SSPX/Holy See: Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” issues a statement, Vatican Radio chimes in

From VIS:

In data 17 aprile 2012 è pervenuto, come richiesto nell’incontro del 16 marzo 2012, svoltosi presso la sede della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, il testo della risposta di S.E. Mons. Bernard Fellay, Superiore Generale della Fraternità Sacerdotale San Pio X. Il suddetto testo sarà esaminato dal Dicastero e successivamente sottoposto al giudizio del Santo Padre.

On 17 April 2012 there arrived, as requested in the meeting of 16 March 2012 held at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the text of the response of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X.  The aforementioned text will be studied by the Dicastery (the CDF) and, thereafter, submitted to the judgement of the Holy Father.


Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican Press Office, said that, with the latest response, “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 which should be taken in the next few weeks.”

However, from Vatican Radio’s French division we find this:


Mais naturellement, on a aussi dans la réponse la proposition de quelques précisions ou intégrations au texte du préambule doctrinal qui avait été proposé par la Congrégation pour un accord doctrinal et cette réponse va être discutée, va être examinée avant tout par la Congrégation pour la doctrine de la foi, dans une des réunions des prochaines semaines et après, elle va être aussi examinée naturellement par le Pape.

But, of course, in the response there is also the suggestion of some clarifications or additions to the text of the doctrinal preamble which had been proposed by the Congregation for a doctrinal agreement and this response will be discussed, will be studied first of all by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in one of the meetings of the next few weeks [this would be one or more of the so-called “Feria IV” meetings], and afterwards will also of course be studied by the Pope.

The SSPX spokesman Fr. Alain Lorans told a Swiss news agency APIC/KIPA that

“we are still in a stage of studies” and that “not everything is already fixed”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Very hopeful. Like the writing up of a marriage contract IMO. More sites–here

  2. ContraMundum says:

    So far, so good! Am I right in thinking this was the key obstacle? Maybe it will be downhill from here?

  3. Supertradmum says:

    scroll down for other links, as I put your information, Fr. Z on my blog just now after the others, but above, giving you credit, of course. This is all very exciting.

  4. mrsmontoya says:

    Prayers continue.

  5. Tominellay says:

    I pray for progress toward unity.

  6. digdigby says:

    For the tradition-minded faithful, this would be the key moment to tip the scales – like the French joining the American Revolution. The SPPX has suffered from ‘ghettoization’ and an ‘uncatholic’ us vs. them situation. Their greatness can only be fully manifest within the church. I only pray that they remain ‘unleavened bread’ .

  7. leonugent2005 says:

    The SSPX have been self governing for so long. I hope they are reconciled because it would be good for them to be back in submission to the See of Peter. The naming of any new bishops will be interesting to watch under these circumstances.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What have I missed? “But, of course, in the response there is also the suggestion of some clarifications or additions to the text of the doctrinal preamble which had been proposed by the Congregation for a doctrinal agreement and this response will be discussed…”

    Isn’t this NOT what gets said every single time there is NOT yet agreement?

  9. irishgirl says:

    I’m continuing to pray that this will be brought to a positive conclusion….

  10. oldcanon2257 says:

    Our Lady of the Clergy, pray for us!!!

  11. wolfeken says:

    Speaking of Feria IV, since nearly every day this week is a ferial day, perhaps some priests could offer traditional Latin votive Masses for the intention of full reconciliation?

    Today, tomorrow, Friday and Monday are perfect (fourth class) days to offer “Missa Spiritus Domini” — the votive Mass for obtaining the grace of the Holy Ghost.


  13. Bender says:

    “A step forward” does not mean unconditional acceptance. The dance continues.

  14. wolfeken says:

    Dr. Peters, you may have been distracted by other matters the past few weeks, but there is indeed new development on this matter. As Father Lombardi noted this morning, cited above: “steps forward have been taken, that is to say, that the response, the new response, is rather encouraging.”

    I take “rather encouraging”, on the part of the Vatican spokesman, to mean the ball has advanced toward the goal line and we are just a few weeks away from a great ending.

    It should be noted that Father Leonard Feeney was excommunicated in 1953 and not reconciled until 1972. Like the SSPX will hopefuly be, he was received into full communion complete with a religious society and not having to budge from orthodox beliefs (in Fr. Feeney’s case, concerning “extra ecclesiam nulla salus”). Maybe the impatient among us can spend the waiting time brushing up on the Father Feeney history.

  15. jasoncpetty says:

    For the tradition-minded faithful, this would be the key moment to tip the scales – like the French joining the American Revolution.

