Archbp. Müller, Prefect of the CDF, anti-Catholicism in USA, time running out for SSPX

From Vatican Insider comes this.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, has launched a biting attack of [on?] the mood toward the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Europe, comparing it to an anti-Jewish “pogrom” [!] in German weekly Die Welt. “The campaigns which are specifically targeted at discrediting the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Europe have led to clerics in some sectors being publicly insulted in a vulgar way,” the former bishop of Regensburg said. “An artificially instigated anger is building, occasionally echoing the sentiment of the pogroms against Jews in Europe,” he added. Attacks against the Church are launched on many blogs and on television. The instruments adopted in these attacks “recall the struggles of totalitarian ideologies against Christianity.”  [I think he is right.  And I think the Obama Administration is okay with all this.]

[… herein he talks about Germany and same sex-marriage …]

The real stagnation in reforms within the Church, Müller said, regards “essential issues that are not being dealt with, such as participation in the sacraments and knowledge of the Catholic faith.” The word “reform” should be used to hinder real renewal through Christ.   [No renewal will take place in any sector of the Church’s life until we recover the right sense of liturgical worship!]

[… more on Germany… ]

Finally, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a clear message to the Lefebvrians: we presented them with a proposed doctrinal preamble but “we have received no response so far and we will not wait forever.

Get that?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Pope of Christian Unity, Religious Liberty, SSPX, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Year of Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    Good and clear. However, this all will be lost on most Catholics, as I have been saying for ages, as they have their heads in the sand. I have written and taught about the persecution stages which others have clearly seen as well as myself, but the vast majority of Catholics, who have sold out to secularism, consumerism and socialism, think their position in the world is guaranteed by such dialogue or compromising.

    Sadly, they have only succeeded in compromising their own salvation.

    The entire false movement of so-called detente or dialogue with the world has led to this lala idea that we are now accepted and safe.

    As to the renewal of faith being related to the renewal of the liturgy, Fr. Z., you are spot on.

    Too bad other clerics do not see this. Many of the younger ones do and many of the seminarians do. There is hope, but too little too late for a huge change in Mother Church. We shall be hoeing gardens with sticks and praying in house churches before this hatred of Catholics disappears, or dissipates.

    As to the SSPX, I need an answer soon for a situation which has arisen in my life which demands an almost immediate answer. I wish the SSPX would respond asap. Go CDF.

  2. St. Louis IX says:

    The SSPX thing Dear God Mercy.
    I have a couple friends, nurses at a Catholic Hospital. During lunch much of the staff (and Catholic) talk about how nice gays are, and rights and birth control, and how the Church needs to get up to speed and change Her views.( Open doors for same sex marriage and BC)
    One of my friend &nurse at said hospital attends SSPX Chapels and is horrified by the dissent in Church teaching. She is young, getting married soon, and follows church teaching to the letter..Alas she follows the SSPX, outside of which almost no where to lay her head in the church . and Absoultly NO TLM parish life to belong too.
    Meanwhile My parish adds Sat. to the TLM schedule, and 3/4 of the Novus Ordo parish stops attending Mass at the parish for SAT.
    The SSPX is risking their souls to worship at theMass of the Saints, while 90 + percent of the Rest of the Church rejects it. (more if I use my Diocese) Bishops& priests still try and stiffle it. The Good Father Z implies no restoration without it`s return. Meanwhile The SSPX is beneath the Prots and in danger of no escape. While Catholics sharpen their axes waiting to cut the SSPX loose.
    No scandal here.
    Just saying

  3. Mary Jane says:

    St. Louis IX, those points may all be true, but they’re not the issue at hand.

  4. St. Louis IX says:

    Mary Jane
    The heading to the paragraph , speaks of time running out for the SSPX.
    I see the rest of the points. The King president etc..Seems to me if Catholic`s were more Catholic.
    Knowing their faith and practicing it ; He would never be in office and the moral rot of this nation would be far less. But Nancy/Joe and the rest of the bunch are going to be OK because well they are not SSPX.
    The SSPX teaches Church Dogma and doctrine and her Mass goers put it in practice.
    YET again….Time is running out for them.
    Nope no scandal here.

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    As for anti-Catholicism in the US, you might enjoy the first three letters here:

    A Church Made Up of Sinners and Saints

  6. acardnal says:

    If you want to read anti-catholic comments just read the Tweets sent to His Holiness!!

  7. Anne 2 says:

    Many US Bishops and their Diocese Priests are not listening to the Pope, who frequently brings up needed catechesis and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”. Instead, they seem to be doing business as ususal which has not worked in the USA.
    In Porta Fidei (for Year of Faith), starting with Paragraphs #11, the Pope has asked us to read/study the CCC. The Vatican is providing a Plenary Indulgence this year regarding the CCC and/or Vatican II – yet many Diocese are not giving direction on the requirements – such as date, location and time of lectures.
    To make it easier Pope Benedict has provided us with a shorter “Compendium Catechsim of the Catholic Church”‘ and wrote the introduction for ‘YOUCAT” for teens.
    You’d think that all US Bishops and their Priests would get the message.
    (And we should as well, but many Catholics only know what they hear at Mass or read in their Parish bulletin. Most do not read Catholics papers or blogs.)
    Catechesis for the average adult is very poor.
    “ The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved … and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. “ – Pope John Paul II. (CCC pg 5)
    ” “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)
    What is going on ? Why the deaf ear and the disobedience regarding the CCC in most Diocese ?
    One of the best ways to slow relativism, scandal, heresy and schism is to insure Catholics accurately know their Faith – which is contained in the CCC with footnotes to Bible passages.

  8. mamajen says:

    St. Louis IX:

    The SSPX is a rather large group that does have a lot to offer if they came back to the fold. However, they are not the be all and end all of tradition, and it is not impossible for tradition to be revived without them. FSSP and the Institute of Christ the King are two wonderful groups in full communion with Rome who celebrate the TLM, and we are increasingly seeing regular diocesan priests who are reviving tradition as well. I do hope the SSPX comes back mainly for the sake of the souls who belong to that group, and also because it would be nice to be able to partake in their services, but we do not depend on them by any means. In fact, I think perpetuating that idea only increases the obstinacy of their leaders.

  9. Denis says:

    THis preamble business is so depressing. It really does give the impression that “Vatican II”, (which is already a vague designation) is the one and only superdogma of Catholicism; that you can believe and do whatever you want as long as you never question “Vatican II.”

  10. Jack Hughes says:


    1) Vatican 2 is not a superdogma in the way you appear to think it is, it is a valid Ecumenical council of the Church and whilst I strongly disagree in which the way it WAS written i.e. an essay style that left it open to distorted interperitations rather than the definitive style of V1, Trent ect It is a valid council which did NOT change any Church teaching . (you want to take this up then please feel free to contact me for a private discussion).

    2) the point with the SSPX is that they refuse obedience to the Holy Father and seem to think that you can fight disobedience (on the part of liberals) with disobedience, of the past 4 Holy Fathers , 3 (John Paul 1 didn’t spend enough time in office to deal with them) have repeatedly and publicly stated that the Priests of the society are Suspended, now if we are to follow Cannon Law the Holy Father of which is the Supreme legislator and interpreter then we must hold fast to that fact regardless of all others.

  11. NoraLee9 says:

    Denis, you are spot-on.

  12. JKnott says:

    “Attacks against the Church are launched on many blogs and on television. The instruments adopted in these attacks “recall the struggles of totalitarian ideologies against Christianity.” [I think he is right. And I think the Obama Administration is okay with all this.]”

    And it is going to get much worse.
    (The new HHS modifications demand free contraception for nuns.)

    “If my requests are not answered, there will be wars and rumors of wars, entire nations will be destroyed, Russia will scatter her errors throughout the world, thousands of the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, but…

    – Our Lady of Fatima

  13. joan ellen says:

    Fr. Z says: [No renewal will take place in any sector of the Church’s life until we recover the right sense of liturgical worship!]

    In the last couple of weeks Fr. I am, in my mind, increasing the value of Latin. It seems that the right sense of liturgical worship can only come about through more teaching of Latin.

    Because of my new respect for Latin, I hope to learn more Latin and am encouraging others to do the same. Even suggesting that Catholic schools need to immerse students in it.

    Your blog has been instrumental in this realizing of the importance of Latin learning, and that it is a component, maybe even a large component, in how we think and how well we think. Especially in thinking as Our Blessed Lord would like us to do.

  14. Maria says:

    Dear Mamajen,

    I do hope SSPX comes home too.

    Include Transalpine Redemptorists (Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer. Scotland, UK. Let us support and pray for all orthodox orders in full communion with Rome.

