SSPX Bp. Fellay on the state of the “talks” and how the Holy Father is being undermined

SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay, at a recent ordination in Winona, MN, told his followers that rumors about the break down in talks with the Holy See should be taken with caution.  Fellay wanted people to know that he is supposed to meet again with the CDF, at the request of Card. Levada, in September.

Along the way there are some strong statements in support of Pope Benedict. He explains to these SSPX followers that the Holy Father’s initiatives are being blocked and undermined by the people surrounding him.  Fellay provides several examples.

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  1. Jason Keener says:

    The SSPX is right when they claim that there is a terrible and almost unprecedented crisis in the Church. It is quite telling that even the head of the CDF admits that priests, bishops, and universities are filled with heresies. One wonders why the Holy Father and the CDF do not then act with more urgency and boldness given the level of crisis. Unfortunately, I think the leadership of the Church is caught in the impossible position of trying to continue their defense of every iota of the Second Vatican Council despite the reality that some of the novelites of the Council have caused great harm and confusion.

  2. Athelstan says:

    But 95 percent of those who want the Old Mass are against the New Mass! Why do we want the Old Mass? If we were satisfied with the New, we wouldn’t even think about the Old one! Those who are against the validity or the legitimacy of the New Mass are deprived of the Old one.

    So we’re back to the problem with UE #19.

    Bishop Fellay’s language here is a bit problematic. It is certainly true that virtually all of those who attend the TLM are not fans of the novus ordo, if I may use a colloquialism. But this differs in degree and kind. At one end are those who believe it to be entirely valid and legitimate, just theologically impoverished and more prone to abuses as a result; at the other end are those who think it does not even properly confect the Eucharist, even when properly and reverently celebrated. You know the type: they will not even step foot in a church for a TLM where there is the smallest chance that there might be any reserved hosts consecrated in the Ordinary Form.

    But then it is also true that those who feel this strongly would hardly be applying to the local priest/their bishop, or in default of that, Ecclesia Dei for a TLM. They would not want anything to do with the “Novus Ordo CHurch.” They would stick with their local SSPX or independent chapel. In this sense Bishop Fellay is correct that #19 doesn’t quite make sense on its own terms. The difficulty is when he assumes that all of us who decline to attend the Ordinary Form do so because we think it is invalid and illegitimate, lock, stock and theological barrel.

    As with so many of Bishop Fellay’s homilies and speeches, you can sense the difficulty he has with followers of the Society. The SSPX bishops are certainly men of strong conviction and faith, but they are not quite as agitated as some of their followers, and – dare I say – more moderate than many. Certainly in Fellay’s case, I think. It’s a difficult balancing act. It will complicate the acceptance of any deal offered by Rome.

  3. chcrix says:

    “Certainly in Fellay’s case, I think. It’s a difficult balancing act.”

    I don’t think that Bishop Fellay is the only one with a difficult balancing act. I suspect that the one Pope Benedict has (and Pope John Paul II before him) is rather more difficult.

  4. asperges says:

    Absolutely fascinating. We need to take this very much to heart.

    Already Universae Ecclesiae is being used against traditionalists to say “you must accept the legitimacy of the new rite which is now on a par with the old.” This may be so – who said it wasn’t? – but it is turning the document’s purpose upside down; this is not the question: it is about recognition of the old rite and a confirmation that Summorum Ponticum is here to stay.

    Still strange times and that the Holy Father is being thwarted is no news. At least he is better equipped than most to deal with that. He is nobody’s puppet, DG!

  5. Athelstan: Bishop Fellay’s language here is a bit problematic. It is certainly true that virtually all of those who attend the TLM are not fans of the novus ordo, if I may use a colloquialism. But this differs in degree and kind. At one end are those who believe it to be entirely valid and legitimate, just theologically impoverished and more prone to abuses as a result; at the other end are those who think it does not even properly confect the Eucharist, even when properly and reverently celebrated.

    Yes, I zeroed in on that paragraph in the homily too, as that is clearly a huge hurdle to the Society becoming regular. I would much prefer to be able to attend the Mass in the Extraordinary Form exclusively, but I believe the Mass of Paul VI is valid because the Church says it is. If it weren’t, I’d be in an awful lot of trouble, because (a) it would mean I never received a valid Sacrament from Baptism to the age of 39, when I attended my first TLM, and (b) at present no parish within 150 miles offers the TLM. To allege that most devotees of the TLM are against the Novus Ordo does a great disservice to those of us who are trying to establish the TLM in hostile territory.

