Has SSPX Bp. Fellay SIGNED the CDF’s “Doctrinal Preamble”? Tornielli says yes!

I have read Andrea Tornielli’s report on Vatican Insider that SSPX Bp. Fellay as SIGNED the CDF’s “Doctrinal Preamble”.  Italian HERE.

Il superiore della Fraternità San Pio X ha sottoscritto il preambolo dottrinale proposto dalla Santa Sede, anche se con qualche lieve modifica

The Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X has signed the doctrinal preamble proposed by the Holy See, even if with a few minor changes

Note: We don’t have an official text of the Preamble. We haven’t read this on VIS or any outlet or dicastery of the Holy See.

That said, some salient points from Tornielli.

The preamble probably contains a Profession of Faith, basically the Creed. When I worked in Ecclesia Dei, priests who wanted to be reconciled with Rome had to sign an “Adhesio fidei” which was basically the Creed. Men who hold ecclesial offices have to take something similar. It is not very remarkable, all in all.

Tornielli suggests that this Preamble would also contain a statement about “religiosum obsequium… religious submission” will and intellect to the Magisterium. Thus, for some SSPXers such a “Preamble” could be seen as containing a trap to cut off dialogue.

It is likely that whatever else Bp. Fellay might have wanted in the Preamble, there could be something about freedom to continue to discuss disputed points even of Magisterial teachings that are not de fide. (Something I have proposed all along. Dulles’ book Magisterium could be helpful for the average reader to understand what the parameters of discussion and dissent are and to what we must give “religiosum obsequium”.)

All in all, a great rumor and even better if true. Let’s pray that it is.

If it isn’t time to chill the Veuve quite yet, it is time to buy the Veuve.


Our friends at Rorate, usually on top of these stories, has a full translation of Tornielli’s piece.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. RichR says:

    Many prayers for this.

  2. Clinton R. says:

    I will continue to pray God’s will be done. Blessed Mother, pray for the Holy Church built upon St. Peter by Your Divine Son. Pope St. Pius X, pray for us.

  3. Sid says:

    Praying fervently that it’s true.

  4. GregH says:

    Henry Edwards,
    What do you think of this report?

  5. Father, can you cite the full reference of the book you listed, “Magisterium” and is it available for hard cover or e-reader purchase?

  6. Greg, I have a bottle of champagne chilling, and also a bottle of this
    (unchilled, of course), eagerly awaiting events to warrant popping their corks.

  7. Pingback: . . .SSPX ACCEPTS, SAYS YES TO VATICAN. . . | ThePulp.it

  8. Supertradmum says:

    No news on the SSPX websites in Europe as of now, past Midnight here. Rorate seems to be the only site and Father, your reference here so far. God bless all involved.

  9. digdigby says:

    Yes! Please! Sign On the Line that is Dotted….. (apologies to Glengarry Glenross).

  10. I’m getting ready to break out the good Scotch! Aberlour, if you want to know.

    YCRCM, I have Magisterium in softcover, but I haven’t seen it in hardcover or as an ebook yet. It’s next on my list to get to.

  11. All the popping of champagne corks might just down out the sound of liberal heterodox heads popping…
    Assuming this is true, it’s going to be a extremely interesting few months.

  12. ContraMundum says:

    I’ve been waiting for this news since Monday morning! If the answer is positive, why doesn’t the Holy See come out and say so? Sure, there may be a million details to work out later; they can say that, too, and leave all those details to be discussed later. It’s time for the Holy See’s media savvy to advance to at least the age of the telegraph!

  13. trad catholic mom says:

    I’ve been waiting years, I can’t get excited until I know if what they sent is accepted.

  14. Alan Aversa says:

    What’s Huff Post and the “Fishwrap” going to say about this? Especially if the SSPX get’s a Personal Prelature like Opus Dei! I can only imagine… (I hope for an “international diocese” option.)

    Our Lady of Good Council, ora pro nobis!

    If the SSPX regularizes, that would mean an almost 50% increase in Extraordinary Form parishes! (source). Deo gratias!

  15. Alan Aversa says:

    Actually, I meant to say a 90% increase!

  16. DT says:

    @ Young Canadian RC Male–

    Cardinal Dulles’ book is available from Ignatius Press (http://www.ignatius.com/Products/MTGF-P/magisterium.aspx).

    It is printed under Ave Maria University’s Sapientia Press. Full product description under this link (http://www.sapientiapress.com/shopexd.asp?id=126).

