ever faithful to their Sunday obligation, my parents and grandparents also felt somewhat disconnected to the Traditional Latin Mass. After all, what liturgical sense does it make for altar servers to make responses on behalf of the baptized faithful when the baptized faithful are sitting right their in the pews fully capabale of making the responses themselves?!?

    In short, NOW is the time for the SSPX to genuflect before Pope Benedict, beg for his mercy, and agree to only humbly voice their concerns about the Church and the Council within the structures of the Church. For where Peter is, THERE is the Church.

  98. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear Cavaliere.

    You very correctly spotted the issue with the Magisterium. I wasn’t trying to be “clever” but simply to word things in a way that takes into account the importance of the issue. Since you bring it up, I think that perhaps I could go find in the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger and Mgr Gherardini (to name just two examples) all the main points of criticism of the SSPX on this topic. This is the same conundrum I was trying to highlight earlier with my example of the “legitimacy” problem, namely, that the SSPX is being asked to sign statements of non-criticism in areas where people already in “full communion” are criticizing.

    Your thoughts about the meaning of “legitimate” interest me. (Any discussion on the meaning of that word interests me: it’s one reason we didn’t sign, and not enough people are asking what the word even means!). My present understanding of that term would lead me to feel dishonest if I were to sign a document that says that I accept the new rite as legitimate and then turn around and say that the new rite is a “banal, on the spot product.” To me, this latter statement implies that it is not fully legitimate liturgy. So, let me turn it back over to you: define legitimate and we can take the conversation from there.

  99. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi mamajen. I am currently teaching in the SSPX school near Syracuse, NY. I am not aware of any FSSP priests in the area, sorry. And there is only one Fr Jackson in the SSPX :)

  100. mamajen says:

    Fr Jackson:

    What a small world! That’s the diocese I’m in, but I live quite a distance from Syracuse. Even if we don’t agree with regard to the SSPX, it is always nice to find other Father Z. readers from the same area :) The FFSP priest I am thinking of is currently in Verona, NY. He taught at the FSSP school in PA for a while, and I have seen FSSP after his name in some places, but maybe he is no longer FSSP? I’m not sure how that works. In any case, he is a very good priest who is devoted to restoring the TLM. I am not familiar with the other priests/parishes that offer the TLM closer to you, but I was surprised to learn there are so many.

  101. Athelstan says:

    Hello Astronomer,

    That does sound depressingly bad, but not, alas, unfamiliar to me. Another withered diocese.

    I don’t know where in NJ you live, but can you drive to Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, the FSSP’s Our Lady of Fatima in Pequannock, or the ICK’s St. Anthony of Padua in West Orange?

  102. Fr Jackson says: Your thoughts about the meaning of “legitimate” interest me. (Any discussion on the meaning of that word interests me: it’s one reason we didn’t sign, and not enough people are asking what the word even means!). My present understanding of that term would lead me to feel dishonest if I were to sign a document that says that I accept the new rite as legitimate and then turn around and say that the new rite is a “banal, on the spot product.” To me, this latter statement implies that it is not fully legitimate liturgy. So, let me turn it back over to you: define legitimate and we can take the conversation from there.

    Well, I don’t see why you should feel dishonest if you acknowledge that the Mass of Paul VI is legitimate but then say that it is banal and on-the-spot. Perfection is not a requirement for legitimacy. The Novus Ordo is legitimate because the Church has so decreed. If it’s legitimate, it must be valid: the August Sacrifice really does take place in this form of the Rite. So says the Church, and we must therefore accept this. This seems to me separate from the question which form of the Rite is more desirable and pleasing to God, and whether we ought to be using the new form of the Rite. We all have our opinions on this. I personally think the Novus Ordo is inherently flawed in a number of ways, that the TLM is vastly superior, and that part of the reason the world is in such a mess is because for decades, we have NOT been giving God the quality of worship we should be giving Him. Yet I acknowledge the validity and legitimacy of the Novus Ordo, because thus spake the Church.

  103. acardnal says:

    Fr. Jackson wrote, “. . . that the SSPX is being asked to sign statements of non-criticism in areas where people already in “full communion” are criticizing.”

    This is true. And I don’t like it either. Those individuals should be addressed – especially if they hold public office.

    But “people” are not religious orders or secular institutes. They are individuals who happen to be Catholic. I think it is problematic for the Holy See to accept a religious order, an institute of consecrated life, or society of apostolic life that disagrees with Vatican 2’s documents.

  104. Cavaliere says:

    Dear Fr. Jackson,

    I’m not sure where the difficulty lies in the understanding of the word “legitimate” in relation to the Novus Ordo. A quick search defines it as among others lawful, licit, legal, authorized by, sanctioned by or in accordance with law. So as an analogy there have been a number of very bad Popes who were legitimately elected as Pope. Would you be wrong to criticize the behavior of say Pope Alexander VI? If you did so would you be denying his legitimacy as Pope? Of course not and it is the same thing with the Novus Ordo Mass. None of the individuals who have made criticisms of the Novus Ordo, including Pope Benedict, have denied its legitimacy.

    I guess the question to you then is, why do you feel that the Novus Ordo is not legitimate?

  105. JacobWall says:

    @louiseA, maryh, supertrdmum, and others:

    There seems to be an idea that a more TLM-friendly Pope would also be more SSPX-friendly. This is not necessarily the case either. Consider Bishop Bruskewitz, who, if I understand correctly, is one of the most TLM-friendly bishops, yet has excommunicated the SSPX in his diocese.

    I could easily imagine that a Pope who continues Pope Benedict’s efforts to reestablish the TLM may go even harder on the SSPX. After all, if a future Pope manages to strengthen the TLM significantly, what motivation would he have to take on the very complicated task of trying to re-integrate the SSPX? Pope Benedict, more significantly than being TLM-friendly, has been a Pope who has been willing not only to confront major problems but to take them on as his own. Future TLM-friendly Popes may not share this disposition to making life difficult for themselves while (attempting to) make it easier for others.

  106. Mamma B says:

    Ah, the SSPX — the “third rail” of Catholic blog commenting.

  107. jhayes says:

    Fr. Jackson, iin his December presentation in Canada, Bp. Fellay quoted a letter he received directly from the Pope sometime after June of 2012 – and gave his answer to the part regarding the OF Mass.

    The English translation says that the Pope required that the SSPX “must accept that the New Mass is valid and licit” – not “legitimate. ” Licit has a well known meaning in Canon law.

    “First he says: “I did agree that we change the text.” Then he said: “There are three points which you must accept, so that you will be recognised. The first is that it is the Magisterium which is the judge of what is Traditional or not.” And, well that’s true, that’s point of Faith, so. But if we say yes they will use it against us, of course, so it’s dangerous. Second point: “You must accept that the Council is integrant[sic] part of Tradition.” That the Council Vatican II is traditional! Imagine! [0:56:00] During forty years themselves have said the contrary. Now they say it’s traditional. And we say “Beg your pardon?” We say, “Look at the reality!”

    And the third point, we must accept that the New Mass is valid and licit. But that point I told them, “Well, we rarely use the word licit, we just simply say about the New Mass that it is evil.”

    http://www.therecusant.com/fellay-conf-dec2012
    :

  108. Hidden One says:

    Concerning the SSPX: The humble ones will come.

    I do not say that all of the ones who come will be humble, but all of the humble ones will come.

  109. Supertradmum says:

    I think the FSSP argument needs to be dropped. In Great Britain, there are four FSSP parishes in Scotland and only two in England, where there are many, many people who want to get to the TLM and cannot. The FSSPS need money on the ground AND a bishop’s permission to come in. This is not possible in many area.

    In America, there are only 45 FSSP parishes. These numbers are smaller than most diocesan parish numbers. Many. many states do not have the FSSPs because the bishops do not want them in or there is not enough money to start up a parish among the faithful.

    The FSSPs have not enough vocations or money to missionize all the areas where there are no Latin Mass, like where I have been for six weeks , in two country towns in the south of England, where only those with cars can travel to the few, very few Masses far away.

    We need the SSPX terribly, and also their sensitivity to Tradition and discipline.

    We need their convents of nuns, who live like real nuns, and, thankfully, in true French fashion, are highly educated, intelligent women who bring a lot of talent to the Church.

    We need their few schools, which are models of Catholic private education in America and abroad, firmly committed to the Teaching Magisterium and discipline. These schools put most American and English Catholic schools to shame.

    I pray that the reconciliation happens soon.

  110. Supertradmum says:

    sorry about the typos. I am watching, at the same time, the Parliament committee discussions on the SSM bill. There will be no opt outs for registrars or teachers. But, this is another story.

  111. robtbrown says:

    Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says:
    Robtbrown, sad to say, there are still NIMBY bishops who behave as though the old law giving them discretion on access to the TLM is still in effect. In such dioceses, the TLM is, at best, banished to remote corners where few can attend.

    No doubt there are NIMBY bishops, but IMHO a bigger problem is priests not wanting to say the mass. Mostly, it’s because of MOR priests in their 50’s and 60’s, who have LCD parish life, don’t know Latin, and don’t want waves made in their parishes.

    MOR: What’s the great line? The only thing in the middle of the road is dead armadillos and yellow stripes.

  112. robtbrown says:

    Should be:

    No doubt there are NIMBY bishops, but IMHO a bigger problem is priests not wanting to say the mass. Mostly, it’s because of MOR priests in their 50’s and 60’s, who have LCD parish life, don’t know Latin, and don’t want waves made in their parishes.

    MOR: What’s the great line? The only thing in the middle of the road is dead armadillos and yellow stripes.

  113. robtbrown says:

    And the third point, we must accept that the New Mass is valid and licit. But that point I told them, “Well, we rarely use the word licit, we just simply say about the New Mass that it is evil.”

    The use of “evil” might simply be a language problem. He might just be saying that the New Mass is bad liturgy.

  114. robtbrown says:

    Rachel K says:

    PS, Rotbrown, regarding a pregnancy test, it would not necessarily show positive even if conception has taken place as it would be too early for the rise in hormones needed to activate the test.

    IF it is not possible to determine that fertilization has not occurred, then the use of any drug with abortifacient effects is proscribed.

  115. Imrahil says:

    Dear @jhayes, I second what dear @robtbrown has said. I read this part of Auxbp Fellay’s interview in German and it said “schlecht” (= mauvais = bad, and whatever this is in other languages). Not “böse” (= malicieux = evil and whatever in other languages). Of course what I read is a translation as well, but still the translation equations are quite unambiguous.

    Dear @Fr Jackson, “legitimate” means, imho, “valid, not containing anything directly opposed to the Faith, not contrary to law in force, and celebrated with a right intention”.

    Which is why I cannot understand the SSPX’s position on this. The Mass according to the reformed rite is certainly valid. It certainly contains nothing directly opposed to the Faith. Let it be granted for hypothesis’ sake that it contains prayers ambiguous and for missionary purposes inexpedient, but even this would be merely “suboptimally constructed” as long as they allow an, even far-fetched, interpretation compliant withe Faith. (“Verfassungskonforme Auslegung”, if you should have heard that phrase in German law theory…) It is according to law in force. And even a quite heterodox priest, who personally does not believe in the transsubstantiation, but does celebrates it for what we would call the spiritual nourishment of his parishioners, can be accused of many things but does celebrate with a right intention.

    As it were, an “only the highest good is legitimate” position is… very problematic. Was Martha of Bethany not legitimate when she preferred action over contemplation? Is it not legitimate, under present (and 1917) law, to eat meat on a Lenten day (other than Friday and Ash Wednesday)?

