SSPX Bp. de Galaretta: Pope Francis will unilaterally recognize the SSPX

If you read Italian, there is a fascinating piece at La Stampa by Marco Tosatti (who is not one of the traitorous Italian Vaticanisti) about SSPX Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta’s view of Pope Francis’ view of the SSPX.

First, note that Bp. de Galarreta, though born in Spain, grew up in Argentina. From everything that I have learned from S. American friends, it takes an Argentinian to understand an Argentinian.

Bp. de Galarreta thinks that Pope Francis is going to recognize the SSPX unilaterally, apart from doctrinal and canonical considerations.  My translation:

[T]his Pope says to whomever wants to listen that we are Catholics, [he] says and repeats that the Fraternity (SSPX) is Catholic, that we are Catholics, that he will never condemn us, and that it is necessary ‘to regulate our affair’. I think that he has started in this direction, that when he will see that there isn’t an understanding with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I think that he will breeze past every doctrinal, theoretical, and practical condition, whatever it might be…. He will do it on his own, in the sense of a recognition of the Fraternity. He has stared, and he will simply continue. I am not talking about what I want; I’m talking about what I foresee. I predict, I think, that the Pope will go in the direction of a unilateral recognition of the Fraternity, and he’ll do this more though the “de facto” route than through the legal, canonical law.

This is fascinating.

Consider how Pope Francis just sort of gave ghost faculties to the SSPX priests validly to absolve sins in sacramental confession for the Year of Mercy. HERE  The Pope didn’t write a specific document, in proper juridical form, clearly indicating that he granted faculties to those priests.  No, he just sort of “did it”.  He said that if people go to them for confession, they are validly absolved.  He didn’t say that they have faculties.  Lemme tell you something… all the rest of the priests of the Catholic church have to have faculties!  He just sort of did it.  How, I am not sure, but the Pope’s intention is clear.

I wonder if that is not what de Galaretta is talking about: de facto not de iure.

The other day Bp. Fellay said there isn’t any rush.  He had a meeting with Pope Francis and it was clarified that they are going to take there time.

So… what will that look like in, say, five years?

Will we be seeing some “cross over” or cooperation with SSPX priests in dioceses?  It’ll just… happen?

Scenario: Msgr. Zuhlsdorf (clearly a fictional character) at St. Ipsidipsy in Tall Tree Circle is ill over a weekend. After Monsignor Z’s call to the local Bishop of Black Duck, who gives his unwritten okey-dokey, the nearby Fr. Rocco Firm of the SSPX Chapel of St. Joseph Terror of Demons comes over to St. Ipsidipsy to lend a hand with both Mass and confessions. Is that how this is going to play out?  

After this works out for a weekend and some weekdays, Fr. Rocco winds up as a semi-regular sort of assistant to Msgr. Z and the two communities, diocesan and SSPX, merge together.  The Episcopus Atra Anataria seems pleased, and comes for supper when the priests dine together, especially if the newly welcomed Fr. Joe Włotrzewiszczykowycki is around.  Fr. Rocco gets a parking spot by the sacristy door and a name plate on the confessional on the Epistle side of church.  Meanwhile, Fr. Rocco, formally a member of the SSPX, is still, technically, suspended a divinis, except that… I guess he isn’t…. is he?

Friends, if this is what the Pope wants to do, well… okay.   I’ll do my part.   It would help if he made me a Monsignor first.


After some time ad experimentum, Msgr. Z will suggest to the local Bishop of Black Duck that if his parish must be merged together with the SSPX Chapel, the resulting entity might be called the “Through My Fault My Fault My Most Grievous Fault Catholic Community”.  Thus they will stick it in the eye of the neighboring Bishop of Libville, Most Rev. Fatty McButterpants, who just named two merged clusters the “Sing A New Faith Community Into Being Faith Community” and the “Engendering Togetherness Community of Welcome”.

Alternate names for Black Duck included “Mournful Mother Weeping” and “Loaded Down With Opprobrium”.


I wrote, above: “It would help if he made me a Monsignor first.”

