Would a Personal Prelature by good for SSPX?

A reader sent me to Le Salon Beige for a piece about how the vicar of Opus Dei (a personal prelature) thinks that a personal prelature structure could work for the SSPX:

Prélature personnelle pour la FSSPX : une bonne solution selon l’Opus Dei

Fernando_ocarizTandis que le Saint-Père a déjà indiqué qu’il était disposé à concéder à la Fraternité Saint Pie X le statut de prélature personnelle, cette dernière vient d’avoir le soutien du vicaire auxiliaire de l’Opus Dei. En effet, jusqu’ici, le statut de prélature personnelle, créé par le concile Vatican II (n°10 du décret Presbyterorum ordinis du 7 décembre 1965, Code de droit canonique ), n’a été appliqué que dans le cas de la Prélature de la Sainte-Croix – Opus Dei , érigée par le pape Jean-Paul II en 1982. La FSSPX pourrait devenir la seconde prélature personnelle de l’histoire de l’Église.

Le vicaire auxiliaire de l’Opus Dei, Mgr Fernando Ocáriz Braña, a été interrogé à propos de la possibilité d’octroyer une prélature personnelle à la FSSPX. Il assure que ce serait « une bonne solution ». Le vicaire auxiliaire de l’Opus Dei soutient que

« devant la réalité de centaines de prêtres et de milliers de fidèles dans différents pays, la prélature personnelle apporterait une solution adéquate, car elle est constituée d’un prélat comme ordinaire propre, d’un clergé et de fidèles laïcs » et, par ailleurs, « une structure hiérarchique, avec juridiction ordinaire, sans pour autant constituer une Église particulière ».[…]

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52 Responses to Would a Personal Prelature by good for SSPX?

  1. JARay says:

    Well, certainly Mgr Fernando Ocáriz Braña thinks that it is a good idea because it would have the effect of a local Ordinary, effective in all countries but without creating a separate “Church”. In other words it would be within the Latin Church, just like all other bishops, but without creating something outside of it. It seems that this works well enough for Opus Dei. My own opinion is that this is true but my opinion counts for nothing!

  2. JonPatrick says:

    The Google translate into English:
    Personal Prelature for the SSPX: a good solution for Opus Dei

    While the Holy Father has said it was willing to grant the SSPX the status of personal prelature, it has to have the support of the auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei. Indeed, so far, the status of personal prelature, created by the Second Vatican Council (No. 10 of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis of 7 December 1965 Code of Canon Law), has been applied only in the case of the Prelature of the Holy Cross – Opus Dei, erected by Pope John Paul II in 1982. the SSPX could become the second personal prelature of the history of the Church.

    The auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei, Bishop Fernando Braña Ocáriz, was questioned about the possibility of granting a personal prelature in the SSPX. He assured that it would be “a good solution.” The auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei argues that

    “Before the reality of hundreds of priests and thousands of faithful in different countries, the personal prelature bring an adequate solution because it consists of a prelate as its own Ordinary, a clergy and laity” and, moreover “a hierarchical structure, with ordinary jurisdiction, without constituting a particular Church.” […]

  3. FranzJosf says:

    In my opinion a Personal Prelature might be okay, but an Ordinariate would be better. If I understand correctly, a PP needs the permission of the local bishop to operate in his territory, whereas an ordinariate does not. In a PP could a bishop who doesn’t want the SSPX in his diocese close down an SSPX ‘parish’ with 600 faithful that has been operating there for 20 years?

  4. robtbrown says:

    While the Holy Father has said it was willing to grant the SSPX the status of personal prelature, it has to have the support of the auxiliary Vicar of Opus Dei.

    Not a good translation of the second clause, which says that the Pope needs the support of the Opus Dei vicar.

    Better that it be something like:

    . . . the latest is it just now has the support…

  5. Jacob says:

    Wouldn’t a PP require the SSPX to seek diocesean approval for new SSPX outlets? I bet +Fellay will go far, but I don’t think he’ll compromise on putting SSPX expansion at the whim of local ordinaries.

  6. Maldon says:

    My understanding is that the local ordinary must give permission for them to enter. However, here, the case is slightly different: the SSPX is already in a number of places, so if the Pope gives them permission to operate in the dioceses where they are already established, the ordinaries will have to suck it up. But this will not make it easy for the SSPX to expand to areas where they do not currently have people.
    I don’t see a better solution for them, however. What if they are not given a canonical structure, but instead are simply given faculties? They then become diocesan priests under the local bishops, who have to give them work. And because of Summorum Pontificum, the local bishops would not be able to prevent these priests from celebrating in the Extraordinary Form. Maybe this would not be a bad thing either.

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    Such an offer should not be accepted from the current pontificate. The reasons appear all too obvious.