    It is quite a gem to read. I second Father Z’s opinion that you would find it a worthwhile addition to add to your theological library!

  17. Timbones says:

    EWTN is reporting that Fellay has suggested changes in the text so sounds like no celebration yet.
    I am so tired of rumors!

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  19. tzard says:

    I certainly hope the significance of it coinciding with Papa Ratzinger’s birthday is not a coincidence.

    The Holy Father will not be here on earth indefinitely – and it would seem *now* is the best chance to get the best outcome as quickly as possible.

  20. Legisperitus says:

    That last meeting with Bishop Fellay at the CDF lasted three hours. Surely (I would imagine) there was some degree of “What if we say this?” and “Would you accept that?” going on to make sure everyone was on the same page, or at least on facing pages.

  21. Virgile says:

    I have been waiting this for years! I’m so happy!!!
    Now, there will be of course the reaction of all the people who are opposed to any agreement between the FSSPX and Rome, and the habitual onslaught on Benedict XVI…

  22. Alan Aversa says:

    @Timbones: Tornielli said that Bp. Fellay made insubstantial changes to it.

  23. oldcanon2257 says:

    Deo gratias!!!

    If it is true, Our Blessed Mother must have interceded for us. It is time to intensify our prayers. With some type of worldwide canonical structure in place, the SSPX could serve as the Holy Father’s foot soldiers in his New Evangelization efforts.

    Whenever it is officially confirmed, will Father Z be chanting Te Deum in solemn tone, having it recorded and podcasted on this blog? :D

    BTW, for some unknown reasons, whenever I look at the image of Our Lady of the Clergy that Father Z has embedded at the right side of this blog, I’m always overcome with emotions (especially joy), feeling like smiling and crying at the same time, even though I’m not a member of the clergy. Hopefully more priests will seek Our Blessed Mother’s protection and intercession.

  24. kat says:

    You know…so many people seem to make comments along these lines: If the SSPX doesn’t unify under THIS pope, who is not going to live forever, etc., they will lose their chance.

    So what exactly do you (those who say these types of comments) mean? That there is not going to be another pope as conservative as this, and the next pope could be far more liberal and have no desire to bring the SSPX back into the fold?

    If that is the fear, then the SSPX should actually fear all the more to “reconcile.” Because if they find themselves trapped and locked up under the next Pope, liberal as they come, then all their blood, sweat, and tears will have been for naught, and they will have fallen into the trap they feared all along.

    This isn’t a “time” issue. It should not be made in a mad rush to get it done. It is much more serious than how fast or how slowly reconciliation takes place between the SSPX and Rome. If the rush is to accomplish something while there’s a Pope willing to do so, then…what happens when he dies?

  25. On my own blog once a guy suggested to me that Fellay might be the next Pope. :D I think he was joking, but suddenly that moves from “kooky” to “unrealistic”.

  26. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @cat: The next few popes won’t be liberals…however, the forces of orthodoxy and tradition need to be strengthened as soon as possible…Fr Bux was spot on…this is why it’s so important for the SSPX to join now.

  27. Alan Aversa says:

    Also, Timbones, that article you cite is out-dated.

  28. Pingback: Dr. Estrangedlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Church

  29. @Irenaeus G. S.: How about Cardinal Fellay?

  30. oldcanon2257 says:


    It’s all about saving souls. Christ command the Church to save souls. The quicker the SSPX is regularized, the more good the SSPX clergy could do for the Holy Mother Church and the more foot soldiers the Holy Father will have in his battle to save souls.

    As for how liberal or conservative the next Pope will be, may God’s will be done. It doesn’t hurt to pray that Our Lord picks Cardinal Ranjith or Cardinal Burke.

  31. DT Thanks for the information!!!!

  32. Centristian says:

    “How about Cardinal Fellay?”

    Let’s not get surreal.

  33. And don’t forget possibly Cardinal Collins!

  34. robtbrown says:

    kat says:

    You know…so many people seem to make comments along these lines: If the SSPX doesn’t unify under THIS pope, who is not going to live forever, etc., they will lose their chance.

    So what exactly do you (those who say these types of comments) mean? That there is not going to be another pope as conservative as this, and the next pope could be far more liberal and have no desire to bring the SSPX back into the fold?

    They don’t need to mean either. BXVI is trusted by the SSPX and has been pushing for this for over 20 years. He is also more than capable of a such a daring move, despite the complaints of other Euro bishops (which seem to have influenced JPII).

