A Communique from the SSPX’s chief, Bp. Bernard Fellay, with my now oft-imitated, legendary treatment:
At the conclusion of the meeting of the major superiors of the Society of Saint Pius X that was held in Switzerland, from June 25 to 28, 2016, the Superior General addressed the following communiqué:
The purpose of the Society of Saint Pius X [NB] is chiefly the formation of priests, the essential condition for the renewal of the Church and for the restoration of society.
- In the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the Church, the proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of pastors, [NB] including the Pope himself.
- The Society of Saint Pius X, in the present state of grave necessity which [here’s the old “state of emergency” argument] gives it the right and duty to administer spiritual aid to the souls that turn to it, does not seek primarily a canonical recognition, [primarily… they said – above – their “chief” purpose is formation of priests and they follow with another “desire”] to which it has a right as a Catholic work. It has only one desire: faithfully to bring the light of the bi-millennial Tradition which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the Church. [Which goal we should all embrace.]
- The “restoration of all things in Christ” intended by Saint Pius X, following Saint Paul (cf. Ep.h 1:10), cannot happen without the support of a Pope who concretely favors the return to Sacred Tradition. While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of Saint Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the means that Divine Providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. [This sounds as if they won’t agree to any kind of unity until this or a future Pope behaves in the way they determine is acceptable. Peter must conform to their expectations.]
- The Society of Saint Pius X prays and does penance for the Pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals in their entirety. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] In this way he will hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we earnestly desire as we approach the centennial of the apparitions in Fatima. [Which date, as it approaches, seems to be more and more important.]
Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X
Ecône, June 29, 2016
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
So, we will keep our eyes on the SSPX with hope and we will pray for improved conditions for manifest unity. What a great day that will be.
Prayer can accomplish a great deal, friends. God grants many amazing things through our prayers and mortifications. But we have to ask.
I do get why ++Fellay would be uncomfortable with what seems like a hypocritical recognition by the Holy Father, (“Why are we OK but the Franciscan Friars got the treatment they did?”) and there may be some concern about the proverbial rug being pulled out from under them, depending on the form any canonical regularization takes, (Can someone like ++Cupich just punt them out of his See?) I get where ++Fellay is coming from, but yeah there’s a degree to which it smacks of expecting Peter to meet his expectations, but, then again, I do see Catholics of all stripes guilty of that at some time or other, (myself included, mea culpa.)
I pray for unity, but it’s difficult to be generous when the petitioners essentially put a spiritual gun to the head of the pope. I trust the Holy Spirit more than a society of (disobedient) priests. Part of their alibi is a presentation of the crisis as though the Church has never been here before. The more I read of objective history… Wow. ONLY the Holy Spirit could have guided the Church through previous dark times. One need only look to the clergy in France to see how the Enlightment took its demonic root. There are just too many FSSP and Tridentine masses being said to make the case that you can’t find a parish still aligned with Vatican. To be honest, my military mind kind of takes humbrage at the easy [whimpy] way out. “We are going to take the ball and go away while the rest of you trads drive two hours to attend the Latin mass and fight the frontline battle in your diocese for orthodoxy. Let us know when you win the fight and we’ll come back and play IF we find the playground hoooly enough.”
C’mooooon, SSPX. We’re getting tired and could use some support.
I was reading something a “popular” Jesuit priest(Fr. Martin) wrote, and he seems to be advocating that it’s good that they don’t return and doesn’t understand why the Church or Holy Father even has offered them an opportunity to do so. [I would swap all the Jesuits for a quarter the SSPX in a heartbeat.] The funny thing to me is that when something happens to any other group such as the CDF investigating the nuns in the U.S., it is the worst possible thing ever. It’s interesting how for them the Church should only show mercy to some but not others. I guess for the many, mercy only goes to a certain group, only those who fit in their agenda and not all. Yet, as Fr. Z says, we must continue to pray for unity, that as our Lord puts it best; “that we may be one.”
The Holy Father should read the communique with the ear of the heart. Bishop Fellay and his confreres could not have been more charitable and tactful. The virile fortitude exhibited here is stunning. Will the shepherd regard the wisdom from his flock on the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul? Would that such a marvel come to pass. Can you imagine the impact it would have. But the band plays on.
I don’t have the resources or the authority to have the pope hooked up to a lie detector or administered sodium pentathol. So I’m gonna go with what he says and does and doesn’t do and doesn’t say. By my reckoning, the pope isn’t teaching the faith as its been taught for many centuries. The pope is confusing the people. This has been pointed out to him but he continues to sow confusion. IT IS DIFFICULT TO DISCERN THE TRUTH where there is confusion.
Thank God we have validly ordained priests and bishops, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who continue to stand fast and preach the true faith. Per omnia…
I suppose, in the meantime, the lawyers can fret over faculties.
Get behind me Satan!
There are just too many FSSP and Tridentine masses being said to make the case that you can’t find a parish still aligned with Vatican.
And expanding. Next year the FSSP is ordaining 24 priests and this year they’re expanding to around the land down under.
