Prefect of CDF: No more talks with SSPX

Do you remember when I suggested that, if the SSPX continued to dictate terms to the Holy Father, one day his patience would end and they would wake up on the wrong side of the fence?

In an interview with German radio station NDR, Archbishop Müller, Prefect of the CDF, has stated that there will be no more talks with SSPX.

See the radio stations press statement HERE.  The interview will be broadcast on October 6th.

Some quotes:

“This fraternity is no partner for negotiations for us, because there is no negotiating the faith.” (“Diese Bruderschaft ist für uns kein Verhandlungspartner, weil es über den Glauben keine Verhandlungen gibt.” )

“There can be no reductions in the Catholic faith, even more so as the second Vatican Council validly formulated it. The Second Vatican Council is not opposed to the tradition of the Church, possibly at most some incorrect interpretations of the Catholic faith”. (“Es gibt keine Ermäßigungen was den katholischen Glauben angeht, gerade wie er auch vom Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil gültig formuliert worden ist. Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil steht nicht im Gegensatz zur gesamtkirchlichen Tradition, allenfalls im Gegensatz zu mancher falschen Interpretation des katholischen Glaubens.” )

“I don’t think there will be any more new talks” (“Ich glaube, es gibt jetzt keine neuen Gespräche mehr”.)


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  1. Phil_NL says:

    Sad, but if the SSPX demands a retraction of VII, in whole or part, unsurprising. That would never have been on offer. It all boils down to authority: did the council, and more specifically the pope(s) who gave their assent to the documents that came out of the council, have the authority to do so? If so, we may not like it (and the SSPX would hardly have been alone in that, nor would the Holy father object to that assesment, I daresay), but we have to acknowledge these documents as belonging to the Catholic Faith. Denying that is denying papal authority, and no pope will ever negotiate based on that. The SSPX may dislike VII, they may offer their own interpretation of the documents, they may say it was chokeful of bad calls, but the one thing they will have to admit for regularization is that VII was a valid expression of the faith.

    And sadly, they seem to have said as much that they refuse to admit that. And by the sound of things Abp Muller, presumably in agreement with BXVI, is making the same point.

  2. BobP says:

    There’s probably much more to this than Vatican II or anyone’s interpretation of it.

  3. Mike says:

    Newman wrote that we often have to wait–a long time–for the Church to digest a Council. Perhaps in 50 years, the gaps will narrow, and the breach healed.

    50 years are a blink of an eye for the Lord.

  4. ConnerW says:

    This is very sad news, indeed. The Lefebvrists have a lot to offer the Church. I would agree, however, that enough is enough.

  5. Jon says:

    If there will be no “new talks,” why the appointment of Archbishop DiNoia to engage in exactly that?

    I don’t so much suspect the Holy Father has lost patience as much as I suspect Archbishop Muller has taken a toss at the works with Cardinal Levada’s wrench.

  6. MarkA says:

    BobP –
    “There’s probably much more to this than Vatican II or anyone’s interpretation of it.”

    Fr. Rostand (SSPX US District Superior) recently stated that during the Society’s General Council, they were told that in the Spring, the German Bishop’s Council told Pope Benedict XVI that if the Society was given full communion, the German Church would break away from Rome in an act of schism. The Holy Father then gave Bishop Felay his new terms which he knew the Society would reject. He also stated that the Mason’s press in Rome reported the Society would reject the Holy Father’s new offer before it was even provided to Bishop Felay. This all happened before Archbishop Muller was appointed head of CDF.

    “more to this than Vatican II” indeed. Perhaps our German Bishops were not happy with the thought of sharing the Kirchensteuer.

  7. Sixupman says:

    Mark A: I suspect you are correct!

    Of course ++Muller demonstrated an even-handed approach to the problem – not. Just look at The Church in Germany and their dissident approach.

  8. Jon: “I don’t so much suspect the Holy Father has lost patience as much as I suspect Archbishop Muller has taken a toss at the works with Cardinal Levada’s wrench.”

    I suspect some of both, and that Ab. Muller’s not the only one tossing spanners. For sure, the Holy Father has plenty of reason for impatience, and not only with the SSPX,

  9. anilwang says:

    MarkA, that’s hearsay and even if true, it’s an idle threat that I don’t think the Pope would take any more seriously than the threatened revolt if the new corrected missal were introduced. The Pope’s decision on the SSPX is the Pope’s decision. Let’s not complicate things with idle speculations.

    Let’s stick to the facts. “I don’t think there will be any more new talks” doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no new talks. It simply means he sees a stalemate and is willing to give up.

    Ultimately, it’s up to the Pope to make the call, and he has stated that the doctrinal preamble will be published once negotiations are over (either positively or negatively). Since we haven’t seen a doctrinal preamble or a statement from the Vatican that the Pope changed his mind about releasing the doctrinal preamble, negotiations haven’t ended. Until the doctrinal preamble is published, we can still pray.

  10. Ignatius says:

    They had it coming. All the “leaks” inside the SSPX, all the “hard talk” (again “Eternal Rome ” vs “Modern Rome”), the posturing, the innuendo, the psy-ops against Bp. Fellay when he appeared to be “soft”, etc. etc. …
    They have shown that the SSPX has a schismatic mentality and, I am afraid, they are heretics also regarding the infallibility of the Church. To all the sane and pious people in the SSPX: jump ship! Now!

  11. David Zampino says:

    I’m sad to see this happen, but I can’t say that I’m surprised.

    Another item for continued prayer.

  12. RobertK says:

    Not surprising since the CDF never cared for the SSPX in the first place. When is the CDF going to end talks with Joan Chittister and those like her woh advocate the ordination of women?.

  13. Ralph says:

    I have never understood how one can claim to be in unity with the pope, but then not respect his authority?

    I am an adult convert to the church. When I prepared to enter, there were areas of the church’s teaching that I didn’t feel comfortable with – namely the Marian dogmas. But I believed, as I still believe, that the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ and that the Bishop of Rome is Christ’s Vicar on Earth. As such, I pushed down my pride and ego and opened myself up by faith to be taught and to learn to believe what the Magisteriam of the Church instructs.

    I believe that this is what the SSPX should do. If you claim to be united with the See of Peter, submit yourself to his authority and teaching. To do less is not unity, it is protestantism.

    Yes, I know this is overly simplified – but it is my opinion.

  14. RobertK says:

    Maybe the SSPX in Germany refused to pay their German taxes. So they can no longer be Catholic. Who was St Matthew?. What did he give up being?!.

  15. MikeD says:

    We had heard talk of “incalculable consequences” and that some in the Society would not want to suffer from the choices of the “extreme” elements in the Society. I distinctly remember these remarks coming from the Vatican. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the hammer is coming down on the Society, and while some within the Society will capitulate, the vast majority will gladly suffer these consequences.

  16. Inigo says:

    I agree with Ignatius. I’m not sure though that the SSPX would qualify as heretics, but it surely is strange, that the very modernism they blame the pope and Rome with, is the basis for their existence: their stance against the pope’s teaching authority and an ecumenical council’s validity.

    Let us not forget, the pope is like a father to us, and a father will always talk to his children proper to their age, and their behavior. In order for a conversation to be friendly and mature between a father and his child, the child needs to respect the father, and act like a grownup, and the father has to respect that his child is no longer a kid. But if the child does not respect his father’s authority, and does not even try to behave like an adult, then the father will treat him as a kid, and kids are sent to time out, if they are disrespectful, until they calm down.

    I think this act is merely a time out. Felay is a bridge builder, you can tell. He is in the middle of something, that’s why he isn’t fully accepted on either side. The most we can do, is to learn how our Holy Father thinks, learn his hermeneutic, and teach others to do the same, less with words, and more with deeds!

  17. A more favorable construct might be that Ab. Muller meant simply that the Holy Father needs no more talk to decide what to do with the SSPX.