    I doubt the next pope will be a liberal. Regardless of liberal or conservative, no pope, if there is reunion with the SSPX, is going to want to cause a schism.

  35. ContraMundum says:

    @Ambrose Jnr
    No, it’s important for SSPX to achieve full communion so that they don’t go to Hell. A few decades of giving and receiving invalid confessions is not good for the soul.

    If SSPX throws this opportunity away, they will not soon receive another offer this favorable, because Benedict is doing as much for them as he can. If SSPX throws this opportunity away, then, they will harden in their position and no longer seek reconciliation, like the Lutherans before them and like you suggest even now.

  36. trad catholic mom says:

    I wonder what you thought when they “threw away” their previous chance to submit some 20+ years ago. Did you also say then that they wouldn’t have another chance and wouldn’t seek reconciliation?


  37. Lucas says:

    I hope and pray this is true.

    But, I’ll believe it when I see it. I don’t want to sound like a downer, but I want to see signed paperwork and a headline in l’osservatore romano.

  38. ContraMundum says:

    @trad catholic mom

    It’s too late for their founder, yes.

  39. Saint Irenaeus, perhaps we might dream. ;D
    Love your screenname, by the way.

  40. trad catholic mom says:

    That answer had nothing whatsoever to do with my question.

  41. ContraMundum says:

    OK, to answer your question: No. 20 years ago I had never heard of SSPX. I was not a Catholic at that time. If it weren’t for Williamson’s more outrageous remarks, even now no one outside the Catholic Church would have heard of them. They’re not that newsworthy to the world at large.

  42. oldcanon2257 says:

    Centristian says:

    “How about Cardinal Fellay?”

    Let’s not get surreal.

    I know you always have an ax to grind with the Society given your history with them, but I would love to see Bp. Fellay getting the red hat someday though, if anything just to enjoy (as uncharitable as it sounds) the weeping and gnashing of teeth of those liberal heterodox at NCR, Tablet, America, Commonweal, etc. :D

    If Card. Schonborn or Card. Mahoney could be elevated to the cardinalate, why not Bp. Fellay – if the SSPX is regularized and the Holy Father decides to appoint him to be the ordinary of whatever worldwide canonical structure the Holy See will put in place for them?

    Let’s hope the Holy Father will bring back the scarlet galero for the cardinals too.

  43. Centristian says:


    “Let’s hope the Holy Father will bring back the scarlet galero for the cardinals too.”

    The only circumstance under which Fellay would accept the red hat, I imagine. ;^)

  44. Ambrose Jnr says:

    @oldcannon2257: I agree that Fellay, once regularised, might have a chance of one day becoming a cardinal, but I would still consider it unlikely…no Opus Dei Prelate (Josemaria Escriva, Portillo, Echevarria) has ever been a cardinal, although he’s in charge of a worldwide structure which brings tremendous fruit to the Bride of Christ…

  45. Mississippi R.C. says:

    I believe Pope Benedict paved the way for this to happen specifically by going around Bishops and opening up TLM to Parish Priests without the Bishops approval. I am praying this happens and will be interesting to see how many N.O. Catholics go the the Latin Rite. Amen and Deo Gratias!

  46. anilwang says:


    There are a few reasons:
    (1) Pope Benedict XVI is an expert on the liturgy and was part of Vatican II. There aren’t many other potential candidates for Pope with his credentials or interest in reconciliation.
    (2) Pope Benedict XVI has spent a great deal of his credibility negotiating with the SSPX. If negotiations go nowhere, it’s unlikely another Pope will make a similar risk.
    (3) Few people other have worked with the SSPX from the beginning or have the trust of the SSPX.
    (4) If negotiations fail, liberals will feel this is a vindication of the “Spirit of Vatican II” and will make it necessary to divert efforts to fighting these fires.
    (5) Different Popes have different strengths and interests. Pope John Paul II was a disaster for the liturgy but was extremely strong on making Humanae Vitae understandable to the modern world and bringing a human face to the papacy. Pope Benedict XVI’s strength is reunification and the liturgy. The next Pope will likely have a different strength and weakness. If the prophecy of St Malachy are any indication and there is no gap between that Pope and this one, the next Pope will likely be a strong Pope and likely not focused on reunification.

    Let’s pray that we never have to find out. The sooner the SSPX can be regularized, the faster the reform of the reform can happen.

