Archbp. Pozzo on dialogue with the SSPX

You will recall that recently SSPX Bp. Bernard Fellay made a statement in which he distanced himself the Society from negotiations and rapid regularization, saying that canonical regularization is not a priority for them.   The SSPX thinks they have “emergency powers”.  That said, surely the majority of the SSPX hopes for reconciliation, but not on terms of total capitulation concerning well-known key issues.

Also, remember that the SSPX is a priestly society.  Lay people do not belong to the SSPX, though they may be close adherents.

At the NCReg Ed Pentin has posted an English translation of interview by Vatican Radio with Archbp. Pozzo, Guido Pozzo, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, set up in 1988 originally to facilitate reconciliation with the SSPX and other groups (my old stomping ground).

Archbishop Pozzo: SSPX Continuing Dialogue With Holy See

Vatican Radio: The Society of St. Pius X today does not primarily seek canonical recognition from the Holy See, according to a statement from the traditionalist community made public on June 29. Is this a setback in the ongoing dialogue?

Archbishop Pozzo: The Commission “Ecclesia Dei” does not consider it to be a step back from dialogue. From the press release it appears not to enter into the merits of the substantive issues that are being considered in the dialogue and confrontation between the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei “and the Society of Saint Pius X. Thus dialogue and debate on such concrete issues will continue.

VR: How do you interpret this statement?

POZZO: Let’s say it does not say anything new with respect to the noted and well known positions of the Society of St. Pius X about the situation of the Church today. I can add, where appropriate, that when it refers to the lack of canonical recognition, which is not the thing they’re considering right now, I can say that canonical recognition by the Holy See is an essential condition for a Catholic organization to be in full ecclesiastical communion, conforming to the law. There is no canonical recognition, we are working on it, but canonical recognition is not something notarial, it is essential!


VR: The Pope received the superior general of the Fraternity, Bishop Fellay, recently. How frequent are these direct or indirect contacts?

POZZO: There are no specific deadlines. The meetings take place between us in the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” or our delegates, and the representatives of the Society of St. Pius X. There was, however, this important meeting: a private audience with the Holy Father, in which Bishop Fellay could explain his point of view to the Holy Father. It was a very cordial meeting and certainly falls within the path of dialogue and above all of mutual trust that we are building together. So it is possible that there will be other meetings, but these haven’t yet been scheduled.

VR: Benedict XVI was very keen for this work to achieve unity with the Society. Does Pope Francis have the same perspective?

POZZO: Yes, I really think so. Pope Francis has at heart the unity of the Church and all that can promote the unity of the Church. He is always mentally very open to this. This was also acknowledged by Bishop Fellay. But evidently we also cannot deny that there are still issues to resolve, to face, to be examined.

VR: So on the part of the Holy See, there is openness, but steadfastness …

POZZO: The steadfastness is on what is essential to being Catholic. From this point of view there is no change! But I do not think that now it’s a question of steadfastness: it’s just about tackling concrete problems and trying to solve them and solve them together. The opening is in this sense: in the sense that we have identified the issues to be addressed and we are addressing them. Of course it will take some time, but there must be this mutual readiness [to come to an agreement].

That might not bring much more clarity to the status quaestionis, but it is not nothing.

I sincerely believe that Pope Francis would regularize the SSPX were some basic conditions to be met.  I also believe that some people between Francis and the SSPX do not want that to happen, and that is a major difficulty.

Pray for softening of hearts.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This appeared recently on Louie Verrecchio’s blog which frames the situation pretty well, if not perfectly:

    “”As I’ve written in the past, in order to maintain a proper perspective, it’s important to recognize that “canonical recognition” does not directly speak of a given group’s relationship with the pope (much less an alleged pope); rather, it speaks of its relationship with the Church, aka Eternal Rome.

    In the present case, canonical recognition amounts to formal acknowledgement of that which is already objectively true – the SSPX is entirely Catholic.

    As the communiqué suggests, the Society is due this canonical recognition by right as a matter of justice. Whether or not that acknowledgement ever comes, however, the fact remains – the SSPX is entirely Catholic.

