Excommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson speaks

Over at our friends of Rorate there are excerpts of an interview with the ecommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson.

Rorate has quite a few excerpts, and you should go there to see them, but I want to lift and post some here.  These appear near the end.

My emphases and comments.

[REGULARIZATION OF THE SOCIETY]

[16.] On the future, how would you envision a regularization of the Society if it were ever to come about?

Well, the Archbishop used to say, and he’s quite right: “Once Rome comes back to its senses, there is no more problem”. Already the Romans are making documents, it’s already lined up how they would do it. It’s paperwork, paperwork.  [Probably not an entirely honest answer for someone who has such grave misgivings about doctrine since the Second Vatican Council.  Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily.  A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens.  But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents.]

[THE TRANSALPINE REDEMPTORISTS]

[17.] Lastly, would you care to comment on the latest proceedings with the Redemptorists at Papa Stronsay?

It doesn’t look good, it looks like they are going to make an agreement with modernist Rome. So, in my opinion, that’s not a very good idea, because they will be obliged, more or less, to abandon the defence of the Faith. More or less.  [Actually, if you consider it….  the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do.  They set themselves up as the arbiters of what is right and wrong without any serious reference to the Holy See.  Some of them will even carefully attack Vatican I.  Interesting no?]

[18.] How would the change you predict manifest itself?

They will no longer be able to freely criticize Vatican II,  [piffle… anyone is free to criticize "Vatican II", properly understood.  I believe Benedict XVI has himself criticized Councils, saying that there were Councils which perhaps should never have been held.  Not everything about every Council is perfect.   These things can be discussed.  However, causing scandal and rifts in the Church is not the best way to go about it.] and they will come under pressure to celebrate the modern Mass, or at least attend the modern Mass with the local Bishop on a Good Thursday. [That is so very hard to do?] The New Church can hardly insist on less, it has to insist on that.  [New Church… ]

[19.] Would you even consider the Redemptorists regularizing their situation with Rome treason?

Treason is a very strong word. I distinguish subjectively and objectively: objectively I think it’s more grave than subjectively. Subjectively I dare say they mean well, they have good intentions, and they are sincere. But objectively I think they are abandoning the true cause of the Faith, yes, they are essentially abandoning the true defence of the Faith, I would say.  [In other words, he thinks they would be traitors to the cause.  On the other hand, many of us who have not broken manifest unity with the Church sometimes think of certain traditionalists who opted out almost as deserters from the front line of battle.]

[20.] Should that be taken as your personal opinion or the position of the Society?

I think a number in the Society would share that opinion, yes, that they are objectively abandoning the true defence of the Faith. A number in the Society would take that position, and I think a number would also say, they nevertheless mean well, they’re sincere, they have good intention, they mean to defend the Faith, not to abandon the defence of the Faith. But the Archbishop was quite severe about those people who abandoned Tradition in those years, years back he was quite severe.

[21.] Saying that the Redemptorists at Papa Stronsay are abandoning Tradition could be perceived a just as strong a statement as calling it treason.

I didn’t say they are abandoning Tradition, I said they are abandoning the true defence of Tradition, which is a slightly different thing. They will still be defending Tradition to some extent, but they are abandoning the complete and true defence of Tradition.

[22.] Have you read anything of the way the Redemptorists are reasoning and considering their situation?

No, I haven’t. I don’t keep up with these things.

[23.] But surely people in central command have in order to properly deal with matters?

Of course. I’m not in central command, I’m not in headquarters. I’m way out in South America so I can enjoy the sunshine and forget about a lot of problems.
 

I sincerely pray for the day when the many good men in the ranks of the SSPX will be reconciled fully with the Church, whether in some juridical structure or other, …  However it happens, I long for it to happen.  They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously.   They had and have so much to contribute.

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190 Comments

  1. Paul Haley says:

    Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily. A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens. But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents. So, isn’t this what everyone wants, debate about the things that really matter and isn’t that debate when not acrimonious, helpful to the church at large?

    I sincerely pray for the day when the many good men in the ranks of the SSPX will be reconciled fully with the Church, whether in some juridical structure or other, … However it happens, I long for it to happen. They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously. They had and have so much to contribute. I couldn’t have said it better, Father, except to say that the entire society and other independents who dispute no doctrine or dogma should be welcomed into the fold. Frankly, I don’t believe there is as much difference over true doctrine or dogma as many would gave us believe.

  2. I do not agree with the approach of the Society of St. Pius X to the problems in the Church today, but to be quite honest I think they do have a point. There are problems in the Church of which the liturgy is only the visible manifestation. A few words in Latin and some Roman vestments do no make one an orthodox Catholic. Unfortunately it is the deeper doctrinal problems the Church is facing which many- including those who push for a more traditional liturgy- tiptoe around.

    I think elements in the SSPX might take some issues to the extreme, but at the very least they are speaking up when many others who enjoy better relations with Rome prefer to be silent.

    The facts are plain. There is a clear rupture between pre-Vatican II theology and post-Vatican II theology- blame this on the spirit of Vatican II or the letter of Vatican, but it is still there. And lets face it, the theological issues are not limited to fringe scholars- they are working throughout the Church. Nor is Rome entirely innocent here.

    I may not agree with the SSPX on everything, but for a moment lets listen to what they say about this matter, because at the moment they are the only ones saying it. We

  3. Mark M says:

    “central command”!

    Sounds like the Romulan Star Empire and not the Church! ;-p

  4. Paul Haley says:

    Please excuse my “fat-fingering” in the previous post above when I should have hit the “h” key instead of the “g” key – “have us believe” instead of “gave us believe”. Serves me right for attempting to type from a laptop, eh?

  5. AnnaTrad says:

    Father I pray with you on this one. I know there are some extremist in the SSPX who may never accept Rome no matter what but there are many who are sincere in wanting things to work out but it will be a very winding road home.

  6. As I see it the SSPX is showing a concern for the souls of the faithful which is not shared by most of the Church. One asks why the SSPX has not yet been “regularized” with a stroke of a pen- simply, because the Society does not wish orthodox faith to merely be one of many “valid expressions” of Catholicism.

    Like I said, I do not agree with the SSPX on everything, nor their approach which tends to be “extraordinary times call for for extraordinary measures”, but at least they do not treat the faith as a buffet.

  7. I think that it will be interesting to see what happens once the Papa Stronsay Redemptorists come back into the Church. I wonder how the rest of the Redemptorist family will view them

    With regard to Vatican I being disputed, this does not surprise me in the least. I once listened to a sedevacantism debate on the internet between Robert Sungenis and John Lane. Needless to say, it was extremely acrimonious with Sungenis being insulted over and over again and being asked to prove his ideas from theological manuals.

    Nevertheless, there was a point of contention when it came to Vatican I and its statement on the perpetual successors of Peter. In fact, it was one of the sticking points of the debate. Sungenis brought up the topic over and over again to prove his point. It was interesting to note the other side’s reaction to this.

  8. Stephen V. says:

    “Romulan Star Empire” indeed. It is a very, very sad situation altogether. I’m certain many of those adhering to the SSPX are as saddened as those ‘on the inside’, but I do blame types such as Williamson for needlessly prolonging the agony. His words and actions have been severely divisive and I have a very hard time finding anything along the lines of humility or a longing for reconciliation in anything he does. The self-righteousness is excruciating.

    And when a closely related group like the Transalpine Redemptorists take the awful trouble of exposing themselves to criticism from all sides, just to further the cause of God and Unity, he “[doesn’t] keep up with those things”. If he wants to ‘forget’ about all troubles and leave the work to ‘central command’, he shouldn’t presume to act as spokesman for the movement.

    Much prayer needed, for everyone.

  9. Gerard says:

    Father wrote:

    [Probably not an entirely honest answer for someone who has such grave misgivings about doctrine since the Second Vatican Council. Sure… the excommunications can be lifted pretty easily. A structure for the Society could be created with a few strokes of a couple pens. But there will be a lot of debate about, especially, the Church’s teaching on religious liberty and, probably, social doctrinal documents.]

    Father,
    Bishop Williamson said “Once Rome comes back to its senses…” That would imply no regularization until the doctrinal issues are worked out. So, the bishop is being 100% honest. He said the same thing in his interviews with Bernard Janzen years ago. “The SSPX is in the job to go out of business, we can be integrated into the normal structures of the Church easily.”

    [Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do. They set themselves up as the arbiters of what is right and wrong without any serious reference to the Holy See. Some of them will even carefully attack Vatican I. Interesting no?]

    This is a straw man argument. The reference the SSPX uses is the Magisterium of the Church, not the Holy See which hasn’t invoked anything Magisterial to address this Crisis in over 50 years.

    [piffle… anyone is free to criticize “Vatican II”, properly understood. I believe Benedict XVI has himself criticized Councils, saying that there were Councils which perhaps should never have been held. Not everything about every Council is perfect. These things can be discussed. However, causing scandal and rifts in the Church is not the best way to go about it.]

    Come on Father. You don’t think anyone notices the silence from the clergy posters and yourself in these discussions when the blame gets put properly where it belongs? On Paul VI and JPII. It was Paul VI and JPII that caused rifts and scandal. Popes not stopping liberal bishops and liberal bishops not stopping liberal priests. If anything, the scandal was the Popes not supporting and encouraging LeFebvre and instead persecuting him!

    And also, how can you spin “Not everything about every Council is perfect. These things can be discussed” when right above you accuse the SSPX of “carefully attacking Vatican I” ? How are we supposed to distinguish between “a careful attack” and “a discussion?”

    [In other words, he thinks they would be traitors to the cause.

    That not the same thing in “other words.” He made the distinction between the subjective and objective. Traitors would imply a positive willingness to aid modernism in the Church.

    On the other hand, many of us who have not broken manifest unity with the Church sometimes think of certain traditionalists who opted out almost as deserters from the front line of battle.]

    Before anyone else was on the front line of battle, before people even acknowledged the existence of a front line, there was archbishop LeFebvre and Richard Williamson. The fact that they were shot in the back by the very papacy they were trying to protect is not their fault. Calling a man unjustly tarnished for fighting the good fight a “almost a deserter” is just perpetuating propaganda and doesn’t reflect the realities that confront us today and back in 1988. What freedoms we have for traditional practices today, we owe to men like LeFebvre, Williamson, Fr. Gommar DePauw, Fr. Vincent Miceli, Fr. Malachi Martin, Fr. Paul Wathens and others.

    If the Popes had been equally as imperious in their treatment of liberals, you might have a case, but then again, if that had happened, there would have been no need for an SSPX.

    Father, Instead of taking shots at Bishop Williamson from afar, I’ll suggest again you interview him yourself. I’m sure he’ll be willing to answer your questions and get into it with you as deeply as you like. You can argue the Summa with him or go over Pascendi and I’m sure he’ll keep up with you. I took the trouble to go and meet him and study him years ago and that was just so I’d know the truth firsthand before I wrote anything about him. Justice and Charity should require you to at least make the attempt.

  10. Matthew M. says:

    They do not treat the faith as a buffet? Well maybe not in some areas – they deserve credit for that. But in their respect and obedience to apostolic authority, they are cafeteria catholics. It’s truly a shame.

  11. Corboy says:

    I don’t get it.
    He has a crack at the Papa Stronsay fellas for making an effort to be regularized but before that he tells us that there is paperwork from Rome effectively doing the same thing for the SSPX….I’m gunna go to work and not worry about it. I just hope they come back soon and help us all out.

  12. Gerard says:

    And to risk being labeled a total sci fi geek: It’s “The Romulan Empire” and “Star Fleet” for any Trek fans out there.

  13. Matthew M. says:

    During that interview, Father Z, maybe Bishop Williamson will once again reveal how 9-11 was a conspiracy of the US Gov. and how the Jews invented the holocaust to fuel Zionism.

  14. Matthew says:

    The “official” name of the Romulan Empire IS the “Romulan Star Empire.”

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Romulan_Star_Empire

  15. Gerard says:

    Matthew M,
    They do not treat the faith as a buffet? Well maybe not in some areas – they deserve credit for that. But in their respect and obedience to apostolic authority, they are cafeteria catholics. It’s truly a shame.

    That’s not exactly accurate Matthew. They exhibit enormous respect for apostolic authority. They just have more respect for God and the salvation of souls. A Norbertine friend was asking me about the chapel I attend and when I told him pictures of the recent Popes were in the entranceways, he said, “That’s better than most parishes.” Also, you’ll actually hear a sermon in which Popes (yes even Paul VI and JPII and Benedict) are quoted in order to teach something valuable. (eg. the necessity of zeal to accompany the gaining of indulgences, Cardinal Ratzinger’s quotes about people no longer knowing how to pray with vigor etc.)

    And remember, true obedience is required, not servility. But it seems the bishops are more tolerant of Fr. Pfleger in Chicago and prefer his kind of orthodoxy to anything resembling the Church prior to 1965.

  16. Matthew M. says:

    Gerard, as you know, the SSPX exists because of a schismatic act – of ordaining bishops against the expressed copmmond of the Pope. They maintian their organization outside the boundaries of apostilic authority. They do not accede to the authority of the Pope, or any non-SSPX bishop.

    As you say, though, there is substantial respect shown among many in the SSPX to the current Pope – but what about his teaching authority? What about the jurisdiction of the existing bishops?

    Their response is that of Protestants and ‘separated’ churches: ‘we have gone our own way since Rome is corrupt. we have preserved the True Faith’. This continued disobedience to the Vicar of Christ and the successors to the Apostles is the very definition of ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’ – to pick what one likes (traditional liturgy, ..) and reject what one doesn’t like (obedience to apostolic authority..). No amount of Jesuitical logic will make this disobedience into ‘obedience’.

  17. Gerard says:

    The “official” name of the Romulan Empire IS the “Romulan Star Empire.”

