Dust up between the SSPX and FSSP in Guadalajara

I was disturbed by this story, which I received by e-mail from a traditionally-minded priest.

What you will read here is hard to believe.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

SSPX Group In Mexico Attacks FSSP Church.

I have just got word from a first hand source of a terrible act committed by an SSPX group in Mexico. The FSSP Chapel of St Peter Apostle in Guadalajara (The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter) was asked to schedule a Mass for the conversion of those outside the Church, in an effort to promote true unity among all Christians. [It was, I believe the Week of Christian Unity.] The Mass was called a Mass for the conversion of sinners outside the Church, to be followed by a rosary in reparation for false ecumenism[Get that?  "false ecumenism"_… but entering stage left…] The SSPX [I wonder what his means.  The actual priest members of the SSPX, or people who follow the priests of the SSPX?] however heard through the grapevine that an ecumenical Mass was going to take place and they jumped to false conclusions. As a result, the SSPX went ballistic, [Again… who precisely would that be?] calling for a protest against the upcoming scheduled Mass at the FSSP chapel.

A first hand witness from the FSSP parish notes, "We started hearing gossip about what people were saying about us. One man said at the Mass on Sunday, [NBç] that the Pius X priest told his people to go to all these events to say the rosary in reparation for ecumenism." [That sort of sounds like the aim of the FSSP event, right?] Apparently the FSSP assistant priest who is currently at the FSSP parish wrote two emails trying to clear up the confusion before any type of protest could be organized. One email was sent to the SSPX priest, the other to all the laity of the parish, telling them that it was [NB:] not going to be an ecumenical service for the purpose of legitimizing all other Christian professions of faith outside the Catholic Church, but a Mass in reparation for false ecumenism, and praying for the  conversion of those outside the Catholic Church. These emails however were ignored by the SSPX priest, and what happened next is truly appalling.

[But wait… there’s more.] The SSPX laymen came to the FSSP church the morning before the Mass on Wednesday Jan 20th, 2010, and they spray painted the walls around the church! A first hand account wrote, "Ecumenismo no! Judas!" was spray painted in huge letters three times, almost all the way around, and one time on the side walk. One was in black and the others in red." Parishioners at the church then had to use gasoline to try and remove the graffiti from the walls and the sidewalk before Mass. That however was not the end of the malicious attack. Once again, a first hand account wrote, "We had arranged for the Choir to sing so we could have a High Mass, using the ‘missa pro  Ecclesiae Unitate‘. [A votive Mass in the pre-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.] As Mass was beginning we could hear a lot of noise outside: there was a bunch of people and someone with a megaphone or loudspeaker saying the rosary and singing hymns as loud as they could." Apparently one of the FSSP priests then went outside to try and talk to the SSPX protesters, but to no avail. Others carried signs around the church which said, "Outside the Church there is no Salvation!" (in Spanish)." The protesters also handed out fliers to those around the FSSP church, which labeled them as being evil, and as being in support of false ecumenism. The FSSP priests are in complete dismay over the vandalism committed and public disturbance incited by this SSPX group.  [They sound a bit like the circumcelliones.]

We see here why little progress has been made over the years in fully reconciling the SSPX with the Catholic Church. It is incidents like these that make charitable headway almost impossible to take place.  The FSSP are officially sanctioned by the Church to lead the way in promulgating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to the Catholic faithful. Some groups of the SSPX however, appear to have taken the FSSP as a threat to their communities. Some of the SSPX loath the fact that many people want to be in full communion with Rome. We can only hope that cooler heads will prevail, and that the talks will continue with success at a higher level in Rome. I also hope that the those in higher positions within the SSPX will acknowledge the injustice that has taken place here and put a swift stop to it.

At the very least, this is require some explanations and a meeting of mind.  Some sort of reconciliation, leading to a stronger bond that before, ought to be able to come of this, provided people don’t behave like jackasses.

Please stop and say a prayer for all involved.

Even if the report above is not entirely true, pray for those involved. 

We need closer unity and prayer is a key to bringing it about. 

There can be no true charity without prayer, and there can be no true unity without charity in truth.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This deeply saddens me. I could barely read it. Mother thrice admirable interceed for all involved.

  2. B.C.M. says:

    This is truly a tragedy for all involved. My heart goes out to the good people of Mexico who have been caught up in this painful division, O’ Clemens, O’ pia, O’ dulcis, virgo Maria, ora pro nobis sanctissima dei genetrix!

  3. mfranks says:

    Comminication is key. I believe this is a lesson in NOT to relying on email. The FSSP Priest(in my view) should have visited the SSPX priest in person – or at least should have called him. Perhaps as you say – this event will lead to a ‘meeting of the minds’ and perhaps some good will come out of this unfortunate matter.

  4. vox borealis says:


    The FSSP priest, in your mind, is to blame for not clearing up the SSPX priest’s mistaken impression…a mistake that could have been avoided if the SSPX priest visited the FSSP priest in person to find out what was actually going on?

  5. mfranks says:

    Vox Borealis – Not at all do I place blame on the SSPX priest in this matter. Sorry if I may have come accross in this matter. I was just pointing out that sending an email and assuming this be enough isn’t prudent.

    For instance, if you lived nearby or I had your phone number, I would visit or call you and not rely on email. That’s all.

  6. mfranks says:

    Oops I meant FSSP Priest…

  7. tewter says:

    This is so bad on so many fronts. To many Mexicans are nominal Catholics and participate in superstition – just go to a Mexican grocery store and you will see all sorts of things in what I call “superstition aisle”. For Catholics attached to our Gregorian rite to behave in this manner is no incentive for the average person to “come and see”.

    I have a number of friends who attend an SSPX chapel regularly. They report often that the priest at his homily takes nasty jabs at Rome and the Pope. It’s time for Bishop Fellay to tell the troups to cool it, and to reassure the people and priests of the SSPX that this kind of behavior is sinful and inappropriate. Furthermore, the SSPX needs to stop its nasty attacks against the FSSP. It is so unbecoming for priests to be doing this. It is exactly these kinds of events that drive me up the wall where the SSPX is concerned. Deliver us from evil, Our Father in heaven.

  8. Oneros says:

    The fact that they apparently ignored all attempts to clear the matter up is deplorable…but I wonder if the Church wouldn’t be in a better place today if this sort of protest had been done at REAL “ecumenical prayer services” and such.

    I’ve been asking and asking, where is the protest against communion in the hand, false ecumenism, negligent bishops, etc? Why aren’t people doing this outside our Cathedrals for REAL issues?

    Yet, instead of doing something potentially effective like that, they just fan the flames of trad infighting and factionalism. You wonder where their priorities really are.