  8. Bthompson says:

    He couldn’t prevent them from offering the EF, but if they are his priests he can transfer them around. What if the bishop were to send an SSPX priest to an all-OF parish with 3 or 4 weekend Masses already? Yes, he could not forbid the EF, but he could tell the priest he is not allowed to change an OF Mass to EF.
    He could also sweep up SSPX chapels in “pastoral planning” and decides an area is over-served and close them.

    I don’t know of any Bishop anywhere near that vindictive, and I hope they’re not out there, but I’m just saying it would be possible to stamp out EF communities by attrition and assignments if the SSPX priests incardinated.

    A personal prelatature, or better ordinariate, would better insulate a newly-regularized SSPX.

  9. Uxixu says:

    The SSPX scope is so vast that it’s an interesting dilemma. Schism isn’t only limited to the Holy Father, but to the bishops in communion with him, as well.

    I thank God for Abp. Lefebvre saving the Mass, even if I don’t agree with everything he did and pray mercy on his soul for tolerating many elements that are now rather… inconvenient (such as selecting Bp. Williamson, for example), as well as entertaining sedevacantists. None of the Saints have ever had to be perfect, but it’s a more complicated question when you consider the scope of the SSPX and how many diocese they’re in defiance of the jurisdiction of the bishop there. By the disciplines of Trent, that is not allowed if they are really bishops (heretics or not – if they are, Canon Law has provision for an investigation and trial).

    Part of the original protocol signed by Abp. Lefebvre was that the Superior General would not be a Bishop. FSSP has shown no shortage of diocesan Ordinaries willing to do traditional ordinations or confirmations. Neither the SSPX nor larger Church benefit from titular bishops without jurisdiction. Imagine Bp. Fellay and the rest as diocesan Ordinaries with real jurisdiction. Imagine one as president of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, perhaps as co chair with Fr. Bisig or Berg from FSSP (co-consecrated by one of the SSPX). That would be a thunderbolt! Imagine if/when one could be a Cardinal.

  10. Neil Addison says:

    Re the Comments from Bthompson and Franz Joseph. I would expect that all negotiations with SSPX have started with an agreement on a “Grandfathering clause” so no Bishop would have the right to remove SSPX from Dioceses where they already operate. They already own their own Churhes so the Diocese would not have the right to close them or to move their priests to other Churches. The existing Orders such as FSSP and ICKSP already operate in Churches where they are not required to carry out OF Masses so why should the SSPX have more problems than these 2 existing Orders which are just that Orders, not Ordinariates, not Personal Prelatures ? Frankly there is a danger of heading towards complete paranoia regarding Bishops or worse losing all faith in the Church as a Divine institution. At some point the SSPX have to make a leap of faith and fully rejoin the Church, I hope they do.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Uxixu says,

    . Neither the SSPX nor larger Church benefit from titular bishops without jurisdiction. Imagine Bp. Fellay and the rest as diocesan Ordinaries with real jurisdiction.

    Are you in favor of eliminating auxiliary bishops?

  12. SpesUnica says:

    Who but Francis could demand that bishops who would otherwise go on the offensive against them instead tolerate, nay WELCOME, SSPX communities in their jurisdictions? They have to welcome them home or they are against Francis and AREN’T MERCIFUL! Brilliant. It’s really brilliant.

  13. robtbrown says:

    BThompson,

    Ordinariates are limited geographically, and so the US, the UK, and Australia all have an individual Ordinariate for implementing Coetibus Anglicanorum.

  14. Uxixu says:

    Should be noted that the original protocol signed by Abp. Lefebvre gave an amnesty for any current chapel, so it’s unlikely any current house would be required to … for SSPX to open any new ones, though, they would definitely need the permission of the Diocesan Ordinary. That’s the way it is for the ancient religious Orders as much as any society of apostolic life… why should SSPX be an exception?

    The biggest problem being that SSPX has operated for almost 50 years already as de facto schism whatever the juridicial situation. It is going to require a change in operating for them… the only way to avoid that would be for Rome to acknowledge a separate Rite (which wouldn’t be entirely without precedent, as the Dominican situation showed), in which case there might be some sort of parallel hierarchy as you see with the Eastern Rites.

    robtbrown,

    Not the same situation, even if auxiliary bishops do tend to be… over-used and the use of a coadjutor would be better as well as more traditional. Los Angeles for example is too big to be manageable by a single bishop, so it has pastoral regions with auxiliaries who represent the archbishop: traditionally, it should be split into 5 diocese. Of course, another similar issue would be Cathedral chapters (last considered by the US bishops in the late 19th century).

