ACTION ITEM: Entrusting the SSPX to Mary and imploring God’s will

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From the SSPX comes a Communiqué asking for prayers.

Communiqué from the General House of the Society of Saint Pius X

Since the meeting on March 16, 2012, with Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, has urgently been inviting the faithful to redouble their fervor in prayer and their generosity in making sacrifices during these Holy Days of Lent and in the weeks that will follow the solemnity of Easter, that the Divine Will may be done, and it alone, after the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Olives: non mea voluntas, sed tua fiat (Luke 22:42).

The Rosary Crusade that started on Easter 2011 and is scheduled to end on Pentecost 2012 is proving more than ever to be indispensable. This is why the Society of St. Pius X, which wants only the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, turns with confidence to the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that she might obtain from her divine Son the lights necessary to know His will clearly and to carry it out courageously.

May the faithful be so kind as to offer one holy communion for this intention. May they make fully their own, in thought and in deed, the prayer that Our Lord asked us to address to our heavenly Father: Sanctificetur nomen tuum, adveniat regnum tuum, fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra; hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

Menzingen, March 29, 2012

I add my voice to this petition on the part of the superiors of the SSPX with the additional request that we also pray what Jesus prayed at the beginning of His Passion before he went to Gethsemene, during the Last Supper: Ut unum sint… let them be One.

Please offer earnest prayers and real mortifications for the healing of this rift.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Thank you for posting this, Father. I certainly will offer prayer to Our Blessed Mother for these intentions.

  2. acardnal says:


  3. irishgirl says:

    I’m praying too for the favorable conclusion of this whole situation!
    Dearest Mother Mary, come to our aid! Help your devoted children in the SSPX in returning to the Fold of your Son and to obedience to His Vicar on Earth!

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    Memorare . . . .
    Most gracious Lady, please help us all in our necessities! Bring us all to one mind in this matter, so that we may welcome our friends and brethren with a whole heart!

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    There’s still time to fix this. But not much time.

  6. I am praying. I am fasting.

    There’s still time to fix this. But not much time. I assume this means that you too are praying.

  7. MarkA says:

    @Dr. Edward Peters – “There’s still time to fix this. But not much time.”
    Dr. Peters – With all due respect, unless you have “inside information”, I suggest your comment lacks humility and charity. My prayers for you and God bless you.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I don’t post about matters of which I have inside information. Feel free to disagree with my hunch, but don’t accuse me of lack of humility and charity for expressing it. Good grief. Use words as they are intended.

  9. Clinton R. says:

    His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
    John 2:5
    For all involved in the Vatican-SSPX dialogue, very wise words to heed. Let us pray His will be done. Blessed Virgin, Mother of the Church, Mother of all, ora pro nobis. +JMJ+

  10. mgalexander says:

    There is always more time. Even if the Society does not satisfy Rome by the April deadline and “an ecclesial rupture of painful and incalculable consequences” ensues, the Society could always return later. Think of the Prodigal Son. That said, this is the best opportunity for reunion to come along in decades, and I pray for the sake of everyone involved that it not go to waste.

  11. mgalexander says:

    Until Judgment Day, of course, which could come at any time: hence the urgency and the hope that good opportunities now not be wasted.

  12. Yes, I’m praying too, but I’m also adding that the Lord will lift the veil of pride off those involved with the Society who are making the decisions for their adherents, so that they will be fully canonicalized and ALL their sacraments are valid. We need them for the sake of the EF/TLM!!!

  13. MarkA says:

    @Dr. Edward Peters – “Feel free to disagree with my hunch, but don’t accuse me of lack of humility and charity for expressing it.”
    I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were expressing a “hunch”. With due respect, I thought your comment “There’s still time to fix this. But not much time.” lacked humility and charity because I perceived your comment implied a threat – i.e., “not much time” for what?
    I apologize if that was not your intent. However, I believe that I did “use words as they are intended.”

  14. ContraMundum says:


    Always more time? Yes and no. Let’s imagine something very, very improbable: That SSPX declines to satisfy Rome by April 15, but 6 months later they make a complete reversal and accept the terms that Rome is offering. The relationship would still be damaged by the refusal, which would probably manifest itself in some sort of reduced role for the SSPX leadership. I don’t know how that would work. Perhaps they could be placed under the supervision of a Papal Delegate, like the Legion of Christ, except that I can’t imagine the SSPX leadership accepting such a condition. One way or the other, if the current round of talks fails, that failure will do real damage to the prospects for reconciliation.