    Still, there is something very medieval about the idea of protesting the institutional church, and not necessarily un-Catholic.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    I wonder if the SSPX leadership will denounce this?

  10. Mike says:

    Pride destroys families, marriages, religious orders, vocations, abbeys, schools, parishes, seminaries–you name it. Pride is the hammer of the devil. We need to throw the hammer over a cliff, aware that it can spring back again, and again.

  11. Heather says:

    SSPXer here…we get a lot of people that don’t really like the SSPX attending SSPX masses because they’ve got no where else. I guess that goes with the territory when you attach yourself to a range of theories–few of them have are little more than a guy on the internet–makes it hard to get the sacraments. Policing the literature rack is a full time job as they like to leave all sorts of crazy stuff there…the Siri theory, Feeneyite stuff, SSPV stuff, Traditio stuff, and here in New York we also get the Baysiders.

    I recall Father actually asking one of them not to present himself for communion after he refused to pray for the soul of JPII. (!!!)

    I read something like this, and I think a couple of hot tempered lay people with their kooky theories got together and did something stupid. You really can’t blame the priest or the SSPX for that. That priest probably has more than a few gray hairs from dealing with them already.

  12. fateagk says:

    This story has now been corroborated on the original blog that broke the story:

    Catholic Champion

    Based on the corroboration of the story, the SSPX clergy led the protest in front of the FSSP church during the Mass and rosary; the same church that had been spray painted that morning. Regardless of what the clergy of the SSPX thought was going on at the FSSP parish, at some point they should have realized this was getting out of hand – call me crazy, but the spray painted “Ecumenismo no! Judas!” on the church would have been a good indication to that. Having not been there, I am trying to be charitable in assumptions about what the SSPX clergy knew or didn’t know about the event and vandalism that had taken place.

    People get passionate about what they believe in, and apparently that has clouded the judgment of some to the point that they see what should be allies as enemies. This is very sad. We should pray that this nonsense stops, now.

  13. Heather says:

    I’d like to add, that it is unfortunate that the two priests couldn’t work it out. And although it appears the SSPX priest led the protest, I seriously doubt he had anything to do with the graffiti.

  14. kgurries says:

    I hope Bishop Fellay will intervene and help to patch things up between those involved. I can’t imagine him remaining silent in the face of this outrage.

  15. Agnes says:

    Very sad. Almost unreal that they would desecrate a church like that. Prayers for unity in truth, and unity in charity. We cannot treat any Christian communion or any religion like this. The fact that they launched this against their closest brothers is deplorable.

  16. Jack Hughes says:

    This sort of wacky stuff by SOME not all sspx’ers is part of the reason I left even though the local chapel was on my front door and instead get up at half 4-5 in the morning to go to the FSSP Chapel which is 86 miles away.

  17. Heather says:

    Jack–the Church is a hospital for sinners not a museum for saints. Why should SOME personalities affect where you attend Mass so long as the priest is holy and orthodox?

  18. Sadly, there is now more info. at the linked site this came from. Including this in the comments:

    “My name is Edgar Fernandez, I am the President of Una Voce Guadalajara and even though I was not the source for this news article I can corroborate that it is 100% accurate as I was present at the mass (a beautiful missa cantata) and I saw with my own eyes everything that is described here. To answer your questions Fr. Puga from the FSSPX was the one leading the mob with a loud speaker and Fr. Romanoski tried to talk with the people who told him that they didn’t want to speak with him.”

  19. TJerome says:

    Heather, isn’t that Jack’s choice? I avoid my parish church because the pastor is a left-wing loon and big-time Obama supporter. He’s really liberal: he hates the Pope. Go figure. Tom

  20. kgurries says:

    If there is a “silver lining” to this story then it probably involves using this outrage as a “teachable moment” to help clear up the confusion among some traditionalist regarding the nature of TRUE ecumenism vs. FALSE ecumenism. Clearly the FSSP Parish was promoting the former while the opposition could only see the later.

  21. Jack Hughes says:

    Heather – The UK district Superior was being incredibly uncharitable to the local Archbishop (not a bad man)and taking his speech at the local LMS training conference out of context (he was suggesting that +vincet wanted EMHC and lay readers at the indult Mass’s) and took pot shots at bi-ritual diocesen priests (several whom I know personally – again good men) in the monthly newsletter.

    That and the fact that several of the elderly people there essentially thought that anyone ordained/consecrated in the new rite wasn’t a priest/bishop

    I basicly thought that the people there were creating as schismatic spirit – something that Card. Hoyes warned people who attend SSPX chapels about in 2007, that and I thought that if he were still alive Mgr Lefebvre (who I still defend, beleive will be declared a Saint one day and won’t hear a bad word about) would have settled some sort agreement by now.

    It was very hard to leave the Chapel especially since I had made lots of friends there and there were a couple of young ladies my age who I might have had something with. Assuming I was living somewhere with no access to a regluar 1962 Mass I would still attend a SSPX Mass so long as they wern’t as mad as the ones in Mexico and my local Chapel.

  22. Ogard says:

    My guess is that the SSPX are probably jealous because of the staggering growth of the FSSP, both in numbers and status – that is the issue, while the SSPX are in the process of disintegration due to their irrationality.

  23. Rachel Pineda says:

    Apparently the local SSPX don’t know what a little treasure they have in Fr. Romanoski.

    Well, we all know you can’t be good intentioned without meeting with plenty of crosses.It just goes with the territory. By the way, whoever blamed this on the “Mexicans” is dead wrong. Whoever blamed this on pride is right on the mark. While certain cultures may have been steeped in a certain way of thought (superstitions etc.) for a while I don’t think you can blame this kind of stupidity on a collective “mexican superstition” and yes, I know full well what you’re talking about.

    I’m more inclined to think people in a SSPX chapel might be a bit better catechised than that, but I guess you never know. Nope I think this is just plain old fashion fear+pride. That always meets with a lovely outcome similar to this!

    So in keeping with the interntions of Father Romanoski, let’s all pray very fervently and offer up our sacrifices for our dear brothers and sisters who are not in union with Rome and against false ecuminism.

    Also, Fr. Romanoski has a devotion to Blessed Miguel Pro and our Lady of Sorrows. We could really use their intercession for his intentions and those of the Church.

  24. Maltese says:

    I think this is yellow journalism (not Fr. Z, but the original blog article). To associate an act like this with SSPX (even one parish or priest, though there are 510 of them) takes more than insinuations. Associating an act such as this with SSPX–a name which carries meaning–should give a factual basis instead of innuendo….

