SSPX reconciliation. I think it might happen.

I have said for years that the SSPX could be reconciled without all sorts of doctrinal declarations about points in Vatican II documents.

I see this at the NCRegister:

Cardinal Müller Expects SSPX to Recognize Disputed Council Teachings

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said he expects the Society of St. Pius X, which has always opposed the Second Vatican Council’s declarations on religious freedom and ecumenism, to “unreservedly recognize” freedom of religion as a human right, and an obligation to ecumenism.

In an interview in the June edition of the German publication Herder Korrespondenzthe prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that if one “wants to be fully Catholic, one must recognize the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.”

Cardinal Müller said he expects a recognition of all the Council declarations that deal with these issues, according to the interview, reported on the Austrian Catholic website, Kathpress, May 24.

His comments come after reports that the Society of St. Pius X, which continues to oppose key teachings of the Second Vatican Council regarding ecumenism, freedom of religion and aspects of liturgical reform, may be close to being recognized by the Holy See.

[…]

I am hearing things in the background.

Friends… I think this is going to happen.

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69 Responses to SSPX reconciliation. I think it might happen.

  1. Andrew D says:

    I hope it happens too but… after what happened to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, I’m afraid of what might happen if it does. Bergoglio has made it more than clear that he does not like and does not respect the Traditional Latin Mass.

  2. Gabriel Syme says:

    Thank you for this encouragement Father.

    When I first read of Cardinal Muellers statement, I originally feared it may have been the start of the “wheels coming off” after a period of progress (as per 2012).

    However, I am heartened by your post here – let us continue to hope and pray a settlement is reached.

  3. Stephanus83 says:

    That is good news. The SSPX is building a new seminary right now not far from where I live. If reconciliation happens, I’ll have a new mass option to visit from Charlottesville.

  4. Christ_opher says:

    It would be excellent to have SSPX in full communion, I do not know a massive amount about them but from what I have read and seen is wonderful.

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    I hope the SSPX knows what it is doing.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    From your lips to God’s ears.

  7. CatholicMD says:

    Over/under on how long after they get the FFI treatment?

  8. APX says:

    Yay!

    This would certainly create some ¡Hagan lío! fo sho.

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Sounds like a bit of frustrated saber-rattling from one who suspects he’s about to be circumvented.

  10. mtpensaventus says:

    We all hope for a reconcilliation, but Bishop Fellay just gave a lengthy interview with Ed Pentin and His Excellency made it quite clear that the Society cannot accept changes in Church teachings.

    Furthermore… What is this quote?: ‘if one “wants to be fully Catholic, one must recognize the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.”’ When last I checked, the Society prays for the Pope at every Mass, it met with His Holiness just recently, and it accepts CVII as a legitimate pastoral council, which it was. That quote is either taken out of context, or I fear it is irrelevant in essence.

    We pray for Bishop Fellay and the entire Society, but I don’t expect — nor do I wish to see — the Society cave on changes in Church teaching.

  11. CradleRevert says:

    Was this related at all to the good news that you couldn’t disclose a few months back, Father?

  12. JesusFreak84 says:

    What I don’t get is why this is a deal-breaker NOW, in the 21st century, when, AFAIK, the Society held the exact same positions prior to the 1988 break. Why was it OK for them to say that in 1984 but not 2016? (Mostly rhetorical question, though if anyone has light to shed on it, I’d be interested o.o )

  13. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I’m coming to trust Cardinal Mueller, whose job must be extremely frustrating.

    Nevertheless:

    What does it mean “to accept the Second Vatican Council”?
    What is an obligation TO ecumenism?
    Couldn’t Cardinal Mueller’s “expect” be taken not in the sense of “I anticipate that it will happen”, but rather in the sense “This is a sine qua non”?

  14. JustaSinner says:

    Can anyone explain to me how “freedom of religion” works? Is it so that peoples of the world can have this freedom; Christians in the Zagreb el-Markash, and the ability to convert Muslims? Or is it internal to the Church? If it is the latter, what? You have free will, so you can leave the Church. But freedom of religion so it is okay to leave the Church, not so much.

  15. Wryman says:

    What if this is the sort of “reconciliation” where trads get to do what they want to do, libs get to do what they want to do, advocates of x, y, and z all get to do what they want to do? Anything goes!
    And this is possible.
    In the church’s ecumenical efforts this principal has been named by popes as a guiding star: You don’t simply paper over differences for a false unity where we just agree to disagree and everything’s hunky-dory. Wouldn’t that rule apply here too?

  16. MattnSue says:

    I find interesting the dichotomy between how folks are reading the word “expects.” Optimists, like myself, read it in the same way as if his eminence said “I expect the Sun will rise tomorrow,” or “I expect that Donald Trump will tweet something foolish this week.” Others seem to see it in a more threatening manner, as in “I expect Cinderella to clean out the fireplace if she wants to go to the ball.”

