Francis suppressed the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”. Fr. Z remarks.

The new “pipe” (some of you will get that) of the Holy See’s communication commisariat issued an editorial about the formal suppression of my old office, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.    Well… my old office is still there.  And my old desk, etc.

Tornielli made two points.

First, because there are far more and widespread numbers of the older form being celebrated there is less pastoral need for what the PCED was doing.  Thanks, SP.

Also, because most of the problems with the reconciliation of the SSPX have to do with doctrinal issues, it seems best to put the whole thing in the doctrinal congregation.

There are problems here and there are advantages.

Tornielli made the point that the same personnel are kept on in the new section of the CDF… and the PCED was already a section of the CDF.

Remember, the PCED – which was born as an ad hoc Commission – was already\Po absorbed into the CDF.

Getting my drift?

Some idiots out there will run around with their hair on fire, colliding from the left and from the right.  One idiot shouted BOOM.  But everything he does is for attention, merely. He has kinder to feed, I guess.

Let’s see what happens.

I am tempted to say “plus ça change…”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Looking at The Catholic Herald ‘s translation of Da Oltra, it seems that the focus is on the doctrinal differences between the two masses and their followers. This explodes the myth of a hermeneutic of continuity.

  2. Egad_Trad_Dad says:

    I’m inclined to be optimistic, considering the concessions made by Francis to the SSPX. Time will tell, though.

  3. WmHesch says:

    Am I misreading something in the Ecclesia Dei suppression letter? It’s dated 17 Jan, but the recitals say this proposal was recognized by a CDF plenary session that hasn’t happened yet?

    “e tale proposta ha avuto l’accoglienza della Sessione Plenaria della medesima Congregazione celebratasi dal 23 al 26 gennaio 2018”

  4. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Wm: we are in 2019 now

  5. WmHesch says:

    Haha yes!! Mea culpa- forgot it’s 2019.

  6. Amerikaner says:

    Yeah, this is a non-story for me. If this was intended to be some sort of slam to traditionalists then there is no bite to this dog.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    Before I read your comment, Father, I made a comment online that I thought this was a good idea. A CDF has more authority regarding doctrine. Too many trads look for problems when there are none…”Keep Calm and Carry On.”

  8. Gerard Plourde says:

    Both sides have acknowledged that the barrier to reconciliation is doctrinal. Perhaps the best outcome the SSPX can hope for at this time is to receive the status the Polish National Catholic Church has, i.e. Vatican-sanctioned limited intercommunion.

  9. Malta says:

    “First, because there are far more and widespread numbers of the older form being celebrated there is less pastoral need for what the PCED was doing. ”

    I respectfully disagree. My Spiritual Advisor was forbidden from saying mass at a chapel I won’t name because he wanted to only say the TLM, and had a strong congregation. He’s a brilliant priest who knows five languages, and sacrificed being a Corporate Attorney to be a priest. Now they put him in Tim Buck Too–a town of 300. He’s brilliant, and has no protection from within the Vatican.

  10. Gabriel Syme says:

    Gerard Plourde,

    Perhaps the best outcome the SSPX can hope for at this time is to receive the status the Polish National Catholic Church has, i.e. Vatican-sanctioned limited intercommunion.

    “Intercommunion” would imply that the SSPX is a separate religious body, however the Church authorities have repeatedly stated (i) that no formal separation (“schism”) ever took place between the SSPX and the main body of the Church and (ii) the resolution of the SSPX situation is an “internal matter” of the Church, not one of external relations or ecumenism.

    As it stands, in terms of the sacraments, the only difference in going to an SSPX Church or a Diocesan Church is that the SSPX organisation has no formal recognition at present, i.e. it is irregular. While an undesirable situation, this has no real impact on lay people attending Mass of a Sunday. Only the Church authorities can make the move to end this irregular status and they can do so any time they please. Until then, the SSPX is essentially acting as a de facto Personal Prelature of the Church.

    I think a comparison to the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) would likely be deeply offensive to the SSPX, both clergy and lay people. The PNCC is a tiny body of some 26,000 people, based in the USA and formally distinct from the Catholic Church. It rejects Christians basics such as Original Sin.