    In this case, though, not nearly analogous. Neither the larger Church nor SSPX benefit segregated into a marginalized liturgical ghetto. FSSP has shown them integrated into the diocese at invitation of the Ordinary, either as territorial parishes or extraterritorial. The former should be preferred, but SSPX gives an opportunity for the leadership of an entire diocese to be led by traditional bishops. The opportunity to correct many gross abuses of the Ordinary Form, and most importantly their diocesan seminaries. Abp. Lefebvre in Tulle…

  15. Toan says:

    Friendly nitpick: Fernando Ocáriz Braña is important in Opus Dei, but the *head* of Opus Dei is actually Bp. Javier Echevarria.

  16. Nan says:

    Uxitsu, this is entirely a different situation than with any Eastern Church as each Eastern Church affirmatively became Catholic after first having been an Orthodox Church, save Maronites who don’t have an Orthodox counterpart. The Dominican Rite contains elements not included in the Latin Rite. The SSPX uses the same rite as any parish uses in the Extraordinary form so it would make no sense to claim it’s a separate rite.

  17. Toan says:

    FranzJosf: “If I understand correctly, a PP needs the permission of the local bishop to operate in his territory, whereas an ordinariate does not.” It’s true that Opus Dei must have the local bishop’s permission to operate within his diocese, but is that rule applicable to all personal prelatures, or is it applicable to Opus Dei specifically via its statutes? I would presume the latter.

    Would a personal prelature be good for the SSPX? I’m a simple layman so take this for what it’s worth: I don’t think there’s much to personal prelatures, per se. As I see it, a personal prelature is an organization within the Church with a bishop at its head that operates according to whatever rules/structure the organization and the Pope agree upon. Everything hinges upon the agreement’s contents.

    Opus Dei and the SSPX certainly look different: For example, Opus Dei doesn’t have parishes (a couple exceptions aside), but rather centers where members live and provide formation and conduct other activities. They frequently encourage members and cooperators to be active in local diocesan parishes. Obviously, it would be ludicrous to expect the SSPX to operate in the same way. As such, I think the answer to Fr. Z’s question depends entirely on the ad hoc agreement Pope Francis and the SSPX are able to negotiate.

  18. jlmorrell says:

    Admittedly I’m no expert, but a personal prelature would seem to have a couple significant drawbacks. First and foremost, any structure that requires the SSPX to obtain local diocesan approval should be unacceptable. The ideal structure would be something like the Apostolic Administration in Campos but unlimited geographically and subject to the Pope directly. This would allow the SSPX to operate within an acceptable canonical structure but unhindered by the fiercely liberal bishops. It also might allow trad religious orders to take refuge within this type of structure.

  19. Thomas Sweeney says:

    There is very little understanding on my part, on the thinking of a great many Bishops. They hand out permission or participation in the TLM like a royal gesture, their hearts are not involved.
    I just finished reading a book about an Austro-Hungarian doctor, who in 1848 found the reason that hundreds of thousands women died of childbirth fever. He found the exact cause of the problem and the solution. Yet, in the face of this overwhelming evidence, the leading doctors refused to accept this evidence, because they themselves were culpable. Along with that, their stature, as paragons of medical science would be diminished. So they continued to let the women die.
    This may be a heavily handed metaphor, but I see that wherever the TLM is practiced there seems to be a spirit of joy and rejuvenation. While almost every week I read in the papers about parish closing, priest pedophiles, stolen parish funds. These transgression are almost exclusively happening in NO parishes or liberal diocese, with rare exceptions.
    Please feel free to correct me, I am not sensitive.

  20. Will another overture by the Church to the SSPX make a difference?

  21. robtbrown says:

    Uxixu,

    Both the Ordinary of Opus Dei and the would be Ordinary of a reconciled SSPX are, like auxiliaries, titular bishops. The Ordinary of a PP, however, actually has authority over priests and the laity associated with the PP. A diocesan auxiliary in fact has none.

    I tend to agree that it would be better with the SSPX be more integrated into normal diocesan life, but that’s not going to happen for a long time. Thirty plus years of priests were formed to oppose Latin liturgy and to consider those who celebrate in Latin to be in need of psychiatric help. The relativity minor changes to the Novus Ordo vernacular put a lot of US priests is a state of high dudgeon. A priest friend told me some of them acted as if they were being told they had to say mass in Aramaic. NB: Remember that BXVI said he was surprised at the strong opposition to Summorum Pontificum.

    Right now, for the SSPX it’s matter of reconciliation and survival.

    Incidentally, an interesting situation is beginning to face the American FSSP. They are getting so many vocations that they are in need of more parishes (4 ordinations this year, around 10 next year). Their situation is the inverse of most dioceses, who have parishes but need staff–the FSSP has staff but needs parishes (or oratories). And: Keep in mind that the FSSP was founded to use the liturgical books in force in 1962.