  18. Mariana says:

    “…The Second Vatican Council is not opposed to the tradition of the Church, possibly at most some incorrect interpretations of the Catholic faith”.

    It really says “….The Second Vatican Council is not opposed to the tradition of the Church, only to the many incorrect interpretations of the Catholic faith.”

  19. onosurf says:

    As St. Paul taught us, Unity to God supersedes Unity to the Pope. With the SSPX, nothing regarding the faith is heretical or schismatic. SSPX is simply will not compromise on VII policies that contradict Catholic dogmas and many hundreds of years of tradition.

  20. Sarto says:

    I think much of this is unfair, especially since we don’t know what the preamble contains, or what Bishop Fellay’s response contained. Let us still pray for a recognition.

    That being said, if you are really curious about the SSPX thinks about the pope, about infallibility, etc., they are having a conference in a few weeks in Kansas City on “The Papacy ” ( I’m willing to bet that they will address these and other issues at that very conference.

  21. Denis says:

    Neocats in, SSPX out. This has been quite a year. If the Neocats are an example of the Post-VII Church, maybe the SSPX have a point after all. Wasn’t the Holy Father’s point in Regensburg that authority cannot trump reason? No authority can persuade me that the spiritually and aesthetically protestant liturgy that I witness every Sunday at my local Novus Ordo parish is in fully harmony with Catholic Tradition but that the SSPX aren’t.

  22. Dr. K says:

    Those hopeful for a reunion were worried about Muller’s CDF appointment. Today we see that these fears were justified.

  23. Mike says:

    That’s too bad that the SSPX, through their own decision, is to remain on the wrong side of the fence – looking over. I only wonder if the reversals of the excommunications of their bishops will be reversed again finding them once again excommunicated – not that it ever seemed to matter to them anyway. I think that reversing excommunications always meant more to those not in the SSPX.

    I love the Traditional Mass but not at the expense of separating oneself from the Holy Father and the Church. It is very sad for all the members of the SSPX and their congregations could have had so much. I simply don’t understand what the hang-up is anymore. The FSSP was established by Pope John Paul II and has flourished and continues to grow. I attend their Masses regularly. The SSPX could have been a society similar to that but now they will continue be the outlying group they have always been – separated from Rome and the Holy Roman Church – always saying no.

    Benedict XVI truly is the Pope of Christian unity!

  24. Inigo says:

    People should realize, that the true way of orthodoxy, is neither the “modernist” nor the “traditionalist” extremes, but a third way, the middle path, a narrow and rocky path which starts with obedience the pope.

  25. Lucas says:

    I wish the SSPX would realize the good they could do if they were reconciled.

  26. “This fraternity is no partner for negotiations for us, because we cannot negotiate the faith.”

    A lot of churchmen and theologians will be looking for work now that we’ll be abolishing the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Muslims, the the U.S. Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue, etc. etc.

  27. Glen M says:

    Very sad news indeed, however, maybe it’s for the best. Clearly the timing isn’t right and a return to regular status may have been negative for everyone. Maybe in another twenty years the environment will be improved for talks that lead to the benefit for all.

  28. Allan S. says:

    I’m with Anil Wang: the actual comments made by the Abp do not accord with the post’s headline.

    Respectfully, “I don’t think there will be any more new talks” does not equal a definitive proclamation of “No More Talks”, let alone any suggestion that the Holy Father has “had enough” or otherwise ordered that no further talks take place.

    The media comments probably speak to the Abp’s attempt to manage a particular constituency in his home country, rather than new official policy or direction.

  29. skypilot777 says:

    @Mariana: “It really says “….The Second Vatican Council is not opposed to the tradition of the Church, only to the many incorrect interpretations of the Catholic faith.”” I agree.
    @Henry Edwards: “A more favorable construct might be that Ab. Muller meant simply that the Holy Father needs no more talk to decide what to do with the SSPX.” I agree and from that interpretation I draw some hope that a decision will soon come from the Holy Father.

    No one should take any sense of encouragement or vindication for the Church if the SSPX is forever shut out of her (whether it be by the Society’s own hand or not.)
    Where would such a development leave all those loyal Catholics such as myself, who have born the heavy cross of seeing the Catholic Church torn apart from within and without for 50 years, all the while struggling to keep the Faith, supporting, defending, and praying for the Pope, and yet never – absolutely never getting any support or encouragement?
    Most of us who love the TLM and believe in the Tradition of the Church DO NOT HAVE ACCESS to a properly and reverently said Mass in the Ordinary Form much less a TLM. We are sometimes hours and sometimes days travel away from a a good orthodox priest to hear our Confessions or to simply provide us with some real Holy Water (and not just blessed water.)
    If the SSPX and its many members are now barred from Holy Mother The Church, I and many of you here and many thousands more of loyal Catholics all over the world, might as well resign themselves to bearing that cross alone for the rest of their lives, because without the support of the “Traditionalists” (any real Catholic is a Traditionalist by nature anyway) its going to be well after most of us living now are dead and gone before Tradition is restored to its rightful place of respect in the Church and any restoration can begin.

  30. Horatius says:

    The SSPX is a lesson in history–reformation history. It is to see people so close to being Catholic yet breaking with the Church, over and again, through pride, schismatic spirit, puritanism, … It is perhaps worse than the ‘reformed’ churches of the sixteenth century since no power politics whatsoever motivates or influences them. It is sad, for them. They have abandoned the fullness of truth in the Church of Jesus Christ.

    But let FSSP and the orders devoted to true liturgy flourish. That is the big direction His Holiness has brought us to: let’s follow him! SEMPER CUM PETRO

  31. Imrahil says:

    Well, we are in a fix, and no mistake. (Samwise Gamgee)

    And that for many reasons.

    And the thing is, I am sorry to say, that neither side is free from some problems.

    As to the problems of the Roman party:
    1. The SSPX are not heretics (dear @Ignatius). Reason: they do not contradict any dogma. He who contradicts no dogma is not a heretic but a believer. It really is that easy.
    2. Same tune: The Vatican II statements they oppose are not belonging to the Catholic Faith (dear @Phil_NL), in the sense that “belonging to the Catholic Faith” is used in theology and canon law. They are, in my view, sententiae certae; which is something different. It seems strange that Archbishop Müller does not make this distinction either.
    3. Nor are they schismatics. A remaining schismatic, at least to my opinion is not capable to get a pardon from excommunication. Anyways, they have not to any known degree beyond mere disobedience (which must be carefully distinguished, because otherwise any canonical sentence below the excommunication for schism would make no sense) set an outward act that they are in schism.
    4. Also, dear @Ralph, the fact that we are not speaking of dogmas must be taken into account. To God’s greater glory and also your merit you have taken faith in these dogmas; and though this perhaps included some fighting against pride and ego, it ultimately rested on your (once-taken) faith that the Church does not err. (Or at least so I guess.) Now the crucial point is that in the issues where the SSPX claims that the Church errs (I simplify the vocab, normally we would not say that the Church errs, but that is a vocab only question), according to our Faith the Church could have erred (said with the same vocab simplification). It is not the Catholic Faith that fallible utterances of the Magisterium are infallible. Another, far less crucial point is that the Marian dogmas refresh the heart and, I guess, none of your previous faith was contrary to it (once you did get over some mere prejudices, such as, forgive my guesses, the prejudice that Mary must not be honored too much, and that nothing not mentioned in the Bible happened supernaturally). On the other hand, the SSPX very much dislikes some of the things she is, apparently, wanted to accept.
    5. And of course, no one officially explains to the SSPX what the matter is all about. That is, maybe they have in the negotiations talks. They could have. But in what appeared outside – and anyway, there did run some articles across the media; and, for instance, in the explanations of the Freedom of Religion the defenders of the Council always took the point that a Catholic State is a thing unwanted; done with by the Council; and that’s better because it fits better with our State’s Constitution. Of course, none of the things it is true. It has not been declared (as I perceive it to be) that the little point of Vatican II was that a quiet but to a degree missionary amount of false religion must be allowed for by the Catholic State, which is not in the least to be abolished. General Franco, of all people, got that one right (“obedient to the Council etc. etc. we henceforth decree religions freedom”, as the Spanish Constitution would say from about 1966 on).
    6. And many want that there be an end of it, and the SSPX be thrown out for good, if they don’t basically convert from having been in the SSPX. Some of the layfolk (and I mean none of the commentators here) may be silently haunted by the thought that “if they want another Church, let them put up theirs; I don’t mind; but leave us alone with that”. Of course is uncompatible with a groop that confesses Catholicism.