    More importantly, reconciliation cannot be postponed indefinitely. There are young adults currently attending SSPX chapels who have never known a normal relationship with the Catholic Church as a whole. If they grow up and succeed their elders in leadership positions, it will be much, much harder to heal the rift than it is while men are still in power who might remember what they are missing. And if the rift lasts more than that generation, the odds are that whatever SSPX will have become won’t be capable of being grafted back anyhow — just as there is now no possibility for a clean, orderly, and comprehensive end to the Anglican Schism.

    We need to do this soon, which means we need to do this by the deadline.

  15. lgreen515 says:

    What would be an example of a real mortification? Is it just something that causes a lot of pain, and is very difficult to do (for me that would be fasting) or is it causing some kind of bodily or mental injury?

  16. Geoffrey says:

    I will continue to pray for the conversion of the SSPX and their subsequent regularization. I agree with Dr Peters. The time is now. Mother Church has been extremely patient with the follows of Lefebvre, who are in danger of going the way of the followers of Luther.

  17. St. Rafael says:

    Let’s make it clear that we are praying for their regularization. [We?] Not their conversion, not their returning to the fold, not their returning to the Church. The SSPX already have the Catholic faith. They are already inside the Catholic Church. The Holy Father has called this an internal matter. A dispute among Catholics and not schismatics. There is no schism to repair. The Catholic Church already is one and has its unity.

    The only thing the SSPX lacks and needs is regularization and ordinary jurisdiction. [I dunno about that. The steps to accept regularization might require a little more than that.] Lets’s pray that the Holy Father just gives them the faculties. Take the SSPX as they are. [They need to submit to the Roman Pontiff.] The Popes have had that power [authority] to regularize them for decades. Let the Holy Father just say the word.

  18. Prof. Basto says:

    Quodcumque dixerit vobis, FACITE.

  19. ContraMundum says:

    What do you mean “we”, paleface?

  20. albizzi says:

    I had a dream.
    I dreamed that our bishops would require their parish priests to read a text after their sunday homilies inviting their flock “to redouble their fervor in prayer and their generosity in making sacrifices during these Holy Days of Lent and in the weeks that will follow the solemnity of Easter” and start a Rosary Crusade so that the pending talks between the Vatican and the SSPX may succeed in allowing our separate brothers to come back and reunite with us in the womb of our holy Mother the RCC.
    Dreaming is not forbidden… [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  21. Centristian says:


    “If they grow up and succeed their elders in leadership positions, it will be much, much harder to heal the rift than it is while men are still in power who might remember what they are missing.”

    This has already happened; we’re past that stage. They’ve been on their own, illicitly, bear in mind, since the mid-1970s. Benedict XVI is the fourth pope to have had to endure their renegade disobedience. The fourth pope! That fact coupled with so many other complicating factors stand to make a full and meaningful reconciliation and cooperation extremely…difficult to imagine.

    Nothing is impossible for God, however, and I will, at Bernard Fellay’s request, offer my next Holy Communion for his expressed intention that God’s Will be understood by all involved and submitted to by all involved.

    May Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and his worthy successor Saint Pius X pray for us.

  22. dspecht says:

    “Help your devoted children in the SSPX in returning to the Fold of your Son..”

    puh-leez — the SSPX is NOT outside the Church! Even the Vatican holds that. [For now. Let us not forget that John Paul II did use the word “schism” in his 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta. The word is still hanging out there for all to see, like a sock on a shower rod.]

    So many (not only irishgirl – so not meant in any way personally and/or offensive!) here seem to accuse the SSPX of some pride or arrogance — but they themselfe always sound very arrogant, pride and unfair re the SSPX… puh-leez! [Puh-leez indeed. I asked for prayers and you picked a fight.]

  23. Prof. Basto says:


    Holy Church is patient with the SSPX alright, but She also has in her bosom, in full liberty of action, Leftist liberation theology priests, seminary rectors, bishops, etc., that still abound here in Latin America.

    Those who believe that there was a crackdown on wierdo leftist ideas in the Church under John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger was wrong. In spite of the Panzerkardinal nickname, the tenure of the present Pope at the helm of the Holy Office was one of the more lenient in the History of the Church. Theologians that merited excommunication were only prohibited from teaching theology, with no effect.

    In some places, perhaps, the “climate” is now better, but here where I live, seminarians still have to hide that they are traditional if they want to succeed, and Liberation theology still abounds in many places, albeit in a more discreet form.

    Abuses in the celebration of the Sacraments are still sweeping: a few weeks ago during Sunday Mass a child practiced skateboarding to the Altar (all planned by the parish priest), and then the children proceeded to read the Gospel of the Mass.