  116. NoraLee9 says:

    Wow! This was a 2-cup of coffee discussion to read this morning! I just want to give a shout-out to Fr. Jackson and thank him for his forthrightness. I did want to say, however, that although the FSSP school in Scranton has shut its doors,, there ARE other FSSP schools here in the US. The Maximillian Kolbe School in Pequannock, NJ serves students K-12. I WILL say that the SSPX Syracuse has been blessed with a beautiful school building which happened to come on the market when one of the local school districts consolidated. Would that a school building (and a larger chapel) would gift itself to the congregation at OLF! Here’s hoping you are all having a productive Lenten Season.

  117. RJHighland says:

    Fr. Jackson,
    It is refreshing to read your posts, a true example of the fruits of the Society. May God always be your guide and keep you safe. I pray for Our Holy Father and for our next Pope because I fear Satan’s assault on Holy Mother Church is coming to a climax. I truly believe our Holy Father would be safer in the loving arms of the Society than by the Cardinals and bishops that currently surround him in Rome. The curtian is being pulled back on the “Lavander Mafia” in the heirarchy of the Church and it is going to get very ugly. The only way to survive this is to bring it to the light of day and clean the Lord’s House of this incredible evil, not to continue to hide it. It will be devistating to see how these men came to power in the Church and who put them in place but it must be done. But it could be one of the greatest victories of the Church if done properly. We need a Pope that will be as the Lord when He cleansed the Temple of the money changers or it is time for His return because the Gates of Hell are about to over come it. In a time where the world is excepting homosexuality as normal for the Church to openly and visibly cleanse itself of this evil would be an incredible victory for the Church and God’s creation. And to squarely put the blame of the sexual abuse of the young men, who many may have been the future priests of our Church, where it belongs, on homosexual priests and bishops. Oh Lord help us cleanse thy house. the enemy surrounds us!

  118. jhayes says:

    Imrahil, Bishop Fellay delivered his remarks in English and you can hear the audio version here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZrOMMfW5n0

    If you start at about 0:50, you will hear him use the word “evil”

    Of course, English is not his native language, but he speaks it quite accurately.

    My apologies for calling the quote an “English translation”. I should have written “transcript.” It has been several weeks since I last read it and I forgot that he spoke in English.

    In any case, the purpose of the quote was to point out that the Pope required that the SSPX “must accept that the New Mass is valid and licit” – not “legitimate.” “Licit” has a well known meaning in Canon law, so one doesn’t need to agree on what “legitimate”means.

  119. Imrahil says:

    Dear @jhayes,

    oh, I forgot that. Thank you for the info. But I still am rather inclined to attribute this to a translation (in mind) from the French… or heated emotions. Into the total passage of what he did say, “bad” would fit better, in my opinion.

  120. AnnAsher says:

    God Bless you Fr Jackson!
    I continue to hope and pray that Rome will one day authoritatively lead in the fullness of Truth so that the Church may be infused with the return of SSPX -priests and layity. You mentioned Bishops barely tolerating FSSP priests. It is also true that many Bishops (mine) continue to barely tolerate with an attitude of intolerance the return of the Usus Antiquior. In many areas it is as if Summorum Pontificum never happened. I still hear of young priests being told they may not offer UA rite publicly. Being transferred until they relent. Rome has issued so many corrections since JPII all of which are vastly ignored. Directives on EMHC’s, Altar Girls, the proper role of the laity esp women, Communion in the hand. Our US Bishops have taken their indults and their exception and options and ran wild with them. There remain Diocese’s like Saginaw MI poisoned with modernism. Dying of lack of Faith. I too, appreciate with Fr Z does here and around the world to promote the reform of the reform. But I understand why you and your brothers stand fast, Fr. Jackson. Considering recent events and the realization I have had that the Papacy is merely and elected position and not protected from fallability in the choice of Pope – I even more understand the position of the SSPX.

  121. phlogiston says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/21/pope-retired-amid-gay-bishop-blackmail-inquiry

    The SSPX-bashers here might want to peruse this article. They might rethink their vehemence in light of it. [I am not a member of SSPX (yet).]

  122. Supertradmum says:

    phlogiston, it is in many papers in Europe and some not so top drawer Catholic websites right now.

    Wait for Fr. Z. to help clarify this

  123. jhayes says:

    Imrahil, I agree that that is possible that he was thinking in French at that point. If you look at the “(sic)” a few lines earlier in the transcript it is obvious that he thought “partie intégrante” and said “integrant part” rather than “an integral part”

    If you listen to the audio recording, you will save some tme by starting at 56:00

  124. AnnAsher says:

    @RJHighland- I embrace your comments. Have you considered that the “gates of hell shall not prevail” against the Church but there is no promise that hell will not prevail against one rite within the Church.

  125. Imrahil says:

    Dear @phlogiston,

    OT but… the Seventh Commandment? Really? Common stealing? I don’t believe that, for the time being.

    The rest, no opinion of mine and thank-God not my business.

  126. phlogiston says:

    @ Imrahil,
    The so-called “Vatican Bank” ( I forget the exact name of the Congregation) had fairly extensive problems in years past. I don’t have a problem beliving that theft could be a problem now. Disagree that the rest is not our business.

  127. Cavaliere says:

    @phlogistan The SSPX-bashers here might want to peruse this article. They might rethink their vehemence in light of it. [I am not a member of SSPX (yet).]

    I was around the SSPX for four years and can assure you there are plenty of skeletons in their closets. Not to mention the several factions that have split off. I’m afraid that just because they say the old Mass and hold fast to “Tradition” you are not automatically raised to the altars of sanctity.

  128. acardnal says:

    I agree with robtbrown and Imrahil’s views regarding Bp. Fellay’s comment on the NO Mass.

    If you read AB Lefebvre’s own writings he does not describe the NO Mass as invalid. He is critical of the rubrics and liturgy and language and its “dumbing down” and so forth. He admits it can be invalid if the essential conditions are not present: a validly ordained priest, intention of the priest, form and matter. (cf. pg 32, Open Letter to Confused Catholics) Speaking for myself, I have personally attended NO Masses in the USA where one or all of those essentials were not present! Consequently, I went elsewhere that Sunday to attend another Mass because I was doubtful I had satisfied my obligation.

  129. OrthodoxChick says:

    I just checked the SSPX website a few minutes ago. The following was posted there under yesterday’s date:

    “On Thursday, February 21, 2013, during a press briefing, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, declared about the Society of St. Pius X that: the deadline of February 22 announced by the press (concerning the answer from Bishop Bernard Fellay to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Ed) was a mere hypothesis. Indeed, Benedict XVI has decided to entrust the issue to his successor. Therefore there is no need to wait for a settlement of the situation before the end of this pontificate.”

    (Source: VIS – DICI of 02/21/13).

    Link here:

    http://www.sspx.org/superior_generals_news/no_deadline_for_sspx_dici_2-21-2013.htm

  130. mamajen says:

    Those of you dissecting Fellay’s remarks may be interested in this article on the SSPX website for the US:

    http://sspx.org/news/is_new_mass_legit/is_the_new_mass_legit.htm

    Toward the end:

    The correct definition of evil—lack of a due good—clearly shows that the New Mass is evil in and of itself regardless of the circumstances. It is not evil by positive profession of heresy. It is evil by lacking what Catholic dogma should profess: the True Sacrifice, the Real Presence, the ministerial priesthood.

    I have no idea who wrote the article, but if Fellay does not believe that the NO is “evil”, he needs to make sure the society gets the memo. In their FAQs they also discourage people from attending the TLM at non-SSPX churches. I have found many troubling statements on their website which make me wonder how close we really are to any kind of resolution and whether they really care to have anything to do with the rest of the Church.

  131. Panterina says:

    Fr. Jackson wrote, “. . . that the SSPX is being asked to sign statements of non-criticism in areas where people already in “full communion” are criticizing.”

    Once the SSPX decides to regularize its canonical status, I think that the prudent thing to do would be to refrain from engaging in criticism. By analogy, once you’re out of rehab, don’t start drinking again, not even a sip.

    As Supertradmum said earlier “We need the SSPX terribly.” The SSPX had a good run of two decades of criticising this and that. Time has come to let others carry the torch of “constructive criticism” if they are so inclined. Given its past, I believe that it wouldn’t be prudent for SSPX to continue to do so when (if) they reconcile. Criticism, even when done with the best of intentions, is often perceived as being a negative. It’s time to join forces and work on the new evangelization together instead of drilling more holes in the barque of Peter. My two cents.

  132. The Masked Chicken says:

    I don’t know what to say.

    If something is valid, then it corresponds to the truth of what it is, ontologically. In this sense, the OF is valid. Legitimacy is a subsidiary condition, which does not affect the ontological status of the object, merely its situation within a context of law. In other words, if someone makes a non-invalidating change to the Mass, the Mass may be illicit, but it is still valid. Since the ontological validity of the Mass, means, necessarily, that it is the Sacrifice of Calvary, containing the Real Presence, confected by a ministerial priesthood, Bishop Fellay’s comment simply makes no sense.

    He will also be hard-pressed to cite a single historical document defining what a legitimate Mass is that does not invoke the Solemn Pontiff’s definition. He cannot prove what history does not provide. The Law is what the Pope says it is. Get over it. I hate to be blunt, but the Pope could outlaw the OF, tomorrow, if he wanted to. If he did, then the Mass would become illegitimate, but not before – and it would still be valid, because the Pope does not, actually, get to change the ontological status of something once it is defined – one Pope cannot change another Pope’s decision on matters of validity, unlike in matters of legitimacy. To define something valid is, in a sense, to use the Powers of the Keys and once done, cannot be undone (assuming proper knowledge, etc.)

    If you really want to play these games, re-join the Church, keep your noses clean, rise to power, become Pope and then declare the NO illegitimate. It is that simple. There really is no other recourse – if the only reason the SSPX is staying out is because either they fear to be muzzled or that the Mass they celebrate will be illegitimate. Either they must come back and put those propositions to the test or leave, declaring the Seat of Peter vacated.

    I seem to be in a little bit of a snit and I think my reasoning maybe a quart low or even nearing the point where the gears start freezing, but I still believe that this all comes down to a lack of trust. Nothing is preventing the SSPX from leaving the Church should they find, in a hundred years, that they made a mistake in rejoining, but I guarantee that it will never get back inside the Church if it does not take the initiative while there is still time.

    It seems to me that they are hoping that some situation, some happening, will occur to prove them right. If that happens, I will be the first to admit it and rejoice (because it would mean that the truth, even if different than is currently supposed, has manifested itself and any manifestation of the truth, whether be it what is now, or what might be, later, is a cause for rejoicing in charity), but this seems impossible without claiming that Popes have taught error.

    I keep saying, ambiguity is not error – it is a non-statement. No ambiguity is binding on anyone and no one – not even a Pope, not even God, can bind one to an ambiguity. If the strongest criticism that the SSPX can mount is that something is ambiguous, then they have no case for staying away from the Church. I say this as an expert in ambiguity. I’m helping to write the modern theory on the subject.

    No, after reading all of the comments and studying the matter a bit (but, I fear, not enough, because I still see no cause for the SSPX’s intransigence), I still don’t know what to say.

    The Chicken

  133. oldcanon2257 says:

    If by the power of the Holy Spirit, the cardinal electors elect Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to succeed our beloved reigning Holy Father, there might yet be hope for the Society to be regularized canonically. After all, in May 2012 it was reported (if true) that His Eminence would be ready to entrust his seminary to the SSPX.

  134. robtbrown says:

    RE German bishops, from the CNA:

    Rome, Italy, Feb 22, 2013 / 12:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A leading Catholic doctor in Spain says he will write a letter to Germany’s bishops to help correct what he believes to be their mistaken views on the morning-after pill.

    “I’m going to write a long letter to the German Bishops’ Conference to give them some scientific light about this topic,” Doctor Justo Aznar told CNA Feb. 22 after the Pontifical Academy for Life’s annual meeting at the Vatican.