    You are right: “it is not impossible for tradition to be revived without them”. Watch this diocesan priest (

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

    God bless,

  15. norancor says:

    My comment herein is based on the assumption that Bp. Bernard Fellay, SSPX, is speaking the truth, and thus is not a bearer of false witness.

    I believe his recent conversation in Canada can be boiled down to two sentences:

    “We spent roughly ten months talking around in circles for no reason whatsoever, because there was never an intent on the part of Rome to reach an agreement. The Preamble is take it or leave it, and thus the doctrinal problems with the Council and revision of the Sacraments remain.”

    If this is indeed the case, the words of Abp. Gerhard Müller bely a problem: traditional Catholics are obliged to obey, but mainstream Catholics are not.

    The SSPX have a 42 year history with Rome, involving much in the way of deceit, especially in the 1970s. This past summer was simply a reiteration of the SSPX’s misgivings with the Holy See. It is thus hardly surprising to find the SSPX unwilling to reconcile to a regular canonical status and Personal Prelature if the underlying issues are being ignored.

    The problem is, is that the SSPX isn’t the problem. Rome is the problem.

    You say, “What?! How can you be so untoward?! How dare you be so insolent and disobedient towards the Holy Father???”

    I answer, no, on the contrary, I am not being untoward with respect to the Holy Father and the Magisterium. I am, on the contrary, simply asking him to exercise his threefold Office as Priest, Prophet, and King.

    Following upon the principle of first causes, the current state of the Church is a result of past decisions, and certain past decisions that the Council fathers and their experts made about the nature of the Church, ecumenism, non-Catholic religions, the collegiality of bishops, the decisions to make inorganic revisions to the Sacraments, and the nature of religious liberty still have no viable, sufficient, complete, and hermeneutically continuous explanation from that same Magisterium. Therefore, it incumbent not upon the SSPX, but the Holy See, as supreme legislator and supreme arbiter, to exercise its own threefold office in order to bring clarity to the situation, so that the SSPX can reconcile with Holy Mother Church with full assent of the will and clarity of the intellect.

    If you do not address the first causes of the problems, all of the subsequent problems are just distractions, and your requirement of obedience is nothing more than a will-to-power.

    Currently, we have only the threat of use of the penal strength of the Office of King to command obedience to the Holy See. This same Holy See refuses to exercise its more important Office of Priest, by bringing clarity and conformity to the inorganically developed sacramental revisions produced by the Concilium from 1963-69. Additionally, and you will have to forgive the imperfect office metaphor, the same Holy See refuses to exercise the Office of Prophet, by giving to all Catholics clear, viable, sufficient, complete, and hermeneutically continuous explanations of the debatable points of the Second Vatican Council so that we, as Catholics, can support and defend with complete integrity the Prophetic Voice of Our Lord Jesus Christ to this broken, miserable world.

    Right now, as it stands, I as a Catholic simply do NOT know what to teach people about these issues, because the traditional teaching often directly contradicts conciliar teaching on ecumenism, non-Catholic religions and their efficacy, the collegial power of bishops, the nature of the Church, the inorganic revision of the Sacraments and their clear dichotomy with the traditional Sacraments, what religious liberty actually is, and how a Catholic is supposed to respond to the modern world.

    In the end, I must say… in fact I must dare say, that it is completely inappropriate to ask good, traditional, faithful Catholics to obey you when you do not have the intellectual or spiritual wherewithall to answer some of the most basic pressing issues of doctine by employing the hermeneutic of continuity of the Holy Roman Pontiff.

    Disclaimer:   I am not associated with the SSPX in any fashion.

  16. Fr Jackson says:

    The difference in approach to the SSPX between Archbishop Müller and Archbishop di Noia is pretty noticeable. I wonder what Archbishop Müller has in mind once he is done “waiting”?

    My opinion is that the preamble (to which Archbishop Müller makes reference) was intentionally changed in June 2012 to include elements that were known to be unacceptable to Bishop Fellay, leading to the current stalemate. Bishop Fellay suggested in his conference in Ontario in December that this was due to the intervention of some specific persons who were opposed to a reconciliation and who had enough influence to make it happen.

  17. Maria says:

    Dear Fr. Jackson,

    I think the discussion was opened by Bishop Fellay’s sermons.

    Dec 28, 2012 – 2-hour conference given in Ontario, Canada on December 28th, 2012 ( &

    Jan 18, 2013 – Letter of Archbishop di Noia (Having received from the Successor of Peter this charge to be an instrument in the reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity, I dare to make my own the words of the Apostle Paul in urging us “to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” )

    Jan 27, 2013 – The following is from the sermon by Bishop Bernard Fellay for the priestly ordination of Father Bertrand Lundi, on January 27, 2013 (

    Feb 2 2013 – Archbishop Müller

    I think, Bishop Fellay should have followed Archbishop di Noia’s letter. No public sermons/speeches/homilies, not a strategic move. Just go back to the negotiating table. Thus, I think Rome can not wait forever.

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

    God bless,

  18. Norancor, that was heartbreakingly beautiful. Kudos to you for speaking the truth.

    The one area I do have disagreement with you on though is your list of the various aspects of the Ecumenical Council which remain unclear. I think for instance that the nature of the Church and the collegial power of Bishops have indeed been clarified to greater perspicuity than other issues, such as the one’s you mentioned. Dominus Iesus does an excellent job at this, and the collegial authority of Bishops and the nature of the Episcopacy in general are fairly obvious clarifications of traditional Catholic teaching explicated in, for instance, Orientale Lumen as hallmarks of the Catholic East and its witness within the Catholic Church.

    Neither of those issues cause too many problems, properly understood, and Vatican II actually clarified and bolstered them in a positive way in my opinion. However, I think the aspect in the which the silence from the Apostolic See has been particularly deafening is in the Latin Church’s Liturgy and the dichotomy between the old and new forms of it. Other than Summorum Pontificum, which is really just an affirmation of the old Latin Liturgy without a clarification of the new, there’s been almost no word from Rome on how Ito interpret the rupture in the holy Oblation.

  19. Gratias says:

    It is only polite to answer a generous offer from the Pope, Vicar of Christ and Head of the Catholic Church. Hubris is a great sin. The SSPX should go with Benedict XVI on this one. Look at the Anglicans converting to the Church, it has been a great success. Those of us who work to have the EF Mass via the Dioceses under Summorum pontificum, or the FSSP or ICK, are greatly impeded by the non-acceptance of a world-wide Ordinariate for the Latin mass, which could then reach all corners of the world and incorporate all of us. The SSPX should give up pride and just help make the TLM reach the remote corners of the Earth. We need the SSPX, please stop teasing and accept the olive branch offered by the Holy Father.

  20. Imrahil says:

    I happen to believe that the Doctrinal Preamble contains nothing a good Catholic cannot sign. Though it does contain points (and was quite perhaps changed on purpose to include them, as the rev’d dear @Fr Jackson says) the SSPX honestly thinks a good Catholic cannot sign. (Btw: could someone perhaps publish the document? please?)

    Nevertheless, there’s one way the SSPX could pretty much upset His Excellence. By signing.

    It is not rocket science: Archbishop Müller does not like the SSPX. Nor vice versa for that matter.

    By that, I’m not accusing the Archbishop of any sin. Only stating a psychological condition, or also the Archbishop could think himself in just anger.
    However even so, I personally think that the SSPX-Rome talks are led by some who do like each other. (Such as Archbishop Di Noia.)

    It is also not rocket science that whenever a canonical agreement should be reached (may that be soon that this issue is settled favorably!) that makes the SSPX’s activity dependent on the local ordinary’s allowance (which Bp Fellay even once said he would agree to!), the SSPX is flowing at high speed out of most of Germany’s doors.

  21. Imrahil says:

    I personally think … should be led.

    Makes no sense otherwise. Sorry.

  22. joan ellen says:

    norancor – Thank you for your clarity. Beautiful as JonathanCatholic said.

  23. Skeinster says:

    Forgive me, it’s not quite clear from your comment. The Transalpine Redemptorists have been reconciled with the Holy See, and should be included with the FSSP, the ICK, etc.
    They have an absolutely beautiful calendar, if anyone’s still in the market.

  24. Long-Skirts says:

    Fr Jackson says:

    “The difference in approach to the SSPX between Archbishop Müller and Archbishop di Noia is pretty noticeable”


    Good cap, bad cap
    Really nothing new
    One says “yes”
    And the other says “boo”

    Vernacular for most
    Latin, just a few
    But you can have your Bread
    And even eat It too.

