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I live in Germany and I am so sorry to read these statements. I feel depressed. German bishops (not all of them) try to do their best to show that FSSPX and their faithful are not catholic therefore don’t belong to the church, sad.
Bishop demands reaction from Rome
The \”Pius-Brotherhood\” is writing headlines again. Planning ordinations for the end of June, they put the unity of the Church in danger and provoke everyone. Bishop Ackermann now demands clear signals from Rome.
(12.06.2009) Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier, deems the intent of the \”Pius-Brotherhood\” to conduct sacerdotal ordinations in the near future a clear provocation and a step to further the schism in the Church. In an interview with the Saarländischer Rundfunk [Saarland Broadcast Company, a state-owned broadcaster], Ackermann said: \”This is why I appeal to them to abstain from every activity that could be understood as a provocation\”; for \”every schism weakens the testimony of the Church\”.
\”clear measures\” demanded from the Vatican
Ackermann showed himself to be discontent with the canonical situation: \”Of course it would be good to have clarity on the part of Rome.\” Amongst others he demands that the Vatican \”show clear signals that things which are, canonically speaking, impossible, which are illicit, should not be done. He hurries Rome along: \”It would be nice to have a reaction soon.\” This would strengthen the bishop\’s position, too: \”Of course it would be good to get rear cover now, because the \”Pius-Brotherhood\” is not mincing words vis-à-vis the bishops, either.\”
One picture is worthy of thousand words.
So, no tranlation into English is necessary to
see the sorry state of the Faith in Germany.
After what has happened in Manila, and having considered the nature of the reception of Summorum Pontificum by many bishops, I have come to sympathize with the Society of St. Pius X. I spent much of the day yesterday reading material on their Web site, and watched a long video interview with Bishop Fellay (recorded in April). To my surprise, I am coming to conclude that SSPX is right on most points. Perhaps on all points.
From the Interview with Bishop Bode:
[It is more important to see] how the SSPX regards their ecclesiology after the Second Vatican Council. I am not sure that there is any compatibility to be found soon.
The Question is, whose ecclesiology is Catholic? From another interview with Bishop Bode:
Q: Bishop Bode, how is the relationship between Catholics and Protestants?
Bp. Bode: Very positive. I think that both Churches need each other […].
Not sympathetic to the Germans. And why exactly should the SSPX not ordain? Note the fact that apart from the Bishops consecrated by Apb. Lefebvre, there have not been any more bishops made,nor will there be from the look of it. If we judge the SSPX by their actions, they have been faithful to their mission, which was to preserve tradition, not form a new church. Remember that it was the making of bishops that posed the problem, not the making of priests. Let the Germans rail, then. Let them leave, in fact, since they are observably more destructive – and I’m a regular diocesan Californian churchgoer (traditional to be sure, but I have no interaction with the SSPX) – than the SSPX. And the only thing that the SSPX are destroying is the German Bishop’s insane and unrealistic vision of reuniting Catholicism through some cockeyed ecumenical umbrella group that glosses over real doctrinal disagreement with an anesthetizing “I’m ok – you’re ok – don’t ask – don’t tell” smiley face. Sorry, but the Holy Face isn’t the smiley face. German Bishops, your day is done. Go form your crypto-lutheran communion, and leave Catholicism to the rest of us.
Actually what the SSPX do is to unmask the traitors in our midst, Judas’ every one. Let the German Bishops be anathema. No sympathy for them, whatsoever. It’s ironic, actually, that the Anti-spam word for this posting was “IDENTITY”, for that is what the German Bishops have lost, and what the SSPX has preserved. The German Bishops look in the mirror of Catholicism, and they do not recognize their own reflection. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also their problem. They’re like superannuated schoolboys, who need to grow up.
These statements are hardly a surprise. It is far more troubling when self-styled conservative Catholics savage the SSPX and the pre-Vatican II Church.
that picture says a mouthful, wow, what happy-clappy crap, sad part is I could see some of our Southern Mercer County Catholics exclaiming, how unique and creative
I suppose that picture is the “Ecce Agnus Dei” that wasn’t? LOL…
Bishop Rangel was consecrated by the hands of Archbishop Lefebvre’s bishops. I support his consecration just as I supported the consecration of the four, but I just wanted to make you aware of that.