    The reason this recognition matters so much is that souls are at stake.

    The faithful deserve to know the objective truth about the Society’s relationship with the Church; so they may have no reservations about receiving the spiritual aid that the SSPX administers unto their salvation.”

  2. Ann Malley says:

    “…The SSPX thinks they have “emergency powers”

    Statements such as these give a very distorted picture of the reality. The Society doesn’t “think” they have emergency powers, but are engaging canon law in light of demonstrable crisis within the Church to tend a beleaguered flock. Such an attitude is untenable when in other posts the flurry is over what to do in the face of admittedly ambiguous and even dangerously confused statements coming forth from the arbiters of the law.

    Sadly, statements such as, “I can say that canonical recognition by the Holy See is an essential condition for a Catholic organization to be in full ecclesiastical communion,” points to a stringent adherence to the letter, the strict adherence to which would “officially” require the Society to sign on board to ambiguity that obfuscates and, ultimately, hardens itself toward what has clearly been revealed by Christ.

    Some may want to pray for a softening of hearts while others may justifiably pray for steadfast hearts. That is hearts that are open toward Christ and the fullness of truth and hardened toward the dilution of that which has been handed down.

    For Christ’s indicating that divorce was granted due to the hardened hearts of men would indicate that men had become hardened toward the Truth, not the legislature of what would be allowed by way of written permission to discard one’s wife.

  3. S.Arm and Ann, this is not about softening of hearts, and what Louie thinks is entirely wrong. Louie, should one see his string of posts. Can clearly see he has fallen to Radical Traditonalism, to the point one must question if he has essentially separated himself from the Chcurch. A bad source to use as a reference.

    As for the SSPX, I side with Arch Pozzo and the Holy Father here. He is absolutely right. Benedict XVI said it himself in lifting the excommunications of the remaining bishops that as long as they do not return to Rome, they are priests woth no Sacramental ministry in the Church. Once the Feast of Christ the King in the Novus Ordo hits, the Year of Mercy is over and the faculties for VALID confessions are gone, until otherwise maintained by Pope Francis.

    Without jurisdiction, at least under the Pope Himself, the SSPX will never be able to offer true sacraments or VALID Masses that won’t be a possible source of Schism and separation fro Holy Mother Church.

    So despite all the hate I’ll get here, YES! It IS essential to be canonically with Rome.

  4. Wiktor says:

    Some time ago Bp. Fellay explicitly said he does not want any kind of quick solution as if there were no issues, nor would he sign an ambiguous document that would be understood differently by both sides.
    So I don’t see a possibility of reconciliation without “capitulation” of one side or the other. And I don’t think it’s going to be the SSPX.

  5. Ave Crux says:

    Julian, pardon, but you clearly have a fractured understanding of what is going on with SSPX.

    Louie is correct and it is you who are wrong.

    An indication of just how lacking you are in understanding in this matter is your assertion that SSPX needs jurisdiction to offer “true Sacraments or VALID Masses that won’t be a source of possible schism and separation from Holy Mother Church” (!!??).

    The obvious lack of informed understanding in that statement leaves me speechless.

    Lack of jurisdiction or a formal canonical mission in itself does not constitute or threaten schism is any way, shape or form.

    SSPX is 100% Catholic and have merely dissented from Modernist, heterodox teachings which are a danger to us all (witness the ongoing auto-demolition of the Catholic Church).

    They stand ready and willing to submit to the Holy Father in all that is not inimical to the Catholic Faith. That is anything BUT schismatic.

    And if a Pope who regularly leads the Church further and further into unprecedented moral and doctrinal confusion does not constitute a canonical state of emergency which makes SSPX’S fidelity to Tradition and to the care and stengthening of the faith of the souls in their care a clear imperative, then it’s hard to imagine a situation more apocalyptic which would.

  6. robtbrown says:

    Julian Barkin

    Without jurisdiction, at least under the Pope Himself, the SSPX will never be able to offer true sacraments or VALID Masses that won’t be a possible source of Schism and separation fro Holy Mother Church.

