Holy See and SSPX “close” to Personal Prelature… no, really!

UPDATE:

From the site of the SSPX:

During a 20 minute interview with TVLibertés on January 29, 2017, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), commented on the crisis of the Church after the Second Vatican Council, the reaction of the clergy to today’s confusion, the Rosary Crusade, and Pope Francis.

Bishop Fellay commented also on the Personal Prelature offered to the SSPX:

I think we do not have to wait for everything to be resolved in the Church, for all the problems to be solved. But a certain number of conditions are necessary, and for us the essential condition is our survival. So I have told Rome, very clearly, that, just as Archbishop [Marcel] Lefebvre used to say in his day, we have a sine qua non condition: if this condition is not met, then we will not move. And this condition is for us to be able to remain as we are, to keep all the principles that have kept us alive, that have kept us Catholic.”

____

As I wile away the time in Denver – still – and I fight my way through my clogged inbox and messages (this morning I had 360 new emails and 58 new SMSs), not to mention voicemail, I have at last gotten to an article in the Italian La Stampa which got my attention.

Il segretario di Ecclesia Dei Pozzo: «Stiamo lavorando per il perfezionamento della forma giuridica»

The Secretary of Ecclesia Dei Pozzo: “We are working on polishing the juridical form”

“Right now we are working on the polishing of certain aspects of the canonical framework, which would be a Personal Prelature“. Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, entrusted with the dialogue with the Fraternity of St. Pius X, confirmed to Vatican Insider that the stage of full communion with the Lefebvrians is getting closer. The goal of the accord is by now in sight, even if more time is necessary.

[…]

Fascinating, no?

However, we have seen this movie before. I will await positive news with hopeful anticipation.

Meanwhile… whom do you think His Holiness could appoint as the Prelate of the SSPX?

Burke_FrZ_SanNicola_01

 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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52 Responses to Holy See and SSPX “close” to Personal Prelature… no, really!

  1. clarinetist04 says:

    Do you mean yourself? Or Cardinal Burke? :-)

  2. AnthonyJ says:

    Until I see the official ecclesial document signed by His Holiness, I will not get too excited.

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    On the one hand, would the pope really toss such a plum to Card. Burke? On the other hand, out of sight, out of mind?

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  5. Imrahil says:

    Well, the prelate would have to be Bp. Fellay, obviously; [That isn’t obvious at all.] or very slightly possibly Fr Schmidberger. [No.] I don’t think they would settle for anyone from outside, even should it be Cdl Ranjith, [No.] Bp Schneider [no.] or Abp Pozzo. [Maybe] On the other hand, the Pope isn’t going to name Bp Tissier de Mallerais. (Bp Galaretta or Fr Pfluger…? Maybe. But I wouldn’t guess so.)

  6. JMGcork says:

    Of course Fr. Z would be the obvious choice for this appointment.

  7. Legisperitus says:

    Still too early to start chilling anything?

  8. The Egyptian says:

    I see TWO good options in the above picture,
    got to admit it would make an interesting twist to this blog ;)

  9. Back pew sitter says:

    Who could be appointed as the Prelate of the SSPX? Even if you hadn’t shown the photo of you, Fr Z, it’s obvious you would be a great choice! :)

  10. abasham says:

    Would Bp. Fellay not expect to be made the prelate? Or perhaps they need to make a concession to Rome and accept “outside” leadership. I certainly don’t think they’d complain about Cdl. Burke, and having a Cardinal in charge can come in handy. For Francis, it could be seen as “promoting him out,” though I seem to recall him decrying that tactic in the Vatican recently. In any case, becoming the personal prelate of the SSPX would almost certainly eliminate Burke from being considered pababile, so maybe that’s another plus for the Francis wing.

  11. Tom A. says:

    Or he may do to Econe what he did to Malta.

  12. rcg says:

    You might those red buttons, yet, father!

    This is only close in Vatican units.

    “We must not be hasty.”

    – Treebeard, Bishop of Fangorn

  13. sw85 says:

    Likely, Fellay would insist on being the prelate in question, no? As for Card. Burke, I anticipate his deposition sooner rather than later.

  14. Fr. W says:

    Maybe Cardinal Cupich.