    The SSPX is an international body of faithful Catholics, shepherding close to 1,000,000 lay people, and was the sole, thin thread on which Catholic tradition hung for many years, until the formation of the FSSP and (later) the Summorum Pontificum Moto Proprio. It has never separated from the Catholic Church, despite being robbed of its former canonical status and enduring decades of calumny.

  11. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Here’s a possible scenario

    1. Abandon the idea that the EF and OF are two forms of the same Mass. Da Oltra achieves this.
    2. Declare that the differences between the Vatican and SSPX are not canonical bit doctrinal . Da Oltra does this too.
    3. Ergo, those who side with the EF are in fact siding with SSPX and their orders and communities must be suppressed . This has already begun with the Francicans of the Immaculate and other traditionalist communities
    4. Traditionalists will then have nowhere to go except SSPX
    5. Having cleansed the Conciliar Church of Traditionalists, the doctrinal differences between the Vatican and SSPX will be declared irreconcilable
    6. SSPX will be held to be schismatic and all its followers, clergy and lay alike, will be excommunicated
    7. Freed of traditionalists, the Conciliar Church will adopt all the positions collectively known as modernism and reunification of all the churches will have been achieved, not by the separated brethren recognition Catholic truth, but by the Church abandoning it.

  12. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Et ego dico tibi, quia tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam.

  13. maryelangdon says:

    HvBlomenthal. Your last “possible scenario” fits in with my thinking. So, how do we escape with our CatholicFaith? You leave us with no options.

  14. Fuerza says:

    Gerard Plourde,

    I don’t know that such a scenario is feasible. Limited intercommunion of this type really only works because the PNCC is fully outside the Church, while the SSPX is technically within it. I see a unilateral recognition from Rome as being more likely. Rome could say that the faithful validly and licitly fulfill their Mass obligations and receive the sacraments through the SSPX, though without giving any formal canonical recognition. In this way the SSPX clergy could function sort of like retired priests, and both sides could go on ignoring each other indefinitely.

  15. HvonBlumenthal says:


    Precisely. That is why I believe this to be what the present papacy is calculating First divide the sheep from the goats, then cut ties with the half you don’t like.

  16. Magdalena says:

    When the office Ecclesia Dei existed, every bishop who attempted to stamp out a local TLM knew there was a fast track for priests under his jurisdiction and laity to make appeal and have their Summorum Pontificum rights upheld. That political safeguard is now gone away. And every unfriendly bishop knows how the game is played. They all hated the restraint placed on them by this legal structure as much as by the law itself in Summorum and Universae Ecclesiae.

    Now there is no mechanism for enforcement of the law, even though the law (like the Mass) has not been formally abrogated. Even if it is not formally the case, bishops unfriendly to the TLM now have increased license for lawlessness in the sense that they need not fear adverse consequences arising to them personally from attempting suppression of the Traditional Mass or harsh treatment of the priests who say it. They have one less commission to be smacked around by when they act reckless or illegally with regard to local suppression of the TLM.

    Antinomianism on the rise is decidedly not to our advantage. Especially in an age when bishops lack Catholic sensibility or any inclination for preserving and handing on what was held semper, ubique, ab omnibus and was handed on to them.

  17. Roy Hobbs says:

    “…and sacrificed being a Corporate Attorney to be a priest.”

    Um, believe you me, that’s no sacrifice; he made the right call.

    “Now they put him in Tim Buck Too–a town of 300.”

    Maybe that town of 300 was in desperate need of a good priest? Small town people have souls, too. And they’ve been getting the short end of the stick for quite some time. Point being, while getting cast to some unknown and non-populated part of the country may seem like a punishment, much good can come of it.

  18. Fr Jackson says:

    The report on this chose to interpret this as a sign that everyone else (i.e. what we used to call the Ecclesia Dei comunities such as the Fraternity of St Peter) had compromised on doctrine. In other words, the SSPX is basically agreeing with the pope that the “specific difference” of the SSPX is no longer a liturgical question, but a doctrinal one. Some sort of doctrinal deviation has historically been the reason to have one’s case referred to the Holy Office of the Roman Inquisition. It’s just that, historically, most people didn’t rejoice about it.
    Personally, I don’t believe that the SSPX’s difference is doctrinal; I think they just say that to be taken more seriously. In fact, saying that the difference is essentially doctrinal leads to some fairly grave conclusions that I don’t feel are supported by the evidence. I think that the SSPX’s choice to cast the difference as doctrinal is a consequence of running out of reasons to be different. Their fundamental problem is a lack of trust at a “gut level,” but that reason sounds unconvincing by itself, so it needs some veneer of a graver problem put on it.
    When the SSPX claims (in their article on the PCED suppression) that the “Ecclesia Dei communities… do not count in this discussion,” and that they can have the Mass, but not the “whole doctrine” that goes with it, I would like to ask simply what doctrine exactly they think the Fraternity of St Peter can’t have.