  25. The Egyptian says:

    Aww, the fruit(cakes) of ecumenism.

  26. Every time someone asks me if I believe in organized religion, I reply, “No, I’m a Catholic.”

  27. Sam Urfer says:

    The fruits of schism, rather. I don’t find this particularly hard to believe, at all. I wouldn’t be surprised, if the two communities are located close to each other, to find that elements in the SSPX camp were itching for a fight with the FSSP for some time. Schismatics will act in a schismatic manner.

  28. RR says:

    The hardest thing for an organization dedicated to and welded together by a long-term protest, when faced with a possible way forward together is to shift gears from protestation to cooperation. I won’t give examples from history for fear of being accused of making analogies that go too far, but that is a common hurdle for organizations of this nature.

    Often times, on the cusp of an accord, the greatest radicalization occurs. That is both for reasons of maintaining a negotiation posture as well as emphasizing that the cause which held the group together is not dissolving.

    It will be a great challenge for the SSPX to avoid that tendency as the talks with the Vatican proceed.

  29. JayneK says:

    I think we should be cautious about how we use the word schismatic. The SSPX as an organization is not schismatic. Some people who are associated with it may have schismatic attitudes.

  30. Sam Urfer says:

    I don’t use the term schismatic lightly. The SSPX is a schismatic sect. Hence the talks to end their schism, and bring them into communion with the Church. They invalidly practice the sacraments, outside the visible bonds of the Church. How much more schismatic can they gets?

    Would you prefer “separated brethren”, maybe?

  31. dcs says:

    The SSPX is a schismatic sect

    That is for the Church to decide, not you or me. We should be very cautious in using terms such as “schism” when the Church herself does not.

  32. Sedgwick says:

    This surely doesn’t sound like any SSPX I know of. And sorry, Sam Urfer, you need to get your facts straight: http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2005-1130-hoyos-30days.htm

  33. cheekypinkgirl says:

    Schism is as schism does.

  34. B.C.M. says:

    Not only is the SSPX unlikely to be actually in schism, Sam Urfer claims they invalidly perform the sacraments.

    This is profoundly untrue, as they have the necessary orders to be performing these sacraments validly. Licit and Valid are different. Vastly different.

  35. Maltese says:

    Sam: “Schismatics will act in a schismatic manner.”

    I used to feel as you do about SSPX, and I had harsh words about now venerable Pope Pius XII–see, I was schooled at the University of Michigan! When I was there, they literally had a course on Woody Allen, but I was indoctrinated to vilify V. Pius XII!

    My heart was softened towards SSPX the more I read Michael Davies, and the horrible treatment SSPX met with the hands of, in particular, Cardinal Villot (a sinister man, undoubtedly in hell) and many other churchmen. Now I’m to the point to where I think A. Lefebvre might some day be canonized–but, trust me, it has taken me many years to get to this point. My origins are as a son of an anti-christian deist father (whose fathers to many degrees were high-ranking masons) and non-church-going protestant mother. So, I’m the last to judge those on circuitous religious paths….

  36. Zosimas says:

    I question your ability to declare someone “undoubtedly” in Hell.
    It is not for us to know or surmise where someone’s soul ended up.

  37. Mr. Urfer is correct for those sacraments that do not require faculties, and this has been ventilated many times here. The SSPX have no valid faculties and therefore sacraments that that require faculties to be valid–confession and marriage–are invalidly administered by the Society’s priests. To attack Mr. Urfer on this obvious point is to send this comment box down a rabbit hole, as I am sure Fr. Z. will agree.

  38. Omit the “not” ni the first line of my post.

  39. Oneros says:

    “That is for the Church to decide, not you or me. We should be very cautious in using terms such as “schism” when the Church herself does not.”

    But the reason she does not use that term with the SSPX is, ironically, only due to an ecumenical attitude towards them! So things come full circle!

    The way this conversation has devolved is fascinating…

  40. Melody says:

    For vandalizing a holy church and disrupting a holy mass, I rate these SSPX members no better than those gay protesters who dressed up as nuns to disturb things.

    They should be sorely ashamed of themselves. Their dedication to the TLM is no excuse for their actions.

  41. Fr. A.M. says:

    This is appalling. It plays into the hands of liberal elements in the Church. How can we protest at their liberal liturgical antics when so-called traditionalists indulge in such behaviour ? I hope that Bishop Fellay will investigate the matter and issue repremands if judged necessary. Thank God such events are not typical of SSPX. However the event in Guadalajara should make us pause and think how everyone who is concerned about the liturgy and the state of the church today, conducts themselves when communicating their viewpoint, even strongly held views. Let us pray for the success of the doctrinal talks between the Holy See and SSPX. Ut unum sint.

  42. Sam Urfer says:

    Invalid or illicit that doesn’t take back from the point: This behavior from the SSPX is not surprising, even if this exact behavior has not been present before. The already existing attitudes coming from the SSPX have, in the past, led to the same and worse behavior in other groups. Schismatics will behave like schismatics. “By their fruit shall ye know them”.

    They make life more difficult for the rest of us who wish to see a vibrant and traditional liturgical life in the Church. The high-level talks, God willing, will I hope prove to be part of the solution, but the SSPX itself has been part of the problem for a while now, and the more hardened in their numbers will never be satisfied.

  43. Theodorus says:

    All those who participated in vandalizing the church should be formally excommunicated by the local Church authority and dispelled by the SSPX. No true Catholic can tolerate such satanic behavior.

  44. moon1234 says:


    So from your example we can condemn an entire group/society/order based on the actions of one/several of their members.

    You would be fine with condemning all Catholics who attend/preside over the Novus Order because of clown Masses? How about all members of Congregatio a Sancta Cruce for the actions of the few at Notre Dame?

    You try to label the SSPX as schismatic when the Vatican has said they are not? How do you explain your position trumping that of the Vatican?

  45. bob says:

    Let’s face it, the SSPX has always considered the FSSP as traitors to the “cause”. I guess in Mexico the members are a little more emotional than those in America or Europe, and therefore you get scenes like this erupting. Not surprising in my book.

  46. Sixupman says:

    Post Falls [SSPX Catholicism] comes to Guadalajara – where an unreal situation existed as to what Catholicism actually was and if you disagreed, or were out of favour, you were harassed and even “excommunicated” by the prior.

    The UK Province is now ruled by a coterie of +Williamson sycophants and the above rules apply, except not to the same extreme as Post Falls. Mater Dei, their quarterly, and Newsletters delight in denigrating BXVI.