Hey, John Polhamus, please be careful whom you wish out of the church. First, it is not your decision who is in and who is outside of the church.
Second, I think we should pray and hope that one day EVERYBODY is INSIDE the church – your approach seems not very charitable to me.
Third, there are many more bishops in Germany than those two. Admittedly, you have to look very hard to find one that is positive about the SSPX, but we have some very fine examples of pious and good bishops who are faithful shepherds – Bishops Mixa, Hanke, Schraml come to mind, also Cardinal Meisner, who is a close friend of the Holy Father – also a German bishop, if you would like to recall.
And fourth, while the photo linked to in AP’s comment is really an outrage (no, it is not the Agnus Dei, it is supposed to be a monstrance, and the thing up there is Our Eucharistic Lord in the disguise of a big pita bread…), it is NOT in Germany but Austria.
To Victor & All
I apologize for the blunder of stating
Germany rather than Austria.
Form. Matter. Intent. Presuming a valid priest, all that is required for a sacrament are mentioned there. Seemingly easy enough to obtain, yet when a pita bread is used, its reasonable to assume that even if proper form and intent are there (the latter must presumed when the books are followed and no contrary intention is stated) that proper matter was probably lacking as any pita bread recipe search will more often than not turn up salt and sugar and other invalidating additives. It’s sad in a sense because these people were most likely adoring bread and there was probably a sacrament simulated, BUT it’s also good because Our Lord was not directly mocked and abused at this occasion. Plus its reasonable to assume that those who were properly disposed made perfect spiritual Communions. God Bless!
Dear Victor, I wish no one out of the church, just as the church wishes excommunication on no one. They place themselves there. And to a great extent the modern episcopate has placed itself there, not me. As I say, it’s their problem, except where they remain and do damage to the fabric of the church and the hermeneutic of continuity. Then I wish them to be honest.
As to the notion that we are “all inside the church”, that is true insofar as all of creation is of God’s hand, and the bounds of invincible ignorance are difficult to circumscribe. But that ends up treading very close to Universal Salvation, which is heresy and not to be admitted.
However, the Germans obviously don’t view Church as inclusively as you do, and place very definate boundry as to who get to play in their playground. Further, as consecrated Bishops of the church, they DO know the difference between Church and Communion, but are agenting within the church in order to turn it into something that it is not, and cannot be. As such, I want them where the better angels of their conciences tell them they ought to be in the light of their actions and attitudes, which is not in the Roman commuion…unless they start acting differently.
The ordinations of priests is/was a problem, just not as big a problem as consecrating bishops. Ordaining priests does not have the same impact on communion as consecrating bishops. Both are illicit (and to me sinful) for in neither case did/do they have have any jurisdiction to do so. If the SSPX is really serious about integrating into the structure of the Church, then they should not be ordaining anyone. By ordaining, they are still living a life of quasi practical sedevacantism. Of course they shouldn’t be doing anything of a sacramental nature except in true “life and death” emergencies.
Given, I would be surprised if Rome made a big deal out of it at this point. The goal is to bring them fully back into the Church and so at this point fighting about this would probably counter productive. It would be nice if the SSPX would back off on ordaining for a time or were given some sort of temporary faculties to remove the legal issues from the discussion. Oh well.
I’m sorry, Fr, if this amounts to going down a rabbit hole but I think ordaining these men under the current circumstances amounts to “pushing the enevelope”, “testing the limits”, “throwing down the gauntlet” “establishing the facts on the ground” “it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission”- however you wish to call it, it seems calculated to inflame.
It is none of that. The SSPX has been ordaining priests for the last 35 years at least and is simply continuing to do so. It is no more provocative this year than it was last year.
Furthermore the SSPX is correct in saying that it was never the intention of the Pope that the lifting of the excommunications be a tool used to strangle the society.