  6. For me, the situation is a lot like a runner who needs fluid after a race and has a choice between soda and water. Yes soda will hydrate the runner, but it is not nearly as effecient as water at completing the task. The same is true with the masses, yes the new mass will get the job done, but the old mass is the superior choice.

    Simply because one option (water) is superior, does not make the inferior option (soda) invalid. Under that analysis, one can be against the use of the new mass without believing it to be an invalid option. Just because 95% of old mass adherents are against the new mass, does not mean they are per se in violation of UE 19.

  7. Mike says:

    From what I see and hear, I like Fellay a lot. I would advise him to go with a more prepared script for his big-event homilies, starting today.

  8. Just like Our Lady said at Akita: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see Cardinals opposing Cardinals, Bishops against other Bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against the souls consecrated to God.” And as Pope Paul VI said in the 70’s “the smoke of satan has entered the Church.” (paraphrased from memory)

  9. RichardT says:

    Yes, I thought the claim that “95 percent of those who want the Old Mass are against the New Mass” was very unlikely.

    As others have said, there is a huge range of reasons for attending the Old Rite, including those who think that the ‘New Mass’ is not only valid but perfectly acceptable, and merely have a personal preference for the older form.

    Universae Ecclesiae refers to people who are “against the validity or legitimacy” of the ‘New Mass’. Assuming Fellay is using ‘against’ in the same sense, I’m not sure that even 95% of those who attend SSPX Masses agree with that (I certainly know that far more than 5% of people who attend my nearest SSPX Mass believe the ‘New Mass’ to be valid).

  10. ContraMundum says:

    I give Fellay all the respect due to a bishop who earned an excommunication (since lifted) for his ordination and who continues to refuse to submit himself to the Holy Father and to Mother Church.

  11. The claim–that 95% of those who want the old Mass are against the new Mass–is such poppycock that it ought not quoted uncritically. Perhaps it is true–I wouldn’t know–that a significant number of SSPX followers have reservations about the new Mass (if not its validity pe se).

    However, no such statement is true of the burgeoning number of ordinary parish members attending new TLMs in their churches. Certainly, many or most of those I attend the TLM with are also sincerely devoted to the ordinary form, and also attend it regularly, by choice and not solely by necessity.

    The serious problem I see is the inverse one. Whereas a good Roman Catholic surely should reflect the mind of the Church in venerating both forms of the Roman rite, the vast majority of people who attend the OF do not respect (much less treasure) the EF.

  12. Captain Peabody says:

    It is encouraging to hear such things from the head of the SSPX. It seems that there is a real will among the hierarchy of the SSPX for reconciliation with the Apostolic See and canonical regularization, and that there is likewise a real possibility of it coming to fruition.

    It is most heartening to see Bishop Fellay’s apparent regard and affection for the Holy Father and his actions; and the prospect of the regularized SSPX putting their seminaries, their traditional practices, and their prayers at the disposal of the Church Universal is a tantalizing one. But both the more progressive element in the Church and the SSPX are going to have to eat some crow if that is going to happen.

    Some of the statements here are fairly case in point: If the attitude of the SSPX as a whole is really “against the validity and legitimacy of the Novus Ordo,” as Bishop Fellay seems to indicate, then reconciliation becomes much more difficult. Because, ultimately, it is not merely the progressive parts of the Roman curia who are blocking reconciliation and who will need to change and relent in their opposition; it is the SSPX itself, their beliefs and actions, who are likewise placing massive stumbling blocks in the way.

    Because here is the crux of the matter; having a regular part of the Church that actively believes that an ecumenical council has taught damnable heresy and that the vast majority of the Faithful are dupes attending an invalid or illegitimate Rite will never be acceptable to Rome or to most of the world’s Bishops; and furthermore, it will never be workable. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and such.