    In my dreams, the SSPX would have been, at first, allowed to speak of errors in the Council, on the condition that the formulate the error (in a Syllabus-sentence-style) and announce to Rome that this precisely is an error. Then, Rome could react, and so on. In the end, the so-called error which really was none could be dogmatized. Allow the frankness, but haven’t we learned that the main reason for dogmas is to cut down arguments?

    Of course also, I wonder where dear @Inigo gets the impression that Bp Fellay is not really accepted by either side.

    Now, the problems of the SSPX:
    1. They have studied the matter long enough that they could have come with an explanation for all of their Vatican II problems that keeps conform with the text. (As I’m sure exists; except, indeed, the Religious Freedom issue; see No. 2) Once this stage is reached, obviously the talk about errors in the Council because totally unnecessary.
    2. Many of them seem to be haunted with the idea that whatever has been repeated by the Magisterium for so and so long a time and has been for some time a thing the Church outwardly has acted upon, thereby becomes the Catholic Faith, and whatever a Council afterwards says to the contrary is to be counted as mere opinion, and a wrong one too. Obviously this is wrong; Ordinary and Infallible Magisterium is a rare bird, and subsequent Magisterium abrogates previous Magisterium, if both were fallible.
    [I do admit that it is a problematic assertion that after all the Liberals were in the right; and one and half a millenium of the Church it must be said to have followed wrong teaching in, yes, technically fallible assertions but in a highly important matter extremely shaping State and Society. However, I believe this problem, which to me is much bigger than that some fallible assertions actually were wrong and than the philosophical explanation, can be solved by explaining that the religious freedom issue, for that and that a reason, was a minor issue when the Church was at reign.]
    3. They could’ve just signed the document, and then explained (in an official document) how they interpreted what they have signed. They should have.
    4. It must be said that there are catchwords which they shrink back from. None in the SSPX dares to assert that a normal priest sins in saying the New Mass. None in the SSPX that has studied the matter thinks the New Mass contains any direct things against the Faith; and none even among their followers (save perhaps little numbers which are irrelevant) says that it is invalid, whatever Abp Lefebvre once may have said. Now they are said to have shrinked back from the mere thought of the licitness of the New Mass, because to oppose that is all they stand for. Huh? Couldn’t they have signed first, and then explained that still in their view Pope Paul VI was objectively issuing a decision he objectively absolutely should have issued in another way? Couldn’t they?
    5. Some maybe not of the SSPX themselves but obviously within their adherents (but, alas!, not only there) are haunted by a Feeneyite ghost. By that I do not mean any direct stand against Baptism of Desire; but some have called it traditional belief (with, apparently, the full weight of the word tradition) that the majority of Christians and the vast mass of lifelong unbelievers with only some marginal exceptions will be damned in the end. Of course, theology as a whole never really has meant to teach such a thing (there are some who have); recent theology has quite explicitly spoken against such a conception; and so, also, does now the Magisterium at least implicitly (Spe salvi 45). This, of course, is then simply dismissed as untraditional (=”contrary to what we used to have heard”); apparently to some you are the better a Catholic the more you wish unbelievers to burn in Hell. (And please, no “I hate to say it but it’s the truth”-excuses.)

    And, after all: things just do not work where sympathy lacks. Archbishop Müller doesn’t like the SSPX; the SSPX doesn’t like Archbischop Müller.

    Concerning the German Bishops: I wonder where the superior got that with the schism from. If it is no dead secret (and then he shouldn’t have told, or should he?), we in Germany should have heard that first, from the SSPX if from nowhom else. But we haven’t. Thus, I take this to mean an apparent understanding of the German bishops (as reported on to immediately expel the Prelature once it is a prelature; or immediately declare official noncooperation with the Apostolic Administration once it is an apostolic administration. This, indeed, has been called by schismatical because contrary to the Pope’s intentions; the latter thing arguably true but that is not schismatical (wrong use of terminology is not restricted to Rome, of course…). That a plan of such a concerted action existed I do not doubt; the SSPX has claimed so, it has not been denied anywhere I know of; and it is likely enough that our bishops would like to do so.

    Anyway, even if (as some apparently do) we do not believe in the German bishops’ Catholic faith (and then we should be very much mistaken); still even their staunchest opponent would say that open schism is not their style. Ignorance of orders perhaps; an official distanciation from Rome’s actions perhaps; open schism? Possibly? When the Pope can at any moment appoint an Apostolic Administrator and take over?

  32. MarkA says:

    anilwang – “that’s hearsay and even if true, it’s an idle threat”

    If you pay close attention to the events of the Catholic Church in Germany and Austria (e.g.,, then I’m not so sure it is an idle threat. The “hearsay” came directly from a member of the Curia and observable events seem to substantiate this explanation. For example, it was widely reported that Pope Benedict XVI was ready to accept the Society “as-is” in May and even early June, yet by the end of June this document with new conditions (verified by PBXVI as coming from him) is introduced into the “negotiations”.

    If this “idle speculation” is true, I don’t think there will be any change in the status quo (no reconciliation nor excommunication) nor will the doctrinal preamble be published.

    Just my 2 cents.

  33. anilwang says:


    WRT “Unity to God supersedes Unity to the Pope”.

    This is a false modernist dichotomy. Remember “Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus”? Given how much the SSPX knows about the Catholic Faith, it’s not possible for them to declare invincible ignorance.

    Simply put, if one Pope approved council can be invalid, all can be, and people who say “Vatican II superseded all previous councils and Vatican II must be read in the cultural context of today” are on equal footing with the SSPX. You simply can’t pick and choose what you want to believe. It’s the whole reason Martin Luther went from being a reformer to a revolutionary (i.e. he refused to accept a condemnation of a previous council, so he stated councils are fallible and thus he wasn’t bound to believe any of them).

    The histories for break aways from the Catholic Church is not pretty. Whether it is the Anglicans, or Lutherians, or Old Catholics, or even the PNCC (which accept public group confessions and contraception), all have either become liberal or fallen into actual heresy. It’s just a matter of time.

    Now, as I’ve stated, negotiations haven’t ended unless either the Pope or Fellay have stated so and the doctrinal preamble has been published. Until that time, we really need to tone down the language.

    I’m personally not surprised the Muller is willing to give up, given that he is repeatedly attacked by the SSPX. I trust the Pope and I am satisfied with the explanations given for Muller’s eye opening comments. But I do hope that personal issues do not get in the way of reunion and that if this is the case that negotiations do not have to depend on his intervention or approval.

  34. Jitpring says:

    Yet events like the Assisi scandals will continue? And dialogue with heretics, Muslims, and Jews will go on indefinitely?

    Diabolical disorientation indeed.

    As for “negotiations,” Bp. Fellay has repeatedly said that there never were and never will be any negotiations, because the faith cannot be negotiated. He has repeatedly spoken of discussions, not negotiations.

    To those condemning the SSPX in the name of obedience, google for this:

    Can Obedience Oblige us to Disobey?

    One of the devil’s greatest tricks today is to breed apostasy in the name of obedience.

