“Pro fidei RE-propagatione”

I received yesterday an email stating that priests of the SSPX were today going to say votive Masses “Pro fidei propagatione“.

Good idea!   I am all for what the Holy Father is promoting, including a new effort in spreading the faith. I am glad the SSPX has embraced the vision of Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity.

Also, in harmony with the Holy Father’s vision, I used the texts “Pro Ecclesiae unitate“.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Dear Father,

    Our Masses today “Pro Fidei Propagatione” were offered – hoping against hope – that Assisi III would not have the same effects as Assisi I, which reunion tended to give observers the impression that Catholics were happy for non-Catholics to remain such.

    Is that the vision of Benedict XVI? Could be an interesting discussion point for you. We’ll keep on eye on your blog for that.

    God bless you,

    Fr Jackson, SSPX

  2. Nathan says:

    Rorate Caeli has the Holy Father’s speech at Assisi posted. At first look, His Holiness appears not to be supporting syncretism in any way: “The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put “suffering-with” (compassion) and “loving-with” in place of force. His name is “God of love and peace” (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.” http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/10/assisi-iii-papal-address.html#more

    Perhaps the intentions of the SSPX in offering these Holy Masses are being granted by Our Lord.

    In Christ,

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    Every person is called toward full Eucharistic Communion with the Church, “unum, sanctam, catholicam, and apostolicam Ecclesiam”. According to Vatican II (in continuity with Catholic Tradition), anyone who, knowing that Christ has made the Church necessary for our salvation, refuses to enter or remain within it, cannot be saved. There is such a thing as baptism by blood, and by desire. Whether there are other means is known to God and I don’t think we will go wrong by speaking and acting as though there are no other means. “Dominus Iesus” is a huge favorite document of mine, though it does not exclude a certain range of opinion on salvation outside the visible unity of the Church since it confines itself to saying that the means of salvation for them is known to God.

    A fellow St Vincent de Paul volunteer yesterday was discussing church attendance with some homeless men one of whom wanted to invite me to his church that meets at a comedy club, the volunteer told the man I was happy with the church I was currently attending but did not explain that the Catholic Church is the real church and the comedy club “church” isn’t. And when he heard a mention of a particular nondenominational megachurch and said “oh, that’s an excellent church!” I was busy and could not get into it with them and it angered me the attitude this other (very involved Catholic) volunteer has, which I have discussed with him before frankly, that I remained silent rather than speak angrily (or risk discouraging the individual’s interest in believing and following Jesus, Whom he is in great need of). SSPX gets no argument from me that there is a serious problem and often totally inadequate understanding of what is true ecumenism. Catholics should know better than that a heretical community is an “excellent church”. But I also see it as a distressing and serious problem that SSPX are still in an irregular situation and without faculties, exercising ministry illicitly, because that is also counter to unity in Christ.

  4. LouiseA says:

    When Pope Benedict XVI participated in the Anglican Vespers Service, giving a blessing with Arch-Layman Williams in London this past year, was he promoting and spreading the Catholic Faith as the one true religion then, too?

  5. St. Rafael says:

    The Masses are being offered in a spirit of reparation:


    “District Superior Announcement
    Day of Reparation on October 27th for Assisi III

    Tomorrow, on October 27th, the Pope will be presiding at the interreligious meeting in Assisi. He called this reunion to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Assisi I.

    The authorities in Rome are trying their best to explain that relativism and syncretism will be avoided. However, this remains a great scandal for the Church! It is a direct attack against the first Commandment of God: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.”

    In a spirit of reparation, I have requested our priests in the United States District, where possible, to publicly offer the Mass Pro Fidei Propagatione (For the Propagation of the Faith). I have also asked for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, to be adored in a spirit of reparation for this public and grave offence. In some of our chapels where it may be more fruitful for the faithful, this day of reparation may be transferred to the following Saturday or Sunday. [please contact the nearest SSPX chapel for details]

    The fight for the defense of the Faith continues, especially against the rising ecumenism of our times.

    With my prayers and blessing, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

    Fr. Arnaud Rostand”

  6. St. Rafael says:

    It seems Assisi III is already responsible for sacrilege and blasphemy. The breaking of the first commandment continues. Gloria TV has the info.

