Will SSPX get Personal Prelature? Could be, but obstacles remain.

From Christ und Welt, which is in German, via an English translation at Sunesis Press.

The Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” said that (with some added emphases and comments).

Note the references to doctrinal questions.

[…]

C & W: Recently there was an acceleration of relationships, why?

Pozzo:I would not speak of an acceleration, but by a patient process of rapprochement.  The Vatican is not demanding, insisting on ultimatums, instead we jointly planned some steps to reach full reconciliation. Since the stages were agreed upon, the way is easier to tread. [NB] We are still interested in clarifying some doctrinal and canonical questions. It is very important to promote a climate of mutual knowledge and understanding. In this respect, much progress has been made.  [Doctrinal questions remain.]

C & W: What has changed in the attitude of the Vatican since the beginning of the pontificate?

Pozzo: Several new perspectives were integrated. 2009 to 2012 was primarily a theological debate in the foreground.  There were doctrinal difficulties which hindered the canonical recognition of the Fraternity. We know, however, that life is more than doctrine. For through the theological discussion in the past three years we have come to know the desire and understand the reality of the Fraternity. [Interesting.]

[…]C & W: Bergoglio knew the Fraternity from Argentina.How crucial is this personal contact for the Pope?

Pozzo: This is certainly an important element. When he was still Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis had contacts with the Fraternity. He saw how much effort they put in evangelization and in charitable work. The Fraternity does not, as is often claimed, only value the traditional liturgy, but also has substantive work.

C & W: Francis always stressed the pastoral aspect. Is this also the key to an understanding with the SSPX?

Pozzo: Pastoral and dogmatic theology are inseparable. The style and concrete willingness of Pope Francis to help the unity between the people not only to think but also to learn. Of course, some gestures are important. He has allowed the Priests of the SSPX to hear confessions of  the faithful, he has received the Superior General of the Fraternity, Monsignor Bernard Fellay in private audience. The rapprochement and resumption of talks was all made possible by the [lifting of the] excommunication by Benedict XVI.

C & W: Why is a Personal Prelature appropriate for the SSPX?

Pozzo: That seems to be the appropriate canonical form. [NB] Monsignor Fellay has accepted the proposal, even if in the coming months details remain to be clarified. Only Opus Dei currently enjoys this canonical structure, which is a big vote of confidence for the SSPX. [HOWEVER…] It is clear that the solution of the canonical form requires the solution of the doctrinal questions.

So, it seems that IF the doctrinal questions can be worked out, THEN the SSPX could get a Personal Prelature.

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37 Responses to Will SSPX get Personal Prelature? Could be, but obstacles remain.

  1. acricketchirps says:

    Wow! How can I get a personal prelature? BTW, what IS a personal prelature, precisely?

  2. APX says:

    Why does he keep saying “Monsignor” instead of “Bishop”?

    [In Italy, Europe in general, “Monsignor” is also used for bishops and archbishops.]

  3. DavidJ says:

    Mary, Undoer of Knots, please pray for this!

  4. Geoffrey says:

    @acricketchirps: A personal prelature is basically a floating diocese or a diocese with no territory. It has its own bishop and clergy, while its faithful remain subject to the local parish and territorial diocese. I think that’s right…

  5. NBW says:

    If SSPX has to be subject to the likes of Weurl and Cupich, that will NOT be good.

  6. Gerard Plourde says:

    The ball remains, as it has Since Pope Benedict’s generous lifting of the excommunications of the irregularly consecrated bishops and his extraordinary efforts to achieve rapprochement, in the Society’s court. The time is approaching for them to either commit to Rome or acknowledge that the differences are too great. It will be cause for mourning if they choose the latter course. The Church will survive and Mass in the Extraordinary Form will remain available to enrich the Church as a whole and especially for those personally nourished by it, thanks to faithful priests like Fr. Z. The Society should carefully consider its decision, keeping in mind “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia” and “Extra Ecclesia non salus”.

  7. Paul Young says:

    Thanks be to God for the progress!

    I suppose it’s a bit early to plan on going to Mass at the local SSPX chapel, isn’t it? Pity, as it’s only 40 miles from me, versus 130 miles for the nearest Extraordinary form Mass at a “regular” Catholic church.

