Behind the scenes SSPX things are brighter than they may seem

No sooner do I get back from Mass but…  one of my spies, a very reliable person whom I trust, sends me this:


I have heard from a source who has first-hand information that Cardinal Castrillon is happy with the answer from Bishop Fellay and has sent him a brief note in response.

I have also heard that the Cardinal will pass on the letter to His Holiness.

So behind the scenes it actually looks much brighter than the impression given by liberal press or some of the … SSPX bishops.

This is a very hopeful message.  I can take this as a confirmation of something I posted before.

I am hearing various things about this, and their cumulative effect reinforces the hope I did not abandon, even in the face of some of the press accounts and stories I have read. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jack Regan says:

    Fr. Z,

    When do you think we will get official word as to what the outcome of the offer has been?

  2. Paul Murnane says:

    Excellent news. Will continue praying. Thanks for the update Father and for the Masses you’ve said.

  3. Father Gary V. says:


  4. Jeff says:

    So everyone please stop the SSPX bashing and be patient and ….ahem….CHARITABLE. The Bishops Priests of the society and the faithful that attend their masses are Catholic too. Too much conjecture flying about without hard facts or proof. We are all striving to be good Catholics. Our Lady will help them.

  5. Fr. Angel says:


    Very well put. As the SSPX errs when they lump all the Church into a modernist pigeon-hole, so we who are in union with Pope Benedict would be off the mark to assume that all in the SSPX are prideful and of a schismatic spirit. I was once very harsh in my outlook of the SSPX, but as I have come to know faithful and clergy of the Society, I saw that I painted them with a broad, and unfair, brush. Wherever there is love for all things traditionally Catholic, there is the potential for unity and collaboration.

  6. Fr. Angel says:

    I meant to write:

    “As certain members of the SSPX err when they lump….” because I know that quite a few people in the Society are very supportive of Pope Benedict’s efforts at restoration. What is naturally hard for them is to see how slow the pace is to repair the destruction of the “auto-demolation.”

  7. RichR says:

    This seems to be encouraging…..if it’s true.

  8. David.G says:

    Oh, I really hope this is true!!

  9. Jeff says:

    As for the sspx priests and faithful being prideful nothing could be further from the truth. I attend Queen of Angels church in Dickinson TX and Fr Stanich preaches often about “traditional catholics” believing that they are somehow better than mainstream catholics by the merit of the grace God has given of tradition. One must constantly be reminded of the humility required in the catholic life. I do pray that the SSPX will one day be reconciled to Rome. Just yesterday Fr. Stanich’;s sermon was about being true Romans, that our citizenship lies with Rome first. I know I attend a SSPX church becaus i am trying to practice my faith and pass it on to my children. I converted from protestantism and was utterly unimpressed with the novus ordo mass and mindset. I went to talk with a priest about my conversion and he met me in a hawaiian shirt and shorts, and i will never forget that. I guess he was enjoying the new sprintime. Too much ranting from me, i will sign off..

  10. Jeff says:

    ahem.. “springtime”.. sorry fro teh typoss.. the text has a way of disappearing off the screen at the end of the line.

  11. Iosephus says:

    This is encouraging. Let us keep praying! Though I don’t know if we can expect any new developments on this front over night

  12. Paleface Potter says:

    Well I certainly hope so. The last week has been a roller coaster and no mistake

  13. Prayers! That would be wonderful news…

    Come Holy Spirit!

    Father Deacon Daniel

  14. Chris says:

    This would be very good news! Just as some fault the SSPX for staying in an “irregular” position for too long, there also may be some under the Holy Father which unintentionally rush things for the sake of a quick reconcilliation. As my FSSP priest friend often tells me, Patience! People like the Holy Father and Bishop Fellay don’t think in a 24-hour news cycle, they think in centuries and millenia. God has a plan. Thanks for the Masses Father. I’m doing my best to match them each day with a Rosary.

  15. Brian Mershon says:

    Boy, I cannot wait for the next nuclear bomb from the Pope.

    First the freeing of the TLM. Then, a reaffirmation of subsist it and the one true Church of Jesus Christ.

    Next. The lifting of the decrees of excommunication. This will drive liberals, the media and even most of the “conservatives” in the Church out of their minds. The vitriol about to be spilled over this was calm compared to the first two bombs!!!

    What might be next? Bishop Fellay with a red hat?

    It will be interesting to see Fr. Neuhaus, George Weigel and that gang explain this one away.

  16. Cathguy says:

    To Jeff and Fr. Angel:

    Well put!! You say it all!

    I too used to be harsh towards the SSPX. Then, after the Motu Proprio I experienced the TLM for the first time. I kept going. It is beautiful! I have difficulty going to the Novus Ordo now. The EF is far from my home, and I love my parish, so most Sundays I find myself slogging through all the irreverence and banality, reminding myself that Jesus Christ is just as present here as He is the OF. It is hard.

    I have read some history since the Motu Proprio was issued. It is remarkable how much persecution the SSPX have faced.

    Then, during this same time, I had a relative who was dying. No one listened to me about making sure she got the Anointing of the Sick. I guess I was easy to ignore because I am far younger than those relatives in charge of the care of our family member who was dying. “Do they even do that anymore? I don’t think so… Also, I don’t want to scare her.” These are all actual responses from so-called “Catholics” in charge of a dying woman’s care.

    Praise God an older relative who worships with the SSPX spoke up in a very quite and humble way, and low and behold, our relative had the opportunity to receive the Sacraments before she died. Think about the importance of that for a minute.

    I have never looked upon SSPX priests, or the faithful they minister to, in the same way since. “By their fruits you shall know them.” In my personal experience, they bear remarkable fruit.

    I pray that we can sort out this irregular canonical standing thing ASAP.

    While we are praying for a restoration of our larger Tradition, let us also pray that Catholics learn the beauty of Humanae Vitae. I am convinced that the TLM communicates so clearly the Truths of the faith that the way to attack every large heresy we face is to see its practice spread. Whether we are speaking of the contraceptive culture, the abortive culture, the culture of pornography, or the culture of divorce, the way forward is the TLM. It clears all the smoke of false ideologies and practices… (while filling chapel after chapel with the sweetest smelling smoke I have ever breathed)

    I hope and pray that this news is true.

  17. Steve K. says:

    What do Father Neuhaus and George Weigel have to do with this, Brian?

