The Tablet on Rome and the SSPX – revealing their true fears

From Robert Micken’s of the far-left leaning English weekly, The Tablet.

My emphases and comments.

Benedict’s high risk strategy

Benedict XVI and the Lefebvrists

31 January 2009

Robert Mickens

The Pope has described it as an act of paternal mercy. But while the lifting of the excommunication of rebel Lefebvrist bishops has been praised by arch-traditionalists, it has shocked many Catholics and members of other faiths, especially Jews. Our Rome writer tracks the reasons for the turnaround and its consequences

 It came during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s announcement of the Second Vatican Council – news that Pope Benedict had decreed that the "Lefebvrists", the four bishops excommunicated for disobedience and who have never fully accepted the Council, could return to the Church.

The Pope instructed the Congregation for Bishops to "remit" the excommunications of four leaders of the schismatic Society of St Pius X (SSPX) otherwise known as Lefebvrists. The four men – Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso del Gallareta – incurred automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication in June 1988 when they were illicitly ordained bishops by renegade Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (d. 1991), who founded the SSPX in 1970 and the Seminary of Ecône in south-west Switzerland.

According to the Vatican statement issued last Saturday, the Pope hopes that full communion would be reached as soon as possible. But the decree has raised many questions about the relationship between the SSPX and the Vatican, concerns among the faithful about the impact on the Church, and shock at the apparent welcome to one of the bishops, Richard Williamson, who has made outrageous anti-Semitic statements (which Vatican officials have roundly condemned).  [Is it the impact of one man that is worrisome? Or is the impact of the whole message from the SSPX that is of concern?]

The decree, which was actually dated and took effect on 21 January, was immediately applauded by the SSPX, which claims to have some 500 priests and between 400,000 and 600,000 followers, half of whom are believed to be in France. [Where there are political dimensions to be considered.]

While the director of the Holy See press office, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, said soon after that one "could already speak of full communion", the situation is not that simple. The Vatican’s statement indicated the contrary and, even though the one-page decree did not offer any clarification, [The decree was necessarily limited to the point it addressed.] it appears that the whole order of SSPX priests remain suspended from celebrating the sacraments, as decreed by Pope Paul VI in 1976. And what was particularly noticeable in the decree is that there is no indication that the SSPX is repentant for the act of disobedience to Pope John Paul II by which they incurred the excommunication in the first place[But that is something they get to present to the Pope, and the Pope get’s to decide.]

Yet Pope Benedict’s decision to take this dramatic step should come as no surprise. It follows other key initiatives that he has undertaken, most specifically a series of actions two years ago to assure traditionalist Catholics that Vatican II did not substantially change Catholic liturgy or doctrine. In 2007 the Pope fully restored use of the Tridentine Rite and also ordered the publication of two doctrinal instructions that, according to a number of theologians, narrowed the interpretation of the council’s teaching on the nature of the Church and its relationship to other religions.

Those actions were all welcomed at the time by Bishop Fellay, the SSPX superior who had private talks with Pope Benedict XVI shortly after his election in 2005. It was that meeting, the Vatican’s press statement of 24 January said, that was the start of the reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome. "On that occasion, the Supreme Pontiff manifested the will to proceed by steps and in reasonable time on such a path," the statement said, and by lifting the excommunications the Pope was acting "benignly" and "with pastoral solicitude and paternal mercy".

It seems that he was also acting on his own initiative and did not widely consult other bishops – with the notable exception of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos. Sources at the Vatican have told The Tablet that the almost-80-year-old head of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" is intent on healing the Lefebvrist schism before he retires. It was to Cardinal Castrillón that Bishop Fellay wrote on 18 December last year asking for removal of the excommunications and the decree says Pope Benedict acceded to the request. It even quotes part of Bishop Fellay’s letter to the cardinal in which he claims that he and the other three SSPX bishops accept the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings "with a filial spirit" and believe "firmly in the Primacy of Peter and its prerogatives".

