SSPX preparing for a positive response to the Holy See’s last letter

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According to the German FSSPX district website, the “Kanzelverkündiging” below was read in all churches and chapels of the district.

To one observer who wrote to me, “it looks like the are preparing the FSSPX-faithfull for a positive response on the latest step in the dialogue with the Vatican, i.e. viewing a positive response as something which is good for (the orthodox forces in) the whole Church (and it is not about the Society).”

As Fr. Schmidberger (District Superior of the SSPX in Germany) puts it, it looks like the 15 April deadline seems to be official (i.e. included in the letter of Cardinal Leveda itself and is felt by the FSSPX as an ultimatum/final deadline).

From the German of the “Kanzelverkündiging:

Cancel Preaching: Conversations with Rome

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cancel preaching to all churches and chapels of the German District of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.

Dear faithful,

On 16 March in Rome Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation, gave the Superior General of our Fraternity, Bishop Fellay a letter with statements in which we are asked ultimately to react more positively to the doctrinal preamble of September the 14th then we had done so far.

As a final deadline for a response is given the 15th of April 2012. Surely you have heard this already wholly or partialy from the media. We are have thus arrived at a crucial point.
Even if the letter strikes an unpleasant sound, there are legitimate hopes for a satisfactory solution. If this solution would be reached it would considerably strengthen all the orthodox forces in the church. If not it would weaken and discourage these forces. So it is not primarily about our brotherhood, but for the good of the Church.
Therefore we ask for the eager, insistent and imploring prayer of all our faithful and all Catholics, that God through the redemptive suffering of His only begotten Son, will lead His Church through this crisis and give her in the Holy Resurrection of Jesus life new strength and new prosperity.
Stuttgart, 22 March 2012
Father Franz Schmidberger, District Superior

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

On this day when we celebration the unity of God’s divinity with our humanity in one Person Christ our Lord, let us ask the Mother of God and Mother of the Church, whose consent made the Lord’s Body the Church possible, to intercede for us all.

I ask Mary to pray that the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her in the Annunciation, and who gave life to the Church at Pentecost, now to come as the warmer and the bender and counselor to all members of the SSPX.

Veni Sancte Spiritus.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Now that’s a pleasant surprise!

    Though whatever happens, it would take (another?) miracle to see any reconcilliation happen without acrimonious fracture on the side of the Society and heaps of liberal BS flying in the face of His Holiness, launched from the other side of the spectrum.

    But it’s good to have hope.

  2. ContraMundum says:

    To quote Sidney Wang, “Someone just put deadly snake in room. Wake me when it come near bed.”

    We should know within about 3 weeks what their response will be, and until that time, I’ll avoid looking at either the Kanzelverkündiging or the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus for portents as to what that response will be.

  3. Jack Orlando says:

    I pray Fr. Schmidberger cleared this with the top at the SSPX. If he didn’t, then I wonder (1) if its just his opinion, or (2) there’s a power struggle happening within the Society. Williamson has already weighted in with a negative. Yet, of course, I know nothing.

  4. Legisperitus says:

    As a former Superior General, Fr. Schmidberger surely would not send out this letter if it didn’t square with the thoughts of Bishop Fellay. It sounds as if there is a ray of hope.

  5. anilwang says:

    ContraMundum, true we shouldn’t worry about it since a lot can happen from now ’til then, but that should not stop us from praying.

    In a related note, here’s a reflection from Universalis on the Annunciation (What would happen if Mary said no) that seems related:

    If the SSPX says no, God’s plans will not be thwarted, even if it will give life to the liberal “Vatican II makes TLM heretical” crowd. It will just take a bit more time to exorcise that demon. But if the SSPX says yes, the preamble will put more explicit bounds on how Vatican II can be interpreted and thus be a huge blow to the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    It’s probably no accident that this letter was issued to be read on the 21st anniversary of Abp. Lefebvre’s death.

  7. ContraMundum says:

    I think a more relevant question regarding the situation with SSPX would be, what would have happened if Esther had said no?

    For if thou wilt now hold thy peace, the Jews shall be delivered by some other occasion: and thou, and thy father’s house shall perish. And who knoweth whether thou art not therefore come to the kingdom, that thou mightest be ready in such a time as this?

  8. “If this solution would be reached it would considerably strengthen all the orthodox forces in the church. If not it would weaken and discourage these forces. So it is not primarily about our brotherhood, but for the good of the Church.”

    I strongly agree with him on this. I think the second sentence is especially interesting. It doesn’t conform to the view a lot of people have of the SSPX as an insular traditionalist ‘ghetto’ with a martyr complex.

    Praying so hard for a good outcome in April.

  9. ContraMundum says:

    It still sets SSPX as the arbiter of orthodoxy, standing in judgement as to whether it will accept or condemn the Catholic Church as a whole.

    Until they get that plank of arrogance out of their eye, they won’t be in any position to remove the mote out of their brother’s eye.