  19. Prayerful says:

    @gabriel syme
    Not quite ‘sole thread.’ There was the so-called Agatha Christie Indult of 1971 which Cardinal Heenan sponsored, which ensured that diocesan priests in England and Wales could, with permission of their local Ordinary offer the Mass of Ages. The Rosminian Fr Charles-Roux, best known as chaplain to Mel Gibson during ‘Passion of the Christ’ availed of a person indult from the Congregration of Rites to also offer the Mass of Ages (nominally for indultees the 1964-67 ‘transitional missal’). Fr Gommar de Pauw, a peritus at V2, through incardination in India, was also able to offer TLM, which he had videos made so others at a distance could in some way assist. Cardinal Siri and other traditional Cardinals at V2 also provided local support to the continuation of the Mass of all time. There are many others, but no doubt SSPX provided a stability not dependent on one priest, or Orders like the Oratorians (NOM done with TLM rubrics) or Rosminians, who tried to plot a careful route through the changes, and could pull one way or the other.

    Personally, this formalises how ED was already folded into CDF. However, PF has shown himself to be utterly lawless, unbound by Scripture or Tradition (Fr Rosica was never contradicted by anyone in authority as far as I know). Bishops who already are very restrictive or who defy SP completely (e.g Abp ‘Tucho’ Fernandez of La Plata) will be emboldened, even if PF doesn’t put the squeeze on fmr ED bodies like FSSP or ICRSS.

  20. Ann Malley says:

    @Fr. Jackson

    “When the SSPX claims (in their article on the PCED suppression) that the “Ecclesia Dei communities… do not count in this discussion,” and that they can have the Mass, but not the “whole doctrine” that goes with it, I would like to ask simply what doctrine exactly they think the Fraternity of St Peter can’t have.”

    That’s the BIG question, Father.

    “Personally, I don’t believe that the SSPX’s difference is doctrinal; I think they just say that to be taken more seriously. In fact, saying that the difference is essentially doctrinal leads to some fairly grave conclusions that I don’t feel are supported by the evidence.”

    This is a charge that should be laid at the feet of the Vatican. The same Vatican that may be saying the above so that they will be take more seriously. If anything, the Society is merely agreeing with the Vatican. The parties involved have met and discussed matters of doctrine. There are sticking points preventing regularization.

    So if anyone should be revealing what the big deal is, it should be the Vatican. State the case plainly. Perhaps they don’t want to as doing so would highlight what actually “has” changed doctrinally post Vatican II. No more hermeneutic of continuity. No more pretending that its just the smells & bells turning people on to Catholic tradition.

  21. Ann Malley says:


    Were the communities you referenced able to form new priests to offer the TLM? If not, while individuals may have received permission to offer the TLM, it would have died out., no?

  22. surritter says:

    HvonBlumenthal — you forgot to write #8:
    “Thus Jesus will have failed in His promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church.” (because the successor of Peter will be in the faction that you foresee as pure modernism.)

  23. roma247 says:

    @Fr. Jackson—thank you for your insightful comment. You point out the dragon’s underbelly that exists hidden within the SSPX, and the reason why so many of us revere what they are trying to do, and yet simultaneously fear them.

    Whether or not they are right liturgically and otherwise, there remains a dark side to their intransigence which is hard to define but is continually present. And you have put your finger on it.

    How many times have I heard refugees from SSPX parishes tell me that the priest there told them in some way or other that they weren’t “good enough” or “pure enough” to be part of their parish? Or if it doesn’t come from the priest, it comes from the other parishioners. Too often a sense that “we belong; others don’t.” He/She is “good enough,” but you on the other hand have sullied yourself with worldliness/Novus-ordo-ness/some-other-undefinable-not-us-ness.