But in a note to his followers on 24 January the bishop revealed another section of his December letter to Cardinal Castrillón that the Vatican decree does not mention. "We are ready to write the Creed with our own blood, to sign the anti-modernist oath (and) the profession of faith of Pius IV," he quoted from the letter. "We accept and make our own all the councils up to the Second Vatican Council about which we express some reservations.[You know… I would like other bishops in the world stand up and say to the whole world "I will write the Creed in my blood and here… just listen as I take the Oath Against Modernism!"  Furthermore, not everything in the documents of Vatican II is crystal clear.  People of good will can differ about how to approach the questions those documents can raise.  "Vatican II" must not be reduced to a "spirit of Vatican II", or transmogrified into a nebulous concept which morphs into a "super-dogma" which must never be questioned.]

Vatican II is mentioned nowhere in the decree that remits the excommunications, and Fr Lombardi would not comment on whether the society was asked to adhere to the council’s teachings. [Notice how vague that is… "the Council’s teachings". ] However, French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, a member of the "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, said in a statement: "At a certain moment the question of the text of the Second Vatican Council, as a document of the Magisterium of primary importance, must be faced." This will evidently be discussed during talks aimed – as the decree states – at resolving "the still open questions, in order to quickly arrive at a full and satisfactory solution at the origin of the problem".

But will the talks really resolve the impasse? Archbishop Lefebvre (who is also not mentioned in the decree) [It is hard to ask the Pope for a remission of a censure when you are DEAD.]  rejected several important teachings of the Council, including those related to religious liberty, ecumenism and liturgy. And his followers have remained in defiance of those teachings. The official SSPX website for the US region says the Fraternity rejects the teaching on the "right to religious freedom" [Doesn’t this make it sound as if the members of the SSPX are against the natural dignity of man and his right to make religious choices?  The issue of religious liberty is more complicated than that.] and a number of other statements in contained in the Vatican II declaration Dignitatis Humanae because they are contrary to Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors. [Interesting point.  What will they say about the Syllabus?  Will they come to an understanding about its place among the various types of magisterial documents?] The assertion in the Council declaration Nostra Aetate that the Catholic Church "rejects nothing of what is good and holy" in non-Christian religions, it says, is contrary to tradition. And it also flatly rejects ecumenism as found in the decree Unitatis Redintegratio because it holds to the belief that the Roman Catholic Church is the "unique ark of salvation" and that "Protestants and other non-Catholics do not have the faith". [Does that mean that there is only one possible approach to ecumenism?]

No wonder Cardinal Ricard cautioned that lifting the excommunication was only "the beginning of a process of dialogue" that would "undoubtedly be long". The cardinal noted that talks must resolve "two fundamental questions": the juridical structure of the SSPX and "an agreement on dogmatic and ecclesiological questions". The first could be resolved fairly soon, [as I have been saying…] given that the new decree says Pope Benedict is to reconsider the canonical situation of (the four bishops) concerning their episcopal consecration. But what type of "agreement" can be forged with a group whose only reason for existence is to "achieve a lasting restoration of the Church", namely as it existed before Vatican II? [What kind of agreement indeed?  One which doesn’t require a cookie-cutter approach to really hard questions?]

Many saw the timing of this decree as untoward, given that the Lefebvrists flatly reject ecumenism and most Vatican II reforms. [a bit of a broken record now…] But according to Fr Lombardi, it would be wrong to see the removal of their excommunications as an attack on Vatican II. "On the contrary," he said, "I think it is a beautiful thing that the Council is no longer considered an element of division, but as an element in which every member of the Church can meet."

A front-page editorial in L’Osservatore Romano on 26-27 January bitterly complained that critics of the decree had unfairly attacked the Pope. It said he was "inspired by the new style of Church desired by the council, which prefers the medicine of mercy rather than condemnation".  [Something perhaps which is being lost in amidst the snipping.] Bishop Fellay also saw it as a "unilateral, benevolent and courageous act".

By Wednesday, after the Chief Rabbinate of Israel had announced the breaking off of relations with the Vatican [ho hum… ] following the Pope’s decision to lift the excommunication of Bishop Williamson who denies the Holocaust, Benedict spoke out again. The move was a paternal act of mercy, he said, reiterating his own unequivocal opposition to anti-Semitism. The Vatican’s top ecumenical officer, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said he was never consulted. "It was the decision of the Pope," the soon-to-retire cardinal told The New York Times last week.