    Bad caps rail
    Good caps hush
    Good caps snooze
    Bad caps rush

    Of course their precinct captain
    Knows his hired men
    Likes to act concerned
    But never will defend

    Won’t correct abuses
    Like rainbows from a prism
    When accused together pray
    They’re framed to look like schism

    Good cap, bad cap
    All around the town
    Bad cap beats you up
    While good cap holds you down.

  25. Long-Skirts says:

    norancor says:

    “My comment herein is based on the assumption that Bp. Bernard Fellay, SSPX, is speaking the truth, and thus is not a bearer of false witness.”


    Freezing dark
    Wrapped gray chapel
    In a foggy-cold.

    But warm inside
    Yellow candles spark
    In the brilliance
    Of the Monstrance bold.

    A distinctive nature
    Knelt in prayer
    A Bishop cast
    In Our Lord’s own mold.

    He’d never admit –
    Would never dare –
    “Just pray for me.”
    He’d scold.

    But this is a man
    A true Catholic Shepherd
    An Alter Christus
    To behold.

    And he will not hunt you
    Like a devouring leopard –
    But lure
    With his Fisherman’s Gold!

    Dear Norancor, thank you for your holy and brilliant insights! Many special prayers for you at Holy Mass today.

  26. irishromancatholic says:

    We read that the Cardinal Archbishop of Cologne now permits the morning after pill in Catholic hospitals. The bishop of the diocese which the SSPX is headquartered in says that protestants may use Catholic Church’s but SSPX may not. And the Canonization of Paul VI is looming in the near future despite his pontificate having been an epic disaster (see Dr. Von Hildebrand’s comments on Paul VI The SSPX won’t have to do much to rally the priests and faithful with the threat of excommunication in the air.

    Sadly, it appears that the Vatican will only awake from it’s obsession with Vatican II and restore orthodoxy in the Church’s Doctrine and discpline unless God shakes the world by some sort of Chatisement. Similarly, the SSPX will only understand the necessity of obedience and loyalty to the Pope if God chastises the world, there is a restoration and they realize they are not part of it. God does not need them to save the Church. They do need God and full attachment to His vicar in order to be saved. I had hoped it would not come to this. Instead of obsessing and bickering over Vatican II both sides should focus on the Faith. Focus on prayer and sacrifice. Focus on holiness. Doing all in one’s power to become a saint is what will save this world and God’s holy church.

  27. Mary Jane says:

    norancor you said, “The problem is, is that the SSPX isn’t the problem. Rome is the problem.”

    I’m afraid not. Have the gates of hell prevailed?

  28. mlwalker1972 says:

    Archbishop Müller states that the Vatican is still waiting on a response from the SSPX to the Doctrinal Preamble. Yet, Bishop Fellay says that a response has been given, three times, and that the answer is ‘no’. Following SSPX news, I’ve heard this answer loud and clear from them as well.

    In his talk in December, Bishop Fellay makes this claim around the 59 minute mark (it is a long talk).

    Is Archbishop Müller really still waiting for an answer? Something doesn’t add up.

    As far as the SSPX ‘not being Catholic’, Cardinal Burke mentions that ‘they have the Catholic faith’. Cardinal Burke was mentions that the SSPX must learn obedience, but mentions that there are other groups ‘in the Church’ that need to learn this. (Think nuns on the bus, for one).

    Again, things aren’t adding up.


  29. Brian2 says:

    Martin et Alia: I think when +Muller says he hasn’t gotten a response, he means an official response sent to the CDF, with letterhead and signatures. Sermons posted on blogs don’t count as official. In a similar way, if I was offered a job, but instead of telling HR that I accept, I simply updated my Facebook page to let me friends know, HR would not count me as an employee.

    Tips sort of behavior does not speak well of SSPX. What happened to si is, no no?

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Mary Jane,

    whether Rome is right or is the problem or whatever…

    one principal thing should be clear. There is an infallibility of the Church. But there is, as the Church always has taught, also the possibility of wrong decision, teachingwise or otherwise, of human limitednesses, etc., in areas where this infallibility is not concerned.

    The SSPX is right when they position themselves against total obedience. I used to be thinking that this total obedience is a chimera noone really does hold, but (allow me to cut the most deserved courtesies, for shortness; nevertheless I do say this one thing, that I know you have the very best intentions and speak from filial affection, loyalty and obedience towars the Pope) reading such comments as, sorry, your own, makes me wonder whether I was too optimistic.

    Nor is the SSPX really scolded by Rome per se for not being totally obedient. She is scolded because Rome claims to be right about the things it is disobedient against.

  31. Jacob says:

    Mary Jane says:
    3 February 2013 at 9:06 am

    No. But at the same time, distinctions must be made, because if we’re just going to throw around phrases, then I will throw back at you the fact that Hell is paved with the skulls of priests and bishops who’ve led the Faithful astray.

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    Anne 2, you said, “The Vatican is providing a Plenary Indulgence this year regarding the CCC and/or Vatican II – yet many Diocese are not giving direction on the requirements – such as date, location and time of lectures.”
    This is the first I’ve heard of this. You are right on that. It’s not getting out to Catholics in the pews at all. Very little of this stuff usually does. I would also agree with you that “Catechesis for the average adult is very poor.” This is a very dangerous situation for the Church.

    Irishromancatholic, I don’t agree with everything you said, but this I do agree with: “Instead of obsessing and bickering over Vatican II both sides should focus on the Faith. Focus on prayer and sacrifice. Focus on holiness. Doing all in one’s power to become a saint is what will save this world and God’s holy church.”
    One of the hardest parts about being Catholic now is that this doesn’t seem to be presented as the crux of the matter much anymore, when this really is the point. The rest is just temporal difficulty, and temporal difficulties pass, and change, and are solved eventually–by time, if nothing else. The thing that remains is the Faith of the Church and the faith of the people in her. History teaches us this.

  33. robtbrown says:

    It seems that negotiation is not Abp Mueller’s long suit. Thus the importance of Abp DiNoia.

  34. Tom Piatak says:

    It seems that Archbishop Muller was an excellent choice to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  35. everett says:

    I hate this idea that its okay to say, “Well, if those other groups aren’t obedient, why should we have to be?” The SSPX should be obedient because being obedient is the right thing to do, regardless of whether or not other groups are also doing the right thing. Obedience is the difference between St. Pio of Pietrelcina and Martin Luther. St. Pio submitted in humility, Martin Luther was obstinate in pride. There is nothing good that can come of remaining outside full communion with the Church, and the fact that they continue to offer sacraments in defiance to Rome’s directions is terrible. Be faithful, be humble, be obedient. Do you really think that Christ is calling you to defy the Pope? Really?

    There is so much good that the SSPX could do if in full communion, and most of that is lost so long as they remain defiant. Come home, we need you.

  36. Jason Keener says:

    Jack Hughes,

    I don’t think using an essay style for Church documents is necessarily a bad thing. After all, Popes Leo XIII, Pius XII, and many others wrote their great encyclicals in the essay style. The key is to make sure the language used in such essays is clear and not left open to numerous interpretations.

  37. Johnno says:

    Mary Jane says: “I’m afraid not. Have the gates of hell prevailed?”

    You mean those gates that the post VII Church is not launching an offensive against and is instead locked within its own issueing out calls for ecumenical peace treaties and U.N. Resolutions & monetary policy and social justice initiatives?

    Because last I checked those gates of hell are still standing, and open, and Sauron’s armies are marching through.

    Is the Church hoping the United nations and good soldiers of America will launch the offensive against the gates of hell? I hear tell that Hell is making their leaders a better offer…

    Our Lord promised that the gates of hell will not prevail… against a Church Offensive that gathers its armies and launches a full scale assault. He didn’t promise the gates of the Church couldn’t negligently be left open just slightly ajar enough so that a few of Hell’s agents could sneak in and wreak havoc. That the Church soldiers couldn’t be driven back to the rear tower. And in that darkness surrounded by overwhelming osdds when that last little band of faithful soldiers alone and abandoned by those who fled prepares themselves for death and deciding that if they must fall this day that they will go out in a blaze of glory with one final charge. It shall be at this very last moment that our Lord shall arrive from the East with the calvary.

  38. Allan S. says:

    Many seem to have forgotten Christian gratitude; without the SSPX there would be no FSSP or Transalpine Redemptorists or SP or UE or diocesan TLMs, except for a very rare occasional insult Mass and perhaps not even that.

    Instead of. Criticizing the Society from a comfy FSSP pew, just say thanks. And of course pray without ceasing for their full regularization exactly as Fr. Z says. His blog is important for many reasons, one of which is Father’s extensive network. It would do the Society well to ponder his words and tone carefully. Better than tea leaves anyway.