  10. donboyle says:

    I think Kanzelverkuendigung is better rendered as “Chancery Announcement” than “cancel preaching.” Maybe a Freudian slip of the Google translator!

  11. Fr Levi says:

    It will be a very hopeful sign if SSPX can take a deep breath and do what it takes to achieve unity … if they can do it, perhaps others will realise it is worth making a few sacrifices for the sake of following our Lord’s command that we should be one & follow their example.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    @ContraMundum: Amen!

    And what does “Roman Cardinal Levada” mean? Is this some sort of a mistake in translating the full name and title: “His Eminence William Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Leveda”?

  13. anilwang says:

    * Pride of the left (the SSPX and anything before Vatican II is heretical)
    * Pride of the right (the Church after Vatican II is heretical)
    * Pride of the center (O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, the SSPX, the Spirit of Vatican II crowd, since I believe in the hermeneutic of continuity.)

    Take your pick.

  14. ContraMundum, I don’t read that into this short letter anywhere. I’ve seen the attitude before, but I do not see it here in this case.

  15. Tom Ryan says:

    The Anglicans don’t have to jump through any hoops to become Catholics [Not quite.] why are conditions placed upon the FSSPX?

    Perhaps, Rome should just “regularize” them unilaterally and then allow those who still demand a capitulation from the Holy See to schism.

  16. ContraMundum says:


    When taking your pick, see where Peter is.

  17. discerningguy says:

    Praying. Perhaps you could make a post asking for every reader to say their rosary every day for the intention of the SSPX reconciling?

  18. There is much we still don’t know (like, for instance, the content of the Preamble! ) so speculation is the best we can do. That said, here’s my read FWIW:

    The Holy See may be asking the Society to trust that the Holy Father sees the crisis in the Church very much as it does (though obviously not entirely), and that he will be emboldened to restore order more aggressively once the Society is regularized. No, the pope doesn’t need anyone, technically speaking, in order to exercise his ruling authority, but I have long believed that he does hold back as a matter of prudential judgment.

    The SSPX once regularized can help in two ways: 1) In providing refuge for faithful Catholics amidst the turmoil that a bold program of restoration may provoke from the Left, and 2) Simply adding to those “orthodox forces” within the Church that will have the Holy Father’s back, so to speak, as he pursues the same, aiding in its implementation.

  19. anilwang says:

    ContraMundum, obviously.

    I was merely pointing out that the people who are right can still suffer pride (Publican and Pharisee).

    As Pope John Paul II has stated in the East-West schism, sin on both sides was the sole reason for the schism. Had there been more charity on both sides, and more swift action to stomp out the seeds of descent, there would not have been a schism. Had there been more charity on Martin Luther’s valid concerns (which were eventually dealt with at Trent) and more quick response against the seeds of descent and heresy (Martin Luther’s heretical positions), the Protestant Revolution likely would not have happened or had any success. Had people who were begging the Pope to continue TLM been given more charity, and the seeds of “Spirit of Vatican II” descent. and heresy been stomped out early, there would not be an SSPX or a liberal left.

    There’s enough sin to go around. Though we stand with Peter, we must stand in humility, because as Peter himself has said “Go away Lord for I am a sinful man”.

  20. acardnal says:

    I really think that for the SSPX the time is NOW while Pope Benedict XVI is still in the chair – the Pope of SP and unification.

  21. AnAmericanMother says:

    Tom Ryan,
    The Anglicans don’t have to jump through any hoops to become Catholics.

    Uh . . . how about acknowledging that all your sacraments (except baptism but including Holy Orders) were invalid and void and of no effect?

    At least the SSPX isn’t in THAT particularly mortifying situation. We were.

  22. LouiseA says:

    Guess who said the following just 2 days ago?
    “Vatican II was a genuine sign of God for our time. If we know how to interpret and accept it within the tradition of the Church, and under the secure guidance of the Magisterium, it will become an increasingly important driving force for the future of the Church. For this reason I hope this anniversary will be – for you and for the entire Church in France – an occasion of spiritual and pastoral renewal.”

    Don’t ever forget… B16 was part of the theologically liberal faction at VII. He served as a theological advisor to Cardinal Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne.

  23. Sissy says:

    The Anglicans will have to go through RCIA and, if divorced and remarried, have their marriages regularized.

  24. ContraMundum says:

    Wow, a Pope saying that an Ecumenical Council is a genuine sign of God. Unheard of!

    Next thing you know, he’ll be committing the ultimate heresy — denying the Magisterium of the Blogosphere.

  25. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    “Williamson has already weighted [sic] in with a negative. ”

    Fine! Let the split happen. The SSPV are waiting for +Williamson! [I think the + is inappropriate. He has ZERO jurisdiction. The isn’t just a symbol for a bishop.] The sole two reasons taht anyone has ever been in any way concerned with the SSPX reuniting is because they have up until this day voiced real and rational concerns regarding the Council, and because of all the traditionalist groups, they have best embodied the pre-concillar Church in both their Theology and their love of the Church. They really are pusillanimous in their numbers, too few, in fact, to warrant such efforts from Rome. Those who will try to foment a split in the SSPX to avoid reconcilliation would do well to note that no one is concerned with reconcilling the Palmarians or any other group of kooks. If anyone wants to go the sedevacantists, let ’em go. There’s not going to be any effort to appease them. And I hope the SSPX comes around and comes home, because I doubt there will be an effort to appease them after this.