    I suppose the issue lies with one’s perspective. Are there any German readers who have read the interview in its original language who could provide contextual commentary?

  17. AvantiBev says:

    “… to ‘unreservedly recognize’ freedom of religion as a human right, and an obligation to ecumenism.”

    Ecumenism? With the exception of the Bishop of Fano Italy, the bishops of the West seem to have descended into ecuMANIA; bathing in the River of Denial especially in regards to Islam. I would point out than when dealing with the Religion of Pieces you have to find a way to be ecumenical with a socio-political supremacist ideology that denies freedom of religion upon pain of death. Their Quran’s verse about “no compunction in religion” was abrogated by later Medina verses.

    I don’t know how the SSPX can achieve both but I wish them well. Now can we “unreservedly recognize” our fellow Christians are being butchered while imams are enfolded in episcopal embrace?

  18. Quanah says:

    What an immense blessing this would be. So many have been yearning for this and storming the gates of heaven with their prayers for so long.

  19. arga says:

    Although Muller’s position sounds like he could easily obstruct the reconciliation, we know that the pope considers his CDF chief to be irrelevant, because to this pope, doctrine is irrelevant. So, irony of ironies, no worries — the SSPX is IN — the unshakeable defender of traditional doctrine will be admitted — because to this pope, doctrine is irrelevant. Wrap your minds around that one.

  20. benedetta says:

    This is good news. I am keeping this in prayer.

    I met a young student over the last year who attended a Catholic girls’ school near the border between New York and Canada, on the NY side, this year, and coincidentally had met the very beautiful young and smart Dominicans who teach her and her fellow students a couple years before that. They are affiliated with St. Pius X. This young lady was so refreshing and articulate, I was so encouraged to meet her, and I know for sure now that this school is doing excellent work for girls and young ladies, so needed. They have a wonderful classical curriculum and incorporate the beauty of the arts, and they build character and have a thoroughly Catholic identity. They also engage in all the works of mercy, as a group, and, from what this young woman related, in personal terms and daily decisions, also very hopeful to encounter. I just do not see why these students should have to suffer from the scandal of our separation one moment longer. I think they deserve our reconciliation as Catholic Christians, showing that we do bear, and forbear, with one another, in charity, for the sake and good of them our Church. If they visit the Vatican on a senior class trip, they ought to have the sacraments there just as any other Catholic, and know too on pilgrimage that it is their house as much as anyone’s, and that through the communion of saints and the trinity we are surely always united.

  21. demivalka says:

    I hope that this instance is not a case of winning the battle and losing the war. If the situation is spun by the enemies of the Church (within and without) that the SSPX was welcomed under the big tent without having to acknowledge certain points concerning Vatican II, will the reconciliation be used to argue that a precedent has been set that other bishops/groups under the big tent are free to disavow elements of other counsels. If this means that the SSPX gets a mulligan on V2 and the the German Bishops’ Conference gets one on Trent, this is not a good trade. How many times have we seen the Church damaged by spin that runs in the face of realities. Think of B16’s phrase of the “counsel of the media.”

  22. Imrahil says:

    There are some signs that it might happen. Let’s hope.

    However, what Cardinal Müller is doing here, by making such a statement, is to put obstacles in the way of its happening. It’s like “we’re very happy to get a reconciliation with you, but it is indispensable that you lose you face for it.” Humanly speaking, of course, but we are dealing with men after all. The good thing is that according to reports, the Holy Father does not so much think that way.

    It had long been known that Cdl Müller doesn’t like them. Nor they him (though they may have come to respect what he does as CDF head against the liberals).

    (Cdl Müller speaking out in that way may even be a sign of its possibly but in a twisted way: that he feels the need to put up such an obstacle right now… of course, he may also just have answered an interview question with what he has always said on the matter. I don’t know the situation.)

    Adherents of the old rite often have had less to fear from liberal bishops than from conservative bishops (who, perhaps, feel the need to prove that some barrier to the right exists even for them.)

  23. GypsyMom says:

    Fr. Z, there is a Society of Pius V chapel within walking distance of my house. I don’t really know much about them, but if this reconciliation happens, would it include this group, as well?

    [No. It would not include them. They have far greater problems.]

  24. Eliane says:

    I have two concerns to share and hope I am wrong on both counts:

    First, the nature of “ecumenism” as played out in the Vatican II spirit. In practical shorthand “ecumenism” means that anyone who objects to something in Catholicism can claim the high ground and some official church authority must apologize for all of our former wrongheadedness. SSPX of course has rightly rejected this ridiculous falling-on-the-sword act. Is Fellay now going to fall on his sword and extol the glories of Luther and the Muslims then claim Lefebvre didn’t really get it right after all?