    If there is to be regularization, then the SSPX as much as the Curia will have to make concessions. They can continue to hold strongly and firmly their beliefs about the greater extrinsic value and reverence of the EF, continue (as others before them have done) to hold older formulations about religious freedom, ecumenicism, and the like; but in the end, there must ultimately be a “Yes” on the behalf of the SSPX to the Church as it exists today, its sacraments, its Bishops, and its Popes, not a “No” as it exists today.

    This yes can and should be, as it always should be, a qualified yes, a yes that acknowledges the lacks and the flaws of the Church Militant as it exists within history at any moment, a yes that frankly acknowledges crisis, division and heresy within the Church, that constantly seeks to make the Church more perfect through bringing it into contact with its own Traditions; but ultimately, the SSPX must acknowledge that they are the sons of the Church, not its teachers, must (to quote the Angelic Doctor) “submit all to the judgment and correction of the Apostolic See,” as all the Saints and Doctors of the Church before them have done. They must practice humility.

    If they do not, if they continue to hold themselves above the Apostolic See in the manner of no Saint or Doctor before them, then the experiment of the SSPX is doomed to end in pride and failure.

  13. Alan Aversa says:

    I used to categorize the SSPX as virtually protestant, but now I greatly admire them, especially after Pope Benedict XVI lifted their four bishops’ excommunications.

    Pope Benedict must be suffering very much, but it seems the SSPX are definitely on his side. Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto!

  14. MichaelJ says:

    Sigh. It is certainly true that 95% of those who want to eat at McDonalds are “against” Burger King. So Bishop Fellay’s speculation that 95% of those who want to attend the Old Mass are against the Novus Ordo certaily seems reasonable to me. I fail to see the big deal.

    To jump from this statement to: “Ah Ha!! This proves that the SSPX is against the validity of the Novus Ordo” is absurd.

  15. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I found these remarks encouraging, for the reasons stated by Captain Peabody said.

    And regarding the two forms of the Mass? What Henry just said…

  16. RichardT says:

    MichaelJ, Fellay was talking about para 19 of Universae Ecclesiae, which is specifically about those people who are “against the validity or legitimacy” of the Novus Ordo. Therefore when he uses “against”, the natural assumption is that he gives the word the same meaning.

    Of course he may be choosing his words carefully, so that his followers can claim they mean one thing whilst he explains them differently in Rome. But it is hardly “absurd” for us to take his words at their plain meaning in the context in which he is talking.

  17. BobP says:

    Then again, anyone can say he or she believes the New Rite is valid, especially when it means he can’t get the old form any other way. I really can’t see much use for UE #19. Are the OF supporters that thin-skinned? And why just affirm the validity of the New Rite? There are over 20 other valid rites of the Church as well.

  18. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    To me it’s not whether SSPX will obey the Vatican that is of concern. They will either make doctrinal concessions to be with the See of Peter, they will become schismatic 100% with many leaving the order for FSSP, ICKSP, or other traditional orders, or they won’t budge. The only exception might be from B16 himself, Ecclesia Dei, or the CDF if they issue something with regard to doctrine or the faith to say “The men of the Church erred in X, Y, and Z. But A, B, and C still stand”. It’s simple.

    I am more concerned with many of the SSPX’s practices associated with some priests’ conduct and sermons (e.g. bad mouthing people as well as Vatican II as the Novus Ordo), as well as the fact that controversy surrounds some of their parishes/schools in North America, in particular St Mary’s Kansas and some small bits in past with the Toronto parish, and that numerous people and priests have fled the society in fear of retaliation to the point many will only write letters or tell their stories under guard of anonymity. Just do a websearch for SSPX + Agenda or SSPX + schism, and also a particular priest named Fr. Rizzo (though his story is from the 90’s, it is on multiple sites). My question is: Why then is there so much controversy with the SSPX when we see no websites nor hear of any negative conduct about the other traditional societies such as FSSP or ICKSP? (If you disagree with me, please provide me weblinks or books, etc. that show the FSSP or ICKSP in a negative light with good scholarly and critical analysis.) That to me is a red flag in which, hopefully, our Holy father will conduct a thorough investigation to the scale of that of the Legionnaires of Christ before offering them an ordinate. Furthermore, Both FSSP and ICKSP can be set up exactly like the SSPX with regards to a parish + school/community and be perfectly fine without criticism or complaint (including modesty and dress, proclaiming proper sermons, excellent and proper Catholic Catechesis and the TLM to boot!).