    Inside the basilica of Saint Francis: a native African medicine man and pagan priest sang a hymn to the deity of Olokun, today October 27, 2011, during the Third Assisi Interreligious Conference of Prayer and Pilgrimage for World Peace.


  7. kat says:

    @ St. Rafael
    That is so sad and disheartening. (but not surprising)

    “Lord, that they may see.”

  8. Frankly what bothered me the most was the address of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in which he never once mentioned the name of Jesus Christ, who rambled with double-speak, becoming clear only when he advanced the green agenda. The Archbishop of Canterbury was far more clear in his witness to faith in Jesus Christ.

  9. brianvzn says:

    I guess my comment didn’t pass moderation. All i can say is that we all must pray and do penance for the intentions of all peoples converting to the One True Faith, and that God will gave mercy on all of mankind for offending the Church.

  10. albizzi says:

    To promote spreading the Faith, yes, but how to succeed if “proselitizing” is forbidden.

  11. Centristian says:

    I happened to catch the closing ceremony of this event. As I watched and listened, I could only wonder what the point of it all was, to be honest. I don’t know. I find myself inclined to side with Father Jackson (whom I have been told by a local diocesan priest and a non-SSPX layman is a very good and reasonable man) and the SSPX when it comes to this sort of thing. I say inclined, but only perhaps because my understanding of the Pope’s mind on the subject is hugely deficient.

    What does this event mean to the Sovereign Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ? While my “gut” may be inclined at first to be somewhat distasted and my soul perplexed by this event, I can only permit myself to yield to the notion that the Pope’s intentions are pure and sure. Our Lord prayed, after all, that Peter’s faith not fail. I do not believe, therefore, that the Pope believes that any of the false religions represented in his company is capable of offering salvation or true and lasting peace. Why congregate in such a publicly meaningless way with all of them, then? To me, it makes no sense. To the Pope, however, it all seems to make sense.

    It would have made more sense to me had the Pontiff taken his ferula in hand and, in Williamsonian fashion, banged it on the ground repeatedly as he publicly condemned all their flasehoods and errors one by one, relentlessly. It would have also made me laugh out loud before falling to my knees in astonished gratitude for such untimid pontifical clarity. Of course, to organize a spectacle of this nature just to diss all of one’s invited guests would not be a sensible or prudent idea and I’m not saying the pope should have done that…but I would have gotten it, at least. This event, like the other Assisi events, I simply don’t get, I’m afraid. It seemed like an empty, meaningless gesture at best.

    But the Holy Father sees things very differently, of course, and he is better equipped than I to grasp the usefulness of such things. For my confusion, however, I can only focus on the very, very refreshingly orthodox things our Pope has done and continues to do. This Assisi event I leave and walk away from. I’ll let God worry about it. I haven’t got the need to worry about it. I will never have to answer for what a pope does, after all.

    Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.

    “Let all peoples come to know that you alone are God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your flock.” -Clement of Rome

  12. LouiseA says:

    From Lucia’s 3rd Memoir:
    “A little while before going to hospital, Jacinta said to me: “It will not be long now before I go to Heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask Her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to Her. If I could only put into the hearts of all, the fire that is burning within my own heart, and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so very much!”

    God has entrusted peace to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, not to pan-religious gatherings.

  13. anna 6 says:

    It continues to surprise me how little faith some people have in Joseph Ratzinger. When will traditionalists realize that he is the best friend they could have at the Vatican.

    Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian unity.

  14. paulbailes says:

    @ anna 6

    what the Church needs is not a supposed “best friend” of traditionalists (and tradition) as pope, but a pope who is actually a traditionalist

    as long as BXVI continues to avoid the TLM himself and to laud and perpetuate the mistakes of JPII et al., he remains part of the problem not the solution

  15. Denita says:

    @anna6 Amen!

  16. JP Borberg says:

    @Centristian and anna6

    I don’t know the mind of the Pope. I don’t see knowing the mind of the Pope is relevant to the SSPX’s objection to Assisi. They are concerned about the effect the Pope’s actions will have on the ideas of the public.

    Whether the bad that comes from the Assisi meetings will in the end outweigh the good is a question worthy of discussion. That is the question the SSPX thinks it knows the answer to. Whatever the actual answer to that question is is independent of what the Holy Father intends, it depends only on what he does and how people understand his actions.