I work in a world of politically sensitive statements. This is simply beautiful. Completely agree with Benedict Joseph above. Here in England, we’ve just gone through a campaign filled with political soundbites and some frankly petty arguments, but this is refreshing.
It is truly sad that this statement was issued on of all days the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. It appears to be increasingly clear that, in spite of the generosity offered by Pope Emeritus Benedict during his reign followed by the grant of validity to confessions heard by its non-indardinated clergy during the Year of Mercy on the part of Pope Francis, the Society persists in following the temptation to stand apart from the Vicar of Christ and Christ’s Church. Under these circumstances, it appears that the pastoral warning issued by Bishop Morlino last year to the flock under his care should be adopted by his brother bishops. There is here a danger that is masked by a surface appearance of traditionalism. That danger, rejection of papal authority, is one the Church has seen before in the Great Schism of 1054, in the Protestant revolt of the 16th Century, and in the smaller break that occurred in the wake of the formal definition of papal infallibility at the first Vatican Council in 1870. It can only be hoped that the Society will repent of its disobedience and submit.
Short summary: “We’re still more Catholic than the Pope”.
Which, even if true (one could argue that this is by definition impossible), still doesn’t mean they can put their judgement above that of His Holiness. They simply lack the authority, the Pope has that authority by virtue of his office, regardless of whether he uses it wisely or not.
And there remains the rub, and what makes this a disappointing statement (Gerard Plourde rightly mentions the timing, and Fellay even stresses it himself). A canonical structure: could be worked out. If the SSPX wishes to hold itself to a tighter standard, and a stricter interpretation of doctrine: fine. But allowing them to define what Catholicism means: never. Even if the end result would be better (and who knows, maybe it would), the end does not justify the means. One cannot reject Papal authority and substitute one’s own for that; that is not how Christ instituted the Church.
With this attitude, the only solution that will allow the SSPX full communion and regularity is electing Bp Fellay Pope.
I will be astonished if the SSPX ever submits to the Pope. I can pray for it, hope for it, long for it, but until the SSPX comes to the same understanding as the Church of what obedience means, what the meaning of ‘Apostolic’ is, unification ain’t gonna happen.
Gosh we have gotten so far afield from understanding authority with our “individual rights” and constant smashing of every rightful authority, that we don’t see what is happening in our blindness. Yes, those in the military still practice vestiges of this kind of obedience. Where is the understanding of the delegation needed from a bishop attached to Rome? You get nothing without a real bishop’s permission and protection. Otherwise it is all empty ‘stolen goods’ on a beautiful stage. [Priests visiting a diocese must ask permission to offer Mass – often through the parish priest but even that permission is delegated from the local bishop to that parish priest for instance. A bishop can say Mass anywhere, can hear confessions anywhere but priests’ activities must be delegated from a bishop attached to Rome, if not the Pope himself.]
Obedience doesn’t mean you get to pick and choose your boss. Obedience doesn’t mean you get to obey only when you want to, when it makes sense, when its fair. Discrediting authority is not a valid excuse for disobedience. Obedience hurts. Obedience is hard. Obedience demands that you deny yourself, break your own will, obey when something is really ‘stupid’ and you ‘know’ better. This is why obedience always beats the devil, he can’t get at you.
When the faculties of St Athanasius were removed and he was exiled, he didn’t respond by starting his own ape church with all the logical excuses for the injustice. He just obeyed.
When Padre Pio’s crappy bishop removed his faculties, Padre Pio did not defy him or start his own church because the punishment was mean, unjustified, persecutorial, etc…. Padre Pio complied.
Examples of obedience are seen in the time of Christ and St. Peter, and the rot in the Synagogues.
As civil as Bp Fellay’s list appears to be, it is a statement that means Bp Fellay answers to no one but himself. The statement demonstrates “I will obey if”, missing the point of “obedience no matter what”.
Lucifer once said something similar to: I’ll obey you God because you are good enough for me, but I am not serving creatures! [ooops!]
Lucifer, the accuser, is an exacting legalist. He has the BEST reasons!
I am not an SSPX’er or an apologist for them. However, I would caution against over simplification of the current situation. What we witness is the fallout that was wrought by a complete abuse of authority (both active and, even worse, passive abuse – some actively attacking the faith and others, including popes, passively accepting it). Watch “Mutiny on the Bounty”, “The Cain Mutiny,” or “Red River” – how one legitimately handles authority when it is being abused is a deep topic for much reflection.
It’s easy, this many years down the stream, to lose sight of how cataclysmic the 20 years immediately following Vatican II really were. While we have Extraordinary Form Masses all over now, and Pope Benedict the Great freed the use of the traditional liturgy, the SSPX formed and fought a time when there was still brazen and open hostility against the liturgy, all forms of tradition, and all people who attempted to cling to that tradition. If everyone had “just been obedient” during that time, to their bishops, to the popes . . .etc., where, exactly, would we be? If Lefebvre had been obedient and not ordained his bishops, would the SSPX have survived after his death? Would we have even gotten the Latin Mass indult or the FSSP? There are no certainties in the past or in the future.