In sharp contrast L’Osservatore Romano defended the remission of the excommunications as a "collegial choice" and not some "sudden and unforeseen gesture" taken unilaterally by the Pope. Some wonder if these attempts to move the Lefebvrist back to Rome could actually end up moving the rest of the Church towards Ecône[THERE IT IS!   The question I posed closer to the top.]

In the end, the real concern is whether the progressivists aren’t terrified of the influence within the Church the SSPXers may have once they are integrated.

If they are integrated, then they will have the right to speak their piece.

I can hardly wait for the say when SSPX or former SSPX priests will be attending deanery meetings and perhaps be elected to diocesan presbyteral councils.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The image of an SSPX priest at a deanery meeting in my diocese is just too delicious for words.

  2. “I can hardly wait for the say when SSPX or former SSPX priests will be attending deanery meetings and perhaps be elected to diocesan presbyteral councils.” Father, haven’t they suffered enough? We should be welcoming them back. :)

  3. Irish says:

    I can’t wait for the good ones and others like Archbishop Burke to be elevated to Cardinal. We need them in the College, people.

  4. Martin says:

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of those deanery meetings! I am delighted at the rapid progress of this whole affair. I liken the SSPX to the SAS of the Church. They do what they have to and there is no messing. I think great things are in store for the future.

  5. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    The first image that came to mind when when I thought about SSPX priests attending meetings with some of the priests I know in the Boston area was cage wrestling. I would pay good money for a ringside seat. (Hope this doesn’t get me barred from WDTPRS).

  6. Baron Korf says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but I’m curious. How much of this will be the job of Archbishop Burke as the Prefect of the Signatura?

  7. Confiteor says:

    Thank you for this post, Fr. Z. Your analysis is spot on. Fear and loathing on the Left. They don’t want unity, they want the SSPX to be excluded. Too bad for them. Sad to say, the party’s over. Boo hoo.

  8. Woody Jones says:

    “Some wonder if these attempts to move the Lefebvrists back to Rome could actually end up moving the rest of the Church towards Ecône.”

    And their point is?

    Or as our former VP would say: So?

    Although they themselves do not like the term “Lefebvrists” I kind of like it, it reminds me of those other revolutionaries, the Decembrists.

  9. Tomas says:

    Here is Bp. Fellay’s “Letters to Friends and Benefactors no. 73″ from last October. Thought you might find it interesting:

    Letter to Friends and Benefactors #73
    Society of Saint Pius X
    Priorat Mariae Verkundigung
    Schloss Schwandegg Menzingen, ZG,

    Dear Friends and Benefactors,

    In this letter, I would have liked to give you first of all some news about the internal life of the Society. However, current events in the Church at large and especially concerning the developments in favor of Tradition compel us to dwell longer upon these topics of a more external nature, because of their importance. Once again, it seems to us necessary to tackle this subject, so as to express as clearly as possible something which might have caused some concern at the beginning of the summer. As the media related in a rather surprising manner, I must say, we did receive an ultimatum from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. But the thing is rather complex and needs to be clarified in order to be well understood. A glance back at recent past events will help us to grasp things a little more clearly.