  22. andia says:

    I do not understand how they are operating in diocese without getting permission now

  23. Anything that, without scandalizing them, returns to full communion the faithful who have so far attached themselves to the SSPX and straightens out questions of Canonical Form and all that, that is a good solution. The member priests of SSPX also need to be fully reconciled with the Church.

    And if Fellay has done properly the job he has taken on himself, there should be a good and holy priest among the SSPX who can lead them after the Great Reunion, too. And if Lefebvre did his job well, Fellay and his fellow current SSPX bishops all won’t mind not being that priest.

  24. jhayes says:

    Toan wrote: It’s true that Opus Dei must have the local bishop’s permission to operate within his diocese, but is that rule applicable to all personal prelatures, or is it applicable to Opus Dei specifically via its statutes? I would presume the latter.

    Under the Code of Canon Law, it applies to all Personal Prelatures

    Can. 297 The statutes likewise are to define the relations of the personal prelature with the local ordinaries in whose particular churches the prelature itself exercises or desires to exercise its pastoral or missionary works, with the previous consent of the diocesan bishop

    Of course, Francis could change the Code

  25. Athelstan says:

    Uxixu,

    …for SSPX to open any new ones, though, they would definitely need the permission of the Diocesan Ordinary. That’s the way it is for the ancient religious Orders as much as any society of apostolic life… why should SSPX be an exception?

    Normally, this wouldn’t be a question. And shouldn’t be. Alas, this is not a normal situation.

    You don’t even have to be an SSPX follower or sympathizer to note the…hostile way they have been treated by some bishops over the past four decades. Certainly in North America, but much worse in Europe and parts of Latin America. There is, unfortunately, a lot of history here, and it’s hard to *completely* blame the Society for being wary of imposing local ordinary approval as a requirement for any new chapel they might wish to set up.I can think of a handful of European bishops off the top of my head who would throw up any roadblock they could. It would be especially acute in countries like Germany where the state plays an outside role, and concerns about anti-Semitism could be brought into play (no matter that Williamson is gone now).

    SSPX gives an opportunity for the leadership of an entire diocese to be led by traditional bishops.

    Don’t see how this would be possible – even for a hypothetical FSSP or ICRSS bishop – since none of them will celebrate the OF as a matter of course, and I do not see circumstances for the foreseeable future outside Campos, Brazil (or maybe, a few parts of France by the 2030’s), where an ordinary could get away with never celebrating any sacraments in the Ordinary Form.

  26. Athelstan says:

    Hello Toan,

    It’s true that Opus Dei must have the local bishop’s permission to operate within his diocese, but is that rule applicable to all personal prelatures, or is it applicable to Opus Dei specifically via its statutes?

    As of today, Opus Dei is the only canonically established personal prelature in the Catholic Church.

    Of course, personal prelatures are a new development, created by John Paul II in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The point being that the pope sets out the law on a structure like this, and a pope can modify the law. Perhaps Francis could modify the law, or even create a modified form of personal prelature, to modify this requirement – perhaps reduce it to a mere notification requirement with the bishop limited only to an appeal or challenge to Rome which has to be resolved within a set period of time. No precedent for that, either; but I think it will be hard for Fellay to agree to a personal prelature without some real consideration on this question. It’s been one of their chief criticisms of the limitations of Ecclesia Dei groups that they can be and have been blocked by many bishops from ever doing any pastoral work in their dioceses no matter how obvious and large the demand.

    Of course, there are considerations on the other side of the fence; a personal prelature being able to act without any regard at all for the local ordinary creates some awkward ecclesiological questions, too. A sui juris rite church (like the Melkites, Maronites, etc.) doing it is one thing; a Latin Rite group doing so is something else.

  27. jhayes says:

    Here are the Statutes of Opus Dei – a lengthy document

    http://www.opusdei.org/en-us/article/statutes-of-opus-dei/

    Agreeing on this amount of detail for the FSSPX will take quite a while.

  28. Augustine says:

    If I understand prelature correctly, one cannot have a parish of its own. While a bishop may give them a parish of his diocese for one to run, it’s not its parish. The manner in which the SSPX had operated thus far is more akin to an ordinariate’s and methinks that it would be a more favorable structure for their thriving.

  29. Athelstan says:

    Robtbrown.

    Incidentally, an interesting situation is beginning to face the American FSSP. They are getting so many vocations that they are in need of more parishes (4 ordinations this year, around 10 next year).

    There’s more guys to ordain this year. And next year, they have the real prospect of ordaining 24 priests between Europe and North America…

    And the FSSP is gaining new parishes. This summer, in fact, they’re picking up two more in the U.S. in Allentown, PA and Manchester, NH. They’re also setting up a new apostolate in Fresno.