Also, not even St. Athanasius was obedient in all things, and his parishioners certainly weren’t (and their rioting helped restore him to his seat). Neither was St. Joan of Arc obedient to every temporal authority. Obedience, like much of the human experience, is not as universally black and white as we would prefer.
I continue to hope for and, when I remember, pray for the SSPX and their return to the Church, but I’d be a heel if I, who am benefitting from the fruits of theirs and others “disobedience”, were to cast stones at them now.
Plus, it isn’t too hard to imagine the uneasiness of Bishop Fellay in dealing with a pope who bathes and kisses Muslim and atheist feet (unrepentant feet, at that), has openly punished or, you could argue, persecuted bishops/cardinals and orders within the Church that didn’t march lockstep with his vision, and appears to make questionable if not outright unorthodox statements both off-the-cuff and in writing. If you were in his position, would you honestly, without any reservation, jump both feet first into Pope Francis’s boat?
P.S. – I prefer the Charles Laughton version of “Mutiny on the Bounty”
I do ask this question and it will be quite controversial. “What if the Holy Spirit did truly set the stage for Pope Francis’ election?” Just think of the separation of the sheep from the goats that is taking place presently. Is this the forerunner of the end times so much daft expertise. Many are actually making their views known. When will a great prince (from Daniel) arise?
Father’s most salient criticism above is that the SSPX seems to expect Peter to conform to their ideal view of the Church and the Petrine office. But Francis IS Peter nonetheless.
I fear they are wasting a chance here, perhaps permanently. JPII, Benedict and now Francis have tried and even bent over backwards to improve the status of the SSPX. As long as the society can get a canonical status for themselves and the lay faithful who adhere to their chapels that allows them to freely act and comment, then their service, prayers and penance for the Church can continue, and with even more recognition and force.
As long as they can’t be interfered with or muzzled by local ordinaries, they should take this chance. Because future popes may decide that after all the effort of their predecessors being rebuffed, the society is not deserving of their time, including that which would be required to undo future automatic excommunications if the society ordains more bishops without papal approval. I would wager they could even win the privilege of electing bishops in way of the eastern rites, i.e. the pope approves after the fact.
It is dubious to compare the current situation with that of St. Athanasius – who I believe (correct me) was disciplined by the emperors, not the pope. Surely, the discipline imposed upon St. Pio, and not a few other saints, is not comparable at all. The current situation is unique.
Could it be that the current crisis in ecclesiastical leadership is simply a prophetic magnification of the disaster that has regrettably developed since the Vatican Council II – and for those more conversant in history, since the protestant revolution. Is the current pontificate perhaps the wakeup call that has been required since October 13, 1962? As painful as it is to admit, we are now confronted with the undeniable truth that the zeitgeist of secular materialism, all be it gussied up in fraudulent sanctimonious counterintuitive groundless moralisms, is riding the high horse in Rome, and our deference, loyalty and obedience to the papacy has been commandeered by a multifaceted heterodoxy to drag us into an atheistic movement garbed in religious confection – the substitution of feeling good for being good, for affect over intellect, the relinquishment of reason for the abandonment of vice, the procurement of comforting notions over the acquisition of virtue. The people who hate the Roman Catholic Church are legion. Their interior disposition is often masked and their lives a charade. The depth of their aberrance from the Truth of the Gospel and the Roman Catholic faith is unfathomable to most laity. They see the Church is “their” oyster. They will stop at nothing to wrestle the façade, the pedigree, the treasure of the Church to their purpose. They come in all vesture, all rank. Their exhortation to a blind obedience, their claim to superior insight, their adoption of new forms of “virtue” (ah, the “open mind”) are their mark. We need recognize and reject vigorously this masquerade.
As we go deeper into this current situation I anticipate an ever greater appeal to and utilization of “obedience” by the heterodox in order to silence those remaining faithful to Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. In tandem will be the vacuous exhortation to charity, respect for persons – the erroneous arrow of Christian pacifism, all the while they will ride the stead of “conscience.” This will provide the mask of virtue, while effectively eviscerating ecclesiastical terminology, disarming their opposition and rendering the practice of authentic obedience meaningless and impotent. The Chair of Peter is thus diminished and the structures of the Church definitively fall into the hands of faux academics who have commandeered the discipline of theology and replaced it with the social sciences. In the future this will be viewed as evolution, development, renewal, and “aggiornamento” – the open window notion. The stuff of mendacity. Marx, Darwin and Freud, not Augustine, Thomas or Teresa of Jesus.
This “reflection” is offered not as a personal attack on Pope Francis, or any individual ecclesiastic, cleric or religious. It can appear that the disorder of cult and culture is so pervasive, for so long, that even they might not be entirely culpable for the current viral disorientation holding sway. How many of us are not disengaged from the interior battle that is the locus of conversion, and at the heart of cult and culture?
Whatever is going on it will only be identified and restrained if we are willing to speak out our concerns and insights without fear, but always with reverence for the Mystery which comprehends us, speaking the truth in love. And let us never forget, love is indeed a harsh and dreadful thing.