    The German bishops decided Feb. 21 to allow Catholic hospitals to use the morning-after pill or other contraception in rape cases, provided that the medication acts as a contraceptive and not an abortifacient.

    Their decision came after a 25-year-old woman claimed she was raped was refused treatment at two Catholic hospitals in Cologne. Cardinal Joachim Meisner issued an apology on Jan. 22, saying it was shameful for a Catholic hospital to refuse treatment to a rape victim.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/doctor-calls-german-bishops-misled-on-morning-after-pill/

  135. robtbrown says:

    Garth says,

    robtbrown, individual monasteries are free (with approval from the Holy See, of course) to create their own Psalters, and many have. But in any case, I don’t see how the Rule of St. Benedict can possibly be regarded as Tradition in the strict sense – it came far too late.

    1. Acc to your criteria, there is no tradition of Gregorian Chant because it originated after the composition of the Rule of Benedict. (St B died in the middle of the 6th century. ) And tradition could not attributed to the Feast of Corpus Christi, which didn’t originate until the 13th century.

    2. Why would you think that monasteries would have to ask Rome for the weekly psalter? The psalter acc to the Rule of Benedict is the only Benedictine Tradition. It’s very simple: Those Benedictine monasteries who don’t use the weekly Psalter are not following the Rule of Benedict. (NB: StB calls the Divine Office Opus Dei, and says it is the most important component of the life: Nihil operi Dei praeponatur–ch 43 and found written on the apse of Sant Anselmo in Rome)

  136. Supertradmum says:

    Umm, be careful not to confuse Tradition with a capital T and tradition with a small t. The two meanings are very different. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm

  137. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mamajen,

    in this case they’re playing around with words and definitions contrary to common usage and mixed with a little error.

    “Evil”, as popularly understood, means, at the very least, something positively bad. Now the theoreticist might say that such does not exist, because there is no evil except mere negation of good, etc. True is, nevertheless, that a conception of something evil does exist and is quite distinct from mere lack-of-good, even though in the end it is negation of good.

    Which is said-along in their restriction of due good. But by this their definition does not define a thing, for we have to know first what is due, which seems, to me, to be even the more detailed question.

    But be that as it may, an “ought to” or “should” does not become a “due” (or “must”). Granted by hypothesis that the Holy Mass does not convey all sorts of dogma, even important; then we might go for miles and miles to complain how imprudent this is; but (which is clear, at least, for the very fact that the Holy Mass cannot convey each single dogma) it does not confer an “evilness”.

    This was a parenthesis; my point was that in one’s mother tongue, one might perhaps have an instinct as guide before speaking against common usage of language, for the sake of a technical definition. Would Auxbp Fellay have said malicieux, had he been talking in French?

    Then also, the term for “lack of due good”, as generally used by philosophy, is in German “ein Übel”. In French it is “un mal” (which is also a form of the word mauvais “bad”). In English it is “an evil”. The use of evil as adjective, which, again, would have to be translated as “malicieux”, is something quite different.

  138. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum,

    The catechism confirms what I said above.

    A. (no. 78) This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, “the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.”37 “The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.”

    The Benedictine Psalter is considered part of “life and worship”.

    NB: Acc to the above the use of Latin in liturgy is also a Tradition.

    B. The concept “traditions” refers to local customs developed in particular Churches. An example of that would be Benedictines wearing black habits in most places, but white habits in the summer.

  139. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil,

    Evil is a privation of the good, not a negation. Man does not run as fast as a deer (negation), but that is not an evil. Man is intended to have two legs, lose one, and that is an evil (privation). And I don’t think the French “mal” or “mauvais” translates only as “evil”. Il est un professeur mauvais doesn’t translate as “evil teacher).

    I don’t think there is a word in Italian or French that corresponds to the English “evil”, which is much stronger than the word “bad”. IMHO, Msgr Fellay meant to say it’s a lousy mass. I prefer McLiturgy.

  140. jhayes says:

    “I don’t think there is a word in Italian or French that corresponds to the English “evil”,”

    As an adjective, malfaisant or perhaps pernicieux or néfaste

    I agree that mauvais, in this context, is more likely to be bad than evil.

    But he said the word “evil” in English, so we are speculating about whether he was mentally translating some French word.

    However, the SSPX article mamjen linked uses “evil” many times.

  141. Fr Jackson says:

    Hello Masked Chicken.

    Your comment caught my eye: If something is valid, then it corresponds to the truth of what it is, ontologically. In this sense, the OF is valid. Legitimacy is a subsidiary condition, which does not affect the ontological status of the object, merely its situation within a context of law. In other words, if someone makes a non-invalidating change to the Mass, the Mass may be illicit, but it is still valid. Since the ontological validity of the Mass, means, necessarily, that it is the Sacrifice of Calvary, containing the Real Presence, confected by a ministerial priesthood, Bishop Fellay’s comment simply makes no sense.

    I was just having a discussion on this point with some fellow priests. Calling the New Mass “bad” (not to mention “evil” with its unnecessarily provocative nuance) without further distinction is really a pet peeve of mine. Hence, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment above about the ontological sacramental nature of the Mass – any valid Mass is the renewal of the sacrifice of calvary, so we had better not call that aspect of it bad.

    However, in addition to being a sacrament (Eucharist) validly confected, the Mass is also a liturgy. It has a double ontological aspect, in other words. Both have to be analyzed. And since you seem to enjoy these terms, here we go: a liturgy is metaphysically a “composed whole” (also called an “accidental whole”) – composed by man for the purposes that liturgy is supposed to have. And that’s the precise ontological aspect we criticize: the rite of Mass, not just the sacramental validity. In other words, is this human composition a “good” liturgy in the sense that it accomplishes what liturgy is supposed to accomplish? – and what liturgy is supposed to accomplish includes much more than simple valid confection of the eucharist…

  142. Some of this discussion has turned out to be pretty good! Keep up the GOOD work!

  143. robtbrown says:

    jhayes says:

    “I don’t think there is a word in Italian or French that corresponds to the English “evil”,”

    As an adjective, malfaisant or perhaps pernicieux or néfaste

    IMHO, those three have moral overtones. I prefer what Imrahil mentioned above–lacking something.

    I agree that mauvais, in this context, is more likely to be bad than evil.

    But he said the word “evil” in English, so we are speculating about whether he was mentally translating some French word.

    Perhaps poorly. NB: the word “evil” is of Germanic origin, not Latin–there is no French or Italian cognate. I think he was speaking primarily ontologically rather than morally, but with the cultural differences it came out differently.

    With American students I found that most American students consider evil to be moral evil, and so it was necessary to refer to ontological evil.

  144. robtbrown says:

    Just considering a mass as valid does not justify the liturgy. A celebrant could dress in a clown suit and have balloons on the mensa (this has been done), and it wouldn’t have affected the validity of the mass.

  145. Cavaliere says:

    Dear Fr. Jackson,
    Glad to see you are still around in this discussion. You have not answered my question though, why do you think the Novus Ordo is illegitimate?

  146. Rachel K says:

    Rotbrown, thanks for the link to the German Bishops/Spanish Doctor story; this is a very worrying thing. The Doctor describes it as a small ignorance on the part of the Bishops! Not good enough I think as a short briefing with a practising Catholic doctor or even a browse of the Internet would have put them straight. My husband (a medical doctor) has spent nearly 20 years trying to tell people that all hormonal “contraceptives” can be abortifacients, but it is like talking to a wall. Still, each one who hears is one more on the side of truth.

  147. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi Cavaliere,

    Sorry not to answer your question sooner – I’ve had a busy few days in the apostolate. (And to answer some questions of other posters: Apostolate that makes a priest happy is much, much more than just being allowed to say the EF – a priest has to be allowed to live the entire milieu that matches that form of the Mass.)

    OK. Let me think out loud a little about the “legitimacy” of the New Mass. (This could be long. I apologize in advance.) It seems to me that the word can mean so many different things depending on which aspect of the Mass it is applied to.

    (1) For some people, it seems that they think that “legitimacy” means the same thing as “validity”. So, sure, that’s easy: we accept that the New Mass as promulgated (1970/2002) is valid when celebrated with the proper minister, intention, form and matter. (I don’t think this is what CDF meant when they put “…valid and legitimate…” in the text of our “preamble”. Why specifically add that second word to the first if they mean the same thing?)

    (2) Others seem to say that “legitimacy” is a legal term: in other words, a legitimate Mass is simply a “licit” Mass. In terms of liceity, in this discussion of the New Mass sometimes that could mean (a) the “here and now” liceity of this particular Mass (e.g. did the celebrant consecrate the precious blood in a wooden cup? = illicit!), or (b) the rite of Mass as a text, a law promulgated by Rome. I think it’s this latter sense that interests us here.

    The New Mass as a law has two aspects: (1) its promulgation as a human law – we’ll call this the “canon law” point of view, and (2) the correspondence between the purpose of the human law and the divine law – for we all recognize that human laws can only have legitimacy to the extent that they do not go against divine law.

    Most traditionally-minded people seem to accept more or less that the promulgation of the New Mass was a fact of human history, an act of a legitimate Pope. Those who don’t accept this may perhaps belong better in the sedevacantist crowd and don’t concern us here. So, there you have another sense of legitimacy we could agree on: it was an act of a legitimate Pope.

    But, some people may point out that the procedure followed by that legitimate Pope to authorize the New Mass was not very “legit”, if we may believe the anecdotes that say he (and/or Bugnini) apparently bypassed the Congregation for Liturgy (or whatever it was called at the time) and signed it without reading it. (Archbishop Lefebvre tells of such a conversation with the Cardinal in charge of that Congregation – it’s in the book “The Mass of all time”. The Cardinal said he was totally bypassed in he procedure of the examination and promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae.) Well, we all agree that the Pope isn’t bound to follow these procedures, and yet… that’s not a very legitimate procedure. Is there such a thing as “due diligence” in the Pope’s job? Would it be a legitimate individual human moral act to sign such an important document without reading it? – Yikes! We had better leave such judgments of the Pope in God’s hands, and yet, there you have two more possible meanings of “legitimate”.

    That brings us to the question of whether the New Mass considered as a human law corresponds to the general purpose of all law :”suprema lex salus animarum”. Now many traditional priests would back away and say “that’s above my pay grade”, but that’s not the approach of the SSPX: they won’t hesitate to point out – you’ll pardon me for taking an easy example – that communion in the hand has contributed to a decline in Faith in the real presence and is thus out of line with the “suprema lex”. Therefore, even if it stands as a legitimate law from a strictly canonical point of view, it represents an abuse of power and is not legitimate due to its failure to correspond to the purpose of the “suprema lex.” (Now the discussion of how this criticism ought to be preached is another topic and a delicate one. Archbishop di Noia makes some good points on this topic that perhaps the more bombastic critics out there ought to take note of.)

    After having considered the “legitimacy” of the New Mass (1) as a legitimate (valid) sacramental act and (2) as a legitimate human law, we should look at the New Mass (3) as legitimate liturgy. The liturgical aspect overlaps indeed with the legal aspect since all legitimate liturgy must be promulgated by a legitimate authority, but this alone does not constitute legitimate liturgy. Liturgy has purposes that it ought to fulfill if it is to be considered legitimate, the expression of the Faith being one of them: “lex orandi, lex credendi.” This aspect of legitimacy was criticized in the “Short critical study of the new order of Mass” (aka “Ottaviani Intervention”) given to Paul VI in 1969. Sorry to bore you with this oft-quoted phrase of Cardinal Ottaviani: “…a striking departure from the theology of the Mass as formulated at the Council of Trent…” – Let’s quickly flesh that out with a specific example: the removal of the genuflection after the words of consecration but before the elevation. The old rite had a genuflection before and after the elevation; the new rite has it only after. That first genuflection in there as a sign of Faith in transubstantiation accomplished by the words of the priest alone. The Protestant thesis said that Christ became present by the faith of those present – hence the importance of the elevation. In a post-Protestant world, the suppression of the first genuflection implies something (indirectly and by absence, and yet in a very real way), and that something is not a Catholic idea. So there’s an example of a change in the New Mass that is not a legitimate expression of the Faith.