  47. Ogard says:

    True – and let us hope that the report is false, while assuming, for the time being that it is true – but what if the SSPX authorities do not dissociate themselves from the incident and punish transgressors? There is no shortage of accusations in SSPX circles against “Rome”, and even against Pope personally (one should consult one bishop’s circular letters) and against Vatican II, for what are scandals at local level. All the more, because the “Rome” can’t possibly keep under control the whole Catholic population; they can’t even keep under control the episcopate; while the SSPX is a small institution: Bishop Fellay has only 400 priests to keep an eye on.

    The problem is that they tolerate in their midst the priests and one bishop, not to mention those who attend their Centres and are sedevacantists, who are by their attitude all but Catholic.

    And let us not forget that the traditional moral principle is: never do evil to achieve good. Surely, if what has been reported is true, it was an evil act in thoughts, words, and deeds. The priests who have encouraged it are committing material sacrilege if they offer a Mass, and if they know what they are doing they are committing a formal sin. Unless they repent, AND OFFER REPARATION TO THE FSSP, their destiny is Hell.

    Unless they are – let us hope that it is the case, although not a compliment – in a state of invincible ignorance.

  48. Ogard says:

    Maltese: “Associating an act such as this with SSPX—a name which carries meaning—should give a factual basis instead of innuendo….”

    I regret for having omitted this quote when posting the above comment. The quote was meant to be an introduction to it.

  49. Ogard says:

    “The SSPX have no valid faculties and therefore sacraments that that require faculties to be valid—confession and marriage—are invalidly administered by the Society’s priests.”

    Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P., I do dispute your basic position, but a priest does not administer a marriage: he is only a witness there in the name of the Church.

  50. Ogard says:

    There is quite a lot about “schism” and “schismatic act” in this debate. Could somebody explain the difference? I would think that a schismatic act leads into a schism those who commit the schismatic act unless they repudiate it in thoughts, words, and deeds.

    A schism is de facto status of separation from the communion is the Church in government and worship. This is a classical theology. L.Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma is a manual recommended to us by the SSPX: I obtained it in one of the Centres. Consult pp 302-303.

    There can be no dispute that the SSPX are not in communion of government, because, although nominally they accept the Pope (“of all times”, but the way) they are de facto exempting themselves from his government, and running their own affairs as if the Pope did not exist. They have stretched the notion of “supplied jurisdiction”, to the point that it is applicable – in their minds – even if disapproved by the Pope.

    Likewise, the worship. They de facto refuse to have anything to do with the New Mass. Although they admit that it is valid, they insist that it is “dangerous to faith”. They discourage people to assist at it, and themselves would never participate in it.

  51. kat says:

    Wow this is really sad. It got me thinking: In the past couple years we have seen some good things happening in the Church, some really good things: The TLM being said by more and more priests, in more and more places, drawing people to a greater sense of worship and a better understanding of the Holy Sacrifice; Rosary crusades, in which people all over the world are praying more and more Rosaries as Our Lady begged at Fatima; young priests being ordained who want to be orthodox, true to the Faith, etc,; Rome and the SSPX meeting to work out problems; we could go on. Who do you think is really really unhappy right now? SATAN. Do you believe he has power? Do you believe he wants the good in the Church to cease? Do you think he would want a successful outcome of the talks between the SSPX and Rome? Does he want the teachings of the Church believed in fullness? Does he want unity in the Church?

    Can Satan use human beings to do his bidding? You bet. Can he give people bad ideas and encourage them to follow through on them, making them think they are good? Can he twist things? Who do you think “arranged,” so to speak, that the imprudent and unwise interview of Bp. Williamson, which took place a couple months before, was publicized at the same time the Pope lifted the excommunications? Who is behind, ultimately, getting that same bishop to speak out imprudently again, in the middle of the talks with Rome? Who would have loved to see the awful event described above? Does he have the “power” to orchestrate it, whispering the ideas into the minds and souls of people who didn’t resist the temptation to do evil? Isn’t he laughing now, at seeing so many people up in arms, justly provoked to anger, by what happened especially at the desecration/graffiti on the church walls? And finally, are there not also some evil enemies of the Church, within and without, (often within who are not even suspected), who “join causes” in order to infiltrate and hurt any good? Wouldn’t Satan, and the Church’s human enemies, just LOVE to see the talks go by the wayside, be undermined?

    Someone mentioned above that often various peoples, even from radical groups, attend SSPX chapels. Then they latter give the chapel a bad name because of something they do. It will be interesting what comes out as the dust settles on the above. Is it possible that a) there was a large misunderstanding about the nature of the FSSP event, and thus the SSPX chapel did want to just “do some good” and make reparation for evil?; and that b) radicals/enemies either from within or from outside of that chapel took matters further and did evil, without the sanction of the priests, precisely in order to use the event to destroy the talks with Rome and the good that could come from it?

    I know no more about it than what I just read above. But there is no doubt in my mind, especially seeing just the reactions on this page, just who is benefitting the most…and who ultimately orchestrated it.

    As Fr. Z. so wonderfully suggests: pray; pray for those who were there; pray for the Church and unity in it (incidentally “unity in the Church” is also the monthly intention for January of the SSPX’s children’s Eucharistic Crusade, as I saw in their Regina Coeli report). Pray the Rosary, given to us by God through Our Lady as the ultimate weapon against Satan in these times. And perhaps do not be too hasty to condemn until one knows rightly who deserves the condemnation; be slow to anger.

    The devil wants turmoil in our souls, in the Church, in the world. Peace is what we need to pray for.

  52. haleype says:

    This is atrocious and it bespeaks the influence of Satan who no doubt wants to fuel hatred between the SSPX and the FSSP. Anyone who has the intention of desecrating a Catholic church and interfering with its liturgy must ask himself/herself: “What would Christ have me do under the circumstances?” And, I’m not talking about Christ throwing the money-changers out of the temple as of old. Remember, that was Christ, the Son of God, who performed those actions and he did so with the express intent of rendering homage to His Father. So, to both groups involved I ask that they get together and discuss what it is that they are really after, and to do so with the greatest respect for each other. It’s one thing to want to improve the Church and quite another to want to destroy it. In my mind both groups, the SSPX and the FSSP, are from the same origins and they really need to bury the hatchet.

  53. RR says:

    This business about schism versus schismatic acts (or really, illicit versus invalid) sounds a lot like “depends on what the meaning of is is.”

    They without regret do not fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation at a licit Catholic Mass, or go to a licit Catholic confession once a year. This is not being in the Catholic Church. If it’s not licit, it’s not licit.

    Call it whatever you like, but it is not Catholic.

    The Vatican is not using the word “schism” out of a sense of diplomacy, because it is trying to shepherd them back into the flock.

