SSPX media brochure about the lifting of the excommunications

Have you see the media brochure released by the SSPX about the lifting of the excommunications?

Here are some lines, but you can see it yourself.

  • Some facts about the 1988 excommunications
  • In this new atmosphere, we have the firm hope to obtain soon the recognition of the rights of Catholic Tradition
  • On June 30, 1988, he consecrates four SSPX priests as bishops to ensure the survival of Catholic Tradition. Contrary to canon law, he is subsequently declared to have excommunicated himself by this action.  [No mention of the fact that he had met with Card. Ratzinger in 1988, signed an agreement, and then went back on it that same night.  Instead, this is described as…]
  • Discussions with a Modernist Rome having failed,
  • On June 30, 1988, he consecrates four SSPX priests as bishops to ensure the survival of Catholic Tradition. Contrary to canon law, he is subsequently declared to have excommunicated himself by this action.  [Contrary to Canon Law? They defy the Roman Pontiff’s wishes in this matter and they are in the right?]
  • 2000 – to the present
    The Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, prudently maintains contacts with Rome while insisting on the doctrinal balance which Archbishop Lefebvre himself demonstrated.
  • The Excommunications: Why They Never Existed [So… just what is their real attitude about the lifting of the excommunications?  Is this just a matter of saying, for them, "we were right all along"?  Is is any sense that there was a wrong involved?  I would like to know more about the "study" done in the Vatican about lifting the censures.]
  • Pope John Paul II simply repeated the accusations of schism and excommunication citing Canon Law. But did a state of schism or the penalty of excommunication actually ever exist?   [What sort of attitude is this?]

[Here is the really interesting part….]

According to the 1983 edition of the Code of Canon Law:
1. A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty (Canon 1323 §4).
But even if no state of necessity existed:
if one inculpably thought there was, • he would not incur the penalty (Canon 1323 §7),
and if one culpably thought there was, • he would still incur no automatic penalties (canon 1324 §3; §1, 80).
2. No penalty is ever incurred without committing a subjective mortal sin (canons 1321 §1, 1323 §7).
Archbishop Lefebvre made it clear that it was his duty before God as a bishop to perform the episcopal consecrations to ensure the continuance of the Catholic priesthood. Even if he had been wrong, there would still have been no subjective sin.
Consequently, the accusations of excommunication were illegitimate and thereby always null and void.

This is an argument.  I would like to know if this is what was determined in the study done by the Holy See before the Holy Father lifted the censures.

  • Going on…
  • Was the SSPX ever in a State of Schism?
  • Disobedience does not amount to schism.   [That’s something, at least.]
  • THE 1974 DECLARATION OF ARCHBISHOP LEFEBVRE – Made on November 21, 1974


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Gravitas says:

    Father, I’m wondering, what are the chances that the current Holy Father thinks the original excommunications were not warrented?

    You’d have to think it’s at least a possibility since the SSPX is so opening making its claims that the excommunications weren’t valid. Maybe they know the Holy Father thinks they got a raw deal?

    I don’t know enough about this to know if it is a possibility or not. Would love to know your thoughts …

  2. Ben says:

    The audacity of the Soceity is stunning. The Holy Father offers them reconciliation, good-faith talks, and a willingness to move forward in bringing them into the fold of Holy Mother Church.

    In return, he receives…nothing. They admit no fault. They admit no wrongdoing. They still don’t acknowledge they went against the express will of the Vicar of Christ. It’s like they have NO CLUE what is going on.

    My hopes of reconciliation are very dim, given these expressed attitudes.

  3. schoolman says:

    It seems that this was put together by the USA District office. Maybe they missed a memo from +Fellay…

  4. David says:

    Ben, they aren’t saying anything new, and the Holy Father, being the smart man that he is, knew they wouldn’t.

    Perhaps the Holy Father has considered that they are right, and he wishes to work out these things, with elbow grease and grace, without the hindrance of excommunications that may end up in the end to be judged invalid.

    If certain elements of the SSPX don’t want unity, they aren’t the kind to stick around… unlike liberals.

  5. LA says:

    This isn’t news. This is exactly what the SSPX has been saying for over 20 years. Nothing has changed with the SSPX. The atmosphere in Rome is changing towards Tradition, Deo Gratias!

  6. Basil says:

    So typical of the rubbish these people churn out. They are currently gloating on having ‘got one up’ on Rome. Clearly the Holy Father has been very badly advised on this matter.

  7. RC says:

    c1321 doesn’t speak of “subjective mortal sin”. Who’s reading the Code to them, ICEL?

    The Church knows you can’t make laws dependent on the unknowable subjective state of someone’s conscience. It speaks of an offense being “gravely imputable by reason of malice or culpability.”

    c1321 (3) even adds: “Where there has been an external violation, imputability is presumed, unless it appears otherwise.”

    So the burden of proof is on the four, in the face of that presumption of imputability, plus the explicit warnings Abp. Lefebvre received — didn’t they also receive canonical warnings?

  8. schoolman says:

    The canon law arguments seem completely based on subjectivity — and ultimately undermine the objective basis for law. My subjective opinions do not give me the license to do what I wish — I remain subject to law (objectively speaking). There is a kind of “liberty” promoted here that goes way beyond Dignitatis Humanae. Go figure…

  9. Grace says:

    This is what SSPX adherents are saying.

    A thread characterized by deep anti-Semitism and contempt for Jews, contempt for Pope Benedict and hero-worship of Williamson.

    Those of you who defend the SSPX…why?

  10. 800AD says:

    I think Gravitas may be right, but of course we do not know. Fr. Z, could you comment on this? I really think there may be some substance to this argument. Did not Cardinal Hoyos say something that may have indicated this? I cannot remember.

  11. PaulJason says:

    I wish I knew what to make of all of this…

    I continue to pray, I hope we all do.

  12. Matt of South Kent says:

    I would hate to see this happy time devolve into a review of extremist positions help by a minority (either inside SSPX or inside Rome). Everybody has a crazy uncle in their family, I just don’t think now is the right time to address the question. (That will come soon enough – maybe we can all agree to pray on it.)

    SSPX has to maintain that they acted in good faith on the consecrations of their Bishops otherwise; they roll over and give up.

    I believe that SSPX did act in good faith believing and hoping that the Pope would see their side of the argument. The Pope does not have to agree with them but just submit that they had a reasonable position.

  13. Controversy is how we resolve differences. I’m convinced that Jesus put his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI on his earthly throne to carry out His will. I believe that will is to bring the Catholic church together under His guidance. His Holiness, the Pope is following that direction, without variance.
    It remains to be seen what changes will come, but given Cardinal Ratzinger’s record, he will give the conservative voice a say in which direction the Liturgy will present itself. I, have faith that direction will favor those of us who embrace the ancient form of the Holy Mass.

  14. Calleva says:

    Quote: “We express our filial gratitude to the Holy Father for this gesture, which, beyond the Priestly Society of St Pius X, will benefit the whole Church. Our Society wishes to be always more able to help the Pope to remedy the unprecedented crisis which presently shakes the Catholic world and which Pope John Paul II had designated as a state of ‘silent apostasy’.

    Besides our gratitude towards the Holy Father and towards all who helped him to make this courageous act, we are pleased that the decree of January 21 considers as necessary ‘talks’ with the Holy See, talks which will enable the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X to explain the fundamental doctrinal reasons which it believes to be at the origin of the present difficulties of the Church”

    Each paragraph starts with a word of thanks but quickly gets down to the real business. The undercurrent is: we know you really need us more than we need you. We will meet the Pope to tell him how to do his job more effectively and where he’s getting it wrong.

    Nowhere is there any sense of real joy, it is all about how right they are and how wrong Rome is. The final sentence, which I didn’t type, is that only with closer ties will Catholic Tradition be protected; ie, they are the guardians of true Catholic teaching and the Pope now needs their guidance.

    There is an overweening arrogance which I find very sad. yes, we know there has been an apostasy (to which they are partly contributing in their own way) and that many priests and even bishops do not teach doctrine correctly. But to acknowledge this, which I freely do, does not mean that the SSPX has the right to set up an alternative Magisterium.

    The Pope has done as Fellay asked, he has rescinded the excommunications – the talks of last June broke down partly because these were still in place. If they didn’t exist, then why did Fellay ask for them to be cancelled? Rome’s terms of last June, reported on this blog, did not even mention Vatican II – all that was required was not to diss the Holy Father (put briefly). Even that was too much for them.

    The tone of this pamphlet is unfortunate to say the least. At the end there is lip service to the authority of the Pope but it remains no more than this until we see some signs of filial obedience.

    Words are cheap. Let’s see some action.

  15. chiara says:

    “They still don’t acknowledge they went against the express will of the Vicar of Christ.”

    So St Athanasius shouldn’t have gone against the express will of the Pope of the time (Pope Iberius, I think) but should have followed the Pope into Arianism? Thank God He didn’t and thank God Archbishop Lefebvre ensured the continuity of the Traditional Rite of the Church. Where were all the priests meant to have come from to offer the Traditional Rite after the Motu Proprio of 2007? All the Traditional priests who are in full communikon with the Holy See owe their very existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.
    Would the Holy Father have lifted the excommunications if he believed they were truly valid?

  16. schoolman says:

    Were the excommunications nullified retroactively or lifted by this new decree? I think we can easily conclude the later based on the following:

    1) The censures were “remitted” (i.e., pardoned or forgiven)

    2) The “juridical effect” of the censure ceases on the date remitted and declared – Jan 21, 2009 (not retroactively)

    3) The remission only applies to the 4 Bishops who petitioned the Holy See (e.g., an act of nullification would certainly have included +Lefebvre and +De Castro Meyer)

  17. Matt of South Kent says:


    Just like in the Roman Church, there is a small, self destructive, highly vocal minority in SSPX who are like a cancer. They want to control the dialog on both sides. We need to make progress on our common goals in spite of these people.