I find it ironic that people can criticize SSPX for disobedience and then in the same breath claim that we adhere to closely to the letter of the law and we need to look to the spirit of the law and accuse them of pure legalism. I am not a member of SSPX but am familiar with them enough to say that you can stand a mile off any of their Churches and say, “those people are Catholic!” They not only live their Catholic faith on Sunday morning but their families take serious the need for prayer, reverence and obedience. They publicly live their faith by welcoming children, doing missionary work, holding prayer vigils, and processions and turning out more vocations (priests and nuns) per capita than most parishes would dare to even dream about. Take a look at the Rosary procession they held for the synod on the family, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onogdJN_So4 that was at a small town in Kansas. How many of our parishes are capable of doing something like that with that kind of love and reverence and attendance? Even the large parishes I am betting could not muster that kind of a turn out without significant planning and pestering for months in mass and in the bulletin.
As far as the military minds go, I always picture them as holding the wall, they stand firm against the onslaught of modernism. They stand where others fall. And what they are telling the pope is simply, “accept us as we are”, and what they are is Catholic. Catholics who have miraculously resisted the modern reforms of Vatican II, who have preserved the Latin Mass, and provided the training for many of the priests that now enjoy the luxury of saying it without restriction.
SSPX from my perspective has one rule in all of the magisterium that they do not follow, that they do not accept the reforms of Va II and as such are forced to preserve Catholic tradition by operating outside of normal jurisdiction. And while the argument is made,” the TLM is widely available now so they don’t require it” It isn’t only fidelity to the Mass that has been lost, the ability to say it, but also the reverence, respect and love dedication and servitude to Christ that is present in their parishioners. Those priest have a responsibility to also preserve that and they do.
We have Priests and Bishops that can’t wait to, already do, or look the other way, for Communication for same-sex couples, or divorced and remarried couples, who openly ignore Vatican guidance on music, on extraordinary ministers, genuflecting, and countless other liturgical norms. Meanwhile, SSPX still treats each host as if it were,(because it is) the Body of our Lord! What backward thinking. Their churches are silent. their children kneel and there isn’t a drum or guitar in sight. They are the bar we should all measure ourselves against as Catholics.
I think the next great, and undoubtedly final, confrontation will be when the SSPX decided to consecrate another bishop or two.
I believe the “state of emergency” argument was used by Luther when he, using (or misusing Jerome) began ordaining “priests”. Like the person who commits arson for the insurance money you can’t cause the state of emergency that you are in and then use the state of emergency you are in as the excuse to benefit from the exceptions of theology or canon law.
I don’t think that the leaders of the SSPX really want reconciliation with Rome. I agree wholeheartedly with Gerard Plourde’s analysis of their attitude. Furthermore, I am quite sure that if they were granted canonical recognition then some, maybe quite a few diehards will refuse and stay where they are, not in full communion with the Catholic Church, or as it has been described, ‘an imperfect communion,’ by those who don’t want to call it for what it is.
Dear Benedict Joseph,
I certainly agree with you that the current age presents us with previously unaddressed challenges. I don’t think, however, that the current situation is unique. Rather, it is very much the same tried and true temptation that Satan has always found to be alluring to the sons (and daughters) of Adam. It is the temptation to intellectual pride.
You state that there is a danger in blind obedience. I, and I am sure the others who have called the Society of St. Pius X to account for its lack of obedience, would agree with you. The Church has always taught that one is not bound to obey an instruction from a superior that would be a sin. And this is not what the Church is asking the Society of St. Pius X to do.
The Church is requesting that the Society actively accept the authority of the pope as Vicar of Christ and Head of the Church on Earth (to date their actual assent to this has been solely verbal) and the authority and authenticity of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council (not any interpretation and certainly not any statement claiming to be in the “spirit” of the Council).
While waiting for it to reconcile itself to Our Holy Mother Church, we have already witnessed division in the Society of St. Pius X. Splinter groups calling themselves the Society of St. Pius V and the Society of St. Pius X Strict Observance broke away in protest and Bishop Williamson was expelled. Each of them claimed that they were truly orthodox and perpetuated the vision of Archbishop Lefebvre and the true mission of the Catholic Church. How long will this be permitted to continue? Until nothing is left of the good intentions of the Archbishop?
Tina, obedience never absolves us from the responsibility of judging the morality of what is commanded. A command to do something that is immoral must not be obeyed. So it is not enough simply to require obedience to authority, even the Pope’s authority.
I am not an SSPXer, but it seems to me that they are not the cause of the problem. They are simply continuing to believe as the Church has always believed and now they are being told to accept a particular, disputable, putative expression of an application of that belief, i.e., certain expressions in certain documents of Vatican II. The Ordinariates established for former members of the Anglican Communion are told only that they must accept The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Why isn’t that good enough for SSPX? Maybe they also have problems with the CCC, but I don’t hear that talked about.