What am I thinking? I’ll become a Monsignor de facto rather than de iure!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SSPX, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Traductora says:

    Personally, I’m a little nervous about this and in fact about anything the Pope does “unilaterally.” To me it seems very possible that this is simply a way of exerting control over the SSPX and thereby neutralizing it. I’m glad Bp. Fellay is not in a hurry to accept any offer that the Pope may be nudging in his direction.

    Liked the “new parish names,” though!

  2. Moro says:

    I can’t help but think this, assuming it is true, is nothing more than effort to put all traditional minded people into a sort of reservation away from the rest of the Church. That is quite consistent with the attitudes of some chanceries. I remember the hostility in my last diocese towards people who went to TLMs other than this one particular parish (and it wasn’t even a personal parish). It was as if we were expected to get on reservation. Its as if we were the ugly family members to be kept from public view. In the off chance some people came from the “main parish” to the other TLMs (i.e. a holy day or other “just cause”), we’d sometimes be berated for not being part of the main parish. It was weird and cultish and this was with a diocesan parish led by a diocesan priest.

  3. The Masked Chicken says:

    Perhaps, someone should send Pope Francis a pair of Nike tennis shoes (remember their famous slogan?).

    The Chicken

  4. Frank H says:

    Pope Francis makes my head hurt.

  5. LeeF says:

    If the Holy Father just recognized unilaterally the SSPX, basically giving them the equivalent of an apostolic administration in place, if not formally, and approved new bishops for them as needed, then presumably there would be no basis for continued suspension a divinis. Thus the priests would be incardinated into the society and possess legitimate faculties from it. And basically the individual chapels though not diocesan parishes, would continue to exist independent of the authority of local ordinaries.

    The problem though, in regards to SP, is what happens now when a group somewhere requests the EF in a diocese and the bishop just tells them to ask the SSPX to set up a chapel instead? Or would an SSPX priest be able to regularly celebrate an EF Mass at an existing diocesan parish instead of a chapel being set up? Freedom from canonical structures could also mean lacking the rights that come with same.

    And what if the FSSP were to ask and receive Rome’s permission to merge into the SSPX?

  6. LeeF says:

    @Moro who said: I can’t help but think this, assuming it is true, is nothing more than effort to put all traditional minded people into a sort of reservation away from the rest of the Church.

    While I don’t attend the EF, if I did, I might think the above situation a very good one. I.E. priests with faculties in the good graces of the Universal Church being able to set up spiritual oases (or reservations if you want to call it that), outside the control of local ordinaries. It would seem to me to be the best of both worlds for TLM supporters, i.e. access to the TLM without the need to go through SP, and recognition of the priests that gives them legitimate faculties.

    One last thought, since the HF possess the keys and the power to bind and loose, could he post facto legitimize the marriages previously performed by the SSPX? (Calling Dr. Peters!)

  7. Phil_NL says:

    Would bishop Fellay then become a de facto cardinal? Or is that reserved to those who bring a (properly blessed, of course) beretta to the conclave?

    All joking aside, it might help to thaw things out for a couple of years. And not caring too much about the rules in such a setting is indeed very latino. (it’s surely something Benedict would not have done). If His Holiness tosses some extra faculties in that could go a long way.

    But eventually, there has to be some sort of de iure regularization. Sooner or later the irritants that will arise from an informal detente will get too great, be it a local regular bishop who is an unreconstructed leftie and flirts with heterodoxy, or be it an SSPX priest who thinks he can play Pope and denies the validity of the NO. (and please, let a certain SSPX bishop who’s name starts with a W never be mentioned again). On both sides there will be figures who will need to be kept in line with disciplinary action. That will only work if there is some formality to the process. Perhaps it will be all nice and compfy for some years, but a permanent solution it ain’t.

    As an aside, if I read it correctly, Francis doesn’t need to do much if anything for this ‘unilateral recognition’. That the SSPX is Catholic isn’t really the issue – their obedience is. But it’s not in Francis’ nature to be terrible interested in that anyway, it seems.

  8. acardnal says:

    I hope and pray Pope Francis does it! I will be the first in line to join the SSPX parish of which there just happens to be one in my diocese. But until that happens . . .

  9. Nan says:

    LeeF, I can’t help but think of Dr Bombay.