  18. Peg says:

    I was able to attend Mass at St. Nicholas du Chardonnay in Paris a few years ago.This church was bought by the SSPX. It was so beautiful that I stayed for a second Mass. They covered the altar rail with a beautiful cloth before Communion. The Masses were packed. Since then I have prayed for the reconciliation with Rome.

  19. HMacK says:

    SSPX stands for traditional Roman Catholic norms, values and mores. Thanks to the courage and the fidelity of the Archbishop to his immense task and to the same of other traditional organisations, independent or otherwise, there has been a realistic foundation for the hope that the true sensus catholicus will return to The Church which is beset by liturgical and infrastructural devastation together with not an insignificant amount of doctrinal obfuscation.

    Indeed, discussions taken slowly and carefully by SSPX and Rome will mean the future for tradition is a brighter one.

  20. JPG says:

    In 1988 I was appalled at the audacity to defy the Pope on this issue. I now think diferently. Given what I have seen the most liberal of bishops do say and act, the excommunications hurled at these people(the SSPX) seem extreme. However i am not the one to dare to sit in judgement of a pontiff such as Benedict’s immediate predecessor. ( although Assisi still makes me cringe.) We who may be “conservative” and may never attend the EF, need the SSPX back to counterbalance ,nay , correct, the nonsense we have seen the last forty years.
    JPG, Fairfield

  21. Tom says:

    My thought too Brian.
    Lack of vocations and low birth rates will take care of the liberals.
    Benedict is taking on the “conservatives” in this new theatre.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Steve K. said: What do Father Neuhaus and George Weigel have to do with this, Brian?

    Indeed, I wonder why Fr. Neuhaus or Weigel “and that gang” would feel compelled to “explain away” the reconciliation of disobedient, excommunicated bishops? I’m pretty sure they’d be pleased at the news of the return of the four SSPX bishops, not troubled or upset, just as they showed no sign of perturbation regarding Summorum Pontificum and the reaffirmation of what the Church has always said about the meaning of subsistit in.

  23. Jordanes says:

    Tom said: Benedict is taking on the “conservatives’’ in this new theatre.

    Wait a second, I thought Benedict was supposed to be one of the “conservatives.” Or was that one of the “liberals” or “modernists” or “neo-modernists”? I can’t remember from day to day what traditionalists think Benedict supposedly is. Me, I just think he’s the Pope.

  24. Eric Giunta says:

    What the SSPX SHOULD do is demand that Rome start disciplining wayward bishops who are negligent of their flocks, celebrate mediocre and abusive liturgies, enable sexual abusers, teach and tolerate doctrinal heterodoxy, etc.

    Even were their no Lefebvrist schism, Rome has an OBLIGATION to chastize and sicipline bad bishops. John Paul was, I believe, SINFULLY negligent in this area, and I can’t say Pope Ratzinger has been much better. Rome needs to show it’s serious about the Catholic faith, rather than giving to the world an image of a church that is no different, theologically and structurally, from the Anglican Communion, where orthodoxy is one option out of many which a good Catholic may avail himself of. The Church’s toleration of bad bishops and open dissidents is a message to the world that one can dissent from the party line, and still be a Catholic in good standing.

    I’m not making this up. Thats what liberals really think when they look at Catholicism, at least the ones I argue with. My local Catholic university recently gave a theology award to a famous nun who advocates goddess worship. My friends said how great it was the Church was beginning to open its mind. After all, this university is officially affiliated with the Dominicans, in communion with my Archbishop, and both the order and the bishop are in full communion with Rome. Apparently, the Catholic Church is content to tolerate open and unreprentant dissenters from it’s Catechism. We’re a big tent, EXACTLY like the Anglicans!

  25. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    Comment by Peg: was able to attend Mass at St. Nicholas du Chardonnay in Paris a few years ago. This church was bought by the SSPX.

    St. Nicolas was never purchased by the FSSPX. Nor could it be as historic church buildings are property of the French State.

    St. Nicolas was occupied by traditionalist Catholics in 1977 and they have never left. Quite literally a huge contingent of integrists processed into the church following the end of a Novus Ordo Mass. They removed the Cranmer communion table, set the high altar for the immemorial liturgy, and Msgr. François Ducaud-Bourget began the Tridentine Mass.

    The FSSPX assumed control of the parish when Msgr. Ducaud-Bourget died. They civil government has never expelled the traditionalists from the church…nor will they likely ever do so.

  26. Dominic says:

    Thank you Father. That is truly a relief. Let’s keep up our prayers.

  27. Woody Jones says:

    I am with you, too, Brian. The main thing is, though, that in their different ways both the SSPX and the Traditional Anglican Communion could do so much more good inside the Church than (in varying degrees) on the “outs” — I will try to be nuanced about the “S” word as Cardinal Castrillon is being, with respect to SSPX, per Father Z.

    I take it from all this that Bishop Fellay understands the situation and, as Father Z says, has a very good will, but perhaps is also hindered by certain irredentists (and we can admit that they have their reasons, on the personal level, too).

    I recall back to the recent reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (kind of the Orthodox equivalent of the SSPX in some ways) with the Moscow Patriarchate: there was not unanimity in the ROCOR circles either about the move, and a certain number broke off, but the presiding Metropolitan +LAURUS (now reposed: eternal memory!) was able to bring it off in part because he was a truly holy man. When he reposed there were all kinds of interesting articles about him in both ROCOR and MP media, as well as Pravda (times have changed), noting that he always focussed on the spiritual, and used to say that it is like we all live inside a large circle, and at the center is God: the closer we come to God, the closer we come to each other. Perhaps we all (starting with me) need to take this to heart more.

    Now, from what little I hear the ROCOR and MP are very well entwined, and that goes especially for the clergy, who seem to have a real joy at the reunion and brotherly relations. Of course there is not the matter of two different uses of the liturgy to split folks, but still the prospect for both regular N.O. and SSPX clergy to fraternize and draw support from each other should be an enticing one for them both.

    One could go on in this vein, as there are other indications that in the Orthodox world, at least, there is a return to more conservative practice, and a general revival of the older ways, within at the same time a kind of modern setting (I remember monks driving around the monastic grounds outside Blanco, Texas, in golf carts with walkie-talkies to communicate back to “base”; and of course there is now a large Orthodox presence on the net); the return of the St Herman Brotherhood to canonical standing within the Serbian Orthodox Church is another example of this. I hear vague rumblings in some Protestant groups as well (although not so well in touch with them). I suppose my thesis is that there is a still mostly hidden resurgence of orthodox/traditional belief and practice going on throughout the Christian world, and a coming together of these groups for strength in witness and maybe survival.