    True, but probably an unwise historical reference considering the role of the American War of Independence in bankrupting France, precipitating the French Revolution. 1789 is kind of a “thing” for the tradition-minded faithful. :)

  16. The Cobbler says:

    So… yesterday’s rumours of good news have become todays tentatively good news?

  17. The Cobbler says:

    And @Bender… the SSPX and their supporters have done and said a lotta stuff I don’t like, but right now my biggest fear is that even with an official regularization the folks on the ground on both sides will distrust if not outright hate each other. I nearly said quarrel, but for all I dislike about them the SSPX raise valid concerns if nothing else (what I dislike is typically where their supporters [dunno about the SSPX priests themselves, haven’t ever sat in on a discussion with one!] assume any ambiguity is no better than open Modernism; but the concern in itself is usually valid when they’re talking about doctrine and not, you know, the Jewish conspiracy to make us all believe that atrocities were commited during World War II), so perhaps a bit of civil and charitable contention may still be called for — but it’s the charity to allow that the other isn’t a heretic for taking a different stance on a genuinely thorny issue that I’m afraid may be lacking… and however much we feel we may be justified in our assessment of their historical stance, I say there’s no sense adding fuel to the fire. (Besides, the mere fact that they’d be willing to settle their differences within Rome’s authority, rather than using their sketchy position as leverage against Rome’s authority [that is, how they said previously that they can’t rejoin because it’s Rome’s desire to get them to come back that makes Rome likely to work out an agreement that would correct Rome’s errors], is an improvement. Let’s not waste breath holding them to higher standards than Rome over something they’ve already shown a basic willingness to correct.)

  18. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    wolfeken, I see all that. It’s just, I’m from Missouri, and every time there is “good news” on this front it’s always followed by, “of course, it’s not done.” We’ll see. PS: reconciling one man, and reconciling I dunno how many folks in how many countries are not equivalents.

  19. ContraMundum says:

    No, it’s better than that. This is motion in the right direction. It’s not as fast as we would all like, and even under the best of circumstances there would be the chance for further temper flare-ups, but progress *has* been made.

  20. GregH says:

    Dr Peters,
    I can’t believe how impatient you are considering how long it can take to resolve canon law cases.

  21. I am of the opinion that the perception of tentativeness is more style than substance. My perception of all of this is that in all its essentials the deal has been struck, and the involved parties now are simply being cautious so as to let the endgame progress smoothly.

  22. Texas trad says:

    I have been attending the SSPX for 10 years after converting thru New Order from the Presbyterian Church in 1996. I can say categorically that 50% of the SSPX attendees are sedevecantist. And I am sad to say so. In our own parish just over the weekend, the sedes have come out of the closet to pronounce that they will never follow our beloved Bishop Fellay and the Holy Father. This is said without them even knowing the terms of the agreement. Never mind that the Preamble says all assets of the SSPX down to the doorknobs, will continue to be under SSPX control only. None of the vast holdings of the SPPX in real estate, large cash assets, endowments, etc. will change hands. No, the battle that is coming is mostly within the SSPX. Many will leave following the one SSPX bishop who, as we speak, is planning a breakaway organization. This is something I have seen coming from a mile away. So be it. If SSPX attendees cannot stomach this wonderful reconciliation, then I have just the organization for them. It’s called SSPV.

  23. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    GregH, that canon law cases take a long time is mostly function of judging, not advocacy. I’m an advocate. Anyway, I’m not impatient per se, but rather, I think the optimism shown by some is, for the umpteenth time, premature. Seems like all I ever hear is, ‘Wow great progress was made, …but of course, there are still yaddah yaddah’. Well, who knows. Maybe it has been made. One of these days, the progress might just be palpable.

  24. Pingback: Two sides of a coin — The Curt Jester

  25. ContraMundum says:

    Progress that is just barely palpable is still better than I had feared. This could have been a disaster, but disaster has been averted. That’s worth celebrating.

    This is sort of like the part of the movie where the good guys are trying to defuse an unexploded bomb. They’ve got the cover off without it blowing up, which is a good point to pause for a breath and wipe the sweat off their brows. The part about deciding which wire to cut may still be ahead.

  26. AGA says:

    Dr. Peters advocates apparently for not letting little pesky things like fundamental doctrinal disagreements get in the way of a speedy agreement. These matters are *really* important to some folks, Doc.

    The truth is more than a few Magisterialists are dreading (either consciously or unconsciously) this rapprochement. To think that a small army of churchmen, who speak about unvarnished tradition, will have official status in the Church. What will the neoconservatives do with themselves!

  27. AnnAsher says:

    Ah but “not everything is already fixed” says that some things are!

  28. ContraMundum says:


    I don’t know who these “neoconservatives” are that you are talking about, but it’s the fans of SSPX going on like this that really turns me off to them, perhaps even more than the doctrinal problems they’re having to clarify to the Holy See.