    Phil in NL, I would think the SSPX would need permission to have a chapel in a diocese since the FSSP and religious orders are invited. It may be that existing chapels are allowed to continue for now but they and the diocese need to play nice together. There are plenty of parishes closing that you’d think buildings would be available for Mass in the Extraordinary form if it isn’t currently available.

    It’s a shame that so many people are Catholic but place themselves in such tenuous position, not realizing they, too, are cafeteria Catholics.

  10. Bosco says:

    Fascinating as this may be, I am gravely concerned that once one recognizes such a course of action as valid and legitimate for oneself or organization, i.e.:

    “…the Pope will go in the direction of a unilateral recognition of the Fraternity, and he’ll do this more though the “de facto” route than through the legal, canonical law.“

    then how can one challenge any other change similarly made?

    This looks terribly calculated. Please God this is not to soften other blows coming and to effectively silence the voice of the SSPX should those blows come.

  11. Matthew Gaul says:

    I think the pope – who seems to love a good nose-tweaking – knows that many of the folks who support the SSPX are also hypernomians, and so giving them what they want but in a way that ignores coventional law will make many heads explode.

    Even if HH and I don’t agree on everything, I recognize that playful temperament he and I share, and I’d bet serious money the impishness of it crossed his mind, at least.

  12. Benedict Joseph says:

    A week ago I submitted that “…as the curtain is lifted slowly on the new, improved kasperian katholicism, those miscreants who cling to “old ways” will need a corral to inhabit.”
    While I very much desire the SPPX to be welcomed into the full life of the Church with enthusiasm and with a mission to correct the aberrance of the past fifty years, I do not believe for a moment that should the speculation prove true it will be anything other than a step toward the cliff. The race has accelerated to near disastrous propulsion since March 2013. This talk coming the week of the deception that will be unleashed on April 8, should it prove true, is at least blistering slap in the face of the faithful, if not a diabolical deception.
    Last week we had the privilege of seeing across our television screens many reminiscences of Mother Angelica. One of my favorites was her raging objection to the abuses perpetrated at the 1993 World Youth Day. I witnessed her indictment broadcast live. I was converted from the futility of far left-wing Catholicism to a new engagement with the Church. Her words rang with the clarity of unambiguous truth – to paraphrase – you give them an inch and they take a mile. The entire enterprise presently engaged is fraudulent, and it need be called by its name, without shame or fear.
    Saint Teresa of Jesus prayed that her Carmels be inhabited by virile nuns.
    My prayer is that that same characteristic might soon be seen universally in our hierarchy, top to bottom.

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    Things go even better when it turns out that Msgr. Zuhlsdorf and Father Rocco enjoy the same canned and bottled Italian food specialties, and by pooling their resources, can now buy in bulk.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    Great point, Benedict Joseph. The timing is perfect. One hand holds out an olive branch and the other hides a mallet. I don’t trust. It conflicts with his usual sentiments and actions regarding orthodoxy.
    And yes, Mother’s passing was a reminder of a woman who threw down the gauntlet and called out the liberals. Honestly, she has been more of an inspiration to me since she passed, and I loved her and had a great opinion of her, but her devotion to Christ stands in such stark contrast to whatever mess it is we’ve got.
    If I were the SSPX I’d walk very slowly and very carefully.

  15. MWindsor says:


    My wife is Polish, and she said it’s close to pronounceable, but not quite.

  16. Wirkes says:

    Pope Francis must first make ME a Monsignor!! Then he can raise Fr Z also to that exalted state. But I want to be a Monsignor first! FrW

  17. tzard says:

    If they become “de facto” fully legitimized. One must, even if the Pope doesn’t see it, make the situation fit within the law. A law which will extend beyond the life of the Pope.

    So, some flunky in the bowels of the curia will have to rewrite the law to include the de-facto situation.

    Poor guy.

  18. PTK_70 says:

    @Matthew Gaul…concur.

    Haven’t we heard Pope Francis say he prefers a Church willing to get a little messy/ruffled/grimy as it carries on with the Lord’s work? This initiative may be the chemist in him…as in, let’s get these elements back together and wait for the reaction, all the while trusting in the Lord that He is in control and will shepherd the faithful through the surprises.