    While heresies and liturgical abuses abound on the part of those that are formally in full Communion with the Church of Rome, and while the Church of Rome fails to act decisively to quash said heresy and abuses, IN JUSTICE, the same Church HAS to be patient with the SSPX.

  24. Long-Skirts says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:
    … But not much time.

    TRUTH has no time limits. [It does if someone dies before accepting it. I asked for prayers, right?]

  25. ContraMundum says:


    But all this has still happened within living memory of the leadership. Richard Williamson was 30 in 1970. Bernard Fellay was 12 — young, but scarcely an infant. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais was apparently 25. Alfonso de Galarreta was 13.

    We all tend to think that the circumstances of our childhood define normality. Whenever I return to my hometown, I’m shocked at how it has changed; of course, it was changing during my childhood, too, but time seemed to run more slowly then, and I had nothing else with which to compare it. In the same way, SSPX is now populated with priests who are younger than these bishops and spent their childhood in an estranged state from the Catholic Church. (For now let’s set aside the word “schism”. For the purpose of what I’m saying it doesn’t matter if it was formally a schism or not, it was certainly a strained relationship, at best.) This estranged state is practically all they’ve known, and so it will seem utterly normal to them. If the rift is not repaired before the take the reins, the odds of *any* reunion diminish dramatically.

  26. Bender says:

    Does it really require a lot of sacrifice and prayer for light and courage to be able to simply say to the Holy Father, “we submit”?
    Is it really all that hard?

  27. GregH says:

    I’m not sure which is harder…regularizing the SSPX or getting Father Z a Mac.

  28. ContraMundum says:


    Getting Father Z a Big Mac on a Friday during Lent!

  29. St. Rafael says:


    Submit to what? There are no doctrines that the SSPX deny. They hold to every article of the Catholic faith. It is the Vatican who is making the SSPX jump through hoop after hoop in a way no other group has had to in history. With all sorts of secret conditions, preambles, mission statements, blood oaths, and paper shenanigans. There is no dogma or doctrine out there that needs submission to. Why doesn’t the Holy Father just regularize them? He could have done it years ago, yesterday, or even today. It has always been in the hands of the Vatican.

    [Are you purposely missing the point of what I posted at the top?]

  30. Is it possible to be both surprised and not surprise at the same time?

    I asked for prayers.

    Can you defenders of the SSPX not simply pray?

    And I will remind you lay people that you do NOT belong to the SSPX, which is a priestly fraternity.

    My advice to you, and this will sound fairly traditional and therefore pleasing, is “Kneel down, be quiet, and pray”.

  31. wmeyer says:

    I shall pray for an agreement between the SSPX and Rome. The Church will benefit from what the SSPX fathers have preserved. And on a purely selfish note, there is an SSPX chapel much closer to me than the FSSP parish. Those are, to my knowledge, the only two locations in the Archdiocese where the Latin Mass is celebrated.

  32. petrus69 says:

    Archbishop Lefebvre place the Priestly Society of St. Pius X under the patronage and protection of Our Lady of Sorrows, SO PLEASE GOOD PEOPLE GO TO HER AND INVOKE HER INTERCESSION. Now is not the time to quibble over words.

    [Excellent reminder!]

    Fr Z's Gold Star Award

  33. Mike says:

    I offered my intention at Holy Communion for this healing of the rift, and the Benedict XVI’s intentions be done as the Lord wills.

    I am delighted to say I know half a dozen 20-something Catholics in my immediate work environment really praying and hoping for an accord.

    So long 1970s!

  34. To say that there is not much time is true. Christian civilization is under assault from within and without, and we do not have a lot of time to rally the troops for a counteroffensive.

  35. MarkA says:

    @ petrus69 – “Archbishop Lefebvre place the Priestly Society of St. Pius X under the patronage and protection of Our Lady of Sorrows”

    I didn’t know that. Perfect – tomorrow is the Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (per the ’62 calendar). I’ll continue my daily rosary of the Seven Sorrows at Mass and the Stations tomorrow.

    Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix.

  36. JonPatrick says:

    MarkA thanks for the reminder about the 7 sorrows tomorrow! I will pray that with the intention of unity between the FSSPX and Holy Mother Church.

  37. muckemdanno says:

    Fr Z, you point out that Pope John Paul used the word “schism” in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta. But, have you forgotten that this document does not apply today? “The Decree issued at that time no longer has juridical effect.” – Cardinal Re, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, 21 January 2009 [Not relevant. That wasn’t a juridical statement. Nor did I say it was.]