    You may be right, but I don’t know about that yet. Would you cite name the episode in which this is definitively determined? Books and Atlases don’t count. I’m listening to “Balance of Terror” on the computer to see if anything comes up.

  18. Gerard says:

    Matthew,

    Do you think the SSPX will deny the authority of the Pope if he accedes to the wishes of the Cardinals and bishops who are requesting a new ex cathedra pronouncement on Mary?

  19. patrick f says:

    gerard says “And to risk being labeled a total sci fi geek: It’s “The Romulan Empire” and “Star Fleet” for any Trek fans out there.

    Comment by Gerard — 12 June 2008 @ 1:40 pm ”

    Well I would say more star fleet and the Maquis (or how ever it was spelled) The maquis, for you non trekers, were ex federation people who decided the federation was all wrong about how it was handling things with the Cardassians. (another race) So, they started just making war with everyone.

    Kind of the same thing here, and I know I will get argued down about how right the SSPX is. But Father Z hit the nail on the head. They really can be labeled deserters. Think if he had just NOT ORDAINED 3 bishops…followed the agreement, we might have a very different church today. Those of us who are traditionalists, wouldnt be looked at by the mass of modernists that do exist as some sort of “relic”, and if you are a young traditionalist like myself, you are thought of as “old fashioned” or worse “too conservative”… How can you even have conservative and liberal approaches to faith, that whole concept is silly. You either believe the catholic church, and all it teaches (magisterium included) or you dont. They call those people protestants (or schismatics, depending on how disobedient you truly are being).
    I think I am in good company with everyone here in that regard, and I have a feeling its probably more a burden to the clergy, because of the real brotherhood you men have with each other. There is obvious separation there too, you see it from the bishops who transliterate summorum pontificum. Note I said transliterate. It must be especially hard for all of you. Here you have someone who shares your special quality, yet by church law, cannot share in your ministry truly (and BTW the church law is correct). But that shouldnt let us ignore the facts of the case, of course on both sides.

    I would LOVE for a group like the SSPX to be admitted back to rome, then the rest of us would have a little bit larger backing(and not be in such sparce company), but it has to be on Holy Mother Church’s terms. That will only happen through prayer, and the Holy Spirit.

  20. malta says:

    “However it happens, I long for it to happen. They will have so much to contribute to the good of the Church, the teaching of sound doctrine, pastoral zeal which I know many of them show generously. They had and have so much to contribute.”

    Nice words, Fr., and I agree.

    “and they will come under pressure to celebrate the modern Mass, or at least attend the modern Mass with the local Bishop on a Good Thursday. [That is so very hard to do?]”

    Yes, that is very hard to do for traditionalists like the SSPX. Bishops don’t demand that Byzantine Catholics partake in different liturgies, why demand it of SSPX? Btw: Archbishop Sheehan of Santa Fe reconciled Fr. Gonzales, an ex member of SSPX, with the explicit understanding that Fr. Gonzales would never be required to celebrate the modern mass. So, I don’t think this is really going to pose a problem.

    What is religious liberty? Is it really required to believe in to me a member of the Church. Nah. Next,

    The excommunications could easily be lifted (Paul VI lifted one against a true heretic, SSPX are not heretics, quite the opposite.) Next,

    I think SSPX’s primary concern is that they would have to sign an agreement. They may have been right, and I think Rome needs to budge on this point. Since SSPX subscribes to every doctrine and dogma taught by the Church before the 60’s, and since Vatican II taught no new dogma, why can’t SSPX reenter the Church and believe and practice as if Vatican II didn’t happen? What was so wrong with the Church before VII that it had to be called? Is the Church better off now?

    Without SSPX there would be no FSSP or Summorum Pontificum, period. Without St. Athanasius Arianism might have been even a bigger problem. Let’s see, both were excommunicated. I know the comparison drives Fr. Z crazy, but I offer it only to show that it is possible for a Pope to wrongly excommunicate someone who is a great defender of the Church. Remember, Arianism–an heresy–had most of the Church in its clutches, including Bishops. Might we say the same thing about Modernism–another heresy–today? I know Pope Benedict XVI isn’t a modernist, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others in the Church, many others.

    Another lessen that St. Athanasius offers us is that he reconciled with Rome. Was Rome completely rid of Arianism when he reconciled? No. SSPX needs to come home despite its differences with Rome, and shoudn’t expect renouncements of VII before they come home. They have to be very, very, very careful that they don’t become permanently separated. The most good they could do, now, is within the Church. Rome, I’m sure, is aware that it is a “devestated vinyard,” with dwindling mass attendance, almost no confession, almost no belief in the real presence, no understanding of the mass as sacrifice, only 7% mass attendance by Catholics in such countries as France, dwindling priests and nuns, enormously costly sex scandals, rampant modernism among the clergy (the major heresy of our times), etc. etc. SSPX is producing fruit in vocations, belief, etc., and statistically is not prone to scandal. Rome must know this. It’s time for SSPX to come clean the house where it belongs.

  21. Peter H. Wright says:

    Now, to be fair to the Society of St. Pius X, it does not have a “central command”. Its headquarters are at the Generalate in Menzingen, Switzerland, the residence of Bishop Fellay, the superior general.
    Not “Central command”, Starship Command, or anything like that.

  22. John Enright says:

    “Bishop Williamson said ‘once Rome comes back to its senses…'” Right. An excommunicated bishop whose ecclesiastic position was born from disobedience to the Pope is telling the Church that he will grace us with his presence when the Pope recognizes his doctrinal errors and those of his predecessors. Fr. Z. might be right about Vatican I. Bp. Williamson obviously has a problem with the Primacy of Peter with universal ordinary jurisdiction and the Doctrine of Infallibility.

    It would make more sense to say to Bp. Williamson that the rift can be resolved speedily when SSPX comes back to its senses.

  23. Gerard says:

    Alright, if we’re going to continue with Star Trek references to analogous situations, I would say that the problem is the same one that Capt. Picard had in “Insurrection” as well as the problem he had in “The Offspring” where the authorities were commanding immoral actions.

    “There are times, sir, when men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders. You acknowledge they are sentient, but ignore their personal liberty and freedoms. Order a man to turn his child over to the state? Not while I am his captain.”

    – Picard to Admiral Haftel after Haftel orders Data to turn over Lal to Starfleet Command

  24. Gabriel says:

    Bishop Williamson may say that his opinion is that of others in the SSPX but what he does not say is that others in the SSPX, including Priests, support the Transalpine Redemptorists. I believe that is what the hierarchy is concerned about. The Bishop also states that he has read nothing concerning the T.R.’s position. That means he has not read the wonderful Declaration from Father Michael Mary. For this reason making the accusations he has is scaremongering and, in fact, rash judgements. I believe the Transalpine Redemptorists will never abandon the fight to defend Tradition or celebrate or participate in the new Mass.
    Corboy – I quite agree with you. This fact has confused me. It is alright for Bishop Fellay to talk to Rome but not Father Michael Mary C.SS.R. It is time that the SSPX realise that they are not the judge and jury of all things traditional.

  25. patrick f says:

    \”Now, to be fair to the Society of St. Pius X, it does not have a “central command”. Its headquarters are at the Generalate in Menzingen, Switzerland, the residence of Bishop Fellay, the superior general.
    Not “Central command”, Starship Command, or anything like that.

    Comment by Peter H. Wright — 12 June 2008 @ 2:27 pm \”

    Perhaps thats why they arent viewed as a different rite? And you would be hard pressed for them to viewed as that. The byzantines are different, they have a different rite, 2000 years of different cultural tradition, based off of apostolic sucession. The SSPX apostolic sucession is to the bishop of rome (thus roman catholics, nifty how that works huh? ), and as such, I would assume negates any argument that they ever could be a separate \”rite\”. The church doesnt see the Novus Ordo as a \”rite\” . If it did, that would also solve many of the problems the SSPX has with the church. Per Summorum Pontificum, it wont ever be that way either. So I think unless the SSPX can establish themselves as a \”Rite\” or an \”Order\” (with a specific superior general) then they should, as any priest in the catholic church,be expected to participate in the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

  26. patrick f says:

    And I also think that recognization of a superior general depends on that superior general being in ‘communion” with rome. But maybe I am wrong.

  27. Michael J says:

    I really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?

    The only thing that remotely comes close that I can think of is the revised Good Friday prayer. Even if I were to stipulate (and I do not) that saying the existing prayer on Good Friday instead of the revised version were and act of disobedience, how does that constitute “contunuous” disobedience?

  28. Fr. Z,

    You are much more charitable than I am with the Pius X crowd. “We are more Catholic than the Pope” is hardly a viable theology, in my book. I’d quote that OTHER Vatican Council to them :
    “So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.”

  29. John 6:54 says:

    SSPX consider themselves “traditional catholics” when they follow none of the traditions of obidience and trust in the Holy Spirit. I am currently reading “The Pope, the Council, and the Mass” and am amazed at what ease the author answers ever single objection traditionalists like SSPX have, but yet they continue ignore the true authority of the church. The Pope & the Bishops in communion with him.

  30. TJB says:

    “Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do…”

    THANK YOU Father! I have been saying this for years. The SSPX is made up of cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose what they want to believe, based on their own interpretation of Tradition rather than the Magisterium’s. That is NOT traditionalism, it is liberalism.

  31. malta says:

    James, SSPX wouldn’t disagree with what you posted. The problem is that Paul VI, particularly through Cardinal Villot, suppressed SSPX initially because they retained the Latin Mass. Now we learn that this mass was never superceded. So, in essence, the Pope, through Cardinal Villot (a leftist) was trying to make SSPX give up something supremely good and efficacious for the salvation of souls, which may have concerned the government of the Church, but was extremely unjust and damaging to the Church. The SSPX question is a little more complicated than you make it out. Interestingly, SSPX subscribes to the new norms governing the Church, such as fasting before mass (although they highly recommend the traditional fasting from the night before according to their Angelus printed Missal.) So, SSPX agrees with the anathema you posted, but believes there is an extreme emergency in the Church justifying their disobediance (and they cite Canon Law to support this–whether they are right or wrong, I think they subjectively act in good faith.)

  32. Ottaviani says:

    Excommunicated SSPX Bp. Williamson speaks

    With all due respect Fr. Z – I do not how the title of this article is anyway helpful.

    When you write an article quoting a Russian Orthodox perspective, would you say “Excommunicated/Schismatic Russian Orthodox meets with Pope Benedict”?

    Or perhaps: “Pope Benedict receives heretical Lutherans into Paul VI audience hall”

    I thought in this post conciliar age, we didn’t use these terms that JP II “the great” did away with?

  33. John Enright says:

    Michael J asks: “I really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?”

    First, I’m not sure where the “continuous disobedience” term in his post comes from. However, if he means “Why do you consider SSPX disobedient?” I’ll try to answer him.

    1. The Society establishes seminaries, churches, chapels, and priories throughout the world without any reference to the local ordinaries in whose dioceses it carries out these acts. This is contrary to the Code of Canon Law (Canons 234, 237, 1215, 1223-1228).

    2. It ordains priests without the dismissorial letters required by Canon Law (Canons 1015, 1018-1023).

    3. It hears confessions and celebrates marriages without jurisdiction (Canons 966-976, 1108-1123).

    4. It refused Pope Paul VI’s command to close the seminary at Econe and wind up the Society.

    5. It carries out confirmations in other bishops’ dioceses without the permission of the local Ordinary.

    6. Let’s not forget the Society’s original episcopal consecrations in blatant disobedience of the Pope’s refusal to grant permission therefor.

  34. I am curious about one thing…

    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel.

  35. John Enright says:

    Jonathan Bennett said: “Why must the SSPX . . . be shunned and hated . . . while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.” The fact that others disregard the Magisterium doesn’t mean that SSPX is entitled to do likewise, even if SSPX is attempting to overcome the other evils which were mentioned. Also, I don’t agree that “nothing is done” regarding those abuses. Most recently Rome reiterated that any purported ordination of a woman incurs the penalty of excommunication.

  36. It seems Fr. Z has something “personal” against the SSPX… I wonder why…?

    In most instances (posts/comments0, Fr. Z’s comments toward the SSPX negate his wishes that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide to the Church.

    [You would actually have to think about for a while to understand what I am driving at. – Fr. Z]

  37. Gerard says:

    Jonathan Bennett,
    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel.

    Jonathan,

    You’ve just addressed the gigantic White Elephant in the room. But we don’t get any solid answers from anyone except the SSPX and St.Pius X himself.

    “This being so, Venerable Brethren, no wonder the Modernists vent all their gall and hatred on Catholics who sturdily fight the battles of the Church. But of all the insults they heap on them those of ignorance and obstinacy are the favourites. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack, while in flagrant contrast with this policy towards Catholics, they load with constant praise the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, [exuding] novelty in every page, with choruses of applause; for them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium; when one of their number falls under the condemnations of the Church the rest of them, to the horror of good Catholics, gather round him, heap public praise upon him, venerate him almost as a martyr to truth. The young, excited and confused by all this glamour of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of being branded as ignorant, others ambitious to be considered learned, and both classes goaded internally by curiosity and pride, often surrender and give themselves up to Modernism.”

  38. Phil says:

    @latinmass1983: I think you’re missing one very tiny but crucial element: that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide to the Church. should read
    that they are “good people” in that Society or the good that they can provide IN the Church.

    In my reading, if anything irks Fr. Z., it’s that some elements in the SSPX seem to subscribe to the idea that they and they alone can define what the Catholic faith and tradition is. In other words, they seem to ‘play Pope’. If that reading is correct, and for what it’s worth, I fully agree. No-one is going to gain anything as long as the SSPX has no desire to come home – or worse, act as if they have established a new one.