    1. Our Pre-conditions

    From the beginning when Rome approached us and proposed some solutions, that is, at the beginning of 2001, we clearly stated that the manner in which Church authorities were treating the problems raised by those who desired to attempt the experience of Tradition with Rome did not inspire confidence in us. Logically we had to expect to be treated in like manner once the issue of our relationship with Rome would have been settled. Since that time, and in order to protect ourselves, we have been asking for concrete actions which would unequivocally show Rome’s intentions towards us: the traditional Mass for all priests, and the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication. These two measures were not sought directly in view of gaining some advantage for ourselves, but to re-instill into the Mystical Body a breath of traditional life, and thus, indirectly, help to bring about a sound rapprochement between the Society and Rome. The first responses were hardly engaging and were rather a confirmation of our misgivings: it was not possible to grant freedom for the Mass, because, in spite of the realization that the Mass had never been abrogated, some bishops and faithful thought it might be repudiation of Paul VI and of the liturgical reform…As for the excommunication, it would be lifted at the time of the agreement. In spite of this demurrer, we did not cut the slender thread of fairly difficult relations, aware as we were that what is at stake far exceeds our own plight. It is not a matter of persons, but of an attitude which for centuries has been that of all the members of the Church, and which remains ours, unlike the new spirit, called “the spirit of Vatican II.” And it is obvious for us that this new spirit is at the root, and is the main cause of the present misfortunes of Holy Mother Church. Hence, the basic motivation behind our actions and our relations with the Roman authorities has always been to do prudently all we can to bring about the return of the Church to what she cannot deprive herself of without rushing headlong to suicide. Our situation is very delicate: on the one hand, we recognize both the Roman authorities and the local bishops as legitimate. But on the other hand, we contest some of their decisions, because, in various degrees, they are opposed to what the Magisterium always taught and ordered. In this, there is no pretense on our part of setting ourselves as judges or of picking and choosing. It is nothing more than the expression of an extremely painful observation of a contradiction which goes against both our Catholic consciences and faith. Such a situation is extremely grave, and cannot be treated with levity. This is also the reason why we move only very slowly and with the utmost prudence. If we are obviously greatly interested in obtaining a situation which is concretely livable in the Church, the clear awareness of the much more profound key issue which we have just described, forbids us to place the two issues on an equal footing. It is so clear for us that the issue of the Faith and of the spirit of faith has priority over all that we cannot consider a practical solution before the first issue is safely resolved. Holy Mother Church always taught us that we had to be ready to lose everything, even our own life, rather than lose the faith. What is strange is that the blows are now coming from within the Church, and that is the stark reality of the drama through which we are living.

    2. In 2007, One of the Pre-conditions was Fulfilled, the Motu Proprio

    In 2007, the new Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI finally granted the first point we had requested, the traditional Mass for the priests all over the world. We are deeply grateful for this personal gesture from the pope. And it causes us a great joy, because we have a great hope that we can see in this a renewal for the whole Mystical Body. Yet, the motu proprio has become (because of the very nature of what it states and gives back, i.e., the traditional Mass), the object of the fight we mentioned earlier in this letter because the traditional worship is opposed to the cult which meant to be “new” the “Novus Ordo Missae”. It has become an occasion of fight between the progressivists, who give lip service to their full ecclesial communion while they more or less openly oppose the orders and the dispositions coming from the Sovereign Pontiff, and the conservatives, who consequently find themselves in a situation where they resist their bishops. So whom are we to obey? The progressivists know quite well that what is at stake is much more than a liturgical dispute. In spite of the efforts of the motu proprio to minimize opposition by affirming continuity, what is at stake is the very fate of a Council which meant to be pastoral, and which was applied in such a way that Paul VI already could speak of the “self-destruction of the Church.”