  19. lmgilbert says:

    Isn’t “Hagan lio!” the pope’s watchword? Surely this possibility is very much in line with that approach. You’ve got to wonder what the Church would look like if everyone pursued that line of conduct as energetically as he is doing, or perhaps I should say will look like when this modus operandi catches on..

    Why this evening it even crossed my mind to invite a recently released ex-con and his daughter to our very correct (and warm, too) parish, but no. He’s covered with tattoos way up his neck. It seems so beyond the pale. After that it would be but a short step in this city that consists entirely of peripheries (Portland) to filling the church with its many lost souls, the homosexuals, the prostitutes, the many, many ex-cons, the legions of homeless, the half-mad, the monstrous legion of the incredibly obese in their motorized wheel chairs, and etc. Besides everything else, there would be the odor.

    Of course, it would be the Christian thing to do. On the other hand, it is unimaginable. Yet there is no arguing that we have a pope who is very intent on leading us into the unimaginable. So I have a sort of sympathy with the sede vacantists, but to them one can only say, “In your dreams.”

    This pope is leading the entire Church out of its comfort zone, beginning with canonists, the liturgically correct, the prim and the hesitant. Perhaps discomfort is a sign the Holy Spirit is at work. Perhaps. We will see. In the meantime, Onward! Hagan lio!

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    Charles E Flynn: Good point. And things go from better to awesome when Fr. Joshua Gideon arrives with a complete set of weapon blessings in Latin- including siege towers and catapults.

  21. Animadversor says:

    Monsignor? Isn’t that just awfully common? Perhaps the Diocese of Madison needs an archdeacon. One doesn’t see too many of them around anymore. Or would that be the suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni? Where may I send my suggestions?

  22. LeeF says:


    I agree that monsignor is very common. Father should swing for the trees and seek episcopal ordination. Maybe as coadjutor of some diocese currently led by a liberal anti-TLM bishop. Why don’t we all just band together and send a ternus to Rome, with the following names:

    1) Fr. Z,
    2) Fr. Zuhlsdorf,
    3) Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.

    Even if he fell a little short, perhaps he could be an auxiliary and vicar for the TLM somewhere.

  23. Praelium says:

    Excellent writing. Thanks for the clear report, Fr. Z. Wow. What can we do about a heretical pope? St. Vincent Ferrer, man of 873 miracles, pray for us, ‘adesso’ and now. SSPX is bad news and it is easy downplay their sophistic doctrine and highlight their attractive culture. I agree with Traductora in the comments above that Pope Francis is probably crafting a practical way to “neutralize” SSPX. My friends who join SSPX remind me of my friends who join the Mormons: stubborn as all heck and impossible to persuade. FSSP and other traditional Latin rites (Dominican, etc.) need to replace all the parishes, yes, 100%, and put SSPX out of business.

  24. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Frank H says:
    “Pope Francis makes my head hurt.”


    Fr. Z said: “. . . at St. Ipsidipsy. . .”

    I thought St. Ipsidipsy was the defacto patron saint of Fishwrap.


    He can be so confusing at times , but it still never hurts to pray for Pope Francis . Call ’em as we see ’em too, but we shouldn’t forget to pray for him. Praying for him could be the difference maker. Besides , we’re all getting kicked around now (“we” being true Catholics) – it’s not just him.

    My own federal government’s latest moronic maneuver is to close Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom . That doesn’t bode well at all.

  25. Animadversor says:

    @LeeF, I think that the terna should read:

    Rev. D. Ioannes Zuhlsdorf
    Rev. D. Timotheus Finegan
    Rev. D. Raimundus Blake
    Rev. D. Ioannes Hunwicke

    OK, so that’s a quaterna, not a terna—but we wouldn’t want the Holy Father to feel that he hadn’t been given plenty of options, would we?

    (Never having in fact seen a terna, I’m not sure exactly what case to put the names in—I’m thinking that the accusative might actually be it, and not the nominative as here—or what honorifics are usually employed. Anyone know? I’d hate for simple-to-sidestep solecisms of ecclesiastical epistolary etiquette to expose our machinations.)