  39. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    The fact that others disregard the Magisterium doesn’t mean that SSPX is entitled to do likewise, even if SSPX is attempting to overcome the other evils which were mentioned. Also, I don’t agree that “nothing is done” regarding those abuses. Most recently Rome reiterated that any purported ordination of a woman incurs the penalty of excommunication.

    John,

    One of the major parts of the problem in this crisis, is a lack of precision in discussions and bad formation in the faith that many of us have had to make up for by re-educating ourselves.

    The Magisterium isn’t the Pope and the bishops. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. It can be invoked by the Pope or the Pope and the bishops, but they can also refuse to invoke it. And when we have such a long period of muteness from the Magisterium and endless non-magisterial chatter, policy and pseudo-philosophy, we can be sure that they don’t want to invoke the Magisterium. Becuase the Magisterium is clear, precise, crisp and usually condemnatory. And that perennial Magisterium of the Church is what the SSPX relies upon for their position. I can guarantee you, when the Holy See eventually starts issuing Magisterial statements again on the faith in clear, precise language, many people who think they know what the Church teaches and condemns are going to be in for a big, big surprise.

  40. malta says:

    *Actually, if you consider it…. the SSPX heavy-weights really act as much like modernists as the old and new theological modernists do.*

    Nothing could be further from the truth than this statement, at least if you are speaking of the heresy of modernism:

    http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi10pd.htm

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm

    SSPX is leading the crusade AGAINST modernism in the Church right now.

  41. patrick f says:

    michael J said “really don’t understand this “continuous disobedience” thing. What specifically has the SSPX (or anyone else on “their” side) been commanded to do that they refuse to do? What have they been ordered to stop doing that they continue doing?”

    Well for starters their priests perform masses which the vatican labels “illicit” , they ordain new priests constantly,without the authority of rome, even though they are valid ordinations, they are without the permission of a bishop who is in communion with rome. They claim to be Roman Catholic yet operate outside the church. Yes one can argue they are doing what they feel to be right, or even theologically is right, but in the end, they are disobeying the church, primarily in the exercise of their priestly office, which is a valid ordination, however their authority was supposed to be suspended.

    Now in response to jonathan bennett

    “Jonathan Bennett,
    Why must the SSPX, which has not uttered a word of heresy nor denied any doctrine of the faith but taught what Catholics have always believed, must be shunned and hated and considered, in the words of who was formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, “the one schism”, while a multitude of other groups go about openly denouncing everything from a male priesthood to Papal authority to the Real Presence- many with episcopal support- and nothing is done.

    It is more acceptable to believe that women can recieve Holy Orders, that Hell does not exist and that the Mass is merely mediaeval decadence then it is to be of orthodox faith and attend an SSPX chapel. ”

    Well yes, one can look at it that way. But I think many people look at the SSPX as being more detrimental to our traditional cause. The people who think women should be priests, and deny church doctrine, are usually so left wing they expose themselves for what they are. I agree, something should be done, but perhaps the church remembers what happened the last time it openly went after heretics unchecked ? Its a political dance yes. At the same time, I think the traditionalists focus so heavily on the SSPX, because deep down they do want them home, to bolster that which is our heritage, and also our support for that heritage. What would be more beneficial, running off the extreme liberals, and appearing to be able to get along with no one (and yes I know, I have said since 33ad no one has liked us), or to have all the traditionalists eventually come home, which would allow all to be reeducated? Its a numbers game right now. There are way more modernists then traditionalists right now. The only thing that is going to fix that is reeducation, not running them off. Many of the “modern” approaches to the faith do have a certain zeal, if only you could have that applied in an orthodox fashion.

    Lets look at Church music (I am a church musician, so its something I know best). I might not want michael w. smith music at Holy Mass, however, think how powerful that sort of music is outside the context of mass. What it comes down to with the liberals, is finding a proper place for them to “express themselves”. Holy Mass isnt it. The problem is they dont know it. Why? Because there are figuratively 10 people shouting the truth, in a room of 10000. So, it probably would be more prudent to bring an extra, oh I would say,a few hundred reacquanted , very educated friends?

    If they DID come back into communion with Rome, there would be a fervant renewal of traditional values. The FSSP does this yes, but honestly they are too new, and too small to make a dent.

    like Phil said, THEY have to desire to come home. And part of coming home, will be certain responsibilities.

  42. Angelo says:

    ERECTION OF THE PRIESTLY SOCIETY OF SAINT PIUS X
    NOVEMBER 1, 1970

    Chancery of Lausanne
    Geneva and Fribourg

    Decree of Erection of the International Priestly Society of Saint Pius X

    Given the encouragements expressed by Vatican Council II, in the decree ‘Optatam totius’, concerning international seminaries and the distribution of the clergy;
    Given the urgent necessity for the formation of zealous & generous priests conforming to the directive of the cited decree;
    Confirming that the Statutes of the Priestly Society correspond to its goals:
    We, Francois Charriere, Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva, and Fribourg, the Holy Name of God invoked and all canonical prescriptions observed, decress what follows:

    1. The International Priestly Society of St. Pius X is erected in our diocese as a “Pia Union” (Pious Union).
    2. The seat of the Society is fixed as the Maison Saint Pie X (St. Pius X House), 50, rue de la Vignettaz, in Our episcopal city of Fribourg.
    3. We approve and confirm the Statutes, here joined, of the Society for a period of six years ad experimentum, which will be able to be renewed for a similar period definitely in our diocese by the competent Roman Congregation.

    We implore divine blessings on this Priestly Society that it may attain its principal goal which is the formation of holy priests.

    Done at Fribourg, in Our palace.
    1st November A.D. 1970 on the Feast of All Saints,

    +Francois Charriere
    Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg

    ————————————————————-
    Conclusion: The canonical status of the SSPX remains legal & licit to this very day, the episcopal consecrations & so-called excommunication not withstanding.

  43. Gerard says:

    John Enright,

    The interesting part of your statement is if you follow up your points with the question, “Why?”

    1. The Society establishes seminaries, churches, chapels, and priories throughout the world without any reference to the local ordinaries in whose dioceses it carries out these acts. This is contrary to the Code of Canon Law (Canons 234, 237, 1215, 1223-1228).

    Why? Because heresy and error are being taught in seminaries that are in many, many places. Corruption of the best is the worst and consequently some previously good seminaries became dens of iniquity.

    2. It ordains priests without the dismissorial letters required by Canon Law (Canons 1015, 1018-1023).

    Why? Because this is an irregular situation and therefore it becomes an impossibility or impracticality to follow certain norms.

    3. It hears confessions and celebrates marriages without jurisdiction (Canons 966-976, 1108-1123).

    Why? Because good confessors are few and far between and undermining the Church in the confessional. Supplied Jurisdiction for good moral reasons is given to those who request sacraments from SSPX priests.

    4. It refused Pope Paul VI’s command to close the seminary at Econe and wind up the Society.

    Why? Because Paul VI’s command was based on lies given to him and the salvation of souls was of greater import.

    5. It carries out confirmations in other bishops’ dioceses without the permission of the local Ordinary.

    Why? Because many bishops are not giving confirmation in the correct form and the confirmands aren’t being taught anything about confirmation.

    6. Let’s not forget the Society’s original episcopal consecrations in blatant disobedience of the Pope’s refusal to grant permission therefor.

    Why? Because Popes Paul VI and JPII (especially) were by their tolerance for liberals enabling the destroyers of the Church to have free reign. The real question is, “Why didn’t JPII defend the Church against the liberals?”

  44. Angelo says:

    LETTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM
    CARDINAL WRIGHT
    18 FEBRUARY A.D. 1971

    Sacred Congregation
    for the Clergy
    Prot. n. 133515/1

    Rome, 18 February 1971

    With great joy I received your letter, in which Your Excellency informs me of your news and especially of the Statutes of the Priestly Society.
    As Your Excellency explains, this Association, whicy by Your action,
    received on 1 November 1970, the approbation of His Excellency Francois Charriere, Bishop of Fribourg, has already exceeed the frontiers of Switzerland, and several Ordinaries in different parts of the world praise and approve it. All of this and especially the wisdom of the norms which direct & governs this Association give much reason to hope for its success.
    As for this Sacred Congregation, the Priestly Society will certainly be able to conform to the end proposed by the Council for the distribtion of the clergy in the world.
    I am respectully, Your Excellency

    Yours in the Lord,

    /s/ J. Card. Wright, Prefect.

    P. Palazzini
    Secretary
    To the Most Excellent and Reverend
    Lord Marcel Lefebvre
    Titular Archbishop of Synnada in Phrygia
    Via Casalmonferrato, n. 33
    Rome

  45. Stephen V. says:

    “Or perhaps: “Pope Benedict receives heretical Lutherans into Paul VI audience hall””

    I don’t think this is relevant. Lutherans are not Catholics (and haven’t been for quite some time) and don’t claim to be. Ceasing to provoke people from other ‘ecclesiastical communities’ through name-calling is not comparable to the use or disuse of the term ‘excommunicate’. To be excommunicated, is to be under a certain well-defined penalty, authorised by canon law, incurred under certain clear circumstances. I’m all for forgiveness and feeling regarding well-meaning SSPX-partizans, but the simple fact that Williamson & Co. *are* and remain excommunicated cannot be denied.

    This is no “so-called excommunication”. It is what it claims to be, (and denial of the Vatican’s authority to excommunicate, even if you ‘disagree’, smells a bit heretical to me) and if the SSPX wants the excommunications to be lifted, then that implies a recognition of their validity.

    [A bit like those Lutherans who want to have Luther officially rehabilitated by the Pope… I mean, seriously.]

  46. Patrick says:

    If all of you really wanted the SSPX to come back, the surest way would be to stop attending their illicit Masses, and stop giving them money. Maybe if they realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the Church, they will seriously consider reconciling. As long as people show up for their Masses and give them money, they have no reason to pursue reconciliation.

    Let us pray that these excommunicated and schismatic men return to the Church, lest they suffer the same fate as Archbishop Lefebvre and die separated from Christ’s Church.

  47. Michael says:

    “SSPX is leading the crusade AGAINST modernism in the Church right now.”

    Actually no. No it is not. It is holding itself out of the battle by refusing the call of the Pope to come fully back into the Church, waiting for the distant day when the crusade is finished and the Church is back in the condition that the SSPX will feel comfortable rejoining knowing that no personal struggle will be necessary.

    Or at least that is the impression it is creating for those in the Church who are actually working to oppose modernism.

  48. Tiny says:

    My issue with the deserters argument is that until the Motu Proprio was released, there was no guaranteed access to the TLM. On that note, if the SSPX, and other traditional priests, deserted anyone, it certainly wasn’t the faithful who were nourished by the Traditional Sacraments brought to them by the traditional priests.

  49. Gerard says:

    Patrick wrote:
    If all of you really wanted the SSPX to come back, the surest way would be to stop attending their illicit Masses, and stop giving them money. Maybe if they realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the Church, they will seriously consider reconciling. As long as people show up for their Masses and give them money, they have no reason to pursue reconciliation.

    Let us pray that these excommunicated and schismatic men return to the Church, lest they suffer the same fate as Archbishop Lefebvre and die separated from Christ’s Church.

    Here’s a better idea. If everyone stops enabling bad priests, bad liturgy and bad lives and starts picketing heretical priests and bishops and supports the SSPX, then maybe Rome will realize that their numbers are leaving to return to the traditional Catholic practices and beliefs. Maybe Rome will reconsider their policy of enabling modernists.

    It utterly amazes me that so many people stubbornly refuse to see this as a problem in the Church with the Popes.

    It’s ridiculously dishonest for people to whine about “unity” and “communion” regarding the SSPX and Rome when Rome offers nothing to the SSPX in the way of an incentive. What does Rome offer nowadays? Disunity, chaos, corruption and confusion.

    I’ll cut to the chase with a concrete example.

    I’m sitting here with a copy of “In the Beginning” by Cardinal Ratzinger, “A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.” And it is a lamentable attempt to reconcile a ridiculous metaphysical myth called Darwinism that he has bought hook,line and sinker, with Creation and its Revelation by God.

    Plainly put: He doesn’t give the impression that he believes a man called Adam who is the Father of Humanity (feast day Dec. 24) actually existed. Well, despite the Cardinal’s poetic gyrations, without Adam there is no real need for Christ to have been a real man, the son of God or to have sacrificed anything. It’s only a myth that we can change to guide our lives towards a self directed evolutionary goal. I’m thankfully surprised I didn’t read anything about the “Omega point.” But in the end, there are essential events intrinsic to the faith that the Holy Father at least at this time, just didn’t seem to believe in or he had grave reservations about them.

    What I do know is this. I don’t need to believe this type of “Catholic Understanding” and I certainly don’t like the Church organization that that “Catholic Understanding” is the product of.

    My Catholic Understanding is the same Catholic Understanding that the Church has always had. Adam was a Man, Eve was a Woman, created a little less than the Angels. They sinned and everything fell, human nature (ie our physical bodies) and the Earth was cursed by God. (our tri-dimensional existence was significantly altered to our present state.) Ever wonder why we supposedly only use 10% of our brain capacity? Answer: We are not “evolving” we are fallen. Those abilities are forbidden for us to use by God, not evolutionary mechanisms.

    Unfortunately, our beloved Holy Father is marinated in this kind of intellectual brine. Perhaps in his twilight he will receive grace to toss away the confusion and fully embrace his faith like a child (I believe this is what prevents him from losing it completely) and he’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is plenty of room for his considerable intellect.

    To bring the point back home. Just what is being offered to the SSPX in the way of “unity”? Unity is just an illusion to the mindset of Rome. It’s a perspective, a “special kind” of unity that is shrouded in mystery. Oh and it’s a way to exercise control over traditional Catholics and let liberals run amok.