    Until that time, we can all only adhere to the rules of the Church, attend valid and licit churches under Her arm for our sacraments, and to pray for the SSPX, as well as the Church that they may be reconciled.

  19. mibethda says:

    The most intriguing aspect of Bishop Fellay’s remarks were his mention that some document will be forwarded from the CDF to a higher authority in September. The Bishop mentioned this after professing to have no knowledge of a rumored structure that might be in the works for the regularization of the SSPX.

  20. The SSPX has already been “regularized.” It is called the FSSP. The SSPX clergy should be encouraged to join the “regularized” group. If they cannot do so, there it is probably worthless to continue these talks. They have about as much chance of success as those with the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Eastern Orthodox, etc. As Fr. Louis Boyer once told me at lunch just before he died: “Sin is the cause of division and schism. If ecumenical dialogue does not start from a position of penance on both sides it is worthless.” I don’t see much of a spirit of penance among our partners in ecumenical dialogue right now, including the SSPX.

  21. jflare says:

    In my experience, if most who attend Mass in the OF don’t respect the traditional form, neither do most of those who attend the EF generally respect the newer form. We don’t have a problem exclusively related to form here, but also a problem of mutual intolerance for the preferences of others.
    I’m intrigued by the Extraordinary Form, yes. I’m not ready to attend Mass exclusively in that Form. I think priests ought to be well educated in both, the better to understand the “strengths” and “weaknesses” endowed within each.

  22. Sixupman says:

    Young Canadian is correct regarding that element of SSPX which is totally unacceptable. When in the UK Fr. John Rizzo was a well loved cleric and his treatment is indicative of the operation of the said element. Had that been a single example, it might have been written-off as a one-off disgruntled priest, but there are multiple cases. The injection of a French Superior into America has had a beneficial effect. The said element, generally related to +Williamson and his accolytes, will not have been eradicated. They acted without an ounce of Charity and adopted the stance and practices of the Scottish “Wee Frees”, where individual congregants where harrangued and criticised from the pulpit for their perceived divertion from norm as propogated. They even talked of “excommunication” at parish level. It appears to be the position that certain Americans are attracted to weird cults and preachers, this element is such an example embedded within SSPX.

    There are clergy who Celebrate the NOM in an appropriate manner and demand from their congregations an appropriate discipline with regard to the same. However, there appears to be an even larger number which do not and there are those who allow their parish commissars to dictate the form of service. Within sight of my son’s house is a Catholic church, I avoid it like the plague. The priest an affable soul, but his church remodelled [which he may have inherited], but The Blessed Sacrament has been stuck in a side altar – in front of which are stacked chairs! For that the PP can not be excused.

    Now we have Bishops’ Conferences openly stating that the Pope cannot dictate to them the conduct within their provinces. National Churches?

  23. moon1234 says:

    If people truely think there is not a negative attitude towards the NO in the FSSP or ICRSS then they really do not know the clergy very well. There is a REASON these Priests chose the FSSP or ICRSS and it was not just a personal preference.

    The only difference between the FSSP, ICRSS, etc. is that they are not publically vocal about their dislike of the NO and the revised forms of the sacraments. They don’t hold them as invalid, rather they are deficient, disorderd, a break with the past, etc. They will NOT say this in public nor will they convey this to those parishoners that they do not trust.

    I think the FSSP and ICRSS are very Holy men who are walking a fine line between tradition and not offending the current leaders in the Church.

    For the SSPX this is seen as capitulation and not standing up for tradition. I prefer to see it as reforming from within.

    Recently the Bishop came and said a low Mass. He remarked how many children were present. There were 7-8 families and around 70-80 children. Yes, you saw that correctly. Each family had on average 7 children present. I think this shocked the Bishop as the proportion of children per family in the EF is very high, on average, compared to those at the NO.

    Over time, we pray, those larger families will produce more priests for the Church. Those priests will most likely be “Traditional” priests. In our little group alone there are already a Priest and nun, both in traditional orders. I think the Bishop worries that all of these young people will not consider or be encouraged to be sent to the diocesean seminaries. He is most likely correct.