    3 – Hope of a Rapid Fulfillment of Second Pre-condition

    This first step of Rome in our direction gave us to hope that a second would soon follow. Some signs seemed to point this way. But, whereas we had long ago proposed the itinerary we had mapped out, it would seem that Rome has decided to follow another route. In spite of our reiterated request for the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication, and as it seemed that there was no longer any major obstacle to prevent the accomplishment of this act, we witnessed a sudden turn of events: Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos wants to impose upon us conditions before going any further, even though we had clearly said that we expected a unilateral act. Our attitude seems to him ungrateful towards the Sovereign Pontiff, and even worse: haughty and proud, since we continue to openly denounce the evils from which the Church is suffering. Our latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors particularly aroused his displeasure. This earned for us an ultimatum, the precise conditions of which we still have not yet been able to figure out. For either we accept the canonical solution, or we will be declared schismatic! When we take a stand this is interpreted as a delay, a voluntary procrastination. Our intentions and our good will to really discuss with Rome are doubted. They do not understand why we do not want an immediate canonical solution. For Rome, the problem of the Society would be resolved by that practical agreement; doctrinal discussions would be avoided or postponed. For us, each day brings additional proofs that we must clarify to the maximum the underlying issues before taking one more step toward a canonical situation, which is not in itself displeasing to us. But this is a matter of following the order of the nature of things, and to start from the wrong end would unavoidably place us in an unbearable situation. We have daily proofs of this. What is at stake is nothing more nor less than our future existence. We cannot, and will not leave any ambiguity subsist on the issue of the acceptation of the Council, of the reforms, of the new attitudes which are either being tolerated or fostered. Confronted with these new difficulties, we take the liberty of appealing once more to your generosity. Given the success of our first Rosary Crusade to obtain the return of the Tridentine Mass, we would now like to offer to Our Lady a new bouquet of a million rosaries (5 decades) to obtain the withdrawal of the decree of excommunication through her intercession. From November 1st until the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we will take it to heart to pray with renewed fervor that, in these difficult hours of history, the Holy Father may fulfill with fidelity his august functions in accordance with the wish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the good of all the Church. We are utterly convinced that such a gesture coming from the Sovereign Pontiff would have as profound an effect on the Mystical Body as the freedom of the traditional liturgy. Indeed, the excommunication did not cut us off from the Church, but it has driven away a good number of her members from the Church’s past and from her Tradition. And she cannot deprive herself of them without suffering serious harm. It is truly obvious that Holy Mother Church cannot ignore her past, since she has received everything and is still to this day receiving everything from her divine founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the excommunication, what has been censured and penalized is the very attitude which specified the combat of Archbishop Lefebvre, i.e., this relationship to the Church’s past and to her Tradition. Since then, because of this reprobation, many fear to come to the sources of living water which alone can bring back the good old days of Holy Mother Church. Yet, Archbishop Lefebvre did nothing more than adopt the attitude of St. Paul, to the extent that he requested that the following words be engraved on his tomb: “Tradidi quod et accepi”- I have handed down what I have received. Did not St. Pius X himself write that the “true friends of the Church are not the revolutionaries, nor the innovators, but the traditionalists”?

    For this reason, dear faithful, we launch again this Rosary Crusade on the occasion of our pilgrimage to Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. We thank the Mother of God for the maternal protection she extended over us during all these years, and especially for the twenty years since the Episcopal Consecrations. We entrust to her all your intentions for yourselves, your families and your work. To her we entrust our future and beg for this fidelity to the faith and to the Church without which no one can work out his salvation. I thank you wholeheartedly for your untiring generosity which enables us to continue the magnificent work founded by Archbishop Lefebvre. We ask our good Mother in Heaven to protect you and to keep you all in her Immaculate Heart.

    Menzingen, October 23, 2008, on the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret

    + Bernard Fellay Superior General

  10. Gravitas says:

    Father, I would LOVE to see an SSPX priest at one of those meetings!

    But, have you ever heard of an FSSP or ICR priest going to one? I’m guessing no, since I think they spend the first 5-10 years just convincing diocean priests they don’t have 10 heads.

    Am I wrong? Would love to see it happen!

  11. chironomo says:

    “..and also ordered the publication of two doctrinal instructions that, according to a number of theologians, narrowed the interpretation of the council’s teaching on the nature of the Church and its relationship to other religions.”

    Which doctrinal instructions are these? I would like to take a look at them if they are something that has not been widely circulated…

  12. chironomo says:

    We have an FSSP priest that now attends our Diocesan Liturgical Commission meetings…has said very little up to now.

  13. Gravitas says:

    Chironomo, has his head ever spun off during the meetings? :)

  14. chironomo says:

    Notice that at one point, the author questions whether the SSPX has been asked to adhere to the council’s teachings (a vague concept), however Cardinal Jean-Paul Ricard says “the question of the text of the Second Vatican Council” (a concrete concept). Yet, they are juxtaposed in such a way here that they are made to seem like the same thing. While there are certainly points in the actual text of the VII documents that will no doubt have to be discussed, much of what is thought to be the “teachings of Vatican II” are nowhere to be found in the texts themselves.

  15. chironomo says:

    No, but he is one of the only ones there that actually looks like a priest (other than the Bishop!). That full length cassock is something. Have caught him smirking a few times, but not in a mean spirited way.