  35. anilwang says:

    MarkA, I am aware that Germany and Austria have a modernist problem, but its not the only place in the world and there is no claim I’m aware of they they would go into schism over the SSPX. It’s just not the modernist M.O. to make a definitive statement such as that. And even when threats like that are made, its just not the modernist M.O. to actually follow through on it. Remember the threatened revolt over the new revised missal and now some association of priests were threatening to just ignore the new revised missal and others were threatening schism? When all was said and done, there was no threat.

    They raised a stink in the press and made a lot of noise ( see ), but when push came to shove, their threat was hollow. The Pope knows how they operate has this experience has been confirmed with the failed threats against SP, UE, an even the Anglican Ordinariate.

    Do you honestly think that the Austrian and German Equivalent of “We are Church” could cause the Pope to back down? If you do, we have bigger problems than the SSPX.

  36. Maria says:

    This is sad story since PBXVI handed them an olive branch.

    I do not know if SSPX can give more to the Church since what they are offering, these offer same as:
    *The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP)
    *Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
    *Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
    *Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
    *Some diocese I think are starting to promote EF

    Some of internet postings of SSPX are not really nice towards ordinary Catholics like me. I just think they are “too” self-righteous.

    One of the great quality of being in the family is we disagree but we stay in the family respecting the “father” of the family. This is what makes me proud being Catholic though the disagreements are sometimes too painful (LCWR & etc).

    God’s blessings of peace & joy!

  37. Rachel K says:

    ConnorW, What does the SSPX have to offer the Church if they will not first offer obedience to the Holy Father?
    I agree with Ralph, who has had to state publicly his adherence to the Pope as a convert to the faith, it is “simply” a question of obedience to authority. I feel that they have been given chance after chance and have continued in their pride to try to dictate to the Church their own conditions. What arrogance! Like naughty children!
    And the difference with the liberal dissenters like Sr Joan Chittister, is that the SSPX are formal in their disobedience, in other words they set up a church within the Church. However erroneous ( and distasteful) the liberals seem to us, their situation of disobedience is not the same, so the remedy must be different too. We need to pray for them all.

  38. Rushintuit says:

    Vatican II just happened to be the occasion when the Church stopped being influenced by the Keepers of the Status Quo and started being influenced by the Progressive Bishops. Going back to the Council documents will not tell the story. The SSPX didn’t buy into the shift in power as we all know. Was it right or wrong on the part of the SSPX to take a stand for tradition? I don’t really know the answer. However, it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where the Traditional Latin Mass would still be in use in 2012 without the SSPX doing what they did.

  39. mamajen says:


    The SSPX considers those good traditional groups traitorous, especially FSSP for accepting the olive branch. Once I learned that about them, any sympathy I had for SSPX went out the window.


    As much as SSPX would like us to believe they are the only Traditionalists, that is simply not the case. Look into the other groups that Maria mentioned. Support them. I am particularly interested in seeing FSSP grow and spread. Even though SSPX frustrates me greatly, it sure would be better if they were to come back on board so we could all enjoy what they have to offer…but I’m not holding my breath.

  40. Tom Ryan says:

    This is unfortunate. But we can still dialogue with Muslims, Jews and Protestants…..Can’t we?

  41. dspecht says:

    It would sound like a joke if it weren’t so serious and grave:

    Many accuse the sspx of beeing disobedient, pridefull or even schismatic or heretic – and do not notice that AB Müller himselfe is a heretic (re virg. of Mary) (let alone priedfullness etc.!). And even more:

    The worst thing, as I also tried to argue in the past, is not that Müller holds one or two heresies/erroneous teachings, but thathis principles are the reason for that – they are relativistic. If you read the foreword of his dogmatics and then many passages in this work (or in his other works, f.e. that re virg. of Mary in the questiones disputatae [Herder]), then you see the deeper reasons of his error re virg. in birth:

    He holds that concepts/texts have no clear and ojecitve meaning, that their meanings are changeable according to the changes of times, of mentality, of modern understanding and interpratation.

    The best crititique – not from the sspx – of Müller (that points exactly to that problem) is from the dogmatic-prof. Dr. Obenauer here (for German understanding people) – I posted it before.

    Obenauer explains exactly the problem of the modern “hermeneutism” – that is not only un-Catholic but contra every sound thinking and debating, contra ratio.
    It is worse than some heresy – it is, like Pius X (or Pius XII) characterized modernism, undermining totally the faith, and more, the natural ground and supposition of it: every sound reasoning.

    It is contra the anti-modernistical oath and Vat. I that told us that we have to accept not only the old formulas but also in the same meaning as the Church always understood them – eodem sensueademque sententia.

    Müller – as a disciple of Rahner (via Lehmann, a direct Rahner-disciple and the doctor-father of Müller) and like Rahner – is going against this sound fundamentaltheological teaching, as he shows in his re-interpretation of the virg. in birth (not eodem sensu as the Church held it all the centuries before) – and (as said) also in many passages of his works.

    He is much more dangerous than a Küng or Boff. And of course also Vat. II is much worse and dangerous than some clear-cut heresy. If it were only heretical it would not be that evil.
    The deeper roots of Müller and Vat.II are Rahner, de Lubac, Congar, etc. – so nouvelle theology and its – condemned! – modern existentialistic and transcendental (French and German) philosophical foundation.

    In Müller we see especially all the unsound “hermeneutism” coming from Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Gadamer and Heidegger (esp. Gadamer) and ending in deconstructivism and constructivism.

    Folks, that all was not only condemned by the Church before but is undermining the very fundaments of the faith and of natural reason and reasoning! According to the principles of Müller you can hold the expression of the old dogmas but give them a new content, a new understanding but you are still Catholic (so exactly what Rahner was promoting).

  42. MKR says:

    I believe that many members of the SSPX could do a lot of good for the Church. They’ll just have to do it outside of the SSPX. Let’s pray that SSPXers start leaving their Fraternity for the FSSP, the ICRSS, and other Traditional Latin Mass fraternities.

    Those who want *the SSPX* to get regularized are fetishizing religious orders. All we should want is *human beings* to get regularized.

  43. AnnAsher says:

    V2 did not formulate the faith. Unless my education in the faith is utterly erroneous. He elevates this formula of V2 above the perennial Faith. Little frightening from the CDF.

  44. A Sinner 2 says:

    “One of the great quality of being in the family is we disagree but we stay in the family respecting the “father” of the family. This is what makes me proud being Catholic though the disagreements are sometimes too painful (LCWR & etc).”

    Sorry, these “dissenting” groups simply do not belong to the same religion that I do. It seems to me that there are two Catholic Churches: the 1900-year-old Church founded by Jesus and passed down through the Apostles and their successors and the one that began after Vatican II; at some point, like it or not, the hierarchy is going to have to deal with it.

    Commenters on this and other blogs who claim to be traditionalists and then condemn the SSPX–without which there would be no traditionalism–as some sort of Protestant group, remind me of the Catholics of the 60s and 70s who, in the name of obedience, kept quiet as the Church was systematically destroyed.

  45. WurdeSmythe says:

    The unity of the Magisterium is that which is believed everywhere by everyone and at all times. The crucial distinction now is between the the continuity of adhering to the traditional Magisterium and the discontinuity promoted by Vatican II. The SSPX is for continuity; for this is is ostracized.

  46. Horatius says:

    “Commenters on this and other blogs who claim to be traditionalists and then condemn the SSPX–without which there would be no traditionalism–”

    Hogwash. First of all, traditionalist, and cognate terms, have no official, technical, or binding meaning on Catholics. Sacred Tradition, as an idea, clearly does–in breaking with the Church, SSPX breaks with Sacred Tradition; in breaking with the Church, protestants break with Sacred Tradition. In pretending to speak for Sacred Tradition–or whatever they choose to call it–SSPX speaks outside of that very tradition, even if it espouses some Catholic beliefs. Small wonder their website is such a congeries.