    I don’t doubt that these young children will be encouraged to see if the religious life is for them, but I am pretty sure the children will be guided towards traditional orders. I know I am doing just that with my young boys. THIS is what concerns Bishops with traditional communities. The Bishop thinks that there will be no vocations for the diocese. This is a false assumption though. Bishops need to be open to having parishes staffed with Priests who are devoted to only the traditional Mass and sacraments.

    When so many parishes are closing due to lack of Priests, I would think our Bishops would encourage vocations from wherever they come from.

    Think about the numbers here. If traditionally minded Catholics are having 5,6,7 or more children and the “normal” Catholics have the requsite 1,2,3 children, eventually the numbers of those traditional communities will grow and at a pace that could potentially be at a double or triple rate.

    What happens when those 80 present children at EF Mass today grow up? If only half of them get married and have the same number of children, that means there are now 2000-3200 new souls (assuming 5-8 children again) to add to the original 80 children and parents. The same “normal” parish of 80 parishoners who have only 1-3 children will have only grow by 40-320 new souls. Expand this out a generation or two and you can see why Bishops are a little concerned.

    This is what I believe the FSSP and ICRSS know and see in their parishes. They just need to wait and the seminaries will fill. ICRSS is busting at the seams in Italy. Granted it is only 80 men, but it was only 30 a few years ago. FSSP has similar growth.

    What the current magesterium can not do by fiat, time may do by birth.

  24. vivaldi says:

    In conformity with the statutes of the Society of Saint Pius X, no priest may celebrate the new, reformed rite of Mass at Holy Cross Seminary, and the  Seminarians are forbidden to attend this new rite, under any conditions whatsoever. The reason for this is that the New Mass does not adequately express the Catholic Faith, but has been profoundly influenced by protestant theology, as pointed out in the Ottaviani Intervention. It is destructive of the Faith, it is evil and it is incompatible with a true priestly formation.

    That is from the SSPX’s Australian Seminary website!

  25. Elizabeth D says:

    Although obviously this is contrary to the official SSPX way of thinking, I wonder how many of those interested in the EF Mass but who consider the OF at least valid, would actually be entirely or mostly satisfied with the Novus Ordo celebrated in Latin, “versus Deum” with dignity and reverence, with the passing of the peace omitted, with Gregorian chant, and at least the welcome possibility to kneel to receive Communion on the tongue (for instance a kneeler provided, our Bishop does this). I think this is done far too seldom, and is really just a (the) normal correct way to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and would certainly seem less “protestant”. Just the fact of the priest not facing the people seems to me the biggest thing in enabling people to understand the Mass as a sacrifice.

  26. RichardT says:

    moon1234 (2:38am), I think your maths is a little bit out.

    If there are 80 children, and half of them get married and have 5-8 children each, then there will be 200 to 320 in the next generation (fewer if some of them marry each other). An extra ‘0’ has sneaked into your estimate!

    Also you said “There were 7-8 families and around 70-80 children. … Each family had on average 7 children present”. No, that’s an average of 10 children per family. Either the families are incredibly blessed, or there were more families, or fewer children, than you estimated.

    But those are quibbles. Yours sounds like a splendid parish, with good Catholic parents.

  27. jflare says:

    moon1234, vivaldi,
    Seems to me you both highlight a circumstance that may ultimately perpetuate the current problems in the Church. Essentially, too many from both traditional and more modern camps seem to me to pound their fist on the table and say, “We’ll do it THIS WAY because I say so!!”.
    Both sides would benefit a great deal from thorough study of what the Church truly teaches and making better effort to practice what they preach.

    BTW, I stopped by the FSSP seminary in Denton, NE, not long ago. I overheard a conversation between two seminarians related to what truly fit the “Catholic” mold and what did not. Generally, it sounded as though the one felt that the newer forms of the sacraments could not be truly “Catholic” because of perceived deficiencies. Hard to tell who’s right or wrong, but it seems the liturgical and spiritual wars have done anything BUT come to a close.