The German Bishops are just acting like little babies, screaming and crying because someone else got a piece of candy. They are upset because the lifting of the excommunications makes a lie out of their assertion that the SSPX is outside the Church. I hope the German bishops keep it up, because they need a good smack down.
Perhaps the German Bishops are upset because every SSPX priest ordained is one more priest who opposes their ecclesiology, and who will soon be changing “their church” from the inside. The Bishops are afraid that they will be unable to “control” these priests who will, in all likelihood, reinvigorate the Catholic Church in Germany without having to resort to the “Eucharishk-A-Bob” as pictured in a previous post.
Who cares what these bishops say? They are totally irrelevant, just want more control over every lay person and groups while talking sweetly about democracy in the Church. Hypocrites.
Who cares, I would go to SSPX if the bishops let heresy and abuse have their free way in their parishes. Because I know SSPX is catholic, more catholic than some of the prelates who only want to please the world but not our Lord.
Really, who cares?
I would say: jealousy and bad conscious.
These bishops would rather see our Church dying than give in that they ever made some mistakes. That is why they HATE SSPX. Because the affirming of the SSPX is actually a silent accusation of what they have done and to what they are committed.
JM: it’s ridiculous to think that the SSPX should better back off an ordination. The candidates have done their study and they are due to be ordained. Why back off? To back off means to stop the theological education of the SSPX as a whole, what’s the aim to let young men study years in a priest seminary but not ordain them in the due time? It would only make sense if Rome will give SSPX faculties next month. But as we see, the integration of the SSPX will take quite a while, a least years, and some are saying 30 years. So how can they back off an ordination? It’s just like to suffocate the SSPX totally.
It just can’t be done. If Rome concede tacitly, than the Bishops should stop making trouble. The power of the Diocese bishops should be restricted. In the whole Church History, the Diocese bishops are always mostly interested to keep their power, to sway away from Rome. The religious orders are counterbalances to the Diocese Bishops, and the religious order have done much more to evangelize the world.
So just let SSPX to become another Jesuit Order and help our Church to spread and fortify the Faith, which is her main purpose and mission. Let the enemies of SSPX just whine.
Michael Kramer, last year for Easter Vigil I ended up at a suburban church that used pita bread for Communion. That wasn’t the only anomaly I found there so even though I know for a fact that it was a Catholic Church with a Catholic Priest, I went to the last Mass on Easter Sunday.
Cjl, weren’t the Jesuits suppressed at one time?
Did the Pope’s letter not say that the SSPX bishops have no canonical status and cannot exercise their ministry within the Church? Does this not mean that they have no faculties to ordain priests, or am I not understanding the “canonical status” issue correctly? Does this mean that the SSPX can continue to ordain priests as they have done for 35 years and maintain communion with the Pope? I am truly confused now.
I have zero confidence in anything a German bishop says. However, maybe SSPX should cut their deal and take an Apostolic Administration so we don’t have to be distracted by these pointless discussions anymore.
Bishop Fellay, sign the agreement, PLEASE!
“These statements are hardly a surprise. It is far more troubling when self-styled conservative Catholics savage the SSPX and the pre-Vatican II Church.”
AN, in order to assist our Holy Father with the present mentality we should refrain from using phrases like “the pre-
Vatican II Church” and the “the modern Church” etc. For the Church is one subject before and after the Second Vatican Council. Christ only founded one Church. May all souls find their home in her bosom.
“Did the Pope’s letter not say that the SSPX bishops have no canonical status and cannot exercise their ministry within the Church?