  26. Louie Verrecchio: “The Holy See may be asking the Society to trust that the Holy Father sees the crisis in the Church very much as it does (though obviously not entirely), and that he will be emboldened to restore order more aggressively once the Society is regularized. “

    This is why the regularization of the SSPX is important for the Church, that its support within the Church will strengthen the Pope’s hand in doing what is needed, in face of the opposition that surrounds him. Up to a point short of failure, it may be good for the SSPX to hold out for the strongest position to do this.

  27. Henry Edwards: Up to a point short of failure, it may be good for the SSPX to hold out for the strongest position to do this.

    Interesting point, Henry! Ah, but where is that point? From the tenor of Fr. Schmidberger’s letter, it sounds like he believes it’s fast approaching. Exciting times!

  28. muckemdanno says:

    Louie Verrecchio & Henry Edwards:

    I would think that if SSPX is regularized, B16 would be more likely to do something to appease the “left” of the Church rather than antagonize them in any way.

    The “left” would be furious with the pope, and, being a pope of Vatican 2 as well as the “Pope of Christian Unity”, Benedict would likely give them something they want in order to avoid a fracture on the left of some sort.

  29. oldcanon2257 says:

    I can hardly wait for the SSPX to be regularized. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when the liberals inside and outside the Church have to face the reality of having prelates with the letters “SSPX” which follows their name (God willing, someday if there exists a “His Eminence Joe Cardinal Trad, SSPX”, imagine what kind of childish tantrum the nutty liberals will throw.)

    If this solution would be reached it would considerably strengthen all the orthodox forces in the church. If not it would weaken and discourage these forces. So it is not primarily about our brotherhood, but for the good of the Church.

    It is so joyful that the SSPX realizes what is at stake here. May the Holy Spirit guide all involved so that they may be one.

    Through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and that of Saint Pius X, may the Society soon be received back into the bosom of the Holy Mother Church. Until then, I will continue to pray the Rosary daily for their reconciliation.

  30. ContraMundum says:

    When the Pope suppressed the Jesuit order, what did they do? They obeyed.

    Can anyone conceive of SSPX ever obeying the Pope in that way? In our lifetimes? Ever?

  31. ContraMundum, maybe I’m naive, but yes. I have no problem whatsoever imagining that. Honestly, I think it’s what many of them want too, maybe most enough if you dig deep enough.
    I remain quite convinced that, ornery and disagreeable people notwithstanding, there remain many good and genuine men in the SSPX, as well as men and women that sit in their pews.

  32. ContraMundum says:

    I hope you’re right.

    I’m sympathetic with traditionalists in any sense of the word, but this group really rubs me the wrong way. They strike me, frankly, as exactly like the Protestant groups I left to convert to the Catholic Church; they cannot accept that the Pope or a council in union with the Pope has greater authority to interpret both Scripture and Tradition than they (individually or collectively) do. That’s the essence of Protestantism.

    I remember when I was a postdoc in Germany. A French co-worker (Yannick, who was not a believer in anything) saw that I (a Protestant at the time) was having religious conversations with an Irish Catholic co-worker, but Yannick did not understand what the difference was between Protestantism and Catholicism. “You don’t believe in the Trinity, right?” “No, we very much believe in the Trinity, just the same as Catholics.” “Oh, then, I know: You don’t believe in the Virgin Birth.” “No, we believe in the Virgin Birth, just the same as Catholics.” “Well, what’s the difference, then?” “You know of St. Peter?” Somewhat doubtfully: “Yes.” “Catholics believe the Pope has the same authority as St. Peter. Protestants doubt this.”

    Yannick was surprised and confused by this answer, but I maintain it is the essence of the difference. It isn’t the Eucharist; some Protestants believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. (They don’t really have a valid Eucharist, but that’s another question.) It isn’t really the Virgin Mary, either. Even if either of those issues separated us, if we accept that the Pope really has divine authority to teach and to rule and that he also has divine protection (in certain limited situations) against error, then we’d have to say that even if we don’t understand how we were wrong, nevertheless we were wrong and the Church was right. Likewise, when I stood up and affirmed at Confirmation that I accept all the the Church teaches as true, I knew that this included things of which I was not aware. It wasn’t an affirmation that I had gone through the list and found nothing objectionable; it was an affirmation that I have faith in the Church.