  30. jflare says:

    Well, I have a somewhat messy perspective on this.
    My first thought basically fell to disapproval. A personal prelature sounds like just that: A personal initiative; one for which non-SSPX guidance will hold only very weak creedence.
    That, and I’m inclined to wonder why any pope would be willing to reconcile with a group of Catholics if he’s not willing to make use of the institutions they already operate by, but…I will hope he has his reasons.
    After reading the previous comments though, I imagine a personal prelature might make the most sense. However we may esteem our local bishops, we do have them there precisely to maintain “law and order” in the Church. They are intended to be our spiritual fathers.
    If Bishop X is highly prone to inflict petty idiocy against traditional practice, well, his more traditionally minded opposites have been, at times, …equally disagreeable.

    I am, at times, quite amazed by the idea that I would embrace anything of traditional practice myself. Lord knows I’ve had ample disincentive. Sadly for more “modern” viewpoints, if I’m not always ecstatic about traditional ideas and intentions, I have learned that more modern ideas..fall short quite often too.
    If, by means of a personal prelature with SSPX, Pope Francis can give the Church a decent kick toward remembering its own teaching, history, spirit, and cultural identity, I imagine it will be a good thing as time goes on.

  31. Ave Crux says:

    Thomas Sweeney: is a PERFECT metaphor. Thank you for providing an illustration that speaks powerfully about the way in which those committed to Modernism in the Church would prefer to see Her die of sterility rather than admit they were wrong.

  32. MacBride says:

    A personal prelature would not work. To prove my point see Fr’s article on “Veil Wars”. There are still many Bishops who oppose the TLM and tradition. I think an ordinariate is more in line with SSPX’s missionary spirit.

    I have been oscillating between two dioceses in the Northeast. Both have TLMs “authorized” by the local ordinary. Although they do allow them, neither Bishop is interested in them. The faithful that go to Mass at these locations are still “separate” from the NO parish they have Mass in. In comparison, the local SSPX chapel has a community feel. There is daily Mass, organizations, crusades, vespers etc etc. In many locations, they operate where you would never see a FSSP parish invited to operate. JMO.

  33. Gabriel Syme says:

    I support the SSPX desire not to be subject to local ordinaries. Of course, there are very good Bishops who would work well with the SSPX and achieve much together, but equally there are some rotters who would never miss a chance to undermine or snipe at the Society and such men are the root of the desire for a certain autonomy (indeed one could argue such men are at the root of this whole situation, going back decades).

    At the same time, I see that it is not desirable to have parallel structures in the Church which have little to do with one another. So this is something which must be resolved at some point. I don’t know how it works with Opus Dei. I know Opus Dei has a presence in “my” Archdiocese, but I do not ever recall encountering or hearing about them from or in a Diocesan setting (I discovered them quite by accident).

    Having said that, I am friendly with secular priests of the Diocese, traditionally minded who offer both forms of mass, who are essentially shunned by their modernist brethern.

    They are excluded from initiatives to which even protestant clergy are invited. They experience a frosty reception at social events, to the extent that they now prefer not to go at all. The Diocesan curia bends over backwards to cause difficulty for them (though this last point has improved since the change of Bishop).

    And so its all very well people saying that the SSPX must be “integrated into the Diocese” – but ultimately the issue of integration / co-operation isn’t what letters a priest has after his name, or to what organisation he belongs, but the attitude of his brother priests towards him and his fidelity to the Catholic faith.

  34. robtbrown says:

    The SSPX wants a Personal Prelature. Although canon law says that for a PP to erect a new houses, they need the consent of the diocesan bishop, it has to be understood that the jurisdiction of the pope is present in every diocese. If the diocesan bishop says no, but the pope says yes, the PP has consent.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Athelstan,

    Three new parishes/oratories is a nice start, but the US ordinations this year and next will produce c. 14 new priests. That means they’ll need at least 7 new places. The entering classes have been large, so ordaining c 10 priests a year is not out of the question. This year 12 were ordained to the subdiaconate.

  36. Thorfinn says:

    There are not 10 parishes in the US that could be turned over to the FSSP tomorrow – there are 1000. Shrinking dioceses are closing churches & parishes left and right; growing dioceses are desperately trying to fully staff new parishes & missions; religious orders are pulling back from running parishes every year as their numbers diminish. If you think your parish could/should be a candidate, get a group together and pray, ask, beg your bishop…and I don’t know what else.

    There are also probably examples where SSPX chapels would/will gradually be inundated with new parishioners post-regularization as families get used to the idea that the church they’ve been avoiding due to irregular canonicity is now a viable option — one family they know starts going there and likes it, and away we go.