  26. Michael_Thoma says:

    While it might not be terrible in this specific case, might it not set a precedent for say, unilateral recognition of Anglican clergy, or divorced-remarried communion, or union with Lutheranism or fillintheblank?? Also in the case of the SSPX, they have been ordaining a breakaway Ukrainian Greek Catholic faction in Western Ukraine. This group is excommunicated by the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch and Synod, affirmed excommunicated when appealed by the Curia. I assume this excommunication stands? If so, what of their odd relationship?

  27. robtbrown says:

    LeeF says,

    And what if the FSSP were to ask and receive Rome’s permission to merge into the SSPX?

    Why would the FSSP want that?

  28. Gabriel Syme says:

    I disagree with the comments suggesting Francis is crafting sneaky way to “neutralise” the SSPX. He helped them before, in Argentina, when he was a Cardinal and he has always been always accepting of them as Catholic, (unlike many prelates), even though he obviously has very different ideas in areas.

    I have read that Francis was impressed, in Argentina, by the Societys work with the poor and needy. He sees there is more to them than doctrines and liturgy (of course these things are important, yet they would be empty without charity).

    There is a lot about this Pontificate I dislike, but I do not think Jorge Bergoglio is a bad man, or a two-faced schemer. Ive never met him but I perceive he has a warm and jovial personality, the kind of person whom you couldnt help but warm to. Indeed Bishop Fellay himself said of the SSPX that “Francis alarms us enormously – and yet we like him”. (I take Francis at face value here, but if there is an angle, it is maybe more to offset criticism of what might be in his post-synodal document, not to sabotage the Society).

    Certainly, the FFI situation does not inspire confidence. However, if the absolute worst happened, and Francis (or a future Pope) attempted to ideologicially “mess” with the Society following their recognition, then I am sure the Society would not meekly tolerate that. They have already shown for many years that, if absolutely necessary, they are happy to persevere and flourish without a canonical status.

    I am hopeful that a resolution will be reached ultimately. Like many, I am very impatient for it but then patience is a virtue which we must all practice. And better things take a few more months (or however long), than things are rushed into and done poorly. Personally, I think it will come during this year.

    I think Bishop Fellay is spot on by suggesting that the SSPX are an example of a “periphery” which Francis likes to reach out to. I am 38 and there is absolutely no doubt that, in my lifetime experience so far, that orthodoxy, solid catechesis, fidelity to doctrine and worthwhile liturgy have most certainly been on the peripheries in many (most?) places. For years, it has been the heterodox, the liberals, the heretical and the protestants-in-all-but-name etc who have dominated and been center stage.

  29. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Will Bp. Fatty McButterpants head to Blighty for the launch of Boaty McBoatface?

    As to the de jure Monsignor, I came across a situation where a certain Monsignor was reassigned and replaced with a new priest who has not yet been awarded that honor – in fact he’s a late vocation relatively newly ordained. However the website for this assignment just replaced name and photo and not title so, on the website, where it had said Msgr. Baritone Sonorous, it now says Msgr. Earnest Newby.

  30. Gabriel Syme says:


    an SSPX priest who thinks he can play Pope and denies the validity of the NO

    The SSPX do not deny the validity of the NO. It is a legally promulgated rite by the Chruch authorities. They do regard the NO as being very inferior to the traditional mass.

    Their concern regarding validity is that individual NO masses might be invalid in practice, because the rubrics are so often abused.


    Why would the FSSP want that?

    Maybe they would identify the move as a means of building up a head of steam for tradition, to have all the traditional, orthodox voices under one banner.

    The FSSP priest based near(ish) me is formerly of the SSPX and was ordained by ++Lefebvre. And although he felt it best to leave at the time of the consecrations, (when things seemed uncertain), he has always spoken very highly of the SSPX.

    Or maybe Rome would advocate the move for administrative reasons.

    Personally I dont think the move would happen, at least not right away.

  31. Johnsum says:

    The Pope has governing and guarding the orthodoxy of the faith responsibilities. Since V-2 the SSPX refused to submit fully to the Pope on the governing aspect and the Popes failed to keep Tradition which is the more important aspect of their office. So, the solution seems to be that neither side will mention the objection they have to each other’s behavior and agree to pretend that all is good. I am not saying this is how its is, but that this is how it looks to me.