    That’s why I lose patience with SSPX. If I want that kind of attitude, I can go back to the Fundamentalists I grew up with — people who, I might add, already have a much stronger claim to my affection due to their kindness and friendship over the course of my life. And at least the Fundamentalists are generally rejecting Catholicism only out of ignorance. I know that I had a caricatured view of the Catholic Church until I finally met the right people and read the right books under the right circumstances — yet my whole worldview was really Catholic all along, something I never would have believed. I think there are many, many Protestants who are still in the condition I had been in, and who would convert immediately if they could see the Church as She really is.

  33. oratefratres says:

    Hi Father Z,

    Notice the date on the deadline (april 15, divine mercy sunday) while pairing it off with the 5th day of the divine mercy novena as directed by Our Lord to St. Faustina: “Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.” The memory of this is what has been implicitly prompting me to offer the chaplet as of late for Bishop Fellay and the SSPX.


  35. ContraMundum, to be honest I don’t think SSPX/Protestant comparisons are fair. I don’t think I’ll convince you with anything I can say, but I really don’t think that the comparison holds water. I also don’t think it’s fair to say that they reject the authority of the pope or ecumenical councils. It’s certainly not that simple, as I’m sure you know. I think the analogy falls apart based on that at the very least.

  36. Contra Mundam- from one former protestant to another there are no doctrinal protestant communions which believe in Transubstantiation. Consubtantiation yes. However, that is an entirely different doctrine than Transubstantion. So as far as protestants believing in the Real Presence yes and no…. mostly no (the difference between consubstantition and transubstantion is not merely semantics). Most protestants do not even go so far as the Lutherens and only believe in the Spiritual Presence (though they may consider it to be just as real) but very few believe it is the Body and Blood of Christ. Otherwise the only legitimate option would be to adore it- which none do (other than Anglicans influenced by the Oxford movement- a return to certain elements of Catholicism and perhaps some much newer sects- new ones spring up nearly daily so its impossible to rule it out completely). As far as individual protestants since most protestants no longer belong to confessional faiths then who knows. However, that was not the case very long ago.

    I think the SSPX reminding people of protestantism is usually relegated to reverts and converts. Many people when they convert/ return to the faith have a zeal (which is good), however, that zeal is not necessarily mingled with a thorough knowledge of the Faith at its heart or formed by it. That is something that occurs over time. It may appear it on the surface but takes time to seep into the heart and the mind. Otherwise they would realize that questioning various councils or popes was going on long before protestantism and that is not necessarily heresy (think Honorius and the Monoenergism controversy). As far as what seperates Protestants from Catholics it is primarily doctrinal- the Peterine doctrine is not something the SSPX doctrinally rejects. Nor are there any others.

    You are very wrong to compare the SSPX to protestants- any issues they may have are not of an unorthodox nature as far as the Faith goes. The most serious temptation for them would be schism- not heresy. It is more of an issue of praxis than doctrine.

    As far as the issue with Vat II name one doctrine that was defined there that Catholics are required to believe that was not previously part of the deposit of the Faith. Since Vat II declared itself as a pastoral council and not a dogmatic (unlike VatI) I believe you will be hard pressed to. Apparently Vat II was an ecclesiastical anomaly- all previous ecumenical councils were called to deal with heresy and defined doctrine. Since Vat II refrained to do so I suppose those who claimed it did in all fairness should label themselves as heretics.

    Having said that since Vat II was an ecumenical council it deserves a certain amount of respect as such (sorry but the technical term escapes me at the moment). In other words it should not be treated lightly or irreverently and nor is it for the laity and majority of the clergy to repudiate it- at least publically (speaking of what was not previously defined as De fide- obviously that would be heresy).

    However, the Holy Father has seen fit to open a dialogue with the SSPX over Vat II and as such they have a legitimate opportunity to question certain aspects of Vat II with no sin necessarily attached at this time to questioning certain aspects of it.

    None of this is indicative of protestant behavior or a protestant belief system. To continue labeling the SSPX as such at this time is very uncharitable and no excuse for it since even Rome has never accused them of that. It is tantamount to calling them heretics. That is plain silly. I could possibly understand calling them schismatic (though the Church has spoken otherwise and I agree with Her). That would be more logical though even though still wrong.

  37. Having said that we are perfectly free to question the English translation of the Vat II documents (as well as any other vernacular). Personally the phrase that the Muslims worship the same God I find doctrinally problematic (since Muslims attribute irrationality to their deity and morality is defined by his caprices- not objectively good or evil ever). Interestingly I recently came across a site that plausibly argued that the English translation of the Vat II document took liberties with the original. I find that very interesting and wonder if anyone could verify that. The statement in Nostra Aetate I believe where the English translation says muslims worship the same merciful, etc God.

    Obviously that would be one of the discussion topics for the SSPX as well. That and the modern concept of religious liberty. The SSPX have a problem with the prevelance of the viewpoints which which formed and is formed by the pastoral documents of Vat II- nothing De Fide .

    Yes Rome does need to clarify a number of Vat II documents as they are not so clear cut and ambigious as previous documents by the Church. Sometimes when you try to be nice to everyone and still tell the truth no one understands you. It is usually better just to be a man (or a lady) and speak the unvarnished truth. At least after that there is no need for any clarifications at a later date.