  28. Jesus Brea says:

    Elizabeth, that would leave us with the actual words and concepts used in the OF… how could you reconcile the Traditional Theology of the Mass as the Sacrifice of God the Son to God the Father THROUGH the priest (as Alter Christus), with the new concept of “exchange of gifts” between God the Father and the faithful, the priest being a mere “presider”?; and how about the talmudic prayers during the “bringing of the gifts”?; the latin and the “versus Deum” and communion kneeling won’t solve the problem entirely, just disguise it, and I’m not saying the NO is invalid, just theologically suspect.

  29. Centristian says:

    Having read Bernard Fellay’s sermon, I find myself inclined to believe what he relates to his listeners. I do not, however, paint the experiences he shares with quite the same conspiratorial brush. I believe what Fellay says because of human nature, particularly as manifested within gigantic bureacracies like the Vatican. Not everyone in a large bureaucracy is always on the same page. People get things wrong and are often insufficiently informed of ever-changing policies. That’s easy enough for me to imagine with respect to the Vatican’s official position regarding the SSPX, which is delicate, irregular in many ways, and which seems to be forever in flux. It is perhaps is not very clear to many, therefore, even in the Vatican. Fellay’s own words show that it isn’t even clear to him.

    But the SSPX should understand that their case and situation are not necessarily in the forefront of everyone’s mind in Rome. The Vatican has a thousand different priorities to focus on, and the situation of the SSPX is not necessarily on the front burner. Why would it be, after all? The talks are over. In fact, I’m sure that there are plenty of Vatican officials, even high ranking ones, for whom the situation of the SSPX is something they’re vaguely aware of but not intimately acquainted with. There are surely those in the Vatican who regard the Lefebvrists as yesterday’s business, no longer something of their concern.

    Could it have happened that the unfortunate incidents that Fellay relates amount to a conspiracy against traditional Catholicism, in general, by liberal partisans within the Vatican, as he seems to suggest by his words that they do? Perhaps. Perhaps these incidents were intentional and malicious. But I doubt it. I doubt it because I, personally, cannot relate to conspiratorial thinking and because I also cannot bring myself to imagine that the Holy See, of all places, is full of nefarious creeps and villains. Dan Brown’s Church of Masons and fiends is not the Church I have come to know and love. I trust Jesus Christ’s love of His Church and his protection of the same more than to allow myself to look at the Holy See the way Fellay and the SSPX look at it.

    What is more telling to me than anything else is not so much the tales that Fellay relates, but the fact that he made of these incidents the very stuff of his “homily” on the occasion of an (illicit) ordination to the priesthood. This is what he most wanted to impart to deacons being ordained to the priesthood. He wanted to reinforce in their minds and psyches the idea of the conspiracies that he and his colleagues continue to associate with Rome. The Vatican is the enemy; the “fight”, as he calls it, “is continuing” and obtains at God’s own pleasure.

    Here they are, yet another generation of illicit Lefebvrist priests on the loose, indoctrinated as were all their colleagues who came before them, with the poisonous conspiracy theories first touted by Archbishop Lefebvre, himself. They will disperse with Fellay’s image of a nefarious Vatican firmly seated in their manipulated minds, to continue the “fight” to keep their concept of “tradition” forever against Rome and the evil men who are in power there.

  30. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Centristian, You continue to baffle and amaze my mind. Always your posts are of decent conversational tone, and chock full of sound wisdom. I totally agree with you and keep on posing here on Fr. Z.

  31. danny says:


    I am glad that the Holy See does not feel the way you do or have your opinions.
    Do you actually believe that the Holy Father and the Holy See believes that the souls of over 600,000 Catholics are old news and not important?

    There are many many people that are attached to the TLM that have no access to an Diocesan or Ecclesia Dei TLM, but they do to an FSSPX Mass.

    I have been to Diocesan, FSSP, and FSSPX Masses, and there is absolutely no difference that I can hear, in the sermons or in the Missal itself.
    I have even asked our Ordinary if my wife and I can recieve absolution from an FSSPX priest and HE gave us permission.
    Why do you have such an axe to grind with the FSSPX?

  32. moon1234 says:

    Or could it be that you have a hard time with those who question Rome and want answers? This is a very Catholic thing to do. Illicit ordinations are bad, but questioning Rome about WHY and HOW these changes were necessary. How they harmonize with previous tradition, etc. is very Catholic.