  28. MD says:

    I have read some of Bishop Bernard Fellay’s homilies and comments and he noted multiple times the Liturgy was the “tip of the iceburg.”

    In the recent homily, he made a telling comment of his thoughts when made the comment regarding the founding principles of the United States being a “revolution, of a rebellion against God.” And objected to the Holy Father expressing, “his admiration, his fascination before this country [United States] which has decided to grant liberty to all religions.”

    Bishop Bernard Fellay certainly appears to hold some views similar to the Late Archbishop Lefebvre – which views ecumenism and especially state supported Freedom of religion as, “Masonic and anti-Catholic principles.”

    There may be the greatest hurdle to overcome.

  29. David Palm says:

    I try to speak no more harshly nor more gently of the SSPX than does the Vatican.

  30. Cathguy says:


    I think a good, sane, and solid book to read on the Mason question is “Masonry Unmasked” by John Salza, published by recently by Our Sunday Visitor. (Talk about mainstream!) Check out Mr. Salza’s website. Just google him. I think the website is It would do you well to read it.

    No one can deny that Masonry represents a profoundly anti-Catholic (and anti-Christian) agenda. No one can deny the blood spilt by Mason inspired hands in Mexico during the Cristero War.

    No one can deny that Masonry and many influential people in U.S. history, along with anti-Catholicism, enjoy a connected history. At around the 1940s and 50s, Masons made up 80 percent of the U.S. Congress. No one can deny Masonic “court packing” to preserve and force a very intense line of demarkation between Church and State.

    No one can deny the connections between Masonry, the Klu Klux Klan, and anti-Catholicism.

    I am sure you have heard this statement: “You shouldn’t talk about abortion. You are mixing Church and State.” Ultimately, this is a very Masonic, and very American concept. [I don’t think it is either particularly Masonic or American. It is just ignorant. The so-called “wall of separation” doesn’t extend to discussion of these issues or of religion, for that matter. Also, you get this same rubbish in other countries, so it is not limited to the United States. – Fr. Z] It is also profoundly wrong.

    I think it is easy to take the Bishop’s statements about freemasonry and mock them. The press tends to cherry pick the quotes and the typical response is to mock the traditionalists concern about freemasonry.

    BUT once we look at good solid books produced even by the Novus Ordo folks (Masonry Unmasked… OUR SUNDAY VISITOR… PUBLISHED RECENTLY!) we see that freemasonry is fact a horrible thing.

    At least Bishop Fellay has the courage to talk about it. When was the last time you heard a non-traditional Bishop mention the dangers of freemasonry to the faithful under his care?

    I don’t think the fact that the Bishop is opposed to freemasonry, and sees freemasonry’s involvement in U.S. history clearly, should present any impediment to a normalization of the SSPX’s canonical status.

  31. Cathguy says:

    I just revisited Mr. Salza’s website. He has a new book, just published by TAN (good solid publisher of good Catholic books!)

    The book is specific to Catholics, whereas the one I mentioned before was more for general Christian readership. The new book is Why Catholics CANNOT be Masons.

    Just an addenda, John Salza is a former high ranking Mason and knows what he talks about.

  32. Steve K. says:

    Oh, good grief. I hope SSPX’s contributions are going to amount to more than lectures on the insidious threat of Freemasonry in the US government. Lord have mercy.

  33. Louise says:

    For the past week the majority of the posters on here have been slamming the SSPX, but the moment it looks like you all might have to eat your words,the tone changes and everyone starts back-peddling. Gimme a break!

  34. Matt Q says:

    Father Z wrote:

    “Behind the scenes SSPX things are brighter than they may seem.”


    See! I’ve always said there’s more than meets the eye and that we must continue to pray for them. I want the Society back in the Church because it’s a great piece of Catholicism which can only enrich the Church. Others want the SSPX back in because of a smug, victorious condescension.

  35. Jack Regan says:

    Given that the deadline has passed, does anybody know if there is any official news? When will it come? Where will it come from?

    I rather suspect that, since blogland has gone quiet on he issue – the result is not a positive one.

  36. MD says:

    Cathguy wrote:
    “No one can deny that Masonry represents a profoundly anti-Catholic (and anti-Christian) agenda. No one can deny the blood spilt by Mason inspired hands in Mexico during the Cristero War.”

    Certainly Masons in Mexico and even Europe persecuted the Church.
    And beyond that – Masonry is incompatible with the One True Faith in Christ. Yet it seems to be taken a step further when Freedom of religion is seen as an an evil. There’s possible serious problems on this level. Bottom line, Religious liberty is a good from God. Thus a right worth defending.

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  38. MD says:

    The question of “religious liberty” vs. radical “liberty of conscience” appears to be an issue that needs to be addressed.

    God has given mankind the freedom to choose Him without coercion or force. That is not condemned. What is condemned traditionally is man has no God-given right to follow a poorly formed conscience.

    As Bishop Michael Sheridan nicely stated, “Conscience, for the Catholic, must be informed by the teachings of the Church. In other words, conscience does not invent truth.”

    The question of basic “religious liberty” is a big issue.

  39. Jack Regan says:

    *What is condemned traditionally is man has no God-given right to follow a poorly formed conscience.*

    *As Bishop Michael Sheridan nicely stated, “Conscience, for the Catholic, must be informed by the teachings of the Church. In other words, conscience does not invent truth.”*

    The issue of conscience is a very sticky and difficult one indeed. The problem with conscience is that it is so abused as an idea that normally nobody wants to touch it with a barge pole. It is abused from the left by people who compact it down to a mere preference, or a whim, and it is abused from the right by people who claim that Christian life is simply a loyalty test with no personal understanding whatsoever – shut up and do what you’re told!! :(

    Veritatis Splendor (picking up on DH and various other sources) makes clear that conscience can be invincibly ignorant and also that one is obliged to follow ones genuinly formed conscience even if incorrect. It also makes the (valuable) point that one who follows an erroneous conscience is still following a proximanl truth even though their act may be intrinsically wrong.

    VS (picking up on Pius XII) also makes clear that Catholics have a ‘great help’ in the Magisterium when forming their consciences, but the document falls a long way short of saying that true consicence – even when informed – cannot diverge from the Magesterium. If this was the design then there is no doubt that it would have been stated very openly and clearly.