    Uh uh. Sorry. There is no Catholic unity with the likes of Richard McBrien, Fr. Micheal Pfleger, Roger Card. Mahoney and scores of other “Catholics” in “full communion” with the Holy Father. It’s them or us Holy Father.
    Condemn their errors or don’t expect any solutions except those from above your pay grade.

  50. patrick f says:

    Who is to say God didnt take it one step at a time?

    People dont stubbornly refuse to see it as a Pope/SSPX issue, they see it as a Church/SSPX issue which is what it is. Lefebvre ordained 3 bishops he didnt have permission to, no matter how “true to the faith” he is, he has broken church law, and set himself in schism. Therefore, that is why excommunication was pronounced. Its important to remember that no one “gets” excommunicated, they excommunicate themselves by actions, its merely a pronouncement at that point. The action was schismatic, when it was performed, not when the person was formally excommunicated.

    And I dont think people , most good sensible catholics claim Pfleger. In fact, if I recall he is on a mandatory retreat right now.

    I agree, and pointed out earlier, people do enable the modernists. You see liturgical “dance”, and people applaud it. You see drums and electric guitars, and people applaud it. Why? People like a good show. I am fine with a good show, just keep it out of the mass. There is one “show” at the mass, calvary recreated. I seriously doubt there was a “Praise Band” at the last supper or calgary. But you also have to remember that its a dance for some of these pastors. Either a person has a simple love of Almighty God, or you bear down on them and risk losing them . However, I would also agree with your thought that proper cathecism, is the key. But bear in mind, there is 40+ years of error in teaching we are dealing with. Saying the SSPX is right (which there are some areas they arent) wont fix the problem. Turning back vatican II wont fix the problem, rather it would just create new ones, trade one schism for another.

    Bottom line, no one is going to march to the Holy See, or type in a blog and say “turn back vatican II NOW!” and get anything useful done. All you do at that point is alienate those who will cling to vatican II. Yes, condemn the people who teach false doctrine, who dont teach the real presence, who deny the authority of the Church (which at its head is the Vicar of Christ), but you have to do it in a way that you dont lose other innocents who just dont know any better, but might be drawn by the pretty show. Get the proper teaching in place, then clean house. Then you have less people who will fall away

  51. Dan Hunter says:

    Michael Matt recently interviewed His Excellency Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos who, when asked “is schism the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX, the Cardinal replied:”No, there isn’t any schism”
    Her is that portion of the interview:

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”.

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    My jaw must have been on the floor. How many times we have made the same argument over the years in the pages of The Remnant only to be chastised by the neo-Catholics as aiders and abettors of schismatics! With a few brief words the Cardinal obliterated the tired arguments of the schism-mongers. Those who would still insist that traditionalists in the Society of St. Pius X are in schism must now concede that their position is completely untenable, lest they violate the norms of Christian charity.

  52. Gerard says:

    Who is to say God didnt take it one step at a time?

    God is. He created Man separately and each of the living things “according to their kind.”

    The problem is not interpreting Genesis. The problem is taking evolution with more faith than revelation. There simply is no evidence for evolution and it bears too much of a striking resemblance to a religion to not think there is a clever angelic intelligence behind it. It’s the promise of the serpent from Genesis.

    People dont stubbornly refuse to see it as a Pope/SSPX issue, they see it as a Church/SSPX issue which is what it is. Lefebvre ordained 3 bishops he didnt have permission to, no matter how “true to the faith” he is, he has broken church law, and set himself in schism. Therefore, that is why excommunication was pronounced.

    Yet you are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the responsibility that the Popes bear for the condition of the Church. Their inaction and their persecution of the one of two bishops that actually fought for the truth.

    LeFebvre took a hose to the burning building and your whining about him “trespassing” Canon laws weren’t made to prevent bishops from saving souls. To apply laws against LeFebvre in order to stop him from helping souls is a crime in and of itself and I certainly hope the Popes responsible were contrite before they died with that sin on their souls.

    Its important to remember that no one “gets” excommunicated, they excommunicate themselves by actions, its merely a pronouncement at that point. The action was schismatic, when it was performed, not when the person was formally excommunicated.

    Well, Popes can declare someone excommunicated and be wrong about it. All the way to the point where the declaration is invalid.

    And I dont think people , most good sensible catholics claim Pfleger. In fact, if I recall he is on a mandatory retreat right now.

    LeFebvre tries to stop mass apostasy. Pfleger gets himself in political trouble after years of encourageing apostasy and he gets sent on a two week vacation? Remember Pfleger is in “full communion” with Cardinal George and the Holy Father. They claim him. They don’t even acknowledge his serious defects. Are they good sensible Catholics?

    I agree, and pointed out earlier, people do enable the modernists.

    Not just nameless, faceless people. Popes. Popes with names: Paul VI and John Paul II.

    To bring back an earlier point. No traditional priest in “full communion” can get away with what I just wrote. By being a powerless layman, I can be a modern Diogenes to the modern Alexander. Only the SSPX is as free to tell the truth as those in my station or the Pope himself.

    I am fine with a good show, just keep it out of the mass. There is one “show” at the mass, calvary recreated. I seriously doubt there was a “Praise Band” at the last supper or calgary. But you also have to remember that its a dance for some of these pastors.

    Calvary is re-presented, not re-created. Either a person has a simple love of Almighty God, or you bear down on them and risk losing them. Also, there is already a plethora of traditional missionary approaches that will work effectively in the modern era. Strength, truth and conviction are actually attractive to humans.

    However, I would also agree with your thought that proper cathecism, is the key. But bear in mind, there is 40+ years of error in teaching we are dealing with.

    Until we start hearing real condemnations,nothing is going to be dealt with. Saying what is wrong is a good catechism lesson. Look at the ten commandments.

    Saying the SSPX is right (which there are some areas they arent) wont fix the problem.

    Neither will pleas for them “to return” when the powers that be won’t condemn the errors.

    Turning back vatican II wont fix the problem, rather it would just create new ones, trade one schism for another.

    That’s not an altogether bad situation. It would provide people with a line in the sand to make a decision that they are responsible for.

    Bottom line, no one is going to march to the Holy See, or type in a blog and say “turn back vatican II NOW!” and get anything useful done.

    Maybe not. But that means there won’t be any harm in trying. And God won’t forget the effort.

    All you do at that point is alienate those who will cling to vatican II.

    If they are clinging just to Vatican II, they aren’t Catholic. They need the whole faith in its entirety.

    Yes, condemn the people who teach false doctrine, who dont teach the real presence, who deny the authority of the Church (which at its head is the Vicar of Christ), but you have to do it in a way that you dont lose other innocents who just dont know any better, but might be drawn by the pretty show.

    If they are genuinely seeking God and not a show, they are innocent and God won’t abandon them, no matter what a Pope does or doesn’t do. But let’s not assume that all are innocent who go for the show.

    Get the proper teaching in place, then clean house. Then you have less people who will fall away.

    I agree with you. Why doesn’t the hierarchy agree with us?

  53. Michael B. says:

    The continual conservative Catholic “procedural” argument doesn’t explain anything, but clouds the issue, much like the procedural argument against the Orthodox. It doesn’t fully explain the nature of the conflict, but clouds it over in self-righteousness. The glory of the Catholic Church is her love of the truth first and foremost. To get to the truth of the matter, one would have to go through the trouble of understanding the SSPX from the inside, until then, critique on the level of truth is not possible. I think this is related to what Bishop Williamson is referring to when he talks about the Romans preparing to solve the problem by preparing documents and papers. I don’t think any of you good orthodox but conservative Catholics have any idea what the SSPX is saying, and insulting them with the same procedural claims will do nothing to clarify the problem.

    They may, in fact, be on to an insight about the crisis in the Church that the rest of you will be digging for in the next Papacy should it result in a “John-Paul III” Pope, far less sympathetic to the traditions of the Church than the current Pope. Then, the procedural arguments will push you in the direction of abandoning Church tradition, just as it happened to good Catholics immediately after the Council.
    On the other hand, they may be over-playing their critique, but you have no idea of how to diagnose and correct it. The failure to seek the truth is the ultimate failure of charity.

    To put it another way: The SSPX has an eighteen year history before the ordinations of the Bishops: the SSPX’s formulation of the problem of the crisis in the Church needs to be analyzed and understood aside from the fact of the ordinations, else there will be no way to solve the problem of reconciliation.

    And yes, it is up to us, not them. They have their diagnosis of the problem. We have the intellectual tools in Catholic tradition to meet them on their own ground and find the way out of the stand-off, should there be a way out. On the way, we may find a better way to attend to the larger crisis that affects us all.

  54. As I understand it, what the SSPX is asking for is that the Holy See explain
    how the teachings of the Magisterium post-1962, can square with the Magisterium
    pre-1962. While there is much that is to be regretted in the way in which the
    SSPX has behaved, I believe that the SSPX has a point in asking Rome for explanations, instead
    of mere affirmations that there is no contradiction between the pre-Vatican II and
    post-Vatican II Magisterium.

    The Holy See insists on the hermeneutic of continuity — which is wonderful! — but has done little
    to actually explain in detail HOW the hermeneutic of continuity does, in fact, work between
    the pre-1962 and post-1962 Magisterium. Simply put, yes, there
    is a hermeneutic of continuity, and we must believe that the Magisterium post-1962
    is compatible with and flows from the pre-1962 Magisterium. The question now is:
    HOW are we to demonstrate that the teachings of Vatican II and of the post-Conciliar
    Popes are in perfect harmony with the Magisterium of previous Popes? This never
    seems to be addressed. I have the impression that the SSPX is being asked to
    accept on faith that there is complete harmony between the pre- and post-1962 Magisterium
    without any explanations as to how this could possible. They are being asked to accept
    that development of doctrine has occured, without being told how the current, post-Vatican II teachings are, in fact, organic developments of past teachings.

    The Benedictine of Le Barroux, Father Basile Valuet, has done some pioneering work
    demonstrating why the current teaching on Religious Liberty is a legitimate
    development, compatible with the teachings of the pre-Vatican II Magisterium. Unfortunately, it seems that his work has not been translated into English. We need more writers like him.

  55. Patrick says:

    Gerard,

    You sound borderline delusional in your rant against the Holy Father.

    The Church isn’t getting worse now, it’s getting better and has been for the last 15 years or so. The fact that you think Pope Benedict is “marinated” in modernism and confused demonstrates your total lack of awareness of reality.

    Dan Hunter,

    They’re in schism per a motu proprio. Ask Card. Castrillon Hoyos why his comments (reported in standard ‘hearsay’ style in your reference) don’t jive with the Supreme Pontiff’s.

    Time is ticking for the SSPX to return, if they actually want to. I’m not sure they all really do. More and more of their priests are regularized. Soon there won’t be much left except the bishops and a few priests.

  56. Antiquarian says:

    Gerard, if you’re going to rant about “Darwinism” and the Holy Father’s position on it, showing even the vaguest grasp of what it is, and what he has actually said about it, might be a good idea. As it is, your treasured argument, that only the SSPX leadership know what they’re talking about, and everyone who questions them is simply too unintelligent, is not helped by a display of how little you understand the issues at hand.

  57. John Enright says:

    Gerard said “The interesting part of [John Enright’s] statement is if you follow up [his] points with the question, ‘Why?’”

    Michael J first asked to be shown where the Society has been disobedient. I’ve done that. Gerard’s spin on it is an entirely different matter; he’s saying in essence “The Society is disobedient because . . . ” in an attempt to justify rejection of Papal authority. It comes out like “We can ignore the Pope and disobey Canon Law because the Pope and Vatican II were wrong. We know that the Pope and the Council persist in error because we know better.”

  58. John Enright says:

    Gerard said “The Magisterium isn’t the Pope and the bishops. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. It can be invoked by the Pope or the Pope and the bishops, but they can also refuse to invoke it. And when we have such a long period of muteness from the Magisterium and endless non-magisterial chatter, policy and pseudo-philosophy, we can be sure that they don’t want to invoke the Magisterium. Becuase the Magisterium is clear, precise, crisp and usually condemnatory. And that perennial Magisterium of the Church is what the SSPX relies upon for their position.”

    Uh, first point to be made is that “perennial” means yearly. I don’t know what you mean when you speak of a “perennial Magisterium.”

    My second point: “Especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishop of Rome and the Body of the Bishops. It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ Himself entrusted the ministry of unity in His Church.” Apostolic Letter, Ecclesia Dei

  59. Dan Hunter says:

    Patrick:

    Vatican Cardinal Ordains Four for Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
    Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

    Michael J. Matt
    Editor, The Remnant

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and

    Remnant Editor Michael Matt

    (Posted June 11, 2008 http://www.RemnantNewspaper.com) On May 30, 2008 (the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), it was indeed a pleasure to witness the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Mr. Jared McCambridge, Rev. Mr. Dennis Gordon, Rev. Mr. Justin Nolan, and Rev. Mr. Jonathan Romanoski. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) according to the traditional rite by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The historic event was televised live throughout the world on EWTN.

    That there was standing room only in a cathedral with a seating capacity of 800 says a good deal about the success of the event. The congregation was comprised of ladies in skirts and veils, men in suits, and an abundance of well-behaved children (no small feat given the Mass was three hours in duration). The dozens of mothers with babies in their arms who lined the vestibule walls provided additional promise for the future of the apostolates operated by the FSSP in America.

    After the ordination I had an opportunity to speak briefly with a number of the priests, including two of the newly ordained. On the road to Chartres over the years, I’ve seen many of them come up ‘through the ranks’ on their way to ordination. Priests at last, they were positively on fire with enthusiasm for their vital mission to bring Christ and Catholic Tradition to the whole world.