  54. ssoldie says:

    The wonderful fruits of the last 45+ years, the disunity that has been brought on by the great ecumical council of vatican II. As Fr. Louis Bouyer said five years after the council:”Unless we are blind, we must even state bluntly that what we see looks less like the hoped-for regeneration of Cathholicism than it’s accelerated—-decomposition.” What was the state of the Church in 1960? And what is the state of the Church in 2010? Cardinal Ratziger in 1984 stated: ” Certainly the results(of Vatican II) seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of everyone, beginning with those of Pope john XXIII and then of Pope Paul the VI: expected was a new Catholic unity and instead we have been exposed to dissension which to use the words of Pope Paul VI,seems to have gone from self-criticism to self-distruction. Expected was a new enthusiasm, and many wound up discourged and bored
    Expected was a great step forward, instead we find ourselves faced with a progressive process of decadence which has developed for the most part under the sign of a calling back to the Council, and has therefore contributed to discrediting it for many. The net result therefore seems negative.I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is untrovertible that thisperiod has definitly been unfavorable for the Catholic Church” Either there are many fruits of the council, or there are not.
    Cardinal Ratzinger said in 1988: The Second Vatican Council has not been treated treated as apart of the entire living Tradition on the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defind no dogma at all, and delibeately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.” Was it really the Holy Ghost guiding at the council, or was it the ‘moderate liberal periti’s’ agenda’s?

  55. robtbrown says:

    “The SSPX have no valid faculties and therefore sacraments that that require faculties to be valid—confession and marriage—are invalidly administered by the Society’s priests.”

    Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P., I do dispute your basic position, but a priest does not administer a marriage: he is only a witness there in the name of the Church.
    Comment by Ogard

    1. Canonical form requires a that the witness Catholic marriage be the local bishop or the local pastor priest (or his delegate–a another priest or a deacon. Thus, jurisdiction (which is the basis for faculties) is intrinsic to the Sacrament (and required for vality) even though Western theology says that the partners administer the Sacrament to one another.

    2. Quite rightly, the SSPX refers to the principle of Ecclesia Supplet (c. 144), making an argument that they indeed have jurisdiction. Although it is certainly possible that acc to c. 144 they have faculties for confession and matrimony, I don’t think it can be said with certainty that it they do.

    Likewise, it cannot be said that the SSPX does not have them.

  56. robtbrown says:

    Re Schism and schismatic: The argument made by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is that the SSPX consecration of bishops was a schismatic act, but that a schism requires the establishment of an organization essentially ordered toward separation from Rome, which the SSPX is not.

  57. Ogard says:

    My “I do dispute your basic position” should have been” I do NOT dispute your (i.e. Fr. Thompson’s) basic position”; otherwise, I stand by what I have said.

    The robtbrown’s paraphrase “but that a schism requires the establishment of an organization essentially ordered toward separation from Rome” might not be what the Cardinal actually meant. Could we have what he Cardinal said verbatim, because the paraphrase makes no sense: a schism is separation and not something “ordered toward separation”.

    A schismatic act is a choice, and choices are spiritual realities, which last until superseded by other incompatible choice. The SSPX schismatic act is still their choice; in other words they are in schism. They are determined to remain in their status so long as the Rome doesn’t change.

    If one has committed a mortally sinful act, he remains in a state of mortal sin so long as he does not repent. So, if one has committed a schismatic act, he remains in a state of schism so long as he doesn’t revoke what he has done.

    But regardless of this theoretical question the fact is that they refuse to submit to the Pope and refuse to participate in any way in the worship of the Church, as I have explained earlier. If this is not a schism then what is?

    Regarding the “Ecclesia Supplet (c.144)”, the SSPX are not Ecclesia, but an usurpation of it. The Pope is a supreme legislator, and it is equally a nonsense to interpret the Canon Law in a way that is incompatible with his interpretation, as it is nonsense to interpret the Bible in a way that is incompatible with the interpretation of the Church’s who is a supreme interpreter of it.

  58. JayneK says:

    To those who consider this as “not surprising for SSPX” I was very surprised. Assuming that this event really happened, it is not what I expect and not something that I consider typical. I feel admiration and gratitude to the SSPX for their role in preserving the Traditional Latin Mass. This was good and I expect more good from them.

    If this attack happened as reported, it was the work of individuals, not a reflection on the SSPX.

  59. dcs says:

    I agree with JayneK. I have heard of the SSPX interrupting services before (there was an ecumenical service that was interrupted some years ago, though the details escape me), but I have never heard of anyone associated with them vandalizing a church.

    However it seems reasonable that the SSPX leadership should condemn the acts and discipline the priest involved, lest these acts become a reflection on the SSPX.

  60. Jordanes says:

    It’s not the first time I’ve heard of SSPX priests and adherents staging protests or engaging in disruptive conduct in and outside Catholic churches, but I hadn’t heard of any church vandalism before. It’s not news that the SSPX attracts an extremist strain of those who are called or who call themselves traditionalist. Most SSPXers aren’t extremists of the sort mentioned in this report, of course.

  61. johnnyboy says:

    I don’t believe the SSPX are in Schism http://en.gloria.tv/?media=8406

  62. boko fittleworth says:

    Well I hear the whistle but I can’t go
    I’m gonna take her down to Mexico
    She said oh no
    Guadalajara won’t do

  63. JayneK says:

    @ Jordanes “It’s not news that the SSPX attracts an extremist strain of those who are called or who call themselves traditionalist.”

    I am very attracted to the SSPX. If their canonical status is regularized (as I pray it will be), I will probably attend their Masses regularly. I love the traditional Mass and so do they. That makes them attractive to me. There isn’t anything extremist about loving the traditional Mass.

  64. grhone says:

    This sounds like nothing but malicious rumour and but baiting…divided we fall. Let’s put pettiness, nastiness, and rumour-mongering aside, and join together in true Christian Charity for the common good of Christ and His Church. I would gladly suffer the buffets and blows, as did Christ, without complaining, to a good and noble end. Maybe, if this did occur as reported, we can take the suffering and insult and lay it at the foot of the Cross so that from this wrongdoing a flower of Charity can grow and flourish.

  65. dcs says:

    This sounds like nothing but malicious rumour

    There is now a picture of the graffiti at the original post.

  66. JonM says:

    I said short prayer that this incident lead to greater unity than before this terrible mistake occured. I truly prayer that this was a false report; sadly it does appear accurate.

    There is no excuse for this. SSPX has to comment on this, find out who was party this desecration, and discipline those involved.

    Let’s hope that this does not harm the efforts to reach unity and full canonical status for SSPX.