    Then again, I’m sure that it would not be hard to find the same kind of thing from the fans of the Legion of Christ — well, at least until fairly recently.

    One thing is sure: Fellay wasn’t talking the way you are. There would be no discussions if he were. He would be shown the door, and that would be the end of it.

  29. Bender says:

    Magisterialists? Neoconservatives?

    This is not the talk of unity, but is instead the talk of division and dissent.

    The only thing that really should take any time in this is the long time it will take to make the necessary apologies for causing so much strife and injury to unity.

  30. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    AGA, what on earth are you talking about? Nothing to do with anything I said, that’s for sure.

  31. AGA says:


    That’s the rub of it isn’t it. And that is way *many* neoconservatives despise uncompromising traditionalists much more than they do heretical liberals. The language used to describe both groups is starkly different. And much more abusive towards traditionalists.

    In the current state of things, the neocons are the self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy. Celeb priests and former protestant bloggers sit in judgment over what is Catholic and what is not. The liberals are easy targets to marginalize and trounce. It’s easy and fun to take them apart. They are laughed at really. There is very little stirring of emotions.

    On the other hand, the traditionalists are a real problem. They threaten their world view itself (not to mention also threatening their lofty perches within the Church). This is why you only hear about traditionalists labeled as “arrogant” and as sowers of disunity. Aren’t the liberals just as arrogant and just as harmful to unity? Certainly, they are! But from the perspective of the Magisterialist Neocon, the real threat is the Traddie. They are much more difficult to marginalize. Indeed, they must be suppressed.

    The biggest threat within the Church to the rapprochement between the SSPX and Rome are not the Liberals, but the Conservatives. The Cardinal Mahoneys of the Church care far less about the reintegration of the Lebfrebrists than the Cardinal Pells of the Church.

  32. AGA sounds a lot like Michael Voris. ^_^

  33. norancor says:

    @Irenaeus >> Voris was a “neocon.” He just veered “trad” in the past year or so after doing the requisite research on the Church from the 1940s to the 1980s, and understanding the rolling tide of modern, liberal thinking that has washed into the Church. In fact, I was banned from the RealCatholicTV Youtube channel last year (and still am… i haven’t asked anyone to unblock me) for refusing to allow “whomever” at RCTV (Voris or a staffer) to trash the SSPX as schismatics and for calling anyone who questioned certain aspects of Vatican II as unfaithful, dissident Catholics. For the record, I have no affiliation whatsoever with the SSPX. NONE.

    @Bender Neocons are wedded to the current apparatus of the Church and have little or nothing to do with the TLM and Tradition, and it makes them uncomfortable that trads really KNOW and PRACTICE their faith more “authentically” — as the Holy Father would put it.

    This, however, is an understandable and natural response. People become comfortable with their station; in this case as paragons of virtue. They are conservatives that kneel for Communion sometimes, always genuflect and pay proper reverence to Him, don’t let their daughters serve, and usually never receive in the hand, all the while practicing personal piety and decrying the sad state of affairs and how badly Father X or Bishop Y is running a parish, or diocese. And Sister Z and her liberal craziness? Please!

    But then they meet a “trad” and that whole social standing goes out the door. Trads don’t even go to the new Mass regularly, and practice their faith essentially like someone did 100 years ago. We also tend to be much better versed in theology and recent Church history, and our piety is all traditional, will little or no accommodation of popular piety except perhaps the Divine Mercy chaplet or something. Since trads openly question the wisdom, and the underlying history and motives of most everything since the 1950s, we are immediately branded rogue possibly schismatic and definitely dissenting and disloyal.

    So there! Problem solved! We’re a bunch of crank dissidents, like liberals, so voila, you then as a neocon are once again amongst the chosen ones, sure in my choices and freedoms (within the conciliar mindset).

    Conservatives, and especially neocons, fit the apt descriptions of Magisterialists. The mere fact you have to employ the verbs dissent and disunity only shows that the shoe fits. Traditional Catholics are viewed as less than faithful because conservatives style themselves the most faithful of the most faithful for their unflinching fidelity to the Magisterium, even if the Church exercises this in a way at odds with the traditions of the Church itself. Obedience is promoted from being subservient to justice as one of the four cardinal virtues, and zooms past even the theological virtues, upending the moral order and making obedience the “super virtue” from which all others flow.

    Trads, it should also be noted because it really isn’t spoken of much, largely reject the use of NFP and tend to average 5-12 children in their families, and will continue to do so for quite some time going forward begetting the “feed stock” of future vocations.