    So MD is right. But the key term there is ‘poorly formed.’ Indeed conscience does not invent truth. Hence, as VS says, conscience is ‘judgement not decision’, but the key question down the centuries posed by many individuals has been that of what to do it, after having prayed studied and consulted the Magesterium, they genuinly feel that what the Church is asking them to do is wrong. And the answer from VS (and Aquinas) is simply that they must follow their conscience. Following dictates that you beieve are wrong cannot make you moral. Only conscience can. That’s why a model which says ‘just obey, alright’ is very wrong. Though probably conveinent at times.

    So how does this all relate to SSPX? Well, if they are genuinly following their properly formed consciences then God won’t hold it against them. Problem is, they can’t then deny that right to those who (to use one of Fr. Z’s analogies) go off the road to the left.

  40. Matthew Mattingly says:

    I can’t imagine any sane, logical and balanced person verbally “bashing”, insulting, or defaming the SSPX for any reason.
    On the other hand, I have read of some neo-conservative CAtholics “holier than thou” who always bashed the SSPX and called them heretics, schismatics, and collectively bound for the fires of Hell because thry didn’t step into the Vatican II circus arena and dutifully applaude all the bizarre things that were promulgated in the Church and liturgy over the last 40 years….especially the last 30 years. And by that I don’t mean the abuses and deviant liturgical experiments, but rather the bizarre and totally off the wall extravaganzas that passed as Mass and other ceremonies over the last 30 years at the Vatican and other places. Not to mention the liturgical allowances granted over the same period (altar girls in particular).
    I can’t imagine anyone willfully trying to savage the reputation of the SSPX, which has upheld Catholic tradition and liturgical heritage of the last 1,000 years in the face of a hurricane of liturgical abuses and deviations.
    I can’t imagine anyone trashing the SSPX, which has built a community of nearly 600 priests, 225 seminarians, 100 brothers, 250 sisters, nearly 1,000 chapels and priories, over 150 schools, 1 University, several hospitals and nursing homes, and has a network of close to 50 religious Orders ranging from active priests, missionaries, teaching sisters, cloistered monks and friars and nuns. Also, there are branches of the Dominicans, Carthusians, Cistercians, Benedictines, Capuchins, Poor Clares, Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Redemptoristine nuns, and many others which have literally been the last vestiages of some of these Orders.
    Think of what they will bring to the Church, and the Catholic restoration that might be triggered by them.
    Perhaps the Pope will broaden the use of the TLM even more, mandating it to be said in every parish, as Cardinal Castrillon hinted in England. Perhaps the Pope will start celebrating the TLM himself.!!!
    No one should trash the SSPX for all of these reasons, and a hundred other ones .
    I can’t imagine ANY good Catholic, who would prefer the junk of the last 40 years in the Catholic Church, to the magnificent Catholic liturgy and heritage the SSPX represents, and which it would bring back to the Church.

  41. Pingback: Rumores sobre a resposta da FSSPX « Fratres in unum

  42. Jack Regan says:

    *I can’t imagine ANY good Catholic, who would prefer the junk of the last 40 years in the Catholic Church, to the magnificent Catholic liturgy and heritage the SSPX represents, and which it would bring back to the Church.*

    Erm… yeah… I would actually.

  43. Kradcliffe says:

    I am just having a hard time squaring the recent public statements of Bishops Fellay and Williamson with the idea that there has been a satisfactory response to the ultimatum.

  44. Jack Regan says:

    *I am just having a hard time squaring the recent public statements of Bishops Fellay and Williamson with the idea that there has been a satisfactory response to the ultimatum.*

    Well, like I keep saying, I am waiting for an official statement. But the lack of one from either side seems to tell its own story.

    My VIS E-mail is due soon. Maybe something in there!?

  45. Tom says:

    “The gang” will continue to operate in predictable ways as they become more irrelevant.
    They will continue with their luminous mysteries and will act like sedes convinced that there hasn’t been a pope since John Paul the Great. Few will be so explicit. They’ll dance around this and reminders of their earlier statements the way they do around the issue of masonry.
    Some may react like Aikens and say they are relieved (after years of arguing the opposite as in the’ pro-multis’ case)

    Are job is to keep our eye on the goal and to resist the temptation to rub their noses in this.

    If they’re looking for a graceful exit, don’t corner them. Their day is over.

    Deo gratias

  46. MD says:

    Tom wrote:
    “If they’re looking for a graceful exit, don’t corner them”

    In truth, the SSPX may be doing many a favor by giving the Holy See reason to articulate and teach how Dignitatis Humanae is a teaching on basic human dignity. And how tradition defends this.

    Also, with the special status of St Paul this year, it may be an opportune time for the Holy See to speak with the SSPX leaders regarding ‘religious liberty’ in light of Christ’s mandate (Matt. 28:19–20). Also discussing the promise the Church has the protection of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13) and a guarantee the Church will NOT fall away from his authentic teachings (Matt. 16:18, 1 Tim. 3:15), even if individual Catholics may do just that.

    St Stephen was denied ‘religious liberty’. We can notice after Saul’s conversion and Christian formation St Paul followed Christ’s mandate with a new Godly sense of human dignity.

    Religious liberty is not as a license to sin.

    The failure of properly defending ‘religious liberty’ may be why basic human dignity today is being destroyed by the evils of abortion; why not enough speak up against nations who persecute and deny Christians to openly practice their faith; right down to many Western nations harming homosexuals with encouragement and legal recognition of sinful acts.

    Denying basic human dignity is an offense against God and right reason.

    Dignitatis Humanae defends the dignity of the human family.

  47. Brian Mershon says:

    “Steve K. said: What do Father Neuhaus and George Weigel have to do with this, Brian?”

    The following is purely speculation. But from everything I have read whenever they comment on the SSPX and/or the TLM, there is always “the Lefebvrist schism” thrown in for good measure and it is plainly evident they do not take their doctrinal or liturgical views seriously.

    There is always a veiled kind of indifference, at best, with anything to do with the SSPX, and despite the Church’s official declaration that the SSPX is not in schism, they seem to relish in continuing to call it a schism–as if any intelligent, American Catholics should not take anything they say seriously. It seems they would much rather have more Lutherans, Anglicans and Episcopalians convert (which I am all for!!!) than any sort of reconciliation with the SSPX.