  15. Benedict Joseph says:

    What does it say about the state of things when something that should hold such promise appears only as a ruse?
    That is where we are.
    When trust for pastors is crushed, how can it be restored?
    Get the dogs in the yard. Throw them a chunk of something. Maybe it will shut them up and get PETA off our backs.
    We need be “…wise as serpents and gentle as doves…” Matt. 10:16

  16. CradleRevert says:

    clarinetist04,

    I’m sure he meant Burke, considering that Fr. Z isn’t a prelate…..yet.

  17. petrus69 says:

    More Rosaries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Mary Jane says:

    clarinetist04, That’s exactly what I was thinking. :-D

  19. Uxixu says:

    Would have preferred Society of Apostolic Life of pontifical right, as in the original 1988 Protocol, but whatever gets them in the fold. We need them! Badly.

    The best situation I always thought would be to give them another bishop (to replace Bp. Williamson), appoint them all to PCED and have them consecrate one or two members of the FSSP and ICKSP. Bp. Fellay as VP and primary consecrator of say… Fr. Berg or Fr. Bisig, for example would be a great gesture, perhaps with Cardinals Burke and/or Sarah as co-consecrators. All in Rome at the ear of the Holy Father… of course that was before Malta. Give the majority they wanted.

    The ground level is already pretty friendly, even to certain officials at the District level from my understanding from one of the District officials who visited us in LA. FSSP in LA recently celebrated a Solemn Nuptial where an SSPX priest was in attendance (unfortunately declined to risk sitting in choir) as he was familiar with one of the parties, though the Fraternity priest teased him a bit offering to “hang out.”

  20. Inigo says:

    Father Z is definitly ruled out because this would mean he would be ordained as bishop, and consequently become a monsignor, which we all know can’t happen this year, or any year for that matter since the Pontifical Comission for Withholding the Title of Monsignor from Father Zuhlsdorf still is operational between the sacred walls of Casa Santa Marta.

    Jokes aside, based on the “pattern” the pope gives appointments, this position would either be an exile and/or punishment for someone who disappointed the pope in some way recently or in a gravematter, or a political appointment of someone, who has nothing to do with the subject at hand, or has no interest in it, but can keep a close eye on things happening. Or both.

    My guess is Cardinal Erd?.

  21. Tom A. says:

    Why dont the SSPX priests just rejoin with FSSP? What will be the overall difference between the two priestly fraternities?

  22. FranzJosf says:

    The whole Personal Prelature for the SSPX is interesting. Right now, according to the SSPX constitutions, Bishop Fellay is Superior General because he was elected to two terms of office; the Superior General need not be a bishop. I guess all of that will change? Does anyone know? In a PP the Superior General is a bishop who is appointed? That reduces the level of internal control that the rank and file have if they can elect their superior. And will the SSPX be given a pass to operate where they want, without the consent of the local Ordinary?

  23. EHI says:

    I believe the Prelate would be Fellay.

  24. Giuseppe says:

    It would get Cardinal Burke out of the Malta mess…
    I think he can appoint Cardinal Sarah as part of a Vatican purge of orthodox Catholics.

  25. RichR says:

    Wait, is that FrZ on the photo with Cardinal Burke? How cool is that!?

    As to the SSPX, I’m very hopeful and encouraged by this news. Trust in Our Lady, Bishop Fellay.

  26. TimG says:

    @ clarinetist04 – I thought the same thing. :)

    In all seriousness…I too will wait and hope for positive news. And while it seems like a good fit for Cdl Burke, I just don’t see the pope appointing him head of anything…I think there is way too much history.

    Abp Schneider may also be a good choice?

  27. jflare says:

    I saw this tidbit over the weekend. Not sure of what to think of it really.
    On the one hand, it sounds like there’s cause for optimism. Certainly, we could use the passion and energy that SSPX–and especially the lay people who seek the Society for sacraments–seem to possess. On the other…as noted, we’ve seen this before. They’ll seem to be close to an agreement, then it all falls to pieces again.
    I think it would be good if the SSPX–and their lay followers–might be reconciled.
    I think though, I would not get too eager about seeking them before they and the Holy See make this hint into a formal recognition. I do not think it wise to stake my soul’s salvation on a rumor.