  37. Uxixu says:

    Nan: Bonniwell demonstrated that the Dominican Rite contained most of the OLD Roman Rite as it was when it was created (~12th-13th century), rather than what developed into the form firmly encoded by Trent. That was the reason for its continued existence despite the desires of a couple Popes to suppress it. The reasoning being that the Roman Rite contained uses that Rome did not want to allow to die out, even if they weren’t suitable for the entire Church anymore (sound familiar? It’s the exact case for the TLM today!)… of course, the reforms of St. Pius X damaged the Dominican Rite particularly badly as had the accretion of feasts that imbalanced the sanctoral over the temporal cycle and essentially imposed the Roman Rite on the breviary…

    robtbrown:

    The sort of overlapping jurisdiction issue similar to the Eastern Rites all but condones a certain sense of schism. I much prefer the idea of Benedict XVI in the two forms mutually refreshing each other, alleviating the worst excesses of the Ordinary Form, particularly in things starkly opposed by the plain reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium as well as more traditional practice.

    The FSSP still has way more requests than it has priests to send and in no way can make up the shortfall of the diocesan seminaries to meet the demands of their flocks… which only underscores the issue of the SSPX. Their survival is not in doubt. It can be guaranteed with Bp. Fellay in the Curia with the majority on PCED that Abp. Lefebvre wanted (though mitigated by the presence of FSSP and ICKSP) as well as the other SSPX bishops as diocesan ordinaries that would remain a haven, ideally distributed in a couple different countries. That initial step would soon spread. Yes, the likes of Cupich will never like them… just like they don’t like… say… Lincoln as it is. That would be tough cookies on them.

    The primacy of the Holy Father does not and has not ever meant to diminish the authority of the bishop in his own Diocese… nor should the universal primacy be conflated with the Pope’s jurisdiction as Patriarch.

    Athelstan – There’s no reason an SSPX bishop could not function as a diocesan ordinary. Celebration of the OF is not required, though they would obviously have to tolerate it to some degree. The percentage of Catholics who attend Mass in their cathedral is tiny. There is simply no way the majority of any diocese priests could be expected to quickly learn the EF. Some of the older ones can’t ever be expected to… As far as the rest, there might be a few more requests for excardination to neighboring diocese… and probably balanced by more than a few requests for incardination as well as seeing a bloom in vocations as Lincoln, etc. Some might not like the corresponding ban on altar girls or the command to restore rails and high altars requiring ad orientem Mass… but most would do what Catholics do: obey (which is what got us into this mess to begin with – the laity never asked for the reforms – they can’t be expected to ask for the reform of the reform either).

  38. robtbrown says:

    Uxixu,

    1. Papal power (potestas–which includes iurisdictio) is not mitigated by the presence of a diocesan bishop. That is de fide and was reaffirmed in LG 22. Whether a diocese is run by an installed bishop or an Apostolic Administrator, the authority of the pope is the same within that diocese.

    Papal jurisdiction is function of being Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. In so far as BXVI dropped Patriarch the title, he ended any argument that the pope’s jurisidiction is a function of a Patriarchate. Unlike the Eastern Patriarchs the pope is not primus inter pares.

    2. Because the papal primacy is full, supreme, and universal, jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop has never really been clean. Once the religious orders of pontifical right were established, the bishops’ jurisdiction was mitigated. For that matter even before the Dominicans existed, there were monasteries whose juridical independence from the diocesan bishop sometimes made for conflict.

    I have personally known situations in the US in which religious houses of pontifical right were at odds with the diocesan bishop, sometimes a matter of the former being liberal, the latter conservative, sometimes the other way around. It is also a fact that for years most of the French bishops would have been overjoyed if the Abbey of Fontgombault would have ceased to exist.

    For that matter, why do you think that Abp LeFebvre was suspended in 1975? It was because he refused to close the seminary in Econe and dissolve the SSPX (of diocesan right). That action was caused by the fact that Econe was packed with French seminarians.

    Conflict between bishops and institutes of Pontifical Right is nothing new. And the presence of Opus Dei has created other situations.

    3. I have been told twice in the past few weeks by a priest involved in FSSP formation in the US that the situation is developing in which they will have more priests than jobs.

  39. Uxixu says:

    robtbrown,

    I don’t dispute the primacy of the papacy, even if I think it’s over-centralized more than intended even by the Fathers intended with Pastor Aeternus…

    My point specifically was that schism was not only in regards to the Holy Father but also to the bishops in communion with him and that SSPX currently infringes on them in ways not allowed by Trent, even if said bishops should be heretics (which is, of course, a serious accusation which requires an investigation under Canon Law). The only way those disciplines don’t apply is if the sede position was correct, in which case real bishops should be elected. IOW, schism.

    I await the happy day that the FSSP is overflowing with priests… many more apostolates would soon be had, as we know they’re praying from them in other nearby communities, as well. We only have one in LA. He’s great but definitely needs some more help there… they were supposed to have 6 this year and we might have had one… but ended up with 4 and they were spoken for.