  38. Ambrose Jnr says:

    One area in which the SSPX has shown great obedience, I think, is discretion about the talks with the CDF and the preamble in our internet-driven age. I cannot imagine ultra-liberals, e.g. the ones in Austria misled by Pfarrer, being that discrete and obedient…they’d just feed half-truths and disinformation to the media at once.

    Oremus pro redintegratione tota Societatis Sacerdotalis Pius X…

  39. ContraMundum says:

    @Sed Libera and Irenaeus

    I stand by what I said. I know that they say they believe the Petrine doctrine, just like Obama and Clinton have claimed to want abortions to be rare. I note a disparity between the words and actions of Obama and Clinton which makes me suspect their honesty. I notice the same disparity between the words and actions of SSPX.

    But what think you? A certain man had two sons: and coming to the first, he said: Son, go work to day in my vineyard. And he answering, said: I will not. But afterwards, being moved with repentance, he went. And coming to the other, he said in like manner. And he answering said: I go, Sir. And he went not.


    No, there is nothing that you can say that will change my mind about SSPX. That’s something SSPX will have to do itself. Let’s see what happens in the month to come. If I’m pleasantly surprised, the surprise will be pleasant indeed.

    @Sed Libera

    I already knew about consubstantiation and that it is different than transubstantiation. There are, however, other groups, smaller than the Lutherans, who seem to hold to some version of the Real Presence also. (This should not surprise you. There is little that all Protestants have in common besides being Christians who reject Catholicism.) I have no idea what, if any, philosophical understanding they have of what takes place. Perhaps, like our Eastern brethren, they simply regard it as a mystery and do not attempt to describe it in philosophical terms. Rather than make a broad statement I was not sure would apply to all Protestants, I concentrated solely on the most essential and shocking aspect, which is the Real Presence.


    That doesn’t impress me so much. It shows greater prudence and self-control than many groups could manage, I’ll acknowledge, but it looks more like prudence and self-control than obedience.

  40. Contra: “Catholics believe the Pope has the same authority as St. Peter. “

    If this be the criterion then the SSPX are surely Catholics, even if they wish recent popes had exercised that authority more effectively. Would that so many within the Church did not ignore that apostolic authority while remaining formally in communion.

  41. Hidden One says:

    ContraMundum Sed libera nosque,

    I also happen to be an ex-Protestant, but in any case, I know a fellow Catholic who once had to tell an old devout Pentecostal lady that no, the Pentecostals don’t actually believe in transubstantiation and the Real Presence. She’d always believed they did – she certainly did.

    Ad omnes,

    The Pope’s efforts toward the SSPX, like his efforts for the good of the Anglicans, have always been for the humble. I’ve lost count of how many times “Anglicanorum Coetibus is for the humble” has been my conclusion after reading some news – good or bad – relevant to the Ordinariates. And so it seems to me to be with the SSPX. So, let us pray for them, but also for ourselves, lest our prayers be disdained by God, who resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble.

  42. ContraMundum says:

    @Henry Edwards

    Actions speak louder than words. If they had such respect for the Pope, the current gang of SSPX bishops would have never accepted illicit consecration.

    Honestly, you can leave off the attempt to defend SSPX. If they come back fully into the Church, I’ll be delighted, and no defense will be necessary. If they don’t, no hollow words will suffice. We’ll know one way or the other by the middle of next month.

  43. anilwang says:

    muckemdanno says: “I would think that if SSPX is regularized, B16 would be more likely to do something to appease the “left” of the Church rather than antagonize them in any way. ”

    History doesn’t show this to be true. Look at SP, UE, the Anglican Ordinariate and the corrected translation. When has the Pope ever appeased the liberals after giving something to the traditionalists?

    While it is true that B16’s approach is non-confrontational and he has not (at least not yet) imposed ad orientum or the Benedictine Arrangement of the Altar or communion kneeling and on the tongue, he seems to take the long view of weakening the innovators and strengthening the traditionalists so that in the future tradition wins out.

  44. Contra, I have nothing to do with the SSPX, and no brief to defend them. It is simply my observation from outside that they believe passionately in the authority of the pope, in contrast with all too many who remain superficially in formal communion with him. This is precisely why they have so much potential for good within the fold, lending their faithful support to our Holy Father who needs it so much. So, with you, I sincerely hope and pray that they will soon come “in from the cold”, the time having come when staying without will do damage.

  45. irishgirl says:

    Oh, I hope and pray that there will be a positive response, and that the SSPX will be brought into full communion with the Church!
    I hate seeing all this backbiting and gnashing of teeth. We should stand together, not apart!

  46. cyrillist says:

    anilwang: “When has the Pope ever appeased the liberals after giving something to the traditionalists?”

    Example: It was not long after the promulgation of SP that Assisi III was announced. Could have been a coincidence, of course, but still.