Fr. P, I take your point, but it was not the SSPX that fomented the confusion, collapse of catechesis, and heterodoxy that flourished in the Church after the Council or the vindictive revenge that was taken and continues to be taken on those who are simply being faithful to the Church of Christ and who want to continue to worship according to the Rite that has not and cannot be abrogated.
I’m starting to doubt that the recognition will ever happen. Not because Rome won’t offer, but because the SSPX won’t want it. I’m pretty sympathetic towards them, I like the work they do and I like that they say things that other people are too afraid to say. But I also think it houses the same generational spirit of rebellion that no man who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s seems able to rid himself of. This is a problem.
I think the leaders, or some, of the SSPX want to be fully in the Church, but I do see many members of the SSPX who are laity not wanting to be “in”. There is a spirit of superiority and even rebellion among some of my acquaintances in the SSPX. One of the big items of rebellion is the refusal to recognize the NO as a valid Mass, and even worse, to recognize the new rite of Ordination. Some of my friends in the SSPX have tried to convince me that the priests who have been ordained outside the SSPX since that change are not really priests.
Sadly, I know too many people who attend the TLM who refuse to ever acknowledge that the SSPX is not in a proper relationship with the Vatican. I pray this happens, but the longer it takes, the harder the reconciliation will be.
Grateful to be Catholic speaks for me in toto. Rome’s deliberate and proud variance from the Church’s perennial Magisterium over the past two generations has created a situation that can only be characterized as emergent. The emergency is intensifying in the run-up to the unaccountable connivance at the Protestant revolt on the eve of its quincentenary.
Some actions of the SSPX—not to mention those of various post-Vatican-II sedevacantist groups—may justly be called into question. But cheap anti-SSPX virtue signaling is unseemly and uncharitable and just needs to stop.
Dear Grateful to be Catholic,
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly refers to the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council as the basis for much of its teaching. It would seem, therefore, that the Society’s objections would stand since the Catechism is definitely the fruit of the Council and its documents.
The Nurenburg trials were a lesson in blind obedience, and I, in no way, compare the Nazi’s with the church, I am just using history as an example to think about.
The Society of St. Pius X under the leadership of Abp. Lefevre made a bold and courageous stand, against the outrageous behavior of the Novus Ordo promoters. In hindsight, VII has left the faithful in chaos. Far to many are poorly catechized and their allegiance to the church is one of convenience not conviction. Once the SSPX knuckles under, the hierarchy can order them to acknowledge the legitimacy of any actions they choose to make, such as Deconettes, the acceptance of homosexuality and any other half baked schemes that they think of. The situation is depressing, and I pray for a prophet.
Gerald, there is no desire on my part to become an apologist for the SSPX. Even if they were down the street I would not participate. I do however admire their willingness to put themselves out on the ledge to pronounce their very reasonable critique of the Church during the post-Conciliar era.
As uncomfortable as it is for me to say, we need to begin to ask why those who have engineered the current balance of power within the Church achieved their goal. These ecclesiastics achieved their positions within the pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul. Pope Benedict was in a position of responsibility during that time as well. Where was his discretion? Where was his awareness of what was on the horizon as he determined to resign? Why, during all those years was a blistering corrective not brought to bear against currents in the Church whose sole purpose is to recreate Roman Catholicism into some deistic sociological void whose engagement with society is to make people feel good about themselves?
Appeals to evangelical obedience are hollow when obedience is used selectively against only those who disagree with your view point. Obedience is not a weapon, a lash, to be used by those against whom one disagrees. It is a measure to be employed to draw individuals to virtue. Its employment otherwise is a form of sacrilege. I assure you, the “Loretto Community” will not hear the snap of the whip that has been ringing in the ears of the Franciscans of the Immaculate for the last two years or so.
We have witnessed the frightening admission of manipulation of ideas in Amoris Laetitia – Cardinal Forte’s back story on footnote 351 is frightening. The reality it presents is entirely unacceptable. It is not anyone’s fault but those who participate in these disingenuous activities and charades. The ecclesiastics, clergy, religious and lay powerbrokers in our Church have much to answer for. It is their time to submit to the obedience required by Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Magisterium. When they get their act together their appeals for a wider submission to their office will be heard, heeded and provide the path to virtue. Until then, they have a problem.
It looks to me as if in #3 the SSPX makes it clear what is wanted: Carte Blanche by the pope to go into whatever diocese they want, regardless of whether a diocesan bishop wants them or not. What Msgr Fellay is saying is that they’re on the move–with or without the pope
Gerard Plourde says:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly refers to the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council as the basis for much of its teaching. It would seem, therefore, that the Society’s objections would stand since the Catechism is definitely the fruit of the Council and its documents.
Where does it say that?
While there have been a few small divisions and “schisms” from the SSPX, there have unfortunately been no such “schisms” in the Church of Rome.
There are so many pseudo-Catholics infected with the “Spirit of Vatican II” (i.e. whatever they say is Catholicism) – who pretend to be real Catholics – infecting parishes and dioceses all over the U.S.