  39. Mariana B. says:

    Everett – I completely agree with your first paragraph. I have a close friend in the SSPX and whenever I get (even remotely) close to making a point, I get the “what-about-the-liberal-so-called-catholics” defense.

    I do not agree that the SSPX would do good by “coming home” en masse, however. I can’t see them showing the humility to not just be another fringe group who disagrees with the Holy Father. Imho, a merciful excommunication would do more to call their followers – individually – back into the loving arms of Holy Mother Church.

  40. Jason Keener says:

    Allan S.,

    It is true that we should be grateful to God that He was able to bring great good out of the evil circumstances in which Archbishop Lefebvre showed his disobedience to the Supreme Pontiff; however, we should not act like what the SSPX did was ok. The SSPX could have voiced their concerns while fully within the Church if they would have had more patience and less arrogance. I’m also convinced that traditional Liturgy would have made a revival with or without the SSPX. Hardcore traditionalists must drop the idea that the SSPX is the true guardian of Tradition. That is a heresy.

  41. Joboww says:


    Maybe its just me but to say if it wasnt for the SSPX there would be nothing of the sort of TLM culture in the church. It seems to set up a false rule. Just because they make a good point here and there doesnt justify their disobedience. Even Luther made good points at the beginning but we dont hear Lutheran apologists going if it wasnt for Luthers big mouth on abuses at the time there would be no faithful church. The SSPX has indeed done good things in keeping the ancient rite alive, but so have others during the same period without disobeying. I hope that they come back into communion but I have no real expectations for it.


  42. Liam says:

    I think there is much to Fr. Jackson’s musing that a third party. one very interested in keeping the FSSPX out of the Church, exerted its influence sometime between April and June 2012 so that the agreement presented to Msgr. Fellay in June completely disregarded the discussions and understandings of the previous 10 months.

    Yes, this is speculation but it would certainly fit with the circumstances.

  43. VexillaRegis says:

    An old anecdote suddenly came to mind, I can’t imagine why, hmmmm….

    Two young boys are at loggerheads in the sand box. Then one of them says to the other: “If you don’t let me have all the toys, I will fetch my father. He is a policeman an can arrest you if he wants!”
    “Hah!”, replies the other boy, “that’s nothing; MY father is a reverend and he can BURY you if he wants!”


  44. Denis says:

    One characteristic of the SSPX really bothers me. They have absolutely no idea how to be “prudent as the serpents, and guileless as the doves.” The enemies of orthodoxy and Tradition have no trouble holding back when they believe that it will benefit them; they couldn’t have risen to prominence in the episcopacy without mastering the art of prudent silence. I really wish that the SSPX could be half as clever as their enemies. Instead, they are like adolescent idealists, saying whatever seems true, without any consideration of the long game, opting for self-immolation over strategy.

  45. everett says:

    That’s an excellent point, Denis, and that’s how many of our faithful Priests and Bishops made it through their seminaries. As Fr. Z often advises current seminarians – if you’re in a tough place, oftentimes it can be better to just make it through seminary, get yourself ordained, and perhaps then learn the Latin and the Extraordinary Form. Sometimes you just have to do what you can to survive so that you can then make changes. Of course, there are other times when you have to speak the truth no matter what. Prudence lies in discerning which is appropriate.

  46. wmeyer says:

    I think that the Obama administration is much more than “OK with this.” I am afraid that this is entirely in accord with their plans. The Evil One has gained much ground.

  47. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If the SSPX would just relax and let go of the rope for one second, they’d win the tug o’ war with their enemies. All their dreams would come true, all their points would carry, and their enemies would be deep in the mud.

    But they refuse to relax at the critical second, which is why they keep getting _themselves_ dragged into the mud.

  48. Granny says:

    What a terrible thing to have to say to a seminarian…
    everett says:
    “That’s an excellent point, Denis, and that’s how many of our faithful Priests and Bishops made it through their seminaries. As Fr. Z often advises current seminarians – if you’re in a tough place, oftentimes it can be better to just make it through seminary, get yourself ordained, and perhaps then learn the Latin and the Extraordinary Form.”
    Dodge the homosexual agenda in the seminary, dodge the anti Latin Rite administrators, dodge the heresy, dodge the politically correct…. What a mine field. Its a wonder that any man comes through with their faith intact. Maybe Muller could be put in charge of CLEANING HIS OWN HOUSE, before he throws obstacles in the path of the SSPX.

    Ann E
    how can they do that in parishes? It would cause to many hard feelings. It wouldn’t be NICE to make people feel bad about things they are doing or insisting that they were actually sinning!

    I’m not a SSPX member …. yet. I’m waiting to see what happens with the Obamination’s mandate. Sadly, I’m betting the USCCB completely folds. If/when that does happen my family will be making the move to the SSPX. We will stand with them even if they are excommunicated, trusting that the Lord sees the truth of the Society and that it is not just a contest between “the boys”. HE says that His Church will prevail… nothing says that has to be in Rome.
    Please Pray for Pope Benedict, so he has the strength to continue to deal with the mess that is the Conciliar church.
    There is an excellent article here In this article it is said that Pope Benedict uses “relentless incrementalism” to get things done, May he live another 50 years.

  49. jhayes says:

    Bishop Fellayon January 27, 2013:

    “This is our history, the story of the Society, and of our founder.  And this history, by dear brothers, continues.  I would even say that, in comparison with this sublime reality, talking about whether or not to reach an agreement with Rome is something trivial.  To defend the faith, to keep the faith, to die in the faith, this is the essential thing!  We get the impression that the Roman authorities do not understand us, because they have not understood that we are ready to lose everything in order to keep this Catholic faith.  We absolutely do not want to let this faith go.  Now unfortunately (and this is a fact that we can observe every day), with the Council, through the Council, and in the Council, some poisons were introduced that are harmful to the faith;  they lead souls into error and no longer defend them, no longer defend them in their faith.  We denounce this fact, and this is why they condemn us.  Even today, the condition that they want to impose on us in order to recognize us with the title “Catholic” is to accept those very same things that demolish the faith.  But we cannot, and that is all, quite simply.  In no case do we agree to diminish what is absolutely essential in order to go to Heaven:  the faith, with all its consequences.  That is why this combat is necessary, an everyday combat.

  50. acardnal says:

    Suburbanbanshee wrote:m
    If the SSPX would just relax and let go of the rope for one second, they’d win the tug o’ war with their enemies. All their dreams would come true, all their points would carry, and their enemies would be deep in the mud.

    But they refuse to relax at the critical second, which is why they keep getting _themselves_ dragged into the mud.

    Well said.

  51. norancor says:

    Denis and Everett,

    I believe that was the crux of Abp. Di Noia’s letter to them. “Keeping talking, but for the sake of charity and tact, could you please act like you know your place with your betters?”

    I think he, too, sees the SSPX’s intemperate schoolboy attitude, or typically acerbic French demeanor, “counterproductive.”

    Mary Jane,

    I think I understand your point, but your logic suffers from the non sequitur. By this I mean, it does not follow logically that saying Rome is the problem means the Church has failed. Heaven forbid, no! If you read a cursory Church history, you will know of the endless periods of weakness and doubt Catholics have suffered by the Holy See, even though it had not failed.

    We live in an age of the unwilling king.

    The recent popes, because of the naivete of belief in the modern world (read Pope John’s opening speech for the Council), disdain for scholastic-era “triumphalism,” and the ongoing fear of overt schism from souls already in covert schism (the legacy of Bl. John Paul II), have failed to lead with clarity and force during and after Vatican II, and have failed to correct with clarity and force since Vatican II. When they do correct, they do so only ambivalently, and by stating the truth without absolute correction and imposition of penalty, according to the changes as envisioned by Vatican II.

    As I said before, first causes have to be addressed, otherwise the Magisterium acting is just a distraction. Until the “pillars” of Vatican II are clarified, we cannot as a Church move forward, because at it stands, we don’t know who we are. We have two “forms,” we have two teachings on ecumenism, on collegiality, on the nature of the Church, on salvation outside the Church, on religious liberty, on the efficacy of non-Christian religions like Judiasm and Islam. We cannot have two faiths, but one faith, and until we know what that faith is, we are stuck. We cannot move forward.

    I thank God that Benedict XVI is far less likely to put up with defiance, but even with this he still is unwilling to employ, definitively, his own hermeneutic of continuity on the problems we as traditional Catholics have. I believe I understand why. To clarify means to call into question his own school of theology. It calls into question the efficacy of the Council itself, because the issues fundamental to Vatican II are the issues fundamental to the Deposit of Faith. Who are we? How are you saved? How can Catholicism change, and to what extent, and still be called Catholicism? How do we render adoration to God in liturgy? How do we reconcile the world and souls to Christ?