    Second and most important, if Fellay gets a personal prelature, where does that leave Summorum Pontificum? Some now participating in the latter would likely move to the SSPX with the view that it is a higher Catholic expression, especially if they are being made to feel less than welcome in the Vatican II church. Bishops who currently refuse to honor SP — and they do abound — would be totally comforted in their hostility. Could SP be completely abolished by the current pope, who possibly could justify that with the creation of the personal prelature? And if SP is weakened or wiped out, where would that leave the mainstream church as it continues to implode from lack of membership by the millennial generation, which seems no more attracted by the Novus Ordo than Lefevbre was?

    I hope Fellay has some answers.

  25. Joseph-Mary says:

    We have, still do, and will continue to need the SSPX to hold fast to the traditions of holy mother Church.

  26. Benedict Joseph says:

    Is it not indicative of the past fifty years of Roman Catholic turmoil that the issues of religious freedom and ecumenism became central to the interior unity of the Faith? That these marginal notions are given pride of place it at least counterproductive, if not simply absurd. How they ever came to occupy pride of place in the quiver of the heterodox would be questionable but for the fact that their effect has been not to engender unity, but to fracture Roman Catholicism yet again. In the meantime protestantism has been reduced to a shadowed memory over the past fifty years. One can barely discern the Christian element in the mainline protestant communities. They appear only as sociological stalls of deism. It seems there are those in high places that prefer to ignore the current state of protestantism and are adamant to follow its course into oblivion. This is the same constituency that clings to confected urgencies such as “read the signs of times.” Well, yeah, read them. Do you really want to go there? It seems so. Does the Society? Put the brakes on.
    The “witness” of the Society, and I do not use that word without gravity, has always edified me and for that I am most grateful. For the sake of the whole Church and for themselves they need stand firm against hypotheticals which presently have pride of place in Roman Catholic circles and which have proved fatally toxic to large numbers of the faithful – and indeed to Western culture.
    My estimation of Rome’s current approach is to provide hospitality to the Society and the broader group of traditional Catholics in their own corral while they become extinct and have the chrysalis of Roman Catholicism politely commandeered by the new entity. For this to be successful it requires the current ambiguity while employing a decidedly firm appeal to our tradition of obedience.
    I recall from theological studies an obsession with a high-minded principled ecumenism utilized to undermine any expression of orthodoxy or piety, all in the cause of “…that they all may be one, as …” The heterodox within the Roman Catholicism cling to the current structure in order to claim the credibility provided by its pedigree. That is the best that can be gleaned regarding their intention. The financial security provided by the institution they debase is vital for the inauguration of their new and improved kungian kasparian katholicism and ultimately to their personal financial security.
    Those driving this scenario appears to reference High-Low Anglicanism as a model for their vision, but we all know where it leads. It bespeaks the degree of groundless fantasy, wishful thinking, and ruthless confection employed in justifying the establishment of a self-comfort zone termed church, yet devoid of the governance provided by Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium.
    New wine. New skins. New address. Maybe even a new continent.
    God preserve us.

  27. Ambivalent. Part of me thinks SSPX is strategically better as a variable that cannot be ignored by the Vatican. Sort of like the German High Seas Fleet in WWI. But, within the fold, it might do much good. As long as it remained a ram not a wether. I fully accept V2 too. Whatever that means.

  28. FranzJosf says:

    Abp. Pozzo says one thing, Card. Mueller another. I read the whole article, and still can’t make sense of the apparent contradictions. Is there some kind of context or mistranslated idiom that is missing from the Cardinal’s statement?

    In any case, I can’t imagine that the SSPX will not continue to criticize ecumenism as presently practiced. But, in my opinion, we need them on our side, fully recognized.

    In not unrelated news: Card. Sarah is promoting ad orientem again.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/05/26/vatican-liturgy-chief-urges-priests-to-celebrate-mass-facing-east/

  29. optiksguy says:

    At first I thought ++Muller was a bit unfair in characterizing the SSPX position. As I understand them, SSPX recognizes the Pope, and are not in favor of compelling people to be Catholic (rather, they still believe in extra Ecclesiam nulla salus). But then I wonder if that was the point? It would be easy for the SSPX to agree to these conditions, since they already believe these things?

  30. interminomaris says:

    Why must Vatican 2 be recognized in order to be “fully Catholic”?

    Were Saints and faithful and clergy before Vatican 2 not “fully Catholic”?

    What if we were to discover tomorrow a forgotten island — where for the past 60 years Catholics have lived in isolation but continued to practice their faith the way it was transmitted to them by their forefathers… would they be considered to be HALF Catholics, and not “fully Catholic”, if they raised questions to the transformation of their Church?