    While it is true that a few critics still labor under the false impression that FSSP priests are not militant enough, this is unfortunate and evidently due to a lack of first-hand experience with these impressive young priests. It’s unlikely that anyone would actually question to his face the Catholic militancy of a Father Romanoski, for example, or Father Nolan or any number of the cassocked warriors for Christ with whom I spoke in Lincoln. In many ways these young men are becoming the Marines of the traditional Catholic movement—‘going in’ first and operating under difficult conditions and in often ‘hostile territory.’

    It seems to us, in fact, that credit to the FSSP for holding that difficult ground is long overdue. Ever since 1988 it was predicted that the Fraternity of St. Peter was on the verge of a total sellout to the Novus Ordo, which was to include adopting the new lectionary, communion in the hand, regular bi-rituality, etc. But this never materialized. As was noted above, I’ve been walking the Chartres Pilgrimage with FSSP priests and seminarians every spring for 17 years and if there has been any change in attitude during that time it could only be an increase in their militancy and genuine commitment to the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass.

    For twenty years now the FSSP has been laboring for the restoration of the Mass at the heart of the Church. Since July 7, 2007, they have trained over 100 Novus Ordo priests to offer the traditional Mass; and now they’ve launched the new initiative that (Deo volente) will introduce the Traditional Mass to thousands of priests around the world.

    Remind me again—where’s the sellout? One can only imagine how much more could have been accomplished had the FSSP been given a bishop of their own—something else that’s long overdue! But in God’s good Providence and under the remarkable leadership of Superior General Fr. John Berg, the FSSP forges ahead in this universal push to restore the traditional Mass to the Church.

    Last month’s priestly ordinations in Nebraska served as a poignant reminder that some progress is indeed being made, especially since July 7, 2007. I had an opportunity to attend the FSSP’s press conference with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and was amazed to hear a Vatican Cardinal delivering argument after argument in favor of the old Mass that Michael Davies and my father had been making forty years ago but that had been dutifully dismissed as signs of a “dangerous trajectory toward schism”. Now those same arguments flow eloquently from the lips of princes of the Church. Go figure!

    Disagreements notwithstanding, His Eminence struck me as a humble man with a wonderful sense of humor, a profound sense of the dignity of his office and deep love for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In his demeanor he’s very much a priest of the old school, and it was not only an honor but also a genuine pleasure to meet with him albeit briefly.

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    Vatican Cardinal Ordains Four for Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
    Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

    Michael J. Matt
    Editor, The Remnant

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and

    Remnant Editor Michael Matt

    (Posted June 11, 2008 http://www.RemnantNewspaper.com) On May 30, 2008 (the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), it was indeed a pleasure to witness the ordination to the priesthood of Rev. Mr. Jared McCambridge, Rev. Mr. Dennis Gordon, Rev. Mr. Justin Nolan, and Rev. Mr. Jonathan Romanoski. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was conferred for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) according to the traditional rite by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. The historic event was televised live throughout the world on EWTN.

    That there was standing room only in a cathedral with a seating capacity of 800 says a good deal about the success of the event. The congregation was comprised of ladies in skirts and veils, men in suits, and an abundance of well-behaved children (no small feat given the Mass was three hours in duration). The dozens of mothers with babies in their arms who lined the vestibule walls provided additional promise for the future of the apostolates operated by the FSSP in America.

    After the ordination I had an opportunity to speak briefly with a number of the priests, including two of the newly ordained. On the road to Chartres over the years, I’ve seen many of them come up ‘through the ranks’ on their way to ordination. Priests at last, they were positively on fire with enthusiasm for their vital mission to bring Christ and Catholic Tradition to the whole world.

    While it is true that a few critics still labor under the false impression that FSSP priests are not militant enough, this is unfortunate and evidently due to a lack of first-hand experience with these impressive young priests. It’s unlikely that anyone would actually question to his face the Catholic militancy of a Father Romanoski, for example, or Father Nolan or any number of the cassocked warriors for Christ with whom I spoke in Lincoln. In many ways these young men are becoming the Marines of the traditional Catholic movement—‘going in’ first and operating under difficult conditions and in often ‘hostile territory.’

    It seems to us, in fact, that credit to the FSSP for holding that difficult ground is long overdue. Ever since 1988 it was predicted that the Fraternity of St. Peter was on the verge of a total sellout to the Novus Ordo, which was to include adopting the new lectionary, communion in the hand, regular bi-rituality, etc. But this never materialized. As was noted above, I’ve been walking the Chartres Pilgrimage with FSSP priests and seminarians every spring for 17 years and if there has been any change in attitude during that time it could only be an increase in their militancy and genuine commitment to the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass.

    For twenty years now the FSSP has been laboring for the restoration of the Mass at the heart of the Church. Since July 7, 2007, they have trained over 100 Novus Ordo priests to offer the traditional Mass; and now they’ve launched the new initiative that (Deo volente) will introduce the Traditional Mass to thousands of priests around the world.

    Remind me again—where’s the sellout? One can only imagine how much more could have been accomplished had the FSSP been given a bishop of their own—something else that’s long overdue! But in God’s good Providence and under the remarkable leadership of Superior General Fr. John Berg, the FSSP forges ahead in this universal push to restore the traditional Mass to the Church.

    Last month’s priestly ordinations in Nebraska served as a poignant reminder that some progress is indeed being made, especially since July 7, 2007. I had an opportunity to attend the FSSP’s press conference with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and was amazed to hear a Vatican Cardinal delivering argument after argument in favor of the old Mass that Michael Davies and my father had been making forty years ago but that had been dutifully dismissed as signs of a “dangerous trajectory toward schism”. Now those same arguments flow eloquently from the lips of princes of the Church. Go figure!

    Disagreements notwithstanding, His Eminence struck me as a humble man with a wonderful sense of humor, a profound sense of the dignity of his office and deep love for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In his demeanor he’s very much a priest of the old school, and it was not only an honor but also a genuine pleasure to meet with him albeit briefly.

    Would we disagree on some fundamental points? Absolutely! But the Cardinal doesn’t seem to shy away from discussing those differences, either, and nor is he hesitant to go on the record in defense of traditionalists when simple justice demands it: “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    Quoth Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, yet again.

    God bless you

  60. Damien says:

    I’m afraid that as long as men such as Bishop Williamson are involved with the SSPX that there will be no reunification with Rome, there simply cannot be. His comments against Rome and the Holy Father notwithstanding, his take on Scripture can only be compared with the most hardcore evangelicals in the Bible-belt of the US. A video i saw on youtube displays this clearly! He is correct, of course, when he says that there is no untruth in Scripture. But this does not mean that every event recounted for in Scripture happened in the way described!! Take a look:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkaLG1mEzl8

  61. ALL: Don’t simply cut and paste information from other sources in the combox.

  62. English dictionary says:

    Dear John Enright:

    perenn´ial (-nyal), a. & n. 1. Lasting through, (of stream) flowing through all seasons of, the year; lasting long or for ever; (of plant) living several years.

    (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, ed. H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler, 5th edition, revised by E. McIntosh, Oxford 1964 at The Clarendon Press)

  63. Gerard says:

    Patrick wrote:

    Gerard,

    You sound borderline delusional in your rant against the Holy Father.

    The Church isn’t getting worse now, it’s getting better and has been for the last 15 years or so. The fact that you think Pope Benedict is “marinated” in modernism and confused demonstrates your total lack of awareness of reality.

    Patrick,

    Well, how can I argue against your point by point rebuttal? As far as the Church getting better for the last 15 years? I don’t think I’m delusional. Moderate Modernism is growing, orthodox Catholicism is not.

    Perhaps you could either ask me a question or demonstrate how I’m wrong about the Holy Father’s views in order to prove your assertion that I lack awareness of reality.

    I’m sorry, but only a delusional person would accept your assertions as self-evident fact.

    Antiquarian wrote:

    Gerard, if you’re going to rant about “Darwinism” and the Holy Father’s position on it, showing even the vaguest grasp of what it is, and what he has actually said about it, might be a good idea. As it is, your treasured argument, that only the SSPX leadership know what they’re talking about, and everyone who questions them is simply too unintelligent, is not helped by a display of how little you understand the issues at hand.

    Hmmm….Again a point by point refutation. Basically the accusation that I don’t know what I’m writing about is the fashionable fall back position. All with no evidence that you can prove me wrong or that you aren’t completely ignorant yourself.

    Next comes the caricature, (because you find yourself unable to deal with the real arguments) that I’m saying the SSPX is the only group that knows what they’re talking about and questions are from the unintelligent.
    I’m afraid you are projecting your own attitude onto me.

    The fact that I read a book by the Holy Father and find it to be very disappointing on a multitude of levels and that I’m aware of the flaw in his thinking somehow makes me incapable of giving valid criticism is evidence of your projection. Especially where you can’t seem to back up your assertions.

    Questioning the SSPX is a good, healthy thing. The fact that many here don’t like the answers because it gives the SSPX moral standing is disappointing to many it seems. Going off in an irrational loop about “authority” without being willing to discuss the basic principals and the application of those principals to the historical events, is not good and unhealthy and makes your whole argument fall apart.

    It is apparent that many of you just want to bash the SSPX because you don’t want to

    a)acknowledge the severity of the apostasy

    b)put the blame on the people that had the most responsibility

    c)want to compromise with the apostasy and abandon the militancy of the Church.

  64. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    Michael J first asked to be shown where the Society has been disobedient. I’ve done that. Gerard’s spin on it is an entirely different matter; he’s saying in essence “The Society is disobedient because . . . ” in an attempt to justify rejection of Papal authority. It comes out like “We can ignore the Pope and disobey Canon Law because the Pope and Vatican II were wrong. We know that the Pope and the Council persist in error because we know better.”

    John,

    I’m exactly saying the SSPX is disobedient “because.” What is wrong with that? The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.

    If you think the SSPX only claim to know better, well prove them wrong. They know better because they are appealing to the teaching of the Catholic Church and its most celebrated minds and souls as well as the Divine promises of the Savior.

    The logical inference from your argument is that the Pope is irresistible in all circumstances. That is not the case.

    Until someone can verify a good reason why Paul VI and JPII enabled liberals and persecuted Lefebvre, the conclusion can only be that the SSPX is justified.

  65. I am not Spartacus says:

    Unfortunately, our beloved Holy Father is marinated in this kind of intellectual brine. Perhaps in his twilight he will receive grace to toss away the confusion and fully embrace his faith like a child (I believe this is what prevents him from losing it completely) and he’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that there is plenty of room for his considerable intellect.

    What a despicable, vicious, nasty, personal assault against The Vicar of Christ.

    Please take back those words, brother. They say far more about you than about the Holy Father, than whom fewer are better educated nor more orthodox.

  66. D.S. says:

    laudetur JS CHS!

    1. As Dan Hunter said, H Em Card Hoyos claims that the FSSPX is NOT SCHISMATIC.

    But – patrick and others – it´s not only him. There are other good arguments for it. And the ponitifical use of the phrase “schismatic(al) act” is not an infallible statement. There are canonists like H Em Castillo Lara [cf. La republica oct 7th 1988!] or H Ex Neri Capponi [cf. Latin Mass Magazin, may/june 1993] or Rev. Prof. G. May who state that a consecration without papal permission is NOT in itselfe a schismatic act or schismatic – and btw, there is the other problem that ist is not that clear what “schismatic(al) act” exactly means – constituting a schism or not….

    There are further arguments. Best perhaps that in the tradition such a consecration was clearly NOT considered as schismatic in itselfe, because in the CIC/1917 the penalty was only supension and not excommunication. By this argument it is brought to evidence that such a consecration was clearly NOT seen as schismatic. Period!

    2. But there is also NO (valid) EXCOMMUNICATION. – Yes, I am not joking and I am also not searching for a tricky, non-serious argument.
    If You consider CIC (1983) c.1323 4° and 7° and c.1324 §1, 5° and 8° and §3 you will see that there is NO excommunication because H Ex Archb Lefebvre relied/leaned on the state of extreme “necessitas”.

    So he and the bishops are – canonically! – NOT excommunicated. So please do not call them so – that is both against justity and chartity!

    In CHO per Mam

  67. John Enright says:

    Dear English dictionary:
    I know what the word means; it derives from “per” and “annus” meaning “by year.” I’ve seen it used in connection with the Magisterium before, but its use is ambiguous since it is not synonymous with “everlasting,” which is what I suppose Gerard meant. At best, perennial can be defined as “long lasting.” Why not use proper descriptive terms such as “Ordinary Magisterium” or “Extraordinary Magisterium?”

    Gerard says “The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.” Its not a non-sequitur at all. I think your argument begs the question.

    My point is this: the teachings of Vatican II should be viewed as an exercise of the Church’s Extraordinary Magisterium. THere can be no valid dissent from its teachings.

  68. Michael J says:

    John,

    First of all, thank you. It is quite refreshing to have an honestly posed question reasonably and civily answered. I have not yet had the opportunity to thoroughly look into each of the 6 issues you raised, but I take them at face value. There can be little argument that the society did these things. I take your word for it that these actions failed to comply with the sections of canon law you cited.

    The question remains, can these things truly be considered disobedient? Maybe the distinction I am trying to make between “disobedience”, “justifiable disobedience” and “not disobedient” is too fine, but let me pose a real-world true example, completely unrelated to the society in the hope that it will help explain where I am going with this.

    My wife has a bit of a lead foot. I have often told her to stop speeding. For the sake of this discussion, lets assume that there is no disagreement that I have the authority to do this and that what I said(“no speeding”) was a legitimate “order”.

    A few years ago, we lived in a rural area that had no ambulance service to speak of. One afternoon, I began to have heart attack symptoms. Thankfully it was not a heart attack, but we both believed that I was having a heart attack. Needless to say, my wife rushed me to the emergency room and exceeded the speed limit. As it turns out, I was in no danger of immediate death but she did break the law and failed to comply with my wishes.