    Don’t base your judgment on them. Know there are good people on both sides of the issue who want the same thing.


  18. torontonian says:

    Staggeringly insolent. I doubt they’re going to get very far in their discussions with Rome if this is still the attitude they’re taking. The Pope’s compassionate and charitable but he isn’t a pushover.

  19. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB says:

    Oh dear – this is just what I was afraid of: smug self-vindication, and the continued accusation that the Church under the Popes was (is?) Modernist. The bubble of my joy has quickly been burst.

    In effect, the Pope is forcing the hand of the SSPX: be reconciled, or definitively and deliberately break away from the Church. Let’s hope the faithful in the SSPX return to the Church and to the Pope whose arm is extended to them in love.

    An interesting note can be found here regarding the canonical side of things –


  20. John Polhamus says:

    “Those of you who defend the SSPX…why?”

    While I deplore some of their political opinions, it might behoove some of the amateur canonists in the room, and perhaps a couple of professional ones as well, to remember that just as neighbours we disagree with still enjoy rights and protections under the constitution of the United States, similarly our fellow Catholics with whom we disagree, assuming they maintain no heresy, still enjoy membership in the church and the Grace of our Lord despite their invincibly ignorant political opinions. TOLERANCE IS A STREET THAT RUNS BOTH WAYS, TO THE ULTRA-LIBERAL AND TO THE ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE. HERESY IS THE ISSUE, NOT THEIR OPINIONS OR YOURS. STOP WHINING.

    You know, it’s funny, but on this page there is a strong tendency to cita papal authority when it pleases the conservative editor and many commentators. However when it doesn’t there are those here who ridicule the objects of his clemency and sarcastically question his judgement as flippantly as any liberal critic. Not a very edifying spectacle.

  21. John Polhamus says:

    “…to cita papal authority…”

    …should have read “to cite and support papal authority when it pleases”. For what it’s worth to you.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Chiara said: So St Athanasius shouldn’t have gone against the express will of the Pope of the time (Pope Iberius, I think) but should have followed the Pope into Arianism?

    That is a severely inaccurate characterization of the events surrounding Pope Liberius and St. Athanasius. The facts surrounded Liberius are in some doubt, but it is unlikely in the extreme that Liberius lapsed into Arianism. The most that can be said is that, under duress, Liberius subscribed to an ambiguous albeit not heretical doctrinal formula and approved of the sentence against St. Athanasius. But even that is in doubt, and Liberius may not have done either — St. Athanasius thought Liberius had approved the sentence, but that doesn’t mean he really did, because the Arians and semi-Arians were ascendant at that time and were spreading stories favorable to themselves, even forging letters in Liberius’ name. The case of St. Athanasius is simply not analogous in any way to the case of Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX. Whatever Liberius did or didn’t do, it was in the context of great chaos in the Church and the meddling of a heretical emperor rendering it impossible for us to be sure what really happened, since all we have to go on are confused accounts based on imperfect and partisan reports. There were no such circumstances in 1988, nor do we labor under such limitations in understanding the situation of the SSPX.

    Where were all the priests meant to have come from to offer the Traditional Rite after the Motu Proprio of 2007? All the Traditional priests who are in full communikon with the Holy See owe their very existence to Archbishop Lefebvre.

    Really? All of them?

    Would the Holy Father have lifted the excommunications if he believed they were truly valid?

    Who can say for sure, but I don’t see why he wouldn’t. The language of the decree of remission at the very least suggests that he judges the excommunications to have been valid: the decree does not give any hint that he believes them to be invalid, though he might so believe. The question of their validity could be revisited in the future. At this time, however, it appears that the Church continues to maintain that the excommunications were lawful and valid.

  23. momoften says:

    My SSPX friend is what I called brainwashed into a lot of the jibberish of the hierarchy. So,
    the loyal(if you want to call them that)would have a HUGE problem with reconciliation. The
    attitude is we (SSPX)are right and they (the TRUE Catholic Church) are wrong. Reconciliation between us will be difficult. I believe that Benedict is being guided beyond human means. The question is will Fellay and the others listen? We can only pray. They (SSPX) are full of
    pride that they are the only ones right…will they humble themselves?-only God knows.

  24. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    From what has been released, no one can really know what the state of the original excommunications is. I would be very interested in reading the letter from the Bishops requesting that the excommunications be lifted. As to not trusting the last Holy Father when it came to the deal, that is the Holy Father’s fault. John Paul II God rest his soul, was never able to stand up to the Vatican liberals. He went back on his word concerning altar girls to Mother Theresa, who can imagine he would have not caved when it came to the SSPX. Benedict has proven that he will do what is right, even when it is unpopular, and that you can trust his word. This more than anything, has brought the SSPX back to the table.

  25. schoolman says:

    There is another point to consider in the lifting of the excommunications. It could prevent the illicit ordination of future SSPX Bishops without Papal mandate. If they attempt it…we know the canonical consequences. Was this in the mind of Pope Benedict — to break the cycle by creating a new atmosphere? Who knows…but it is something to consider.

  26. Rob says:

    For them to say that they were not excommunicated is disingenuous at best. Canon 1382 plainly states that both the bishop who consecrates and the one consecrated are excommunicated. To argue that the pope did not declare the excommunication is lacking in intellectual honesty. “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.”

    The document they produce uses the argument that “The act of consecrating a bishop (without the pope’s permission) is not itself a schismatic act.” This is fine, but it is not the reason John Paul II gave for the declaration of schism, but as Fr. Z says earlier, that they had been warned not to do so by the pope. The disobedience is what constituted the schism, not the consecration per se.

  27. puella says:

    I wish I knew what to make of all of this…

    I continue to pray, I hope we all do.

    I’m with Mr. Jason on this. In no way wanting to stifle discussion or anything, because I learn so much from it. But of myself…I’m glad that even at my very wishy-washy RC primary school, we were taught the Rosary. It’s like the only thing I can do to help. But it’s something.

  28. schoolman says:

    This “Media Information Brochure” could possibly have been put together in prior to and in anticipation of the Decree. Is seems to have anticipated a declaration of “nullification” — but that is not at all how the document is written.

  29. JM says:

    The interview with Bishop Fellay posted earlier today was such a breath of fresh air and then read through this brochure. Its just the same old SSPX half-truths, hand-waving, and deceit that is found in the rest of their brochures.

  30. prof. basto says:

    In my view, the Holy Father lifted the excommunications as a pragmatic gesture in an attempt allow the process to move forward, in the hopes of achieving unity.

    Nowhere in the Decree it is implied that the excommunications never existed; on the contrary, the decree implies that they existed up to January 20th, 2009, and were then lifted. So we have four documents: the original Decree, that now lost juridical effect; the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, a statement by the Pont. Council for Legislative Texts and this new Decree lifting the excommunications “from the present (21/01/09) date”. All those documents attest that an excommunication indeed existed. It is clear, then that the Holy See sees the arguments according to which the excommunications were never incurred as baseless.

    One Archbishop, one Bishop and four priests are supposed to know the Laws of the Church. In addition, they were specifically warned not to go forward. So, this points torwards a rejection of the claims that the sanction was not incurred on subjective grounds. Of course, it is for the Church to rule on that, not for the person incurring the penalty. Usually, the punished party always considers that the punishment was unwarranted. And still, the Church imposed the penalties, and only removed them with ex nunc effects .

    Now, Dr. Edward Peters, a Canon Lawyer, wrote an article in his blog to the effect – if I interpret it correctly – that he is intrigued as to how the excommunications could have been lifted, given that there was no apparent sign of repentance, of admission of wrongdoing, no end to the state of contumacy. The Code of Canon Law, in Canon 1358, requires “withdrawal from contumacy” as a precondition for the remission of the censure:

    Can. 1358 §1. Remission of a censure cannot be granted unless the offender has withdrawn from contumacy according to the norm of ? can. 1347, §2; it cannot be denied, however, to a person who withdraws from contumacy.

    So, unless there was some act of repentance that we are unaware of it seems that the Pope decided to grant a remission of the censure outside of the strict boundaries of the Church’s codified Canon Law, which, of course, as Pope, He can do, since he is the Supreme Legislator of the Church.

    It seems that in this case the Pope decided to grant the remission as a special case, even in the absence of the withdrawal from contumacy required by Canon Law. Of course, everyone else in the Church would not have power to make an exception like that to the canon, but the Pope can, in virtue of his Supreme Authority.

    And that extraordinary course of action — lifting the excommunications without a sign of repentance — seems to have been the course followed in other cases, such as Campos’ (even though it can be argued otherwise, given that the letter adressed by the St. John Vianney Union to the Pope did contain a generic plea for forgiveness for any possible wrongdoing incurred while in the defense of Tradition).

    It seems, too, that that was the case with the “removal from the memory of the Church” of the excommunication of the Orthodox (although it is hard to discern if that odd phrase “removal from the memory of the Church”, meant a remission or a declaration of nullity of the sanction imposed on the Orthodox). In the case of the Orthodox, it is clear that there was no repentance, but there were also grounds for annullment, given that apparently the Papal legates lacked delegated power to pronounce the first excommunications.

    So, I understand the act of lifting the excommunications of the SSPX as an act of unconditional, unilateral mercy on the part of the Pope, and a pragmatic way to make the process of reconciliation move forward. Note that, if the SSPX were repentant, then under the same canon quoted above they would have a right to the remission of the censure.

    The SSPX would do well to stop claiming that Rome had no authority, that Rome erred, etc, etc. The sanctions are lifted now. Thank God. Let us move forward. Let us think about the future.

  31. Justin says:

    There can be no question as to the validity of the excommunications.