  8. JMody says:

    Aren’t a couple of the doctrinal issues still to resolve centered on the actual written materials from Vatican II, not the interpretation thereof, and the right of the informed conscience to question it publicly? There seems to be no willingness on the part of the Church to allow Vatican II to be questioned, which is ironic, given that it is billed as “pastoral” but is held to supersede somehow all but the strictest dogmatic statements which came before it.

  9. Stephanus83 says:

    I’m looking forward to this becoming official. The new SSPX seminary that they’re building is not far from me. I’ll be sure to attend mass there sometimes after this becomes official with the Church.

  10. Potato2 says:

    I’m surprised that I see this more positive than others.

    I found it odd that a time period was mentioned. A few months.

    This is my takeaway.
    A prelature was offered and accepted. Details are to be hashed out in the coming months. Doctrine is to be clarified.

    He actually said something was agreed on. The the idea of ” months”.

    I think this will be done by the end of the liurgical year of mercy.

  11. organistjason says:

    I pray the SSPX follows his Eminence, Cardinal Burke’s, suggestion from just over a year ago. “Resist”. If his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI could not resolve this matter, it will not be resolved, with Francis. [I think you are dead wrong about this. It is by now cliché to say it, but, as the Klingons say, only Nixon could go to China.]

  12. stuart reiss says:

    Sspx will not be subject to liberal Bishops. Nor are we.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If this goes through, I will thank God on my knees.

    But I’m not going to get excited until I actually see it happen.

  14. robtbrown says:

    Gerald Plourde says,

    The ball remains, as it has Since Pope Benedict’s generous lifting of the excommunications of the irregularly consecrated bishops and his extraordinary efforts to achieve rapprochement, in the Society’s court.

    There’s more to it than that.

    What exactly is Ecumenism? No doubt there is a version of it that would not be objected to by the SSPX. They would, however, object to other versions of it as currently practiced (as would I).

    Ditto for the nature of Religious Liberty.

    And there seems to be a canonical issue about the right of the SSPX to go into a diocese without the consent of the ordinary. Although Canon Law requires such consent, papal authority tran

  15. robtbrown says:

    Gerald Plourde says,

    The ball remains, as it has Since Pope Benedict’s generous lifting of the excommunications of the irregularly consecrated bishops and his extraordinary efforts to achieve rapprochement, in the Society’s court.

    There’s more to it than that.

    What exactly is Ecumenism? No doubt there is a version of it that would not be objected to by the SSPX. They would, however, object to other versions of it as currently practiced (as would I).

    Ditto for the nature of Religious Liberty.

    And there seems to be a canonical issue about the right of the SSPX to go into a diocese without the consent of the ordinary. Although Canon Law requires such consent, papal authority transcends it

  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear organistjason,

    take it with a grain of salt and as a general point and with the affirmation that I do believe the Pope is Catholic, but…

    Conservatives tend to experience the pressure that they have to show that even for them there are limits; that while they are conservative, they aren’t asconservative as [insert some well-known name].

    Liberals don’t. They may be just generous enough to allow someone to really fundamentally disagree with them, without need to hassle them: they can afford it.

    Hence the phrase, only Nixon could go to China, which really does apply often enough in politics. (In Germany – whatever we think of these measures in themselves, but it is a fact in any case that – it took the conservatives to abolish the draft and the social-democrats to cut back on the welfare state.)

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    robtbrown :

    What exactly is Ecumenism? No doubt there is a version of it that would not be objected to by the SSPX. They would, however, object to other versions of it as currently practiced (as would I).

    People often don’t realise that Mortalium Animos and Unitatis Redintegratio are actually very much supportive of each other.

    The denunciations of the false ecumenism in the earlier document are mirrored by the denunciation of false irenicism in the later, which rescinds none of the contents of Mortalium Animos, with the single exception that it gives Bishops and the Pope the right to allow Catholic participation in certain ecumenical gatherings according to certain precise criteria.

    The “spirit of the council” vision of happy-clappy hand-holding “evangelical catholic” false ecumenism is quite clearly condemned by both documents on the subject.