  32. paladin says:

    Am I the only one (yes, that’s mostly rhetorical) who gets queasy when the idea of “the pope doing things ‘de facto'” is mentioned–especially when it’s not only possible, but past history?

    I thought the old term for that was “doing something under the table”, and that it was usually reserved for that which was… well… not above-board…

    The “authenticity urge” in me wishes that such a change (i.e. regularizing the SSPX–and may it happen soon!) should be done properly and officially, with no “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” or “let’s just let this one slide” or “who needs the formal process” approaches. I’m reminded of the portrayal of St. Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons”, in which he said he wouldn’t sweep away laws even if the devil himself were his target. How far we’ve come (or fallen)…

  33. Giuseppe says:

    The pope could do it on either St. John XXIII or St. John Paul II’s feast days.
    Maybe this could count at St. John XXIII’s 2nd miracle…

  34. tominrichmond says:

    Further proof that this Pope is the ecclesial equivalent of Obama, in the sense that he’s willing to push the envelope and just engage in “executive action” even where it seems to be in contravention of law. A flawed parallel, since the Pope is in fact the supreme lawgiver, and not bound by earthly checks and balances or canonical procedure…but the two men share the same spirit of antinomianism.

    Since the SSPX is building an enormous and beautiful new seminary just up the road from me in the Richmond, Va diocese, I’d love to see this happen. Our poor bishop, good man, not sure what he’d do, since he’s already trying hard to ignore this huge elephant on his back porch.

  35. Phil_NL says:

    Gabriel Syme,

    Please read carefully. I didn’t say the SSPX does that. I described the situation where one of it’s priests would peddle such nonsense. By no means a hypothetical situation if you give it some time; the SSPX also has its fair share of people suffering from foot-in-mouth disease; sooner or later someone will go off the reservation. In such a situation, relations will become strained and any unofficial reapprochement is likely to suffer.

    Also note that I didn’t wager anything on which side wold first do something foolish; given the numbers involved, a canonically regular but loony-left priest in full communion is likely to come first, as there are a lot of those around, alas. But it will happen, sooner or later, from both sides.

  36. JesusFreak84 says:

    My biggest concern to a “fiat” recognition would be that Bishops (like ++Cupich) might use that as an excuse to “turn up the heat” in demanding that the SSPX relocate OUT of his See. I would hope that, regardless of whatever else happened, His Holiness would make it obvious, somehow, that that behavior would not be acceptable. (Maybe insert a prohibition about locking priests out of their TLM parishes during Triduum, {sp?} just saying…)

    Canonically, a personal prelature makes the most sense to me. Given that most Diocesan schools require their teachers and curriculum to be government-certified and etc., at least in the United States, the SSPX schools (and teacher college) would be up the proverbial creek if they were subject to the same rules as “regular” Catholic schools. For the most part, the SSPX prelature could continue its day-to-day operations as it always has, and I’d finally have a TLM I could attend that was reasonably close AND not in a “questionable” area. (Much as I love the Eastern Rite parish I attend, I’m still Latin/Roman at heart and at times wish I could assist at a reverent ROMAN liturgy that was still reverent and devout, you know?)

  37. pjsandstrom says:

    Unfortunately, it is exactly this sort of ‘speculations’, however well meant, which give justice to the pejorative use of ‘jesuit’, that is, ‘jesuitical’ in English usage. Whatever ‘work among the peripheries of the Latin/Roman Church’ Pope Francis is or might be pursuing does not need such ‘imaginings’ for the amusement &/or self-satisfaction of bloggers.

  38. robtbrown says:

    Gabriel Syme,

    In the early 90’s that would have been a possibility. After 25 years of its existence, however, most of the FSSP priests have no history with the SSPX. The fraternity now has its own character.

    I was told the other day that coming large ordination classes mean the FSSP is going to need more parishes/oratories.

  39. Imrahil says:

    To be fair, the pejorative use if “Jesuit” comes, and I’d say entirely, from a massive smeer-campaign that was levelled in the Protestant nations, and even I guess especially in England (from whence America was to spring, ater), in the early modern time. The substance behind this campaign was simply that they were Catholic.