    Therefore, “St Rafael” and “dspecht” above are correct. The priests and bishops of the SSPX are Catholics in Communion with the Catholic Church and the Pope. [Sure, and they are also suspended from exercising Holy Orders, may not witness marriages or validly hear sacramental confessions and they openly disobey the Roman Pontiff. Happily, since they are not formally excommunicated they may now go to confession to a confessor with faculties.] None of us one has any authority to judge otherwise. What remains is whether the Pope will offer the SSPX canonical faculties.

    [I will now bring this back to the purpose for which it was intended.]

  38. muckemdanno says:

    …which I am praying for!

  39. Charles E Flynn says:

    To repeat, falling off the starboard side of the Barque of Saint Peter is not preferable to falling off the port side, although it may require more reading. In the end, those who fall off either side wind up all wet.

  40. Virgile says:

    I will pray

  41. Bender says:

    Rafael: Submit to what?

    Submit to whatever the Successor of Peter says. Period.

    Not, “well, we’d like this to be changed, or we insist that that be modified,” but simply and in all humility, “Yes, Holy Father, we are lowly servants, nothing more.”

  42. RJHighland says:

    My family and I are praying the Rosary daily for this to be over what ever it is. The verbiage from Rome seams to change on a regular basis yet the actions of the Church appear to be moving closer to the practices of the SSPX than the other way around. This blog is a testament to that. It amazes me that Arch. Bishop Lefebvre started this priestly order to maintain the traditions of the mass prior to Pope Paul VI and it has, yet it is in some form of irregular communion because it refuses to change what was valid for centuries. I think this is why some say if not now at sometime in the near future this will be resolved simply by the gravitational pull of the Church back to what is holy and wholly found in the TLM. That is why they have held on to it. How I ended up in a SSPX parish is because the local Bishop removed the only local priest that celebrated the TLM in the Dioceses and offered the sacraments in the old rite. When you want a glass of orange juice why settle for Tang? What the argument came down to for me was simple, is the Lord present or does the matter remain simply bread and wine. The Vatican states He is present there fore I am present to receive Him. Rome has never ruled against the validity of the sacraments of the SSPX, but only has stated that they are irregular but valid. So it is or it isn’t as of today it is. There are members in my parish that have never been to a Novus Ordo mass. One such young man at the age of 11 recently assisted/attended a Novus Ordo mass and after the mass his first question to his father was “Was that Catholic?”. His father replied that “it is valid but most people in there think that we are schismatic’s”. The son’s response was “you’re kidding right.” I see many parralels between the Arian parishes and orthodox parishes during the 4th and 5th century and the Novus Ordo and TLM parishes of today but today they often share the same building. This whole ordeal also reminds me of when Paul challenged Peter on his inconsistencies depending on his being in the company of Jews or Gentiles. I believe the SSPX is simply trying to get Peter to be consistent. Let us all pray for our Lord’s will to be done in this matter and pray that Fr. Z is right that Pope Benedict XVI is the great unifier.

  43. Cathy says:

    Your humble request is my delight, praying!

  44. Andrew says:

    Placing this important request of the regularization of the SSPX in to the hands of Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross, the Coredemptrix of the human race, and the Mediatrix of all Graces. (Just as an aside, the Society along with some other groups in the Church, supports this prerogtaive of Mary, being defined a dogma!)

    The Blessed Virgin Mary suffers deeply at the wounds in her daughter, the Spouse of her beloved Son We call dear Mother into that perfect offering an uniting of yourself at Calvary, to obtain the power for this marvellous grace to be obtained.

    I remember during the Marian Year in 1988, we were also imploring Our Lady when it looked like there would be an agreement between Rome and the SSPX, but was very sadly not achieved.

    Things all changed during the Jubilee Year 2000, with the pilgrimage of Society members to the four patriarchal basilicas, causing many Vatican offiicals who were looking at the extraordinary display of piety from their windows, and asked themeselves, “Who are these people”.

    When John Paul II wrote the apostolic exhortaton Tertio Millenio Adveniente, he said one of the important themes of the Jubilee was reconciliation between people, asking us to reflect on the Old Testament tradition.

    How beautiful if just 12years after this, the reconciliation between the SSPX and the Holy See, is achieved. The future then looks good for restoring orthodoxy and proper liturgical practice, throughout the Catholic Church. I believe this would be infectious, if this communion is achieved.

    We would also be closer to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima, which Pope Benedict last year, hoped would happen by around 2017, the year of the centenary of the apparitions.

    So guys let us put all the polemics aside, therei s nothing left but entrusting this to the one who said yes. All we need to do ie reiterate her fiat.