  18. 21stCentury Anglican says:

    What is the difference between a Personal Prelature and a Personal Ordinariate?

  19. Joseph-Mary says:

    One of our local parishes invites an out of town priest for the TLM at noon on Sundays. I can attend once or twice a month. But we do have an SSPX chapel close by so if things are regularized, then the priest from out of town would not need to be making the weekly trip I suppose. It would be interesting because many SSPXers have a rather different mindset, so to speak.

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    “If the doctrinal questions can be worked out.” That’s a big IF. I think most SSPX priests strongly dislike Francis on a personal level. How would Fellay get them to budge?

  21. PTK_70 says:

    Full disclosure….I do not know people with SSPX affiliations on a personal level. From what I can tell they object to fuzzy, lovey-dovey claptrap and innovations in the Latin Church which would willy-nilly make everyone a saved child of God and turn us Catholics into liturgical Methodists. Fine.

    With respect to the doctrinal hurdles to reconciliation which apparently remain, it seems to me that the attempt to define in the most precise terms that which is by nature obscure and/or ineffable evinces a certain hubris, which, I have a hunch, is at the root of whatever separation may exist between SSPX and Holy Mother Church.

  22. Mike says:

    . . . the attempt to define in the most precise terms that which is by nature obscure and/or ineffable evinces a certain hubris . . .

    That attempt at precise definition would be (insofar as this layman understands the Summa) the operational definition of Catholic theology, which the “Spirit of Vatican II” Church rejects in favor of Gnosticism. Hubris, not to mention a desperate and insatiable appetite for self-destruction, appears much more evident in the conduct of the “Spirit of Vatican II” Church than in the SSPX.

  23. PTK_70 says:

    @ Mike….If you’re looking for someone to defend the “spirit of V2” agenda, you’ll have to look elsewhere. As far as SSPX reconciliation is concerned, I think the parties involved could do far worse than reflect on Psalm 130 (131) and 1 Cor 13:9-12.

  24. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Aren’t former Anglicans and Episcopalians entering the Ordinariate required only to accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Why isn’t that good enough for the SSPX?

  25. Athelstan says:

    I found interesting that, elsewhere in the interview, Archbp. Pozzo appears to suggest that the Vatican II documents Nostra Aetate, Unitatis redintegratio, and Dignitatis humanae are held to operate at only a “pastoral” level, and thus seem to be…optional? Not necessary for the Society to formally affirm?

  26. TNCath says:

    I certainly hope and pray this works out. I found Archbishop Pozzo’s comment, “Pastoral and dogmatic theology are inseparable” to be quite apropos as well, for more than just the issues with the SSPX.

  27. Ben Kenobi says:

    I think this is an elegant solution. Personal Prelature with someone like Burke at the head. Anybody but Fellay. The primary issues with SSPX is that they haven’t been headed by anyone not consecrated by Abp Lefebvre. Having an SSPX prelature headed by a Vatican appointee who is not Fellay would solve all of the problems in one swoop – except of course for Fellay. who I would assume would immediately leave should such a thing happen.

    Please, Francis. Do this!

  28. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Aren’t former Anglicans and Episcopalians entering the Ordinariate required only to accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Why isn’t that good enough for the SSPX?”

    As a Former Anglican – obedience to the pope is part of the catechism. The issue isn’t, “should the catechism be sufficient”, but rather, “why isn’t the SSPX conforming with all of the teachings of the catechism?”

  29. robtbrown says:

    JabbaPapa says,

    What exactly is Ecumenism? No doubt there is a version of it that would not be objected to by the SSPX. They would, however, object to other versions of it as currently practiced (as would I).

    People often don’t realise that Mortalium Animos and Unitatis Redintegratio are actually very much supportive of each other.

    It’s more a matter of the Syllabus of Errors compared to Dignitatis Humanae.

  30. sahn105 says:

    ¡Hagan Lio SSPX!

  31. jflare says:

    “Aren’t former Anglicans and Episcopalians entering the Ordinariate required only to accept the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Why isn’t that good enough for the SSPX?”