    And to finish off, let’s take the aspect of the legitimate historical and organic development of liturgy. Liturgy is not only an act of worship and a profession of Faith, it is something that unites Catholics across time and distance. Cardinal Ratzinger criticized this aspect of the legitimacy of the New Mass when he wrote that it was a “banal, on the spot product” – in other words, a break with the past, not having undergone a legitimate development.

    That’s what comes to mind for now. My point would be this: if we are asked to sign a statement that says that the New Mass is “legitimate” we need to be clear exactly what that means and what it does not mean. How do you know if you really agree if the parties in the agreement don’t make it clear what the words mean?

  148. kat says:

    Thank you, Father Jackson,
    That was very interesting! May God bless you in your work. Thanks for taking part in this discussion, too.

  149. JacobWall says:

    Fr Jackson,

    Thank you! Your explanation is the clearest and most level-headed I have seen. Rather than talking about clowns and balloons, you talk about the meaning of “legitimacy” and how that is pertinent to an undeniable fact about the NO – it was created on the spot. Regardless of how good or bad it is, that’s a point concerning legitimacy that must be considered. At the same time, (thankfully) you don’t mention Freemasonry. Well done. I think more answers like yours would gain more sympathy for the position of the SSPX.

    I pray that the next Pope will continue the direction taken by Benedict XVI.

  150. I have nothing to say but to thank JacobWall, and then also repeat this.

    To Fr. Z, Dr. Ed Peters, & Miss Anita Moore, O.P.:
    U.S. Left Coast DITTOS!

    Please, please, dear SSPX–Ignore the Vatican static and please deal straight with the Holy Father. Get in before the window potentially closes. We need you and your light so desperately . . . You have more friends than you think. We will help you vigorously in these trenches. Much love and appreciation and many prayers . . . .

  151. StWinefride says:

    robtbrown, jhayes: as a French speaker I have just had a look at some French sources on the SSPX understanding of the new mass. Mgr Lefebvre, whom Mgr Fellay is in agreement with, referred to the new mass as not being “good in itself” – la nouvelle messe n’est pas bonne en soi. He believed that it is “bad in itself” (mauvaise en soi) because it hides the essential aspects of the mass, its sacrifical nature and its propitiatory goal. So, it’s very likely that Mgr Fellay used the term evil for “bad”. However, using the term evil isn’t that out of place in this context, because if the new mass causes a loss of faith and does not clearly express the Catholic understanding of the mass, it could be considered “evil”.

  152. Cavaliere says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    I too thank you for taking the time to make such an articulate and informed response. However, cutting to the chase it is clear that there is not going to be a reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome. That is a pity because it means many souls are going to be lost. May God have mercy on you all.

  153. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Fr Jackson,

    thank you for your answer… although I’d say if there is at least one meaning of “legitimate” (going beyond “valid”) you can agree upon with the Holy See, then sign, and interpret in your way what you signed.

    As the very dear @Chicken rightly said, an ambiguous phrase is a non-statement.

    Speaking of him… it is not true that anyone who disobeys the Pope must needs be a sedevacantist. This would only be true if the Pope were infallible in anything, which he is not. Besides, the SSPX cannot “declare the See of St. Peter vacant”. And it cannot declare that it believes the See vacant, because it does not…

    Except, they could declare the See of St. Peter vacant on March 1, 2013. But that would be besides the point, somehow. Except showing some sort of humor which I would like but many would get wrong.

  154. Supertradmum says:

    Imrahil, the Pius V Society are sede vacatanists, not the SSPX, just to clarify and that is a schismatic position.

    Father Jackson, thank you and please help us all be reconciled with your prayers, and I join my little, humble prayers with yours.

  155. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum, I know… nevertheless thanks. I was answering a phrase of the dear @Chicken’s thinking. Maybe I should have quoted that to be more clear. Indeed my point was that the SSPX is not sedevacantist.

    As to the SSPV, the fact that one has figured out some opinion expressible in words, does not in every case confer a right to be taken seriously. Let’s just say (for not breaking a combox rule) that the SSPX is a society of responsible, sensible Catholics in good conscience. (And the FSSP and others are Church-accepted.)

  156. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jackson,

    One problem in all this is the wide range that the new mass can be said. It can vary from a seldom seen Latin ad orientem that for most lay people closely resembles the TLM to the garden variety versus populum, vernacular, 2d EP with emoting priest (complete with homemade rubrics), plinking guitars, and hugging laity. For most, the new mass means some version of the latter.

    Prescinding from the various criticisms, it all boils down to one question: Does the form (structure) of the mass manifest the Passion and Death of Christ or the Last Supper? With the TLM it is plainly the former. Paul VI said the Novus Ordo was supposed to be both, which was an attempt to attract Protestants (which reviews are mixed at best). In fact, the common experience of the Novus Ordo is that it is a memorial of the Last Supper.

    I am reminded of a question posed by an American seminarian in a class on the Eucharist at the Angelicum. He said: Father, you speak over and over about the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Why then when I’m at mass do I think I’m present at a communal meal?

  157. robtbrown says:

    StWinefride,

    I think we mostly agree, but let me give another example. If a car needs new tires, we commonly say that the tires are bad. That could affect control and produce loss of life, which is an evil. We would never say, however, that tires are evil.

    BTW, I was confirmed in Bourges, France.

  158. StWinefride says:

    Robtbrown, I see the signposts to Bourges when I go to Nevers!

    You say: If a car needs new tires, we commonly say that the tires are bad. That could affect control and produce loss of life, which is an evil. We would never say, however, that tires are evil.

    You’re right, we can never say that tyres are evil because they have been misused and have affected control and produced loss of life, because the tyres began their life “perfect”.

    And the Mass in the 1960s was pretty much perfect and the fruit of organic development.

    But the Mass post-1970, a banal on the spot product according to the then-Cardinal Ratzinger (and possibly soon-to-be-again Cardinal Ratzinger), is responsible for a car crash precisely because it is faulty or bad! Perhaps this is why Mgr Fellay when speaking in English used the term evil – there are only two sides after all – good and evil – and by their fruits you shall know them.

    There is another meaning to mauvais in French which you probably know, for instance the “mauvais oeil” which is the evil eye or “mauvais esprit ” for an evil spirit, so mauvais can mean evil and not just bad.

    I’m not SSPX but I do understand where they are coming from.

  159. New Sister says:

    @ robtbrown – in its Cathedral?? !!!

  160. mvhcpa says:

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t the SSPX accept the deal, come back into the fold, THEN interpret the document the way they want (which might be the correct way) and live out their charism as they are now? Then they would be in “full communion” as much as the clown-Massers and Nuns on the Bus, with a lot more Catholic bona fides than the others.

    Even with the scrutiny I am SURE the SSPX would be under, I bet this approach would work.

    Michael Val
    (who thinks that the Church needs the SSPX a whole lot, but the SSPX needs the Church a whole lot more)

  161. robtbrown says:

    New Sister says:
    @ robtbrown – in its Cathedral?? !!!

    The cathedral is famously beautiful, but I think I was confirmed in a chapel in the chancery. And, if memory serves, the town has some pastry shops that are extraordinary even for France.

  162. robtbrown says:

    mvhcpa says:

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t the SSPX accept the deal, come back into the fold, THEN interpret the document the way they want (which might be the correct way) and live out their charism as they are now? Then they would be in “full communion” as much as the clown-Massers and Nuns on the Bus, with a lot more Catholic bona fides than the others.

    Some of their friends, priests and bishops, have told them about the same thing.

  163. mamajen says:

    @mvhcpa

    AMEN!

    But to me it’s pretty clear that they like the status quo just fine.

  164. mamajen says:

    It struck me during mass today (sadly I struggle with a wandering mind) that the founding of the Church would have seemed very sudden and inorganic to many of the Jews at the time. Pope Benedict discusses this in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was the “new Torah” and dispensed with many of the rules and traditions that the Jews had been practicing for thousands of years. Its implementation issues aside, I have a problem with the notion that the Novus Ordo is evil or even merely bad just because it happened rather suddenly. Let’s face it: nobody who hates the NO now would hate it any less if it took a few hundred years to develop–they just wouldn’t be around to complain. I don’t know for sure if the NO was what God had in mind, but I won’t question the possibility that He willed a significant change at that time.

  165. JacobWall says:

    @mamajen, my personal opinion (which I could certainly be wrong about) is that the NO could NOT have developed over 100 years. Practices which develop, grow and “ripen” with time have a different flavour to them than those that are created on the spot. Had a new Mass developed over the course of a century or two, it would feel very different from the NO, basically because it would bear the mark of several generations, having passed the test of those generations. Such practices hold a greater element of timelessness. The NO is just now beginning to “pass the test” and bear the mark of a generation other than the one that created it. Not everything that our generation is doing is better than the 70’s, but I would say it’s improving. The next generation will “weed out” some of our problems, and so on. Personally, I believe the NO will “ripen” and reshape with time (for the better) but this will be well beyond our lifetimes. I think the legitimacy of “timelessness” can be gained, but that will take centuries to perfect.

    I also don’t think that it’s “bad” because it was created on the spot. I only think it’s “unripe.” It’s like taking a still green and sour apple from a new tree. Is it a good apple? Is it a good tree? We’ll not only have to wait for it to ripen to find out, but even have to wait for the useless branches to be pruned off over time, and for a new harvests. Unfortunately, as I said, this does not over year or even decades, but centuries. Personally, I think the fruit will be good. But, we, our children, our grandchildren and even our great grandchildren will still be left eating only semi-ripe fruit at the best. I understand that the SSPX hesitates to agree that the fruit is good at this point.

    Yet, back to square 1 – the SSPX would do much more for the Church if they had canonical status.

  166. JacobWall says:

    @mamajen,
    “the founding of the Church would have seemed very sudden and inorganic to many of the Jews at the time.” – I don’t think this is a valid comparison. If you could show me that any of the leaders of the upheavals of the 1960’s was somehow comparable to Christ, I might buy this argument. (i.e. I’m not going to buy it.)

    The death and resurrection of Christ was the focal point of all history. Nothing comparable ever happened before; the law and the prophets were only a preparation for Christ’s coming and only gain their meaning through it. Nothing of the sort, or even vaguely comparable, has happened since – not even in the 60s – to justify a similar upheaval – nor will it until Christ’s second coming. Of course it was sudden, unexpected, shocking, etc. All of history converged on its single purpose.

    I feel that comparing what happened to the Mass in the 60s to the way the Christ established the Church is disrespectful to the most important event in history, and to Christ. Even if we could say, without a doubt, that the NO was the best thing that has happened to the Mass (which I don’t think most people would), even the most important council (which Vat II was not), even some of the world’s biggest social upheavals (I’m sure in the grand scheme of history, the 1960’s will not be as important as we currently think the were), cannot be compared to the Resurrection or to Christ’s action in establishing the Church. We’re trying to justify imperfect upheavals and ruptures of relatively unimportant people with the perfect actions of our King and God. It rubs me the wrong way, and I’m suspicious of such comparisons.

  167. mamajen says:

    @JacobWall

    That’s an interesting perspective, and I like it.

