Pope Francis helps SSPX take over church, complex, in heart of Rome

Il Foglio today as a story about how Pope Francis was a decisive factor in handing over a neo-Gothic church in the center of Rome, Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, to the SSPX.

It is going to be a center for studies and, perhaps, their HQ.  It is a pretty large complex.

SM_Immacolata_all’Esquilino_01 SM_Immacolata_all’Esquilino_02


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  1. michael de cupertino says:

    who was the previous tenant?

  2. William says:

    Thank you, dear Blessed Mother! Let’s continue to pray deeply that she shower Pope Francis with her choicest graces.

  3. Loyolalaw98 says:

    This church was built for the Grey Friars of Charity founded by Saint Ludovico of Casoria. If this does become the SSPX “mothership” in Rome, it would prove that God has a piquant sense of humor as the Grey Friars were one of the victims of the post conciliar tumult, being disbanded in 1971.

  4. pelerin says:

    Interesting to see that Pope Francis will be visiting an Anglican church in Rome on Sunday.

  5. Pumpkin Eater says:

    Just checked it out on Google Maps. Let’s hope i lefebvriani know a good roofer.

  6. albizzi says:

    “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”

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  8. Peter in Canberra says:

    against the backdrop of everything else that Pope Francis is doing I really don’t understand this. black is white, and white is white, and white is black ?

  9. MWindsor says:

    I am SOOO confused.

  10. Ivan says:

    “Do not trust the horse, Trojans.”

  11. Titus says:

    against the backdrop of everything else that Pope Francis is doing I really don’t understand this. black is white, and white is white, and white is black ?

    That’s because you’re looking at things from the wrong perspective. Someone from Canberra should understand the old English concept of latitudinarianism. Francis is a forceful latitudinarian about . . . almost everything. Thus, he finds it worthwhile to make a deal with the SSPX, because while he may not like them or their positions, his latitudiarnianism allows him to maintain intellectual coherence between giving them a prelature and “everything else [he] is doing.”

  12. S.Armaticus says:

    Now if Francis would ordain every priest of the SSPX a bishop and simultaneously elevate them to cardinal, I think that would be the level of novel that I would expect from Francis in his 4 year as bishop of Rome.

    As to giving us a Roman church and complex, all I can say is: what took you so long.

    Just kidding.

    Our Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways! :-)

    B/t/w, the FSSP still don’t have a bishop…

  13. SpesUnica says:

    Only Nixon could go to China. Or something?

  14. Andrew D says:

    So he threw them a bone, how nice. I guess they and all of us who think this outreach is a trap should forget all about how he personally destroyed the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, took over the Order of Malta and says the things that he says on a daily basis?

  15. I think that this fits into the category of “just too cool!”. The Holy Father has been difficult for us to understand from day one. But as many in the hierarchy have pointed out, being the Pope comes with burdens that not many would choose. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he has never expressed his intentions for me to think negatively about his desire for union. I can say only two things for certain. First, that Pope Francis and I see things very differently. Second, that he comes from a background and world that is, frankly, “world’s apart” from my own. The latter truth sheds light on the former.

    And, while the roof might need to be repaired on the buildings, the church is gorgeous!

  16. andromedaregina says:

    Terrific. I’ll choose to be very optimistic until there is reason to suspect anything nefarious happening. I can imagine a world where all he wants to do is unify the Church (at any expense) which, while it may or may not be prudent, and could very well be super-wrong headed in practice, is not necessarily directly evil. It would be lovely to have the lifeblood of the SSPX flowing back into the veins of the body…get that heart pumping again.

  17. Dan says:

    I am very encouraged by this. I sometimes find myself feeling discouraged by Pope Francis because I do not understand the confusion he seems to sow. However it is important for me to remember he is the Bishop of Rome, the Successor to Peter, The Holy Father, God chose him for that place and from where I sit my only power to help him is to pray for him. This does seem like an answer to prayers.
    I do not think the Pope has a desire to harm the SSPX. I think as Bishop Felley has said, that the Pope cares about people, and he shares that with the SSPX.
    I have also considered that the main plan God may have for Pope Francis (not that I have been made privy to it) may be that he will bring SSPX back into full canical recognition. His enduring legacy might just be that he is the one who will open the door to bring tradition back to the Church, whether he knows it or not.

  18. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Does anyone know to whom the buildings will legally belong? In the U.S. the custom is that church properties belong to the diocese and bishop. Does this differ in Rome? Will the SSPX be the legal owners or will they be caretakers? Just wondering….