    For the devil has many, many traps. Some of us manage to escape his more obvious ones, the ones that easily capture the worldly. But he has more subtle traps for those who want to follow Our Lord more closely, to embrace those arms of Tradition that will keep us close to His Heart. Well the Devil can’t allow that, can he? He’s got a honey trap laid there too. It is the Pride that says: We do it better than anyone else. We are the only ones who still have THE WHOLE TRUTH.

    How do we imagine that we are not all like the blind men with the elephant? Poor earthen vessels that we are, we can only hold just this much…and the rest escapes us! Who among us can truly claim to hold captive THE WHOLE TRUTH except by virtue of our full union with Christ’s Church, that where we fail, He Himself may uphold us?

    Yes, Christ himself was mocked and ostracized because He dined with sinners, He healed on the Sabbath, He consorted with Samaritan women…all these things that were “impure,” He did them. Yes, and His first miracle was to make more wine at a wedding so that people could be merry!

    God doesn’t ask us to be morose and wear sackcloth and ashes all the time. And He doesn’t ask us to try to hold together the Church through our own Human agency, because He knows full well that if we try, our fate will be the same as the obstinate Semele. He asks of us obedience and love for Him and for our fellow men. For the rest, we are to depend solely on him as do the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.

    If we are joyless, we are without Christ, for immediately after asking us to follow His Commandments, He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:11-12).

    I pray constantly for the SSPX, its priests, its leaders and its members. I know they all have the highest of intentions; that they truly want to serve our Lord and walk closely in his footsteps. They are my brothers and sisters in a very special way and I love them for what they are doing. But they cannot singlehandedly save the Church. Only God can do that. So I especially I pray that they may avoid the trap of Pride, so that in Humility and Joy they may lead others to enter into the gates of the Lord.

  24. Pius Admirabilis says:

    @Fr Jackson & roma247

    Those are my thoughts exactly. The SSPX has no reason to stay in their canonical status. Maybe, and I don’t want to begin a discussion, their stance in the 80’s was justified, and maybe it wasn’t. Who am I to judge? It was necessary for Lefebvre to consecrate additional bishops because otherwise, although the Vatican had promised the consecration of SSPX bishops, no bishops would have been consecrated at all. As it stands right now, there is nothing that makes the SSPX special in any way. What they say in regard to doctrine, is also said by many priests of the FSSP, ICKSP, the Benedictines of Norcia, my Novus Ordo parish priest, and diocesan priests I am acquainted with. Their “orthodox” stance is nothing special, but more and more Catholics begin to see how problematic Vatican II actually was, and many theologians begin to understand how evil and misguided Modernism/Neo-Modernism and the Nouvelle Théologie really were and are, and that we need to go back to Thomas Aquinas and the perennial Tradition and traditions of the Church. When I was talking to an FSSP priest I know, he without hesitation admitted that the FSSP went back to Lefebvre, and it’s still working in his spirit. Actually, I personally don’t know ANY FSSP priest who embraces the Novus Ordo, who has ever celebrated it, or who can be suspected of Modernism. When the SSPX declares that their special stance is “doctrinal” in nature, that’s just a facade for other issues they have. I don’t want to generalize them, but I got the impression that they like their rôle on the outside, being brave warriors against “Modernist Rome”. There’s a lot of pride involved, a lot of hatred, but also a fair amount of bitterness, sadness, wounds and scars, disappointment, and a feeling of treason – and I think we all know similar feelings. I for one understand their position very well, but I see no need to leave the official structures of the Church and fight against some perceived “Modernist Rome”.

  25. Ann Malley says:


    “You point out the dragon’s underbelly that exists hidden within the SSPX, and the reason why so many of us revere what they are trying to do, and yet simultaneously fear them.”

    Statements such as these foment division as they portray an evil imagining and not what actually is. What is this “evil underbelly?” How is it that you “know” the Society has one? If the Vatican says that the issues between Rome and the SSPX are doctrinal, then that is where the issue resides. Both parties should seek resolution and are. There is no evil underbelly merely evil assertions.