    What does Canon law say is the requirement to be “fully Catholic”?

    I thought it was belief in the Creed, belief in the real presence, and obedience to Tradition…

  31. Geoffrey says:

    I suppose I am fine with reconciliation and formal recognition of the SSPX. Their false views on Vatican II are no different than the views held by liberal-progressives, in that both get it wrong. If we can live side-by-side with one, we can live side-by-side with the other.

    What still bothers me is that the SSPX bishops were automatically excommunicated for disobeying the Vicar of Christ and being consecrated bishops. But then another Vicar of Christ lifts these excommunications without the SSPX Bishops having to publicly repent of their original offence. That is what I do not get.

  32. Kathy C says:

    What happened to them?

  33. clarinetist04 says:

    Seems like good news. I fear, though, that the well is poisoned – it is no secret the enmity of some of the priests and leadership of the SSPX toward the current papacy. They’ve preached it from the pulpit for years and when the order reconciles with Rome that’s just going to stop? I don’t think so.

    The larger issue of charity among the parties aside, I don’t see this going all that well. But I’ll entrust it to the Blessed Mother and pray for everyone involved and reconciliation among brothers.

  34. Mark Smith says:

    Father, you’ve also said this:

    ” 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 stay there until the Pope will admit them.  They should beg the Pope to let them kiss his shoe, accept their promises of obedience, and then regularize them before he, ( Pope Benedict ) resigns.”

    Should the Lord tarry on His return I believe these faithful sons and daughters of the church will be regarded by history as true heroes of the faith. Your advice was intemperate, humiliating, and insulting notwithstanding your honest desire for their spiritual welfare. These folks deserve an olive branch from you for this old comment and I believe the Pope of Christian Unity whose shoe you invoked would approve it’s giving.

  35. Ben Kenobi says:

    Cdl Mueller arguing that they have to recognize the Pope and Vatican II? Not really news. Fellay arguing the same? Big news. The issue’s not been on the Catholic side of the line for a long time, but rather Fellay et al not biting the bullet. We shall see.

  36. interminomaris says:

    Father Z, make sure you read the National Catholic Register interview with Bishop Fellay.

    HERE:

    http://sspx.org/en/national-catholic-register-interviews-bp-fellay

    Bishop Fellay (SSPX): “but what they [Rome] say is that the questioning of religious liberty, of Nostra Aetate, of the other relations, of ecumenism, even to a great extent the liturgical reform, are no longer a cause of separation from the Church. In other words, you can question these things and remain Catholic. That means also the criteria they would impose on us, to have us prove to them that we are Catholic, will no longer be these points. That, to us, would be very important.”

  37. iamlucky13 says:

    @ mtpensaventus
    “We all hope for a reconcilliation, but Bishop Fellay just gave a lengthy interview with Ed Pentin and His Excellency made it quite clear that the Society cannot accept changes in Church teachings.”

    What teaching was changed? Was there ever an infallible teaching that individuals do not have the right to profess another religion, even if incorrect? Pope Benedict has argued otherwise (section IV), and that past papal statements on the matter condemn treating all beliefs as equally valid, but do not justify penalizing those who hold false beliefs.

    To a degree, denying religious freedom seems like it would contradict the doctrine of free will. More plainly, it certainly does not engender genuine faith if someone becomes Catholic because they can be legally punished for refusing, rather than because they have rationally considered Catholic teaching, or at least witnessed the piety and charity of others who have, and chosen of their own will to become Catholic. I daresay the former is no closer to salvation, and may even be further from it, than someone who does not recognize the legitimacy of the Catholic Church, but at least does not resent it.

    I do not know if there is a more significant or nuanced foundation to the Society’s objections to the Vatican II statements on religious freedom, etc, but on the basis of my shallow understanding of the matter, it sounds like their objection has taken on undue emphasis within the Society, if not constituting an outright error on their part.

    I concur that recognizing the Pope is not an issue. However, I’ve encountered no shortage of people who think the SSPX is a sedevacantist organization. I guess some must want the Society to reiterate formally that they are not, which would at least be helpful in order to more formally correct those who believe they are sedevacantist.

    @ JesusFreak84

    “What I don’t get is why this is a deal-breaker NOW, in the 21st century, when, AFAIK, the Society held the exact same positions prior to the 1988 break. Why was it OK for them to say that in 1984 but not 2016?”

    It seems to me that prior to 1988, the matter was largely one of (heated) theological discourse. With the defiance of Pope John Paul II on the consecration of new bishops, the Society took a far more concrete step. That might then merit a more concrete show of assent to correct the resulting scandal, formally initiate the reconciliation, and lead to the end of their suspension.