    Even if the Pope were to defy canon law and excommunicate someone just for fun – the excommunications would still be valid. The Pope is the Supreme Legislator. He can do what he likes.

  32. Tiny says:

    It is all a little foggy; did they formally appeal the excommunications; did the Holy See decide to examine the matter without an appeal, or was it indeed “unconditional and unilateral”?

  33. Jordanes says:

    Justin said: Even if the Pope were to defy canon law and excommunicate someone just for fun – the excommunications would still be valid. The Pope is the Supreme Legislator. He can do what he likes.

    Rubbish. That is a gravely erroneous conception of the Petrine power. The pope certainly cannot do what he likes, nor do his whims become law simply by papal fiat. An injustice does not become justice merely because it is the pope who is committing the injustice in a decree of excommunication, any more than a pope could decide to cancel one of the articles of the Decalogue.

  34. Justin says:

    Jordanes – surely you’re not suggesting that the Pope is bound by canon law? My understanding is that he can dispense and alter canon law as he sees fit. Excommunication is a canonical penalty and the Pope can decide the acts that warrant this penalty.

  35. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    The Pope is not bound by what he is the author of of, however, the the Pope is not the author of Justice. An unjust law, even one promulgated by the Pope is no law at all. I think indefectability would protect the Pope from promulgating an unjust universal law, however, he could make unjust decisions that have the weight of law. Those would not be binding on the person(s) they affected.

  36. Erin says:

    I really don’t see the difference between the SSPX and the Joan Chittisiers and Peter Kennedys of the world. They’re different sides of the same coin, and they’re all essentially Protestant.

  37. Jordanes says:

    That’s not what you said, Justin. You said a pope’s formal acts are valid and just simply because he is the supreme legislator of the Church. That goes beyond the pope not being subject to canon law: that makes the pope exempt from the divine and moral law. We Catholics are not bound by the whimsy of Popes.

    To use your example, if a pope were to excommunicate someone just for fun, his act would be clearly and undoubtedly invalid and void of all authority.

  38. prof. basto says:


    There is no appeal or recourse in the strict sense.

    The Excommunications were an act of the Apostolic See (by means of the Congregation for Bishops). The authority of the Congregation is delegated by the Pope himself, so that the acts of the Congregation are acts of the Apostolic See, against which there is no canonical appeal.

    It is true that the Pope could decide to review personally the acts of those who acted on his behalf, and could then perhaps overrule the Congregation; and it is true that the Pope could me moved to examine the matter by a request from the affected party, but that isn’t an appeal in the scrict sense.

    Even so, Pope John Paul II took the matter in his own hands one day after the Decree was issued, when he decided to personally deal with the SSPX question by means of his Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei”. And, in that document, the Pope declared that excommunications had been incurred latae sententiae. So, this was a finding made personally by the Pope. The buck stops there. There is no other appeal, strictly or broadly speaking.

    The only possible thing, other than the remission of the censure, is a plea for reconsideration of the original decision, but the legal process is over. The Church can reconsider, or not, but the authority of last resort has already spoken.



    The Pope is not bound by Canon Law, because that law is of the Church’s own making, but he is bound by Divine Law and by Natural Law, that the Church holds to be “written in the hearts of every man”. So, no, a Pope cannot legitimize injustices or legalize a caprice. Any conception to the contrary leads us to a legal positivism of the worst kind.

    In the present case, however, the excommunications (and the subsequent lifting), weren’t a caprice. There were reasons, and there was a judgement by the Supreme Authority of the Church Militant. No power on Earth can presume to review the acts of the Apostolic See.

  39. peregrinus says:

    I remember an incident in the early Church when Pope St Victor I (the first African Pope) excommunicated the Churches of Asia Minor over the Easter question. These Churches had insisted on celebrating Easter on the 14th of Nisan, whichever day of the week it was, claiming immemorial apostolic tradition in their support. Pope St Victor disagreed and excommunicated them all, and St Irenaeus, although disagreeing with the severity of the penalty, accepted the authority of the Pope to excommunicate Churches over such ‘minor’ matters and interceded with him to lift the excommunication.

    The rest is history. What could not be achieved by dialogues, councils and consultations was achieved by being cut off from communion with the Successor of St Peter. Has anyone seen a Quartodeciman lately?

  40. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Prof. basto,

    One minor correction, the power of a future Pope can review the acts of the Apostolic See. Pope Benedict could declare the excommunications null and void. I am not saying this is likely, but I do not think it is entirely out of the question.

  41. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I would suggest you get your vision checked. :)

  42. Justin says:

    Jordanes – perhaps I should have worded my original statement differently. I didn’t mean to suggest that the Pope was above natural law or that he would not face the judgment of God for his actions. What I understand to be the case though is that the Pope can decide any ecclesiatical penalty for a reason as yet unspecified in canon law to a particular individual and it’s application would have the full weight of canon law – which while not infallible is authoritative. Therefore questions of whether this or that ecclesiastical penalty was valid (as the SSPX are suggesting) is essentially a red herring. Whether you think you broke the law or not is neither here nor there. The Pope by virtue of his being supreme legislator has decided that they have commited an act of defiance and he has the temporal authority to apply whatever punishment he sees fit. In that particular sense – there is no questioning of the validity or otherwise of the penalty, just like while the individuals concerned may have not necessarily fulfilled all the requirements for the removal of the excommunication as stipulated in the law, that the Pope has the right to rescind their excommunications validly is not even a question worth asking.

  43. tecumseh says:

    I have not read all the comments. I am a blue collar Joe six pack.
    Archbishop Lefebvre agreed with Cardinal Ratzinger, went back to his base and was urged by younger men to \”go to the limit\”.
    Lets suppose Lefebvre, kept the agreement and was struck down, illness. old age, before Rome granted a Bishop. Would another Bishop have stepped forward and ordained his seminarians..??. Look how the hierarchy have responded to Summorum Pontificum for the answer to that one. It looks like the whole Church dodged a bullet, when looked at from that angle.

  44. Jordanes says:

    Peregrinus said: Has anyone seen a Quartodeciman lately?

    Not in the Catholic Church, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a host of heterodox sects that arose from the activities of Herbert W. Armstrongs have revived a form of Quartodecimanism.

    Also, Pope St. Victor disagreed with the Quartodeciman tradition, but not with the apostolic origin of that tradition: Pope St. Anicetus had previously tolerated the Quartodeciman practice of St. Polycarp of Smyrna, who learned his practice from St. John the Apostle. But your general point is correct regarding the authority of St. Peter’s successor and the efficacy of excommunication as a remedy. St. Irenaeus disapproved of St. Victor’s measure, as St. Irenaeus remembered the previous toleration that subsists between Quartodeciman Catholics and other kinds of Catholics, but by the latter second century both sides of the dispute were grown more firm in their views, and many Quartodecimans apparently were beginning to reject the majority Paschal custom as inferior or invalid. St. Victor sought to resolve the dispute by fixing a common date for Easter, and when the Quartodecimans of Asia resisted, he excommunicated them. Quartodecimanism was later formally proscribed at the Council of Nicaea.

  45. Alex says:

    Father Z,

    This is what the SSPX has always argued and they never said anything to indicate their argument had changed. No doubt the Vatican saw this coming. Pope Benedict revoked the decree which said they had “excommunicated themselves.”

    Rome “decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.”

    “I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.”

    Isn’t this the same thing the Pope did with Summorum Pontificum, saying that as of September 14th the traditional Mass has never been abrogated?

    Until Rome responds, I think it is possible that the Holy Father actually agrees with their canonical argument. The Archbishop may have been wrong to consecrate the Bishops, in fact I’m certain of it, but the fact that he thought there was a state of necessity makes it look to me like he couldn’t incur the full penalty of the law which is excommunication.

  46. Alex says:

    …and for the record I am not an “SSPXer” by any stretch of the imagination, and I find Bishop Williamson’s remarks mortifying.

  47. Brian2 says:

    I don’t think so Alex. It seems to me that if the Pope was to agree with the SSPX position, he would have said, ‘I declare the excommunications null and void’ or something like that. What you quote, “I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time” suggest instead that (a) from 1988 until the signing of the document the SSPX bishops were excommunicated and that (b) but from ‘the present date’ that excommunication is no longer in effect. It is similar to a parent telling a child, ‘you are no longer grounded’ — that is not the same thing as saying ‘you were never grounded in the first place’

  48. Athelstane says:

    1. I think it is difficult to read the CFB document and conclude, as the SSPX pamphlet does, that the excommunications never existed.

    2. Like Fr. Z, I wish there had been some franker acknowledgment of Archbishop Lefebvre’s initial agreement to follow John Paul II’s and Ratzinger’s request – spin his flip if you like, but acknowledge it. But I am not surprised. Odds are – as others have noted – this was put together well in advance of the decree, to say nothing of Bp. Fellay’s welcome comments in Le Temps.

    3. Everybody has a crazy uncle in their family, I just don’t think now is the right time to address the question. (That will come soon enough – maybe we can all agree to pray on it.)

    I agree with Grace in finding that Angelqueen thread dismaying, even by AQ standards, alas. You do not have to buy into the deformed indifferentist theologies spun out of Nostra Aetate to conclude that, yes, some folks (including Williamson) have, for lack of a better way to put it, a “problem with the Jews.” Just because your paladin manages to offend the right people at the ADL and the NCR doesn’t make you right, a point which may not penetrate a bunker mentality (and I do sympathize with how that mentality came into being).

    But I think it is also unwise to take either that, or even the pamphlet, as being fully representative of thinking within the Society.

    We can but hope that this opening opens some hearts and cools some tempers, and ultimately reduces these fevers by bringing people back into the fold of the Church.

  49. C_of_D says:

    I am glad Pope Benedict has more wisdom and charity than the people on this site.