  28. Kerry says:

    In the photo I see both the Prelate of the SSPX, and Pius XII Secundus.

  29. LeeF says:

    I still think the joke is on them if the SSPX accepts a prelature. What they need is a society/order for their priests, and an ordinariate for their adherents. As a prelature they will require the consent of local ordinaries to run their chapels. I can’t see how that would turn out good for them, especially in this pontificate.

  30. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I was thinking this would be a Good Thing until a friend remarked that once Pope Francis pulls the SSPX into full canonical regularity, then it would be easy to rescind Summorum Pontificum and decree that only priests of SSPX could celebrate the usus antiquior. I hope there is some reason why that could not be done.

  31. dochm13 says:

    I like your dalmatic with the tassel. Never seen that before. Spiffy!

  32. Kathleen10 says:

    Despite Zuhlsdorf’s Law, you are an optimist. I shall not harsh your chill, or whatever kids say.

  33. Inigo says:

    I was just thinking about this again…could this be somekind of ploy to make Summorum Pontificum “obsolete”?

    If you check out the rethoric in which the pope speaks about SP it is clear he thinks it’s main objective was to foster unity with the SSPX…but if said unity is achieved, why have SP?

  34. DMorgan says:

    Well, if it was Cardinal Burke, it would be a good thing. Exept it could be another Knights of Malta bait and switch.

  35. Jack007 says:

    One thing that many seem to forget…by most conservative internal polling, its estimated between 40 and 60% of the SSPX supporters will exit and a bare minimum of 25% of their clergy. The Resistance movement claims a much higher number is sympathetic and will bolt if any agreement is reached. It is a given, based on their public statements that the other two bishops will be gone as well. They have made even harsher statements in private.
    Dozens of their apostolates will be torn in two with opposing groups in the same geographical area. It will be like 1983 in the NE USA district on steroids.
    Regardless of the numbers, it won’t be pretty for the SSPX.
    PRAY!
    Jack in KC

  36. Fuerza says:

    Inigo,

    The same thought has crossed my mind. Perhaps a similar structure would be offered to the FSSP and ICKSP, so that together with the PAA of St. John Mary Vianney in Brazil there would be 4 “Tridentine Administrations”. Perhaps the 4 would be offered a chance to merge, thus making only one such organization. SP could then be negated with regard to the diocesan parishes, or put at the discretion of the local ordinary. The bright side is that three of those four organizations are pretty widely distributed, and would likely be forced to open more chapels/parishes due to expansion if this hypothetical scenario were to present itself.

    Deep down though, I feel that we should give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt that he is sincerely reaching out to the “margins of the Church”. Let’s pray that this has a happy ending.

  37. Tom A. says:

    The SSPX occupy the traditional landscape dubbed Recognize and Resist. If regularized, will they cease resisting? Nothing has changed in Rome to alleviate the reason the Society has chosen to resist the novelties of V2.

  38. SenexCalvus says:

    Perhaps we should not exclude the possibility that Archbishop Fernandez will be appointed. He did, after all, write a book whose title (I can’t say I’ve read it) suggests that he may be uniquely qualified to extend, on behalf of Pope Bergoglio, the kiss of peace to those stalwart defenders of the Faith who continue to bear witness to the example of the true Servant of God Msgr. Lefebvre.

    If I were a cynic, I’d quote those beautiful words from the Eastern Liturgy that fall at about the same point before Communion when we Westerners confess, “Domine, non sum dignus”: And I shall not give Thee a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief will I confess Thee.

  39. Lucas Whittaker says:

    This is uplifting news, indeed! It demonstrates an appropriate generosity from both sides.

  40. Ben Kenobi says:

    I would be thrilled with CDL Burke heading the personal prelature. It would mark the first time that SSPX was lead by someone not ordained by ABP Lefebvre.

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  42. Tom A. says:

    Think Lucy, Charlie Brown, and a football.

  43. G-Veg says:

    I have been wondering if regularizing SSPX’s status would create a problem in local parishes. What I mean is that many of the largest families, most supportive of our parish in terms of resources and time, are Traditionalists. I see them at the Latin Mass at least once a month.