  168. JacobWall says:

    @mamajen,

    Thanks. I really do believe it (the “ripened fruit” idea) and I hope that there’s something to it. It gives me some optimism that while we can say right now that the NO is lacking a certain kind of “legitimacy” (that of time) it will gain this legitimacy in precisely the only way that it can be gained – over a long period of time. The only “pessimistic” side to it is that I’m 99% sure that I won’t be around to see the day the NO comes to its fullness. But to end on the optimistic side, I may be blessed with a life long enough to see how it is when my grandchildren. I believe, I pray, I hope that we will see many small steps in our own lifetimes towards something much greater than can happen in one single lifetime.

  169. mamajen says:

    @JacobWall

    My previous comment was directed at your previous comment :)

    As to your second comment… I didn’t mean to imply that the creation of the NO was somehow equivalent to Jesus’ founding of the Church, only that I can see similarities in how the changes were received by some, and that sometimes change does happen rather suddenly. Goodness knows some of the most damaging people in the Church love to think they’re pretty much Jesus himself, and encouraging that line of thinking is the last thing I want to do.

    We humans have a great propensity for botching things up, but I do believe that the Pope is God’s representative on earth and I trust that the NO, in some capacity, was meant to be. I do not believe it was 100% a human fabrication and complete error. There are some people who choose a point in history that they like and would prefer that nothing ever changed at all. That’s unrealistic.

  170. JacobWall says:

    @mamajen – ” I do believe that the Pope is God’s representative on earth and I trust that the NO, in some capacity, was meant to be.” Agreed 100%. As per my first comment, I believe that the reason for it will probably not be clear or completely revealed until the tree is mature and the fruit is ripe – i.e. beyond our lifetimes.

    I realized you were commenting on my first comment. To combine my first and second comments, we can’t give historical legitimacy to the NO by pointing to the past (i.e. justifying the sudden change of the 60s,) but we can only look forward to the NO gaining “legitimate historical and organic development of liturgy” in the centuries to come. I believe the other questions of legitimacy will also be worked out as this comes to pass.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think speculation about the future of the NO will satisfy the SSPX, and the “legitimate historical and organic development of liturgy” which I believe the NO will gain over centuries cannot be substituted by some rapid improvement now. Rapid improvements now are a good thing, but IMHO, they will be the first steps in seeing a “ripened” NO, not the final ones – you might say cleaning it up will “clear the way” for better things to come, for that “legitimate historical and organic development.”

    I also like mvhcpa’s idea. The tensions between the SSPX and the NO would continue and probably become more intense. But that might help in the early pruning. It would be good for both the NO and UA.

  171. Have any of those quoting the “banal, on-the-spot product” line from Cdl. Ratzinger ever read the book which sported that forward? Because it seems to me that the book which criticized the Novus Ordo did so, in a significant way, by saying that the improvisations and illicit substitutions — like substituting Marxist literature for the Gospel reading — were unconscionable.

    The book is by Klaus Gamber, and is titled The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background. The second half of the book mostly presses on the silliness of a new Eucharistic prayer and the absurd falsehoods needed to maintain the illusion that versus populum is ancient. On this second opinion, Cdl. Ratzinger clearly concurs, cf. The Spirit of the Liturgy.

    In brief: Cdl. Ratzinger’s words are more precise than we give him credit. In that selection, I think he really does mean “on-the-spot.” The context of the forward backs this up.

  172. The Masked Chicken says:

    Something weird is going on. I tried, twice, yesterday, to respond to Fr. Jackson’s comments on the metaphysics of Liturgy and, twice, when I logged in, no comment box appeared. I could see a comment box in other posts, but not that one. I could see other people making comments, but I seemed to be blocked. I tried two different browsers and removed all cookies, etc. Spooky. Now, I don’t know whether or not my comment would have been either entirely wrong or something important, but something prevented me from making it.

    I don’t have a lot of time, right now, so let me make a synopsis. There are two points that Fr. Jackson raises: 1) The Salvation of Souls is the Highest Law of the Church (salus animarum suprema lex) and 2) Liturgies form a, “metaphysical whole.” While both of these point are correct, neither one of them can be applied with any force to the current situation viz. the SPSS and the Holy See.

    Without getting too complicated. while, salus animarum suprema lex is certainly correct, it is bad science (including theology) to assert this as an argument against the OF. In order to make this argument correctly, one must, first, establish a baseline in terms of a reproducible result to which the current Mass can be measured, in terms specific to the variable being measure: the salvation of souls. Now, certainly, the TLM helped the salvation of souls, but exactly how many at any given time has never been measured (how would one). It’s salvatory capacity has never been shown to be constant and independent of environmental influences. So, while it might be an historical standard, it is not a scientific standard for the purposes of making the suprema lex argument. Secondly, no measure has been made of the ability of the NO to provide for the salvation of souls in any direct way, either. All of the evidence has been anecdotal, to date and even providing numbers of people who have fallen away is not a scientific measure because these, “studies,” fail to keep all of the other variables constant. It may just be that there is some, oh, I don’t know, call it a mysterious M-ray from outer space, that makes people not want to go to Mass, or something in the water, or lead fumes, etc. The point is that there have been no CONTROLLED experiments to prove that there is something inherently within the NO that has either sent people away from Mass OR endangered their souls. Correlation does nt imply causation. Until such evidence is supplied, the Suprema lex argument amounts to Cargo Cult Science in the sense of Feynman.

    As to the second item, liturgies being metaphysical wholes, what does that mean and how does one determine the fact? Here is the principle mistake: no liturgy can be self-authenticating as to its metaphysical wholeness. This violates Tarski’s T-theorem. Any liturgy that were to be self-authenticating would invoke a paradox. Now, paradoxes have no truth content, so the liturgy would not be an effective vehicle for Christ, who is the Truth. The known way out of the paradox of self-authentification is for judgment of the object to be made at a meta-level by someone outside of the object. This is why Christ established the Church. Since it speaks for God in matters of faith and morals, it is the only possible entity which can speak at a unifying level about the authenticity of moral objects. This is one reason why it must be the Church who authenticates the Bible and not the Bible (which, by the way, is also a metaphysically composed whole). Thus, as to the legitimacy of the NO, only the Church can decide this. Nothing within the Mass, by itself can do this.

    I would love to go into more detail, but I have to run. If any one is interested, I can flesh this out when I have more time.

    The Chicken

  173. mamajen says:

    @JacobWall

    I wonder if the SSPX would be more willing to come back into the fold if the “ripening fruit” idea were presented to them rather than making them choose between legitimate or not legitimate?

    It makes a lot of sense to me, and clarifies much of what Pope Benedict has worked toward. For example, although I support the Anglican Ordinariate, in the back of my mind I always wondered why individuals didn’t just convert if they wanted to be Catholic. Now I can see how the Anglican Use mass kind of bridges the gap between the NO and TLM, and bringing groups of people back on board instead of individuals can really help move things forward in a good way. Nobody would say that their departure from the Church was a good thing, yet centuries later they have something they could offer us. The same holds true for the SSPX, of course. When you’re working on a project you want all of the best people on board, and I think that’s what Pope Benedict was trying to do.

    I wonder if much of the problem with regard to the SSPX is that, for both sides, the division seems too fresh. Rome doesn’t want to lend legitimacy to their departure from the Church lest they encourage others to try the same, and SSPX doesn’t want to lend legitimacy to the NO. Yet with the Anglican Ordinariate we are getting past similar hurdles just fine. The difference is that the break happened centuries ago, and I think those who have joined the ordinariate have more trust in the Church…not to mention the NO itself was not the reason they left in the first place.

  174. maryh says:

    @JacobWall
    I agree with @mamajen. I love your analogy with the ripening fruit. And I also think that some kind of “Novus Ordo” was meant to be. Probably what should have happened was that the new OF would have been celebrated as well as the usual Latin Mass at all parishes. I think that originally, the new OF would have been a hard sell, so that those who wanted it would have had to be very careful to keep it from straying too far. Basically, the way the NO was implemented, there were no natural checks at all on excesses, since the faithful had no options at all other than “shut up or leave”.

  175. JacobWall says:

    @mamajen,

    I wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone SSPX members or laity who attends their Masses in “real life” – only the few who enter Fr. Z’s “Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say.” (That’s from the description of the blog, on this page.)

    So, without actually knowing what even one single SSPX member/attendee would think of the idea, I suspect most would like it. However, I don’t think they’re worried about admitting that the fruit of the NO will one day be ripe; I think they’re more worried that in the mean time, they’ll be told they have to eat the unripe, sour apples, or be forced to give them others instead of the sweet ones they have in their basket.

    In any case, it might be an idea worth spreading.

  176. JacobWall says:

    @maryh,
    I’ve had similar thoughts. If the NO had been implemented along side the TLM, the results would already be better; although I still believe it would be a process over a couple of centuries to mature, the tree would be a little stronger, a little better pruned and with slightly sweeter fruit – it would have had a chance to grow in strength at the same time as it grew in size.

    As things our now, the NO tree is huge, but not strong, and requires an incredible amount of pruning. The task is daunting. Had it been implemented side by side, the task would still be to nourish and then prune this new tree, and we would still be looking to the future for the best fruit, but it would be far more manageable.

    It could have been implemented side-by-side in every parish as you said, or similar to the way the TLM is being reinstated now – an option for bishops to choose for some parishes for pastoral needs or upon the request of a group of lay people, etc.

    The Anglican Use is an interesting comparison. I don’t know much about its development, or the age of the current Anglican Use, but from what I understand, while it’s not as “ripe” as the TLM, it certainly has had a few centuries to grow and strengthen. It is, rightfully speaking, an established tradition (or a mature tree with ripe – and good – fruit.)

  177. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi Masked Chicken.

    In your last post above you tried to use the “scientific method” to analyze a question of metaphysics or theology. Did you realize how much of a big “no-no” that is? I was just reading a brilliant refutation of this mode of sophism (sorry to be so blunt, pal :) in Edward Feser’s book “The Last Superstition.” It’s in chapter 3, towards the beginning. Atheists often use the same sophism against St Thomas’ “5 ways”, hence Feser’s refutation.

    In brief, the mode of the scientific method is distinct from the mode of mathematical knowledge which is distinct yet again from the mode of metaphysical knowledge, and so on… (I think there’s something like 8 modes – can’t remember all of them…)

  178. RJHighland says:

    Your a great witness to the faith Fr. Jackson thank you for participating. I’m out in the desert SW but I hope to run into you someday. You ever get out to visit Prior Cyprian and the Brothers in NM? May the good Lord continue to bless your ministry.

  179. Fr Jackson says:

    For the record, I just remembered that the question of the “legitimacy” of the New Mass was discussed / debated by a priest of the IBP (Good Shepherd Institute), Abbé Guillaume de Tanouarn, back around 2008, I think. He argued in favor of its legitimacy, as I recall, and I remember being unconvinced by his arguments: he seemed like he really wanted/needed to conclude that it was legitimate. He focused on the legal aspect of the word “legitimate” and underlined the consistent use of the New Mass in the Church for so many years as a reason to say it was legitimate from that point of view. (Google it – you’ll see plenty of hits, albeit in French).

    Perhaps some readers of this blog may not realize that priests of the SSPX and the IBP will not accept to celebrate the Novus Ordo in practice, even while accepting its validity in theory. The objection that was made to Father de Tanouarn at the time was that his position was illogical: how could he refuse to celebrate according to the new rite if he accepts it as legitimate?

  180. Fr Jackson says: Perhaps some readers of this blog may not realize that priests of the SSPX and the IBP will not accept to celebrate the Novus Ordo in practice, even while accepting its validity in theory. The objection that was made to Father de Tanouarn at the time was that his position was illogical: how could he refuse to celebrate according to the new rite if he accepts it as legitimate?

    Personally, I don’t see the illogic. One can refuse to use dial-up, even while acknowledging that dial-up will get you on the Internet. I acknowledge the validity of the Novus Ordo, but would attend the TLM or the Dominican Rite exclusively if I had that option.