    I doubt that there would be any disagreement that her action was justified, but I am wondering if it can be considered disobedience at all. So, was she disobedient, albeit justified or not disobedient at all?

  69. I am not Spartacus says:

    I’m exactly saying the SSPX is disobedient “because.” What is wrong with that? The idea that valid disobedience as taught by the Catholic Church is the equivalent of rejecting papal authority is a non-sequitur.

    Council of Constance

    In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit. Amen. This holy synod of Constance, which is a general council, for the eradication of the present schism and for bringing unity and reform to God’s church in head and members, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit to the praise of almighty God, ordains, defines, decrees, discerns and declares as follows, in order that this union and reform of God’s church may be obtained the more easily, securely, fruitfully and freely.

    First it declares that, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.

    Next, it declares that anyone of whatever condition, state or dignity, even papal, who contumaciously refuses to obey the past or future mandates, statutes, ordinances or precepts of this sacred council or of any other legitimately assembled general council, regarding the aforesaid things or matters pertaining to them, shall be subjected to well-deserved penance, unless he repents, and shall be duly punished, even by having recourse, if necessary, to other supports of the law.

    Consistory Allocution of 2 June 1944, “The mandate Confided to Peter”, Pope Pius XII stated:

    Mother Church, Catholic, Roman, which has remained faithful to the constitution received from her divine Founder, which still stands firm today on the solidity of the rock on which His will erected her, possesses in the primacy of Peter and of his legitimate successors, the assurance, guaranteed by the divine promises, of keeping and transmitting inviolate and in all its integrity through the centuries and millennia to the very end of time the entire sum of truth and grace contained in the redemptive mission of Christ.

    Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura

    1) “We cannot pass over in silence the audacity of those who, not enduring sound doctrine, contend that ‘without sin and without any sacrifice of the Catholic profession assent and obedience may be refused to those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to concern the Church’s general good and her rights and discipline, so only it does not touch the dogmata of faith and morals.’ But no one can be found not clearly and distinctly to see and understand how grievously this is opposed to the Catholic dogma of the full power given from God by Christ our Lord Himself to the Roman Pontiff of feeding, ruling and guiding the Universal Church.”

    Proposueramus quidem “To Michael the Emperor” 865 a.d.

    …Furthermore if you have not heard us, it remains for you to be with us of necessity, such as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded those to be considered, who disdained to hear the Church of God, especially since the privileges of the Roman Church, built upon Peter by the word of Christ, deposited in the Church herself, observed in ancient times and celebrated by the sacred universal Synods, and venerated jointly by the entire Church, can by no means be diminished; for the foundation which God has established, no human effort has the power to destroy and what God has determined remains firm and strong…

    Gerard. I could roll-out scores of such citations from Tradition totally demolishing the idea one can justify disobedience to the Pope while you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise.

    Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium declares that no man, even one in league with the devil, can destroy the foundation God established and the modern Popes are not ones rational beings can claim are in league with the devil. Besides, even IF the Pope were in league with the devil you would still be under his authority …

    If a pope is foreknown as damned and is evil, and is therefore a limb of the devil, he does not have authority over the faithful given to him by anyone, except perhaps by the emperor was a proposition of Wyclif which was condemned at the Council of Constance

  70. D.S. says:

    3. Rev. F Z. wrote: “some of them will even carefully attack Vat.I”

    Who?

    Without witness/proof that is again (and more obviouse) against truth, justity and charity.

    Don´t get me wrong. I don´t want to promote the main statement of Mt.rev. Bf. Williamson re the Transalpine Redemptorists. I think he is wrong or too hard and too pessimisitic here.

    But please always: truth, justity and charity!! (Grr..)

  71. I am not Spartacus says:

    So he and the bishops are – canonically! – NOT excommunicated. So please do not call them so – that is both against justity and chartity!

    Vatican I, Constitution on the Church, Pastor Aeternus, Ch. III

    “[A] decision of the Apostolic See, whose authority has no superior, may be revised by no one, nor may anyone examine. judicially, its decision”

  72. D.S. says:

    I am not spartacus:

    What You argued was not denied by gerard (or others). Your quotes don´t “demolish” anything in question. The question was and still is: can there be justified disobedience re the Pope.

    Albeit you wrote “you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise” I can – and I think also Gerard can – bring you some quotes, from Fathers and doctors of the Church (f.e. St. Thomas) and also Encyclicals.

    But first a question to You: So do You want to state that there can never be a justified disobedience towards the Pope?

    Hail Mary!

  73. I am not Spartacus says:

    A few years ago, we lived in a rural area that had no ambulance service to speak of. One afternoon, I began to have heart attack symptoms. Thankfully it was not a heart attack, but we both believed that I was having a heart attack. Needless to say, my wife rushed me to the emergency room and exceeded the speed limit. As it turns out, I was in no danger of immediate death but she did break the law and failed to comply with my wishes.

    I doubt that there would be any disagreement that her action was justified, but I am wondering if it can be considered disobedience at all. So, was she disobedient, albeit justified or not disobedient at all?

    I don’t think your analogy works. Mons Lefevbre’s excommunication was not a thing sudden or unexpected. He had been in communication with Rome. He even signed a Protocol with Rome, before reneging on it (He was for it before he was against it).

    IOW, he was warned that if he did try and consecrate Bishops he would be excommunicated. He was also told that as “The legislator (who)authentically interprets laws ..” (Canon 16) the Pope had already ruled there was no emergency situation so he did not even have that rhetorical fall-back position so what Mons Lefevbre did was not anything like your sudden onset of health problems

  74. Royce says:

    That last paragraph is hilarious. On the contrary, I think Msgr. Williamson is in South America so everyone else can forget about him! Too bad it hasn’t worked out like that.

  75. Remnant Editor Questions Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2008-0630-hoyos.htm

    [Mr. Matt] “As a journalist seeking accuracy in terminology,” I asked him, “is ‘schism’ the correct word to describe the standing of the SSPX?”

    [Card. Hoyos] “No, there isn’t a schism! They have an ‘irregular standing.’” The Cardinal then proceeded to explain why the SSPX is not in schism (see interview below).

    [Article continues] “With a few brief words the Cardinal obliterated the tired arguments of the schism-mongers. Those who would still insist that traditionalists in the Society of St. Pius X are in schism must now concede that their position is completely untenable, lest they violate the norms of Christian charity.”

    Who can fail to be impressed that so many commenters here know more about this area than the Cardinal President of PCED who presumably is responsible for it, and who apparently speaks on it with the approval of the Pope?

  76. I am not Spartacus says:

    The question was and still is: can there be justified disobedience re the Pope.

    How can that exist as a valid question in your mind after just reading what was taught in Quanta Cura?

    Albeit you wrote “you can not cite any Catechism, Papal Encyclical, or Ecumencial Document that teaches otherwise” I can – and I think also Gerard can – bring you some quotes, from Fathers and doctors of the Church (f.e. St. Thomas) and also Encyclicals.

    Please cite the Encyclicals. As for the teachings of the Saints, unless they are adopted/baptised by the Magisterium they are neither normative or definitive.

    In fact, in just a few minutes I will post something that exposes there misuse by those who try and justify disobedience to Divinely-Constituted authority.

  77. D.S. says:

    A am not spartacus:

    To excomunication-question (re my comment): I think you have neither read the quoted cc. nor do know what the pope did realy do:

    He did not judge or decide anything re Archbf. Lefebvre´s consecration, but only DECLARE that the excommunication l.s. would be incurred. So your quote fails totally. Such a decleration can undoubtly be wrong or at least fail to consider all necesarry circumstances.

  78. Michael UK says:

    The excrescence of verbiage piled onto Fr. Michael Mary and the Transalpine Redemptorists, by elemements of SSPX posted on A.Q., is deplorable and confirms a complete absence of either Charity or understanding of the problems to be faced.

  79. I am not Spartacus says:

    Refutation of Some Common Radtrad Misuses of Citations:

    This entry is an abridgment and slight modification of something I posted at an Envoy Encore Message Box Discussion. The individual names have been changed to protect the guilty.- ISM

    This response will deal with the Bellarmine and Aquinas references and also the principles of “resistance” and/or “rebuking prelates.”

    “Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all,tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior.” (Bellarmine: De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    “There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by their subjects” (Aquinas).

    It is not uncommon for Lidless Eye types to try to justify a position of resistance to the magisterium on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors. I will point out here how countless trads take out of context a quotation from Bellarmine and also seriously misrepresent the position of Aquinas on rebuking prelates. But first, let us deal with the Bellarmine quote.

    Those who have read my refutation of a certain imprudent attorney’s ignorant reply to the piece Pete and I did for The Wanderer know that this quote was part of what I addressed in that very brief (for me anyway) essay of about twenty pages.{1} The quote itself is from De Romano Pontifice and when read in context it in no way justifies resisting laws promulgated by a validly-elected pope. To
    quote from Fr. Anthony Cekada who correctly analyzed this passage in detail:

    “The passage cited is from a lengthy chapter Bellarmine devotes to refuting nine arguments advocating the position that the pope is subject to secular power (emperor, king, etc.) and an ecumenical council (the heresy of conciliarism).

    The general context, therefore, is a discussion of the power of the state vis-à -vis the pope…In its particular context, the oft-cited quote is part of Bellarmine’s refutation of the following argument:

    Argument 7. Any person is permitted to kill the pope if he is unjustly attacked by him. Therefore, even more so is it permitted for kings or a council to depose the pope if he disturbs the state, or if he tries to kill souls by his bad example.

    Bellarmine answers:

    I respond by denying the second part of the argument. For to resist an attacker and defend one’s self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks. Authority is required,however, to judge and punish.

    It is only then that Bellarmine states:

    Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all,tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will. It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    Bellarmine…is discussing the course of action which may legitimately be taken against a pope who upsets the political order or “kills souls by his bad example.” A king or a council may not depose such a pope, Bellarmine argues,because they are not his superior—but they may resist him.

    Nor does this quote support those traditional Catholics who would recognize John Paul II as pope but reject his Mass and ignore his laws.

    First, the passage justifies resistance by kings and councils. It does not say that individual bishops, priests and laymen on their own possess this right to resist the pope and ignore his commands—still less that they can set up places of worship in opposition to diocesan bishops a pope has lawfully appointed.

    Second, note the precise causes for resistance in the case Bellarmine is discussing: disturbing the state or giving bad example. These, obviously, are not the same thing as papal liturgical legislation, disciplinary laws or doctrinal pronouncements which an individual might somehow deem harmful.

    Bellarmine would hardly approve of disregarding, carte blanche, for 30 years the directives of men one claims to recognize as legitimate occupants of the papal office and the vicars of Christ on earth.

    In sum, the passage neither condemns sedevacantism nor supports traditionalists like the adherents of the Society of St. Pius X.

    [Fr. Anthony Cekada: Did Bellarmine Condemn Sedevacantism? as quoted in I. Shawn McElhinney’s essay

    Squelching Fr. Gruner’s Squawking Squire (c. 2003)]

    So much for the Bellarmine “proof.” Now to reiterate the “proof” from Aquinas before addressing it.

    “There being an imminent danger for the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by their subjects.”

    This is of course a very narrow prooftext from Aquinas. It is from the section of his Summa Theologiae titled Does this precept [of fraternal correction] bind the subject to correct his superior? and was preceded by the following text which radtrads of course like to ignore:

    To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy
    ministry [Vulg.: ‘Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,that thou fulfil it.’ Cf. 2 Tim. 4:5.” It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Gal. 2:11 “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any
    time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

    And of course Paul was a bishop much as Peter was. The idea that anyone and their brother does not sin by rebuking the pope is false. A fellow bishop as a rule could act as Paul did in certain circumstances. And in even rarer cases a person who has both been properly instructed in Catholic spirituality and is also an individual with a reputation for holiness could act likewise. I have yet to find a radtrad who is not malformed spiritually so they do not meet that criteria. (To say nothing about the reputation for holiness part.)

    There is also another part from Aquinas which radtrads like to ignore. The subsequent question in this sequence is under the heading Whether a sinner ought to reprove a wrongdoer?

    And St. Thomas’ words there are worth noting for those
    false “traditionalists” who want to run around continually rebuking and/or resisting the pope and other prelates:

    [T]o correct a wrongdoer belongs to a man, in so far as his reason is gifted with right judgment. Now sin, as stated above (I-II, 85, 1,2), does not destroy the good of nature so as to deprive the sinner’s reason of all right judgment,and in this respect he may be competent to find fault with others for committing sin. Nevertheless a previous sin proves somewhat of a hindrance to this correction, for three reasons. First because this previous sin renders a man
    unworthy to rebuke another; and especially is he unworthy to correct another for a lesser sin, if he himself has committed a greater. Hence Jerome says on the words, “Why seest thou the mote?” etc. (Mt. 7:3): “He is speaking of those who,while they are themselves guilty of mortal sin, have no patience with the lesser sins of their brethren.”

    Secondly, such like correction becomes unseemly, on account of the scandal which ensues therefrom, if the corrector’s sin be well known, because it would seemthat he corrects, not out of charity, but more for the sake of ostentation.Hence the words of Mt. 7:4, “How sayest thou to thy brother?” etc. are expounded by Chrysostom [Hom. xvii in the Opus Imperfectum falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] thus: “That is–‘With what object?’ Out of charity, think you, that
    you may save your neighbor?” No, “because you would look after your own salvation first. What you want is, not to save others, but to hide your evil deeds with good teaching, and to seek to be praised by men for your knowledge.”