Rose, they’re not exercising their ministry within the Church, they’re exercising it within their society, which although not excommunicated from the church, has no canonical standing within it. It’s both a a fine line and a grey area, but that’s the law. The definition holds up. They have every right to do what they’re doing within their society, as they always have, even as the theological dialogue begins, and there’s not a thing that the German bishops can do about it except wail and gnash their teeth. Poor babies. Their pie-eyed vision of an ecumenical future didn’t materialise, the Barque of Peter has changed course, and their dingy is receding towards the horizon. The Divine Wind is blowing away from their construct, and all they can do is yell at the Holy Spirit, “Come back here!! You get back here right now!!! This instant!!!” Doesn’t work very well, you know, yelling at the Holy Spirit. They ought to know better…but then
On another subject, Fr. Steve says, “…we should refrain from using phrases like “the pre-
Vatican II Church”
I agree totally. Only today I was in the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore here, and in the biography section the title of a book caught my eye. It read: “John Paul the Great: Maker of the Post-Conciliar Church.” I thought to myself, “What a fine example of the difference between the moderninst (even if well-meaning neo-Con) interpretation of John Paul II, and the present Hermeneutic of Continuity. So many memories come flooding back, and yet it all begins to seem so long ago. I revered and respected the late Pontiff, but I’m soooo glad we are where we are, and are on the path we are treading.
God save Pope Benedict XVI. Our Lady of Victories, intercede for him.
Nan: “weren’t the Jesuits suppressed at one time?”.
Yes, so will the SSPX also become a very important part of our Church, like the Jesuits. All good religious were suspicious to the bad bishops, we can recall Franz of Assisi, who got his order affirmed only from the Pope. If all the Saints had only been left to the power and decision of the Diocese Bishops, we would have no important religious order today.
John Polhamus: “God save Pope Benedict XVI. Our Lady of Victories, intercede for him”.
So the FSSPX should stop ordaining Priests because it is an act of disobedience?
Isn’t it also an act of disobedience every time they celebrate Mass? They don’t have faculties for that either, suspended a divinis as they are.
Is anyone here seriously suggesting that all FSSPX Priests have to stop exercising Priestly ministry altogether in order to show ‘good will’?
Cjl–You are absolutely correct. The modernists in the Church HATE anything of tradition. Several years ago I was at one of those rediculous ‘Theology on Tap’ meetings where anything but Catholicism was discussed. This group was led by one of those bitter nuns who didn’t wear a habit and lived in an apartment. I went there for the express purpose of announcing the formation of a Una Voce group in the city where we lived and explained a little about the tradtional Latin Mass since I assumed many if not most of those in attendance would not be familiar with it.
The nun about blew a gasket after the meeting was over when one of the young women asked her about the traditional Mass.
Today, we are fortunate because Benedict XVI is an orthodox Catholic and by and large there are still a relatively good number of bishops supporting the Pope. Time may come when a Pope and all but one Bishop will have gone Arian or worse. I will not follow a heterodox Pope or a heterodox Bishop now or ever.
If the conservative movement is to survive in the catholic church, that is tradition, then it is important that so called traditionalists remain “men of good will”. Otherwise we look foolish, crabby, and “old fashioned”. When you yell, scream, cause arguement, it diminishes your own bullet points.
One thing I will say, and maybe I dont have all the sources the other gentlemen/ladies that come here do, is the SSPX has not responded at all to the bishops. They have left the ball in the bishops’ court, that is probably the best thing they can do.
The January lifting of the excommunications are just that – the lifting of excommunications the 4 bishops incurred in 1988. The SSPX, as outlined in the Holy Father’s letter to Catholic bishops worldwide, still does not exercise legitimate ministry. Yes, the SSPX has no authority to do ordinations. They do not celebrate the sacraments – or perform any priestly functions, for that matter – licitly – confessions and marriages are moreover are invalid.
Be all this as it may…it would be very imprudent in my view to argue for their excommunication for performing ordinations for instance. It’s true, they are not being done licitly. But the whole point of the Pope lifting the excommunications of their bishops is to set the stage for the SSPX’s eventual reconciliation with the Church. It’s one important step in that direction. Of course the SSPX is going to continue in their day-to-day activities, business as usual. We know they are not simply going to ‘paralyze’ themselves. But if the whole purpose is to eventual reconciliation, hurling excommunications isn’t going to help. In fact, the Holy Father remitted the excommunications precisely because they were not serving their purpose as a medicinal penalty.
It’s a shame they can’t refrain from committing grave sin by celebrating ordinations and masses illicitly. If they were truly about being humble servants of the Church they would abide by Her decisions and patiently await their acceptance back into communion. It’s sad and they really need our prayers.
Your mis-characterization of theology on tap is unfair.