  181. JacobWall says:

    Fr. Jackson,

    Although quite unqualified to say much in this discussion, above I suggested that although the NO is lacking in (or at least very weak in) certain kinds of legitimacy right now, that this would change with time; as it passes through various generations it will get “pruned” and strengthened. I compared it to fruit, saying we not only need for the fruit to ripen, but also wait for the tree the grow, strengthen and be pruned. I think it will take centuries for this to happen. (If you didn’t read my comments, they start about 15 comments back.)

    Another commentator wondered “if the SSPX would be more willing to come back into the fold if the “ripening fruit” idea were presented to them rather than making them choose between legitimate or not legitimate?”

    What do you think?

  182. RJHighland says:

    JacobWall,

    I know this was not addressed to me but if I may respond to the rippening fruit. Since there are two distinct masses in the Roman Rite the TLM and the Novus Ordo would you say there are two trees or one tree in which a very healthy fruit baring tree was throatled to allow a sprig to grow off of it that has not born nearly the fruit of the old tree. If the former is used the old tree was starved and not only did they try to cut it down but they tried to up root it but by the grace of God it survived and still bears good fruit. A new tree was planted and given much attention, watered, good sun good soil and it’s fruits if produced any are tainted and tangy at best. A new head gardener arrived and has pruned the young tree in hopes to generate more fruit but has also has freed more helpers to take care of the old tree which is baring more fruit and starting to recover from its lack of attention by the previous gardeners. The question is how is the landowner looking upon the gardeners that he left to attend to his orchard? Will he send his Son to attend to the problems created by the gardeners?

  183. Fr Jackson says:

    Hello Miss Anita Moore and Jacob Wall.

    Let me try to clarify this by saying that this story of reconciling the SSPX is really all about giving a status in the Church to a group of priests who refuse to say the New Mass. Now, before you recoil in horror and say that will never happen, let me point out that it already did in 2006 when the IBP got their status as a society of apostolic life of Pontifical right and had included in their constitutions an “exclusivity” clause pertaining to the old rite.

    So, this discussion of “legitimacy” (NOT validity, please take note – all parties concerned accept the validity in theory) is all about the foundations on which a refusal to say the New Mass can be based. Those who criticized Abbé de Tanouarn’s acceptance of the New Mass as “legitimate” (in 2008, I think it was) did so from both “sides”: if it is legitimate, you do an injustice to refuse to say it, and/or you undermine the reasons why a priest might be allowed to refuse to say it.

    I think it’s safe to say that SSPX priests will generally react negatively to the expression that they simply “prefer” the old rite. They criticize the Novus Ordo Missae outright, not only in the abusive way it has been applied in practice but even in the theoretical “typical edition” as published in Latin by Rome (cf. The “Ottaviani Intervention”). This is more than a simple expression of preference – for the SSPX priest it has to be more because he must have a foundation for his refusal to celebrate it.

    For Rome, the issue – I imagine – has been to know how far they can go in allowing a certain degree of public criticism of the New Mass as such. You might find opposition from CDF experts to the “unripe fruit” idea since it implies criticism of a sort. On the other hand, your typical wary SSPX priest is going to ask who gets to decide when the fruit is ripe – in other words, when will Rome force the SSPX to use it?

    So, the million dollar question is this: finding a formula that both (1) expresses the SSPX reserves about the New Mass and gives them the right to be able to refuse to say it, and (2) at the same time satisfies the Roman experts who need to save the principle of authority.

    Now you might say that we should just go ask the IBP since they seem to have worked it out. The problem there is that that Cardinal who worked that out (Card. Castrillon) is no longer in the picture, and moreover Rome seems to have re-thought the question since – as you may recall – the IBP received a letter from Rome in March 2012 saying that the word “exclusive” ought really to be taken out and replaced with “proper rite…” The IBP did not accept that, but that letter from Rome does serve as a bit of a weather vane on the topic.

  184. jhayes says:

    They still have exclusive on thir website:

    “Le Saint-Siège a dédié l’Institut du Bon Pasteur à « l’usage exclusif de la liturgie grégorienne » pour la messe et pour tous les sacrements, selon « les livres liturgiques en vigueur en 1962 » (Statuts II §2). La liturgie traditionnelle est déclarée « rite propre de l’Institut dans tous ses actes liturgiques » (Statuts I §2). Selon les statuts et selon le décret d’érection, il s’agit non d’un indult mais d’une mission et d’une discipline propre, qui manifeste combien le rite dit « de Saint Pie V » est légitime et constitue une richesse pour l’Église. Désormais, à travers les statuts du Bon Pasteur, la messe traditionnelle n’est plus seulement une permission. Elle se trouve encouragée pour elle-même par le Siège Romain.”

    http://www.institutdubonpasteur.org/fr/content/historique-de-linstitut-du-bon-pasteur

    Archbishop DiNoia seems still to be on good terms with them:

    http://www.institutdubonpasteur.org/

  185. Fr. Jackson: Your comments clarify the matter immeasurably. I can empathize. Yet my conscience forbids me from sympathizing.

    You are probably factually correct about the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo as separated from its legality. I have very strong reservations about even the published edition of the Novus Ordo. But being out of communion with Rome — which is exactly what it appears to be at this point — is something worse than being factually wrong. It is morally wrong. It is sin. Is there any question that this whole episode could be an example, in some future textbook, when “scandal” is defined?

    The SSPX is immeasurably more credible than a liar or a quisling. Therefore, it is immeasurably more damaging to the life of the Church. Souls will be lost in this squabble, and you are not clearly with Peter. You might be unclearly with him, or without him, but you are not clearly with him.

    The SSPX cannot be said to be saving the Old Rite. If anything, the SSPX hurts the ethos of those who support it, thereby keeping the Old Rite from finding fruit where it ought. If anything, the effect of the SSPX is the same as those who would remove an altar rail. In a way, it is worse, because the altar rails can always be put back. That is, if it were not for the SSPX and other groups who are certainly wackos; by its very witness, the SSPX keeps the altar rail removed.

    Now is a better time for renewal than division. How great a voice the SSPX would be if it returned to canonical regularity! How great a force for real renewal!

  186. robtbrown says:

    FrJackson,

    I would not think it necessary to say that the SSPX refuses to say the Novus Ordo. Better to say that the Society is dedicated to the daily celebration of mass using the 1962 Missal. There are obvious forces in the Vatican opposed to the SSPX regularizing its status–better not to give them leverage by stating a principle negatively when its positive expression is just as valid.

    IMHO, saying the Novus Ordo is legitimate is no way obligates the SSPX to say it. Yes, the pope has a right to promulgate a mass. Yes, such promulgation is protected from error by Papal Infallibility. But: No, such a protection is no guarantee that it is of high quality.

    Mostly importantly, the matter at hand is not whether the Paul VI Missal is legitimate. Rather it is whether its legitimacy can be used to prohibit a priest from using the 1962 Missal. I think it is obvious the answer to that is No.

    BXVI wrote that the 1962 Missal was never abrogated. That Missal includes the Bull of promulgation, which says that no one is to prohibit its use.

    Thus we have a situation in which:

    a. The 1962 Missal can always be used (acknowledge by BXVI as never abrogated).
    b. Paul VI legitimately promulgated a Missal (which he called a liturgical innovation).
    c. Proposition b can never be used to contradict a. Whoever does will “incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul”.

    Also: The nomination of Abp Mueller seems a serious mistake. I assume he was named to deal with German bishops, a plan which so far seems not to have worked. Abp DiNoia, who was supposed to balance him, is a good man and member of an order whose education pays little attention to Vat II. Well and good, but Abp Mueller needs to be out of way.

  187. robtbrown says:

    The Ubiquitous says,

    But being out of communion with Rome — which is exactly what it appears to be at this point — is something worse than being factually wrong. It is morally wrong. It is sin. Is there any question that this whole episode could be an example, in some future textbook, when “scandal” is defined?

    NB: Being out of communion with Rome is not just a juridical concept. It is also doctrinal. So if Cardinal Bernardin called (as alleged) Humanae Vitae “that damned encyclical”, then he was out of communion with Rome. The pastor in my home town who excises the word “sacrifice” from the Orate Fratres (the English version of it) is also out of communion. And then there’s Cardinal Mahoney’s infamous “Gathering Faithfully Together” letter. How about seminaries that never taught Latin? Or employed theologians teaching false doctrine?

    The SSPX cannot be said to be saving the Old Rite. If anything, the SSPX hurts the ethos of those who support it, thereby keeping the Old Rite from finding fruit where it ought. If anything, the effect of the SSPX is the same as those who would remove an altar rail. In a way, it is worse, because the altar rails can always be put back.

    That is simply historically false. The truth is that the SSPX saved the 1962 Missal simply because everyone else gave in to the pressures to abandon it.

  188. robtbrown says:

    The Ubiquitous,

    And I neglected to mention the recent decision of the German Bishops to allow Catholic hospitals to give out abortifacients. How’s that for being out of Communion with Rome? It is also the common practice in Germany, officially endorsed by the bishops, to give Communion to those divorced, remarried Catholics who have not been granted annulments.

  189. Imrahil says:

    Dear @robtbrown, the first is, in this form, not true; the second is not true either.

    The German bishops have never decided to give out abortifacients; on the contrary they have explicitly ruled that out. They did decide to give out contraceptives to rape victims. They did accept some scientist comittee’s claim that the morning-after pill is not abortifacient. But whatever to be said about prudence and wellinformedness… they did not decide to allow abortifacients.

    It is not true on the bishops’ level that the divorced and remarried can receive Holy Communion. This was proposed by some German bishops but not enacted. Indeed the German bishops follow the much more controversial (and perhaps, given the general status of prosecution of other, more important issues such as heresy, and that it seems to be not so intrinsically necessary, also rightly controversial) policy to fire them from Church jobs.

  190. acardnal says:

    robtbrown wrote, “The truth is that the SSPX saved the 1962 Missal simply because everyone else gave in to the pressures to abandon it”

    I agree with that! Without the SSPX and its growth and influence since 1970, I do not believe Pope Benedict XVI would have ever promulgated Summorum Pontificum.

  191. acardnal says:

    Imrahil, this document from the Pontifical Academy for Life indicates that the so called “morning-after” pill can/can be abortifacient. Therefore, it should not be used. It would be like playing Russian Roulette with one bullet in the revolver’s chamber; the trigger is pulled and someone may or may not die depending on if there happens to be a bullet in the chamber at that moment in time.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_20001031_pillola-giorno-dopo_en.html

  192. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil

    1. I’ll refer you to an expert.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/doctor-calls-german-bishops-misled-on-morning-after-pill/

    2. The question of communion to those in bad marriages is another matter. It started in 1994 (I was in Rome at the time) when German bishops, front by Karl Lehmann, issued a document saying that those in bad marriages could go to Communion if their consciences said the first marriage was not valid. Cardinal Ratzinger, through the SCDF, replied by correctly saying that by definition marriage pertains to external forum and cannot be settled by internal forum. If memory serves, the German reply was that Germans had their own way of doing things. Nothing changed.

    Germans, however, (and I am of Koblenz stock) cannot stomach not following a rule, even if they know it’s false. So Robert Zollitsch raised the divorced/remarried problem again in a newspaper interview. The OR replied by reprinting an essay by Cardinal Ratzinger.

    You might be interested in the following:

    http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/germania-germany-alemania-15820/

    BTW, I’m writing from Switzerland.

  193. acardnal says:

    robtbrown, I also linked to a document from the Pontifical Academy of Life regarding the morning-after pill, but it’s in moderation for the time being.

  194. acardnal says:

    Spanish bishops do not support German bishops’ decision according to this report from Rorate-Caeli blog.
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-spaniards-get-it-right-and-dangers.html

  195. jhayes says:

    About a dozen US states require hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception to women who are victims of sexual assault. Catholic hospitals are not exempt from those requirements although, in a couple of states they they are given the option to transport the victim to a non-Catholic hospital or contract with an independent service to provide the contraception, neither of which affects the morality very much.