  45. James Waters says:

    Earnestly and sincerely praying….
    …we must pray especially for the “hardliners” who are opposed to any reconciliation with Rome.
    We must pray also for those laity with the SSPX who have become mired in a profoundly schismatic mindset, and who simply want nothing to do with any other Catholics, for whom the SSPX is “THE Church”, and who would rather not attend Mass than attend even a Traditional Latin Mass said by a non-SSPX priest (yes, this is a common attitude, and one promoted by the hardline wing). Who see marriage to a non-SSPX Catholic as a “mixed marriage” (embedded and expressed in SSPX marriage policies in some parts of the world, including my own). This is especially the case with the younger generation of adults who know nothing but the SSPX – what has been said about the dangers of prolonging the division is very true; my own family-in-law of perfect examples of this, and I pray daily for them.

  46. mgalexander says:

    Bender’s exhortation to “Submit to whatever the Successor of Peter says. Period” is problematic. How is that consistent with St Paul’s instruction in Galatians 1:8 and repeated for emphasis in the following verse? Should Catholics have submitted, without requesting changes or insisting on modifications, to Honorius I on Monothelism or John XXII on the beatific vision? The Church at those times and thereafter didn’t think so.

    Note that I am addressing the principle, not the question of whether the Society of Saint Pius X is justified in this case. If Bender is addressing this specific case only and not a general principal, might he perhaps clarify that?

  47. trusting says: join! it is an international initiative. We want to take Holy Communion during Easter Triduum with intention for a good solution and fullfilling God’s will after SSPX- Holy See talks. Invite also your friends!

  48. Gulielmus says:

    I’m praying fervently for this intention. I have two relatives whose families attend SSPX chapels (which are not “parishes,” RJHishland), and I see the bad fruits of the division in the children of one, who have never attended a Mass that was licitly celebrated, and whose attitude toward Rome and the Holy Father they pray for is one of condescension and even revulsion. I fear the response of that family if the Society reconciles– the other cousin and her family would, I think, be content. It is a tangled situation– Fr Z is right. Pray.

  49. Bender says:

    If Bender is addressing this specific case only and not a general principal, might he perhaps clarify that?

    Where Peter is, there is the Church. Yes, submit. Even if you think him wrong, even if he is wrong, submit. Obedience and unity.

    But especially with the SSPX — we are WAY past any consideration of doctrine, etc. It is now entirely a matter of full communion with the Church versus the obstinate will of those who put themselves above the Holy Father.

    We are way past negotiations and discussions and dialogue. We have now come to the point where the only answer of the SSPX can be “how high?” No more questions, no more back talk, no more reserving the right to continue this game — the only acceptable answer now is, “how high do you want us to jump, Your Holiness.”

    If the Pope says Vatican II established that the moon is made of green cheese, then the SSPX needs to salute and say, “yes, sir, we agree.” It is not for the SSPX to judge what the “true” Catholic Faith is, it is not for the SSPX to judge what the Council did or did not do.

    We are beyond questions of doctrine, we are beyond dialoging on the nature of this council or that. We have arrived entirely and completely at the point of HUMILITY and OBEDIENCE and DUTY and SUBMISSION.

  50. kat says:

    “If the Pope says Vatican II established that the moon is made of green cheese, then the SSPX needs to salute and say, “yes, sir, we agree.””


    Well, let’s run with that logic…

    And if the President burns the Constitution and tells us we are now all state slaves, we are also to agree, because he is the lawful ruler of the land. And when the Courts uphold his laws and say we had better limit the number of children we have by abortion, as in China, we’d better obey that too.

    And if your father tells you to go steal your neighbor’s car, then do so, because you owe him obedience; oh, and if you disobey him and tell him that he is in error, then you must automatically mean that he is not truly your father and you are no longer his child, becaus you disobeyed, and disobedience automatically means your separation from him as your father. (By this notion, I guess none of my chldren really belong in my household anymore, since they’ve all disobeyed me at one time or another.)

    Sorry. The highest law is the salvation of souls. Not black and white “obedience” for obedience’ sake. Perhaps if more people had stood up when the nonsense began and said “NO” to their liberal bishops and pastors, instead of saying “Father said so, it must be ok” maybe things would not have degenerated in the Church the way it did. Some people DID fight the changes. I know my parents did in their parish. But they were in the minority, and soon had to find another church and priest, and then another. Their parish was no longer teaching the Faith in the 1970’s.

    Anyway, I’m praying for a positive outcome here, which is what the post is all about to begin with. Our Lady of Sorrows, protect the Holy Father and the Church and the Faith. May the Holy Ghost, through His Blessed Spouse, enlighten all involved to do what is best for the salvation of souls and Holy Mother the Church.

  51. Bender says:

    You put yourself above Peter, kat.