    It isn’t that neocons use artificial contraception, but they have embraced NFP so much the average conservative parish family size ends up 4-6 kids. This is because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the strict limits that Paul VI and others put on it, overusing it and using it when it is morally illicit. It is NOT allowed “just because” and you are supposed to receive permission from your pastor, with guidelines, for using it AT ALL, since he is your superior, and responsible for your moral state to a large extent as your principal confessor. NFP can quickly become a sin, even for otherwise well meaning conservatives.

    It should readily apparent, however, that conservative conciliarism bears only a partial resemblance to the Faith as it was practiced before the Council, and there are deep, fundamental divides in both practice, and more importantly, mindset on how the Faith is viewed, defended and lived. Trads will not yield on this, and have history, time, and the theological defense to stand up to the assaults of the world, and assaults of people within the Church. Everything old is new again, and we are followers of Tradition because be believe in TRADERE – to hand down to others that which has been given to us, in tact, and complete.

    God bless you all, and God bless you Father Z. You da man.

  34. Hidden One says:

    Trads are the Catholics who cause me the most aggravation, and it’s not even close.

    And I am one. Happily so.

  35. Granny says:

    Here is a link for you. Back in Feb RCTV did a good helpful report on the SSPX with an interview with Louie Verrechio. I’m not SSPX, just a struggling child of the Vat 2 =/ If there was a SSPX chapel near I would certainly be there! I am considered a “traddie” by the local NO Bible study group and it gave me great pleasure to share this link with them =) Hearing the PB16 thinks that the SSPX is a great repository of the faith gave me heart and gave quite a few of the NO ladies palpitations =) Here is the link, the report is about 45 minutes

  36. ContraMundum says:

    In the current state of things, the neocons are the self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy.

    Oh, so by “neocons” you mean SSPX. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I’ll take Pope Benedict as the guardian of orthodox. He didn’t appoint himself.

  37. ContraMundum says:

    OK. I should probably switch to decaf.

    On the other hand, it’s extremely vexing to have people claiming that they and their club (not the Pope, not the more than 5000 bishops acting with the Pope) are indeed the guardians of orthodoxy. Then when people object, they “piously” shake their heads and say, “According to these things did their fathers to the prophets!” Even if you *are* 100% orthodox, it is 100% possible to be a stuck-up jerk. Neither doctrine nor liturgy prevents anyone from being an *******.

  38. Supertradmum says:

    I am more hopeful than most, as the time is right for the SSPX to come in, minus the hard-liners, of course. I do think the reconciliation will happen fully and soon. Events in Europe, such as the rise of both the far-right and the far-left political parties have an influence on the need for unity in the Church. The SSPX need the Church as much as the Church needs the SSPX. And, by that, I mean protection and love in the fold.

  39. jhayes says:

    The French service of Radio Vatican has provided the precise quote of what Fr. Lombardi said. It’s not quite as encouraging as the paraphrase that we saw earlier from

    Alors cette réponse, c’est une réponse qui, selon le témoignage de qui a pu la voir, c’est une réponse très différente de la précédente et ça c’est encourageant, on a fait des pas en avant.

    According to those who have seen it, this response is very different from the earlier one, and that’s encouraging; some progress has been made.

  40. cheekypinkgirl says:

    Commentary such as presented by Norancor is EXACTLY why I will never embrace the Latin mass, etc. I fit almost exactly the “neocon” description he offers and take quite a bit of flack from those around me for wanting to live in a Catholic bubble, etc., and yet that isn’t good enough for a person such as Norancor. The judgementalism and pride just oozes, and then they wonder why us neo-cons don’t want to come join them? Get a clue! Bees and honey, bees and honey.

  41. norancor says:

    Hi @cheekypinkgirl,

    Let me ask you something. What exactly do I need to change about what I said that you would think I thought you were “good enough?” And what is prideful about what I said? Tossing out condemnations is very self-satisfying, but what exactly did I say that was prideful and judgmental? For everything I said I can run down the list and demonstrate what I said is true. It might have been alittle brash, but my comment is about 30 comments in after other people, and meant to answer existing “neocon” comments.

    Under what circumstances would you ever, and I mean EVER, have anything to do with the last 1700 years of liturgical patrimony? What would it take to persuade you to take a look at the traditional Sacraments without prejudice or prejudgment? I spent years going to the new Mass, and was received into the Church in it, and have experience in numerous parishes in numerous dioceses. I don’t live “in a bubble” and never have, and my opinion comes about about 30 years of experience. It isn’t just tossed out their for fun and giggles.

    I honestly want to know what I can say, or do, to change your mind. And, BTW, did you mean honey and vinegar, because I don’t get the bees and honey analogy. God bless.

    Lastly, @ContraMundum… what are you talking about, dude?

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