  17. Imrahil says:

    Dear Reverend* Jackson,

    what I don’t quite much understand is the SSPX’s position is the – to my eyes – confusion between contradiction and nonaffirmation.

    The Pope may have guessed that all people in the world know that he stands for the one, true religion. And that is still the Pope’s reputation in the world, to all I can see. And among non-Catholics, and such Catholics as me and you, it is the reputation of the Catholic Church. Hence, that he does not say is something as different as day and night from that he – God prevent! – would deny (i. e.: that Christ’s religion is the true religion).

    The Pope is bound (as bound as I am) not to worship other gods. The Pope is not bound to say: “Other gods are not to be worshipped” every possible instance, and that includes a prayer for peace with other religions.

    If the SSPX thinks the meeting inopportune for the sake of clarity, it is of course their plain right, and I have no opinion in the matter.

    [*I’ll wait with the title “Father”, as with the Excellencies of your Bishops, until the long-expected day finally comes. May God speed the event. “Reverend”, on the other hand, you are directly by ordination character. However, I intend no offense and would call you Father with the civil title.]

  18. Neal says:

    Hmm. Let me get this straight. The Pope launches, and then directly supports, an initiative that results in pagans praying in Catholic churches. The SSPX (unlike, for example, the FSSP) publicly disagrees with this, since worshipping strange gods in a church dedicated to the one true God is blasphemous. Fr. Z seems to think that, as they are opposed to a papal initiative, the SSPX is doing wrong. The moral? Long live unthinking obedience, I guess.

    Incidentally, Father, why no coverage of Assisi 3?

  19. Neal: Father, why no coverage of Assisi 3?

    I have to budget my time, for one thing. I can’t cover everything.

    I watched a bit of the video. I read the Pope’s speech and heard Card. Turkson. As Capt. Aubrey would put it, “Dull ain’t in it.” It was incredibly boring and I think the vaporing about it has been over the top.

    While I think that Assisi I was a disaster, Assisi III seems to have fairly benign. I heard something about a medicine man, but I haven’t seen that part yet.

    In any event, if some people didn’t like that the Vicar of Christ prayed for peace with some separated brethren and unbelievers, fine. I can live with that. I just think this was overblown.

  20. Neal says:

    So offering Masses that remind the faithful at this critical time that the Church of Christ is supposed to be converting others to the True Faith is overblown. If they offer masses in reparation for the sacrilege that has occurred, will that also be overblown?

  21. Am I the only one who sees the terrible irony of a group of priests offering illicit (and objectively sinful given their suspended status) Masses to counter the “scandal” of Assisi?

    Maybe, it’s just me but praying for reparation of scandal by committing scandal doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    Just as Assisi gives “observers the impression that Catholics were happy for non-Catholics to remain such” so the SSPX Masses give the impression that Catholic priests do not need to heed the commands of the Pope.

    Pot, meet Kettle.

  22. Fr Jackson says:


    Your distinction between contradiction and non-affirmation is indeed a good distinction to bring up. A Catholic’s obligation to profess the Faith will vary according to circumstances. I think the best answer I can give you would be simply to quote the principles from a moral theologian such as Dominic Prummer. This is from his section on Faith and the subsection on the external profession of Faith:

    “According to St. Thomas the divine precept obliges man to make an external profession of his faith when failure to do so would detract from the honor due to God or cause injury to the spiritual welfare of one’s neighbor.” (a footnote here makes reference to the old canon law 1325, p.1)

    “1. The honor due to God demands an external profession of faith : (a) when a man is questioned by public authority (not by private persons) about his faith (b) when a person is provoked even by private individuals through hatred of religion to a denial of his faith in word or deed.”

    “2. The spiritual welfare of our neighbor requires an external profession of faith when grave scandal would ensue from its omission (v.g. Libellatici amongst the early Christians.”

    So, these would be the principles to answer the question when “non-affirmation” of the Faith is allowed or not. Of course, statement of principle and application of principle are two different things. The latter is not always so easy.


    You make a good point, since perspective is essential to evaluating the truth. However, I might add to that perspective the fact that the reason the SSPX finds itself in the position where it is today was in reaction to the abuses typified by reunions such as Assisi I. Fr Z will argue, I think, that this reaction was an over-reaction, but that would be a separate discussion. In any case, you are right in seeing a link of causality between the two – but relations of causality can be complex things to analyze.

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