    Like I said, we are past arguing about the substance of the Faith. It is now solely a matter of the SSPX returning to full communion with the Church, accepting the judgment of the Holy Father completely.

    If the general says, “take that hill,” you salute sharply and say, “yes sir.” You do not argue with him over whether it is right or good or proper. The SSPX has had decades of doing that. It is now time to obey.

    Jesus values obedience and unity far more than the SSPX understands in their obstinance.

  52. Andrew says:

    In regard to the dilemma of whether to obey divine authority over human authority, here is a lesson from the life of mystic, St Gertrude.

    One time, as often happened, she was experiencing a vision of Our Lord. During the apparition she heard the bell calling the Sisters to prayer, and regretted leaving, but told Him she had to depart.

    Our Lord praised her action and said, “If you had tried to stay, I would have fled”.

    As the prophet Samuel told Saul, the first king of Israel in the Old Testament “Obedience is better than sacrifice”.

  53. MarkA says:

    @Bender – Your argument is specious.
    “If the general says, “take that hill,” you salute sharply and say, “yes sir.””
    If the general (or any officer) says “kill those women and children”, you do not salute sharply and say “yes sir”. Remember Auschwitz or My Lai?
    If Pope Alexander VI and his son Cardinal Cesare Borgia, told someone to attend an orgy and fornicate, as they did with the Banquet of Chestnuts in 1501, are you to say “yes sir” because Alexander VI is in the seat of Peter?

    While “Jesus values obedience and unity”, he values souls most. To amplify Kat’s point, The 1983 Code of Canon Law states that “the supreme law is the salvation of souls” (CIC #1752). Or perhaps St. Thomas Aquinas got it wrong and obedience is a higher than the salvation of souls.

    My continued prayers and sacrifice for our beloved supreme Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Fellay and all the faithful. May God’s will be done.

  54. ContraMundum says:


    So, what exactly is your “beloved supreme Pontiff” asking of SSPX that you consider the equivalent of an orgy? If he really is asking something that bad, then does SSPX *really* want to be in communion with him?

    Please understand that comments like the one you just made do not make me yearn for a full and seamless communion with SSPX. They make me wonder whether SSPX isn’t just like the Legion of Christ; an organization that should be completely disbanded for the good of the faithful, especially their own membership.

  55. MarkA says:


    Your comment is beyond specious. You draw fallacious parallels between my comment to Bender regarding blind obedience using an example of Pope Alexander VI to the current discussions between Bishop Fellay and Pope Benedict XVI. Those parallels were neither intended nor implied. I’m sorry you drew them and reached the conclusions you stated.

    Very few people know what these discussions contain (the preamble has not been published); certainly no one on these comment threads are privileged to their content. Yet it has not stopped provocative, uncharitable comments from being posted about this topic, when humility, charity and prayers would better serve the faithful in this situation.

    As an act of charity, I will no longer post comments on this thread. I do not want to cause scandal. Please pray for me; I will pray for you. Please keep in my that I am not a “member” of the SSPX; I am a faithful Catholic that has attended the Holy sacrifice of the Mass at their chapel for the past year. I have not witnessed any rancor or vitriol from the faithful at the SSPX chapel. God bless you.

  56. ContraMundum says:


    No, you do not get off that easy. You deliberately brought up a sacrilegious “thought experiment”. You are not allowed to then say, “Hey, I was talking in hypotheticals. I can’t be blamed for that. I never actually *said* that Benedict XVI was suggesting something as sinful as an orgy. I merely *implied* that. And hey, since none of us know what’s in these discussions, maybe — hypothetically — there is something that sinful.”

    No. Either retract your comment, or stand by it. Or admit that it is, unlike the arguments you don’t like, the very dictionary definition of specious. Your example was not only sacrilegious but also (you now seem to admit) completely irrelevant to the subject under discussion.

  57. robtbrown says:

    Centristian says:

    This has already happened; we’re past that stage. They’ve been on their own, illicitly, bear in mind, since the mid-1970s. Benedict XVI is the fourth pope to have had to endure their renegade disobedience. The fourth pope! That fact coupled with so many other complicating factors stand to make a full and meaningful reconciliation and cooperation extremely…difficult to imagine.

    Not really accurate. Under Paul VI there was active persecution of the SSPX, due to their opposition to the liturgical disaster since 1965 and the actions of the French bishops, who were beyond liberal.

    When JPII became pope he immediately wanted to give global permission for the 1962 Missal, but a prominent Cardinal, who was in fact sympathetic to the SSPX, told the pope that such a move would spit in the face of Paul VI. So the face of the corpse of Papa Montini was spittle free–but a schism followed.