    The Deposit of Faith in 1962 had answered these questions. The Council Fathers and their experts were “unconvinced” of these past answers. Otherwise they would not have proposed their alternative vision of things. Without denying the Faith, they proposed this alternate vision in the name of the Council’s “pastoral character.” So again, how do we reconcile these two ways of thinking? Do we act like the SSPX and just scream “Modernists!”? That is an unconvincing reaction, and they aren’t the Magisterium. Ergo Abp. Di Noia’s comments in the letter. The SSPX don’t respect their betters, and don’t know when to understand their place and keep their mouths shut.

    I am a simple layman. I am not judging him nor his predecessors, nor am I castigating them. I pray for Pope Benedict EVERY DAY. I pray he may understand that we, the sheep, simply ask him to have courage, and fear not the malicious souls that may be around him in the clergy and episcopacy that would detract from Our Lord by doubt, hesitation, weakness, heresy, and fear. Millions of rosaries are offered for him each year. I offer my first prayers for him, every day, so that he might have fortitude and courage to fulfill the Divine Will. Untold Masses are offered in union with him, and billions of confessions are heard and sins forgiven by the power of his Keys. He needs to feel our prayers for him so that he speaks with power, and might, and speaks the truth to power, and to the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

    If the gates of Hell had prevailed, I certainly would not be appealing to Rome… to His Holiness… to answer questions with the weight and might of his office. I ask humbly for answers. What precisely do we believe on these issues? What Vatican II says, what the Deposit of Faith has said before on the same issues, something of a blend, or something else?

    I cannot see how he is going to reconcile the Deposit of Faith as it existed in 1962 with the changes envisioned by the Council and Magisterium since then. It is up to him to show us the way because thus far there is still an absence of clarity and leadership. His school of theology needs to learn from the clarity of scholasticism and the tried and true method of correction and penalty. Talk less and declare more, and impose penalty for a failure to obey. To Hell with those that accuse him of “returning to the past.” He wouldn’t be returning to the past. He would be making a choice.

    We ask the Holy Father to invoke his authority, and tell us definitively what we are to believe, for he is the Rock, and upon him Christ has built His Church.

  52. The sad part is that the traditionalists could do far more to influence the Church from within– just as the anti-traditionalists have been doing from within for decades. As it is, they are trying to steer the ship from lifeboats, which just isn’t going to happen. I think the real issue is that they just don’t care about the ship, which has already been dismissed as being useless. What’s worse is that from the lifeboats, they are claiming to be on the ship. You can paint a lifeboat with “S. S. Tradition” markings all you want, even raise a flag if you want, but it’s still just a lifeboat. All the Vatican is saying is that the ship isn’t going to hang around forever trying to rescue them– if they refuse to be rescued, eventually those who really do control the ship are going to move along. For better or for worse, the SSPX is not the only issue on Rome’s plate. After the Cardinal Mahony news of this past week, I think that the Church needs to do a thorough housecleaning from left to right, and issues such as the status of the SSPX are an unacceptable distraction. It would be far better to have the SSPX reconciled, as Jesus was clear about the importance of unity, but if that is not possible, it’s time to move along and get to work on larger issues. While millions of babies are being murdered, the gay and lesbian agenda is marching forward, and our enemies are encircling us, we just don’t have time to mess with relatively minor matters. I am seeing this now as much like an Irwin Allen movie– we just don’t have time to sit arguing with people who will not be saved as the flames or waters are about to engulf us. It will be sad but necessary. We will simply have to save those who can be saved.

  53. jhayes says:

    Archbishop Müller will give a lecture at Notre Dame this week.

    “Given the CDF’s competence on issues of bioethics in church teaching, Müller will ostensibly remain in Texas to attend this week’s seminar for bishops hosted each February in Dallas by the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center before heading to Notre Dame for a lecture Wednesday night.”

  54. norancor says:

    Andrew, the situation with the SSPX has nothing to do with the SSPX. Perhaps that is where the confusion about them lies. This is about Catholicism itself. It isn’t about the SSPX.

    Until you and other conservatives (I’m assuming you are a conciliar conservative) stop trying to cast off the SSPX and the belief in Sacred Tradition which underpins the beliefs of us like the SSPX, with a laissez-faire whiff, you are not going to understand how we got to:

    – demonically negligent Cardinals systematically protecting demonic clerics
    – an impotent prelacy standing pat while hundreds of millions die at the hands of communists and abortionists
    – a collapse in belief has led to Catholics living like atheists
    – collapses in vocations and belief
    – sodomites and fornicators on the march across the globe
    – militant relativism and indifferentism on the rise
    – and everything else…

    …then you and I, and the rest of the Church, aren’t going anywhere.

    First causes, my friend, first causes. All else is a distraction.

    Every Catholic has to start from zero again. It’s penny catechism time. Its back to basics. Systematic theology. Basic sacramental theology. Metaphysics. Logic, and how to think. Understand what we believed traditionally, and why. Until Catholics the world over come out of this post-conciliar haze and really start to think again, and understand the broad trends in the Church in the past 100-200 years, we are going nowhere and will effect little or no change in our respective societies.

    As Father says, brick by brick. Brick by brick.

  55. lana says:


    The Church -is- in Rome and nowhere else. You need to stay with the Pope, neither to the right or the left. As my mom taught me, God will never fault you for sticking with the Pope.

  56. Stumbler but trying says:

    @ Gratias, Andrew Saucci, everett, Irishromancatholic…I am not well versed like many herein who have posted about the SSPX but after looking over most of the commentary I found that what all of you posted resonated with me while most of the others just confused me. That does not sit well with me…being confused I mean. I am well aware of the many difficulties our beloved Catholic Church faces. I am well aware of the many challenges our beloved Holy Father faces but with him, in unity with the entire Church, well, that is where my hope lies.
    Our Lord has entrusted the Keys of the Kingdom to him and according to God’s holy will, our Holy Father will steer the Barque of Peter as best he can. I pray for the grace of continued personal conversion everyday. I pray for our Holy Father too and for all who profess the Catholic Faith…”May they be one.” May the words of Christ our Lord ring out loud and clear in all hearts and in all times!
    Let personal conversion and renewal begin with me, let those who profess the Catholic faith grow too and let those who remain proud and obstinate, repent before the doors are closed to them forever by their own choice.
    My prayers for all concerned.

  57. lana says:

    norancor, You should be very careful what you post about cardinals and priests, and the sins you are incurring in the minds of those who read your posts. Only God can judge priests.

  58. everett says:


    You’re right, it is a terrible thing to have to say, and yet I heard countless stories of it while I was in the seminary for a couple of years before discerning that was not my call. The rector of my seminary was one such example – he didn’t know the right things to say in his admission interview, and almost wasn’t admitted. Thankfully, they did let him in, and he learned to keep his head down and survive. As a result, he was around for the tripling in vocations for the diocese as the vocations director, and the rector as they built a brand new seminary because the old one didn’t have enough room.

    Far better for him to have done that then to have run off to join a group of religious who are not in full communion with Rome so that he could feel good about sticking with “tradition.” Ultimately, you’re either with the Church, or you’re not, and as much as the SSPX has going for it as far as teaching devotion, right belief and so on, its limited by the fact that it isn’t in full communion. I sometimes wonder what difference the priests would’ve made if they’d stuck around and fought from the inside rather than leaving. Its a similar problem as when faithful Catholics leave a mediocre parish – if all of the faithful ones leave, who is left to “run” (destroy) things? By the grace of God, things appear to be the most positive they’ve been in decades as far as good priests, good Bishops, and full seminaries. What better time for SSPX to return, to be a new surge of energy in this ongoing renewal?

  59. lana says:

    norancor, regarding you 11:26 pm post aboutthe sspx having the true doctrine and Rome not explaining – reminding you of Archbisop Di Noia’s letter to the SSPX:

    “It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy, trying to sway those who are not theologically sophisticated into adopting one’s own point of view regarding subtle theological matters.”

    Read Church canons, for the proper role of the -laity- and the proper attitude of theologians.

    LMG:  “Canon. 212:  §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.” 
    218 Those engaged in the sacred disciplines have a just freedom of inquiry and of expressing their opinion prudently on those matters in which they possess expertise, while observing the submission due to the magisterium of the Church.”    Even those who have ‘a just ‘freedom of inquiry’  (ie. those ‘engaged in the sacred disciplines’ and ‘possess expertise” (which neither you or I are),) can only do so in submission to the magisterium.

  60. norancor says:


    What does “You should be very careful what you post about cardinals and priests, and the sins you are incurring in the minds of those who read your posts. Only God can judge priests.” mean?