  16. Fr. Angel says:

    It is surreal to read the Tablet having concerns that the Vatican is lifting excommunications and entering into dialogue. But the real irony is that the SSPX bishops would accept more Vatican II teaching than many bishops, who question papal prerogatives, mariology, contraception, a celibate, male priesthood, historicity of the Gospels, clear demarcation of lay apostolate as opposed to clerical ministry, etc. The Catholic doctrine contained in Vatican II would be a non-issue to the SSPX, whereas many bishops would balk if they ever had to confess under oath a complete adherence to that same doctrine.

  17. Breier says:


    They’re referring to the recent clarifications from the CDF:



  18. Ottaviani says:

    We have an FSSP priest that now attends our Diocesan Liturgical Commission meetings…

    Poor priest – it must be very trying for him. Any other Catholics would be close to slitting their wrists if it were not for the Holy Mother of God.

  19. Woody Jones says:

    As for France, many have noted the irony of the French bishops insisting on the higher level of VatII acceptance than maybe they themselves and their dwindling flocks give it, or any other Church teaching, but I think the underlying issue in France is the link of politics with religion that exists for many there.

    As examples of this, one could cite the intervew of George Lindbeck, Yale professor and Lutheran observer at VatII, who said that in talking with the French bishops, he found it always helpful first of all to find out how they stood on the question of the French Revolution; everything else became clear then.

    Similarly in his comprehensive biography of Abp Lefebvre, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais opines that it was Lefebvre’s close ties with Jean Ousset, and the Cite Catholique movement (Ousset had been a colleague of Charles Maurras at the old Action Francaise) that resulted in the majority of the French bishops disapproving of him even in the early 1960’s (i.e. before the SSPX).

    I find this easier to believe as I recall that 10 years or so ago when I went into the Librairie St Nicholas, the bookstore right around the corner from St Nicholas du Chardonnet (flagship of the SSPX in Paris), I found not just pre-Vat II type religious literature but also what appeared to be very interesting (if one only knew French!) magazines of a right wing political nature. I am not sure if National Front stuff was there but it could have been.

    Incidentally, there was a 12 volume or so collected works of Pius XII in French. Why cannot this be translated into English?

  20. john hunwicke says:

    A minor point: that stuff about the Jews being upset … Rabbi Jacob Neusner isn’t. I invite readers to view my own blog, on this question. Father Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes

  21. Agellius says:

    “Archbishop Lefebvre (who is also not mentioned in the decree) rejected several important teachings of the Council . . . [a]nd his followers have remained in defiance of those teachings.”

    Isn’t it cute the way liberals suddenly become sticklers for the letter of Church teaching when it comes to the SSPX?

  22. schoolman says:

    Another must read over at NLM:

    Nicola Bux and Salvatore Vitiello on the Revocation of the SSPX Excommunication: an Act of Real Ecumenism

  23. joe says:

    It may prove illuminating and interesting to see the take America Magazine has on this matter, as Mickens posted some additional, supplemental, comments on Fr. James Martin SJ’s blog (Fr. Martin did not comment on Mickens’ writings) at the magazine’s website. What I thought was especially interesting was the comments to this entry, which illustrates the mindset of those we are praying to enlighten.

    It’s all here



  24. Agellius says:

    Thomas: Very interesting! Thanks.

  25. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    Why is Vatican II the measure of fielity? Why not the TOTALITY OF CHURCH TEACHING? I suspect that, if that were the measure, the average SSPX priest would do reasonably well on the fidelity scale. Has anyone asked, say, Father McBrian to affirm every item of Church doctrine? Has he even signed the Mandatum? Why the double standard?

  26. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    correction of two typos:

    “fielty” should be “fidelity” and “McBrian” “McBrien”. My apologies.

  27. Maureen says:

    “Incidentally, there was a 12 volume or so collected works of Pius XII in French. Why cannot this be translated into English?”

    Because not enough people took Latin in high school?