    The issue of religious liberty is one that gets frequent mention here and elsewhere. The Second Vatican Council’s teachings on religious liberty and ecumenism are not dogma. They are not a matter of faith and morals to the level of dogma.

    There is no defined magisterial understanding (yet) showing how religious liberty in Dignitatis Humanae can be squared with the pre-Conciliar teaching. I think any “development of doctrine” on this issue is much more modest than the post-Conciliar Church (including the post-Conciliar pope’s ruminations and actions)would like to admit. Read the Catechism’s explanation for instance.

    In other words, the Society of St. Pius X, and any orthodox Catholic, can hold fast to the pre-Conciliar teaching and understanding both of religious liberty, and dare I say, of ecumenism, outlined in Mortalium Animos, and be a faithful, practicing Catholic. Neither are dogma. We must have a religious assent of mind and will to the teaching of the Church (to the best we understand it) and then leave the rest to God.

    The Holy See knows this. Cardinal Castrillon knows this. The Pope knows this.

    George Weigel (who lived and breathed upon hearing sermons and talks from John Courtney Murray for many years of his early life) and Richard John Neuhaus, if they know this, certainly do not appear to. They are big fans of what I would even call the mainstream “orthodox” post-Conciliar understanding of religious liberty and ecumenism.

    The Holy See will now lift the decrees of excommunication just as Step Two was requested by the SSPX.

    There is no heresy. There is no formal schism. The path to reconciliation, as rocky as it may seem from statements from the SSPX, is on the way.

    Again, many so-called “conservative” Catholics who have made a living out of being the logical fallacy of “the false idea of a middle way between two extremes” will be virtually apoplectic. You watch…

  48. Craigmaddie says:


    They will continue with their luminous mysteries..

    I think you mean the Church’s Luminous Mysteries. I personally don’t pray the Luminous Mysteries myself as I prefer the cycle of the 15 traditional Mysteries as they progress through the course of the week. The placing of the new Mysteries on the Thursday and the Joyous on the Saturday is quite jarring but per se these Mysteries are very valuable for Catholics to meditate on.

    Our job is to keep our eye on the goal and to resist the temptation to rub their noses in this.

    This is a good statement of charity that seems sadly lacking in the rest of your post, Tom.

  49. Cornelius says:

    Mr. Regan –

    “ [Veritatis Splendor] falls a long way short of saying that true consicence [sic] – even when informed – cannot diverge from the Magesterium [sic].”

    Jack, I must address your post because I believe it contains some serious errors. Please note #56 of VS. In describing those who erroneously posit a “double status” of moral truth, the Holy Father remarks:

    “On this basis [of claiming a double status to moral truth], an attempt is made to legitimize so-called “pastoral” solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a “creative” hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept” [VS 56].

    Conscience is obliged “in every case” by moral precepts, taught by the Magisterium, that condemn certain acts as intrinsically evil and hence not to be done in any circumstances, e.g., contraception, abortion, fornication, adultery, lying, etc. A well-formed conscience, then, by definition is formed in accord with this objective moral order, an order taught by the Magisterium. A conscience that judges at variance with the Magisterium regarding intrinsic evils is by definition an ill-formed conscience because these precepts bind “in every case.”

    In those cases where the evil of an act is not intrinsic but whose moral quality is assessed by the traditional taxonomy of object, intention, and circumstance, the individual must apply general moral precepts to his circumstances, weigh the object of his act and his intent, and decide accordingly what to do in light of his conscience. An example would be the morality of killing. This application of general moral principles, taught by the Magisterium, to concrete circumstances is the proper province of individual conscience, not the formation, much less the creation, of those general principles. That is the thrust of John Paul’s exegesis of the Genesis story of the Fall (see VS 35).

    While we are obliged to follow our conscience (even a wrong one), this is true only of a certain conscience (a doubtful conscience may not be acted on) and does not amount to a free pass to commit moral evil. We are responsible for forming our consciences and, apart from cases of invincible ignorance, are culpable for an ill-formed conscience:

    “Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.” (CCC 1801)

    “Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct” (CCC 1792).

    In sum, VS does, to my mind, clearly state that the teaching of Magisterium regarding intrinsic evils bind the conscience “in every case”, and an ill-formed conscience will be imputable to us (barring invincible ignorance).

  50. Paul Haley says:

    As a matter of courtesy, may I please point out that there are many individuals in the FSSPX who are, I believe, truly Catholic in their intent and desirous only that the Church retain its roots – i.e., that which it has always taught, professed and held to be true from the days of the apostles. It is, therefore, in my opinion libelous to paint all of them with a broad brush as some insist on doing. Now, for the record I have never attended an SSPX chapel and do not, know nor have I ever, advocated disobedience or outright defiance to the Holy Father.

    I take to heart the words of Cardinal Hoyos when he said the SSPX is an internal matter for the church and that the SSPX is not formally in schism. The Cardinal has an enormous task before him, eliminating all the rancor and bitterness that have may have characterized relations with the FSSPX over the last 20 years, from whatever the source. It is my opinion and my fondest hope that all will pray that he will be successful and that we will resist saying anything that might tend to derail the negotiations, discussions or whatever one wishes to call them.

    If Father Zuhlsdorf can celebrate Mass for a successful outcome, shouldn’t we all holster our weapons and pray along with him? Lord Jesus give us the peace that only You can give.

  51. Paul Haley says:

    Sorry, folks, please change “Now, for the record I have never attended an SSPX chapel and do not, know” to “Now, for the record I have never attended an SSPX chapel and do not, now“. Thanks.

  52. Jrbrown says:

    I once again united my intentions at the Mass I attended this morning to all those praying for a successful outcome between SSPX and the Vatican, specifically Bp Fellay and Cardinal Hoyos. I will continue to do so and pray that God’s Will be done in this matter.

  53. Patrick says:


    Your predictions on Neuhaus and Weigel are wrong. See, they have something that most defenders of the SSPX don’t have. That is, a belief that when the Church acts, we ought to follow. They don’t make excuses and invent loopholes and imagined necessities. No, they simply accept that the Church is given the grace to lead us by the Holy Spirit. It’s rather hard to imagine either of these gentlemen being “apoplectic” about a decision by the Holy Father. Unlike the SSPX-ers, they don’t play that game.

  54. Cerimoniere says:

    “Well, like I keep saying, I am waiting for an official statement. But the lack of one from either side seems to tell its own story.