    Whether that much is truly necessary, I don’t know. However, I do think that it will be of overall benefit to the Church, showing plainly their unity with the Church to those who think otherwise. Likewise, it will help overcome doubts that the Extraordinary Form might be illegitimate, on the basis of many people identifying it with a suspended society.

  38. Tiber Swimmer 2012 says:

    Can anyone imagine where the capillary waves will take this one?!?!?

    ……………Rorate Caeli might even have to shut down.

  39. WmHesch says:

    It will happen on 29 JUNE- feast of Sts. Peter & Paul and near anniversary of the Ecône consecrations.

    It certainly has to happen before the close of the Holy Year- otherwise the Holy Father is put in the awkward position of extending their faculties…

  40. Jackie L says:

    I would love to see this happen, but until it does, it’s seemed so close, so many times I’m not optimistic, or pessimistic, but numb to it.

  41. Robbie says:

    I would gladly welcome the reconciliation of the SSPX , but I’m not sure whether this is the right time for reconciliation. For starters, the case of the FFI is still fresh in my mind. I also think/fear there is enough dissension in the SSPX about Francis that any reconciliation by Bishop Fellay could cause a good portion of the SSPX clergy to split off and take refuge with Bishop Williamson.

  42. IHSV says:

    @mtpensaventus
    Another publication that I read also quoted the bishop as saying “One must accept as a Catholic principles, ecumenism and religious liberty,” (minor, slight paraphrasing). Perhaps they are all misquotes. I hope so.

    However, to answer your question, either the bishop or the misquoter in this article is referring to both ‘Dignitatis humanae’ and ‘Nostra aetate,’ which is a long thing the SSPX has kept with, pointing out the errors in this concillar and non-binding documents.

    Mind you, I’m not SSPX, I don’t go to SSPX “Mass centers.” But… Frankly… I totally agree with them on these points, so apparently I’m not Catholic either, ha… Perish the thought, Lord, give me the Grace to die in Thy Holy, unending Faith.

  43. Papabile says:

    Cardinal Ratzinger reconciled a major group of Feeneyites in the Northeast even though they did not change their position on extra ecclesiam nulla salus by one iota.

    There used to be a pdf letter under his signature on the web that explained it.

    His reasoning was that their stated belief was within the realm of Catholic tradition and while not the common belief, was still acceptable.

    Ever since reading that letter, I have had an extremely hard time understanding why this logic could not also apply to the SSPX.

    And, when looking at it, those Feeneyites understanding of the necessity for Baptism for salvation is arguably a heck of a lot more important that arguments about ecumenism.

  44. mtpensaventus says:

    There are many documents which blatantly contradict the new idea of the right to freedom of religion. The very foundation is understanding what a right actually is… St Thomas Aquinas says you don’t have a right to act against God. These people who are not Catholic can be tolerated by the State but they don’t have a right to choose another religion. This is what the Church traditionally means by religious liberty. Secondly, if you believe the doctrine of Christ the King, you know that Our Lord is the King of ALL NATIONS: Catholic and saecular — so says Psalm 116, right? . Finally, Pope Pius IX condemns the idea at least twice — in his Syllabus of Errors, and in his encyclical “Quanta cura”. The traditional idea of religious freedom is tainted in our minds by the US Constitution, which mixes up what a right actually is.
    :)

  45. robtbrown says:

    Legisperitus says:

    Sounds like a bit of frustrated saber-rattling from one who suspects he’s about to be circumvented.

    I think you’re right.

    Cardinal Mueller de facto blocked reconciliation under BXVI by insisting that the SSPX sign a document agreeing to the above criteria, which of course Msgr Felley did not. (I know an interesting detail about it that I’ll not make public). Papa Bergoglio seems to have taken the Cardinal out of the situation via de centralization–faculties were given directly to the SSPX.

  46. lairdangusmcangus says:

    This is probably the most dangerous hour for the SSPX and its friends.

    Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us.
    Our Lady, Undoer of knots, pray for us.
    Our lady of Fatima, pray for us.
    Our Lady of Akita, pray for us.
    Our Lady of LaSalette, pray for us.
    St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

    This “post-doctrinal” pope worries me greatly. If he recognizes the Society without in any way acknowledging the legitimacy of their claims–essentially declaring them Roman Catholic by fiat–what is to prevent him from doing the same with truly schismatic Catholics and heretics?

    Don’t believe in the divinity of Christ? That’s ok–we’re beyond dogma, now. “You get communion!”

    Support abortion, homosexual marriage, divorce and remarriage? Bah! More dogma. “You get communion!”

    Reject the apostolic succession, the real presence, and the communion of saints? Welcome back, brother Luther! “You get communion!”