  67. mfranks says:

    Thanks Johnnyboy – I’ve always wanted to hear Michael Davies speak. That was an excellent talk that he gave on whether the SSPX is in schism.

  68. mdillon says:

    Just a few thoughts:

    The comment was made by “mfranks” that “The FSSP Priest (in my view) should have visited the SSPX priest in person – or at least should have called him. Perhaps as you say – this event will lead to a ‘meeting of the minds’ and perhaps some good will come out of this unfortunate matter.”

    My question is this: should all priests check in with SSPX before they do something, or just FSSP? I thought priest loyal to the Holy See only reported to their local ordinary. Please excuse my sarcastic tone; however, lets remember who is not “in full communion” here.

    I know Fr. Jonathan Romanoski. He is an outstanding young man–ok, maybe he is not as young as he was 9 or 10 years ago. He and I worked as sidewalk councilors outside an abortion mill in Pittsburgh, PA. At the time, we were both students at Franciscan University of Steubenville; Jonathan graduated from FUS in 2001. Jonathan (now Fr. Romanoski) always had his nose in his Latin breivery- and when he didn’t he had a smile on his face. He is a man at peace in Christ. Having seen first hand how Fr. Romanoski acts when crazy and erotic people act out (that being in front of an abortion mill), I can only imaging Fr. Romanoski being the four “C’s” (calm, cool, collected and Christ-like).

    I am rather reluctant to write this part…this reported incident made me reflect on a conversation I had with Jonathan (Fr. Romanoski) years ago while we were students at Steubenville. I told him I stopped attending the Latin Mass, (now called the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite) in 1999, because I seemed to encounter –“Traditional Catholics” who were — self-righteous, all knowing and arrogant people. Sadly, a few of my personal encounters with some members of Society of St. Pius X left me with the impression that they were extremely arrogant, self-righteous, and, most of all, angry people. (Please forgive me this is NOT an attack on good and Holy members of SSPX, I am only writing what I have observed). While I am not a proponent of discerning truth through experience, I am distressed to see my personal view of SSPX seems to transcend borders. If this report is true, Fr. Romanoski and his parishioners had no right to be treated this way.

    ..and yes, I have started attending the Ex-form again.

  69. Heather says:

    They make life more difficult for the rest of us who wish to see a vibrant and traditional liturgical life in the Church. The high-level talks, God willing, will I hope prove to be part of the solution, but the SSPX itself has been part of the problem for a while now, and the more hardened in their numbers will never be satisfied.

    Comment by Sam Urfer — 31 January 2010 @ 3:09 am

    Oh really? Your life is so much harder now that you have a Motu Propio and the Mass is free for all priests to celebrate, not just in little trad ghettos?

    There wouldn’t be a Motu Propio without the SSPX, or have you forgotten that already?

  70. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Ogard and Sam Urfer:

    Ogard stated, “A schism is de facto status of separation from the communion of the Church in government and worship.” You are both right in your assertion that the Society is in schism, if we are to be honest and use plain talk.

    In fact, it is such a good and simple definition, that if any chapel or group of priests in the SSPX were to break from the governance of the Society or begin to offer Novus Ordo Masses in their chapels, you can bet your money that the Society would show those folks to the door and not trip over themselves to avoid using the term “schismatic.”

    But outside of the Society, in the rest of the Catholic Church after Vatican II, because of the new methods of ecumenism, we avoid using terms like heretic, schismatic, or apostate.

    Those are “ugly” words; they make people “feel bad” and they do not help to foster a “climate” of mutual respect with “separated brethren.” So, you are not going to get most people to agree with you. “But Michael Davies said….” and then “Cardinal Hoyos also said….” or “if the Pope hasn’t used that term, neither should you” and so on. This is the way we deal with conflict after Vatican II. Whether it always helps to cover up real division with nice talk, I don’t know.

    Among traditional Catholics, the rule is that if we are dealing with feminist nuns, liberation theology professors, or bishops who hate Latin and EF Mass, it is all right use words like schismatic or heretical. However, if we are dealing with fellow traditional Catholics, the proper term is that they are “irregular” (like someone who didn’t take their Metamucil LOL). I know it is not a consistent rule, but that is just the way things are. Disobey this rule and we might have to label the two of you “schismatic” and banish you to the realm of uncharitable thoughts (LOL).

  71. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You wrote: “There wouldn’t be a Motu Propio without the SSPX, or have you forgotten that already?” Are you so certain about that?

    If you take that same line of reasoning, you could also say that without the Protestant Reformers, we would not have had the advantages of Trent, so thank God for the Reformation.

    There are many who advocate that a good rebellion is needed in order for greater good or reform to come about in the Church. However, there is another theory that rebellion actually disrupts the natural progression toward reform movements and causes reactions against what you were trying to accomplish.

    So, it could be argued just as well that Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X provoked in the worldwide episcopate an aversion and even hatred of the Extraordinary Form, seeing it as suspicious and a vehicle of intransigence.

    Now, instead of John Paul or Benedict being able to peacably bring a restoration of the 1962 rites, they find that the Lefebvrite movement has caused a hardened spirit and preference for “rupture” in most of the clergy. Now, priests and bishops often see Vatican II as a “super council” of rupture which must be defended and protected instead of interpreted in the light of Tradition.

  72. Sam Urfer says:

    I’m part of a local parish community that has offered EF Mass since the 1980’s (initially diocesan for about 15 years, then the Institute of Christ the King came in), in a relatively liberal diocese. The Motu Proprio is wonderful, but as Fr. Sotelo suggests, that there was a need for it is possibly because of the SSPX as much as anything else. I’m not going to thank them for creating an image of traditional Catholics as lunatics.

  73. JP Borberg says:

    With all due respect, Fr Sotelo, in much the same way that SSPX supporters can’t claim with certainty that the SSPX caused the Motu Proprio, one cannot claim that the SSPX “provoked in the worldwide episcopate an aversion and even hatred of the Extraordinary Form”. By all accounts, it was well and truly in place by the time the SSPX was established. In fact, it was one of the reasons for its establishment. Not to mention the widespread aversion to tradition and orthodoxy that was also prevalent at the time.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Maybe even Archbishop Lefebvre might look back to 40 years ago and decide he should have done things a little differently. But at the time, he was responding to requests from the faithful for an obviously Catholic liturgy and sound Catholic doctrine. It was not his fault that he was the last place they could turn for it. That, ultimately, was Rome’s.

    Are you saying the SSPX should have abandoned my parents, and those like them, when they were being persecuted by the local clergy for wanting to teach their children to about the Real Presence and the need for regular confession? Again, that wasn’t the SSPX’s fault; it was (ultimately) Rome’s.