  50. Ian says:


    My curiosity is why “deprive” the original decree of “juridical effect”.

    Indeed, if the intention were to clearly say, “You screwed up, but we’re willing to let you back in” then the decree would have simply remitted the penalty of excommunications. If the act was as gravely wrong as the July 1, 1988 Decree made it out to be, then there would be no striking out of the juridical effect of the decree, only a recognition that the penalty for the act was remitted.

    Couple “reconsider the canonical situation …” and “deprived of juridical effect” and there’s at least a reasonable argument that this “reconsideration” was to accept that at least these bishops thought there was a situation which necessitated the consecrations, even if there was not really such a situation.

    I have also seen some people suggest that since Canon Law reserves judgment of bishops in contentious cases to the Rota, and it was the head of the Congregation of Bishops who issued the decree, there is also a question of standing and whether the original decree was valid, since it did not come from the Rota or the Pope.

    If the declaration had the effect of truly wiping the juridical effect of the whole Decree, then while not named, it seems only logical that this applies to the late bishops involved as well.

    Perhaps the Holy See will clarify these questions in the future, for now, we can speculate all we like without resolution.

  51. Brian says:

    I thank God that Benedict XVI is the Pope. Pope Benedict in his wisdom and charity did not “lift” the excommunications, he “remit” them. In so doing, he, no doubt, intentionally left room for the SSPX to claim that the excommunications were never valid. He did not force the issue. This is clearly the spirit that our Holy Father wishes to convey. I do not understand how some here can now harshly criticize the SSPX for failing to respect the Pope, when by their own harsh criticism here, they themselves, are not respecting our Holy Father’s clear intent.

  52. John Enright says:

    I just read the stuff posted to the link which Grace posted. The posts there are incredibly nasty, naive and wrong! Thanks, Grace!

  53. Breier says:

    Argh! Does anyone else feel the devil is just trying to divide orthodox Catholics?

    Angelqueen does not represent SSPX faithful anymore than presents the average parishgoer. Both sites feature a self-selected group of individuals. It’s not fair to generalize from them.

    I mean, come on! I could just as easily go to an Indult Mass, or an FSSP parish, and find a bunch of odious traditionalists. What would that prove? Nothing!

    Releases from the U.S. District of the SSPX can not be taken as pronouncements from the Superior General. Frankly, I think the SSPX Press release on the website is lousy. You think they’d have something geared towards the secular journalists who are clearly going to be reading it. In any event, it doesn’t represent the movement.

  54. schoolman says:

    Can. 1358 §1. Remission of a censure cannot be granted unless the offender has withdrawn from contumacy according to the norm of ? can. 1347, §2; it cannot be denied, however, to a person who withdraws from contumacy.

    Prof Basto, I have a slightly different take. In my view the petition for the removal itself implicitly constitutes a kind of (imperfect) contumacy. I say imperfect since the “sorrow” is related to their suffering under the current circumstances.

    As Bishop Fellay stated in his petition for the remission:

    “We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much.”

  55. James Noel says:


    Grace- I checked out the link you provided. No where in that thread do people show contempt for His Holiness- in fact they are cheering him and showing gratitude. There are a few who are supporting Bishop Williamson, but there are also others criticizing him.

    What kind of glasses were you wearing when you read that? Have those of you who commented on this thread actually read that thread?

    This bothers me because you’re making people who support the SSPX look terrible. I am not a member of the SSPX but sympathize with them. I would not support them if they showed contempt for our Holy Father.


  56. Brian2 says:

    Ian — I think your comment refers to me (Brian2) not the other Brian. I see where your coming from, but the text suggest to me a new event, rather than the acknowledgment of a non-event in the past. I take it that BXVI is saying ‘the original decree is correct, but I now choose to deprive it of juridical effect’ — i.e. the ordinations were an offense, but we are no longer applying the penalty. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional, perhaps we need to look at the official Latin (or Italian?) to clear it up.

  57. Valentino says:

    It’s simple.You can’t be excommunicated for transmitting what has been transmitted.Namely, Catholicism.Some of you are too educated to understand this point apparently.The average layman with good will sees it clearly however.

  58. David says:

    Does the SSPX accept the 1983 Code of Canon Law?

    I would have thought that they would adhere to the 1918 Code…

  59. Athanasius says:

    These kind of things annoy me to no end, because under the guise of “protecting tradition” we are seeing modernist behavior pure and simple.

    It is one thing to argue the excommunications might not have been valid. Likewise, to ask the Pope to declare that they were never valid. I’m all for that myself.

    But for people to speak of it as definitive without the judgment of the Supreme Lawgiver is the same spirit that the modernists operate under, and frankly it is impious. Can’t we be happy that they were lifted and move on? It would not be hard to return to it at a future date and redress this.

  60. shadrach says:

    It seems clear to me that the SSPX will split at some stage during the negotiations. The dissonance between the Fellay line and this pamphlet would appear to prophecy that. I think that would be better that this sort of triumphalism.

  61. Allena says:

    I think it’s important to realize that just like the main stream Catholic Church, the SSPX has it’s “normal” people and sorta weird ones. I know a lot of SSPXers, and they are for the most part good Catholics. One family has a real conspiracy theory kind of deal going, which is kind of sad. Another family is just like us, but that’s where they go because they like the LM.

    From what I’ve been told by my friend (ex SSPXer) the requests made by LeFebre were met quite a while ago, and caused a massive out flow of SSPXers when they found that out. Most of the priests who left, joined the FSSP.

    I think this brochure is partly a knee jerk reaction, and also partly an opportunity for them to save face. I mean, what would the SSPX people think if their leaders admitted to telling them basically lies for the last 5 – 10 years? There is a lot of politics there, I hope that Papa can make it all good.

    For the few that have been snide/rude about his decisions, it’s not nice to bad mouth the Pope!

  62. David Kastel says:

    “His Holiness Benedict XVI…decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.”

    The canonical situation arisen with their consecration has been (or is being?) reconsidered. This means that either the pope has decided that the decree of 1988 is invalid and null, or at least, that he is willing to re-examining the case. (Presumably on the grounds that necessity would invalidate any canonical penalty, or that a necessity mistakenly perceived mandates a lesser penalty than that prescribed by the law (excommunication.)) The argument of necessity can be made in this case, but JP2 mistakenly did not acknowledge that such a defense were possible.

    “I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.”

    – The deceased bishops, Lefebvre and Castro-Mayer, are to be hereafter counted as having died in the Catholic Church, as the Decree of 1988 is without juridical effect. You can pray for their souls, you can have mass offered for them, etc. etc.

  63. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    At some point, it’s just downright amusing to watch how hopping mad some people get when they learn the sspx believe they were in the right. What do you guys expect – for them to say they were in the wrong all these years? It only gets funnier when you realize that the Pope didn’t think they had to back down on the matter of the consecrations – whereas the people who comment here take it as a point of faith that because the sspx’s disagreement was with a pope then they must have been wrong. Ironies pile on ironies in this whole matter. What a comedy of errors.

  64. Jenny Z says:

    Ugh. They’re acting very arrogant about the whole situation. Some humility would go a long way.

    I think this is one of those situations where all parties involved just sort of grit their teeth, grin, shake hands, get it over with, and hope that time will heal all wounds.

  65. Mary Ann, Singing Mum says:

    I am not nor have I ever (to my knowledge) known a member of the SSPX, and have nothing against them. I want to think of members as having good will and wanting to preserve tradition. However, the ‘no real wrong was committed’ tone of this pamphlet line bothers me. Why not just be thankful for the lifting of the excommunications and pray for the next step?

    Ingratitude is not appealing, and I can’t think of saints who have shown this consistent disposition even when they were treated unjustly…

    Perhaps Shadrach is correct that the disparity between Bp. Fellay’s statements and this pamphlet portend a split. BXVI is so very savvy. Perhaps he is also forcing the sifting process by lifting the excommunications. Brick by brick bringing back those who really wish to remain Catholic.

  66. Crusader says:

    The SSPX has acted courageously throughout 40 years of destruction of the Church wrought by Modernists who have destroyed and emptied countless churches throughout the world. The SSPX has always believed that one day Tradition would return to the Church. Who would have thought that what we are witnessing today in the return of Tradition would ever happen in our lifetimes? Who would have dared hope for such a thing? The SSPX have held that hope for 40 years, and now their hopes and prayers are coming to fruition. Deo Gratias for them and for this holy Pope who has the courage to recognize the need for Tradition and the need for the ranks of the SSPX to be fully integrated in a Church that is now willing to embrace a return to Tradition. I firmly believe that Lefebvre will someday be canonized for his heroic acts in defense of Catholic Tradition. In the meantime, let us all join in praying daily to our Lady for a full and eternal Victory over Modernism.

  67. Brian Mershon says:

    OK. Now the new parable for everyone to think about is the workers who got paid the same at the end of the day as those who started at the beginning of the day.

    Which one are you?

    And the prodigal son of course. Question is, are you being the eldest son complaining to your Father (the Pope) for his joy and mercy.

    I read this today.

    Father Lombardi called the lifting of the excommunication “great news that we expect to be a source of joy for the whole Church.”

    Did anybody else?

    Apparently, George Weigel, rehashing old, tired arguments in NewsWeek, has not either. It has been a tough New Year for the neoCons, hasn’t it?

  68. Jerry says:

    I was just rereading a review of “The Ratzinger Report” by the late Michael Davies, a great writer, wonderful Catholic and friend of both then-Cardinal Ratzinger and the late archbishop LeFebvre.

    At the end of the review, he concludes “He and Mgr. Lefebvre are fighting the same fight, but their assessment of the most effective means for victory is, at present, incompatible. When each day you pray for the Archbishop, as I am sure every reader of this journal does, please add a prayer for Cardinal Ratzinger who needs all the spiritual support we can give him in his efforts to fulfill his high office and uphold orthodoxy. Please pray that eventually he and Mgr. Lefebvre will find the way to a reconciliation which will enable them to work together for a restoration of Catholic Tradition.”