    If we COULD go to a Traditionalist parish, why would we remain part of our local parish and, if that concern is valid, would the Bishops aggressively work to prevent this from happening?

    [Good question. Hard to say. I suppose it would depend on the bishop. However, over time, “market forces” would prevail.]

  44. Ann Malley says:

    @ Ben Kenobi

    “…I would be thrilled with CDL Burke heading the personal prelature. It would mark the first time that SSPX was lead by someone not ordained by ABP Lefebvre.”

    Why thrilled? And why the bias (if I’m reading that correctly) against ABP Lefebvre? If the attitude here is that the Church “needs” the Society, what exactly is needed? If it is orthodoxy or a fullness of the expression of Catholic Faith, then is it not rather disingenuous to imply that it is thrilling to remove the directing of the Society away from one formed by the man who instilled this orthodoxy/fullness of Faith and giving it to another?

    Cardinal Burke, for all his stellar qualities, has demonstrated by his stepping up to support orthodoxy that he is, indeed, a man much like any other in the sense that he is fully able to be unjustly persecuted. Much like +Lefebvre was unjustly persecuted.

    Isn’t it time we begin to look at the situation for what it really was/is?

    @Fr. Z: I wholly concur that “market forces” would prevail over time. That seems to be much of the basis for the push-pull in the talks between the Society and Rome (between any Catholic entity that stands firm in tradition and Rome.) If given a choice, one not besmirched with the label “not in full communion” the fear is that sheep will flock toward pure grass instead of Astro Turf.

  45. Ann Malley says:

    @Jack007

    “…One thing that many seem to forget…by most conservative internal polling, its estimated between 40 and 60% of the SSPX supporters will exit and a bare minimum of 25% of their clergy. The Resistance movement claims a much higher number is sympathetic and will bolt if any agreement is reached. It is a given, based on their public statements that the other two bishops will be gone as well. They have made even harsher statements in private.”

    The Resistance movement claims a much higher number because their polling is predicated on the fallacy that Bishop Fellay intends to hand over the Society, lock, stock and proverbial barrel to be hindered from speaking the fullness of the truth. Scare mongering.

    If any gag order is imposed, it is only supposition that +Fellay will sign on the dotted line. It is, in my view, an attempt to malign his person. To gain adherents to “Resistance.”

    It is critical, but most especially in this generation of fake news and even more fake filters, to ask oneself “who” is doing this “conservative” polling and what is their agenda. Numbers can be crunched myriad different ways to elicit a knee-jerk to glob on what they are led to believe is the popular position.

    I opt for staying tuned. What will be, will be. Pray. And trust God.

  46. MaryW says:

    Father, how I pray this is true. Since moving to the Diocese the Phoenix from San Bernardino Diocese last year I have yet to register at any one of the parishes here even contemplating an Eastern Rute parish. The Newman Chapel at ASU is very appealing but you have to be a student, or family member of the student. For the time being I am attending a parish which is just 5 minutes away from where I live, but the sanctuary, other than the hanging cross, is ugly, back wall painted pea-soup green , think “The Exorcist “, which is very distracting. There is a new pastor; NO Mass but very reverent and from what I’ve observed so far, very promising. In any event, to get back to SSPX, a Church/Priory was built and consecrated by Bishop Fellay in the fall of 2015 just 20-25 min. from where I live. It would be so wonderful to have close access to the Mass of my youth.

  47. Imrahil says:

    Note: There are a couple of SSPX districts (the most important by far being France). The atmosphere in the district that is both heavily influenced, SSPX-wise, by Bp Williamson, and the only district with a sizable SSPV presence, is not necessarily representative.

    (re: resistance, etc.)

  48. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Why thrilled? And why the bias (if I’m reading that correctly) against ABP Lefebvre? If the attitude here is that the Church “needs” the Society, what exactly is needed? If it is orthodoxy or a fullness of the expression of Catholic Faith, then is it not rather disingenuous to imply that it is thrilling to remove the directing of the Society away from one formed by the man who instilled this orthodoxy/fullness of Faith and giving it to another?”