    I for one am thankful that Archbishop didn’t stop when he was told. If he had, I would still not know what the Church really teaches, and I’d have left the faith, just like all the other souls that attended the diocesan schools with me.

    Lastly, Trent set out to correct the errors of the Protestants. Summorum Pontificum does not set out to correct the errors of the SSPX, but rather some of the errors of those who oppose what the SSPX have always been fighting for. Hence your analogy is false.

    Benedict XVI is doing an excellent job of bringing the Church back to her senses. But while I support the current Holy Father in his efforts to restore the Church after the destructive madness of the last forty years, I also support the actions of a humble Archbishop who suffered greatly because he insisted on providing for the spiritual needs of thousands of faithful Catholics who would otherwise have been abandoned by their mother.

  74. Fr_Sotelo says:


    The analogy which Heather raised was that we have the SSPX to thank for the Motu Propio. The inference is clear. Namely, although certain people condemn the rebellion of Lefebvre and the Society, it was this very rebellion which eventually forced Rome’s hand to grant complete freedom to the Tridentine Mass by eventually releasing SP. That is what Heather’s comment is asserting, I believe.

    The analogy of the Protestant Reformation is in reference to rebellion producing a desired effect on the Church; the analogy is not in reference to what documents are trying to correct. And in fact, I never stated that I was comparing the documents of Trent and Summorum Pontificum. What I was comparing was using the method of rebellion to rightful authority as a means to “get your way” in the Catholic Church.

    Thus, the Reformers wanted the Catholic Church to “shape up” and begin a drastic internal reform. After this reform was initiated by Trent, the Reformers could say, “Good. Now it’s a done deal. And see, it would not have happened without our rebellion forcing the hand of the Church.”

    Likewise, the Lefebvrites wanted the Catholic Church to liturigically “shape up” and “free” the Tridentine Mass. So now that John Paul II published the Apostolic Letter “Ecclesia Dei” and Benedict has followed with the Motu Propio, a similar line is being asserted by the apologists of the SSPX: “Good. Now it’s a done deal. And see, it would not have happened without our rebellion forcing the hand of the Church.” As I see it, from this line of thinking, my analogy holds and is logical.

    All I am saying is that I do not believe that God wishes to bring about good in the Church through acts of rebellion. I personally believe that the good which God wishes to accomplish in the Church could have been, and can be, accomplished without rebellions against the Holy See.

    We have faith in an omnipotent God, who has guided faith filled Catholics through every trial, even up to our times when people had to keep the faith under Communist repression. I personally believe that it is not necessary for good Catholics to turn to bishops and priests in suspension for preserving the True Faith.

    In fact, the vast majority of the most faithful Catholics today did not have the luxury of a nearby SSPX chapel in their darkest hours during the post-Vatican II upheavals. Yet they were able to make due with what God provided, even when it was slim pickings trying to find a reverent Mass or orthodox preachers.

    As per whether the Lefebrite rebellion has set off reactions in the clergy, I must ask if you are a priest? I am, and I can tell you that bishops and priests by and large see the SSPX as an “attacking” force from which Catholicism must be defended. I don’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, they then identify those of us who love the EF as being SSPX in disguise, a sort of fifth column in the Church.

    Those of us in the clergy who are trying to convince our confreres of the value of the EF first have to work through the baggage and issues which is caused by their very negative impressions of the SSPX. If that hyper aversion to the SSPX were not present in most priests, I personally think that the return of the EF would be smoother. That is how I personally see the fruit of the SSPX in most of the worldwide clergy.

  75. bob says:

    I tend to agree with Fr-Sotelo. THe first association that comes to mind of many priests that I have talked to when mentioning the TLM is, unfortunately, Lefebvre and excommunications. That sort of perception at a grassroots level cannot be helpful.

  76. tired student says:


    The UK Province is now ruled by a coterie of +Williamson sycophants and the above rules apply, except not to the same extreme as Post Falls. Mater Dei, their quarterly, and Newsletters delight in denigrating BXVI.

    Essentially the UK SSPX lied (a surprise? what would one expect?) when they partially muzzled Williamson from speaking out about “historical subjects”. He was on the record recently, and it appears with no impediment or shame. There is absolutely no SSPX committment to reconciliation if Williamson is given free rein to spread his filth around.

    If there is one thing I would beg of our Holy Father is to welcome genuinely penitent SSPX clergy and laity into the church on an individual basis after a written vow against hatred. I pray, remove the faculties of the bishops and let them spend their days in a monastery. Cut off the rotten leadership and the font of hatred might well abate. The Mexican SSPXers are just people looking for an excuse to rally against an imaginary hostile world and not a means to grow in faith. Perhaps the intercession of Our Lady can help SSPXers recognize that the heavenly liturgy is not a cover for their fears but rather the way to salvation through the Church. I know of no human means of saving what can be salvaged from the SSPX.

  77. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    Though I am sympathetic with most all you say with your typical sensitivity and wisdom, it seems to me that there may well be a chain of specific cause-and-effect events that leads fairly directly from Ab. Lefebvre’s establishment of the SSPX to Pope Benedict’s motu proprio (and, indeed, it’s my understanding that Cardinal Ratzinger played an integral role in most of these events).

    Wholly apart from any objective “chain of evidence” discussion or any general discussion of schismatic acts, on a subjective basis I personally feel grateful to both Ab. Lefebvre and Pope Benedict XVI for the fact that today, finally, I can regularly attend with equal devotion the Roman rite in both its old and new forms.

  78. irishgirl says:

    This is terrible. I never heard of anything like this between groups that want the same thing!

    An example of ‘good’ relations between the FSSP and SSPX happened in my area in 2007. A Requiem Mass for a woman who attended the TLM chapel I went to died after being stricken with cancer. She, along with her husband and their many children, came to Mass at the TLM chapel. They knew the FSSP priests who came to offer Mass twice a month [sometimes more]. But then they had a falling-out with the woman who organized the TLM, so they went to the SSPX church an hour’s drive away.

    When she died in the summer of 2007, the Mass was said at a church whose diocesan priest-pastor was [and still is] a great supporter of the TLM. In fact, he was trained to say the TLM by an SSPX priest. The Mass for this woman was said by the diocesan priest, with two FSSP priests as deacon and subdeacon, and the [then] pastor of the SSPX church as master of ceremonies.

    From what I could see when I attended the Mass, there was cordiality and cooperation between the FSSP and SSPX priests. No ‘blood in the sanctuary’ or anything like that.

    I hope that Bishop Fellay will say and do something to rein in the members of the Mexican flock. And I offer my Rosary everyday in the hope that the SSPX will be reconciled to the Church! Our Holy Father Benedict wants this!