    The enemies of the Church are gathering strength, especially in light of the increasing socialism, the danger to the preborn and the mass media. The chance of a terrible persecution coming to comfortable Catholics is not so remote as one would think.

    The Pope has been long under attack by liberal Jewish groups, which has only increased in shrillness despite concessions and apologies. They railed against the canonization of Edith Stein, the freeing of the TLM, the Good Friday prayer, the Pope didn’t say this, he didn’t say enough of that. It’s endless. They are deliberately unappeasable. Inter faith dialogue with Abe Foxman and the AJC is not in “good faith.” And they are more afraid of Bishop Williamson’s ability to express the Catholic faith than anything he says about the holocaust. And his fearlessness in daring to question the validity of a sacred cow is bad news for them. Bishop Williamson by the way has spoken beautifully (on recordings) about how Jews are specifically called to be great Catholics. “A jew who converts is coming home in a way no other Catholic could appreciate.”

    Like him or not, Williamson inspires conversions, the TLM inspires conversions. Anti-Catholics don’t like conversions.

    The Pope has found success in his more traditional efforts and I’m sure grace is flowing to him now more than ever. I think he wants the help of the SSPX because they actually can help him strengthen the Church for the coming fight.

  69. prof. basto says:

    On the thechical meaning of the word “remission”, of the declaration that the previous decree is deprived of effect “from the present date”, and the question of wether the excommunications were lifted or voided, I will repost here part of what I have already posted in another thread:


    (…) as to your question on wether the excommunication was lifted or annulled, I think the answer lies in the operative paragraph of the decree, that is, the last one:

    “Based in the faculty expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.”.

    The language used talks of remission, not of annulment. Remission is specific language to indicate that the sanction existed and has been lifted, such as in “remission of sins”.

    Note that, according to this new Decree, the 1988 Decree of Excommunication is deprived of juridical effects “from the present date”. This means, in legal terms, the removal of the sanction has effects ex nunc, not ex tunc. In other words, the sanction really existed between 1988 and now. But the important thing is that it is now lifted.

    So, the “reconsideration of the canonical situation”, simply means, it seems, that the Pope decided to re-examine wether the continuation of the excommunication was appropriate after Fellay’s letter, and decided to grant the remission.

    Another indication that points towards that interpretation is that, had the previous Decree of Excommunication been declared null and void from the beggining, instead of merely deprived of effect from the present date, then the Congregation would be obliged to specify that not only Bishops Fellay, Williamson, Tissier and Galarreta were never excommunicated, but also that Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop de Castro-Mayer had never incurred the censure. If the Congregation were to recognize the nullity of the previous decree, then, although Lefebvre and Castro-Mayer they are already dead, their memory would have to be vindicated by a post-mortem declaration of nullity of the sanction, as was done vis a vis now St. Joan of Arc. In the present case, however, this was not done. The decree does not mention either Lefebvre or Castro-Mayer. The only thing it does is remove the excommunication that had been incurred by Fellay, Williamson, Tissier and Galarreta. So, this is further evidence that we are talking not of nullity of the excommunication, but of plain removal of an excommunication that had been indeed incurred.

    Another thing that I find interesting is that, contrary to the precedent that was followed in the case of Campos, the “other censures” were not simultaneously lifted (particularlly important are the penalties of suspension a divinis, that still remain in the case of SSPX clergy). Also, SSPX Bishops were not assigned titular sees; that is, there was no regularization of their Episcopal status. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, unlike the Campos case, in the present case the SSPX excommunications are explicitly being lifted without simultaneous full reconciliation, with regularization of Episcopal ministry and the lifting of other sanctions being left for the moment of return to full communion.


    Of course, the important part is that today, the excommunications no longer exist.

  70. Thomas Grant says:

    What ever happened to humility?

  71. Jane Teresa says:

    This media brochure demonstrates how far some elements of the SSPX will have to journey before they demonstrate obedience to Rome. Thankfully, Bp. Fellay’s recent statements demonstrate greater graciousness and humility. Everyone – SSPX, Catholics in full communion, has to step up to the mark and follow our Holy Father’s lead. Pope Benedict is the example of humility and authentic ecumenism here. This response is not dignified. Let us all respond to the Pope’s gesture of mercy with open hearts.

  72. Daniel McGlone says:

    Father, I am glad someone is keeping an eye on what is actually taking place. Not wanting to get drawn on the debates above, surely that matter is simple: reconciliation is great but (stating the obvious) there’s a bit yet that needs to be ironed out. Excitement, wishful thinking, the hope an increase in numbers, should not get in way of a sober assessment of the facts. Just goes to show I should read your blog more often.

  73. On 24th August 1996 the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts issued a note clarifying a number of issues concerning the excommunications and the status of SSPX clergy, and of lay people attending their chapels. The text can be seen in full on the Vatican website – in Italian! The section referring to the arguments that excommunication was not incurred because of extenuating circumstances reads as follows: “4. Non si può fornire alcun giudizio sulle argomentazione della discussa tesi del Murray perché non è nota, e i due articoli che ne accennano appaiono confusi. Comunque non può essere ragionevolmente messa in dubbio la validità delle scomuniche dei Vescovi dichiarata nel Motu proprio e nel Decreto. In particolare non sembra che si possa trovare, quanto all’imputabilità della pena, qualche circostanza esimente o attenuante (Cf. CIC, cann. 1323–1324). Quanto allo stato di necessità in cui Mons. Lefebvre pensasse di trovarsi, va tenuto presente che tale stato deve verificarsi oggettivamente, e che non si dà mai una necessità di ordinare Vescovi contro la volontà del Romano Pontefice, Capo del Collegio dei Vescovi. Ciò infatti significherebbe la possibilità di « servire » la Chiesa mediante un attentato contro la sua unità in materia connessa con i fondamenti stessi di questa unità.

    It insists that there must be objective verification of necessity, and argues that there can never be a necessity to ordain a bishop contrary to the will of the Supreme Pontiff.

    It is possible that they have re-evaluated the position, but the fact that the penalty has been lifted ‘from this moment’, not from 1988, suggests that the Holy See does not accept the argument that the excommunication was never incurred.

  74. Lincoln says:

    Oh boy oh boy – a little learning is a dangerous thing.

    Valentino – what was “transmitted” on that fateful day in 1988 by Lefebvre was NOT “Catholicism” (for goodness’ sake!) but succession to the Apostles in defiance of the Prince of the Apostles, in the person of his successor, Pope John Paul II. One of the reasons why canon law requires THREE bishops (not two) for episcopal ordination is not effected on the whim of the disaffected or the renegade. Lefebvre would have known this, and it is clear that he could not find a third bishop. So there are two problems with the ordinations – no papal mandate, only 2 bishops ordaining.

    Thankfully someone has already debunked the amazing assertion that “remission” is not the same as “lifting” the excommunications. Moreover the remission of the censure implies that the censure was there in there in the first place.

    Also the remission applies ONLY to those who petitioned (and why petition if there was no penalty to petition against?), namely the 4 living bishops, and NOT to Lefebvre or Castro. IF their excommunications are to be lifted it will have to be by another act of papal authority.

    We are all happy the excommunications have been lifted, even if the Society shows little sign of being sorry. But as the self-appointed protectors of “Catholic Tradition” what more could we expect from them?

    The really humble and constructive thing would be if all 4 bishops retired into deserved obscurity, and the Pope appointed a sympathetic bishop as the head of SSPX in order to facilitate the return of the Lefebvrists back into the church. IF they want reunion with the Pope that is. My guess is that they are so used to doing what they want that the prospect of coming under authority again frightens them witless.

    And really, let’s be clear – if you are separated from and defiant of the Pope, you cannot be truly Catholic, no matter how much you adhere to “Catholic Tradition” (that is, a particular version of it). It really is that simple.

  75. prof. basto says:

    Mr. Read,

    Exactly. In the 1996 document by the PCILT, the Holy See did adjudicate the claims of “state of necessity” and of extenuating factors, and ruled that they were groundless, and that the excommunications were indeed incurred.

    Now, the excommunications have been lifted. But the Decree of Remission makes plain that it operates “from this date”. That is, before the decree; the Bishops were excommunicated; after the Decree, they are not. The penalty, that indeed existed, was remitted, not declared null.

  76. Michael UK says:

    I believe that Msgr. Lefebvre “reneged” on the original deal with Msgr. Ratzinger was due to the fact that he had no confidence, not in Msgr. Ratzinger, but in the forces then un charge in the Curia. It is interesting that all that is held against Msgr. Lefebvre, none has ever been related to sexual or fiscal malfeasance, yet prelates in every country have had such evidenced against them. His only “sin” to adhere to that which he had been ordained and consecrated. Yet again, how many prelates have broken their vows and, in my view, are burdened with underlying psychological problems as a result – hence the vilification of Msgr. Lefebvre.

    SSPX must be judged not on the basis of +Williamson’s inane utterings, even less of the USA based sect-like element prevalent in geographical areas with people more easily subject to such mind-control. Why did SSPX USA not set itself up in the major connurbations of the USA, where it could combine, more easily, faith teaching with charitable good works. Further the majority of that element are of Sedevacantist leaning and are, therefore, being entirely dishonest, as equal to many of the diocesan prelates referred to above. At the end of the day, they must move on and be true to their own particular beliefs.

    As an SSPX preached in my hearing, during the pontiff of JPII: you have the pope you have, just live with it!

  77. prof. basto says:

    I should have written “Mgr. Read”, not “Mr. Read”. Sorry, Father.