    Then, too, I can think of groups which, within the Church, kept the Extraordinary Form alive in a number of States, and I have made no special study of it.

    So, no, quite an unpersuasive bunch, with dubious theology, proven infidelity, and potted history.

  47. happyhockeymom says:

    How many new FSSP parishes have opened lately? I counted – they only have 33 parishes total, some states like Michigan, don’t even have an FSSP parish.

    The SSPX has 103 Mass locations.

    In my diocese, there is 1 TLM for the entire 13 county area – unadvertised, and at 12:30 to boot. The next nearest “officially approved” TLM is at least 1 hour away, if not more.

    And Bishops like mine have refused to allow us an FSSP parish on the grounds that it is “too divisive”.


    We need the SSPX for the access to the TLM alone. My diocese didn’t even allow a TLM until the SSPX came in.

    We need a TLM order that is INDEPENDENT of the diocesan bishops who want to deny us access to the TLM – even under SP. The SSPX fulfil that role.

    And I tend to agree with those that wonder what would have happened to the TLM if the SSPX hadn’t been there in the 70’s?!

  48. A Sinner 2 says:

    “…in breaking with the Church, SSPX breaks with Sacred Tradition”

    Oh, yes, tear out the statues and altars and tabernacles; move Jesus into the closet; root out any remaining reverence and make it easier to Satanists to obtain the host for their own uses by promoting communion in the hand; replace charity with liberation theology; change the focus of the Church from the spiritual to the secular and of the Mass from a sacrifice to a Happy Meal. That’s the “Sacred Tradition” the SSPX were “breaking” from.

    That there were scattered, persecuted, priests who still celebrated the Latin Mass, perhaps privately, I’m sure. And that there were, and are, a much larger group who, while celebrating the Novus Ordo, attempt to do so in a reverent manner and teach what the Church has always taught but face ostracism for doing so, this I know for sure.

    These holy men did what they felt the had to do. So did the SSPX. I have deep respect for them all.

  49. Southern Catholic says:

    People should realize, that the true way of orthodoxy, is neither the “modernist” nor the “traditionalist” extremes, but a third way, the middle path, a narrow and rocky path which starts with obedience the pope.

    This is the truth. However, human pride, the sin of Adam and Eve, will prevent this.

  50. Horatius says:

    I would suggest looking hard at what SSPX really does and really says, not echoing its own propaganda. That’s easy to do by reading its (unpersuasive, unfaithful) website, or by tracking the pathetic and vacillating pronouncements of Lefebvre. As with protestants, so with SSPX: history is not its strong suit.

    I also fail to see what is holy about breaking with the Pope.

    Re Mass history, I, for one, was NOT referring to priests privately celebrating the Extraordinary Form, but to groups which did so in public–within the Church. Reverent worships continued and continues unbroken in countless parishes in the Ordinary Form. I know, because I was brought up in it. If anybody ever gets an objective grip on this–no potted history, please–it should make for interesting reading, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Nobody here, I expect, denies what happened to worship, but that has nothing to do with the attitude of the SSPX, its sanctimoniousness, puritanical zeal, or inflated rhetoric. It especially has nothing to do with their making a cult of the Mass, or of their idea of the Mass. I don’t think they go as far as Sola Missa, but they do reduce a lot of questions to the Mass, or, again, their idea of it. Since they speak–and quite unpersuasively–from outside of the Church, I have nothing but a morbid interest in what they say, but there is a sad analogy with the protestant worship of the Bible.

  51. smmclaug says:

    It’s clear what the SSPX must do. They must abandon Christianity, embrace the Koran, swear that there is no God But Allah and that Mohammed is His Prophet. Then the Pope will receive them warmly, even obsequiously, and will apologize should anything he says ever offend the them. Or in case that induces too much confusion, perhaps the SSPX could swear fealty to a secular headship–an Anglo-Saxon royal family, for example–and proceed to loot and persecute the Church of whatever country they choose as their base of operations. Then after some time, they can be received into the Church with no end of special accommodations, retaining property, their own liturgical tradition, their own hierarchy, you name it.

    Sorry, but it is an outrage and a scandal of the first order for the Church to close off the very possibility of further talks with an organization that has frankly done more to preserve Catholic tradition than any fifty Crds. Levada. Look at the smoking wreckage Levada left behind him, and compare it with the fruits of Lefebvre.

  52. smmclaug says:

    Nobody here, I expect, denies what happened to worship, but that has nothing to do with the attitude of the SSPX, its sanctimoniousness, puritanical zeal, or inflated rhetoric.

    It’s frankly fascinating than anybody could believe the SSPX’s zeal, or its rhetoric, have nothing to do with the intentional devastation of Catholic worship. You speak of that as though it were a minor and passing thing, a flimsy and frivolous excuse. It is the demolition of the single most impactful and meaningful expression of the Catholic faith. And yet you assume there literally no connection between that and the SSPX’s “attitude”?

    The real problem is that people seem not to understand the scale and scope of the horror that has been inflicted on the Church through the devastation of the sacred liturgy, and of sacramental practice in general. People are so accustomed to it that they treat the SSPX as though they’re exaggerating, or making things up, or making a fuss over something that’s really not so bad. Such people are simply wrong, and have no sense whatsoever of what has been lost.

  53. robtbrown says:

    So on the one hand, there is the SSPX, dogmatically and morally sound, but insisting it won’t accept Vat II. On the other, there is most of the Church in the West, readily saying it accepts Vat II but actually meaning some nebulous Spirit of Vat II –not only being shaky on dogma and morals but also not embracing certain important texts from the Council.

    Which prompts the question: What does “accepting Vat II” mean?

  54. Horatius says:

    Actually, it is a passing thing. That is entirely what it is. I am glad that you brought that up. That’s one reason SSPX is so ridiculously unpersuasive. If you measure Catholic by the presence of the EF, then a. groups kept it alive at all events b. so did priests, privately c. from the time of the editio typica of the OF to the indult is 14 years, to the motu proprio, the math is easy.

    SSPX is chicken little. It is not only exaggerating, it is doing so hysterically, and now running around in circles by its prideful intransigence. The Liturgy was not demolished, as is obvious. It was ignored, glossed over, improvised, etc. The grotesque permutations seem endless. But to say the Liturgy is demolished is simply absurd: please kindly peruse GIRM (which so few follow), the Graduale triplex, to name just two monuments of Liturgy. A pity SSPX has no faith in the Church as prevailing against the gates of hell. But that is part of its faithlessness, albeit only one part.

  55. skypilot777 says:

    @mamajen: I do support any and all good orthodox Catholic groups as much as I can and when I can find them. In my area, they are few and far between.

    But the sad fact is that all good orthodox Catholic groups are covered in an air of dirision and sometimes fear on the part of the vast majority of Catholics. The mere mention of a group like the FSSP for example, or simply asking a priest if offering the Latin Mass has been considered, is most often met with a stoney-faced wall of silence, or a snear and a wretch, or a chuckling put-off that “we don’t do that any more.”

    I guess I see this situation as a “glass half empty”. Its hard to be optimistic after so many years. The number of Traditionalists and/or just plain sincerely orthodox Catholics is just too small to make a difference. I don’t see anything improving while there is SO LITTLE encouragement from the leadership in the Church nor from it’s priests.

    I want to say that I am most annoyed at the obvious schadenfreude of not a few commentators here at what they see as a setback for the SSPX, as if any setback to any Traditionalist group within the Church is at all good for the Church. No, it will not be good for anybody if the SSPX takes its numbers (however small in relation to the whole Church) as walks out. It will not be a vindication of loyalty or obedience to the Holy Father. It would just be another tragic example of human weakness undermining true orthodox unity in the Church.