    I don’t mean to be uncharitable. I truly do hope for reconciliation. But should it not be an honest reconciliation? A reconciliation on such terms seems to me to be a repudiation of everything the Society has stood for since Archbishop Lefebvre’s courageous “Non!” It means, expressly, that anyone can be Catholic if the Pope says so.

    Furthermore, I worry about what this Pope would do if he were unleashed from traditionalist pressure. If he could claim, legitimately, that he was the Pope of unity, that he–not JPII or BXVI–was the one who finally healed the rift with the traditionalists in the SSPX, imagine the freedom of innovation he would enjoy! He could do…anything.

    Look, I know that in the end, the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady will triumph. I trust the Jesus will protect his Church, in her essence, against the gates of hell and the depredations of Churchmen alike.

    But I will also listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit in this. Right now, it seems to be whispering (to me, anyway), “Caution!”

  47. Skeinster says:

    Robbie,
    Never mind Pope Francis. If you have spent decades talking about ” Eternal Rome” vs. “Conciliar Rome”, that split was predestined.
    Bp. Fellay and his fellow bishops are in a tough spot and need our prayers.

  48. tominrichmond says:

    The SSPX will not budge on its positions, nor should it.

    Despite this, when, Deo volente, regularization occurs, some unknown number of SSPXers, especially in fever swamp America, will claim it’s a compromise, and climbing into bed with Modernist Rome, etc. Williamson and his ilk will scoop up these folks, who would likely never agree to any reconciliation, not wanting to give up their status as heroic outsiders.

    Yet, what good could result to the Church universal with the infusion of 600 young, quality priests and somewhere around 1 million faithful. Faithful, by the way, who will finally have valid marriages and confessions, notwithstanding the tenuous claims of the Society to have “supplied jurisdiction.”

    I pray this happens post haste.

  49. Thorfinn says:

    My sense is that optiksguy is on the right track. If what +Mueller is referencing is a hurdle, +Fellay’s comments indicate it is now small enough (boiled down closer to the minimum) that they’re in a position to clear those without getting tripped up. Or, alternatively, they could just walk around the hurtle into regularization and look at it from the other side. The way the Holy Father tends to operate I expect the solution will be somewhat mysterious before it is announced and remain something of a head-scratcher afterwards — even if the SSPX gets the clarity they’ve insisted on.

    +Mueller’s comments could also refer to what +Fellay will accept vs. what the most inflexible members of the SSPX will accept…

  50. FranzJosf says:

    So what does it mean to be fully Catholic? (I’m a convert or revert, depending upon how you look at.) I once worked for an Archbishop who was on some ecumenical board or other with the Eastern Orthodox. He told me two things: 1) the Orthodox possess the “means of salvation” (his exact words) and that private revelation is not part of the Deposit of Faith. In other words, one could even be skeptical about Fatima, say, and still be Catholic. On the other hand the Creed isn’t enough, because Lutherans recite the Nicene Creed. When I was confirmed he handed me a 3 by 5 card that said: I believe all that is held and taught by the Catholic Church. Years later, I told him that I had some problems with some things in Gaudium et Spes. He said that that was no problem and didn’t excommunicate me. But, on the other hand, I’m not publicly proclaiming anything.

  51. robtbrown says:

    Robbie says:

    I would gladly welcome the reconciliation of the SSPX , but I’m not sure whether this is the right time for reconciliation. For starters, the case of the FFI is still fresh in my mind. I also think/fear there is enough dissension in the SSPX about Francis that any reconciliation by Bishop Fellay could cause a good portion of the SSPX clergy to split off and take refuge with Bishop Williamson.

    The FFI is under the Congregation for Religious. If the SSPX is a Personal Prelature, as expected, it will probably be like Opus Dei, under the Cong for Bishops.

    Those in the SSPX with objection to reconciliation have probably already left.

  52. robtbrown says:

    I would like to ask Cardinal Mueller one question:

    Your Eminence, what you say indicates that you accept Vat II. Sacrosanctum Concilium permits vernacular liturgy but is fairly clear that Latin is to have priority. The situation now in the Church is that not only does Latin liturgy not have priority, it is not even close to being equal in practice to the vernacular.

    In your 10 years as ordinary of Regensburg, what did you do to try to rectify this anti-Vat II liturgical situation?

  53. albizzi says:

    The freedom of religion according to the VATII council contradicts the “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” dogma, and the Ecumenism is not a dogma. Therefore both are in no way binding on the catholic faithfuls and a fortiori on the SSPX.

  54. albizzi says:

    The freedom of religion according to the VATII council contradicts the “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” dogma, and the Ecumenism is not a dogma. Therefore both are in no way binding on the catholic faithfuls and a fortiori on the SSPX.

  55. robtbrown says:

    albizzi says:

    The freedom of religion according to the VATII council contradicts the “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” dogma, and the Ecumenism is not a dogma. Therefore both are in no way binding on the catholic faithfuls and a fortiori on the SSPX.