  78. Fr. A says:

    I was happy about the lifting of the excommunications, but am saddend by this reaction of the SSPX, as they write of “Modernist Rome,” and themselves as the champions of “Catholic Tradition.” Where is the humility in this?

  79. TMG says:

    Oh, how quickly the screw turns. Wasn’t it just a couple of days ago that comments on this blog were almost unanimously supportive of the Holy Father’s lifting of the excommunications, which decree did not contain the nitpicking posted here. Why not trust him to work matters out with the SSPX in the fashion he has set forth, which appears to be deliberately “open” to doctrinal discussions?

  80. romanthescribe says:

    “A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty\”

    This needs to be more clearly defined.

    Thus far the PCILT has decreed that there can be no such state of necessity outside of the judgment of the Pope.

    Otherwise, we can practically excuse any heretic or schismatic from ecclesiastical censure.

  81. JAS says:

    I do not even attend an SSPX chapel (and I have one nearby and could if I so chose), yet it is plain to see that the majority of the comments on here are pathetic and hateful! Most of you hate the SSPX so much and still cannot seem to get over the fact that the excommunications have been lifted. You are searching for any angle you can to throw at them. You have no idea what was in the mind of the Pope and the wording of the lifting can be taken in many ways, so it would behoove all of you amatuer theologians and canonists to shut up for a change and watch and pray! Pray for the Pope, pray for the SSPX, pray for the Church and pray that God remove the uncharitable, hatefulness from your hearts that you feel toward the SSPX.

    And a word to the wise, it turns out everyone was wrong on the ‘For All For / For Many’ debate, except the SSPX. The SSPX always spoke the truth on this issue. How many of you spewed hateful language and insults in arguing against them on that issue?

    It also turns out everyone was wrong with regards to the old Mass having been abrogated, except (once again) the SSPX. The SSPX always spoke the truth on this issue too. Again, how many argued an spewed hateful language and insults in arguing against them on this issue?

    Now the excommunications have been lifted. Nothing required on their part. No apologies, no acceptance of anyting, and the wording leaves it open as to whether or not they were valid to begin with. In addition, unofficial word from someone in Rome that Vatican II is not dogmatic. These things I am sure most of you argued would NEVER happen. However, once again, all were wrong, except the SSPX.

    I have my own issues with some in the SSPX. But I can admist that they have held a steady course and one by one, their arguments are being proven.

    These are confusing times and if you are arguing because you are confused and don’t know what to believe, that is one thing. But most of the arguments seem to be more hateful in tone and language and more personal without respect for the truth and the good of the Church.

    If you are confused, you should be praying – not arguing something you cannot know! You sho7uld be praying for ALL truth to be revealed, even if that means the SSPX was right all along. Your only desire should be for the truth, whatever that truth maybe and no matter how uncomfortable that truth may be for many!

  82. QC says:

    You know how the bureaucrats in the offices of the bishops’ conferences put out all sorts of crazy stuff in the name the conferences, maybe this pamphlet is similar in that it was not produced or reviewed by the bishops and priests it portends to represent.

  83. JAS says:

    “This is what SSPX adherents are saying.

    A thread characterized by deep anti-Semitism and contempt for Jews, contempt for Pope Benedict and hero-worship of Williamson.

    Those of you who defend the SSPX…why?

    Comment by Grace — 26 January 2009 @ 5:18 pm”

    Grace – The above post from you appears to be intentionally deceiving because there were numerous threads on the message forum you linked to supporting the Pope and praising him, some with nearly 200 posts. Yet you chose this one with only a few post to try to make it representative of the SSPX and their adherents. If you saw this thread, you HAD to see the others. There were also other discussion threads on Bishop Williamson and his comments too and there were many who did not support his comments. In addition, the owner of that message forum issued a statement in a new thread banning Bishop Williamson threads for the time being and clearly made it known he is not in agreement with the Bishop on this issue.

  84. Paul Haley says:

    With all the rhetoric flying in this forum concerning whether the SSPX is intent on seeking reconciliation I am very glad that this matter is in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay. As the saying goes: “What’s in the past, is in the past and the future is what counts.” 20 years of acrimonious debate cannot all of a sudden be eliminated overnight.

    There are going to be those who stake out their positions from all sorts of views – conservative, moderate and liberal and what is important is that the views be heard. The Holy Father is in charge and he will set the tone for the discussions and his decisions will be final and binding on all. The religious superior of the SSPX in North America is not in charge, thank God!

  85. What people forget on both sides… is no matter how much we think we have dorked up the church, The Holy Spirit ultimately will correct it. IT isnt always apparent to us, but everything that happens, is for a purpose. Remember this is Christ’s church, and the gates of hell will not triumph over it. Take comfort in that

    No matter how goofy some comments get from certain bishops, or how odd puppet masses get, this is still Christ’s church. Christ will provide. So relax, and let the Holy Spirit work. He is far more capable then any of us here.

  86. Athanasius says:

    People need to take a breather and grasp this issue. It has nothing to do with whether or not the SSPX is good or bad, whether they are right on issues related to ecumenism and Vatican II, or whether the lifting of the excommunications was good or bad. It has to do with questions of authority and jurisdiction, the latter is woefully not grasped by many traditionalists.

    This issue is older than the decree lifting the excommunications, it is as old as 1988 when the Society first claimed definitively that the Bishops were not excommunicated. In Canon Law, the final determination of penalties is the perogative of the Pope, or the Bishops delegated by the Pope to deal with certian issues, or delegated by Canon Law itself (e.g. forgiving abortion related excommunications). It is all fine and good for the society to say “we believe based on these canons and the situation in 1988, that the excommunications were not valid, but we wait the judgment of the Holy See”, that would be perfectly fine, moreoever, that is what I think and pray for. If on the other hand you say “No, the Church is wrong these excommunications are invalid” then you are practicing private judgment, in a real sense, not as neo-conservatives mean it that any criticism of the Pope is private judgment. Private judgment is making taking upon yourself a judgment which by law, or by faith we don’t have the authority and perogative to make. Protestants do this when they interpret the Bible contrary to the mind of the Church, because it is an issue of faith which the Church has the perogative to speak on. Likewise with heretics and schismatics, or wymyn “priests” who defy their own excommunications.

    For the Society all these years, as much as I like them otherwise, to claim that the excommunications are invalid and that they are all fine and good is simply to engage in modernism. The Pope is the supreme law giver and he alone can determine if they were in fact valid. As someone already mentioned, anyone incurring excommunication for consecrating bishops can claim necessity. Like all other issues requiring interpretation, it is the Pope, the principle of the unity we confess in the creed, who has the authority to settle the issue. That is true here, as the excommunciations which were lifted only apply to the living Bishops, which means the Pope is not saying they were always invalid because then it would be necessary to clarify for the faithful that Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop Castro Meyer were also never excommunicated.

    If the society plays its cards right and the facts really are on their side then they should trust in God that such a declaration will be made in the future. In the meantime, we should focus on working out the society’s juridical status and be thankful, semantic games and squabbles that truly at this point are irrelevant compared to the larger issue of Tradition are only getting in the way.

  87. signum says:

    Whatever the answer to these questions, surely we can agree that humility requires the acknowledgement of the truth one knows, not pretending to be certain when in fact one does not have certain knowledge.

    The Tradition we received from the Apostles is unchanging and also no Pope could ever change it even if he wanted to. The apparent contradictions one meets when studying Church teaching, just like apparent contradictions in the scriptures, are therefore only apparent and not real.

    More study is evidently required for the present case. It does not always produce the right answer to quote from a document or law out of the context of Tradition, in which all the documents and laws are situated. Sometimes an earlier law totally changes one’s understanding of a later. Sometimes also a closer reading of the law changes one’s understanding of it.

    I hope we will move towards a greater understanding of Tradition and the Papal expression of it, while also understanding that these two are never contrary to one another.

  88. Origen Adamantius says:

    Its amazing how much of the talk here centers on the legalistic aspects of the excommunication. Questions to ponder are: what is the purpose of excommunication–punishment or salvation of souls? What canon can supersede all other canons and why? What is the Pope’s primary role enforcer of “law” or shepherd of souls?

    The nitpicking over the legalistic aspects often igniore that there are still real problems with the vocal members of the sspx and their relation with the Pope and Church councils.

  89. JAS says:

    Comments from Peter Vere in another forum, seem to indicate that the excommunication of Bishop Castro De Meyer was lifted with the Campos agreement. In addition, according to Peter Vere’s comments, it is hard to say whether the current lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX included Archbishop Lefebvre. It is not clear. A case could be made for either way.

  90. Maureen says:

    I think that people want to be joyful about this. But while the folks over on Papa Stromsay (sp?) made it easy to rejoice with them, some of this stuff makes it hard.

    Oh, well. All this crazy baby boomer spirit of defiance and disobedience is finally passing, on the
    ultratraditional side as well as the ultraprogressive one.

  91. David says:

    Athanasius, you have stated several times already that the pope is “the supreme lawgiver.” You are wrong.

    The supreme law of the Church, according to the 1917 as well as the 1983 code of canon law is the salvation of souls. This is part of the Constitution of the Church. It cannot be overridden by anyone in the Church, not even the pope.

    The Supreme Lawgiver in the Church is Christ, NOT the Pope.

    Also, you should read some of the encyclicals of Pius IX and Pius X before you use the term “modernism” again. You make a mockery of yourself when you misuse this term.

  92. Angelo says:

    The Dogmatic Constituions UNIGENITUS: Condemnation of the Errors of Paschasius Quesnel, penned by Pope Clement XI, September 8, 1713, makes certain pronouncements which are relevant to the discussions here regarding the putative SSPX excommunication:
    “The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, as long as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.”
    “To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul”
    For many years, the SSPX suffered the stigma of an excommunication rather that betray the truth of theCatholic Faith. May God reward them abundantly for their faithfulness.