  56. Horatius says:

    “the fruits of Lefebvre.” Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.

  57. RobertK says:

    Let’s see. If the German Bishops were the reason for changing the ammendment. And according to an article in the Catholic Herald in order to be a Catholic in Germany you must pay a tax, if not excommunication. The German Bishops and the new CDF seem to be more powerful than the succesor of St Peter. We loose the SSPX as well as the Catholic faithful in Germany, because of these Bishops. “Blessed are the German tax payers, for they will receive the Kingdom of God”. Never read that in my Bible translation!.

  58. JesusFreak84 says:

    I personally think that the Holy Father had already made his final decision on the SSPX when he appointed the current head of the CDF. Otherwise why would he have appointed someone so openly hostile to the SSPX, if BXVI had already decided to allow them back in? The SSPX, understandably, took it as an appointment made in bad faith, (understandably so, and I say this as someone who attends an Eastern Rite parish because the OF parishes around her are all the sort of weak-kneed, noodle-spined dens of failure the SSPX decries,) and pulled back the hand offered when it was no longer attached to one who wished them any good.

    +Muller would’ve been just as happy before, during, and now after these talks if the SSPX just rolled up and disappeared; who would want to negotiate with that? I sure as heck wouldn’t want to “negotiate” with someone who hated my guts. Maybe if the SSPX starts ordaining lesbian “Bishops,” Muller will be more accommodating? Or kissing Korans? Or whining about “social[ist] justice”?

    As far as “other trad groups,” there isn’t one that’s anywhere near where I live that isn’t in a literal ghetto. I shouldn’t have to risk coming out to my car being on blocks just to go to Sunday Mass! People who live near an FSSP/ICKSP/etc. parish, or a parish where a regular Diocesan priest offers the TLM are in the EXTREME minority in the US, so please refrain from, “Just go there” rhetoric, mmm’kay? Bishops jam the TLM in areas no one wants to go because they know the odds of the TLM parish then taking from the OF parishes are slim to nil, since most will opt for a banal Mass in a safer area versus risking their safety where the TLM is.

  59. norancor says:

    Obedience is a matter of justice. Explain how the Church since 1962 is JUST?

    I simply cannot fathom the naivete.

    How does anyone expect a group of priests that have essentially sacrificed their lives, their standing in the Church at large, and often members of their own family, for the sake of resisting the vicissitudes of a new school of theology (Ressourcement) that went from being outsiders viewed as possible heretics, to being in charge of virtually EVERYTHING in the Church, to think of themselves simply as problem children who are essentially protestant in attitude with “obedience” issues?

    Does ANYONE HERE know what Protestantism is? I was one. Can I enlighten you?
    Does anyone here actually read Church history?

    The SSPX priests run around this planet like chickens with their heads cut off in order to provide the Sacraments and sound catechetics and theology to as many people as possible, and now that the Church seems to be getting its act together after 50 years of being largely AWOL, the SSPX are the bad guys for sticking to their guns until the Holy Father and Church as large fully, and unequivocally clarify

    The SSPX has been doing a purge this year. A good 30 priests have been suspended or otherwise “shirked” for being to resistant to reconciliation. Does this get coverage by the Johnny-come-lately neocons? No. The slightly too ultramontane for my taste neocons, and well-meaning converts, need to stop pasting anyone that upholds tradition to the point they come into conflict with the Pope or the curia over it as disobedient. It is a bastardization of moral theology and the moral order to tar the SSPX with the charge of disobedience.

    “Everything will be ok if the SSPX just obeys and submits to the Pope and says the council was just fine” is the trope of those trying to bait the SSPX into the Church to destroy them and those that are too naive to understand the pitiful state the Church is still in. There are a large number of bishops and priests around, in high places, that hate Catholicism, hate our Lady, and hate Our Lord, and they assuredly hate the SSPX and traditionalists in general. It is time for people to pull their collective heads out of the sand and realize all is not salt and light.

    Anyone that speaks of accepting Vatican II hasn’t read the documents, the notes of the Doctrinal Commission, or the speeches given by the popes of the Council. Put bluntly, you don’t know what you are talking about, and you don’t understand the Magisterium in its extraordinary or ordinary infallibility, and THAT is a dangerous thing, because you conflate lesser teachings into greater dogmas, which as someone pointed out, is disturbing, because in that respect the liberals were right in being concerned by “creeping infallibility.”

  60. JacobWall says:

    Some people are talking about “two Churches.” But there is only one. It is the one lead by the bishops in communion with Pope Benedict XVI (not some abstract “Eternal Rome” that has no visible, concrete manifestation.) If SSPX is in communion with the Pope, they will do a great deal of good – even if there are tensions. (I think they’re tough and can handle tensions.) If they are not in communion with the Pope, then all their “good” (as traditional and correct as it may be) will only do harm.

    Talking about other groups that are much worse than SSPX in all ways (e.g. LCWR) doesn’t help. If the SSPX is not a part of the One Church (i.e. visibly in union with Pope Benedict XVI in concrete terms) than they won’t be able to help us overcome problems like LCWR. In communion with the Church they will be key players in the solution. Out of communion with the Church, they won’t help in the slightest way, and will be part of the problem, drawing people away into schism who we need badly right now; if fewer Traditionalists are in communion with Rome, it will take that much longer to weed out the progressive groups. The line is fine, but very clear.

    This is true whether its the SSPX that cuts the ties, or if the Pope does it. (Let’s pray that neither does.) It’s also useless to argue about whose “fault” it is if the discussions break off. No matter how well you argue that it’s really the fault of some Cardinal or conference of Bishops, no matter what threats or underhanded dealings you can dig up, if they are separated from the Church, they are separated from the Church, that’s it – and that would be really bad for them, and a very sad loss to the Church.

    I think (and feel) that people have rightly pointed out that this not the end; it only means that things will continue to be on hold for some time longer.

    We should all be praying that much harder that schism doesn’t happen and that they gain full canonical status; it’s the only way the SSPX will mean anything in the Church’s current struggles.

  61. Mike says:

    Very well-said, JacobWall.

  62. FranzJosf says:

    I was afraid it would come to this. Benedict XVI’s man has flinched.

    Question: Is there any other way to the Father other than Jesus Christ?
    Holy Office: well, er, em, yes, if you’re true to how you’ve been raised. You must understand the minutiae of the SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL and its pronouncements. If it seems to say that you can do what you want, please see the footnotes: they’ll clear everything up.
    SSPX: No! No man, cometh to the Father except through Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.

  63. Pingback: Pope Benedict XVI SSPX St Hildegard of Bingen | Big Pulpit

  64. Parasum says:

    No surprises there. The Society may yet be the nucleus of the “smaller, purer Church” the present Pope spoke of.

  65. RJHighland says:


    What a blessing it must have been to be raised in a traditional parish in the post VII era, that is such a blessing for you. What I don’t understand is the extreme hatred that you show toward those that seek the same faith that you grew up with but they have no access to unless they go to an SSPX Chapel. I have experience the same type of backlash from a good friend nay I say one of my most important mentors in the faith after I was confirmed. The claim that the SSPX is a Protestant movement is very inaccurate. If anything my local Novus Ordo parsh is more Protestant in its teachings, style of worship and postures than any SSPX Chapel I have been to. So call us what we are, disobedient to the Bishop of Rome. Disadents if you like. We are not Protestants, Schismatics, or Heretics. In the history of the Church who changed the SSPX or Rome. All the SSPX, and now a number of other Catholics, are asking of our Holy Father is to Clarify a few areas in the documents of Vatican II. There has been 50 yrs. and 4 Popes to clarify these issues. The issues have not changed. The reason our Holy Father doesn’t do it because if he did clarify these issues he would probably loose half the Church. One thing to think about, was Paul blindly obedient to Peter when Peter was being a bit hipocritical in his actions with the Jews and Gentiles? Was Paul a heretic for correcting the head of the Church? Even when Paul was critical of Peter he never denied Peter as the head of the Church. Was Peter wrong in his actions, did Peter change? Think about it. I think Pope Benedict XVI is coming up on a John 6 moment in history. He has stated that the Church will shrink before it can grow again. Who in this case are the Jewish diciples that left and who are those that will stay, that is the question. Who plays the part of Judas? Is it Felay or Mueller? Who is adhereing to the traditons of the Church and who is teaching the the gosspil of man? As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord and you can find us at our local SSPX chapel and will be praying for unity in the Church. Our Lord has parted the Red Sea He will close this chasem of Faith inside his Church.