    I suspect that the major bar is profit/loss. Pope Pius XII didn’t die all that long ago, so all the works he wrote as pope are still within copyright. (AFAIK.) Now, if you find something he wrote prior to 1923 or something that fell out of copyright, you could translate that out of Latin or Italian into English without paying anybody except the translator. But the Vatican publishing house, which administers the copyright of works by popes, and the USCCB, which administers for them in this country, would have to be paid for stuff that’s still in copyright. (And there’s something really freaky about papal copyright beyond that — I think the terms are longer than usual for the EU or US, but I can’t remember.)

    So if you’ve ever wondered why there’s lots of books _about_ encyclicals and not many _of_ encyclicals, now you know. Thank God for the Vatican website, or we’d be totally out of luck.

  28. Father Anonymous says:

    “and also ordered the publication of two doctrinal instructions

    What is meant by this?

  29. caleb1x says:

    Williamson himself has apologized for his remarks to Cardinal Hoyos and the pope:

    Given this leap, who can doubt that Benedict XVI is a true hero of the Church?

  30. Ann says:

    I think having the FSXP fully integrated and participating in the dialogs of deaneries and in parishes could be very interesting, and could have a wonderfully positive impact if they are able to speak with charity at the heart of what they need to say. Confrontational approaches from anyone just makes for ulcers and bad feelings and rarely produces anything positive.

  31. Malta says:

    The November interview with HE Williamson was pulled out by liberal jerks to distract from the legitimate cause of SSPX. Williamson, too, was caught off-guard by the off-topic question. The whole thing was a snow job by the liberal press–a total ambush. I completely disagree with Williamson’s political positions, but he is brilliant, religiously, and it was wise of Fellay to silence him secularly. Look him up on Youtube, and you will see a brilliant man in love with the Lord. He committed no sins with his weird views, and his purely religious views are solid. No man walking this earth is perfect. At least Williamson walks ardently with the Lord and for the Lord. If only a percentage of Bishops had such firm faith.

    But Fellay is the Hero in all of this. This is a heroic, saintly soul in the mold of Lefebvre. Think of what Lefebvre faced with Cardinal Villot, a nasty, sinister man, and he was the “good-guy” when the initial suspensions were levied. Whatever course, for good or bad, the parties have coursed since then, the initial founding, at least, of SSPX was very honorable and justified…

  32. Athelstane says:

    You know… I would like other bishops in the world stand up and say to the whole world “I will write the Creed in my blood and here… just listen as I take the Oath Against Modernism!”

    So would I.

  33. contrarian says:

    [It is hard to ask the Pope for a remission of a censure when you are DEAD.]
    – i think the older rite has a formula or a set of rituals for the remission of excommunication of the dead.

  34. Mary Nic Con Carraige says:

    One day, not only will Archbishop Lefevbre be vindicated he will be canonised! Saint Marcel!

  35. Scott says:

    I think the Holy Father needs to write an Encyclical in which he condemns the numerous heresies that occur on a daily basis in the Novus Ordo Church.

    I think the Holy Father should publicly acknowledge that the reforms mandated and inspired by the Second Vatican Council have been a complete and utter failure and he should outline a plan for the Church’s return to Tradition.

    The Holy Father should appoint Bishops and Cardinals from the FSSP, ICRSS and FSSPX to lead the restoration and to encourage the return to Tradition across the world.

    Even if it means the Church getting smaller as a result, I think drastic action needs to happen. Fast.

  36. Jerry says:

    Hear Hear!!! St. Athanasius, a twice excommunicated saint. Let us pray for St. Marcel becoming a reality as well.


  37. ssoldie says:

    Here, Here— Fr Z, so very true, your ‘RED’

  38. Thomas Liang says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre (and maybe some close associates) was excommunicated from the Catholic Church ONLY for his disobedience in ordaining bishops, presumably to carry on spreading dissent. The Catholic Church was protecting other faithful and telling them what’s right and what’s wrong. Perhaps pope was thinking the effects of the Reformation and its destruction on the Church. This is not at all to say that Archbishop Lefebvre hsan’t done anything wrong. That is another issue. Now I see people lumping issues and linking them to dissent on the pastoral council Vatican II, which, by the way, was not a doctrinal council. Maybe I am wrong.

    Tom L

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