    Grateful, Ben Kenobi already mentioned that the Catechism requires obedience to the pope. Beyond that though, I think SSPX unlikely to agree to the CCC; too many references to Vatican II. I suspect they would instead insist on the Catechism of the Council of Trent. I have little confidence that Pope Francis–or the Roman Curia–would take well to that.

  32. JabbaPapa says:

    robtbrown :

    It’s more a matter of the Syllabus of Errors compared to Dignitatis Humanae.

    Unlike Mortalium Animos, which is an essentially disciplinary document reminding Catholics to shun Protestantism, the Syllabus of Errors is a very frequently misread or misinterpreted list of theological propositions that have been condemned. Far too many people fail to realise that good doctrine is not merely the diametric opposite of an Error — indeed, that diametric opposite can often be an Error in its own right.

    Dignitatis Humanae is contrariwise founded on solid, traditional Catholic teaching, regardless of certain particulars of poor expression, in its English translation especially, on the indefectible Dogma of Free Will, and on multiple Mediaeval teachings that religious conversions to the Christian Faith can only arise from the exercise of God-given Freedom and Grace.

    These principles of Religious Freedom are in fact Ancient in origin :

    Second Council of Nicaea 8 :

    Since some of those who come from the religion of the Hebrews mistakenly think to make a mockery of Christ who is God, pretending to become Christians, but denying Christ in private by both secretly continuing to observe the sabbath and maintaining other Jewish practices, we decree that they shall not be received to communion or at prayer or into the church, but rather let them openly be Hebrews according to their own religion; they should not baptize their children or buy, or enter into possession of, a slave. But if one of them makes his conversion with a sincere faith and heart, and pronounces his confession wholeheartedly, disclosing their practices and objects in the hope that others may be refuted and corrected, such a person should be welcomed and baptized along with his children, and care should be taken that they abandon Hebrew practices. However if they are not of this sort, they should certainly not be welcomed.

  33. JesusFreak84 says:

    I wonder if, once Opus Dei isn’t the only personal prelature in the Church, (I’m being optimistic here!) if other groups, (who? I have no idea,) would start seeking similar structures. IIRC, the head of Opus Dei recently said that the PP structure *could* work for the SSPX. The nearest SSPX Chapel is still too far away from me to pull me away from the far-more-local UGCC parish, but I’d still like to go at least once, if they were canonically regularized.

  34. Magash says:

    Someone asked:
    What is the difference between a Personal Prelature and a Personal Ordinariate?
    I believe the difference is that Opus Dei (and any other potential Personal Prelatures) must obtain the permission of the local bishop to operate within a geographic diocese. While a Personal Ordinariate does not need the local bishop’s permission any more that an Eparchy (The diocesan equivalent of an Eastern Rite) needs the local Latin Bishop’s permission to operate in the same geographic location.
    So making the SSPX a Personal Prelature may not solve their problems with liberal bishops. Canon Law places lay members of Personal Prelatures under the authority of the local bishop, unlike the Ordinates where they are under the authority of the Ordinate bishop.
    So SSPX oratories and seminaries would need the permission of the local bishop to operate. How many of those most opposed to traditional practices will allow this?

  35. Ann Malley says:

    @ Ben Kenobi

    “…I think this is an elegant solution. Personal Prelature with someone like Burke at the head. Anybody but Fellay. The primary issues with SSPX is that they haven’t been headed by anyone not consecrated by Abp Lefebvre. Having an SSPX prelature headed by a Vatican appointee who is not Fellay would solve all of the problems in one swoop – except of course for Fellay. who I would assume would immediately leave should such a thing happen.”

    The Society was begun by +Lefebvre to maintain Catholic Tradition and to to uphold the traditional formation of priests, BK. So this “cut off the head” and replace it even with Burke is to deny what the Society is and what absolute good it has done thus far.

    Your fear of +Fellay is wholly misplaced.

  36. Ann Malley says:

    @Jabba Pappa,

    What is of ancient origin is the desire to not make mockery of Christ who is God. So while you look to the so-called freedom of Hebrews to be Hebrew, that “freedom” is their personal decision to reject accepting that Christ is, in fact, God.

    So, yes, we are all free. God has made us that way.

    But while we are free to err, our freedom to make erroneous judgement doesn’t somehow make error correct and conducive to salvation.

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