  66. FranzJosf says:


    The Holy Father won’t ‘clarify.’?? Don’t you get it?

    Duh. You’re wasting your breath. He doesn’t care. We’re the extremists. We’re troublesome. Better to kindle the Harvard grads. The elitists who aren’t nearly so troublesome. Their approbation is so much easier to attain, without the untidy and dirty problems that might accrue from the DUMB people. So much easier if we leave them out.

    The difference between the East and the West isn’t so nearly throw-away as some might think. But then, some ignorant person might think that an independent thinker is a problem… Lenin and Stalin did. We probably should get rid of the problem.

  67. Well whether Muller’s appointment was intentional or not, I am glad he’s putting his foot down on the SSPX. The Pope has done nothing but accomidate them negotation-wize with SP and UE, and these “doctrinal negoations,” and all they have done is say no every time. Good for him!

    After the leak of their demands to canonicalization, I just about have lost any sympathy for them and I hope that the WHOLE society is declared schismatic, so that the poor adherents and common sense priests in that society make a choice to be under the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church and not a facsimile that has at best one valid sacrament (Eucharist) with all others null and void.

  68. Inigo says:

    Every schismatic will in time invent some kind of heresy, to justifiy disobedience.
    This is not a question of liturgy, it is not a question of documents and dogmas, decrees, any kind of rethoric or sofisms. It’s a question of obedience. The SSPX is establishing it’s own magisterium by telling the world, it knows better what’s good for the Chruch even than the Pope of Rome.

    Roma locuta, causa finita!

    ps.: by saying that “NeoCats in SSPX out” or by whining about protestants muslims and jews being dialoged with, the SSPX acknowladges that it is outside, and even opposing Rome. Just think about it.

  69. Warren says:

    For a group claiming obedience to the Holy Father, the actions of the SSPX are not doing much to convince others that it is capable of living up to its convictions.

  70. VexillaRegis says:

    @Iñigo: Exactly what I think.

  71. Marianna says:

    MarkA – The public slur on the Pope’s integrity made by your Fr. Rostand is no compliment to Fr. R’s own character, and certainly does not lend any credence to the SSPX’s claim of allegiance to the Holy Father.

    To those who seem to think that the poverty of liturgy so frequently encountered today is largely, or even solely, responsible for the decline in church attendance – just take a look at Greece, where Orthodox liturgies underwent no “modernisation”, and where the identification of “being Orthodox” and “being Greek” was so strong that it added another incentive for allegiance to the church. But congregations have collapsed there, too. Why? Probably a mix of secularisation, materialism and the “sexual revolution” – just like in the rest of “Old Europe” and the USA. I’ll be interested to see if any revival in church attendance occurs in Greece, now these false gods – or at least, the economic ones – are being so spectacularly shown up for what they are.

    That is not to say that I think the poor liturgy we encounter in our Catholic churches is in no way connected to a drop in attendance. I just think it is one of many factors. It is clear the Pope believes that we need to rediscover a sense of reverence for the Sacred, in the liturgy. But this is possible within the Novus Ordo too, if carefully celebrated.

  72. MarkA says:


    There was absolutely no “public slur on the Pope’s integrity made by [my] Fr. Rostand”. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Please explain your comment before you go around “slurring” others (i.e., Fr. Rostand).

    A member of the Curia told the SSPX that the German Bishops Conference told Pope Benedict XVI that if he regularized the SSPX, they would break away from Rome in Schism. How is this a “public slur on the Pope’s integrity”? This is a comment about the German Bishops Conference, not the Pope.

    In 2007, the Kirchensteuer (i.e., Church Tax) for the Church in Germany was $4.7B Euro (most recent annual figure I have). That is significant money. In September, the German Bishops’ Conference reiterated that you aren’t a Catholic (and therefore cannot have access to the sacrament in normal circumstances) unless you pay the Kirchensteuer. This is Simony and has not been condemned by the Vatican.

  73. moon1234 says:

    @Mark A
    Yes I immediatly thought of simony when I read of the German Bishops pronouncement. It is the reformation all over again.

    To all those who think the SSPX is JUST about the old Mass, then they are missing the whole point of the SSPX. It is not just the Mass, but ALL of the changes in both the faith, the outward expressions of the faith and the essence of belief.

    I look at MOST Catholics today and see little if any faith. Whether that is from lack of teaching or just people choosing to ignore what they don’t like. The laity in the SSPX are mostly resigned to just living their faith in the SSPX. They shutout all of the problems in the Church and just live their lives in the “safety” of the SSPX.

    For ALL of the people who have problems with the SSPX, just read Michael Davis’s books “Cranmers Godly Order”, “Pope John’s council” and “Pope Pauls New Mass”. Michael Davis has been endorsed by both Archbishop Lefevbre and Cardinal Ratzinger as an authority. A writer both the SSPX and the Pope endorse.

    Once you have read these works, THEN come and heap hot coals on the SSPX, until then most have no clue what they are railing against other than blind obedience.

  74. Alexis says:

    ‘It really says “….The Second Vatican Council is not opposed to the tradition of the Church, only to the many incorrect interpretations of the Catholic faith.”’

    That is an insidious statement, and goes to show what a headache Abp. Muller will be. Frankly, I’m scared!

  75. robtbrown says:

    MarkA says:

    Fr. Rostand (SSPX US District Superior) recently stated that during the Society’s General Council, they were told that in the Spring, the German Bishop’s Council told Pope Benedict XVI that if the Society was given full communion, the German Church would break away from Rome in an act of schism.

    BXVI heard that just after he was elected–also by French bishops. Further, JPII was told the same thing by various Euro bishops in the late 80’s, following the Commission of Cardinals that recommended not only doing what Summorum Pontificum later did but also having at least one weekly Latin mass (Novus Ordo or TLM) in every parish.

    Frankly, I’m tired of life in the Church being influenced (even at times determined) by bishops lobbying on behalf of Catholics who insist that Catholic doctrine is irrelevant.

    Meanwhile, a German friend close to the SSPX wrote me to say that Mueller sounds like Williamson.

  76. Lynne says:


    I do not know if SSPX can give more to the Church since what they are offering, these offer same as:
    *The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) – not allowed in Boston
    *Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest – not allowed in Boston
    *Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – on the outskirts of Boston
    *Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer – not allowed in Boston
    *Some diocese I think are starting to promote EF – we have 3 TLMs in Boston (woo hoo!)

    the SSPX has a Mass at 10 am in Woburn (a few miles north of Boston)

  77. marytoo says:

    moon1234 is correct. I would add that the SSPX doesn’t “need” reconciliation with Rome in the way that many commenters here think they do. They only “need” reconciliation in the sense that they understand their role as savers of souls and want to reach more people for that reason. But not if it means compromise or watering down their convictions and good for them for that. The truth is just starting to be told about VII. Many commenters here don’t understand the subject at all and should withhold the rash judgement on view here (a sin btw) until they have done more study on the subject.

    Read Michael Davies, as someone else suggested, if you are truly interested. He wasn’t “with” the SSPX, so to speak, but sympathized and understood better than most the objections the SSPX has to VII; he has written some of the best and most accessible material on the subject.