    It would be an easy matter for the Vatican to delineate these doctrinal differences yet “they” choose not to do so. Perhaps we should take note of the SSPX’s unwillingness to speak on behalf of the Holy See. Meanwhile, the Society is only continuing to do as they always have. If there is evil in it, leave it to the proper authority to define or else we’re all speaking out of turn.

    As for:

    “How many times have I heard refugees from SSPX parishes tell me that the priest there told them in some way or other that they weren’t “good enough” or “pure enough” to be part of their parish?”

    More projections. I’d like to hear in what way specifically. If a priest told a parishioner they weren’t holy or pure enough to be part of the parish that parishioner would have recourse to report said priest to his superior. Also please define “in some way or another.” As for parishioners speaking out of turn, welcome to church wherever you go. Welcome to the world.

    We don’t go to mass to satisfy the expectations of others. And one can “feel” unworthy and a whole lot of other things if they let themselves be unduly influenced by the opinion of others.

    But you’re you absolutely correct in believing that the SSPX, “cannot singlehandedly save the Church. Only God can do that.” That’s what the society believes, too. They’re not single handedly attempting to do anything but rather relying upon Providence and what God has called them to do to navigate this increasingly visible crisis afflicting Holy Mother Church.

    Our Lord is well and able to use whatever vessel/vessels He chooses to accomplish His will.

    Romans 8:28 And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

  26. Ann Malley says:

    @Pius Admirabilis

    With all due respect, to say that, “The SSPX has no reason to stay in their canonical status,” without being in the know about details is presumption. It paints Rome in a bad light and the SSPX without cause. You may believe others enjoy the liberty to speak and uphold certain doctrine, but that may not be the actual case. If it’s not, let’s wait for those who know to do their duty and communicate as much to us.

    Let Rome speak. It is up to them to identify what these “doctrinal” issues are that they have deemed real.

    If you perceive that there was a state of necessity present when +Lefebvre made bishops, understand that nothing has changed doctrinally since then. So you saying, “when the SSPX declares that their special stance is “doctrinal” in nature, that’s just a facade for other issues they have,” you’re actually saying that about Rome.

    And, yes, I would agree that a façade has been in play for a long while. A façade that some are unwilling to acknowledge. As for pride, you bet, there’s plenty.

    You say, “I for one understand their position very well, but I see no need to leave the official structures of the Church and fight against some perceived “Modernist Rome.”

    The “supposed” leaving occurred when +Lefebvre went ahead and made those 4 bishops back. That said, nobody has left the Church and nobody is proposing leaving the Church. As for some perceived Modernist Rome, it’s not just a perception. It’s been playing out all around us.

    God bless.

  27. Hidden One says:


    I believe that you are incorrect. With the suppression of Ecclesia Dei, its staff and budget become fully integrated with the CDF. In other words, the same people will field the same complaints and respond in the same way… except that when they call in their boss for backup, the boss they call in won’t be a run-of-the-mill curial archbishop anymore. That boss will be the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Ticking him off… not a wise move.

  28. Hidden One says:

    There used to be a priest of the Society who commented here on occasion. Perhaps he might have something to say, at least to the comments above.

  29. roma247 says:

    @Ann Malley
    Achilles was a very great warrior–unstoppable, in fact, but for his heel. We are all human and we all have weaknesses. My only point was to show that the devil makes it his business to find those weaknesses and exploit them to the fullest, even in those who seek to be most faithful.

    Likewise the SSPX are great warriors, if you want to look at it that way. Someone had to fight for tradition in the years following VII and I don’t think anyone disputes that they have carried that flag, to the betterment of all who may never have experienced the TLM, had they not done so. The question is raised whether war is still necessary. Perhaps it is, but perhaps battle stance has become more habitual than productive.

    I have not, nor would I ever, assert that there is anything evil about the SSPX. I’m sorry that you have read that into my comment. However, they do at times betray this dark side, wrought of human weakness, that is self-destructive and that has driven people I know personally away from the TLM–and even from the faith–because their charity can at times run ice cold. Any failure to “toe the line” tends to guarantee you a one way ticket out the door, and the mildest of fraternal correction (like that I gave above) is certain to bring a rebuke like yours.

    Which brings me to your accusation of “projections” with regard to the refugee stories I have heard. All of them were told in first person. One involved a 15 year old boy who was told that he shouldn’t bother to return. To protect his identity, I won’t disclose what his “sin” was; suffice it to say that it wasn’t a sin. And in fact, one of them was me. And though I have never returned to that parish, I have continued to pray for all. We are all fellow travelers in this vale of tears, and even if they reject me, I don’t reject them.