  47. anilwang says:

    WRT Assisi III, my understanding is that it was going to happen anyway so he wanted to make sure that it happened in a more orthodox way.

    So there was no inter-religious “prayer”. And to underlie the point that this meeting was nothing more than a secular meeting, he invited atheists. The topics involved a common concern for peace, protection of the family based on marriage, respect for life in every phase of its natural course. At least the little I know about it, if it were part of the “Courtyard of the Gentiles” instead of “Assisi III”, it would not likely have raised any flags among traditionalists.

  48. leonugent2005 says:

    From Henry Edwards……. This is precisely why they have so much potential for good within the fold, lending their faithful support to our Holy Father who needs it so much……….I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry! I think he may just need to change the password on his computer!

  49. petrus69 says:

    In the name of everything that is Holy, I pray for a positive outcome. I have been a follower of the SSPX since its establishment in Dickinson, TX. To those of you who are not it would be easy to criticise the SSPX because you know not of their mission and what they stand for and what they pray for. The priests of the Society had to bear a lot of indignities and ridicule from local ordinaries and so called parishioners of such parishes. The families that attend SSPX churches, had to bear such maladies from their own families. Telling them they are going to hell, that they are excommunicated, and would have nothing to do with them any longer. To think we actually pray for those who persecute us. (new concept).
    We who attend and support the SSPX churches made a heart wrenching decision to not tolerate the abuses which are going on now days in the NO churches. We will not be apart of it . If it means our own families disowns us SO BE IT. Rather, we be disown by our own families than by the Holy Family. So, no more Eucharistic abuses, no more kum-ba-ya masses, no more balloons masses, no more clown masses, no more puppet masses and the list goes on. We will attend and take part in the Mass of All Times. Known to you as the EF.
    Already we have done some good our seminaries are flourishing, we brought back the Sacred Chants of the Liturgies. Some of our churches scholas are fluent in chant notation and can read and do chant from the Liber Usualis exclusively, where as you are struggling to relearn the Ordinary of the Mass.
    Yes we pray for a positive outcome maybe some of the indignities will cease and families can be reunited.

  50. Mary Jane says:

    @ petrus69 –

    I don’t think anyone is questioning the good intentions of the priests of the SSPX who want to bring the faithful the Extraordinary Form (and I don’t think anyone is questioning the desires or the intentions of the laity who attend their chapels). Most of us know that they want to offer and want to have the Extraordinary Form sacraments. The problem is that the SSPX is functioning outside of full communion with Rome. For the good of souls, they need to – must – regularize.

    I am sorry to hear that you’ve received such reactions from those around you (being disowned by family and such). I have a lot of family and friends who attend SSPX chapels. They are wonderful, wonderful people, and I would never treat them that way.

    But there are other options – and I don’t mean the OF. I attend an FSSP parish where all the sacraments are given exclusively in the Extraordinary Form. We have two choirs, including a smaller schola/polyphony choir who is fluent in chant and polyphony and who sings the full propers from the Liber Usualis. We too have the “Mass of All Time”. Just trying to point out…that there are other options where you can have these things, and it can be at a parish that is in communion with Rome (and it doesn’t have to be an OF parish).

    Like you, I pray for a positive outcome, and I sincerely, sincerely desire that the SSPX be reunited with Rome!

  51. petrus69 says:

    Thank you ‘ Mary Jane” for the kind response to my post, but you evidently live in a community that bears no anamostiy toward the SSPX. Such is not the case thru out the world.

  52. muckemdanno says:

    ContraMundum, you state “the Pope really has divine authority to teach and to rule and that he also has divine protection (in certain limited situations) against error”

    The SSPX accepts that exactly. The Pope, and the Church, can teach infallibly…but not everything that the Pope says is infallible. Not every statement of every ecumenical council is infallible. If it were, then you would not have to put your qualifier in the above statement (“in certain limited situations”)

    SSPX has been very clear regarding the parts of Vatican 2 that they do not believe. As far as I know, no pope has stated categorically that SSPX denies any doctrine that MUST be believed by Catholics. (I’m sure someone will enlighten me if I’m wrong about that.) And still today, SSPX continues to say the same stuff about Vatican 2 and Rome appears close to giving them official status in the Church. It appears that what SSPX says about Vatican 2 is good enough for Rome, but may not be good enough for you.

    As Cardinal Ratzinger warned us, we must avoid raising Vatican 2 to the level of a super dogma which destroys all that came before.

  53. muckemdanno says:

    “If they had such respect for the Pope, the current gang of SSPX bishops would have never accepted illicit consecration.”

    ContraMundum, the pope has forgiven this years ago! It is truly incredible how someone who calls himself a Catholic can be so merciless!

  54. ContraMundum says:

    Get real. Mercy may forgive them, but respect still has to be earned. Obviously their claim to respect cannot be a sinful ordination.

    2 1/2 weeks and we will know whether any of these guys deserve more respect than Milingo currently enjoys. As long as the issue hangs in doubt, I will treat them with skepticism. They have done nothing yet to earn either my respect or my trust.