    I have pointed out more than once on this blog that any doctrinal problems between Rome and the SSPX have already been settled.

    And you’re wrong about Religious Liberty contradicting Non est salus extra ecclesiam. One LIBERAL interpretation of Religious Liberty contradicts it, but it’s not obligatory to use that interpretation. In fact, in light of Non est salus, etc., the obligation is not to use it.

  56. jhayes says:

    Albizzi wrote: the “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” dogma

    That requires careful explanation to avoid misunderstandings. Here’s what the Catechism says about it.

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

  57. iamlucky13 says:

    @ mtpensaventus
    “St Thomas Aquinas says you don’t have a right to act against God.”

    I have no argument with that much, but the practical question is to what degree violation of that principle is to be restricted by earthly authority or to be weighed by heavenly authority in our particular judgements.

    “Finally, Pope Pius IX condemns the idea at least twice — in his Syllabus of Errors, and in his encyclical “Quanta cura”.”

    The reference I made about Pope Benedict XVI (while he was still Prefect of the CDF) specifically referenced Quanta Cura and rejected that interpretation of it, limiting it to a far more narrow interpretation than a ban on permitting anyone to profess a faith other than the Catholic faith. The letter by Pope Benedict is non-magisterial as I understand it, but it does reconcile what seemed to be a difference between an encyclical and a Council. Barring that, I sense we’d be playing the liberal game of picking and choosing personal magisteriums.

    @ albizzi
    “The freedom of religion according to the VATII council contradicts the “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” dogma”

    No. The two are related but distinct, and in fact necessarily compatible. The first deals with a right of individuals to be free from coercion in their beliefs in their earthly life. The second deals with salvation. Because belief in the Catholic faith points the path to salvation, they are related, but do not confuse freedom of religion with equality of religion. Saying that someone has an earthly right to profess another religion is quite plainly not the same as saying they can attain salvation through that religion.

    Individuals do have a right to reject truth. Even the angels had the same right. That is free will. Doing so leads to “nulla salus” – there is no contradiction there, hence why Vatican II included a warning quote from Our Lord, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16; Dignitatis Humanae 11)

    I say compatibility of these principles is necessary because the opposite is clearly not true: Coercion of beliefs is a contradiction in terms. What actually results instead is coercion of profession, which is arguably dangerous to the soul of the person who lies in their profession, because it hides the need to evangelize to them, even if by some miracle it didn’t foster outright resentment of the Truth.

  58. Papabile says:

    Jhayes:

    You cite the Catechism on Extra ecclesiam…. the point I made above was that when Cardinal Ratzinger reconciled about half of the Northeastern Feenyites, he did so specifically allowing them to dissent from the Catechism’s interpretation. He held it to be within the historical realm of Catholic belief and reconciled them anyway.

  59. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Ever since reading that letter, I have had an extremely hard time understanding why this logic could not also apply to the SSPX.”

    SSPX has never recognized the authority of the current pope, or any popes since Vat II, whereas Feeneyites do and did. Also, presumable, Feeneyites were ordained by actual bishops.

  60. Mike says:

    If the SSPX were to cave on the integrity of worship and the problematic documents of the Council, as the Vatican insists, it might get regularized but would lose its raison d’être. Thus I don’t see anything like a reconciliation in the foreseeable future.

  61. robtbrown says:

    iamlucky13,

    It is helpful that nothing written before Joseph Ratzinger was pope be attributed to BXVI.

  62. robtbrown says:

    Ben Kenobi says:

    SSPX has never recognized the authority of the current pope, or any popes since Vat II, whereas Feeneyites do and did. Also, presumable, Feeneyites were ordained by actual bishops.

    1. SSPX priests were also ordained by actual bishops.

    2. The SSPX has never been a sede vacante institute, thus it has recognized those popes.

    3. There’s more to the question of authority, however, than you seem to realize.

    nb:

    a. Papal authority to promulgate a new missal.
    b. Papal authority to promulgate a new mass.
    c. Papal authority to abrogate the Roman Rite.

    Recognizing “a” is a simple acknowledgement of the authority of the Pope.

    The “b” proposition is more difficult. Judically, promulgating a new mass would probably fall under the authority noted in “b”. Morally, however, is another matter, especially when the intention is the suppression, accomplished via pressure and persecution rather than law, of the Roman Rite.

    Paul VI avoided the problem of “c” by using the aforementioned pressure.
    And there is also the text at the end of Quo Primum:

    Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    Some have argued that such a text is infallible, but that is incorrect–it doesn’t directly concern doctrine. Thus, infallibility does not apply.