The Church would be so much stronger – if much smaller – if these pseudo-Catholics would have the good manners and common decency to leave.
robtbrown, you said: “It looks to me as if in #3 the SSPX makes it clear what is wanted: Carte Blanche by the pope to go into whatever diocese they want, regardless of whether a diocesan bishop wants them or not. What Msgr Fellay is saying is that they’re on the move–with or without the pope”
That is a frightening prospect! Now they are going to be like some churches of non-catholic sects of Christianity have done in past: purposely set up a church/worship center near a Catholic church (though in the SSPX’s case, they usually include a school to “enlighten” the next generation with their twisting of the Catholic Faith), do propaganda and drive people away from their local Catholic parish with the lure of offering the “True” Catholic Faith and Church.
How disgusting a thought … how frightening that now the SSPX will become our enemies of the Faith against us.
I Fear that the imprecise, and imprudent off the cuff words and manner of the Holy Father will be to blame if reconciliation of the SSPX goes down the tubes. I know that they are like fingernails on a black board for me, and even my devout Chinese wife is very discouraged with the Pope’s regular name calling and disregard for tradition and the devout. Why does he create these strawmen and flog the orthodox priests and faithful? I can see why the SSPX is hesitant to take the Pope’s hand. I have friends who are converts from Protestant churches who are wondering just what is up with the Pope, and wondering if they have made a mistake coming on board the barque of Peter. They haven’t of course, but I can understand why they might think so. All this really flies in the face of his call for mercy and love. I continue to pray for him to the Blessed Mother and St Peter. God’s peace!
Gerard Plourde, does the CCC explicitly offer for our de fide submission the specific passages in the documents of Vatican II to which the SSPX objects?
robtbrown and Grateful to be Catholic –
I can only point you to the words of Pope St. John Paul in his Apolstolic Constitution Fidei Depositum promulgated on October 11, 1992 and published as the introduction to the Catechism. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apolstolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illuminated by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium.”
Based on that statement, I personally would be reluctant to question the authority of the Catechism’s contents.
Good answer, except that wasn’t the question. Rather, it was where in the catechism does it say that it is based on Vat II?
My question was does the CCC explicitly offer for our de fide submission the specific passages in the documents of Vatican II to which the SSPX objects? If it does not, then the CCC can be accepted without conceding the points the SSPX disputes.
Here are some passages from Fidei Depositum that I think pretty explicitly state that Vatcan II forms the basis for our current understanding of the Deposit of Faith.
Fidei Depositum begins: “Guarding the Deposit of Faith Is the Mission Which the Lord Entrusted to His Church, and which she fulfills in every age. The Second Vatican Council, which was opened 30 years ago by my predecessor Pope John XXIII, of happy memory, had as its intention and purpose to highlight the Church’s apostolic and pastoral mission and by making the truth of the Gospel shine forth to lead all people to seek and receive Christ’s love which surpasses all knowledge.”
“The principal task entrusted to the Council by Pope John XXIII was to guard and present better the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will.”
And further on in the document – “In 1985 I was able to assert, ‘For me, then -who had the special grace of participating in its development – Vatican II has always been, and especially during the years of my Pontificate, the constant reference point of my every pastoral sanction, in the conscious commitment to implement its directives concretely and faithfully at the level of each Church and the whole Church.”
Further on – “[T]his catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church, as desired and begun by the Second Vatican Council.”
Grateful to be Catholic –
I claim no expertise as to what it is the Society specifically objects to. I believe that the Council’s formulation concerning Protestant groups and non Christian religions was a sticking point.
The Catechism directly quotes the Decree on Ecumenism and contains quotes from Lumen Gentium describing the relationship of Protestant and Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims, and other non-Christian religions to God and to the Church. These may represent the sticking point.
In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense, at the same time. For example, two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.
So let’s take the second basic law of logic out for a spin, shall we?
Francis is offering the SSPX, i.e. the Lefebvrists “normalization”, something that they as CATHOLICS are entitled to (it is their RIGHT). Yet at the same time, Francis is repressing the Franciscans of the Immaculate for their “Lefebvrist drift”.
To finish my point, as I wrote above, the Law of Non-Contradiction, in essence is simply an expression of the concept of mutual exclusive/jointly exhaustive. And as Thomists, the SSPX understand this concept, and by extention the nature of their position quite well. So is it any wonder why they are making the decisions that they are making?
PS I’m with Benedict Joseph.
Going back to the statement:
1. The statement defines the primary function of the SSPX: To consecrate young men into the priesthood. I think we can all agree that that is the function of any priestly society. Certain figures at the Vatican also manage to spread confusion. We can probably also all agree with that (there have been many facepalm moments).
2. The Society doesn’t “primarily seek a canonical recognition”, so the usual statement about supplied jurisdiction etc. Ultimately that means the SSPX doesn’t have to chase a deal from Rome, it can go back when there’s a good offer. It doesn’t however say that there isn’t an offer…
3. I’m not sure what this means – I have two options.
A) It is implied that the SSPX doesn’t want to talk to this Pope because he’s not bought into Tradition.
B) it’s a general statement along the lines of “we don’t think the Church is safe until we have a Traditional Pope”.