  79. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I am also grateful to Archbishop Lefebvre, but for very different reasons. I am not grateful for his actions which led to his suspension, however, nor the actions which led him to be excommunicated. I don’t think that record is ever anything to be proud of.

    However, when the entire life of the Archbishop is examined, one sees an extraordinary man of great talents, totally embued with love for the Church as an amazing missionary and priest. For this, I am grateful.

    I am grateful also that in his “irregular” direction away from the Church, every priest sees numerous examples of what not to do in order to remain faithful. I see the same dynamic in the apostate Father Felicité de Lammenais, who as a great French apologist brought countless souls back to the Church, only to later turn rabidly against the Pope and break off all ties to the Church.

    Juxtapose this to the life of St. John Bosco, who also had every reason to rebel against Church authority for the shoddy way he was treated, but who refused, absolutely refused, to go into disobedience no matter how it could be rationalized.

  80. Gulielmus says:

    Terrible story, but while I have also experienced some bad behavior on the part of adherents of the SSPX, this doesn’t seem typical, deo gratias.

    I must say that the often-made claim that we should be grateful to Abp Lefebvre for his disobedience, because without him we would have no motu proprio, etc, is not persuasive. There is no way to know what might have happened if he, and those he lured away from full communion with the Church, had stayed and fought for what they believed to be right. The notion that the only way to defend Tradition was to flout it is absurd, and the claims that no other course of action would have had a desirable effect is might slender conjecture.

    Would things have been easy, or quicker? I doubt it. But we’ll never know what the outcome for Traditionally-minded Catholics would have been if the many who isolated themselves had instead worked toward a common goal, because they didn’t. Cardinal Ratzinger’s opinion was that the liturgical reform suffered because of the actions of two groups– those who innovated without restraint, and those who withdrew from the field out of attachment to older forms. Who knows where we’d be if Lefebvre, and those he led away, had stayed?

  81. MichaelJ says:

    After reading 80 posts, I can confidently conclude that anger, bitterness, hatred, pride and a violent reaction to the mere thought of reconciliation are not the sole province of the SSPX and their supporters.

    Food for thought:

    What do you suppose a reader would conclude if his only encounter with the internal strife of the Church is what he read in this post?

    Quite honestly, most of the comments from the ‘SSPX supporters’ seem to be of the “You should not judge the whole based on the actions of the few.” variety. Most of comments from the ‘SSPX detractors”, on the other hand seem to be of the “What do you expect from ‘them'” variety. Think about it

  82. JP Borberg says:

    Fr Sotelo, thank you for your reply. Your explanation shows your analogy was much deeper and more fitting than I understood the first time I read it. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  83. Heather says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    The Motu Propio came from a *specific request from the 4 SSPX bishops beginning in 2000.* Deals were offered many times, along with threats, but the SSPX did not want to settle for being relegated to a trad ghetto–they wanted the Pope to affirm what traditionalists have maintained since 1969—that the Mass was *never abrogated* and that every priest had the *right* to celebrate it. Finally, a Rosary Crusade to free the Mass was begun—and over 2 million Rosaries later—you have Summorum Pontificum.

    Catholics today who enjoy the Latin Mass via Summorum Pontificum got it through the request of these 4 “excommunicated” bishops. Priests today who celebrate the TLM because they feel like it, have that right respected because of the SSPX.

    All those years of needing an indult were based on a lie and the persecutions were an *abuse* of authority.

    You analogy to the De(Re)formation does not hold up.

  84. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I agree that my Reformation analogy is untrue, but not for the reasons you assert. It is not true because rebellion does not accomplish desired change in the Church. God accomplishes that through more noble means. In the case of the Protestants, the reforms they thought they accomplished were already underway by faithful and good Catholics. In the case of the TLM, the return of the TLM was in God’s plan already, and Lefebvre in all likelihood caused it to be postponed.

    Examples: The requests for what came through in SP were requested back in the 1970’s by Archbishop Lefebvre (not in 2000 by his suspended bishops).

    Pope Paul VI did not grant these requests. And Pope John Paul II went to his grave after one of the longest pontificates in history without granting those requests. What if the Archbishop had rallied allies in the episcopate, including his cardinal friends, instead of going the route of rebellion?? Would we have had to wait over 30 years for a Motu Propio?? No one will ever know. But wait we did. And wait. And wait. In the meantime, an entire generation of bishops and priests were ingrained with a strong dislike of the TLM seeing it as the cause of rebellion and intransigence–certainly nothing helpful to those of us trying to promote the EF right now.

    Pope Benedict XVI finally granted those requests, and there is strong foundation for stating that he was already of the mindset liturgically to free the TLM with or without anyone holding his feet to the fire.

    I don’t how history would have turned out without rebellions, either the Protestants or the Lefebvrites. But I do know for a fact that God hates rebellion against rightful authority.

  85. Heather says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    Obedience is a virtue of Justice subordinate to the theological virtue of Faith. Their are times when a faithful Catholic must disobey. God hates rebellion from the FAITH worse.

    The fact is Father, the destruction of the liturgy rests squarely on the shoulders of the “rightful authorities”.

    Historical example–St. Joan of Arc refused to obey the 47 judges at the Inquisition who ordered her to disavow her visions, her trial was later declared to be illegal and her excommunication was posthumously annulled. Perhaps she should have just done what she was told?

  86. Fr_Sotelo says:


    In the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, we read a common thread found in Aquinas and other teachers regarding the moral virtue of obedience, “We are not bound to obey a superior in a matter which does not fall within the limits of his preceptive power.”

    That is why the St. Joan analogy doesn’t hold. When she appealed to the Pope, her trial should have been suspended. When it was not suspended, the bishops had exceeded the limits of their rightful authority over her.

    In Lefebvre’s case, we are dealing with rebellion against the Pope, who rules by divine right, with a primacy over the universal Church and over each, individual member. That’s dogma. Whereas St. Joan didn’t have to obey, Lefebvre did have to obey on a matter which was within the authority of the Roman Pontiff.

    You can borrow a page from the play book of dissenters, but then you have to blithely ignore dogmas like divine institution of the Papacy, divine institution of the Papal primacy, and the submission which must be given to him on all matters of faith and morals. But if you have to ignore dogma, why are you a traditionalist to begin with? Yes, I’ve heard of the Bellarmine stuff. But there is a difference between non-action (which Bellarmine said might be done) and action which disobeys a direct order.

    I think we are pretty far now from the thread’s purpose of discussing Guadalajara, Mexico, so I’m outta here. I think we can agree that the SSPX needs prayer.

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