    Jurisdiction has nothing to do with validity of mass.

  7. Sword40 says:

    Ave Crux is correct. I started with SSPX in Post Falls, Idaho back in the late 1970’s. Our original old priest used to say, “we never left the church. The church left us”. Three of my children received First Communion and Confirmation from the good Archbishop.

    I now attend an FSSP parish because it is closer than the SSPX. I would have absolutely no hesitation going back to the SSPX if the situation warranted it.

    I respect and pray for our Holy Father daily. Confusion and ambiguity are the tools of Satan. I find none of this in either the FSSP or the SSPX.

    Even Rome has said that the SSPX Masses are “valid”.

  8. S.Armaticus says:

    Dear Julian:

    In these difficult and confusing times, one manner in which we protect ourselves from falling into error is by consciously distinguishing between that which is objective and that which is subjective. (St Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis)

    That which Louie wrote and I cited is a purely objective statement of fact. Regardless of what else he writes, the above text/assessment of the situation stands on its own. In other words, it is a true statement of reality that exists in nature itself and outside of whatever our mind wants to project onto reality. (Just like a “state of necessity”.)

    The reason I mention the above is that I too sometimes read not so much Louie in amazement, but definitely some of the folks who comment on his blog. Yet, thought provoking and “cringe worthy” as some of the material is, it is very inciteful and I consider the blog a must read for any serious Catholic. (My subjective opinion.) Just like Fr. Z’s. (An objective statement of fact.)

  9. Ave Crux says:

    Yes, and when questioned, Rome has indicated that one fulfills ones Sunday obligation when attending Mass as SSPX Chapels.

    Furthermore,the Holy Father HAS formally given them faculties to hear Confession so there is no doubt as to validity or recourse to extraordinary jurisdiction (Masses are always valid even without faculties), and it’s hard to imagine he will revoke this jurisdiction at the end of the Holy Year.

    Pope Francis himself has said several times he considers the SSPX to be undoubtedly Catholic and even intervened on their behalf with the Argentinian government to have them recognized as part of the Catholic Church.

    The pharisaical treatment of SSPX has constituted one of the gravest injustices of the Catholic Church.

    They have been vilified for refusing to embrace the very errors which have plunged generations of Catholics into loss of faith, loss of morals, and ever greater doctrinal confusion.

    It is Rome which abandoned the true Faith, while SSPX has refused to be complicit in its errors, which have emptied convents, monasteries and seminaries.

    “By their fruits you will know them…..”

  10. Ann Malley says:

    @Julian Barkin

    Sorry, but I’m not siding with Louie Verrechio or anyone else. Rather, I’m siding, or at least trying, to side with the fullness of truth. And whereas some may have only become aware of the insertion of ambiguity and distraction into Church documents, a reading through the documents of Vatican II (Pastoral and seeking to create no new doctrine) and the follow up of using that ambiguous stepping stone to churn out a new CCC is problematic.

    If you can’t see that, you can’t see that. You’ll be held accountable for what you knew and how you acted in accordance with that. Others, however, who do see these very real issues (prior to the attack on marriage and the family) have had to make the hard decisions prior to today. And prior to Francis.

    This Pontificate is just more blase, or so it seems, about towing the new party line. The party line that, very much like the push to create a world with no borders or sovereign nations, seems intent on mandating Catholic apostasy in spirit so as to uphold the letter of “ecclesial communion.”

    That’s creating a situation in which folks like yourself feel they are doing the right and just thing in castigating and tossing out those you fear are schismatic out of the Church. And the crime? Upholding Catholic Faith and Morals when those who should do the job, refuse the job.

    If that’s the role you’re slotted to play moving forward, God bless you. But others are cast in different positions and, thankfully, will not have to answer to you. But to God in accordance with what they KNEW. And despite what you may believe, there is no safe haven in leading one’s children into a cesspit of snakes and confusion by claiming obedience to an authority who seems increasingly intent on overthrowing the very basis of that authority.

    Kind of like pretending one must obey a police officer when he’s bound and gagged the police commissioner and has begun taking pay from the mob. Sorry.

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