  40. Supertradmum says:

    Yes, an excellent idea and not an ordinariate…prelature much better. Since his election, I thought this pope would deal with the SSPX as Francis likes outsiders of all sorts.

  41. Militans says:

    There may be a problem with the Ordinariate – at least in those created following Anglicanorum Coetibus the members of the ordinariate can only be those who haven’t been confirmed yet (ie anyone can attend mass, and they can get those baptised catholics who were never confirmed to join as legal members – but those already confirmed can’t change their status to Ordinariate) … so how can they ordain people who aren’t allowed to be members (ie those who grew up in diocesan parishes)? I imagine the situation of the Bishop is different – hence why the American ordinariate was given a roman bishop.

  42. jflare says:

    “…ultimately the issue of integration / co-operation isn’t what letters a priest has after his name, or to what organisation he belongs, but the attitude of his brother priests towards him and his fidelity to the Catholic faith.”

    Except that those concerns appear to me to have been the key sticking points for the last 50 years, Gabriel. However nicely Bishop Fellay may state his case, I usually get the subtle impression that he and the Society believe that they have been the only ones who have been maintained true fidelity to the Church’s teaching. I usually understand an implication that if Rome and Econe are to be reconciled, such must happen according Econe’s requirements, even though the Bishop of Rome is pope, not Econe. I have never seen any compelling cause for Econe to be legitimately able to dictate terms, yet that seems to me precisely what SSPX leadership demand, if not quite brazenly.
    As far as goes the letters following a priest’s name, we do frequently recognize the caliber of a priest’s orders. Sadly, in the last 20 years in particular, it’s not uncommon for us to understand the risk of being not quite correct if we “SJ” there, and sometimes others.

  43. Toan says:

    Thank you, jhayes and Athelstan, for your responses and clarifications!

  44. robtbrown says:

    Uxixu,

    1. It might be over centralized, but the problem is decentralization has opened the opportunity for the liberals to introduce localization.

    BTW, in the Borromeo MO, by which a large diocese is divided into areas, each under an auxiliary, jurisdiction stays with the diocesan bishop as he assigns responsibility to an auxiliary.

    2. The FSSP has yet to be given a church in LA. There is a residence for a priest but he says mass elsewhere. The priest seems to be one of the Fryar brothers, both of whom I had as students.

    3. As I said before, religious orders and Opus Dei both have a certain independence within a diocese, and this situation goes back hundreds of years. Their independence, or that of the military ordinariate, is no less than what the SSPX will have following reconciliation. In fact, there was a move at VatII to put religious orders under the bishop of the diocese where they work. That move was defeated. Deo Gratias.

    4. There are properties within dioceses that are owned by religious orders and properties owned by dioceses but staffed by religious orders.

  45. NIdahoCatholic says:

    I understand we’re to receive a third priest at St. Joan of Arc.

  46. LeeF says:

    It seems to me that a personal prelature cannot be a good fit for the SSPX and those who wish to attend their services. It affords no real independence from possibly hostile local ordinaries, and it seeks to combine two very different stakeholders, the priests themselves, and the lay faithful.

    Perhaps rather a dual structure is needed. The SSPX, like the FSSP, being a priestly society and ready to serve/operate parishes/chapels, and secondly an ordinariate which all the traditional orders could serve and from whom would be chosen bishops for the various districts of the ordinariate.

    While laity can be members of a prelature insofar as their personal spiritual life goes, the parishes they attend would still be diocesan, and for any of the traditional societies to run parishes would still require the continuing approval of local NO ordinaries. A dual structure of priestly societies serving ordinariate parishes seems the only way for a meaningful degree of independence. And it allows all the traditional priestly societies to equally participate without any being shortchanged by a scheme setup for just one.

  47. Gabriel Syme says:

    jflare,

    However nicely Bishop Fellay may state his case, I usually get the subtle impression that he and the Society believe that they have been the only ones who have been maintained true fidelity to the Church’s teaching

    I don’t think that view is held. I think most people (including +Fellay) would be reasonable enough to recognise that – while the Society has been the earliest, most visible and largest unified grouping to oppose certain matters, there have been many “unsung heroes”, faithful yet anonymous (in a pre-internet age) Diocesan priests who quietly worked to curb abuses and maintain standards and perspectives in the decades gone by.

    And today, we are fortunate to have many priest-bloggers who do the same, yet who can reach a much wider audience due to the internet.

    I usually understand an implication that if Rome and Econe are to be reconciled, such must happen according Econe’s requirements, even though the Bishop of Rome is pope, not Econe

    And while that notion does tend to offend our “Sensus Catholicus”, I tend to think you are right here.