4. Good Catholic principles expounded beautifully. Prayer and penance for the Pope, recalling the visions of the Angel of Fatima crying “penance, penance, penance”. Also, bringing to mind Pope Benedict’s words on the centenary of Fatima. Fr Z is onto something with that… there’s an ever increasing expectation that something is going to happen next year.
If the Decree on Ecumenism was entirely valid at the time of the Council, it need be held suspect today given the theological aberrance that has taken hold of mainline protestantism. By and large these bodies can no longer be termed Christian in the broadest sense of the term, since they do not believe in the Most Holy Trinity, the divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, or the inerrancy of Holy Scripture. The irony is that as we reached out, they said yes with their lips, but no, no, no with their reflection upon the truths of Christianity. There is a lesson to be learned here, but no one is absorbing it. The SSPX is being proved correct in its judgement on the Decree on Ecumenism, not so much by what was widely discernable during the Council (though it was) but by what has transpired since. By and large, protestantism no longer exists as a Christian expression — though some pockets continue to struggle through. I can’t say I am aware of any of them who wish a real relationship with classical Roman Catholicism — although what is presently “evolving” might catch the eye of the mainliners.
We presently are swimming in the same water that subsumed mainline protestantism. We might not find unity in what we believe — but by what we are rejecting.
The critique of the SSPX cannot be rejected in totality. As they say, the broken clock is correct twice a day.
Dear Father P,
though Luther seems to have spoken about an emergency, there was none even on Lutheran grounds, because a validly ordained bishop in Prussia had, at that time, defected to Lutheranism, but Luther chose not to use this bishop whom he had but still ordain himself.
Re the Catechism,
there is a lengthy Kirchliche Umschau series on that one – though that verges between “German district” and “Heinz-Lothar Barth’s private opinion”, technically. They (if the simplifying “they” be allowed) treat it with caution and some disagreement (which might be called disagreements on real details) but do recognize it as much better than many other things.
Dear Benedict Joseph,
I think that the issue concerning Protestantism is more complex than you state it. Officially, the mainstream Protestant groups all claim to assent to the Nicene Creed. Therefore, from that standpoint the Decree on Ecumenism is still quite valid. The rub here is, of course, the fact that Protestants lack or, more accurately, reject central authority, so that any statement about Protestants requires the condition precedent that the Protestant individual in question indeed confesses the Nicene Creed. If he or she doesn’t accept the truths set forth in the Creed then it follows logically that he or she is neither Protestant nor Christian no matter how he or she self-identifies. A further limitation is that the document limits its definition of Protestants to those validly baptized i.e., according to the Trintiarian Formula decreed by Our Lord Himself. Many Evnagelical groups could fall outside of this definition if they merely baptize “In the Name of Jesus”. Absence of either or both of these preconditions places the Protestant in question beyond any tenuous direct link to the Church as The Mystical Body of Christ and would mean that the Decree’s statements regarding non-Christians apply to him or her.
Gerard Plourde – “accept…the authority and authenticity of the documents produced by the Second Vatican Council (not any interpretation…”
Which is the sticking point, and one which is not entirely unreasonable because an interpretation is needed. Let me explain. What does it mean to ‘accept’ the documents of VatII? The documents, unlike every other council the Church has had, do not contain a single dogmatic statement (“X is the faith if anyone says Y which is a contradiction of X let them be anathema”). Additionally the docs of VatII frequently, at least appear to, contradict themselves and possibly previous magisterial teaching. During the attempt at reconciliation under P. Benedict the sspx essentially said ‘We are being asked to accept “Vatican II” please make clear what it is we must accept otherwise we can’t agree.’ Now I’m not an SSPXer but I do wish these statements thrown about every time they are discussed about “accepting Vatican II” were done away with, it isn’t that simple. No one actually knows objectively what “accepting Vatican II” is.
It is curious to me that those here who seem to be in a twist over their perception of the SSPX communique often appeal to Rome’s authority. One could reasonably point to the fact that frequently now Rome exercises its authority primarily to defend what Cardinal O’Connor called cafeteria Catholicism. Unlike the days of John O’Connor, when the kids rejected a balanced meal in favor of desert, now it’s the fat lady behind the counter pushing brownies and chocolate chip cookies. How things change.
Gerald, you are gravely naïve to question what I offered in my comment centering on Ecumenism. Protestant belief in the Creed is virtually nonexistent. You would have to concentrate a search for Christian orthodoxy in the most evangelical and conservative corners of protestant theological education to find a semblance of concrete Christian theological reflection. Mainline protestantism more reflects Unitarianism than classical Presbyterian or Lutheran thought. The Episcopalians are a masquerade party. Several weeks ago, on a trip back east, the Congregational church in my small hometown had a rainbow banner hanging on its façade embossed with lettering spelling out the new creed, “God has not stopped speaking.” Boy, is that rich! I wish I could say it was confined to them, but I got a good eyeful of the same in the church bulletin when visiting St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in Manhattan.