    My VIS E-mail is due soon. Maybe something in there!?”

    I don’t know why anyone is expecting offical news now. The letter from Cardinal Castrillon was not published by the Holy See; it was leaked. Bishop Fellay’s response was correspondingly private. Further, both apparently concerned Bishop Fellay personally and the conditions for further conversations between him and the Holy See.

    Therefore, if the Holy See is satisfied by the response (as Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s source suggests), one would expect that conversations would continue in private as before, until there is something to announce. The fact that someone leaked a preliminary procedural document gives us no reason to expect official progress reports from the Holy See throughout the rest of the process.

  55. Tom says:

    Brian is right about the lazy positioning of a middle way between two extremes.
    It’s a view that sees differences only in degree and never kind-Reductionism. And this is a necessary prerequisite to Relativism.

    I feel privileged to have had a long conversation with Card Ratzinger on this in the nineties.
    Fr. Fessio brought up many of the same points in a letter to N.O.R. under the title “The Fallacy of False Symetry”

    The pejorative “Extreme” is thrown around in spite of the fact that it’s a poor descriptor. When is it used to identify anything but that which is logically consistent (though the premises and all that follow MAY be false)???

    “Truth is not found between two errors but is ABOVE and there can not be MY truth nor YOUR truth.. only OURS”–Alice von Hildebrand

  56. Cerimoniere says:

    Having just written what I did above, I now see that some news of Bishop Fellay’s letter to the Holy Father has apparently become public via I.Media and AFP:

    Once more cause to redouble our prayers…

  57. Jack Regan says:


    Your understanding of VS56 fails to address the parts of VS which tackle how proper judgments of conscience are made and, more specifically, the difference between judgment and decision.

    If the teaching of the Church were that properly formed conscience and Magisterium can never diverge then documents like VS would state this in clear unambiguous terms. Yet VS does not. VS56 condemns a ‘creative’ understanding of conscience, and rightly so, yet the document distinguishes between judgment and decision where conscience is concerned. Yet if conscience could never diverge from Magisterium, it would not even be a case of ‘judgment,’ but rather simply obedience. The judgment of conscience is not merely application.

    Conscience is not personal decision, but always in reference to objective moral law. Yet it is also clear that ‘Magisterium’ and ‘Natural law’ are not always seen as the same in this process. The obligation of conscience is to the latter, not the former. The answer to that may well be to say that this may lead two different people to two different (yet justified) decisions and indeed VS recognises this.

    VS55 appears to condemn autonomous judgement, but then elsewhere the document states very clearly that an erroneous conscience must be followed, if properly formed and that erroneous conscience still pursues a proximal (or subjective) truth (VS62, 63). Is this then saying that the only kind of erroneous yet innocent conscience is one which has not yet discovered what the Magisterium teaches? Well, if this were the case don’t you think that the document would say such a key thing in blindingly clear terms? Yet it does not.

    That is the key question in he issue for me.

    VS64 also states that

    ‘Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium. As the Council affirms: “In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church.”‘

    VS64 goes on to expound that a little further. Yet nowhere does this key paragraph – as it talks about Magisterium and conscience quite clearly – say that the two cannot possibly diverge. In the above quoted text VS64 talks about Christians having ‘a great help’ in forming their consciences. Further on VS64 states that ‘the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather it brings to light the truths which it ought already to possess.’

    And this is indeed true. But why, in a document published at such a crucial time for this issue, use phrases like ‘a great help’ and ‘ought to be there.’ Why not say ‘an infallible guide which does the job for us,’ and ‘will always be there?’

    I feel that VS61 explains it all rather well: *The maturity and responsibility of these judgments — and, when all is said and done, of the individual who is their subject — are not measured by the liberation of the conscience from objective truth, in favour of an alleged autonomy in personal decisions, but, on the contrary, by an insistent search for truth and by allowing oneself to be guided by that truth in one’s actions.*

  58. I am not Spartacus says:

    This will drive liberals, the media and even most of the “conservatives” in the Church out of their minds

    If a reconciliation is accomplished absent a public apology on the part of the SSPX that will drive some of us right out to the far edges of our mind; right-up to gates of outrageousness where sits coiled the barbed wire of bitterness and anger and where the day-glo poster hangs reading, “Reconciliation Farce”.

    If a schism can be allowed to publicly condemn Our Sweet Jesus on Earth as an AntiChrist; is a schism can be allowed to teach that Jews as a race are cursed; if a schism can be allowed to teach a normative mass is evil; if a schism can teach an Ecumenical Council taught error; if a schism can be allowed to say the hierarchy in Rome has spiritual aids; if a schism can be allowed to claim the church has bastard sacraments; and then, after issuing all of this calumny against Divinely-Constituted authority and after sowing enmity against The Living Magisterium and pouring-out upon it the most vile obloquy the way the schism has done has day after day after damnable day and yet be reconciled absent a public apology, then I think I do not understand this Pope.

    The idea a reconciliation will happen absent a public apology and a repudiation of the insane heresies held by the sspx is, to me at least, an example of magical thinking riding a comet.

    If a reconciliation is accomplished absent an apology and repudiation of error that will be an execrable example other willful groups will be anxious to seize upon and imitate.

    If this reconciliation happens like I sometimes fear it will, Hell will soon be calling to collect its rent when other willful groups, without cost, feel free to rend the Body of Christ.

  59. Habemus Papam says:

    Precious Blood of Jesus have mercy.

  60. Tom says:

    I am not Spartacus:

    If that’s satire, it’s pretty good. In any event, we run the risk of “the gang” stealing your ideas, calumnies and all.
    You watch.


  61. Brian Mershon says:

    I am Spartacus. Perhaps you have not been reading or keeping up. The Church says the SSPX is not a case of a formal schism–despite your calumnies and misrespresentations.

    But thanks for proving my point!

  62. Brian Mershon says:

    “That is, a belief that when the Church acts, we ought to follow. They don’t make excuses and invent loopholes and imagined necessities. No, they simply accept that the Church is given the grace to lead us by the Holy Spirit.”

    Except for any time the U.S. is about to engage in an unjust war in its quest for imperialism. Then they let the entire world know that this is only a “prudential” decision of the Holy Father (both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI) for which assent is not required.

  63. rick says:

    RORATE CAELI reports………..