  47. Deo Gratias if this is true…means the TLM will be a lot closer than 3 hours :)…

  48. St. Rafael says:


    SSPX is a fraternity of priests, and these are Catholic priests. They have valid sacraments, they live as Catholics and die as Catholics. They are not schismatics. They are inside the Church, but lack ordinary faculties and jurisdiction. They don’t go to hell unless they have mortal sin, and I am sure that the SSPX priests die in a state of grace, since they live a Catholic life and receive their last rites. Good Catholics don’t need to fear hell. You should be worried about schismataics like the Orthodox priests.

  49. tymjoe5 says:

    Any traditional catholic man,woman,couple, elderly, exmilitary, post graduate, or anyone looking for a great fun easy career, we are hiring big time. That’s right all summer long. Piusv, Pius x, and CMRI are all nearby. Just email if u want more info. two grandmothers and two couples work on our shift, anyone can do it. Just want to help any trad Catholic out there. tymjoe5@hotmail.com

  50. St. Rafael says:

    I guarantee once the SSPX are regularized, you will see the Vatican recognize and declare valid all the confessions and weddings performed by the SSPX. It’s going to happen. The Vatican will recognize all of them throughout the decades.

  51. everett says:

    Prayers that this might be true, and that full unity might come to fruition at long last.

  52. @Centristian: I was engaging in levity.

  53. catholicmidwest says:

    St. Raphael,

    If they don’t come out and say so in a big press release or something, which I don’t think they will, it’ll all be done at the diocesan level anyway. They’re not going to redo all that. Why would they?

    Besides, it was never clear how “out of the Church” the rank-and-file” patrons of the SSPX chapels were anyway. The SSPX was limited to a clerical movement from the beginning and it still is. There is is, technically speaking, no lay SSPX. This was very smart. These people, who have frequented those chapels, are Catholic and always have been, albeit with a particular type of aesthetic taste. Do you want to be the crank who tells them they can’t pick their own aesthetics? I don’t. As for the clergy, we already have a lot of things in place for re-certification of clergy and such, because of the Ordinariates we have. No big deal.

    Even the SSPX religious congregations are nothing more than unapproved “public associations of the faithful.” There are plenty of those in the N.O. world all the time. Some of the traditionalist ones will probably be given the analog of “Diocesan Right” under the personal prelature, and the rest leapfrogged to Pontifical Right like the St. Vincent de Ferrer Dominican Community as appropriate with their level of sophistication, support and development as religious congregations.

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  55. Central Valley says:

    Imagine as a sign of unity the Holy Father offers a Solemn Pontifical Mass at St Peters with the four SSPX bishops attending. Can you imagine the modernists jumping from windows around the world.

  56. Lol, Central Valley! :D That would be the highlight of my year.
    Heck, get the entire Fraternity to assist in choir dress, as many as could come. Wouldn’t that be something to see…
    I can just imagine the headlines on the Fishwrap… They’d oscillate between hysterical tantrums, and hysterical conspiracy peddling. “DARK AGES RETURN TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH”, “TRADITIONALIST CABAL SWAYS THE VATICAN” “SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL REPUDIATED BY REHABILITATED SCHISMATICS”.
    So much fun! ^_^

  57. JesusFreak84 says:

    +Williamson would rather die than concelebrate a Mass with the Pope, I think. I think he’s going to be the liability here, and if this goes like the lifting of the excommunications did, we can count on H.E. Williamson to say something for the liberal media to lap up just in time for this to catch wind in the liberal press. I *personally* think the best thing for the Society and the Church, though admittedly not his soul, would be if he just went off to the SSPV break-off from the SSPX or founded some other borderline-sede group and took “his” faction with him. I do believe there’s an element within the Society, starting with him, that has never truly desired reconciliation. I don’t mean to “rain on parades” but I think the worst of the backlash will come from this direction.

  58. Supertradmum says:

    Just checked SSPX websites again and the Vatican Bulletin online- no official statement yet. However, as Father Z noted, it looks good. Keep praying.

  59. JesusFreak, I’m going to be a bit optimistic here, perhaps unrealistically so, and idealistic as well. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that what is ultimately best for Bishop Williamson’s soul is best for the Church, not just in theory but also in concrete, short term application. Basically what I’m saying is that what’s going to be best for any involved party is going to be best for all parties in a very concrete, immediate sense.

    You can call it intuition I suppose, or one could be less accommodating and call it wishful thinking, but this is the principle by which I’m operating.