    Thirdly, on account of the rebuker’s pride; when, for instance, a man thinks lightly of his own sins, and, in his own heart, sets himself above his neighbor, judging the latter’s sins with harsh severity, as though he himself were just man. Hence Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “To reprove the faults of others is the duty of good and kindly men: when a wicked man rebukes
    anyone, his rebuke is the latter’s acquittal.” And so, as Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “When we have to find fault with anyone, we should think whether we were never guilty of his sin; and then we must remember that we are men, and might have been guilty of it; or that we once had it on our conscience, but have it no longer: and then we should bethink ourselves that we are all weak, in order that our reproof may be the outcome, not of hatred, but
    of pity.

    But if we find that we are guilty of the same sin, we must not rebuke him, but groan with him, and invite him to repent with us.” It follows from this that, if a sinner reprove a wrongdoer with humility, he does not sin, nor does he bring a further condemnation on himself, although thereby he proves himself deserving of
    condemnation, either in his brother’s or in his own conscience, on account of his previous sin.

    Need I remind the self-styled “traditionalists” among you that charity cannot exist in the heart of a schismatic??? If you defend or promote the SSPX of which the Supreme Authority passed judgment on their objective status -and refuse to be corrected of this error- you are thus are a partaker in their schism. And as schism is one of the most grievious of sins; ergo you are disqualified by the
    Angelic Doctor from being able to legitimately rebuke a wrongdoer – even if the pope was doing wrong.{2}

    The schismatic is bereft of authentic charity as they are puffed up with pride. The pride in which radtrads exhibit –with their mountains of erroneous propositions and their constant suspicious outlook which underlines their manifest lack of spiritual maturity– is well outlined in the following words of Pope St. Pius X from Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

    [I]t is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all. It is pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole
    possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with
    presumption, “We are not as the rest of men,” and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty. It is owing to
    their pride that they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the supreme authority. Truly there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. [Pope St. Pius X: Encyclical
    Letter Pascendi Dominici Gregis §40 (c. 1907)]

    And if you wonder what “novelties…of the most absurd kind” that radtrads embrace, it is this notion that they can render religious submission to the pope and united episcopate while at the same time resisting them. Submission and resistance are antonymous of one another much as day and night are. But rather than take my word for it, hear one of the Supreme Pontiffs on the matter:

    Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her…But judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their authority in order to elude their directives and judgments…,then about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about that
    established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).” [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution Delivered on May 10, 1909]

    So much for the common self-styled “traditionalist” misquotes of Bellarmine and Aquinas citations as these Doctors in no way whatsoever defend the novelties of the so-called “traditionalist” position. And since Vatican I reaffirmed and clarified the parameters of papal authority{3} and jurisdiction, attempting to
    have recourse to the opinions of earlier doctors of the Church (however venerable) over and against the august Magisterium of the Church is a methodology which is the hallmark of the historical heretics and schismatics.

    In short, there is no support none whatsoever for the interpretation that Lidless Eyes or other less extreme self-styled “traditionalists” attach to those passages of Aquinas, or Bellamrine when the passages themselves are subjected to general norms of theological interpretation.

    Notes:

    {1} The essay currently up there now has an abridged version of the above quote.

    After the recent round of radtrad misuse of that citation, it seemed appropriate to expand that quote a bit so I have done this and sent the essay to Matt to post to replace the above link. Hence, if you see a discrepancy for a short while between the essay at the link above and what is quoted above, the reason is because Matt has not posted the expanded version yet.

    {2} This is an assertion that I will not concede in the slightest on btw.

    {3} This dogma was already defined in Bellarmine’s time and though not precisely defined in St. Thomas Aquinas’ time –though Lyons II presented a rudimentary doctrine based on the Formulary of Hormisdas–the concept was already recognized
    as certain theologically. In defining papal authority in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctum, Pope Boniface VIII used words from St. Thomas’ arguments against the Greeks verbatim. So it is clear that St. Thomas’ view of this does not match that of the so-called “traditionalists”: a point which is reflected in St.
    Thomas’ Quodlibetum which I will not reiterate here for the sake of brevity.

  80. Michael J says:

    Marcus Licinius Crassus,

    Determining whether my analogy “works” or not, while useful, is premature at this point. Lets establish a principle (that we can agree upon) first, and then see if it fits a particular set of circumstances, ok?

    So, the question remains. Does obedience to a greater law justify disobedience to a lesser law or does it render the apparent disobedience, not disobedient at all?

  81. I am not Spartacus says:

    D.S. Inaccurate.

    APOSTOLIC LETTER “ECCLESIA DEI” OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II
    GIVEN MOTU PROPRIO

    1. With great affliction the Church has learned of the unlawful episcopal ordination conferred on 30 June last by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which has frustrated all the efforts made during the previous years to ensure the full communion with the Church of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X founded by the same Mons. Lefebvre. These efforts, especially intense during recent months, in which the Apostolic See has shown comprehension to the limits of the possible, were all to no avail.(1)

    2. This affliction was particularly felt by the Successor Peter to whom in the first place pertains the guardianship of the unity of the Church,(2) even though the number of persons directly involved in these events might be few. For every person is loved by God on his own account and has been redeemed by the blood of Christ shed on the Cross for the salvation of all.

    The particular circumstances, both objective and subjective in which Archbishop Lefebvre acted, provide everyone with an occasion for profound reflection and for a renewed pledge of fidelity to Christ and to his Church.

    3. In itself, this act was one of disobedience to the Roman Pontiff in a very grave matter and of supreme importance for the unity of the church, such as is the ordination of bishops whereby the apostolic succession is sacramentally perpetuated. Hence such disobedience – which implies in practice the rejection of the Roman primacy – constitutes a schismatic act.(3) In performing such an act, notwithstanding the formal canonical warning sent to them by the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on 17 June last, Mons. Lefebvre and the priests Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, have incurred the grave penalty of excommunication envisaged by ecclesiastical law.(4)

    4. The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition….

    c) In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfil the grave duty of remaining united to the Vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church, and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offence against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the Church’s law.(8)

    Now, you have the liberty to refuse obedience to Divine-Authority. And you have liberty to decide what decisions of the Holy See you will follow and which ones you will not follow but I do not see how an ideological position like that is not a scimitar severing the Bonds of Unity in Worship, Doctrine, and Authority, a Bond you publicly profess to believe in when you say the Creed at Mass..

    “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic…”

    That “One” is a oneness of UNITY: of Worship, Doctrine, and Authority.

    Anyone who severs that Bond is, in my mind, practicing spiritual suicide.

    (and now I am outta here for awhile. I have things to attend to)

  82. I am not Spartacus says:

    Does obedience to a greater law justify disobedience..

    That is a question loaded with negative presuppositions directed against Divinely-Constituted Authority.

    Jesus said, “He who hears you, hears me.”

    That is all I have time to write now. I really have to go.

  83. John Enright says:

    Michael J wanted to know whether the Society’s actions are defensible under the doctrine of Justification and/or Necessity. I don’t think so; claiming that the Society could lawfully disregard Canon Law and the direct Order of the Pope under either rationale amounts to putting the cart before the horse. Saying “I’m justified in disregarding the Pope because the Pope is in error” is itself an error.

  84. Michael J says:

    John,
    Actually no. I deliberately stepped away from these particular actions and circumstances. I really want to establish the principle first. Under what circumstances, if any, is it permissible to disregard or fail to comply with a law?

    Drawing on my “non-fitting” analogy further, while I was in the hospital, I failed to comply with the law that requires me to attend Mass on Sundays. Again, I doubt if anyone would say that this was not justified, but is it an example of disobedience?

  85. Mike Williams says:

    **Irony alert**

    “Next comes the caricature, ( **because you find yourself unable to deal with the real arguments** ) that I’m saying the SSPX is the only group that knows what they’re talking about and questions are from the unintelligent.”

    “The fact that **I read a book by the Holy Father and find it to be very disappointing** on a multitude of levels and that **I’m aware of the flaw in his thinking** somehow makes me incapable of giving valid criticism is evidence of your projection.”

    “If you think the SSPX only claim to know better, well prove them wrong. **They know better because they are appealing to the teaching of the Catholic Church and its most celebrated minds and souls as well as the Divine promises of the Savior** .”

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  86. D.S. says:

    to I am not spartacus:

    Ok., so because I as a “radtrad” am too sinful and pride and as schismatic I can not have charity and so am not allowed to argue against Popes and bishops I will not argue anymore. You would not accept any argumentation from me so ok., stop it. … How I “love” this kind of argumentation…

    (btw., some of your argumentation is so wrong… but, no, not starting arguing again. I as a sinful radtrad am not allowed to correct You, I forgot.)

  87. John Enright says:

    Michael J,

    I don’t think you can logically talk about whether an action is disobedient without discussing the notion of Justification/Necessity. According to Dies Domini, “the faithful are obliged to attend Mass unless there is a grave impediment.” Physical inability due to health considerations constitutes a “grave impediment.”

    As for your general question, disobedience can be justified. Like I said before, however, I don’t think SSPX can claim the mantle of Justification.

  88. malta says:

    *And if you wonder what “novelties…of the most absurd kind” that radtrads embrace, it is this notion that they can render religious submission to the pope and united episcopate while at the same time resisting them. Submission and resistance are antonymous of one another much as day and night are.*

    Good point. But you miss another: SSPX resorts to Canon Law to justify their position and were not given an appeal which is their right to have. Remember, SSPX is *not in schism* remember that.

    Having said that, I find B. Williamson’s attitude of, “when Rome straigtens out, then we’ll dismember,” to be somewhat alarming. Lefebvre founded a Society to work for the better of souls, not to have it dissolve. Fellay is more reasonable on this point, and I think genuinely wants unity with Rome. I hope Williamson’s true attitude isn’t, “we’ll just lead all of these priests and people away from Rome until Rome gets its act together.” That is dangerous in my opinion, because unity with Rome, now, today, should be front-and-center on the mind of SSPX. On the otherhand, Rome shouldn’t demand that they subscribe to, say, religious liberty. Why not an interim (if imperfect) jurisdictional structure? Williamson hopefully does not think he’s leading millions of souls on some wild-goose chase tangent from Rome until Rome gets its act together–if so, the tether may break and they’ll find themselves permenantly seperated from Rome (or worse). Fidelity to the Pope is what makes us essentially Catholic.

    Having said all of that, who can look at the modern Church and not see that there is a grave crisis, and SSPX is a reaction to a Church which has lost its way? 7% mass attendance in some countries, annulments on demand,90% of married Catholics using birth control, 30% believing in the real presence, etc. Someone posted that things have been getting better in the last 15 years; OH REEEEEALY? The New Oxford Review did a nice piece recently of just where Gen. Y stands on Church doctrine; not a pretty picture. Things are getting much, much worse (if that’s even possible) with resepct to adherence to Church doctrine and belief in dogmas.

  89. Gerard says:

    Mike Williams,

    You haven’t shown by your bold emphasis that anything has been demonstrated.

    My points still stand.

    1) Caricatures are created by opponents of the SSPX in order to avoid dealing with the real arguments.

    2) The SSPX does know better than a majority of Churchmen but that is far from the caricature of saying that they are claiming to be the “only” people who know better.

    So, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

  90. John Enright says:

    Let’s cut to the chase. What specific Vatican II documents does the Society believe to be erroneous, and what should be done about it? What other things about the post-Councilar Church are wrong, and what should be done?

  91. Gerard says:

    It is not uncommon for Lidless Eye types to try to justify a position of resistance to the magisterium on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors.

    Wrong. It’s not on the authority of the Fathers and Doctors. It’s on the truth that the Fathers and Doctors happen to speak.

    I will point out here how countless trads take out of context a quotation from Bellarmine and also seriously misrepresent the position of Aquinas on rebuking prelates. But first, let us deal with the Bellarmine quote.

    “The passage cited is from a lengthy chapter Bellarmine devotes to refuting nine arguments advocating the position that the pope is subject to secular power (emperor, king, etc.) and an ecumenical council (the heresy of conciliarism).

    The general context, therefore, is a discussion of the power of the state vis-à vis the pope…In its particular context, the oftcited quote is part of Bellarmine’s refutation of the following argument:

    Wrong. The specific context is a discussion of the power of state vis a vis the pope. Bellarmine uses general principals in order to discern the proper understanding of the specific context.

  92. Michael J says:

    John,

    So far, I find little to disagree. Maybe the distinction between “justified disobedience” and “not disobedient” is unimportant, so I am willing to drop that part of the discussion.

    Even if it is not explicitly stated though, would you agree that there is an objective and a subjective component to every law? Objectively, compliance with the law can be measured with a simple yes or no answer. Subjectively, it is not quite as simple, but it should not be too difficult. I am also talking about true, legitimate laws.

    To draw on another analogy(which may or may not fit these particular circumstances), this time hypothetical, suppose my boss orders me to deliver a package to a customer across town before they close. On the way, I get in a minor accident. Objectively, I did not deliver the package so by this measure, I “broke the law” so to speak. Subjectively though, I know that there is a higher law that compels me to remain at the scene until the police arrive. In my opinion, this is justified disobedience even if I am mistaken about the “higher law” and even if I call my boss and he tells me that “there is no such law that comples me to stay at the scene”.

    In a round about way, the more important purpose of this is not so much to prove or disprove that the society’s actions are justifiable but to quell the notion espoused by some that it is never valid, under any circumstances to disobey or otherwise fail to comply with the letter of canon law. I doubt that many really agree with this idea, but that is where the discussion often ends. “The Pope said do it, you didn’t, end of discussion”.

    So, to bring this closer to the specific circumstances, is it ever permissible to consecrate a Bishop without a Papal mandate?

  93. John Enright says:

    Michael J,
    “Would you agree that there is an objective and a subjective component to every law?” Yes. That is beside the point, however. Think of it in these terms: disobedience is unjustified non-compliance with a command. If non-compliance is in fact justified, there is no disobedience. A subjective-objective analysis deals more with culpability for something.