My professional life included ten years working in an elite, prominent “trans-denominational seminary.” I assure you, queer theory and the creed of black liberation theology are the closest thing you will find to classical protestant theology in the mainline.
Kasperian Koochy-koo Katholicism is on its way out of the kitchen.
The text you cite contradicts your assertion because it says that the basis for the Vat II documents is to guard the Deposit of Faith. It does not say the basis is to inaugurate or augment it.
The new Catechism is not a Catechism of Vat II, unlike the Catechism of the Council of Trent. It’s called the Catechism of the Catholic Church because it refers the reader not to any Council but rather primarily to Scripture, the Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.
I know of only one text in Vat II that represents an augmentation of dogma (LG 25.2), and it is seldom mentioned.
Benedict Joseph, what you say about the mainline Protestant denominations is certainly true. Many of them use the Biblical statement that “He is doing a new thing” to justify everything from queer theory to earth worship. And it cuts across all Protestant lines too. Rare is a Protestant who even can recite a creed or even know what a creed is. They have splintered to death. We need to keep from doing the same thing with God’s help. He promised us He would so we can bank on it.
Additionally, from my own past, I recall that part of one of the Disciple Bible study lessons in the Methodist community involves “writing your own creed.” This is after several lessons which are designed to show that the old creeds are now false or inadequate.
Un-ionized — Thanks for bringing up “the green thing.” I completely forgot about “Gaia.” The generator of that doctoral dissertation found a faculty position at a Jesuit university. Deconstructionism is at the heart of this entire exercise in fraudulence. Nature abhors a vacuum. Debase, disorient, defame, defeat, destroy and you can fill in the gap with anything. Isn’t that what is really going on? This is entirely apparent, yet there are those who point the finger at the SSPX. Only those unwilling to see what is transpiring before our eyes could justify a harsh critique of the SSPX. I would not, I will not, follow their course – but you have to give them credit for their courage. They, above all, are all too well aware of how they have jeopardized themselves, yet the denizens of planet “Fishwrap” and its various satellites still have the comfort of the parental unit and are out doing who knows what every night. We will see who is on hand to take care of Mother when it all breaks loose.
I agree that the Deposit of Faith underlies the Catechism of the Catholic Church and that the Second Vatican Council was fully in line with the Magisterium. The Council’s aim was, as I understand it, to recast the posture of the Church from the defensive one assumed by necessity at the Council of Trent to one that was less confrontational. Some have objected to this, claiming that it somehow waters down the faith. I don’t subscribe to that view.
I never said that Vat II was fully in line with the Magisterium–it depends on what is meant by “fully in line”.
IMHO, Vat II was called to disassemble the Counter Reformation Church, and there are many different components to that. The problem is that it had to propose a blueprint for assembling the replacement, and with only a few exceptions, it offered little except foggy generalities.
Mr. Plourde: “…to recast the posture of the Church from the defensive one assumed by necessity at the Council of Trent to one that was less confrontational.”
I agree that it was high time to abandon the post-Trent defensive posture. However, it was a catastrophic decision to make the Church less confrontational. The appropriate shift in 1962 would have been to a far more assertive, aggressive, and evangelical stance. If the Church is not confrontational as regards the World, it is nothing. (As the post-conciliar Church has borne out.)
Missed opportunities are a terrible thing. I do not think it will happen with Fellay.
I couldn’t agree more. I meant “less confrontational” in the sense of “less fighting a defensive action against Protestant heresy” (not that heresy shouldn’t be corrected when encountered but that the positive truths of the Catholic Church should be our prime focus).
As G.K. Chesterton (one of my heroes, along with St. Thomas More) was fond of pointing out, while it is true that communism is an evil that must be confronted, an equal evil is the greed and injustice that can accompany what we now call capitalism (Not the system envisioned by Adam Smith, but rather a form of social Darwinism that has also recently given a casino-type air to the financial markets which is largely responsible for the the near depression from which we are still recovering).
The Church, while recognizing the value of private ownership has always warned of the temptation that Satan can dangle before us to become too attached and acquisitive. It has also historically sought to elevate the dignity of the poor and the worker, too often over the course of history embodied in the same individuals, against the rich and powerful who would seek to abuse them.
Our faith requires us when we go about this great work to always recognize that we ourselves are sinners. Keeping this truth before us will help guard us against the dangerous sin of hypocrisy in our admonishments of others.
“[This sounds as if they won’t agree to any kind of unity until this or a future Pope behaves in the way they determine is acceptable. Peter must conform to their expectations.]”
Father, with all due respect, the Modernist experiment launched at Vatican II, has run its course with unspeakably deplorable consequences and such consummate sterility that all of its religious orders and seminaries are emptying and dying off.
It needs to be finally admitted that the “expectations” of SSPX for the Papacy are precisely those of God Himself, Who is about to cleanse the earth and wipe the slate clean in order to restore the Church to just such as SSPX holds out as its expectations.
That being said, I still believe Bishop Fellay would accept any agreement which does not require a compromise on their part, since it works give them a broader field of action and eliminate the presently subjective nature of their recourse to extraordinary jurisdiction.
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