    I was speaking of the very public case of Cardinal Mahony and the pederast/pedophile priests he protected. A priest that prays on children is demonic. A bishop that protects those priests is even more demonic. Cardinal Mahony was so at odds with the true he provoked God to perform a miracle in the life of Mother Angelica.

    You should be careful what you accuse other people of, as in accusing me of sin with no basis in fact outside your own opinion. I nonetheless forgive you in your haste to condemn me.

  61. Maria says:

    Dear Skeinter,

    “Maria, Forgive me, it’s not quite clear from your comment. The Transalpine Redemptorists have been reconciled with the Holy See, and should be included with the FSSP, the ICK, etc.” – Mamajen mentioned FSSP & ICK. I just wrote back to include Transalpine Redemptorists who were former SSPX and now in full communion with Rome. They are a very small group from what I read and we need to support this order. I think another order that Fr Z posted here before is the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest ( from Spain that Bishop Morlino invited in his diocese.

    I am emphasizing these groups/orders because SSPX must know that if they will not accept Pope Benedict’s invitation, we will move on as we have these priests and diocesan priests who are learning the TLM. Also, some US bishops are celebrating TLM too.

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

    God bless,

  62. lana says:

    norancor, this is what I mean. I think whether a sin is public or not does not matter:

    Christ words in the Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena on good and bad priests:

    “You should love them therefore by reason of the virtue and dignity of the Sacrament, and by reason of that very virtue and dignity you should hate the defects of those who live miserably in sin, but not on that account appoint yourselves their judges, which I forbid, because they are My Christs, and you ought to love and reverence the authority which I have given them.
    “It not being My will that they should be in this state, you should pray for them, and not judge them, leaving their judgment to Me. And I, moved by your prayers, will do them mercy if they will only receive it, but if they do not correct their life, their dignity will be the cause of their ruin. For if they do not accept the breadth of My mercy, I, the Supreme Judge, shall terribly condemn them at their last extremity, and they will be sent to the eternal fire.”

    PS. I amjust quoting word for word what someone else wrote elsewhere on this blog

  63. Stumbler but trying says:

    @ everett:
    I totally agree with this:
    “Far better for him to have done that then to have run off to join a group of religious who are not in full communion with Rome so that he could feel good about sticking with “tradition.” Ultimately, you’re either with the Church, or you’re not, and as much as the SSPX has going for it as far as teaching devotion, right belief and so on, its limited by the fact that it isn’t in full communion. I sometimes wonder what difference the priests would’ve made if they’d stuck around and fought from the inside rather than leaving. Its a similar problem as when faithful Catholics leave a mediocre parish – if all of the faithful ones leave, who is left to “run” (destroy) things? By the grace of God, things appear to be the most positive they’ve been in decades as far as good priests, good Bishops, and full seminaries. What better time for SSPX to return, to be a new surge of energy in this ongoing renewal?”

    I too, have had the privilege of meeting many wonderful and holy priests in my life time. I have met some too, who need much prayer but like I said before, I trust in God’s infinite mercy to sort it all out by raising up Saints from all walks of life to bear witness and to encourage us onward. Disputes, pride, vanity, arrogance…you name it, the Church has dealt with it all from the beginning. Nothing new under the sun so I am going to remain calm, hopeful and trusting.

    The gift of true humility, of love, of trust…what more could anyone ask for? Ah…where I so blessed. I will pray the SSPX will bow before the Vicar of Christ and offer their gifts for the conversion and salvation not only of the Church, but for the entire world.
    If Christ is so loved by them and if they truly desire renewal, then share your gifts with the Church in unity! In faith! In hope! Stand with the rest of us who desire the same but as one!

  64. norancor says:


    Two things.

    One, a typo. Cardinal Mahony was so at odds with the truth that he provoked God to perform a miracle in the life of Mother Angelica. At least, this is the common opinion of her healing.

    Second, I am well aware of the document outlining the role of the laity and theologians. You, however, are abusing the passage, and meaning, of the document you cite. I am not a theologian. I, am, however, literate. Being able to read, say, Unitatis Redintegratio and Mortalium Animos, or Mystici Corporis Christi and Lumen Gentium, which, BTW, we are exhorted to do in this Year of Faith, the conflict in doctrine is readily apparent.

    I, and you, cannot draw conclusions. I agree with Abp. Di Noia about making a public controversy. I also agree with him about swaying people to your own point of view on “subtle theological matters.” I also agree that we should submit to the Magisterium in such matters.

    My contention however, is that I am not drawing conclusions. I am stating concerns, and asking for the Magisterium to ACT. Secondly, stating dichotomies is not “making a public controversy.” Thirdly, the issues concerning the nature of the Church, ecumenism, inorganic overhauling of the Sacraments, religious liberty, and collegiality are rather public and obvious teachings of the Church, and not mere “subtle theological matters.” Lastly, did you not read my previous posts? I have stated in both lengthy posts that I am asking the Magisterium to ACT. I am not making judgments, nor am I inciting controversy.

    I have a right as a Catholic layman to know what I am supposed to believe, and to tell others. Looking at the documents of the Second Vatican Council, I have sufficient questions due to their change in tone, content, and intent, that I have every right to ask the Church for clarification.

    At the risk of repeating myself again, this isn’t about the SSPX, madam. This is about the very nature of the Catholic Church and its doctrines. I, as a layman, have a right to know what I am to believe, and what I must give soulful assent to. As do you. Catholicism is not a will-to-power, where we are all automatons giving a rote regurgitation of what someone tells us is Catholicism.

    I remain yours in Christ, even though you have made conclusions about me I don’t feel are either warranted or justified. As someone else here said, read Iota Unum. It was written by a licensed theologian of the Catholic Church, Amerio Romano, and asks many of the questions that I have about the Council and post-conciliar period. I’m on my third reading, and making my way through the 14 volume series written by Atila Sinke Guimaraes, a disciple of a very well qualified man, Plinio Correa de Oliveira. These volumes, along with the various works of well qualified men such as Michael Davies and Dr. John Rao, make for a well rounded understanding of the age we live it.

    I appreciate the need not to overstep bounds in our opinions and understanding, but I also will not yield to the mindset that you perhaps intimate, that we are all brainless Luddites incapable of reading the works of the Catholic Church, and deposit of Faith, and understand them, unless we happen to hold a Licentiate in Theology.

    God bless you and yours, and may His Most Sacred Heart have mercy on us all.

  65. norancor says:


    I named my daughter in honor of Saint Catherine, but I would not elevate a private locution to that of dogma, even if she is a Doctor of the Church. Men who pray upon children, and the bishops that protect them, fall of the condemnatory damnation of Our Lord Himself:

    [2] And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, [3] And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. [4] Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. [5] And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. [6] But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. [7] Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. [8] And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. [9] And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. [10] See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. ~ Matthew 18:2-10

  66. lana says:

    norancor, i would not easily dismiss a locution given to a Doctor. Does it have to be a dogma? Should you not want to please Him even in what is not mandatory?

    Om the other topic – Catholicism has always promoted literacy, science, etc. There is also such a thing as the ‘obedience of faith’. I have read documents on religious liberty and I find V2 documents suficiently clear to act on. They are enough for me. I have no trouble with what -appear- to be changes. I see how they are not really changes, and we cannot limit the Holy Spirit or mistrust the living Magisterium. The Vatican will react when the right time has come. I do think your postings are public discussions of subtle points that are nest left to your pastor or bishop, not the internet. I appreciate your good intentions, but I see people only becoming confused and mistrustful by them. God bless.

  67. marytoo says:

    I find norancor’s comments clarifying, not confusing, and I thank him for his time. The problem with a thread like this is that there are posters of all levels of understanding of the situation, so Lana is right in that some will be confused, but many others will be enlightened (and skads of people read without posting). This is a tough topic to discuss, one which requires a firm grip on the subject, for it is deeply nuanced. Many readers of this blog are up to the task.

    In threads like this the greatest lack of charity is against the SSPX from posters who are new to the subject, who may not even understand why the TLM is important and are weighing in anyway. Those who are perfectly happy with and accepting of the Novus Ordo don’t have a horse in this race.

    To Andrew Saucci: why are people in lifeboats if the ship is sound?

  68. The Masked Chicken says:

    I am late to the discussion.

    What I hear, most of all in the comments, is frustration: frustration with the SSPX, frustration with a swirling theology, frustration with the Vatican. I think anyone who looks at this issue is bound to be frustrated. Frustration is knowing what you need, but bring powerless to obtain it. Often, the focus is on bring powerless, but in this case, the true frustration seems to spring from knowing what one needs. It would seem that the SSPX needs clarity on how the documents are in continuity with a certain number of Church teachings of the past (no one will argue that the document on Sacred Music is not in continuity). The Vatican seems to think that the documents are clear, or else, they could not impose obedience on the SSPX (one cannot obey what one does not understand – at least insofar as the what of the obedience, if not the why).