  78. MarkA says:

    @Lynne – “the SSPX has a Mass at 10 am in Woburn (a few miles north of Boston)”

    By a very fine priest, Father Young, based out of from Ridgefield, CT. Previously it was another fine priest, Father Sulzen.

  79. andris_amolins says:

    Why is everybody so exercised about SSPX? A puny institution of some 500 priests. Are they worth any notice? Let’s look what are doing FSSP, ICRSP, Campos, IBP, former Transalpine Redemptorists? They could say: “Now, we are obedient, we are in full communion. Forget SSPX! WE want the doctrinal talks! We certainly deserve to be told how those new teachings mean the same as the old ones they apparently oppose.” Have they told so to the Holy Father? If not, why? So far, only the Franciscans of the Immaculate and some of the secular clergy (like Msgr. Gherardini) are trying to address the ‘difficult’ questions with conferences etc. As a poster before wrote, in his Regensburg lecture the Holy Father characterized the Catholic faith as a reasonable one, as opposed to the fideism of Islam. Only in respect to Vatican II one has to abdicate reason.

  80. Scott W. says:

    Why is everybody so exercised about SSPX?

    “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!”

  81. Mary Jane says:

    Very sad. I still hope and pray for a reconciliation.

  82. Southern Catholic says:

    I look at MOST Catholics today and see little if any faith. Whether that is from lack of teaching or just people choosing to ignore what they don’t like. The laity in the SSPX are mostly resigned to just living their faith in the SSPX. They shutout all of the problems in the Church and just live their lives in the “safety” of the SSPX.

    What a sweeping generalization of most Catholics. However, we are called to go out and preach the Gospel and convert hearts and minds for the Glory of God. Not sit back and be “safe” in our created environments,and shutout the world. No, the world needs Christ and it needs good messengers of His good news. This is what Luke 10:1-24 tells us. So if the laity aren’t correctly taught, then shouldn’t SSPX try to teach them?

  83. Horatius says:

    Yes, Rjhighland, my life is a blessing, singular and incredible. You are incorrect to assert that I hate SSPX. I am sickened by its leadership, who are leading their sheep astray. I am totally un persuaded by its views. I feel sorry for it, but I am angry for the abuse it heaps on the Pope and on the Church, including the condescension towards and derision of what one poster calls here ordinary Catholics.

  84. Horatius says:

    Scott W., you may be surprised to discover that the more apt reference would be to salt that has lost its flavor.

  85. Marianna says:

    MarkA, I should have thought it was obvious. The implication is that Pope Benedict gave in to blackmail from the German bishops. That is a slur on the character of the Pope.

  86. dspecht says:

    @ Inigo:
    “It’s a question of obedience…Roma locuta, causa finita!”

    Exactly, correct – bravo: But that is exactly the problem of Vat.II and the Popes after it:
    Rome had spoken before in a clear, unambiguous way. All the Popes declared that the Jews have to convert to be saved, Pius IX condemned rel. liberty in Qanta Quara et the Syllable, Pius X condemned the opinion that the so called Orthodoxes are real Churches and not heretical brake-away-groups in Ex Quo Nono, Pius XI condemned all the modern ecumenical practise in Moratlium Animos.
    So Roma locucat – causa finita.
    According to your own – right – principle the cause is finished, nobody is allowed to question it again or being disobedient.

    But exactly that happend: Vat. II and the following Popes questioned all this and were disobedient to this.

    So not “the SSPX is establishing it’s own magisterium by telling the world, it knows better what’s good for the Chruch even than the Pope of Rome.
    But the problem is that the modern Popes and bishops establish their own subjective magisterium telling the world they know better than all the bishops, Popes and Saints before – in matters that were clearly settled and the causa was finita by Roman locution!!

    You yourselfe said: it is NOT OK to question or open a cause again that Rome finished by locution. The cause is finished. PERIOD.
    Again, bravo – that is exactly what the sspx says and fights for: Rome had spoken – we are not allowed to change or question it (as Vat. II and the recent Popes tried).
    Don’t see the problem?! There is a real problem many close the eyes confronted with! and the sspx points to it.

  87. dspecht says:

    So, Inigo et. al.:

    It is not the sspx that questions matters that are finished by Roma locuta – but the exact opposite is the case:
    modern bishops and Popes questioned/question the things that were claused and finished by Rome before.

    The sspx defends the principle “Roma locuta causa finita” – against those that question the decisions Rome made in all the centuries before 1960. Yes, Roma locuta, causa finita (and not infinita)!!! If only the post-Vat.II-hierachies would believe in that and act like believing so!!!

  88. Scott W. says:

    Scott W., you may be surprised to discover that the more apt reference would be to salt that has lost its flavor.

    I won’t bet on it.

  89. Horatius says:

    You already have, Scott.

  90. Scott W. says:

    Ok, rather than just exchange darts, can we at least agree that neither of us wants to see SSPX’ers booted from discussion even if it is the only option left?

  91. Horatius says:

    I do not think it is question of being booted, but my prayer is ut sint unum.

  92. Scott W. says:

    As is mine.

  93. cyrillist says:

    @dspecht: Well-expressed (although spell-check is our friend…). To encapsulate, the SSPX’s prime concern may be that the Church is on its way to teaching infallibly that its teachings are not infallible.

  94. MarkA says:

    @ Marianna – “The implication is that Pope Benedict gave in to blackmail from the German bishops. That is a slur on the character of the Pope.”

    As someone else verified, a similar but less dramatic threat was also made the French Bishops’ Conference. The rational implication is that Pope Benedict XVI prudently considered the effect of the German Bishops’ Conference’ threat on the spiritual lives of 25 million German Catholics, as well as the Catholic Church in France.

    The rational implication is that a reconciliation between the Vatican and the Society has nothing to do with rational negotiations about a doctrinal preamble. I agree with Archbishop Muller’s statement that “I don’t think there will be any more new talks” unless the Society agreed to all of the German Bishop’s demands, which won’t happen.

    That is not a “public slur on the Pope’s integrity made by Fr. Rostand” and “no compliment to Fr. R’s own character”, as you stated. Your statements are a slur to Fr. Rostand character.

  95. paladin says:

    JacobWall wrote:

    Some people are talking about “two Churches.” But there is only one. It is the one lead by the bishops in communion with Pope Benedict XVI (not some abstract “Eternal Rome” that has no visible, concrete manifestation.)

    That’s a very good point… and the direct analogy with the Protestant view of “church” (i.e. as a “loose collection of all believers in Jesus”) is a strong one that never struck me before, until you put the sentence just as you did! It’s an error to suppose that the only road to heresy and/or watering down the Faith is to trend away from rosaries, holy water, statues, firm liturgical structure, and the like…

  96. Hidden One says:

    I think that the greatest test of the SSPX would be a direct papal order to submit. Who submits, he is Catholic. Who doesn’t, he is not.

  97. Marianna says:

    MarkA, What you are saying is that the Pope was prepared to act in such a way as to promote an evil (i.e. to ensure, by actually “changing his terms”, that the SSPX would not be reconciled with Rome) in order to ensure a good (i.e. that the Germans and French would not become schismatics). However, the Pope, being the philosopher and theologian that he is, knows that we are forbidden to do, or in any way to promote, an evil deed in order to ensure a good outcome. It would also be utterly untypical of his character, insofar as I may judge it.

    In any event, this whole notion that the entire German and French Churches were about to become schismatic over the SSPX is absurd. Who exactly are these Vatican officials, who apparently spout such nonsense? I know both France and Germany well, and I assure you, if their entire Catholic Churches were going to cut themselves off from Rome, it would have happened long ago, over matters that really bother them, like women “priests” and contraception. Those Churches are replete with liberals, yet they have not cut themselves formally off from Rome (which, ironically, the SSPX have done).

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