  93. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr Z

    Maybe this is a time when you should turn off the comments and let the HOLY FATHER handle the SSPX and be obedient to his whishes.

    Jim Dorchak

  94. I am not Spartacus says:

    Mr. Mershon. Sadly, both you analogies fail.

    The SSPX did not work in their Father’s vineyard. They left and planted their own (sour) grapes.

    The SSPX is not like the prodigal son. He returned to the Father with contrition over his willful ways.

    If the SSPX is ever regularised there are man positive things that could come of that reularising. In the meantime, maybe all of us should be patient and wait for Our Sweet Jesus on Earth to complete what he is compassionately and courageously undertaking.

    Sounding the trumpet of Triumphalism and banging the drums of begrudging any possible deal both seem inapt for this time.

  95. DM says:

    I am glad Pope Benedict has more wisdom and charity than the people on this site.

    I thank God that Benedict XVI is the Pope. Pope Benedict in his wisdom and charity did not “lift” the excommunications, he “remit” them. In so doing, he, no doubt, intentionally left room for the SSPX to claim that the excommunications were never valid. He did not force the issue. This is clearly the spirit that our Holy Father wishes to convey. I do not understand how some here can now harshly criticize the SSPX for failing to respect the Pope, when by their own harsh criticism here, they themselves, are not respecting our Holy Father’s clear intent.

    I’ll echo those comments above. By and large the response to the prospect of reconciliation expressed above is “Let’s make them grovel first!” How utterly pusillanimous.

    As for the debate over whether the excommunications never existed, or existed then and do not exist now … Why does it matter?

    There are basically four ways to resolve a difficult argument between two parties:

    1) Become a relativist

    2) The first party admits it was wrong

    3) The second part admits it was wrong

    4) Moot the issues that cause the disagreement, and get on with life.

    In this case, option 1 is obviously undesirable; options 2 and 3 are unlikely to happen in a thousand lifetimes. It appears that the Pope has gone for option 4. If the excommunications no longer exist in fact, then it really doesn’t have matter in any practical way who was justified in 1988. The proud members of both the SSPX and the Johannepaulist camps can maintain their own rectitude until kingdom come for all I care (although for what it’s worth, I find the SSPX argument convincing).

    As for their excellencies Lefebvre and Castro-Meyer, they already have been judged by the good God who made them. If they had been given the longevity to see this day with their mortal eyes, their excommunications too would have been lifted. The fact the the Pope makes no mention of them testifies to nothing more than the fact that he lacks the arrogance to think that his mandate allows him to shuffle souls out of heaven or hell by decree.

  96. Steve says:

    Fr. Z,

    For this to be a surprise to you, is somewhat remarkable. This has been the Society position all along and
    still is. You seem to think that Rome is always right. As has already been proven with TLM, they aren’t.
    I suppose you would have had St. Athanasius beg grovel and admit wrong to have Pope Liberius lift his unjust
    excommunication from him?

    I’d suggest reading the actual letters back and forth from ’88 in Archbishop Lefebvre and the Vatican to get

    In addition, you never addressed the Canon Law arguments the Society puts forth.

    It all comes back to the crisis. If you understand the true nature of the crisis, you will understand
    the Society and the Archbishop. If you don’t you never will.

    God Bless.

  97. Steve says:

    Mr. Mershon,

    You hit the nail on the head. The Pope is not requiring a mea culpa on behalf of the Society, but NeoCaths arew.

    I suppose they know better than the Pope!

  98. Jim Dorchak says:

    I agree with Spartacus

    The prodigial son should not have been permitted to enter back into the house of his father.

    The SSPX should not be allowd to return to the Catholic Church. They are not Worthy of what the Church has to offer. There is no hope of them changing their ways and they will all be going to hell.

    We out here have seen this for the past 40 years. It is a wonder that the Holy Father is so wrong on the SSPX. WHy does he not see that the SSPX is not worth the time and that they are just a bunch of evil people who are not deserving of Gods love. They are not good enough for the Church. We need to correct the Holy Father on this issue right away. Obviously he does not see what we see.

    How could the Holy Father have done this to us.

    We should be spending more time trying to get the MOONIES back into the Church or the Homosexuals or maybe the trash on the side of the road, but not the SSPX.

    Bishop Williamson represents every SSPX member just like they are clones. As a matter of fact I think that they are all clones, yea that is it SSPX clones. The Holy Father does not see that they are all alien clones. Will some one tell the Holy Father that he really does not know what he is doing?

    absurd demonstrated with the absurd…………….

    my apologies to my SSPX brothers and sisters if I upset you with my demonstration of the silly bickering seen here and else where. Welcome back!

    Jim Dorchak

  99. Tomas says:

    If there’s one thing that’s painfully obvious about all these posts, it’s that no one seems to have the right pigeonhole in which to insert the SPPX and their situation – least of all myself. However, I do question Father’s Z’s posting of this in the first place, as I think he is nitpicking and reading attitudes into the document that simply aren’t there. Father Z, I think you should just leave it alone and let the two parties negotiate, while the rest of us ordinary slobs pray about it.

    My experience with the SPPX (I do not attend an SSPX chapel, but I have many friends who do) has never been a “We’re right, Rome is wrong” attitude. That’s because this is not a personal issue, though many people here are taking it in that sense. The foundational issue is, and has always been, doctrinal, i.e. that certain Vatican II documents contradict tradition and cannot therefore be accepted if the Church is to hold to tradition.

    Therefore, this refusal to accept Modernism is not an “attitude,” it is a REQUIREMENT of the Catholic faith! Are we instead supposed to accept Modernism with “humility”? Please! Talk about false obedience!

    That said, I also deplore Bishop Williamson’s comments, though the timing of his interview was, to say the least, highly suspicious. The Bishop is apparently well known for marching to the beat of his own drummer.

    But there is something else to deplore, and that is, why is it a crime in Germany to deny the official version of the Holocaust? Can’t people think for themselves? My only reaction to that is to wonder what the official version is hiding, and why.

  100. One of the things that seems to me to undercut the ‘necessity’ defense is that Abp Lefebvre lived for 3 years past the 1988 event.

    In other words, he FELT that he had to do it, but did he?

    Of course, as Prof. Peters points out here under “SSPX Arg. 1.” the determination of necessity in Canon Law is not for the offender to make, but for the lawful authority – that is to say, the Holy See.

  101. Brian Mershon says:

    Steve, It reminds me that I need to possibly write a new book entitled, “More Catholic than the Pope.”

    It will lead off with George Weigel’s column in today’s Newsweek and then maybe include many of the diatribes posted here over the past few days.

    The elder brother of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Boy, does that work!

    More Catholic than the Pope. Catchy title, don’t you think?

  102. dark_coven says:

    I think Father that any issue which involves the SSPX is like a rain pouring to your comment box. I think Father your most commented post of all time, is about the SSPX?

    Instavrare Omnia In Christo

  103. Brian Mershon says:

    Yes, Michael. And it is not for canon lawyers to make either.

    The Pope has obviously decided. Why replay the past? 500 more priests for Tradition. Excellent!

  104. JAS says:

    “One of the things that seems to me to undercut the ‘necessity’ defense is that Abp Lefebvre lived for 3 years past the 1988 event.

    In other words, he FELT that he had to do it, but did he?

    Of course, as Prof. Peters points out here under “SSPX Arg. 1.” the determination of necessity in Canon Law is not for the offender to make, but for the lawful authority – that is to say, the Holy See.

    Comment by Michael Tinkler — 27 January 2009 @ 9:29 am”


    This matters WHY? The Pope has settled this by remitting the excommunications. Prof. Peters and everyone else who likes to crown themselves ‘Theologian and Canonist Extordinaire’ needs to look for a new gig and something else to argue over. Their SSPX arguments are really pointless at this point. Stop beating a dead horse.

  105. Ed Peters says:

    What an odd comment by JAS. The SSPX keep renewing, even now!, their claims that the original excomms were illegal, and NO ONE is supposed to call them on that? What an odd rule.

  106. schoolman says:

    Brian, I think everyone ought to have great joy over the lifting the excommunications. I also think most have aplauded Bishop Fellay’s interview. The issue under discussion here is the “SSPX Media Brochure” that still pretends that the excommunications never existed and displays a kind of “see, we were right all along” attitude. It basically robs the Pope of his generous and benevolent gesture —
    and turns it into something like “finally he gave us what we deserved all along…”

    Again, the is only the US District office and not +Fellay or the rest of the SSPX as far as we can tell.

  107. Mr. Mershon –

    I’m a historian. Replaying the past is what I do for a living. Besides, it’s interesting – otherwise we both would have stopped commenting already.

    I am eager to see how many of the SSPX priests will go off in a huff now? They have certainly had lots of break-aways before in both directions – independence and reunion with Rome. Of course I would be delighted if they all came in, but I doubt it. I don’t believe all four bishops will submit – and though that’s entirely private opinion, it’s based on reading a lot of their online material.

    Based on my occasional perusal of Angelqueen I am certain that at least a large minority of the regular posters there will not come along. The degree to which they represent more broadly held opinion among the lay followers of the SSPX will come out as well.

    I pray that this event is more than a skimming for refugees (like the FSSP, the IBP, etc) and that a substantial majority will come in – but time will tell.

  108. dark_coven says:

    “More Catholic than the Pope.” How about “More SSPX than Arch. Lefebvre”? Williamson?

  109. Mark says:


    Angel Queen and other SSPX-centered forums.

    I have never frequented one that was respectful of any Pope since Pius XII, including Benedict. They see him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a “modernist” just like the rest of the post-Vatican II bishops. They are filled with contempt for anyone who dares to call themselves Catholic and is not SSPX.