I can’t help but feel that there is a certain amount of “silence is consent” involved with these ordinations.
If the SSPX is engaging in these negotiations in good faith, then it isn’t realistic to ask them to stop providing pastoral care to their flock.
And fourth, while the photo linked to in AP’s comment is really an outrage (no, it is not the Agnus Dei, it is supposed to be a monstrance, and the thing up there is Our Eucharistic Lord in the disguise of a big pita bread…), it is NOT in Germany but Austria.
Comment by Victor
I’m glad you said that because I honestly did know what it was. It looked to me like a big mushroom. I was wondering whether it was an application of Rahner’s concept of culturally determined Sacramental matter.
LCB – The name itself is a joke. ‘Theology on Tap’. Just another gimic. As though young Catholics have to congregate in a bar in order to make them ‘comfortable’ or the discussion ‘hip’ or ‘relevant’.
I mis-characterized nothing and nothing I wrote is ‘unfair’.
“If the SSPX is engaging in these negotiations in good faith, then it isn’t realistic to ask them to stop providing pastoral care to their flock.”
If they want to be a part of the Church, then they will have to respect Canon Law and the Law is in the German dioceses favor, which some German bishops seem keen to use not in good faith but in a vindictive fashion.
As for the SSPX, in the Church you cannot simply do as you please in the name of “Tradition” (isn’t that a oxymoron) no matter how good your cause is. They will simply have to find another diocese which would allow the ordinations. I hear a bishop in Thailand or somewhere in the Far Orient is rather sympathetic to the SSPX.
Patrick wrote: “It’s a shame they can’t refrain from committing grave sin by celebrating ordinations and masses illicitly. If they were truly about being humble servants of the Church they would abide by Her decisions and patiently await their acceptance back into communion. It’s sad and they really need our prayers.”
The situation might be irregular, but are you really suggesting that:
1. the half-million to million Catholic (yes, they are Catholics) who rely on the SSPX for the sacraments should be told to go elsewhere (which might push some truly into schism) for an indefinite period?
2. The nearly 500 SSPX priests told to stop saying Mass and celebrating any sacraments (which might destroy their vocations)?
3. The SSPX put on hold, indefinitely the ordination of nearly 30 priests for this year alone (possibly destroying those vocations and robbing the Church and the faithful of the graces from those Masses)?
4. The tens of thousands of children eductated in SSPX missions and schools throughout the world be sent home?
5. The SSPX to close its missions in Africa and Asia (far from, in some places, any other Catholic Church) which have converted hundreds of souls?
6. The hundreds of religious members of the SSPX and hundreds of religious from orders attached to the SSPX be asked to stop following their vows until the situation is legally worked out?
Are you really suggesting that? The Pope has not asked for such a drastic “sign of good will”, nor has Cardinal Castrillon. Only a German Bishops who fail to follow Canon and Liturgical Law in their own dioceses with regularity.
If you are, then you have very little experience in management. Strong handing is a last resort tactic. It usually causes more harm than good. Beating the Society over the head with its irregular situation now is pointless. They can’t fix the situation any faster than the Pope allows. The Pope himself has called for the same doctrinal discussions before any permanent solution. The SSPX has complied. Cardinal Castrillon has said he was very happy with the response to the “five conditions”. Perhaps we ought to leave it to the men who have the grace of state to figure out how to manage this problem and bring it to a resolution.
A much more workable solution, as any good manager or father will know, is to offer a gentle, but firm hand, keep the status quo for now, and work out a solution, which fixes the problems and makes everyone happy. In many cases you can get many people to compromise far more when you are gentle and take their concerns into account than point and the rules and throwing out accusations.
Objectivly a Mass offered by a priest who is suspended is a grave sin. Objectively the Ordination of men without dismissorial letters is a grave sin. Are they subjectively so, when the situation above exists. I don’t think I have a pay grade high enough to make that call, and the men who do, have been tacit on the matter. Perhaps we ought to follow their example.
I’m glad you said that because I honestly did know what it was.
Comment by RBrown
Should be: did NOT know
I don’t disagree.