    This was a major issue in Connecticut in 2007, when the state passed a law that hospitals could test only for pregnancy, not for ovulation before giving the medicine. The Catholic bishops of the state protested but, in the end, agreed that Catholic hospitals would comply. Interestingly, they said that tne issue was how much testing to do and that, prior to the law, their hospitals had administered contraception to 70 or more woman and none had ever been disqualified by the tests.

    So, the issue of Catholic hospitals providing contraception to sexual assault victims may be new in Germany or Spain but it has been decided in the US for a long time.

  196. JacobWall says:

    @RJHighland & Fr Jackson,

    Thank you for your helpful replies. RJHighland, I was thinking something very similar to what you described.

    Fr. Jackson, I’m sure that you’re right that the “unripe fruit” idea would find opposition in the Curia. However, I think there are plenty of (non-SSPX) Catholics who would agree with it – even people who like the NO, but feel that it’s still needs a good deal of maturing (my personal opinion). I can see the problem you mention – who decides when the fruit is ripe? I think this is only a problem if people expect the fruit may be ripe in our lifetimes or even in our century, which I do not believe. You are worried that while you are “off the hook” for May and June, you may be forced to eat the fruit in July, although apples only ripen in August, and – more importantly – the new trees need a few years (i.e. centuries) of growth and pruning first. A valid concern. I hope this concern can be addressed soon.

    I personally do not see a problem with the SSPX being given a complete exemption from using the NO – and even letting the SSPX decide for themselves when the fruit is ripe (i.e. the NO gains that full legitimacy of history and others that may be lacking or weak), since other authorities may not agree at all that it is unripe in the first place. Obviously, in the mean time, and probably even afterwards, there would be plenty of tension – but I think such tension is healthy, provided that it takes place within the Church (as opposed to from without). The only condition I would see necessary is some sort of acknowledgement that one day in some undefined point in the future, the fruit will be ripe. But then again, I am not a pope, a cardinal, a bishop or even a priest. I’ve only been Catholic for under two years. I should stick to praying and leave speculating or opining for those more qualified to do so.

    “So, the million dollar question is this: finding a formula that both (1) expresses the SSPX reserves about the New Mass and gives them the right to be able to refuse to say it, and (2) at the same time satisfies the Roman experts who need to save the principle of authority.” Let’s pray that that happens soon, that the next Pope continues to move the direction of BXVI, and that the opportunity has indeed NOT been lost.

  197. Fr Jackson says:

    Hello The Ubiquitous.

    I think I understand what you are trying to say when you refer to a status “out of communion”, and yet I think the term needs clarification. Correct me if I am wrong, but before the 1950’s we did not find theologians using the idea of “partial communion”. They would have said either (a) that one was schismatic – i.e. had left the Church, or (b) that one was a Catholic in an irregular canonical situation – i.e. under censure, but still in the Church. That terminology was more clear, and it’s the terminology I think we should use if we want to identify what is really going on.

    Now Rome herself has said that the SSPX is not schismatic, so I think it’s safe to conclude that Rome considers the 500+ members of the SSPX to be Catholic clerics in an irregular canonical situation. But that also means that it’s wrong of you to say that they are “out of communion.” This term – to the best of my understanding – would apply properly only to schismatics.

  198. I have no reason to doubt what you say is true. Still, to live without valid, sacramental confession for so long — I can’t imagine censure being any easier on the mind or conscience for anyone involved.

  199. robtbrown says:

    The Ubiquitous says:
    I have no reason to doubt what you say is true. Still, to live without valid, sacramental confession for so long — I can’t imagine censure being any easier on the mind or conscience for anyone involved.

    Disagree.

    We know that priests of the SSPX don’t have faculties for Confession through the normal channels. On the other hand, the principle of Ecclesia Supplet Iurisdictionem leaves open the possibility that the Absolution given by those priests is in fact valid.

    Suprema lex salus animarum.

  200. The Masked Chicken says:

    “In your last post above you tried to use the “scientific method” to analyze a question of metaphysics or theology. Did you realize how much of a big “no-no” that is? I was just reading a brilliant refutation of this mode of sophism (sorry to be so blunt, pal :) in Edward Feser’s book “The Last Superstition.” It’s in chapter 3, towards the beginning. Atheists often use the same sophism against St Thomas’ “5 ways”, hence Feser’s refutation.

    In brief, the mode of the scientific method is distinct from the mode of mathematical knowledge which is distinct yet again from the mode of metaphysical knowledge, and so on… (I think there’s something like 8 modes – can’t remember all of them…)”

    No, Father. I have read Dr. Feser’s book. I used to comment with Dr. Feser on the, What’s Wrong with the World Blog (I don’t on his personal blog because it s too hard to read and digest all of the really long posts). There may be different modes of thought, but the Truth is one. Simply put, to claim that Suprema lex is true, is, of course correct, but you have to make a logical argument that your particular case satisfies this criteria in the best possible way. There is no metaphysical argument for this position, only, what amounts to ispe dixit. In fact, simply because there are two genuflection’s in the TLM, but only one in the Of, does not preclude that a Mass with three would be even better than the TLM for Suprema lex purposes. In fact, your domain of argumentation for this particular aspect of things is not metaphysics, at all, since, you are, in fact, making quantifiable statements about genuflections and the like that appear to make one Mass better than other and while there are interpretations attached to each genuflection, nevertheless, this goes to quantizing properties and that does fall into a grey area. It is a bit like Emperor Franz Joseph II and Mozart arguing about how many notes should be in the Abduction from the Seraglio. How can you prove the assertion of something being a better for the salvation of souls without actually being able to prove the case? I cannot see how this is, strictly, an argument from metaphysics, so my comment remains. Your, “proof,” if it is metaphysical at all, amounts to nothing more than an argument from aesthetics. As I say, one could, in principle, imagine a superperfect form of the Mass that is even better than the TLM, but has not developed, historically, yet. Now, the TLM may be better at saving souls in some senses than the OF, but any valid Mass has salvific properties and must conform, if even imperfectly, to Suprema lex.

    As to the legitimacy question, you did not address that. My argument was an argument from logic and even metaphysics is not immune from logic. Again, simply because something is a composed whole does NOT make it legitimate. This is a violation of Tarski’s T-theorem. If your argument were correct, then the Bible would be legitimate simply because it is a composed whole and that simply is not the case. There is no such thing as a self-authenticating legitimacy (outside of God), even in metaphysics. The Bible is legitimate because the Church says it is. The Church is a meta-authority, able to decide in matters of self-referentiality. God is the arbiter of metaphysical legitimacy and the Church speaks for God and it has spoken for God in, at least obliquely, pronouncing the OF legitimate. Now, it may develop into something more mature, but denying that it is legitimate is making the good the enemy of the best.

    I enjoy the discussion and I hope I don’t come off sounding harsh. I appreciate your being, here. I am slogging through this, myself, and exciting discussions, while fun, can get a bit over-enthusiastic. The more caught up I get, the blunter and more telegraphic I get. I hope no offense is given.

    The Chicken

  201. Imrahil says:

    The mere fact that some atheists asked for the proof of God by means of some sciences which cannot render it does not say that “the scientific method” is valueless in theology. What really is a “no no” is the “non-overlapping magisteria” idea.

    It is dogma that God is provable (said simplifyingly), but not that the Five Ways are the way to do it. Frankly, yes, the Five Ways deserve some additional thought (not neglecting). Of course not because they dared to prove God who be unprovable (as the, said simplifyingly, modernists constantly assert), but just because I do not believe we can, with certainty from natural arguments, hold the recourse-ad-infinitum impossible (which is more along the line of an “ipse Aristoteles dixit”, isn’t it?).

    Re abortifacients: We do not disagree, my point was that the German bishops did not allow for abortifacients as abortifacients. As some bluntly put it, they allowed for a pill that does not exist. Yet, as I said, whatever to be said about their policy, they did not allow for abortifacients.

    Re the divorced and remarried: at any rate those who inform themselves in Germany know that they may not receive Holy Communion. About all the rest, thanks for the links which I may look up some time.

  202. robtbrown: If I didn’t know better I’d think that was trolling. You know what would be great about confession? If absolution were only a possibility even when all the regular conditions were met.

  203. Fr Jackson says:

    Hi Masked Chicken.

    Let me just ask: are you a Thomist? We are really not agreeing on the basics of philosophy here. We Thomists are a cranky bunch, especially when epistemology gets attacked. We’re prone to walk off the playground when people invoke nominalists and their theorems, and we’ll get a “doesn’t play nicely with others” on our report cards if need be. (Blame “Aeterni Patris” if you want). Sorry, but I’m just not going to accept Tarski as a basis for discussing theology. My theology and metaphysics professor (Ecône) was of the opinion that nominalism was at the basis of the deviations of Vatican II. Now, I’m not enough of a philosopher to be able to justify that particular claim for you, but I do believe that we really can’t discuss theology unless we agree on philosophy. I’m glad you know and like Feser. But the methodological error you made leaves me all the more puzzled: it was almost a textbook case.

  204. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear imrahill. Feser devotes basically a whole book to refuting and correcting the misunderstanding that you expressed in your post above concerning the proofs of the existence of God – “The Last Superstition”. It’s a great read. I recommend it.

  205. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Fr Jackson,

    thanks for the recommendation. When I have time…

    Yet, as the dear @Chicken correctly wrote, truth is one. It is, of course, quite true that among the things known as reason in English, there is a heavy difference between “insight” (I’m seeking for a better translation than “reason” for my mother tongue’s Vernunft, originally from “vernehmen”, to hear) and mere understanding, and mathematics is the latter part.

    Nevertheless I’m, perhaps also by my own profession (which I share with the SSPX’s previous superior general, for that matter), under the impression that the First, Second and Third Way intend to use understanding (being, if you will, mathematical), while the Fourth is philosophical, and the Fifth is, if you will, physical (in the extended sense as including chemistry and biology).

    Also, yes, if not mere understanding alone (relying on natural and argumentative certainties and not “a philosophical outlook of a certain sort” etc.) could prove God, I do not know whether the dogma would technically be satisfied, but what then is the practical difference to “you have to believe that, period”?

    I think, roughly, the First to Third Way achieve to do that if we exchange the argument “but there cannot be an infinite regress” (which, frankly, to the modern public is very much less clear that the existence of God intended to be proven) with a, granted artificial, collection of all moved movers, caused causes, or contingent beings to a total universe, and look at it from the outside. Especially the third one is very intuitive there; one would not even get the idea that it arguments with infinite regress, if it would not say so.

    But how single out a single cause and then look to the beginning of the chain? The statement “Any set of integers which has a maximum has also a minimum” is, after all, evidently false. (Note that I did, with this, acknowledge countability and the existence of a maximum. We do know the effect we look at is caused by a chain of causations; we do know that one cause causes another and not some weird intermixtion.)

  206. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear Ubiquitous,

    You bring up a topic to which we SSPX priests give much thought, naturally. In a nutshell, your typical response from an SSPX priest is going to go something like this: the original censures – I mean way back in the 1970’s – were incurred without moral fault. As proof, they might point to “nunquam abrogatum” of 2007: since those original censures were about forcing the New Mass on Ecône, the “nunquam abrogatum” declaration was viewed by the SSPX as a big vindication of the fight of Archbishop Lefebvre in the 1970’s. Historically, things “snowballed” from there… but still without moral fault… (Am I oversimplifying? Of course I am – this is a comment on a blog! :) But you get the idea.

  207. robtbrown says:

    The Ubiquitous says:
    robtbrown: If I didn’t know better I’d think that was trolling. You know what would be great about confession? If absolution were only a possibility even when all the regular conditions were met.