    Others, on the other side, have insisted that disciplinary proscription by Pius V (no one can alter the permission) loses its efficacy once his papacy ends. The problem with that is that the notice of the wrath of God and the Apostles seems to me an accurate prediction of what has actually happened following the de facto suppression of the Roman Rite.

  63. robtbrown says:

    If I might add an example:

    The pope has the juridal authority to bulldoze St Peter’s Square. Whether he has the moral authority, however, is another matter.

  64. jhayes says:

    Papabile, i don’t recall a statement by Cardinal Ratzinger at the time of the reconciliation of (some of) the Feeneyites. I’d appreciate it if you can point me to the one you mentioned.

    Here is what he said a couple of months ago, in response to an interview question

    [Question]…The teaching, formalized in the Council of Trent, in the passage with regard to the judgment of the good and the evil, later radicalized by the Jansenists, was taken up in a much more restrained way in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cfr. § 5 633, 1037). Can it be said that on this point, in recent decades, there has been a kind of “development of dogma” that the Catechism should definitely take into account?

    Benedict XVI: There is no doubt that on this point we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma While the fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could still be of the opinion that, essentially, the whole human race had become Catholic and that paganism existed now only on the margins, the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the modern era radically changed perspectives. In the second half of the last century it has been fully affirmed the understanding that God cannot let go to perdition all the unbaptized and that even a purely natural happiness for them does not represent a real answer to the question of human existence. If it is true that the great missionaries of the 16th century were still convinced that those who are not baptized are forever lost – and this explains their missionary commitment – in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council that conviction was finally abandoned.

    From this came a deep double crisis. On the one hand this seems to remove any motivation for a future missionary commitment. Why should one try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it? But also for Christians an issue emerged: the obligatory nature of the faith and its way of life began to seem uncertain and problematic. If there are those who can save themselves in other ways, it is not clear, in the final analysis, why the Christian himself is bound by the requirements of the Christian faith and its morals. If faith and salvation are no longer interdependent, faith itself becomes unmotivated.

    Lately several attempts have been formulated in order to reconcile the universal necessity of the Christian faith with the opportunity to save oneself without it. I will mention here two:…

    HERE

    It’s worth noting that the Holy Office (now CDF) letter rejecting Feeney’s position was written many years before Vatican II – so, the evolution had already begun before the Council.

  65. robtbrown says:

    Benedict XVI: There is no doubt that on this point we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma While the fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could still be of the opinion that, essentially, the whole human race had become Catholic and that paganism existed now only on the margins, the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the modern era radically changed perspectives.

    With all due respect to the Pope Emeritus, who is renown for his learning, I don’t understand how he can say that.

    1. The Church was well aware of Moslems, not only in the Holy Land (Crusades) but also with their move into Spain.

    2. St Thomas was familiar with work of the great Arabic philosophers (Avicenna, Al Farabi, Averroes) and was also a member of a religious order founded a few years before his birth by a Spaniard. In fact, the Summa Contra Gentiles was written as an aid to missionaries to the Moslems.

    3. St Thomas’ theology makes adequate provision for the possible salvation of those who are not Christian without contradicting Non est salus extra ecclesiam.

  66. acardnal says:

    Ben Kenobi wrote, “SSPX has never recognized the authority of the current pope, or any popes since Vat II, . . . “

    In support of robtbrown’s reply to you, your statement is not correct. The SSPX is not sedevacantist. Furthermore, they believe that Francis is the legitimate Pope (as were all the other post-V2 popes) and pray for him by name in every Mass they celebrate! They also have his photograph in their seminaries.

    From their website: HERE

  67. jhayes says:

    Correction on tne date of Benecict’s interview. The transcript was “recently published” as of the March 17, 2016 article I linked, but the original (German) version was presented last October.

    The discussion with Fr. Jacques Servais, SJ, took place ahead of an October, 2015 conference in Rome studying the doctrine of justification by faith.

  68. jhayes says:

    robtbrown. I take it that he means the opening of sea routes to North and South America, India and China, all of which happened around 1500 – after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, which is normally taken as the end of the Middle Ages.

    His reasoning reminded me of his 2005 Christmas address in which he said that some differences between Pio Nono’s Syllabus of Errors and the VII documents related to the differences between the French and American revolutions – and that it was necessary to distinguish between basic principles and contingent statements related to the context of a particular time.

    In the meantime, however, the modern age had also experienced developments. People came to realize that the American Revolution was offering a model of a modern State that differed from the theoretical model with radical tendencies that had emerged during the second phase of the French Revolution

  69. Maineman1 says:

    Is Vatican II the uber alles Council which trumps all prior councils? I am disturbed by the single focus on this one modern council to to apparent ignorance of all prior infallible ecclesial gatherings.

    I move closer to the Orthodox each and every day.