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  41. Neil Addison says:

    Speaking as a lawyer (not a Canon lawyer admitedly) the idea of “Oh lets not bother about the legal technicalities lets just do it” is a well meaning recipe for long term problems. Nobody, not even the Pope, can unilaterally impose legal obligations or legal status on another or to put it in less legal terms “it takes two to Tango” a point which Pope Francis (being from the homeland of the Tango) should realise therefore any settlement if it is to work must be consented to by SSPX

    Lets say the Pope “recognises” SSPX unilaterally without them bring given, or agreeing to, any formal Conanical structure. They are now “Catholic” but they carry on opening Churches in Diocese where they have not been invited by the Bishop. What can he do to stop them ? They have no formal Canonical structure which they have accepted and assented to and so do not recognise or accept that they need a Bishops permission in order to operate but at the same time the Bishop cannot say “Don’t go to their Mass, they aren’t recognised as a Catholic body” because Pope Francis has unilaterally “recognised” them as part of the Church. Also what happens if they have another Bishop Willaimson type moment ? The haven’t consented to the disciplinary processes of Canon Law but the Pope has recognised them as part of the Church so the rest of the World would expect the Church to take some action.

    I accept that if a formal settlement is reached with SSPX (and I would be delighted to see such a settlement) then part of it would have to be a “grandfather clause” recognising the Churches they already operate and giving SSPX permission to remain regardless of the views of the local Bishop but beyond that there would need to be some agreement with them as to how and where they would operate or set up Churches in the future.

    On a separate point re the suggetion that FSSP would merge with SSPX. Since the Church at present happily operates with 2 Traditionalist Orders namely FSSP and Institute of Christ the King there is absolutely no reason why it couldn’t operate equally happily with 3 Orders. In my area of the North West of England we are fortunate enough to have the Institute in Lancaster and Shrewbury Diocese whilst the FSSP are operating in the Liverpool Diocese as is the SSPX.

  42. Siculum says:

    I’d like to be a canon lawyer for the SSPX.

  43. robtbrown says:

    Neil Addison,

    The matter of formal Canonical Structure has already been decided.

  44. Neil Addison says:

    Robtbrown. You say that the matter of formal Canonical Structure has already been decided. The question is “Has that formal Canonical Structure and the rights, responsibilities and restrictions applying to it been agreed to and accepted by the SSPX ?” A formal Canonical Structure cannot be unilaterally imposed

  45. ofHippo says:

    The problem is- those who want to uphold the teachings of The Church- if they start to go to the SSPX- and the SSPX regularization is not done properly-the laity can never quote canon law or Church Teachings because this loosey goosey scenario will be held up to them.”well you accepted it when it suited you…”
    Unless PF makes this happen through Ecclesia Dei or something like this as worked out by the CDF, it will still be in a state of chaos and could/should cast a shadow of a doubt on those who love TLM and also want to be in The Church. If those souls are the remnant, for example, this would be a way to pull them out of the parishes and dioceses. OR conversely it would simply be a way to gain control of SSPX assets. As much as we all want SSPX regularized, their existence does add to the pull towards TLM and orthodoxy. If they don’t come in the right way (i.e. what PBXVI was trying to do) then all of their churches and community could be taken over. Then what? A new SSPX like community to start over? Very hard not to also see this as a distraction when this Synod doc is about to be released.

  46. Thorfinn says:

    There are two clear public messages about the SSPX situation:

    1. The rapprochement will continue “without haste” — probably taking years
    2. A significant “de facto” step forward by Pope Francis is planned during the Year of Mercy

    If we take both of those as true then some of concerns about the pitfalls of full canonical recognition will be handled at some later date, presumably after building trust at the leadership level and probably also at the level of the local diocese. Tension between a bishop & a religious order operating in his diocese would be nothing new in the life of the Church so I think we have to be realistic that there will be different grades of harmony even in ideal circumstances.

  47. Ben Kenobi says:

    Just because a gift is given doesn’t mean it will be accepted. The ball remains with Fellay, whether he will actually submit to the same authority he’s refused to do until now. We shall see.

    I hope he can do what his mentor could not.

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