    In fact, BXVI is the only pope to have actively sought SSPX reunion with Rome.

  58. irishgirl says:

    @dspecht: I certainly meant no arrogance in my prayer that the SSPX ‘return to the true Fold’.
    Wrong choice of words, I suppose. I am forever capable of ‘opening my mouth and inserting my foot’.
    I apologize. I merely prayed that this entire affair between the SSPX and the Vatican will have a favorable conclusion.
    We need good strong priests like the SSPXers in the Church.
    Period. End of story.

  59. pm125 says:

    Our Lord knows the Sorrows of His Mother from His conception to His death then Resurrection, and, I believe, the countless sorrows we bring to her now. I hope that unity will help serve to balance this boat because the waters are choppy.

  60. The Cobbler says:

    “While “Jesus values obedience and unity”, he values souls most.”
    That distinction risks overlooking a crucial point: Unless the should-be authority commands/requests something clearly against the moral law or established orthodox teaching, what “Jesus values obedience” means is precisely that obedience is central to saving souls.

    The big question is where and how even accepting a canonical position in the Church would have meant either holding/stating heresy or formally cooperating in moral evil. Yes, I realize now they’re being made to go through these doctrinal discussions — as I understand it, that’s because they’ve put themselves in a canonically irregular position due to their objection that anything else would have required their assent to moral evil and/or heresy. In other words, it seems to me that the point of the discussions is to investigate whether their case really does stand or not. Quite frankly, while I know I’m supposed to find out and follow the Truth, I don’t think my vocation calls me to be an authority on the ambiguous matters, which is all I’ve ever heard of when it comes to VII and the SSPX’s objections.* But then, maybe there really are points that are definite rather than ambiguous as it has seemed to me; again, that’s why the talks, to get some official doctrinal work going on rather than leaving it to us laymen arguing over whose side we should be on.

    *E.g. deemphasis, not denial, of Christ’s Sacrifice in the Mass; emphasis on the possibility of extraordinary mercy of God without corresponding emphasis on the fact that this would be extraordinary and that everyone is ordinarly obliged to learn enough about the Church’s claim to see whether it’s truthful, which objectively it is; emphasis on an individual’s search for truth without always corresponding emphasis that objectively they ought to find that the Catholic Church’s teachings are it; etc. — many places the Church could be clearer these days, but often where it sounds as though SSPX supporters would prefer the Church step into the opposite heresies — at least if my knowledge of Aquinas and the like is correct — of denying that God _could_ act in extraordinary mercy outside the ordinary means of salvation, etc.

    As for the offending “comparison”, MarkA has commited a classic example of a Hitler Analogy — an extreme example intended to make the point obvious that instead does just the opposite because everyone gets hung up on the disproportionality of the extreme to the current discussion and fret about it being a “comparison” instead of seeing the intended point. I’ve seen that sort of thing plenty of times — pro-lifers will accurately note that various pro-choice philosophies are not logically distinguishable from those used by the Nazis to justify genocide, only to have everyone in the world miss the point because ZOMG HOW CAN YOU COMPARE PEOPLE TO NAZIS! (And although in truth abortion in this part of the world has killed enough people to compare easily with genocide, you have to first get people to realize abortion is killing before they’re capable of seeing that, not the other way around. In general, while one can certainly err in the opposite direction by tiptoeing around the Truth altogether, throwing the whole Truth at people without regard for which part they’re actually having a problem with and whether you can clear that problem up is typically not the most effective witness — that’s human nature, something we’re supposed to deal with as Catholics.)

  61. The Cobbler says:

    All that said, we can’t go wrong entrusting them and the rest of the Church to Mary. There’s one point I unambiguously agree with the SSPX on. ;^)

  62. Bender says:

    “we can’t go wrong entrusting them and the rest of the Church to Mary”

    Mary (and Abraham) saluted sharply and said, “yes, sir.” They did not question, they did not negotiate. Rather, they trusted that God was good and knew what was right. Abraham did not arrogantly say, “but Lord, killing my son would be wrong, it would be evil,” rather, he humbly admitted that he was not the expert here, that he did not know everything, that maybe God knew better than he did, so he trusted God even though what He asked had every indication of being wrong.

    It is time for the SSPX to trust that the Holy Father knows what is good and what is right — especially since the Holy Father is guided by the Holy Spirit, and not by slaveowners or Nazis or fornicators. Either the SSPX believes in and trusts the Holy Spirit, or it does not.