    Now, it says in Canon 17:

    Can. 17 Ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.

    It seems that the SSPX is attempting to interpret Vatican II (not a Law, per se, but a Council, although I think the principle still applies) according to, “parallel places,” which are prior actions and statements on the few controversial theological ambiguities in the documents and the ambiguity seems to remain. The next, logical recourse, is to the mind of the legislator and here is the rub. If the ambiguities are in the actual documents themselves, then they must be removed by the legislator, which, in this case, is the Council or something equivalent. If the ambiguities are from a misinterpretation of the text, then, in principle, anyone who reads the text correctly (read: Vatican) can correct the ambiguity by showing how the text is properly reconciled.

    What astounds me is that Archbp. Müller does not seem to understand (stated as an outside observer, only – I do not know his mind) that the SSPX seems to hold that the ambiguities are within the document and the Vatican seems to hold that the ambiguities are in the mind of the SSPX. This situation is doomed to frustration because the two parties do not have a common domain of discourse. It further astounds me (at least until I have seem the doctrinal preamble – preamble, presumably to them rejoining in full communion with the Church) that obedience can be commanded of anyone in this situation. One simply cannot command obedience by using ambiguous references. It violates the law of non-contradiction (I am not a theologian, but I am an expert on ambiguity).

    There are only two possibilities: either the documents (or, rather, some theological points in a few of them) are genuinely ambiguous, to the point where no single, direct, and only interpretation is possible, in which case, while Vatican II would not have taught error, they would have taught nonsense (the Church is not guaranteed against making statements that are neither true nor false, merely statements that are false) or the SSPX has misunderstood the documents and refused the clarifications (which should be clear and easily understood – it does no good to clarify an ambiguity by an obscurity) issued by the Vatican, who has the power to correctly interpret a genuinely non-ambiguous, but, nevertheless, difficult to interpret, documents.

    This is as far as my analysis can go, since I have not seen the doctrinal preamble. Either it is capable of clarifying a seeming ambiguity or it continues the ambiguity (since no clear statements can issue from within a genuine ambiguity). It is clear from the posturing going on that the two sides have chosen to be on opposite sides. Here’s the thing: if the documents only seem ambiguous (here, I am using the word, ambiguous, to mean, “contradictory to past teachings”) then a simple clarification would suffice to remove the false scandal of misinterpretation. Any remaining suspicion would simply be malicious. This is the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Clarification of seeming but not ambiguous statements should have been made, in the best case, the day after the Council sessions closed. They have not been to this date (unless the doctrinal preamble does this). One begins to suspect that there is genuine ambiguity within the documents on some issues, otherwise, where are the simple clarifications? It seems unlikely, in the extreme, that the Church’s positions on a few theological points could have suddenly evolved and become fleshed out and more certain without there being some indications of the emerging positions and their correctness before the Council. Councils are not done in a vacuum. Doctrines do not spring, full-blown, as from the mind of Zeus.

    Simply put, in this Year of Faith, what better time to clarify and examine the documents of Vatican II so that all may see them for what they are? Ideally, the conversation should be something along the lines of: Party A – these are what we perceive as ambiguities; Party B – these are the clarifications to resolve the ambiguities. Now, this is a matter not just for the SSPX. The Church, as a whole, could benefit from the clarification, since closing loopholes would lead to a stronger Church. I, for one, could benefit from having my questions about ambiguities resolved. I hold that even if the documents were to contain actual unresolvable ambiguities, it would not touch the content of the Faith, which is given by a Father who cannot deceive. We would simply bracket those ambiguities as having no meaning (thus not modifying any teaching) and commend them to a later Council for correction. I wish the SSPX could see that this is a valid way out. One can promise obedience to the documents of Vaticn II and yet those doctrinal statements that are truly ambiguous (if there are any) would have no truth content and be vacuous and thus (here is the point they don’t seem to understand) not be a valid object for obedience. There job would be to pray for a direct statement of the doctrine by a future Council, while walking gingerly in the presence of the difficulties imposed by the ambiguities. Quite a Cross, but quite a hope, as well. In that sense, they would become not the guardians of the past, but the guardians of hope for the future. Time will tell where the truth lies, but at least they will be there to see it from within the Church (and if they are wrong that there are genuine ambiguities, living within the Church will help bring about the clarity of truth). They may be right; they may be wrong. What they should not be is useless.

    I think the SSPX could return to the Church under these condition. If they will only see it, on time.

    The Chicken

  69. benedictgal says:

    I met Arch is hop

  70. norancor says:


    You admonished me using a locution, and not something related to the teachings of the Church herself. I am now suppose to treat locutions as part of the Deposit of Faith? My observations are self-evident judgments. A litany of men have acted as sexual predators. This is a statement of fact. That sort of evil emanates from the influence of Satan. That too is a fact. These aren’t merely “bad priests.” There are tens of thousands of “bad priests” who are awful in the confessional, give tepid sermons, fail to lead by example, and perhaps even lead immoral or venal lives. I’m not speaking of a mere “bad priest.” I’m talking about men who rape and molest children, often inside a parish or the rectory. I’m talking about bishops and higher ups that actively protect these men. Are you now denying the reality of evil? Having not read the entirety of what St. Catherine said in her Dialogues, and not having time to do so, I’m assuming she was speaking of the troubling times with the Great Western Schism. That, to me, is an entirely different matter.

    Your line of thinking leads to never speaking of anyone’s evil deeds, rendering Catholics silent in the face of evil, and that is an error and not Catholic. We got into this situation precisely because priests and bishops allowed anyone with a pulse into a seminary in the process of shedding tens of thousands of priests between 1964 and 1978, and many of these men were morally and theological inept and often corrupt. Many times after this, the same priests and bishops willfully moved around men to continue their depravity. The irony here is that I said what I said without even speaking of a priest or bishop by name.

    You also assume I don’t pray for such priests and bishops. That too is incorrect.

    Lastly, it is all well and good for you to read something and be satisfied. I would hazard a guess that you are typical in thinking of an authoritarian-oriented conservative. Fortunately, that sort of unquestioning acceptance is limited to a relatively small segment of the Church, and is typified by a comment made by a conservative priest in the mid-1960s. Paraphrasing, he said “If the Pope told me to offer Mass standing on my head, I would do it.” I don’t suffer from that sort of perversion of the moral order, putting obedience slightly above Faith, Hope, and Charity.

    Generally, Ecumenical Councils do not treat “subtle theological matters,” and if they do, they are very careful to spell out their intentions so that there is no room for misunderstanding. Clearly, with respect to the Second Vatican Council, that was not the case.

    If you see me as a sower of confusion and mistrust, there is little I can do to change that. I am Catholic. Simple. The test between you and I, is that if you and I were teleported to a Catholic parish in a major American city of the 1910s or 20s, and I espoused what I believe on a range of topics from liturgy to non-Catholics to religious liberty, I wouldn’t get a second glance. If you, however, made the statements you do from the mind of your conservative conciliarism, you would receive an altogether different response from the clergy and laity alike. So who’s sowing confusion and mistrust? Those who state tradition? Or those that insist oranges are apples, and figs are grapes? Surely all are fruits, yes, but A is not B, and C is not D.

    First causes, mam. First causes.

  71. benedictgal says:

    I met Archbishop Muller in Houston this past weekend while I was at the Ordinariate symposium. He spoke highly of Anglicanorum Coetibus. He noted that this was the Holy Father’s personal project. Could we not say the same about the SSPX situation?

  72. norancor says:

    Mr. Chicken, well said. Your summary is spot on.

    And yes, for my part, it is frustration. I do not like the incessant carping of the Society, and I have my issues with them as well. I’m no sedevacantist for sure, but I have no desire to continue to clash with conservatives. However, I will not yield in my fidelity to the traditional teachings until I am told exactly how I am supposed believe other than what they teach.

    The tendency amongst conservatives, for the sake of not disobeying the Council or the Pope and to be seen to be “faithful” and not “liberal,” is to embrace the changes in teachings paying no mind to their inconsistencies with the past. This is a problem. Catholicism, by definition, is Tradition. By definition. Tradition comes from the verb tradere, which means to surrender or hand down to others that which has been given to you. In order to pass on what has been handed to me, I have to know what I am to hand on. What do I teach my children? What do I tell my catechists? What do I tell non-Catholics? What do I tell other Catholics? Lana may stand pat with embracing the Council. Given the variances, I cannot.