The situation is unfortunate, as is the irregular state of Communion.
However, the Holy See has expressed direct displeasure and opposition to only the episcopal ordinations. On the matter of priestly ordinations it has been silent.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that silence carries a certain level of consent.
If the Bishop whose diocese this is taking place in has a problem with it, he is free to issue excommunications against all involved. But by doing so he is tacitly acknowledging that the SSPX is part of the Church, and providing them the opportunity for direct canonical recourse to Rome on the matter.
And if the Bishop won’t excommunicate over it? Again, silence implies consent.
Re: Theology on Tap
It’s perfectly reasonable to hold meetings and educational activities in pubs. Or coffeehouses, or restaurants, or bookstores, or other public venues. This is not a new thing. If people in attendance buy enough food, drink, books, etc., bars and restaurants are a lot cheaper than renting hotel conference rooms, and tons easier than inserting a lecture series into a busy parish’s limited space (and hairy personnel problems, and feuds, and insurance, and….).
Where did St. Ignatius Loyola start the Company of Jesus? In a tavern!
As with many other Catholic organizations and programs, the quality of the presentation is dependent on the person running it and the teaching prevalent in the diocese or parish. In my area, Theology on Tap is as orthodox as the day is long. In other areas, it’s not.
+Williamson says that when he stops to think of the suffering of the Holy Father, “he often weeps”
Let’s let Pope Benedict XVI and the good Bishop Fellay and the Holy Ghost take care of what is to be done and we the laity who believe in the Truths of the Catholic faith and the FSSPX pray for them.
Maureen, I think the point might be that “trying to be hip” is exactly the wrong way to go. The Church is at its best when it’s being “counter-
cultural” rather riding in tandem with the culture. I’ve been in several parishes and most “theology on taps” are run by Catholic lefties who denigrate the
“institutional” Church, as they like to refer to Holy Mother the Church. Tom
My experience is just the opposite. Of the several TOTs I’ve attended, all have been pretty solid, often providing young adults a great way to get together outside of the hook-up culture and binge drinking culture that they are surrounded by.
A pretty common discussion, that I’ve heard at these events, is complaining about the liturgical craziness of parish X, Y, or Z, and how they wish the “good mass” weren’t A) out in the sticks or B) at the crack of dawn.
LCB, you’re lucky then. The theology on tap in my parish is attended by a lot of grey hairs and spirit of Vatican II types. Tom
Do they just call themselves “Theology on Tap” or are they actually certified to use the brand, etc?
I’d like to officially eat my words:
Above I wrote, “If the Bishop whose diocese this is taking place in has a problem with it, he is free to issue excommunications against all involved. But by doing so he is tacitly acknowledging that the SSPX is part of the Church, and providing them the opportunity for direct canonical recourse to Rome on the matter.”
Humble pie. Delicious.
The “Theology on Tap” copyright is owned by Renew Ministries in Chicago… anyone who does not pay to use that copyright and seek their approval is in copyright violation. The young adult group that I am involved in hosts 3 ToT’s a year and we find it to be a very successful outreach ministry to young adults. We are always cognizant of working closely with our pastor to select approved topics and speakers that are in line with Church teachings. I’m sure there are many groups that abuse this catachetical concept, but please don’t make a blanket accusation that all ToT’s are lacking in the Truth and a product of the “spirit of Vatican II”
The CDF has asked Bishop Fellay to suspend ordinations for one year as a sign of submission. That request does not come from Germany or Austria, but from Rome.
Dominic, what is your source or authority for that statement?
Re: Theology on Tap . . . if it’s being “attended by a lot of grey hairs and spirit of Vatican II types,” then it’s probably an abuse of the Theology on Tap trademark, or else they’re doing it all wrong: ToT is specifically for young adults in their 20s and 30s. Some people go prematurely grey, of course, but the aging Spirit of Vatican II types and others of that age group are not the ones for whom ToT is designed. Also, as someone else said above, the quality of ToT will depend on the diocese or area: it’s solidly orthodox in my diocese, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in other dioceses it’s a platform for spreading heresy or undermining the Church.