    So can we tone down the acrimony and agree to disagree? I have had my experiences; you yours. Though I have my wounds, I wish only the best for the SSPX and pray constantly that they may one day flourish in the bosom of the Church. Lord knows the Church needs all the help it can get from all the good men who are willing.

    Yours humbly in Christ.

  30. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Roma247 and others:

    You are probably aware that SSPX has within its ranks more than one school of thought. It was the Vatican that declared the fraternity ‘s situation to be irregular and not “in full communion”. You have one doctrinal difference right there, because the SSPX doesn’t accept the concept of “partial communion”.

    So if (as appears to have happened more than once) the Vatican offers to recognize the canonical status of SSPX, the natural reaction is to look at the conditions. First they look at the FSSP, where it is a matter of concern that not a single FDSP priest has been consecrated bishop. Then they look at other examples of traditionalist communities – the Franciscans of the Immaculate are a striking, but not unique example of what can happen.

    Supposing they are offered a personal prelature? Even then they would want a guarantee that they will not have a suspect bishop imposed on them.

    Finally there are some very specific issues: FSSP priests are obliged to say the new Mass occasionally, which SSPX could never accept as it does not accept the “hermeneutic of continuity “ but insists upon a hermeneutic of rupture. More broadly, the SSPX cannot accept any of the doctrinal innovations of Vatican II, especially not the far reaching ecumenical implications of the word subsistit (para 8, Lumen Gentium). Then there are the recent papal canonizations: it is impossible to imagine SSPX accepting a calendar which includes them.

    All of which means that a great many members of the fraternity are simply against any deal during this papacy, even if a credible deal had been offered ( quod non).

  31. Imrahil says:

    FSSP priests are obliged to say the new Mass occasionally

    Just briefly:

    Are they?

  32. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Yes, I believe at least once a year. Its to ensure recognition by the priest that both masses are equally valid forms of the same rite and he this accepts the hermeneutic of continuity.

  33. Gabriel Syme says:

    @ Fr Jackson,

    what doctrine exactly they think the Fraternity of St Peter can’t have.

    As I understand it Father, the SSPX criticism of the canonically regular traditional orders is that they do not speak out forcefully regarding the doctrinal problems caused by the 2nd Vatican Council. There is a perception that these communities are grateful for permission to say the latin mass and they just want to ‘keep their head down’, incase this permission is removed, or they too find themselves to be canonically irregular.

    The undoubted problems are in area such as ecumenism, religious liberty, collegiality etc. Many of the points produced by the Council in these areas were either novelties in their own right , or ambiguously worded (intentionally) so that they could be turned into novelties at a later date.

    A good example was to be found in the children’s liturgy at novus ordo masses last weekend in my country. I read about it in a Catholic newspaper, where guidance for helpers was given. The children were being taught that the various protestant sects are “Christian Churches” which are “part of the body of Christ”. This is not authentic Catholic teaching – it’s garbage – and one would never have heard the like, prior to the Council. Ironically in the same paper, there was an article from a good priest wondering why so much of Catholic youth is lapsed in our country. (A big reason is because the Church teaches them rubbish).

    (Forgive me, I am only expressing my point of view: I do not presume to lecture clergymen on this or any matter).

    @ Prayerful

    Thank you for reminding me of the Agatha Christie indult. I had forgotten about that and did not intentionally exclude it. I may be wrong, but I perceive that such concessions were made chiefly to try to prevent people turning to ++Lefebvre for help. Many older Diocesan priests in England helped nuture the SSPX in its infancy – such as Fr Michael Crowdy, for example.

    From what I know, it seems Paul VI was “all over the shop” as regards permission for the traditional mass. For example, he granted an indult for England, but refused a petition by 1,100 Spanish Priests for the same permission. His policy, if he even had one, had a real lack of coherence.

    @ Fuerza,

    The SSPX *is* within the Church, not just “technically” within it.