    It is a matter of the unwillingness to govern as we have mentioned. The SSPX and other traditional Catholics are not alone in this. That is why I said this is not about the SSPX, it is about Rome. More than one prominent Italian theologian has requested the same sort of clarifications as the Society. There are variances that will not be admitted, and there is a reticence to employ the Hermeneutic of Continuity to issue clarifications on the variances, or even to explain how they are not variances. Even Dominus Iesus stops short of clarifying, only restating in 16 what the Council said in Lumen Gentium 8, without clarifying what subsistere means. JonathanCatholic had mentioned previously the clarification, which isn’t a full clarification, only a restatement.

    A document or law cannot interpret itself, and restating a law or document is not a clarification. That is why I say Catholics have a right to ask for clarification from he who wields the Magisterium, the Sovereign Pontiff.

  73. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken,

    you may perhaps have been told already that your comments are genious, but anyway, here’s an occasion for me to do so too. Also, I agree with just about every word you say.

    Well, here’s some slight points I myself would like to mention.

    Vatican II could have technically even contained error (as the SSPX holds), though this is not to be generally expected, and although we agree that it did not actually contain them (the contrary of which the SSPX seem, albeit according to outward appearance honestly and in good conscience, to hold).

    Vatican II could legitimately contain contradictions to non-dogmatized (by which I mean the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium also) previous teachings. This was the case or not very far from the vase as to religious freedom. Of course the distinction between freedom and tolerance is a non-issue; the SSPX sometimes even seem to accept the decisive teaching of the Council, which includes: a false religion who except by its falsehood does no further harm to the smooth running of the State is to be tolerated in principle, and not only as the result of a prudential decision process that might just as well have come to different results. Theology before the Council seems to have taught the contrary.
    It may be that most or all of the previous teachings (including the whole Syllabus) can be read in the light of Vatican II without producing a direct contradition. Yet this is, by all probability, not according to the mind of the then legislator, or the sound of the documents for that matter, and does contradict at least non-magisterial theology explicitly.

    Then, of course, people keep confusing disciplinary matters and tone questions with statements of fact and doctrine. Following the Council some disciplinary matters were changed separated-brethrenwise, but the doctrinal content of Mortalium animos was not rejected one iota. The SSPX keeps quoting our Holy Father’s word (no literal quote) “Gaudium et Spes is sort of a counter-syllabus” to argument that it would reject the Syllabus. That is incorrect, of course. They are simply two documents each roughly dealing with the outward world, and that is about it; if I remember correctly there is not one contradiction or even apparent contradiction between them; our Holy Father was merely referring to the tone (which is indeed different).

    I would wish the SSPX acted as described in your last paragraph. However, that is not to be expected. They accept other priest-candidates and Catholics to do so and hope, by them, to get a more favorable standing in the future. But for themselves? Here’s the very interesting observation of dear @Denis; although we may balance this observation a bit with saying that the children of the light never have been the best in playing the instrument of intrigue, however justified. Be ye as prudent as doves, it is true; but there is also a grain of truth in it (if I may dare to put some literary fiction next to a word of Our Lord) when Gandalf once told my own humble person that he did not counsel prudence.

    As they do not see themselves as counter-Church but as a priestly fraternity, one who is favorable to them might even say that non-compromise is their special charism.

    Only the pity that on some of their claims, they really should compromise because Rome happens to be right.

  74. Imrahil says:

    The words of Our Lord are, of course: Be ye as prudent as serpents. Freudian slip, perhaps?

  75. Magash says:

    It seems to me, SSPX’s interpretation of VII documents aside, what a member of the Church should believe is quite clear. Like those Anglicans who petitioned the Holy See for inclusion in the Church of Christ one need only look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It contains clarification of what a Catholic laymen must believe to live in accordance with the mind of the Church. If we like them believe all that is within, we will be in conformity to the Magisterium, and be well on our way to salvation. if we on the other hand prefer to cherry-pick phases from either post-conciliar or per-counciliar documents to push our own agenda then it is likely we are not in conformity with the Magisterium.

  76. Stumbler but trying says:

    @ Magash…I totally agree with what you have posted. I have the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I do my best to read, reflect, pray. I am now going to start a novena to St. Joseph, Patron Saint of the Universal Church. It is a sad thing to see the Church being battered from all sides. I had the image of our Lord when he was tortured and whipped and mocked. He is sinless while the Church is not but still…to see her suffer. This batch of news is a rehashing of that same pain and will not cease until it is wiped clean and true healing begins.
    I know and have met many wonderful holy and devout people doing the best they can and while many of us do not attend the TLM we are nevertheless faithful sons and daughters of the Church who pray with devotion and hope in the conversion and salvation of all.
    One would do well to visit this latest link of Fr. Z’s,
    Fr. Perrone’s Sexagesima Sunday sermon on spiritual pride
    The devil must really be having a field day and party as he is sowing seeds of division, pride, and confusion among the flock…too many have scattered and more are looking to run.
    I am going to visit with St. Joseph now…all of you are in my prayers.

  77. lana says:

    Hello norancor,

    “Do not judge” is right in the Gospel. And if you were that priest’s bishop, it would be your job to judge him. Otherwise, I prefer to stay away from such thoughts. I only asked you to think about it. We will be judged by every word we speak, which is why I will not say any more. :)

    I am with Magash. The CCC has what is needed. I am sad to hear that puts me in ‘the minority’!

    God bless

  78. MichaelJ says:

    Magash, I do not think that the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is as clear and unambiguous as you imply.

  79. lana says:

    Stumbler, that was a beautiful thought about the Church. Alomg those lines, here is this from my favorite of Fr Faber’s books, Bethlehem:

    The Church lies like an open field before Him; and He beholds the sufferings of His martyrs, the perfections of His saints, the thickly-strewn heroisms of multitudes of His servants, the grandeur of manifold vocations, varieties of goodness which are rather singularities than varieties, as they never seem to be exactly repetitions of each other, triumphs of the Church diversified by the ages of the world and the shapes of successive evil over which she triumphs, each shape of evil deeming itself new and insuperable and raised above the lot of those other errors which have sunk into oblivion; and with these also He beholds faith’s endless victory, and its pre-eminence in all progresses and over all mutable civilizations.  All this spectacle is representative to Him of an immensity of human love, which flows into his Heart like a broad stream of joy, and is received there as in a capacious lake, dilating the Heart itself, and quickening with delight the pulses of the Precious Blood.

  80. Supertradmum says:

    The SSPX was marred by an act of disobedience which did not have to happen. Lefebvre was offered one bishop. He was impatient and his impatience has led to this impasse.

    Padre Pio, Louis de Montfort, John of the Cross and many others were treated badly by their orders or the local Church authorities. They obeyed. It is that simple.

    I am sure that Fr. Z. put both of these topics together-anti-Catholicism in America and the SSPX, as sadly, there is an anti-Catholicism in the SSPX. That may sound strange to some, but to be against Rome is to be anti-Catholic.

  81. acardnal says:

    SSPX USA District Superior, Fr. Rostand mentions the status of “regularization” briefly in this video interview (part 1 of 4) recorded December 19, 2012 but just released today.

  82. Supertradmum says:

    Ok, watched this one, but will have to wait until tomorrow as the house baby is asleep.

    Well, not impressed, sadly and a happier, smiling interviewer would have helped a lot.

    I have no problem with the “conditions” as such, but the manner of the presentation is odd–a society, a congregation “demanding” but not caring if it is recognized. That is odd.

  83. maryh says:

    I agree with Magash and the others – the Catechism is clear enough for the layman. I got it when it first came out and read it cover to cover. And I agree with Imrahil that I don’t see any direct contradiction between Gaudium et Spes and the Syllabus.

    So lets all start with learning the catechism. But let’s not say that before VII all the laypeople knew their catechism. They certainly weren’t able to explain it or stand up to the priests and bishops who foisted error on them. Or even their average next-door neighbor. The sheep were a little to sheep-ish and followed the wolves as blindly as they followed the shepherds.

    VII wanted the laity to get more involved, by which they meant the laity taking the nourishment of the Mass and the sacraments and changing the world. Instead, the devil perverted that to mean the laity getting more “jobs” during Mass and going out and conforming to the world.

    So we need to learn the catechism. And we don’t need our priest’s or bishop’s permission for that. We don’t even need to find out about it from them. We laypeople are teachers and students; we follow news on blogs and the internet. If your parish isn’t studying the Catechism, then start a class or a group yourself.

    It was a layman who got the word out about the Theology of the Body. It was a lay organization that kept promoting NFP. It was a laywoman, Nellie Gray, who started the annual March for Life. And it was a layperson who asked Bishop Sample for the traditional Mass.

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