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008
    I.Media: SSPX asks for removal of excommunications
    Agence France-Presse (AFP) publishes today the information that the Rome-based French religious news agency I.MEDIA reports that the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) has asked the Holy See to lift the excommunications:

    The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X has asked the Vatican to lift the excommunications pronounced against it, an Integrist [sic] organization, to display its will to dialogue, according to religious news agency I.Media.

    The Superior of the Fraternity, Bishop Bernard Fellay, sent Pope Bendict XVI a letter responding to the conditions posed by the Vatican to a reintegration of this organization, founded by schismatic [sic] bishop Marcel Lefebvre, the agency notes.

    According to an internal note of the Fraternity mentioned by I.Media, Bishop Fellay asks that the dialogue “be placed at a doctrinal level” and that he may avoid every hastiness. He underlines that “prior withdrawal of the excommunication of 1988 would favor the serenity of such a dialogue”.

    “These conditions seem to aim the achievement of a climate favorable to an ulterior dialogue rather than precise commitments on exact points,” the Priestly Fraternity considers in its note.
    It seems step one of the “One-Two-Three Strategy” is about to be completely accomplished

  64. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Mershon. I have been keeping-up. And every single thing I wrote charging the sspx as having taught, and having never publicly repudiated, is easily provable by direct quote and citations.

    Called upon to do so, I can roll the quotes out almost endlessly.

    If you think by my post I have proved to be out of mind I simply disagree. I am so sane I can not only identify my most deepest feelings and ideas about the schism (and appending a qualifying adjective does not mean it is not a schism) I can, and do, chose to not act upon them if by acting upon them is meant I would attack or oppose the Pope were he to do what to me would be unjust in the extreme – accomplish a reconciliation without requiring a public apology.

    One thing the schism has always been able to count upon is that those who have opposed it since its inception, men like myself who have maintained the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority, can always be counted upon to accept whatever decision the Pope takes vis a vis them, the schism.

    As I have repeatedly written. I will accept whatever decision the Pope takes (that is, after all, what an obedient Christian Catholic ought do), but, in the meantime I think it not unreasonable to write I think it would be a horrible mistake to do so and would be consequential in obvious, and not so obvious, ways.

    I think there has always been a subtle subtext underlying the entire sspx vs Rome situation. And the subtext is those who have maintained the Bonds of Unity are just expected to shut-up while those who succor the schism are thought free to not only tell the Pope what they will and will not accept as conditions for a reconciliation but they are allowed to, with impunity, continue attacking Divinely-Constituted authority.

    At least that is the way I see it. If I am wrong, it will not be the first time and if I am right, I understand Justice is not a rational expectation in this life.

  65. Cornelius says:

    Jack, re “If the teaching of the Church were that properly formed conscience and Magisterium can never diverge then documents like VS would state this in clear unambiguous terms. Yet VS does not.”

    But I not asserting that VS says that a properly formed conscience and the Magisterium “can never diverge.” That’s an overstatement. I am saying that, in cases of intrinsic evils, a properly formed conscience and the Magisterium (which teaches the intrinsic evil of certain acts) cannot diverge. If they do diverge in these cases (intrinsic evils), then the conscience is not properly formed.

    I have cited VS 56 in support of this, in which the Pope condemns the opinion that tries to legitimize “pastoral solutions” contrary to the Magisterium’s teaching, and condemns the idea that “moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.” Clearly, the Holy Father is saying that, in cases of intrinsic evil, moral conscience IS obliged, IN EVERY CASE, to obey the precept.

    Here’s another instance is VS in which the Pope clearly rules out the possibility of “any legitimate exception” to moral precepts regarding intrinsically evil acts:

    “But the negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behaviour as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized, the only morally good act is that of obeying the moral law and of refraining from the action which it forbids” (VS 67).

    This is a pretty emphatic passage – if there is no “legitimate exception” to certain [intrinsically evil] acts, then no properly formed conscience can assent to them.

    I think the confusion lies in the fact that you are not distinguishing intrinsically evil acts from prudential evils, or evils determined to be such by reference to object, intent, and circumstance. I may still have a properly formed conscience and yet disagree with the Magisterium about the morality of a particular immigration law or a particular war, but I cannot possess a properly formed conscience and still dissent from the Magisterium about the evil of abortion or contraception, for example.

  66. Roland Jacobs says:

    If any one has high placed friends in the FSSPX and wants them
    to come back in, send them this thread

  67. Jack Regan says:


    Regarding VS67… but how does one recognise the intrinsic evil of an act? That’s the point. In the case of some teachings some people just do not believe in their heart of hearts that the Church is right and they believe that if they follow the Church’s teaching they are doing wrong.

    In other words, if you recognise something as an intrinsic evil, your conscience has already passed judgment. If, having informed your conscience properly, you still do not recognise the act as evil, then you won’t believe the Church’s teaching. Especially since reviewing the Church’s teaching would have been part of the formation of conscience in the first place.

    Do you see what I mean? It’s a catch 22? If you recognise that it is an intrinsic evil, then there is no conflict. If you don’t, then there is. And you can’t resolve it by citing the fact that the Church has designated it as an intrinsic evil, since in forming your conscience, you’ve already been there.

    So what’s left? Other than a loyalty test which forces you to do something you genuinely believe to be evil probably simply out of either fear of punishment.

  68. Jack Regan says:


    *Once the moral species of an action prohibited by a universal rule is concretely recognized*

    ..Once it is recognised..

    That’s the ballgame. How do you recognise it, if not by conscience??

  69. Cornelius says:

    Jack, okay, I see your point more clearly now, and it’s a good one. Let me say this in reply:

    There are two conceivable ways that one might assess whether a person’s conscience has been properly formed: 1) whether he has followed the right process in formation, or 2) whether he has achieved the right outcome. By “right outcome” I mean whether the judgments of his conscience accord with the objective moral order, for that is the end of all conscience formation, is it not? – to mirror the objective moral order.

    You seem to be asserting #1 above: that proper conscience formation only need concern itself with the formation process, e.g., prayer, studying Church teachings, reading Scripture, etc. Regardless of outcome, a person who has engaged in the right process in conscience formation has a properly formed conscience (as I understand you).

    But I submit to you that the Church teaches #2 above: that a properly formed conscience is such in virtue of its agreement with the objective moral order. In short, it’s the outcome that matters. The process it uses to get there is important, to be sure, but it is conscience’s concurrence with the moral order that defines whether it is properly formed or not.