    The latest example is that Bishop Vitus Huonder of Chur (Switzerland), has announced he wants to live with the SSPX in his retirement. He is 76 and Francis refused his retirement in 2017. I do not know much about him, except that he is solid and was a game opponent of secularism and the LGBT lobby. Pope Francis is aware of, and approves of, his choice.

    It is inconceivable that a Bishop in good standing would seek to live with a schismatic group, and that the Pope would be happy with this. The Bishops choice means the mental gymnastics required to identify the SSPX as schismatic are now even more difficult.

    I daresay the good Bishop will thoroughly enjoy his retirement and, as I believe he will still be able to function as a Prelate, his presence could be a real boon for the SSPX.

  34. Pius Admirabilis says:

    @Ann Malley:

    I think you are being a bit too emotional about this. I did not intend a broad generalization, as I stated. I merely suggested that soem SSPX priests and dignitaries might like themselves in the rôle as brave warriors against the Vatican and the “Modernist Rome”. However, I am not saying that the SSPX has adopted this stance, and every single member was in prideful opposition to Rome. Actually, think the opposite is true: That the SSPX seeks reconciliation with Rome, but that there are also different groups within the SSPX that do not necessarily look so favorable upon the current situation. I agree with roma247 on this point, and also with HvonBlumenthal. I also never said the SSPX left the Church.

    @HvonBlumenthal: The SSPX as a body cannot accept many aspects of Vatican II, that’s a given. But many FSSP priests don’t as well. The official stance of the FSSP is to accept Vatican II and the Novus Ordo, while virtually, I know of no priest who either likes Vatican II or celebrates the Novus Ordo. If it is a requirement for them to celebrate a NO Mass, I can’t actually say how they handle it, or if they just gloss over it and call it done. Within the FSSP, there’s a group of sedevacantists, yet they are in the FSSP, and not the SSPX or some other community, or on their own (like Fr. Cekada). The doctrinal issues regarding Vatican II can very easily be settled. This has been attempted in the 80’s, and Lefebvre was very close to signing the documents. The only problem was the consecration of SSPX bishops, which the Vatican ultimately denied, and brought Lefebvre to consecrate his own bishops. The “irregular situation” was indeed produced by this illegal consecration. One can defend the SSPX without ignoring historical and canonical facts (I myself think the illicit consecrations were necessary, but that doesn’t magically produce a Papal mandate).
    Regarding ecumenical implications of “subsistit”: subsistit is a word meaning “is”, stemming from Fr. Sebastiaan Tromp, an exquisite Latinist, and a very conservative hardliner at the Council (also a Thomist). He wrote a three volume magnum opus about the Church, and there is no doubt about his orthodoxy. “Subsistit” has been hijacked by Modernists, but it actually just means: The Church Christ instituted during his earthly life IS the Catholic Church in the fullest sense. The explanation Cardinal Lehmann gives for that is not official teaching, but his private, heretical opinion.
    The SSPX wouldn’t need to accept a recent Calendar. Accepting Saints as Saints is not a matter de fide, binding by Divine, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith.
    All things that can be settled. My concern is that arrogance and pride, especially within the ranks of the SSPX, prohibits developments that could normalize their status while protecting their identity. So my point is that it is very much possible for them to get a regular status, keep their bishops, get new bishops, keep their doctrinal views, while simply giving up their warrior rôle (of course, that’s a hyperbel, as you sometimes use rhetorical devices in texts, for anyone who wants to take me literally on this). And this can be difficult for some who like themselves in this rôle. This is, btw, not only something that can be observed in the SSPX! I often critizice people who think of themselves as the bastion of orthodoxy, and the gold standard of Faith, and when someone objects to a minor detail, and gives arguments based on years of theological academic studies, they call you a heretic and whatnot. This kind of hysteria can impede actual development.

  35. robtbrown says:

    I know of no case in which FSSP priests are forced to say the Novus Ordo once a year. Perhaps the reference is to the Chrism Mass.

    In the early years of the FSSP, not having parishes of their own, the Fraternity had priests in Novus Ordo parishes. The question of also saying the NO arose then. My understanding is that problem no longer exists.

  36. Ann Malley says:


    “We are all human and we all have weaknesses. My only point was to show that the devil makes it his business to find those weaknesses and exploit them to the fullest, even in those who seek to be most faithful.”