    The Pope is still human. The vatican is filled with human beings, each one of them fallen creatures. Do you allow for the possibility that Rome has made errors? If not, then you blindly follow. This is not wise and definitly not Catholic. The greatest doctors of the Church were those that challanged the Church to explain herself and her doctrines. Even these learned men sometimes got it wrong.

    The SSPX, by and large, are very good and holy men. They only want what the Church has always taught. Their desire is no different than the FSSP, ICRSS, etc. The ONLY real difference is their public outcry at what they see as problems and deficiences.

    You do have to admit that the SSPX draws a lot of attention to subjects that Rome wishes people would not draw attention to. Hopefully the status of the SSPX will be resolved soon. For now, they are all valid clergy with no official status in the Church. How sad.

  33. Centristian says:


    “Do you actually believe that the Holy Father and the Holy See believes that the souls of over 600,000 Catholics are old news and not important?”

    I wonder how genuinely concerned for the welfare of the souls of those 600,000 Catholics the illicit clergy of the SSPX who pretend to shepherd them are. So concerned for these sheep are the SSPX that they blithely bid them keep their distance from Peter and from their local bishops, and then confound their lives and souls with sordid notions from the fringe and with illicit Sacraments, marriages, and annulments. Shepherds are they? Or wolves in sheeps’ clothing?

    I have no doubt that the Shepherd calls his sheep and that Peter cares for all his flock. But the few sheep that have wandered from the fold and from the Shepherd to gather around the SSPX do not, themselves, constitute the SSPX. The SSPX is not 600,000 Catholics strong. It numbers only its members, not its followers, and so when I refer to the SSPX I refer to the SSPX, itself, not to the misguided Catholics who submit themselves to the pretended authority of the illicit SSPX clergy.

    But the salvation of the SSPX and the salvation of the souls that unfortunately surround the SSPX at the moment are not one in the same thing. Those 600,000 Catholics (if that number is accurate) can be saved by submitting to Peter, not by running away from him. They will be saved by Jesus Christ and his Church, not by the SSPX. It’s an antique notion, I know: Catholics submitting to the authority of the Pope and receiving the Sacraments legitimately from legitimate ministers of the Church. I believe this quaint notion still obtains, however.

    I’m sure Peter prays daily that those 600,000 Catholics will cease to harden their hearts against the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, who surely encourages them to look upon Christ’s Church again and there to find a home. I’m certain that Peter prays that these stray sheep will stop and listen, and that they will open their eyes, at last, and see that the enemy of their soul is not the Church 0f Jesus Christ, but rather the stubborn and stiff-necked men who have been feeding them fear, hate, exaggerations, and lies. Peter surely prays that they will understand that Bernard Fellay’s image of a Church that needs to be saved by us is a false image, indeed. We do not save the Church, after all. The Church saves us.

    Of course the Holy Father believes that fate of 600,000 souls is important. The status of the institutional SSPX does not rise to that level of importance, however. These are the wolves we’re talking about, after all. Not the sheep. Who cares whether or not the wolves feel undervalued?

    Moon 1234:

    “The SSPX, by and large, are very good and holy men.”

    If you insist. That contrasts my own impressions formed by years of experience with the SSPX, I’m afraid. And, again, I’m speaking of the institutional SSPX, not its unfortunate followers.

  34. Gulielmus says:

    Centristian, my past experience of occasional attendance at SSPX chapels with two family members who are followers fully supports everything you say. And let’s not forget that by now there are adults, some of them ordained priests, who have never in their lives attended a licit Mass, and have heard nothing but the Society’s self-justifying version of the situation. As I pray for the regularization of the SSPX, I worry about the difficulties these followers would face after a lifetime of vilification of Rome and of those who maintained unity with the Holy Father.

  35. Stephen D says:

    For all the SSPSX’s faults and the worrying things that Bishop Felay says about the ‘New Mass’, I find the contradictory attitudes within the Vatican as worrying as he does. He seems to be right to say that the Pope is being undermined. I can only applaud the bishop’s comments about the Rosary, it is a great pity but we can be sure that some (many?) of our priests, bishops and Catholic university staff would smirk at his childlike faith in the Rosary’s efficacy. He is a lot closer to the truth than many in the Church. I pray that they will return under sympathetic but firm oversight.

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