  60. jeff says:

    Although I pray I am wrong, I think that hell will probably freeze over before +Williamson comes back to the fold. Regularisation was always going to come at the cost of the formation of a “real” SSPX. I don’t know if ny will drift to the SSPV.

    Say the 25% figure is accurate: every year that the SSPX remains unregularised that percentage grows. No one can deny that

  61. dspecht says:


    Very well put – you are right; it´s also my observation, that many (mostly “conservative” or “neo-con”-ones) hold the idea that there is no other chance than now and that the next Pope will perhaps not as good as this and perhaps a real or radical liberal.

    They often seem to be very pessimistic and not believing in a total restauration through a 100%traditional Pope.

    Whilst the real trads are totaly optimisic and shure that – sooner or later – there will be a 100% traditional Pope and the true restoration of the Church (because of the infallibility and indefectability).

    And yes, trad catholic mum:
    You are also right: At every time we heard: oh, that´s the best time, the only time possible. If not now, then never – so it was 1988, 2000, 2007, 2008.

    Folks, you have only to look up the archive of this blog or others to verify it – even the remnant-people joined in that choir….

    And now again….

    It was always an interesting observation for me, a sign that shows that many trads seem to think more (well, let´s say) “eaternal”, in the long run, argue more from a supernatural point of view, very calm (or bettter: patient) and confidently – having confidence in the indefectability of the Church and therefore beein hopefull and even sure that there will soon be real traditional Pope(s) and bishops

    whilst “conservatives” seem to be more pessimistic, unconfidential, do not think that the liberals will really cease — and are (therefore[?]) thinking only in short distances (“now or never”).

    Not to mean to insult anybody – but it is my very personal observation (and I know persons of all of the types – “neocons” up to “radtrads” and discussed a lot with them). And it shows up in many comments, like kat observed.

  62. albizzi says:

    The dynamics of the vocations among the SSPX and the Church’s traditionalists will soon (let’s say within 10-15 years) make the liberals/modernists looking like out of step dinosaurs.
    I schedule GREAT changes in the RCC for her best.

  63. alexandra88 says:

    Will offer up my daily decade for this intention.

  64. FaithfulCatechist says:

    It’d be nice if we could get them to renounce antisemitism as part of the deal, but I suppose that’s a question of “prudential judgement”.

  65. robtbrown says:

    JesusFreak84 says:

    +Williamson would rather die than concelebrate a Mass with the Pope, I think.

    What relevance is concelebration to this topic?

  66. discerningguy says:

    COMMUNIQUE released by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and some very positive comments from Father Lombardi:



  67. robtbrown says:

    dspecht says:

    You are also right: At every time we heard: oh, that´s the best time, the only time possible. If not now, then never – so it was 1988, 2000, 2007, 2008.

    Add 2011 and 2012. And keep in mind that there is only one common term in the equation–the name of Ratzinger.

  68. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Ut unum sint!

  69. jhayes says:

    Fr. Lombardi says Vatican will answer within A few weeks

    ” this response will be discussed, it will be examined first by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one of its meetings of the next few weeks and, afterwards, it will also naturally be examined directly by the Pope. It can be said that steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging, but there are still developments that will be made, and examined, and decisions that should be taken in the next few weeks. “

  70. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Whenever it’s “an acceptable time”, God wants us to move on it. And it’s always a matter of jump on it now, because we may not live to see tomorrow. And at any time, the world may end, and we’ll be stuck with our current level of holiness or sinfulness, of asking mercy or living in pride. That’s for everyone, no matter how wronged we are by life or by others. We have to jump on the openings God gives us.

    And that’s one reason why you get a lot of quoting 2 Cor. 6:2, which quotes Is. 49:8. “For he says, “In an accepted time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

  71. paladin says:

    oldcanon2257 wrote:

    If Card. Schonborn or Card. Mahoney could be elevated to the cardinalate, why not Bp. Fellay […]?

    :) That’s as close to a self-evidently irrefutable argument as I’ve heard in many a month…

  72. Suz. from Oklah. says:

    Let me tell you a story. There was a chapel that was owned privately where there were different ‘hired’ priests to say the TLM. It turns out that one or two weren’t even priests who came over the years. Then, the FSSP came and eventually, Fr. Flood asked that the congregation find another place to build a church so that it would be a part of the diocese. So, they found a spot where an old church used to stand but burned to the ground after it had closed back in the 1950s. A chapel was built and the congregation split. Most are going to the new church with the FSSP but several are still going to the old, privately owned church that now has a SSPX priest. The Bishop said that he would not recognize the SSPX and that their sacraments would be invalid. There is a perfectly good church with the TLM said every day, but some of those people are going to the SSPX church in a privately owned building and many claim sedevacantism. Families have been split because of this. What is one to think? Even if the SSPX is given a personal prelature, damage has been done and this group has been disobediant. Am I missing something? I, personally, would be happy to see this group an official part of the fold.