    And if I didn’t know better, I’d think that you had not written the comment above in which you said with certitude those absolutions were invalid. I have to admit that this is the first time I ever heard that mention of Suprema lex salus animarum and c. 144 could be construed as trolling.

    BTW, the confessions of those who continue to contracept, favor gay marriage or abortion on demand, what about those absolutions? Are they valid?

  208. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says:

    It is dogma that God is provable (said simplifyingly), but not that the Five Ways are the way to do it. Frankly, yes, the Five Ways deserve some additional thought (not neglecting). Of course not because they dared to prove God who be unprovable (as the, said simplifyingly, modernists constantly assert), but just because I do not believe we can, with certainty from natural arguments, hold the recourse-ad-infinitum impossible (which is more along the line of an “ipse Aristoteles dixit”, isn’t it?).

    No, I don’t think so. Although Aristotle advanced arguments for the Unmoved mover, St Thomas moved those arguments into the order of Esse. And St Thomas does not insist on the impossibility of an infinite series of causes–he grants that such a series of accidental causes is not impossible. The basis for the Quinque Viae is the impossibility of an infinite series of substantial causes. The difference is that an infinite series of substantial causes would have to exist simultaneously–not so an accidental series.

    Re abortifacients: We do not disagree, my point was that the German bishops did not allow for abortifacients as abortifacients. As some bluntly put it, they allowed for a pill that does not exist. Yet, as I said, whatever to be said about their policy, they did not allow for abortifacients.

    Are you saying German bishops had a meeting, then issued a public statement, about a pill that will not be used?

  209. robtbrown says:

    The 2d paragraph (No, I don’t . . . ) and the 4th (Are you saying . . . ) are my responses and should not be in bold characters.

  210. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jackson says:

    In brief, the mode of the scientific method is distinct from the mode of mathematical knowledge which is distinct yet again from the mode of metaphysical knowledge, and so on… (I think there’s something like 8 modes – can’t remember all of them…)

    Until I’m shown otherwise, I will consider the three degrees of abstraction, proposed by Maritain, are more than adequate.

    Abstracting from:
    mobile and sensible matter: Physical Knowledge
    sensible matter alone: Mathematical knowledge
    all matter: Metaphysical knowledge

    Jacques Maritain The Degrees of Knowledge.

  211. The Masked Chicken says:

    But the methodological error you made leaves me all the more puzzled: it was almost a textbook case.

    Really??

    Tarski’s Theorem applies to any statement in first-order sentential logic. You made a statement in 1st-order sentential logic. It applies. There is no Nominalism in it.

    You also seem to want to peg me as a dismissible scientist or mathematician who knows nothing about these issues. I have spent the last twenty years dealing with these issues. I am developing the first rigorous theory of incongruity for my research in humor (since humor is all about incongruity) and it explicitly incorporates the univocal, analogically, and equivocal ideas of St. Thomas. I also have to deal with such problems as microphysical supervenience, the problem of Universals and of Categories and Counterfactual and Possible World Logic. I know St. Thomas’s writings. I use them all of the time. I am a Thomist. You are simply projecting an assumption of what you think I am into the discussion, or so it seems it me (apologies if that isn’t the case).

    You have been making, it seems to me, instantiations about different things relating to the Mass (TLM and OF) and assuming that they comply with a particular metaphysical entities. I’m simply asking you to prove it. You claim that one Mass is Suprema lex, while the other is not. That is not a philosophical issue. That is not a metaphysical issue. That is a bald-face claim and I simply want proof.

    I haven’t been involved with the other issues raised, above, but what I am responding to is the idea that for, apparently, metaphysical reasons, you have problems with the legitimacy of the NO Mass. I see no metaphysical problems, per se, unless you define a universal in a way that isn’t really universal and the claim exceptions.

    By the way, I strongly suspect that if you ask Ed Feser, he will tell you that I hold to Thomism. Goodness knows, I spent enough time arguing for it over at the, What’s Wrong with the World, blog.

    The Chicken

  212. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jackson,

    That various censures applied to the SSPX by Rome would be considered unjust (i.e., without moral basis) doesn’t affect their juridical standing.

  213. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says,
    I think, roughly, the First to Third Way achieve to do that if we exchange the argument “but there cannot be an infinite regress”

    Infinite regress has nothing to do with the Quinque Viae. St Thomas says later in the Ia Pars that it cannot be known from reason that Time had a beginning, which means that it is possible that there be an infinite regress.

  214. Fr Jackson says:

    Dear robtbrown:

    You said: “Until I’m shown otherwise, I will consider the three degrees of abstraction, proposed by Maritain, are more than adequate.”

    The distinction of those three degrees is, of course, fundamental to any discussion of this kind. But they are not “adequate” to distinguish the sciences one from another: the mode of knowledge of mathematics and the mode of knowledge of the “scientific method” will both overlap somewhat in the second degree of abstraction, and yet their modes are different.

    Thank you for the excellent discussion, gentlemen. I might suggest it’s time to close off this old thread. Unfortunately, it did end in a disagreement about philosophy, and I think this is something we won’t resolve in comments on a blog post.

  215. robtbrown says:

    Fr Jackson,

    In the Degrees of Knowledge Maritain often references the overlaps you mention. The problem comes in preventing mathematics from usurping physical reality.

    IMHO, the inadequacies of Newtonian mechanics, with its notion of square cornered reality, are a consequence of overlaying a mathematical grid on physical reality. It is said that Newton tried to make physical reality conform to mathematics, and Einstein mathematics to physical reality.

  216. Imrahil says:

    Dear @robtbrown re No. 2,

    no. I said that the German bishops allowed for the morning-after pill on the assumption (as testified to them by a council of scientists) that it was not abortifacient, while in the meantime clearly stating that “if it was abortifacient, it would not be allowed to use it”.

    Which is something different from what you wrote and I would not like to see described the way you wrote.

    Whatever else to say about their way of action, in light of etc. that this classification as non-abortifacient be wrong. On this, some, assuming (according to my humble insight with better claims to correctness) that the morning-after pills in actual existence are all abortifacient, have said that “with this they did not allow the morning-after pills; they allowed a pill that does not in fact exist”.

    And that’s my last word on this topic. I don’t, though, mind discussing philosophy on this blog (pace @Fr Jackson; and returning the thanks to him).

  217. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says:
    2 March 2013 at 6:11 pm
    Dear @robtbrown re No. 2,

    no. I said that the German bishops allowed for the morning-after pill on the assumption (as testified to them by a council of scientists) that it was not abortifacient, while in the meantime clearly stating that “if it was abortifacient, it would not be allowed to use it”.

    I understand completely. It’s as if Churchill were told that the RAF was dropping water balloons on Dresden instead of incendiaries. He could simply say that he only approved water balloons.

    Meanwhile, Dresden burned.

    Which is something different from what you wrote and I would not like to see described the way you wrote.

    Why is it relevant whether you like it?

  218. Imrahil says:

    It is not necessary relevant whether I like it (though for me it is, and if the benevolent dictator of this combox does not delete what I wrote it seems to be okay to say so). It is, though, relevant whether it is different.

  219. Imrahil says:

    And yes, if Churchill only approved water balloons then it would be equally simplifying and, imho, oversimplifying to say Churchill approved the bombing.

  220. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says:
    And yes, if Churchill only approved water balloons then it would be equally simplifying and, imho, oversimplifying to say Churchill approved the bombing.

    You’re still missing the point.

    If Churchill’s approval had only been sought for water balloons, then his obvious question would have been: Why are you bother me to ask about water balloons?

    It’s the same with the German Bishops: Why would they be concerned with approving a pill that has no abortifacient effect?

  221. Imrahil says:

    Ah, now I think I’m getting the point. (And repeatedly breaking my promise to not say anything on the matter…)

    They said so because they were in a storm of bad press because a woman who had been drugged with date-rape drugs had been (reportedly) refused therapy at a Catholic hospital rather than give her a morning-after pill.

    (The report was not quite accurate. The emergency doctor called, seemingly on purpose, two Catholic hospitals although they do not participate in the programs in question – and even though other hospitals for other reasons do not participate there either; and the woman was mildly sent to another hospital. But ask the press to distinguish!)

    They said so, secondly, because it was all about what to do in Catholic hospitals where previously the morning-after pill was thought abortifacient. In the midst of this sort of public outrage, a comittee of scientists was assembled and this estimation was then reverted.

    Think about this what you will… but they did not think “hey, let’s make a statement about the morning-after pills”.

    To be clear on all this:
    If you say that Cardinal Meisner was badly counseled and acted imprudent… that’s a valid opinion.
    If you say that the German bishops fled before the wolves and looked for some cheap excuse for not having to bear witness to the truth… that is a valid opinion.
    If you say that the scientific assessment was wrong and the morning-after pill can be abortifacient, that is certainly a valid opinion.
    If you say that the Catholic Church in Germany gave the impression to give in to the hostile storm and to laxen her morality… that is a valid opinion.

    Just allow me to have no opinion on these. Except the last; this is, sadly, obviously true.

    But if you say it in no more detailed words than “the Catholic Church in Germany allowed abortifacients”, then there you would be wrong.

    An example of how to do criticism here – to silently go back to topic – was given on the German SSPX webpage. They, also, were adamantly clear that the erroneous judgment does not exist on the theological ground and the problem is in the estimation of the medicine (translated citations).

  222. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil wrote,

    An example of how to do criticism here – to silently go back to topic – was given on the German SSPX webpage. They, also, were adamantly clear that the erroneous judgment does not exist on the theological ground and the problem is in the estimation of the medicine (translated citations).

    You might be aware that such an approach is widely known as the Nuremberg Defense. It’s also known in the States as “passing the buck”.

    BTW, a very good friend publishes Kirchliche Umschau.

  223. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil,

    BTW, the problem you mention with application of the moral principle to the specific medication is commonly found in Moral theology based in Idealism: Affirm the moral precept, then find a way out of any application re grave matter. To be sure, the principle of clarus obscurus in human acts means that it’s possible that any such application can be very, very difficult. It seems to me, however, in this situation that the German bishops were glad to find a way out.

    IMHO, Rahner has a transcendental version of this in his Fundamental Option, according to which a moral precept would never be denied, but responsibility for violating it would almost disappear in the existential fog of the Fundamental Option. This of course, would all but eliminate the possibility for mortal sins of weakness with grave matter.

  224. acardnal says:

    robtbrown wrote, “It’s the same with the German Bishops: Why would they be concerned with approving a pill that has no abortifacient effect?”

    Great point!

  225. Imrahil says:

    Dear @robtbrown,
    It seems to me, however, in this situation that the German bishops were glad to find a way out.

    Right. They seem to have tried to find a way out out.

    Which was my point all the time. Their action was not denial of doctrine, but has all the looks of evasion.

    Which are, simply, different things. I do not say that evasion is legitimate; indeed I could very well imagine that someone reasonably prefers outright denial to evasion. But they are, anyway, different things.

    I did not to my knowledge throw up some principal moral problem.

  226. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says,

    Which are, simply, different things. I do not say that evasion is legitimate; indeed I could very well imagine that someone reasonably prefers outright denial to evasion. But they are, anyway, different things.

    Synderesis: Bonum faciundum malum vitandum.

    Evasion in this matter amounts to bonum vitandum.

  227. Imrahil says:

    You seem to believe you have to convince me that the German bishops’ actions were bad.

    All I say (all I say!) is that even if they were bad, they were different from what you in the beginning described them to be.

    Bonum vitare is something different than malum facere. Well… if they really craved for some scientists’ statement to be able to evade, this was an actual action, not only an omission. But even so: It is different (by which I do not mean better; by which I do not mean worse; by which I mean: different) than “allowing for abortifacients”.