    To support this, I cite the Catechism:

    “A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator” (CCC 1783).

    In this line the Church teaches that a well-formed conscience is defined by the judgments it makes, not by the process it engages in to form itself (though process is undoubtedly important). Therefore, a conscience that dissents from Magisterial teaching on intrinsic evils is by definition ill-formed. Outcome takes precedence over process in the formation of conscience.

  70. Jack Regan says:

    Then why does VS state that a person is bound to follow conscience, even if erroneous? And that if one does the right thing against the judgment of the conscience then the merit from having done so is not imputable to him/ her?

    Once again, I would also ask this question: VS says that there are cases where conscience can invincibly err? So, what are these cases?

    Are they simply times when the agent is unaware of Church teaching? Or do they simply pertain to that which hasn’t been taught with a certain level of authority? Well, VS does not say either. And if so, what if the agent (invincibly) does not believe the teaching to be valid or right?

    I guess the question is ultimately how does a person choose – or reject – God?

  71. Jack Regan says:

    Regarding your points 1) and 2) above…

    Maybe it’s a gap between what is objectively best for society (2) and what justifies a person morally (1).

    Before I go out for a well-deserved bike ride, I offer one more argument:

    In 1452 when Pope Nicholas V authorised the perpetual enslavement (by the Portuguese King) of unbelievers, pagans and Muslims, were the people who refused to carry out the order wrong to follow their consciences against Church teaching?

    In 1555 when Pope Paul IV authorised massive discrimination against Jews living in the Papal states, were people who felt he was wrong and who acted against him wrong to follow their consciences?

    You get the idea.

    Point being: maybe God left our sovereign and final guide as something merely between him and us. Maybe.

  72. Cornelius says:

    Jack – re “Then why does VS state that a person is bound to follow conscience, even if erroneous?” Because even an erroneous conscience retains its dignity as our proximate moral authority. That said, an evil act “remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience” (CCC 1793). If process were all that mattered in conscience formation, there would never be a need to “correct the errors of conscience.”

    “VS says that there are cases where conscience can invincibly err? So, what are these cases?” Invincible ignorance is generally considered to be ignorance a person is “unable to rid himself of, notwithstanding the employment of moral diligence” (Catholic Encyclopedia). But ignorance is a lack of knowledge (defect of the intellect), and is not to be confused with dissent from moral norms (defect of the will). If, as a Catholic, I know that the Church teaches that e.g., abortion is an intrinsic moral evil, I can hardly be considered invincibly ignorant if I refuse to assent to that teaching. Even if my refusal is cast in high-minded terms, it remains a rejection of the teaching authority of the Church (“He who hears you hears me . . . “), with all the culpability that goes along with that rejection.

    I think the direction you are going is an interesting one, but I think it must be regarded as a challenge to what the Church teaches about conscience, and not an explication of that teaching. It is a challenge to Church teaching because of its trajectory towards radical relativism or subjectivism of conscience (where process alone matters), a tendency in society that the last two Popes (at least) have been stoutly resisting.

  73. Franzjosf says:

    Brian, another Benedict Bombshell: Deus Caritas Est doesn’t quote a single Vatican II Pope or document!

    Peg: I’ve been to Mass at St. Nicholas as well. It was amazing. I was there for the Sunday High Mass. Never seen to many altar boys in training in the Procession in all of my life. Place was packed. Lots of young people. I literally stood with my back against the back wall, because that was the only space I could find. Glorious.

  74. Jack Regan says:

    *even an erroneous conscience retains its dignity as our proximate moral authority.*


    Indeed one must always work and pray to ensure that we are forming our consciences as best we can.

    In your first sentence you seem to have acknowledged the principle that an erroneous conscience must be followed. And that was my very point. Hence, we are converging somewhat.

    Regarding your point about dissenting from the teaching on Abortion. Of course, if they knew and recognised that it was an important and authoritative Church teaching then they could not claim conscience, but as I said above, how does one come to recognise this? That’s where the issue lies…

    Once again… *even an erroneous conscience retains its dignity as our proximate moral authority.*

    If it’s erroneous, it’s erroneous. You can’t say that an erroneous conscience must be followed, but that in some cases it just simply can’t be invincibly erroneous. Sometimes it just is.

    I think the problem with conscience is that those of us who don’t have an issue with Church teaching find it really hard to believe that others can dissent without an ulterior agenda. But I really believe they can.

    Perhaps we should all pray that all people come to know the love of the Father in their lives.

    And with that, I think I’ll leave this one where it is :)

  75. Jordanes says:

    Brian Mershon said: Perhaps you have not been reading or keeping up. The Church says the SSPX is not a case of a formal schism—despite your calumnies and misrespresentations.

    Well, to be precise, “the Church” does say the SSPX is a case of formal schism. However, Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos says it is not, evidently due to the Church’s desire to achieve reconciliation with the SSPX. And since Cardinal Castrillon is the Pope’s point-man on relations with the SSPX and other similar traditionalist groups, it is best for all that the faithful not throw the word “schism” around when talking about the SSPX.

    Except for any time the U.S. is about to engage in an unjust war in its quest for imperialism. Then they let the entire world know that this is only a “prudential” decision of the Holy Father (both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI) for which assent is not required.

    I think that’s a perfect example of what Patrick was talking about. Weigel and Fr. Neuhaus did not have “make excuses and invent loopholes and imagined necessities” to justify their support for the Iraq war. They were correct that the judgment of John Paul II and Benedict XVI is not something to which Catholics are bound to give assent, and the Pope has never corrected them on that. And Patrick is also correct that Fr. Neuhaus and Weigel would be most unlikely to become “apoplectic” at the news of the SSPX excommunications being lifted, assuming that ever happens (hopefully it will be soon).

  76. Jacob says:

    I pray for schismatics, heretics and those who have
    wandered from the faith. Perhaps this “behind the
    scenes activity will prove fruitful. But, in all
    honesty and charity, SSPX really is beginning to look
    like a bunch of petulant children who will threaten to
    hold their breath until Papa Ratzinger gives them
    everything they want — not as bad as, but bordering on,
    ecclesial Veruca Salts.

  77. dom guzman says:

    IMHO Wm. C. Hoag should be taken out and hosewhipped for hurling a pejorative, “integrists” at group of Catholic faithful. [And in my opinion, if you use rhetoric like that again on my blog, about another participant here, you will never post another comment again. o{]>:¬( ]

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