  73. irishgirl says:

    Central Valley and Irenaeus Saintonge: Wow, what a scenario you guys cooked up! I love it!
    And I can imagine the conniptions from the liberal press if that happens! The Fishwrap and others of their ilk would have a stroke, and then shut down!
    Seriously, though: I continue to pray for a favorable ending to this ‘affair’. It has gone on for too long. We need the SSPX ‘in’ the Church!
    This would certain secure the legacy of our Holy Papa Benedict!

  74. ContraMundum says:

    @St. Rafael

    SSPX is a fraternity of priests, and these are Catholic priests. They have valid sacraments….
    It takes more than a Catholic priest to have valid sacraments. The pope himself could not baptize a baby with motor oil. As Fr. Z posted earlier, the problem comes with having the faculty to give absolutions, which SSPX faculty do not yet have.

    They are inside the Church, but lack ordinary faculties and jurisdiction.
    Exactly. See above.

    I am sure that the SSPX priests die in a state of grace, since they live a Catholic life and receive their last rites. Good Catholics don’t need to fear hell.
    You are sure that they all die in a state of grace? Really? Oh, but perhaps this is because you have the omniscience to know that they are all “Good Catholics”.

    You should be worried about schismataics like the Orthodox priests.
    I mostly worry about myself, and you should worry about yourself. If the SSPX priests really are “Good Catholics”, they’ll worry about their own souls, whether you do or not. Saying Mass in Latin ad orientem is no guarantee of a sinless life.

  75. paladin says:

    irishgirl wrote:

    The Fishwrap and others of their ilk would have a stroke, and then shut down!

    Oh, my… I just had a momentary flash of a scenario in which (akin to Danielle Bean taking over the previously-squishy Catholic Digest) Bishop Fellay, or someone under his authority, were to take charge of the Fishwrap and turn it into a non-Fishwrap… :)

    One thing at a time, I suppose.

  76. St. Rafael says:


    Nowhere is my post did I say all SSPX priests go to heaven or every single SSPX priest is saved. You read into my post what was not there. I said you need to be in a state of grace and receieve the last rites. Nevertheless The SSPX priests are extremely orthodox faithful Catholics. Sure there might be an individual SSPX priest or so that is actually a rebrobate and not faithful, but only God knows. The same is true for Novus Ordo priests. However, heresy and apostasy is completely rampant at every level of the Church. There is so much corruption and heresy that Ifeel extremely confident when it comes to the fate of FSSP/SSPX priests than I do most diocene priests and Catholic bishops.

  77. wmeyer says:

    The Fishwrap and others of their ilk would have a stroke, and then shut down!

    I pray for the latter, not the former.

  78. ContraMundum says:

    They’re “extremely faithful orthodox Catholics” who have been celebrating sacraments that are every bit as illicit, and in some cases (it appears) *more* invalid, than the “schismataics like the Orthodox priests”. In fact, I will trust them all to the mercy of God, which is no bad reason for hope, but if I were to take the hard line you seem to insist on, I would say that they have compiled decades of serious sin in celebrating invalid sacraments and “teaching others to do likewise”, and I would note that Lefebvre died while excommunicated, which according to the Catechism of the Council of Trent (the only one I’d expect him to acknowledge) made him extra ecclesiam, which would mean nulla salus for him. Now I hear that his excommunication has been revoked, but I hear exactly the same thing about Patriarch Michael Cerularius.

  79. St. Rafael says:


    Excommunication does not kick a person out of the Church, but only forbids them from receiving the sacraments. Apostasy, heresy, and schism leaves a person outside the Church.

    Archbishop Lefebvre is a saint that I predict will be declared so by the Church in the future. I am pretty confident that Lefebvre is in heaven. God is not bound to the fallible prudential decisions of discipline by Popes or bishops. If he were, God would not have allowed St. Joan of Arc into heaven because she was excommunicated by Catholic bishops. God allowed her into heaven after her private judgement because he knew she was a saint and her excommunication invalid.