    Hi Ann:

    One, I consider CDL Burke to be a much greater model of Catholic orthodoxy. He has not, as ABP Lefebvre did, attempted to ordain and consecrate without permission from the Holy See. Obedience is a part of Catholic orthodoxy too. Two, why would you be opposed to having CDL Burke have oversight over the prelature? He’s a very good man and an excellent CDL who would do a good job here.

    “Much like +Lefebvre was unjustly persecuted.”

    I disagree that Lefebvre was unjustly persecuted in his excommunication. The Holy See told him not to ordain without permission. Rather than obey, he went ahead and did what he wanted to do anyways. He had several choices here and he chose the wrong one. He had ample opportunities to reconcile with the Catholic church and he chose not to. It is unfortunate, but that was his decision. I believe strongly that had he obeyed, many people, including Fellay would be better off.

  49. Rosary Rose says:

    “I disagree that Lefebvre was unjustly persecuted in his excommunication. The Holy See told him not to ordain without permission. Rather than obey, he went ahead and did what he wanted to do anyways. He had several choices here and he chose the wrong one. He had ample opportunities to reconcile with the Catholic church and he chose not to. It is unfortunate, but that was his decision. I believe strongly that had he obeyed, many people, including Fellay would be better off.”

    Did he have several choices? I’d like to know what they were. I have truly spent my entire life praying for reconciliation with the SSPX, and have started investigating what exactly transpired. I know in my major city that by 1973 there was no Mass allowing us to kneel to receive the Body of Christ. For the people I knew who brought the SSPX here, that was the entire problem. They said their hands are not consecrated, ” Who am I to touch Jesus Christ?” For them, it was all about how the New Mass treated Christ in the Eucharist. I was one of three students in my second grade class at a parochial school who knew how to pray the rosary. By the mid 70’s, our Catholic identity was quickly slipping away. Come forward to today. Most of my children’s friends have left the faith. They don’t believe in the True Presence. Many went to Catholic schools since kindergarten and are now in college. Look at where we are with AL, the recent synod, etc etc. I teach PRE. If I want an in depth explanation of something, I ask my SSPX friends.

    I’m beginning to think it was state of emergency, and the Holy Spirit directed Archbishop LeFebvre. Look at recent church history: Pope Leo XIII, Fatima, VII, Akita, to this year – 100th anniversary of Fatima. Then add “Archbishop LeFebvre forming the SSPX”. The question is, will we add “Reconciliation with the SSPX” before or after we see a “Bishop in White climbing up a hill in a ruined city”?

    Back to cutting out felt grapes for these banners….

  50. Fr Jackson says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the manner of selection of the prelate is specified in the prelature document. Granted, I’ve only seen the version from 5 years ago, so things may have changed. Nevertheless, I certainly came away with the impression that it would be Bishop Fellay. Your question piques my interest, and I’ll go have a look to refresh my memory.

  51. robtbrown says:

    Ben Kenobi says

    I disagree that Lefebvre was unjustly persecuted in his excommunication.

    Ann didn’t mention the excommunication. From the events in the 1970s it’s easy to conclude there was persecution years before the excommunication.

    As a matter of fact, when JPII was elected, an unnamed Cardinal (perhaps Oddi or Gagnon) said that it meant the persecution was over.

  52. Fr Jackson says:

    In one of the drafts from five years ago, the Prelate was to be chosen by terna; the terna was to be presented by the “Governmental Council” of the Prelature, composed of a minimum of six priests, presumably members of the Prelature. The method of establishing the terna has its own rules, referenced but not spelled out in the Prelature Document.
    Could the first Prelate be chosen differently? Of course. But, in my opinion, given the method of selection laid out above, the expectation seems to be that the Prelate is going to come from inside the Prelature. In any case, can assure you that the current mentality internal to the SSPX would not fathom any other possibility.
    The document specifies that the Prelate “can” also be a bishop. Interesting to see that – at least in this old draft – the two were not considered necessarily linked.
    I’ll bet a lot of these details have been tweaked over the last five years, but based on the favorable comments we’ve been hearing from SSPX leadership, I’d be willing to bet that whatever changes have been made were not more restrictive, but more favorable.