    But then Econe’s requirement is fundamentally no more than “accept us as we are” – and I think that is thoroughly reasonable, given the Society is simply just part of the Church which has carried on as normal, following the 2nd Vatican Council.

    Previously personalities among the Church authorities have made all kinds of demands of the Society – at times unreasonable – yet if you chart the situation over the years, you can see that the position of the authorities has been continually rolled back and softened, while all the Society has ever maintained is “accept us as we are”.

    Look at the many frankly bizarre communities and movements in the Church today – the “Catholic Charismatic” (ugh) movement etc. We can have this kind of thing, but we wont accept the Society?

    Ultimately, what we have is an internal issue – which seems close to a resolution – as tends to exist in any organisation where human beings are involved.

    There are no “two sides” involved, for they are all on the same side.

    And no-one is seeking to “win” but rather to move on and go forward together, optimistically and fruitfully.

  48. Matt R says:

    Nan, not all of the Byzantine churches could in any way said to have been in schism, e.g. the Italo–Albanian Catholic Church, and even for churches which were officially separated, the reality on the ground was that there was no schism.

  49. jflare says:

    I think your appraisal of the situation with SSPX is a little unduly optimistic, Gabriel. It’s quite true that the SSPX have indicated a desire to be reconciled precisely as they are. That is, however, precisely the problem. On most any occasion I have heard from SSPX, they generally insist on referring to Catholic faith precisely as they, the SSPX, should see fit, in particular, to refuse certain points of Vatican II which SSPX–or their lay supporters–do not like.

    I have never heard a competent argument to explain why the SSPX should have the right to require particular terms from Rome. Quite the opposite. For my view, the SSPX has essentially sought the right to define and live Catholic faith as they see fit, not as the Church actually teaches.

    If we wish to notice the serious failings of many in the Church who technically remain in communion with Rome, I will suggest that such circumstances do not actually mean that anyone has authority to violate rules. Rather, they mostly mean that Rome has failed miserably in exercising the legitimate authority of the office in holding the faithful accountable to their own stated beliefs.

    If we might agree that many who have abused the “freedoms” given by Vatican II, we cannot agree that such abuses justify the intent of a group within the Church to reject the Council’s guidance altogether. Yet until recently, such a perspective has been precisely the view that I have witnessed the most from the Society’s actions and statements.

  50. robtbrown says:

    JFlare says,

    If we wish to notice the serious failings of many in the Church who technically remain in communion with Rome . . .

    Communion with Rome is not merely being a part of a juridically approved structure. It includes doctrine.

    For my view, the SSPX has essentially sought the right to define and live Catholic faith as they see fit, not as the Church actually teaches.

    In what way has the SSPX wanted to define and live Catholic faith as they see fit, not as the Church actually teaches?

  51. robtbrown says:

    LeeF,

    I have already addressed the matter of Personal Prelature more than once.

  52. jflare says:

    “Communion with Rome is not merely being a part of a juridically approved structure. It includes doctrine.”
    “In what way has the SSPX wanted to define and live Catholic faith as they see fit, not as the Church actually teaches?”

    robt,
    Communion with Rome DOES include doctrine, which is part of the problem. In the years since I learned of SSPX, the membership of the Society have been insistent that they would not be accountable to certain controversial elements of Vatican II. Depending on the person and occasion, they have been known to insist on refusing to recognize any of the Council at all.

    Members of the Society insist that they will define, teach, and preach Catholic faith in the manner that the faith has always been defined, taught, and preached. Trouble is, I have yet to hear of any credible circumstance, even in sacred Tradition, wherein a portion of the Church ever possessed the legitimate authority to reject the dictate of a pope or a Council, pastoral or otherwise. Yet so far as I can tell, such is precisely what the Society has insisted upon. At least they did until recently. If anyone should mention this, they will not resort to sedevacantism, but neither will they acknowledge either the Council itself or the pope’s authority in the matter. If pressed, members or supporters will try to discredit Vatican II by pointing to the various abuses that have been inflicted by those who technically remain in communion with Rome. Or we will learn that present difficulties are “unprecedented”.
    Ultimately, I am given the impression that the Holy Spirit can or will only offer spiritual guidance that readily reflects a traditional understanding of the Church’s teaching. Yet if I refer to the whole of the faith, I get a very different impression.
    I cannot say that I have much more fondness for most of the “modern” interpretations of Catholic faith that I have witnessed than do others. Even so, I do not believe these aggravations warrant a summary dismissal of Vatican II.
    I will hope that SSPX leadership and the Roman Curia might untangle the mess enough to allow for the Society to be recognized as a legitimate portion of the Church. Sadly, I do not know yet if the Society can be reconciled in a manner that makes sense.