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  20. The Egyptian says:

    The interesting thing will be if the SSPX draws large attendance to heir Masses, if they start having large attendance, (I hope they pack the house on Sundays), the reaction of the liberal Cardinals and other liturgists will be interesting. Will they deem them fall backs and try to condemn them or hopefully if the church is full of young families with many children maybe the indifferent will see the light.
    Hoping and praying

  21. mharden says:

    One of the benefits of SSPX regularization is that it evidently would involve official (implicit) recognition of the non-binding status of certain documents of Vatican II. The Archbishop responsible for negotiating with SSPX was asked, in essence, if SSPX would have to swear fealty to the contested documents. He responded that those documents are not binding on conscience, so an SSPX statement would be a moot issue (!)

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    Using our eyes and ears and reason and logic, combined with a basis knowledge of recent history (past four years), there is nothing to indicate that this prelature would be a good idea from the standpoint of the SSPX. I could go on about the negative things that he has said and done to traditional orders and individuals, but, it’s all there if people want to know. So why this, why now.
    The Former Sovereign Military Order of Malta had great financial and property resources, which one assumes are no longer completely under their control, apparently, the SSPX may have something similar.
    And where has the SSPX been. They have been mostly silent, that’s where.
    You can have all the bells and whistles in the world, and a private pocket of tradition that is lovely for the people able to attend, but if you are not willing to rock your own boat by proclaiming truth when it is so desperately needed, you are just a false veneer. We don’t need a veneer. We need someone in a position of leadership to take a very public stand. The SSPX is not the answer, the dubia are the best chance for that, but really, silence?

  23. oldconvert says:

    “Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
    ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
    The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
    And I’ve a many curious things to show when you are there.”

    “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
    For who goes up your winding stair
    -can ne’er come down again.”

  24. TNCath says:

    Might this be the next residence/assignment of Cardinal Burke after his official removal as Cardinal Patron of the Knights of Malta is confirmed and the SSPX is reconciled to the Church? Hmmmm.

  25. Vincent says:

    Well, I was hoping to make it to Rome this autumn anyway, so I’ll put that on the list of places to visit. I do like a good Gothic church!

    I hope Father will forgive me for this section, as it’s not really relevant to the article, but in answer to the comments about whether it’s a good idea for the SSPX, is more or less irrelevant. Why? Because (entirely my analysis):

    I don’t think much is happening – we’ve been close to a deal for some time, and as the phrase goes “the devil is in the detail”. Equally though, I don’t think the Society is in much of a position to refuse; if they are given an deal which means they:
    a) don’t have to accept the parts of V2 they disagree with
    b) have an assurance about the TLM and not having to say the NO
    c) they are allowed to ordain their own priests without external interference
    Then those are all the things which they have asked for, and some of the things for which Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated. In effect, turning down a deal would be construed as showing something more fundamental; a rejection of the authority and good will of the Pope, they would be separating themselves from the body of the Church. And regardless of whether you like the current Bishop of Rome, he’s still the Pope.

    It’s possible that it’s a trap, but unfortunately there’s not much they can do other than have faith that the way will be made straight and that any worldly motives are turned harmlessly away. Which is well within God’s power. Oh, and if anyone tries to suppress them, I suspect it won’t be quite the pushover that the FFI and the Knights of Malta were…

    Have Faith!

  26. rdb says:

    I am a bit suspicious. This is good for the SSPX and the Church, but I would not be surprised if he brings in the SSPX and then soon revokes or severely reduces Summorum Pontificum. His argument will be that if priests want to offer the TLM, they can join the SSPX. This can act as cover. How can you say I am against traditionalists? Yes, I am revoking Sp but I have reconciled the SSPX. Just wait.

  27. Gerard Plourde says:

    This is wonderful news. It is to be hoped that it will lead to the Society’s full reconciliation with the Holy See. The ball remains in the Society’s court.

  28. Hidden One says:

    It seems to me that if the Sovereign Pontiff is giving them a church for them to say Mass in, he must give them faculties to say Mass in. May it happen soon!

  29. Sword40 says:

    Many good comments here. However, I’m still wrangling with this word, ” latitudiarnianism”. Can’t get my mind around this word. ?????? help!