  55. muckemdanno says:

    anilwang, you ask:
    “When has the Pope ever appeased the liberals after giving something to the traditionalists? ”
    I answer:
    U.E. does not really give anything additional to traditionalists and the Anglican Ordinariate really does not have anything to do with traditionalists.

    Where the traditionalists were actually given something…The ink was not yet dry on Summorum Pontificum when the Pope altered the Good Friday prayers to appease those who said the old prayers were “anti-semitic”.

    It may be an uncomfortable truth, but the Church is a political institution. The good thing about Pope Benedict is that some balance has been restored between “liberals” and “conservatives” in the Church. For the preceding 40 years, it was so completely unbalanced that B16 inherited such a disaster.

  56. muckemdanno says:

    ContraMundum states “Mercy may forgive them, but respect still has to be earned.”

    Contra Mundum, I suggest that you should treat people with respect as your default attitude, much as the Holy Father treats everyone, including Abp Lefebvre, Bp Fellay and the SSPX.

  57. oldcanon2257 says:

    I find it rather uncharitable that people would refer to the SSPX bishops as “the current gang of SSPX bishops”, “these guys”, etc. given that our Holy Father is literally bending over backwards to bring them home (not to mention it is now Lent). They may lack jurisdiction, but after all those SSPX bishops did receive valid episcopal consecration and are no longer excommunicated (as of January 2009). Instead of praying for reconciliation, such implicit negative attitude toward the Society only serves to make it harder for the Holy Father to bring them back into the fold.

  58. Jan B. says:

    There are many comments, but we haven’t gotten down to talking about April 15 with regard to the doctrinal points the discussion was about. There were four (I am writing from memory of Fr. Gleize’s article that summarized the four points of difference, gave the chapter and verse of the traditional teaching, and then gave the chapter and verse of the words of Vatican II that contradicted the traditional teaching). They are ‘the nature of the Church,’ that is, are we or are we not the One True Church; collegiality, that is, who’s the boss; religious liberty, that is, the Church cannot be a state’s official Church even where Catholics are in the majority and we give up the idea of Christ the King and the need for Christ and the Church to have a good society; and ecumenism, an ugly potion of religious liberty and the notion of the Church as subsisting in something larger along with all the other creeds. I could not help but use words like ‘potion’ because I could write for hours about what has happened to the poor because of these doctrines. Not because of SSPX. And SSPX can rejoin the Church — but it won’t make a difference if the doctrine isn’t fixed. And what do we think they can do ‘within’ the Church, anyway? I know of one traditional group already ‘within’ the Church that hides in its church during ecumenism week and pretends to host the sacriligious and scandalous activities that are required by the diocese. They lie about their activities during the week. This is–what can a person say about such a life, pretending to support what one does not support? Do you want to say ‘inauthentic’? Poseur? Fake? There are curse words for it, too. None of them express the contempt an honest man must feel those who play that role. No, comrades. The doctrine must be fixed. That’s the important thing, for the poor. Souls are being lost for the doctrine. Not because SSPX is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the Church. What we must pray for is that the ruined doctrine be restored. I go to SSPX but I do not have a novus ordo family to hate me, but another lady in our church, her family was going to have her commited, that is, declared incompetent because of her adherance to tradition. But she would rather suffer that than see SSPX cave in on the doctrine.

  59. ContraMundum says:

    Oldcanon, I cannot respond to you any further without *really* being uncharitable. There are no real points left to be made, only name-calling on both sides.

    You may raise the issue again after April 15.

  60. oldcanon2257 says:

    The more comments I read (here and elsewhere), the more I realize that those hardcore fundamentalists both on the left and on the right who lack humility are the true obstacles to unity. They are too firmly entrenched in the ditch either to the left or to the right of the road and are too busy exalting their pride to really care where Peter is (Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia).

    Sadly this reminds me of the conspiracy in “Star Trek VI” movie. I feel as though there are ongoing coordinated efforts to derail the Holy Father’s plan for reconciliation.

    Please pray for our Holy Father.

  61. ContraMundum says:


    We already know where Peter is. By April 15 we will know where Fellay is.

  62. Centristian says:

    ContraMundum said: “We already know where Peter is. By April 15 we will know where Fellay is.”

    Perhaps. And if Fellay does yield to the Holy See (I can’t really see it, but who knows), it will then be interesting to see where Williamson is. Unfortunately for him, he sabotaged his future in the episcopacy a long time ago with his public and enthusiastic championship of the extreme fringe, to the point where even the Lefebvrists have locked him away in the attic for the time being. His only chance of being set free is if no agreement is reached between Econe and Rome and both sides finally kiss the idea of reconciliation goodbye.