  94. John Enright says:

    Michael J.,
    Sorry, but I posted before I was ready by accident. “is it ever permissible to consecrate a Bishop without Papal mandate?” Well, I can think of some drastic scenarios which would not only allow it, but actually require such an action. They are all extreme however, such as a world-wide calamity which results in massive loss of life including almost the entire hierarchy of the Church. Imagine, also, that the circumstances of the calamity are such that travel and communications between distant parts of the world are virtually impossible. For the church to survive under such circumstances, consecration of a bishop without papal mandate would probably be appropriate. But let’s face it, the Society isn’t in such circumstances. Whether its permissible under extreme circumstances doesn’t mean that it was permissible for the Society.

  95. Gerard says:

    Depending on a sedevacantist argument doesn’t actually work. This is indicative of the shared misunderstanding of the papacy by neo-Catholics and sedevacantists. Sedevacantists only choose not to ignore the crisis in the Church. But they are just as wrong in their conclusions.

    Let’s look at the Bellarmine argument and the fallacious interpretation.

    Argument 7. Any person is permitted to kill the pope if he is unjustly attacked by him. Therefore, even more so is it permitted for kings or a council to depose the pope if he disturbs the state, or if he tries to kill souls by his bad example.

    Bellarmine answers:

    I respond by denying the second part of the argument.

    For to resist an attacker and defend one’s self, no authority is needed, nor is it necessary that he who is attacked be the judge and superior of him who attacks. Authority is required,however, to judge and punish.

    Bellarmine then states:

    it is licit

    … to resist the Pontiff who attacks the body,
    … resist him who attacks souls
    …destroys the civil order
    …or above all,tries to destroy the Church.

    Bellarmine then lays out legitimate methods of resistance.

    I say that it is licit to resist him by

    … not doing what he orders

    and by impeding the execution of his will.

    Bellarmine then draws the line that re-asserts the primacy of the Pope.

    It is not licit,however, to judge him, to punish him, or to depose him, for these are acts
    proper to a superior. (De Romano Pontifice, II.29.)

    Bellarmine…is discussing the course of action which may legitimately be taken against a pope who upsets the political order or “kills souls by his bad example.” A king or a council may not depose such a pope, Bellarmine argues,because they are not his superior—but they may resist him.

    To restrict Bellarmine’s general principals to only political authorities is special pleading. There is no relevant difference between kings resistance to a Pope or to anyone else’s right to resist an attacker as “no authority is needed.”

    Nor does this quote support those traditional Catholics who would recognize John Paul II as pope but reject his Mass and ignore his laws.

    Actually it does.

  96. Michael J says:

    The circumstances need not be so dramatic, John.(I like your definition of disobedience, by the way) I suppose that if the Pope intended to grant permission but unfortunately died before giving formal authorization, it would be permissible to go through with the consecrations to avoid a grave inconvenience to all involved. But I’m digressing.

    I was actually thinking of the CPA bishops. Are they disobedient? Some are, certainly, but all of them? Is it safe to say that had the Pope known of the particular circumstances of these hypothetical obedient CPA Bishops he would have waived the requirement to seek permission first, or would have secretly granted permission?

  97. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Enright. Fr. Fellay says the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.

    Transcribed from the talk given by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Kansas City, Missouri on March 5, 2002.

    In January, Cardinal Castrillón had incorrectly written that with some conditions I would accept Vatican II. Since I wanted him to know exactly what I think about the Council, I handed him Catholicism and Modernity, a booklet in French by Fr. Jean-Marc Rulleau in which he studies the Council and shows how the spirit of the Council is radically opposed to Catholicism. It is, we may say, a total demolition of the Council.

    During the month of March, something very curious happened. We continued to hear stories that we had not terminated discussions with Rome, that they were continuing to such a degree that the pope was convening all the cardinals of the Curia to give advice on our question. The word came out that the pope wanted the whole thing to be solved by Easter! I was wondering, “Is he going to do it without us?!” I thought, I have to do something, so I sent a strong letter to Cardinal Hoyos relaying all my discomfort and the severity of our position on the New Mass. I also mentioned that I was troubled to learn of a recent letter he wrote to the Sri Lankan Bishops’ Conference in which he said the Society was in “schism”. In all our talks, he had carefully avoided that word. I assked him to explain how at the same time he could give me the impression we were almost normal but to others he was calling us schismatic. Well, I never got an answer to that letter.

    +++++++++++++++ end quotes ++++++++++++++++++++

    Unless one is a hopeless romantic, one clearly understands there is no reconciliation pending for the SSPX given their heretical ideas about an Ecumenical Council; given their heretical doctrine “The Jews as a race are cursed:; given their crackpot pedagogy the normative Mass is evil.

    Undoubtedly, there are well-intended priests in the SSPX but they have been led astray by the sspx schism and, when one recognises that the rhetoric of the sspx radicals has imprisoned themselves in a schismatic cell which has no explanatory key that can release them (they will have to repent of their heresies, first), it is time to wake-up and smell the coffee.

    They are a concretised schism. The fact they are not labeled schismatic by those negotiating with them is, to me, but proof of the necessary romantic language used by those in negotiations. Rome is out to help save their souls and if, during negotiations, they are not called schismatic, who am I to object?

    The sspx are missing their chance at a reconciliation due to their pride and private judgment. As Pope John Paul taught in Ecclesia Dei, they have an incomplete idea of Tradition but there is no way for the sspx to repudiate its heresies without causing a riot amongst their supporters.

    Mons Lefevbre’s actions set a sad precedent only extreme humility can overcome. Mons. Lefevbre was so strident in condemning Rome as the seat of the Antichrist; he was so strident in condemning the normative Mass; he was so extreme and strident in condemning an Ecumenical Council that when he did sign The Protocol with Rome, his lieutenants forced him to renege.

    Given what he had said for so many years, who would have expected his lieutenants to agree it would be a good idea for the sspx to strike a deal with heretical, modernist, antichrists?

    Fr, Fellay, in citing the work of Fr. Rulleau, a former Director of Dogmatic Theology at Econe, merely carries on in the same prideful, private judgment vein mined by Mons. Lefevbre. The sspx just keeps digging itself deeper into its schismatic cell.

    What is ironic is that the SSPX, a strident opponent of Vatican Two, was begun by a Bishop (lefevbre), who, while participating as a Bishop at Vatican Two voted in favor of accepting every single Document of Vatican Two.

    And then he repudiated his assent after the fact. He was for Vatican Two before he was against it.

    He signed a Protocol with Rome. And then reneged on his word. He was for The Protocol before he was against it.

    And these actions just repeated what he had done vis a vis the seminary at Econe. He agreed to open it on an experimental basis, gave his word he’d be obedient, then refused to obey orders to end the experiment.

    He was for the agreement about Econe before he was against it. (I wonder when his admirers decided when he was to be taken at his word? Only when it opposed an Ecumenical Council; only when it opposed the normative Mass; only when it opposed Divinely-Constituted authority, I guess).

    While this may seem an unfair characterisation of Mons Lefevbre, it is intended to make a point. It is intended to be a brief recapitulation which, because the sspx institution is the ever-lengthening shadow of the person of Mons. Lefevbre, is predictive of what is to come…more of the same.

    In practice, The SSPX are Protestants in Fiddlebacks who think themselves competent to judge an Ecumenical Council; who think themselves at liberty to oppose an Ecumenical Council; who think themselves competent to judge the Pope; who think themselves competent to interpret Canon Law against its authoritative Legislator, the Pope; who think themselves at liberty to tell the Pope which of his decisions they will accept or not accept; who think themselves at liberty to decide what acts of authority of the Pope they will accept or reject.

    They have usurped Papal authority and aped their protestant progenitors in doing so.

    And all we hear is about how they are the sole defenders of Tradition. And, in a certain sense, they are. They are walking the traditional path of all prior schisms and those who succor the SSPX have no choice but to try and befog that reality by appealing to substitute authorities – living or dead – who can be made to appear to sanction their schism or, worse, make the Church established by Jesus appear to have apostasised.

    Schism is proximate to heresy and schisms breed enmity and insanity in those who succor it. Tradition has never taught that there is ever justification for schism. Tearing asunder the Body of Christ preserves no thing. It is an act of destruction.

  98. Michael J says:

    Who are you to object?!

    You are a faithful Catholic who should know that it is not permissible to deliberately commit a sin in order that good may come of it. For you to so casually dismiss a lie is perhaps the most disturbing thing about your otherwise colorful and passionate post.

  99. Chris says:

    I do not assist at an SSPX chapel, even though I have one close to me. I chose to go to the indult parish, even though we’re given nothing more than one Mass a Sunday and have to beg for the sacraments, to which we get half in the traditional form.

    All that said, and I think I speak for many more than will readily admit it, I am so very glad H.E. Williamson is among us. Say what you will about him, and about the situation with the SSPX in general, but I feel much better and sleep easier at night knowing they’re around and I pray there is a reconcilliation soon.

  100. John Enright says:

    Michael J said “I was actually thinking of the CPA bishops. Are they disobedient? Some are, certainly, but all of them?” I think that there is an inherent problem with CPA bishops because the CPA is not in communion with the Holy Father. As far as the underground Church is concerned, I’m quite sure that it can consecrate bishops without Papal mandate due to necessity. It’s really the exception which proves the rule. (Sorry, I know it’s a cliché, but I couldn’t help myself.) As far as the CPA itself is concerned, a Catholic News Service article, Catholic Church in China: ‘Two faces’ expressing one faith notes that CPA bishops consecrated without Papal mandate incur automatic excommunication. However, the article also notes that almost all of the CPA bishops “took advantage of the renewed contacts with missionaries and foreign priests to send letters to Rome in which they declared their full communion with the Pope and the desire to be recognized as legitimate bishops. So … the bishops subjected to the political control of the Patriotic Association tried the path of canonical sanatio to … affirm their communion with the Pope, kept hidden because of external conditions, but never renounced in their hearts.”

    China is a hard case, and it’s very sad. I hope and pray for the day when the Church in China is freed from bondage.

  101. malta says:

    *who think themselves competent to judge an Ecumenical Council*

    Romano Amerio in his brilliant “Iota Unam” has already done an excellent job of doing that; you should take a look at it–many in the highest reaches of the Vatican are already doing so:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/04/amerio-is-back.html

    Read, especially, that one shouldn’t judge Vatican II negatively “in its entirety…”

  102. Mark says:

    Like some beauties well past their bloom, SSPX likes to be noticed, quoted, and fussed over. Yet the soil outside the Church only quickens her aging process. There are much more interesting problems inside the Church to occupy us (such as the struggle to implement the Summorum Pontificum), than to ponder the latest pronouncements from SSPX.

  103. John Enright says:

    I am not Spartacus says that the Society believes that “the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.” If that’s so, then SSPX is clearly schismatic in every sense of the word. A Council is free of heresy when the Pope call for the Council which convenes under his direction and the documents produced thereby receive Papal approval. That happened with regard to Vatican II, and Archbishop Lefebvre signed off on the documents even though he wasn’t required to do so.

  104. Michael J says:

    John,
    I think we are in complete agreement with the principles even to the point of agreeing that (cliché as it may be) that “the exception proves the rule”.

    Now comes the part where we may begin to disagree. Getting back to the 6 issues you mentioned earlier, how is it that the circumstances surrounding the society are different to the point that it excludes their actions from falling into one of the exceptions? Is it simply, as some assert, that the Pope has said that no state of necessity exists? I am not familliar with such a statement, by the way, but it’s not critical that such a statement really happened. I can easily agree that if asked, the Pope (current or prior) would say something to that effect.

  105. John Enright says:

    Ahem . . . I think Mark has a valid point!

  106. Gerard says:

    John Enright wrote:

    I am not Spartacus says that the Society believes that “the entire Second Vatican Council is defective.”

    I am not Spartacus says a lot of things. Many of them are wrong.

    If that’s so, then SSPX is clearly schismatic in every sense of the word.

    That’s not the actual stance. And schism would not result from believing this.

    A Council is free of heresy when the Pope call for the Council which convenes under his direction and the documents produced thereby receive Papal approval.

    That doesn’t always happen, it depends on the language used. Also, free from heresy is not the same as free from defect.

    That happened with regard to Vatican II, and Archbishop Lefebvre signed off on the documents even though he wasn’t required to do so.

    Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that some Councils have been complete wastes of time and that history had yet to render a verdict on the usefulness of Vatican II.

  107. I am not Spartacus says:

    Malta. As an autodidact, I read “Iota Unum” a long time ago back when I was a soi disant traditionalist.

    It is true that most of what he wrote was WAY beyond me (I am just a Vermont Crank who has been educated beyond my intelligence).

    I loved the book,at least so far as I understood it, but I never thought it as a Get-Out-of-Obeying-an-Ecumenical Council-Free-Card as it appears to be so for so many who oppose the most recent Ecumenical Council.

    And as clear and as cold as water from a spring in the hills of Vermont, it is a clear cold hard fact that this Pope does not think Vatican Two was a rupture with Tradition.

  108. John Enright says:

    Michael J,

    The situation facing the Church in China are vastly different from the circumstances which led SSPX to reject Papal authority. The Church in Europe doesn’t have to operate in the shadows as it does in China. In China, the root cause of episcopal ordinations without Papal authority result from political oppression from a totalitarian regime, and not as a result of doctrinal disagreement. With the Society, the situation is completely different. There were no guns pointed at the head of Archbishop Lefebvre when he ordained Bp. Fellay and others in open defiance of a Papal prohibition. Even if the Society’s members subjectively believe in their cause, how does that translate into authority to grant marriage annulments, something which does not involve doctrinal dispute? Sorry, I think that SSPX is operating as a rogue entity without accountibility to any authority.