    It’s just a fact.

    Even the SSPX-defenders here can’t stay away from the language and the implications, if not outright assertions that if you are not SSPX, you are not a true Catholic, you are a part of “Modernist Rome” and so on.

    Just admit it, for heaven’s sake. The SSPX sympathizers here remind me of the liberal Catholics at other sites who are coy about the extent of their outright disagreement with a great deal of Church teaching.

    This is just the way it is. They hate modern Catholic apologists, they hate what they call “neoCaths” like the late Fr. Neuhaus, they hate the contemporary Catholic apologist movement – they see them all as frauds and as less-Catholic-than-the-SSPX, therefore not really Catholic. They have serious discussions as to whether priests and bishops made since Vatican II are really priests and bishops. This is not fringe. This are central topics of discussion.

  110. Wolfram von Duerrenbach says:


    I would ask you all to consider and study the life of St. Athanasius and his times.

    I would also ask you all to ponder the important role of the SSPX during the long and bitter years since the Second Vatican Council in holding the gates against modernism and holding true to the Truth of Catholic dogma.

    Sometimes those in the front ranks of the battle can come off as gruff and arogant– but it might just be the necessity of the situation.

    I have the honor to remain, Yr servant in Christ Our Lord,

  111. JAS –

    As I just pointed out to Mr. Mershon, I am a historian. I’m fascinated by the Donatist schism and it’s refusal to end. There were still Donatist bishops in at the time of the Islamic conquest of North Africa, about 400 years after they broke away! The Petite Eglise in France is interesting, too. I first learned about the Jansenist schisms (as opposed to the theological tendency) from Mgr Ronald Knox’s Enthusiasm before I converted to Roman Catholicism.

    Even if by early February all 4 bishops submit, are given a personal prelature, and 100% of the lay followers come into full communion with the Roman Church the case will remain of vital interest for professionals in the fields of Canon Law and 20th C Church history.

    By the way, I’m not one of those – I’m a medievalist.

  112. Ted says:


    That’s exactly the problem some other commentators are pointing out.

    Every time the SSPX tries to analogize their situation with the 4th century, they are saying that the Church outside the SSPX is comparable to Arianism.


  113. Patrick says:

    What do they say? Sin makes you stupid. That’s evident here.

    Remember we are dealing with bishops who have likely not had a valid absolution in 20 years.
    [That is out of line. You have no idea to whom they go to confess and be absolved.] What does that do to your soul? What does it do to your soul when you confect the Eucharist daily in direct disobedience of the Church? I mean, isn’t that grave matter? And then without absolution? Yikes.

    And then when the Holy Father shows his enormous mercy, they do nothing but dance around and tell their followers, “Haha, we were right and we never did anything wrong.”

    The SSPX leaders are pathetic and I pray that they will learn to respect and obey our Holy Father. But what can you expect when you have been away from the Sacraments for 20 years? Things are really very distorted for them I’m sure. Lord, lift them up from their delusions!

    And, of course, welcome back to the followers of the SSPX! Hopefully, they will leave behind their misguided leaders and come home to Pope Benedict XVI. Perhaps, that was the Holy Father’s intention in all of this.

  114. depeccatoradvitam says:

    Are there not any Christians with hope here?

    I think the analogy of being grounded and ungrounded is on target. They were “grounded” for direct disobedience.

    As to why “deprive” the original decree of “juridical effect”, would it not be to allow validity and licitness of the sacraments provided, a giant lasso or hug to the faithful and a reassurance that they are OK with the Church for sure?

    As a note, the 1983 Canon would apply as that was the Law of the Church at the time of the “crime”. One could claim that they want only natural law, to alleviate their need to faoolow the rule sof man, but this is the Church who has the power to bind and loose. Her rules or you are outside.

    If you are outside, the fight means nothing. On the inside, we need the strength of Traditional Catholicism. While not a democracy, one cannot be a viable source of assistance in the republic if not there to participate.

    Yes, crazy uncles exist everywhere, this does not make it “right”, but the Church is holy nevertheless. Poor judgment will alsways fail our fallen-ness, but with God’s grace, maybe, just maybe we could approach with humility the grace and mercy that He provides.

    It is not about who is right and who is wrong, for that places man above God. It is how the Holy Spirit plays our here and the will of God is followed or not.

    Have hope and pray that God’s will may be done.

  115. JAS says:

    Ed Peters-

    You cannot ‘call them’ on it because you really do not know. All you do know is that the excommunications were remitted and the wording leaves questions. You cannot say, based on the wording of the lifting, that they are wrong. In fact, being that they have had to make no gesture and apologies on their part, it would seem that they are right.

    In addition, as others have mentioned, it is possible that the brochure is not an ‘official’ document from the Society. From all accounts in speaking with those who attend the SSPX chapels, their priests have told them they found out when everyone else found out. Many found out from parishoners who called them to ask about it and others from the internet just like most of us found out. This brochure came together very quickly after the fact. This makes it questionable as to whether or not Bishop Fellay was consulted.

    Michael Tinkler-

    That is an unfair assessment of Angelqueen. Most over there had nothing but good things to say. If you read the threads and the post, you would have to know that. That does not mean there are not some in the bunch who think differently, but they are in the minority.

    Just an FYI – in canvassing those I know who attend SSPX chapels about the response at Mass this past Sunday, ALL said the response was very positive, both from the pulpit and from the lay faithful.

  116. Steve says:


    You are correct. I think it would be a smashing success! NeoCons are 100% behind the Pope when he supports their agenda, but now…? Now the poor Holy Father must be delusional, or mislead, or not aware of the severity of what he’s doing.

    It is quite amusing.

    By the way, the reason the Society is stating the excommunications of ’88 were invalid is because they were.
    This is attested to by many non-SSPX Canonists.

    What you have here is a lot of NeoCons who were spoon fed that the Society were evil excommunicated schismatics for 20 years,
    trying to make sense of a situation they don’t really have a firm grasp of in the first place.

    The POPE has seen fit to let them back in without any apologies. You all dare question the Pope?

  117. Patrick says:


    No one here is questioning the Pope. We’re just saying the SSPX bishops are acting like jerks. Big difference.

    I back the Pope 100%. It’s his decision, and he ABSOLUTELY made the RIGHT decision. It would be nice if the SSPX bishops would act with some amount of humility and contrition. But when you’ve been away from the Sacraments as long as they have, well, bad stuff happens.

    I don’t really see anyone on any of these threads questioning the action of the Pope. Unless, of course, it’s the SSPX-lovers questioning Pope John Paul II.

  118. Mitch says:

    Even if the Holy See is backtracking on some issues and the SSPX has been saying what they always said isn’t it just prudent for them to quiet down. They either got what they wanted, or were given what was necessary for the reconciliation process, but where is the humility? They should be talking about the next phase and never mind the past…The lifting was days ago already, I hope they do not stay stuck on that. For the sake of all, move on…This Holy Pope has got patience and fortitude. God Bless him and his Pontificate.. He is doing things correctly but Wow they sure make things hard for him. I hope he perseveres in what is best for the Church. I am confident that whatever he does, no one knows better than he. Perhaps no one on the planet..

  119. JAS says:


    Where is your evidence that the SSPX Bishops are acting like ‘jerks’? Please provide links to your specific evidence of an actualy quote since the lifting of the excommuications from each of the Bishops. Also, please give specific links to direct quotes from each of the Bishops acting without humility and contrition. In addition, explain how you are an authority to judge the states of their souls. Also, how are you an authority to determine that contrition is required from them. Contrition for what. Please share, as the Pope himself did not ask for this contrition that you are requesting.

    Also, I havne’t noticed anyone bringing up JPII, with the exception of you.

    It is clear you and many otehrs disagree with the Pope on his decision and believe he doesn’t know what he is doing, and this has been noted in many post above (in different words) of course. But it really does not matter any more. The Pope has spoken. It is time to drop the hateful attitude toward the SSPX and time to find something else to harp on.

  120. Patrick says:

    Dear JAS,

    The brochure above is pretty “jerky”. It’s certainly not the way a humble son ought to act toward the Holy Father.

    You seem to think that some people are claiming that Pope Benedict made a mistake, yet I don’t see anyone claiming that. I think some of us are just pointing out that the SSPX bishops appear to be acting more as stubborn teenagers instead of thankful sons. Many here are taking issue with their “we have been right” attitude all along, but no one is taking issue with Pope Benedict’s lifting of the excommunications. That is certainly a good thing.

    God bless!

  121. The PRESS RELEASE should be discussed in the proper entry.

  122. Michael J says:

    Sorry Father for my sloppy terminology. By “Press Release” I meant the “Media Information Brocure” being discussed in this thread. With your permission then, I’ll ask my question again.

    I find this media brocure remarkably humble considering that it was released by an organization that thinks (correctly, or incorrectly) that it has been treated unjustly for over 20 years.

    There are those, however, that find it arrogant and “not the way a humble son ought to act “. I want to know what is in this media brocure that shows a lack of humility.

  123. I am not Spartacus says:

    “I agree with Spartacus

    The prodigial son should not have been permitted to enter back into the house of his father.”

    Mr. Dorchak. That is not what I wrote. What I did write can not be fairly reframed that way. I wrote:

    The SSPX is not like the prodigal son. He returned to the Father with contrition over his willful ways.

    There is no possible way that can be fairly cast as I think the sspx ought not be permitted to enter back into the house of his Father.

    In that same post, I recognised the many positive things that could come as a result of regularising their situation.

    If the SSPX is ever regularised there are man positive things that could come of that reularising.

    Feel at liberty to apologise anytime, sir.

  124. Jim Dorchak says:

    Hey “I am not Spartacus”

    You totally missed my agreeing with you.

    No apology needed or required.

    Jim Dorchak

Comments are closed.