    If the Lefebvrists do reconcile with the Holy See somehow, that will mean permanent retirement and permanent silence for Richard Williamson. No more public appearances, no more interviews, no more speeches, no more Confirmations, no more sermons, no more public opportunities to express himself, at all. Will he be content to be under what amounts to ecclesiastical house arrest for the rest of his life, penning his diatribes against the world on his closed blog (if he is even allowed to continue doing that)? Or will he insist upon greater freedom of expression and the ability to publicly wield the episcopal power he supposes he has and supposes he is entitled to wield? It is well known by now that he flirts with sedevacantism. Will he at last embrace that dead end?

    To consider a more dramatic potential scenario, I know there are those who like to picture Williamson in a white cassock. I would have a hard time imagining that he entertains any such ideas for himself, but I would have less trouble imagining that he could be swayed by fringe elements into entertaining such ideas. He is, sadly, very susceptible to those elements, after all, and always has been.

    It will be interesting to see how this all pans out. My intuition is that Williamson ultimately will be let out of the attic…not because he’ll be donning a homemade tiara…but because an unreconciled “SSPX” will have no more cause to keep him locked away.

    Richard Williamson, Bernard Fellay, and all the rest are remembered in my prayers.

  63. BobP says:

    @Sed libera nos : “Interestingly I recently came across a site that plausibly argued that the English translation of the Vat II document took liberties with the original.”

    I wouldn’t doubt it, especially if it was translated by the ICEL who needed to justify their very existence.

  64. ContraMundum says:


    I can certainly understand your concerns. But perhaps Williamson will surprise everyone and accept a quieter role.

    Honestly, if reconciliation occurs and Williamson does not go his own way, I could see him being hidden away in some obscure office in Rome. I am at a loss as to what that office would do that he would not find offensive — helping to improve the Novus Ordo liturgy would be a good task, but I can’t see him taking it up, ecumenical concerns are out, etc. — but there must be something.

  65. Centristian says:


    “Honestly, if reconciliation occurs and Williamson does not go his own way, I could see him being hidden away in some obscure office in Rome. ”

    No, the Holy See will not want him anywhere near Rome. Even in obscurity his presence there would amount to a sensationalized public relations disaster, considering his views. And, as you suggest, Williamsom would not be able to stomach the modern day Vatican any more than they would be able to accomodate him. He is, alas, firmly rooted in the fringe, and on the fringe he will remain, either in obedient silence or in public rebellion.

    Just as interesting a question as Williamson’s fate will be the arrangements made for Fellay, Tissier, and de Galaretta. I can’t suppose they would just continue to be see-less anomolies floating about the chapels and priories of the SSPX. I cannot, at the same time, imagine them as diocesan ordinaries, however.

  66. ContraMundum says:

    I can’t suppose they would just continue to be see-less anomolies floating about the chapels and priories of the SSPX. I cannot, at the same time, imagine them as diocesan ordinaries, however.

    I thought the speculation was that SSPX might be given some structure like the Anglican ordinariates, at least until this generation dies off.

  67. Centristian says:

    “I thought the speculation was that SSPX might be given some structure like the Anglican ordinariates, at least until this generation dies off.”

    I find it difficult to imagine precisely what the arrangement would look like, to be honest. It has to be recalled that the Lefebvrists aren’t just the SSPX. The SSPX is tied up with affiliated bodies such as traditionalist Dominicans, traditionalist Benedictines, and other breakaways from religious orders that receive their support and sacraments from the SSPX, and exist very much in union with them.

    The SSPX is also affiliated with a breakaway Eastern Rite union called the Society of Saint Josaphat, the leader of which was excommunicated by the primate of the Ukranian Catholic Church and subsequently by the Holy See. The SSPX supports them in their rebellion, however, and the Lefebvrist bishops take care of their ordinations (despite having no business whatsoever in the Eastern Church, a fact that doesn’t seem to phase them at all).

    Then there is the question of their schools and their unaccredited universities. What becomes of all that, I wonder?

    Mired as the Lefebvrists are in this sort of parallel Catholic Church that they’ve created, it will be interesting to see how these knots are all untangled, should the SSPX reconcile with and submit to the Holy See.

  68. ContraMundum says:

    Yes, there are real problems. Administrative details, however, are the least serious of the difficulties, and real compromise is possible there.

    What concerns me much more is what is rightly called the Cafeteria Catholic attitude. Right now the SSPX leadership is considering carefully whether they will take each item on the menu. Even if they do, this is the wrong approach. It’s one thing to say, “OK, I’ve gone over each item on this menu. Some things look more appetizing than others, but I can eat each of these things. Bring it all,” versus saying, “I trust your judgement. I’ll take everything on the menu.” In the former case, the customer may, more or less by coincidence, happen to agree with all the selections on the menu, but he claims the right to potentially disagree.

    This runs into trouble very quickly in Catholicism. As far as I know, there *is* no list of all the things that are taught by the Church. The Catechism is not a comprehensive list; it’s a summary. My understanding, for example, is that it is part of Sacred Tradition that St. John the Baptist never committed a personal sin, but this is nowhere mentioned in the Catechism.

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