    It is past time for them to stop their prideful putting themselves above Peter and above the Holy Spirit. The Pope judges what the Catholic Faith is, not the SSPX or its individual members. The Pope decides what is best for the salvation of souls, not the SSPX or its individual members.

  63. Hidden One says:

    Bender et al.,

    Mary (et al.) prayed.

    As to failures of obedience to genuine authority, I must concern myself chiefly with my own.

  64. Andrew says:

    Another gem. Our Lord told St Faustina Kowalska, the recipient of the Divine Mercy revelations and devotion, “The devil cloaks himself in a garb of humility, but he can never be obedient.”

  65. mgalexander says:

    Bender, how is the blind obedience you describe consistent with St Paul’s instruction in Galatians 1:8-9? Should the bishops and cardinals not have rejected, respectively, Honorius’s sympathy to Monothelism and John XXII’s erroneous private teaching on the beatific vision? On the level of discipline, St Paul did not “salute sharply” when St Peter withdrew from dining with Gentiles; on the contrary, he “opposed him to his face” (Gal. 2:11). The anti-Catholic caricature of us as unthinkingly obedient is not one we should embrace.

  66. ContraMundum says:


    Whis is it going to be? I keep hearing claims that SSPX is not heretical because they do not disagree with the Pope on any doctrine, but now also that they do not owe the Pope obedience because they may disagree with him on doctrine.

  67. ContraMundum says:

    I might add that if obedience is not owed to the Pope, it sure as h*** is not owed to people like Fellay, Williamson, de Mallerais, and de Galarreta — in which case the jig is up for SSPX.

  68. Gulielmus says:


    St Paul disagreed with Peter and argued his case successfully within the Church, therefore benefiting the Church at large– there is no indication that he refused to follow Peter’s leadership, or ordained bishops without Peter’s permission, or that he in fact disobeyed Peter at all. He knew that it was vital to persuade Peter of his position, and he did so. That, despite its being an example SSPX supporters love, has absolutely no relevance to the actions of Abp. Lefebvre and his followers. They, instead of following Paul’s example, broke with Peter and have largely ignored him since.

  69. ContraMundum says:

    Another problem is that if everyone is thinking carefully and making their own judgement as to whom they will obey — Benedict XVI or Fellay — then Fellay is not really a leader, he’s just a spokesman for one possible position. This is always the case with Protestantism, since there is little or no real moral obligation for obedience.

    Why a priest (member of SSPX) or a layman (adherent but non-member) would feel an obligation to obey Fellay but not the Pope, I leave to them.

  70. mgalexander says:

    As I said quite clearly in my initial comment, I am not defending the SSPX. I do not agree with its position and do not attend its Masses. I was addressing the proposition that the pope is due blind obedience, which I believe to be false based on clear examples to the contrary from Scripture and history. Unfortunately, few if any other commenters have been willing to address these. The proper approach, incidentally, is not to stifle one’s difficulties (and “salute sharply”) but rather to request, from the Magisterium, clarification of apparent contradictions with Tradition while granting the disputed position obsequium religiosum. That is, one is to maintain a belief that the position can somehow be reconciled with Tradition even if the questioner cannot by himself see how. The questioner does, however, have the right to Magisterial clarification and even to correct a superior when he is clearly incorrect. God granted us reason and a reasonable, non-contradictory faith. We shouldn’t let our virtuous impulse to obedience obscure these essential facts.

  71. Bender says:

    The proper approach, incidentally, is not to stifle one’s difficulties (and “salute sharply”) but rather to request, from the Magisterium, clarification of apparent contradictions with Tradition

    For how long, mgalexander? For how long does this process of requesting clarification have to go on? How many requests must the Magisterium endure, and how many times must it clarify, and how LOUDLY must it be before the questioner must be said to have his answer.

    Like I said, this has gone on FOR DECADES. This isn’t the case of the first time the Pope says X and people are expected to jump to it. The process of “clarification” has gone on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. ENOUGH. It is time to decide. The SSPX has had their answer, they have had their clarification.

    The “proper approach” has been engaged in by the Holy See again and again. That approach has now come to a head. It is time to decide, either you are with Peter or you are not. This isn’t 1970, it is 42 years later. 42 years is enough.

  72. Hidden One says:

    I think that Bender‘s basic idea that the SSPX need to rejoin post-haste, period, and mgalexander‘s basic idea that the SSPX has the right to receive Magisterial clarification of certain teachings are quite reconcilable.

    Step One: SSPX joins/rejoins/whatevers. Statim.
    Step Two: SSPX continues to seek any further necessary Magisterial clarification, correcting itself on any point concerning which it may presently be in err.

    In any case, I thought that this was a post that exists to get us to pray, not to argue.

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