    Orthodox priests in the Othodox church are in a state of schism and are schismatics. Schismatics are outside the Catholic Church. There is no salvation for schismatics. There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. There are extraordinary means of salvation outside of the Church when it comes to pagans in ignorance or for others, but it is all speculation and no one knows how wide it applies. Orthodox priests are educated men who do not have the excuse of ignorance. Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is the dogma. Apostates, heretics, and schismatics are all outside the salvation of the Church. To deny this is heresy.

  80. albizzi says:

    Suz. from Oklah,
    You are right, the SSPX bishops were excommunicated because they were disobedient to Rome. OK
    But how many clerics were not even blamed in the same time who were true HERETICS and taught and still are teaching heresies, thus fueling further trends to dissent of traditionalists?
    At least one cannot blame the SSPX for being heretics.

  81. brotherjuniper says:

    I will continue to pray for this.

    I do wonder what will happen with Williamson and the hardliners when the SSPX is reunited with Rome. I’m pretty sure that His Excellency wouldn’t stand for such a thing and leave with all of those faithful that share his views on the Vatican, the Holy Father, etc. He’ll probably become a sedevacantist or an independent trad bishop and do his own thing outside of the Society.

  82. Alan Aversa says:

    Wine in an aspersorium?

  83. Timbones says:

    Don’t celebrate yet. SSPX itself is saying this is only “a stage”. Read from the horse’s mouth:
    “At least one Vatican insider has posited that Bishop Fellay gave a “positive” response and also signed in acceptance a modified form of the Doctrinal Preamble. However, speaking today to the French news agency, APIC, SSPX spokesman, Fr. Alain Lorans states that while a “clarified Preamble” was sent to Rome with Bishop Fellay’s reply, beyond these facts one is “speaking too prematurely” when referring to an imminent agreement between the SSPX and Rome. Fr. Lorans went on to clarify that Bishop Fellay’s response is simply another step “in a stage of studies” and that “not everything is already fixed” for an agreement.”

  84. The Cobbler says:

    @ Irenaeus G. Saintonge, call the means by which you see it intuition, but I’m pretty sure that any genuine good for any soul cannot by definition and the economy of grace be bad in itself for other souls, which is not all that far from saying (even if it doesn’t follow from strict logic) that what is genuinely good for one soul should be good in itself for others. Otherwise we wind up in silly weighing of one set of souls against another in trying to decide our course of action, instead of trying to serve truth, justice and the gospel that is the only hope of any soul.

  85. Ambrose Jnr says:

    St Raphael – I believe in ‘Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus’, however, I also believe in God’s omnipotence…so if God decides to let the non-catholic Orthodox priests spend time in purgatory to be purified of their misconceptions rather than consigning them to eternal separation, I believe God can do so…do you think this is not possible for the Thrice-Holy omnipotent, omniscient God?

  86. Timbones says:

    Why does anyone read Tornielli on this? He never gets it right. He rumored an “agreement” in 2008 with SSPX in 2008 which never happened. Still has not and probably won’t anytime soon.
    Go to the SSPX site and see. Fellay signed nothing. Here’s the official SSPX communique:

    “The media are announcing that Bishop Bernard Fellay has sent a “positive response” to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that consequently the doctrinal question between the Holy See and the Society of St. Pius X is now resolved.

    The reality is different.”


  87. Imrahil says:

    Dear @St. Rafael,

    three points. 1st: As a matter of fact, Joan of Arc never was validly excommunicated from the purely simple legalistic point that she was not under her “judges'” jurisdiction.

    2nd. Your understanding of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus is not far away, or is, Feeneyism, which is different doctrine than that of the Church. (In my very humble and incompetent view, Fr. Feeney should have been obliged to abjure.) It is true to say that no non-Catholic can be saved save in ignorance or if converting (which can be at the hour of death, unseen by others, for that matter). But in indirectly stating 1) that an Orthodox priest can be in what in this sense constitutes ignorance[*] with only little probability, 2) that “it is all speculation and no one knows how wide it applies” (a statement in itself correct) somewhat equals to their being actually lost (as your tone implies), you’re adding your own doctrine to that of the Church.
    [* I on my turn would find it illogical that an educated Orthodox should have a worse chance than an educated heathen.]

  88. Imrahil says:

    Sorry, these were only 2, of course.