  30. Benedict Joseph says:

    Mharden’s insight regarding the implicit recognition of the non-binding status of the documents of Vatican II which the Society has rejected would appear to be true and the concrete reason to be supportive of the resolution.
    That said, I remain dubious as to intent of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. This outreach to the Society has to have an extenuating rationale. It would appear to insulate the Bergoglian pontificate when it extends its other hand to “who-knows-what” in the not distant future. “That crew” will be given pride of place, the Society and those who share its commitment to authentic Roman Catholicism will be corralled – and muzzled in effect – since the same merciful broadmindedness which gave them their new found status will underlay the introduction of all manner of protestant “ecclesiology.”
    Another fear I have is that this will badly splinter the Society. I know little of it, of its interior cohesion, but the Domus would not be disappointed to see the commitment the Society represents fractured. I don’t see the Kasperian handkerchief in use were such a consequence come to pass.
    As for the undermining of the Vatican II project. Given Cardinal Koch’s recent trashing of Trent, it appears that all ecclesiastical authority is useless to the current powers that be – rationalized personal rage being the instrument of choice for chastisement these days.
    Hagan lio!

  31. Benedict Joseph says:

    Sword40: That was a new one for me!
    Of course, even Latitudinarianism is to be googled!
    “Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance.”
    It would appear to fit the foot which Titus obliquely referenced.

  32. LA says:

    Did anyone check with the SSPX?
    Did anyone notice there is no evidence given in that article and the quotes are from last year and have nothing to do with this property?
    Seriously, haven’t we seen enough FAKE NEWS lately to be on the alert?

  33. Gabriel Syme says:

    Denis Crnkovic,

    In answer to your question, it is being reported elsewhere that the SSPX are buying the Church complex, so they will be the legal owners.


    Owning their own Churches is important for the Society, given its a major bulwark against attacks from modernist Bishops.

    I know of only one Church which the SSPX serve without owning it – St Willibrord in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The diocese wanted to close this impressive Church after V2, but the parish priest and lay people bought it off the Diocese and kept it “as is”, and kept celebrating the traditional mass. Years passed, and eventually the (now elderly) priest died and the lay organisation which controlled the Church invited the SSPX to say mass in his place. I know the SSPX made an offer to buy the Church from the lay people, but I do not know what came of this.

  34. New Sister says:

    @rdb, you may well be right, but I could also see how it would backfire in time. They will become too numerous and glorious to keep at bay. More prayer for the Holy Father – we must.

  35. Imrahil says:

    After in our own German-speaking Internet, there was these days some action intended to equate Catholicism with a Papalism of the most unconditional-surrender sort, with everyone who critizises the Pope a virtual schismstic etc.,

    good news, finally, from Rome. It is true that Catholicism and not-cheering the Pope is compatible; but there’s no doubt life is easier for a Catholic if he can cheer the Pope every now and then.

    As for the SSPX, they claim a case of conscience and that their position is Abp Lefebvre’s demand, “allow us to do the experiment of Tradition”. If the case of conscience falls away and the experiment of Tradition can be done, then, well, the case of conscience falls away and the experiment of Tradition can be done. If the case of conscience should reappear, then upon the same logic, the case of conscience would reappear.

    As for the Pope, it has long been observed that traditional priests have less to fear from liberal bishops even with all sorts of doctrinal and liturgical abuses under their supervision (which I have not said about the Pope), than from non-EF conservative bishops. (Maybe because the latter feel the need to draw the line somewhere.)

    Also, Pope Francis considers Vatican II to be a Council of the Church, as it is; but it is not for him the defining experience of his own youth, as it was even for Pope Benedict. Personal feelings do matter. (Thus e. g. the Pope accepts collegiality in the sense Vatican II actually does contain it; and so does the SSPX if you ask them precisely enough. But it is not for him a catchphrase which means the Pope shouldn’t use the “as long as the Pope doesn’t interfere by way of Primacy” condition in practice attached to it; he has no problem to interfere by way of Primacy whenever he sees fit.)

    And again as for “personal feelings matter”, one SSPX bishop once said that the Pope read a life of Abp Lefebvre and disagreed with him but liked him.

    As for cancelling Summorum pontificum: I doubt that’s intended for SSPX (who wouldn’t let themselves be forced to the OF anyway) and FSSP and the like; and for the rest, although on paper things look different – let’s face it, that wouldn’t much different from the current practical situation outside dioceses of sympathizing bishops. And the priests in question could go over to SSPX (or FSSP).

  36. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Gabriel Syme,

    Many thanks for the clarification and link.

  37. Kathleen10 says:

    oldconvert. Excellent!

  38. Andrew says:

    This is indeed wonderful news, and evidence that this is the best period of time for the SSPX, in its frosty relationship with Rome, which started around 1975-76. It appears to presage the announcement of the prelature, and rumoured dates for its beginnings are 13 May, the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, and 7 July, the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. But, as for the Pope visiting an Anglican church shortly, that is pretty typical of recent papacies, (in visiting Protestant churches both in Rome and abroad) and is hardly earth shattering.

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