  89. St. Rafael says:


    1) I do not hold the Feeney position, but it’s true that my position is closer on the spectrum to Feeneyism than most modern Catholics. Unlike Feeneyism, I do believe in the baptism of desire, blood, and salvation for those in a state of invincible ignorance. You may not like Feeney’s position of salvation only through water baptism, but he reconciled with the Church without having to renounce it. The Church and Magisterium has decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to hold and Catholics are free to believe that salvation is only through water baptism. The Church also allows those the freedom to go beyond and recognize baptism of blood and desire. Again, you may not like the position of salvation only through water baptism, but Catholics can hold this strict interpretation. I don’t hold this interpretation, but I have no problem with those who do. The Church decides the matter, not our individual opinions or taste.

  90. St. Rafael says:

    2) As far as invincible ignorance, that is a narrow exception and extraordinary means of salvation that does not apply to every pagan or heathen. To even be saved by ignorance, you have to believe in God, worship him to the best of your ability, never have heard of Christ, the Church, and live according to the natural law and moral law. Immoral pagans who live a wicked evil life do not apply. We are not talking about educated heathens who have rejected Catholicism.

    A case of salvation through ignorance would be a man who lived his entire life in a remote village in the middle of nowhere, in Afghanistan, who never had the gospel preached to him and grew up Muslim and only knew Muslims and the Islamic religion his whole life. He was a ggod moral man who saught God to the best of his ability all his life.

    An Orthodox priest does not have the excuse than an ignorant pagan does, who lives in the middle of remote Mongolia. Every Orthodox priest knows the history of the great Western Schism and the histories of the Catholic Church and Orthodox church. They know about the dogmas of Papal Infallibility, vicar of Christ, and the Catholic Church’s claim to be the only one true church, with the true religion, outside of which there is no salvation.

  91. St. Rafael says:

    St. Joan of Arc was excommunicated and died in 1431. The Pope initiated a retrial and rehabilitation two decades later. The court annulled her sentence and only made her excommunication invalid in 1456. Catholics at the time were under the impression she was excommunicated for 25 years. It was only after 25 years that they officially learned that it was invalid.

    Anyways, I could also have easily used the case of Pope Liberius unjustly excommunicating St. Atthanasius, who would later become a doctor of the Church. The important thing and the whole point is that the principle still stands, that God does not have his hands tied when it comes to the mistakes the Church makes in discipline, or the individual mistakes of Popes in their fallible judgement of individual cases of discipline.

  92. Imrahil says:

    Dear @St. Rafael,

    thank you very much for your answers! Please allow me to answer them back…

    1) This strict Feeneyism cannot be hold by a Catholic Christian (save perhaps under circumstances undescribably impossible), because (according to Ludwig Ott) it is a sententia fidei proxima. It is not true that we only need to believe the dogmas. Anyway, I wonder whether Fr. Feeney himself believed the matter, or didn’t only say as well that Baptism of desire is practically impossible today (which is a completely different thing, and not far away from what you are saying).

    2) That baptism by desire is a narrow exception is, as far as I see, your doctrine, and not in any way sourced. Where does this stand written, if you excuse the Luther quote… (Of course I accept Magisterial documents which Luther didn’t!) I even do not know where this invincibility comes from. It certainly is sinful to be in vincible ignorance, but does it exclude from the prospect of Heaven? Where do we know that from. That being said, what if one knows what Christianity claims but does not know that her claims are well-founded? Only has learnt to know it as Western cultural power, as Pope Benedict mentions in an interview, and so on?
    Only thing I know is that it is necessary to join the Church to be saved, and that it is objectively [!] gravely obligatory to do so before one’s physical life’s end, and that it is most probably necessary to have some sort of actual belief in the existence of a God who rewards those who seek Him, according to the dictum in Hebrews.
    If you ask me what I personally speculate (which by the way is not a derogatory word), I guess that the non-Christians and non-Catholics are in great mass in ignorance (at least to a certain degree, of which we do not know whether it is “enough for God to let them pass”), and that the real problem is that they know of no forgiveness for their sins they do commit and know that they commit (some of which may be religious practices they even subjectively might, though part of their religion, still hold to be superstitious). This, of course, is speculation. But so is narrowness of the exception.

    3). D’accord.

  93. Imrahil says:

    An addition: When I said

    It certainly is sinful to be in vincible ignorance, but does it exclude from the prospect of Heaven?

    I meant: does it do so even in the slightest thinkable degree? That there is a degree of “vincibility” that makes the ignorant completely guilty is, of course, clear.

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