    This’s true, Roma. It would seem that your own hurts are being salted. I’m sorry for your experience. Having been on the receiving end of less-than-charitable individuals–in the Society and out–I understand your sentiments. My family and I aren’t without war wounds. Far from it.

    But charity requires the truth.

    There’s no need to agree to disagree on that, I’d hope. And the idea that the Society is in an active battle stance now is laughable considering the history. I don’t mean that unkindly, but other factions are even now accusing the Society of playing the door mat with Rome.

    So, please, if you took my post to you as a rebuke, it wasn’t meant that way. It was intended to clear the issue. Fr. Jackson conflated his suppositions as to the reasons behind the Society’s position and the reality of the situation. That, however innocently intended, can get conversation spun out and perpetuate falsehoods based on nothing but an attempt to fill the void.

    God bless

  37. gaudiumcumpace says:

    “He asks of us obedience and love for Him and for our fellow men. For the rest, we are to depend solely on him as do the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.“
    This is the answer and the solution.

  38. Ann Malley says:

    @Pius Admirabilis

    It would seem emotion is running high for all. But that is often the case when broad assertions are made. Individuals fancy themselves to be a great many things. Thanks for your post.

  39. MrsMacD says:

    I have heard an FSSP priest say, ‘I have never said a novus ordo Mass, I have no interest in saying the Novus Ordo Mass, I will never say a novus ordo Mass.’ So that thing about them being required to say one novus ordo Mass can’t be true.

  40. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Plus admirabilis

    I am certainly not an exquisite latinist but even I know that subsistit does not mean “is”. And if it did, then “subsistit in” would mean “is in” so the translation would be “this church…is in the Catholic Church” which seems to mean that the Catholic Church is a vast panoply of churches of which the Roman Church is but one.

    I do however own a copy of Lewis and Short. The basic meaning of subsisto according to them is “I take position” or “halt”. The idea is that of being ancored within a greater whole. Closest to the sense you want to make of it is “stand firm” but Im afraid that doesn’t work with “in”. Other senses are closer to “is a vestige of”.

    Have a look and see if you can find anything along the lines you suggest. I can’t.

    Regarding the fact that many FSSP priests don’t like Vatican II, with great respect that’s hardly the point. The issue is, what have they signed up to? To quote Plautus, using indeed the verb subsistere, “nisi suffulcis firmiter, non potes subsistere.”

  41. MrsMacD says:

    I found the video where the FSSP priest says the above;

  42. Fr. Kelly says:

    I can say with certainty. While all of the priests of the FSSP and ICKSP who have faculties to say Mass in the Roman Rite, have faculties to offer the NOM, they are not required to do so.
    Any time one may have done so, it was not by way of legal requirement.

    In addition, “subsistit in” is an expression of the mode of existence of substance in Thomistic Philosophy. To try to use that as a means of denying that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church is to falsify the teaching and the expression of Lumen Gentium.

    As facility with Thomistic terminology wanes, worry is generated about this expression, but it need not be so.

  43. robtbrown says:

    It is of no value to speak of pride, arrogance, and humility in this matter. It is possible to be proud and arrogant and be correct. Likewise, it is also possible to be humble and be incorrect.

    I don’t know anyone who accepts Vat II, but there are many who say they do. Most likely they pick out passages they like from the documents. That includes Cardinal Mueller, who tried to insert the obligation to accept Vat II in the agreement. The SSPX, with the advice from high in the Vatican, declined.

  44. fmsb78 says:

    I am a SSPX attendee and just wanted to point out that if this movement finally paves the way for the so called “regularization”, do you realize that would happen under probably the most liberal Pope ever in contrast with the most hardline SSPX’s Superior General since the Msgr. Lefebvre himself?

    Nobody would see it coming and that’s one of the mysterious ways of the Divine Providence.

  45. Grabski says:

    @gabrielsyme. I was raised in the shadow of the PNCC Cathedral. Their relationship is “limited intercommunion” meaning that Rome recognizes the validity of their sacraments which says quite a bit right there. The PNCC has a few hundred thousand souls, here in Poland and in Brazil

    What’s more married PNCC priests can join the RC without ordination. PNCC Saturday RC Subday. Which also says a lot

    And Bp Hodur fought to be able to use the name “Catholic”, as the Vatican approved. Which says a bit, too.

  46. Uxixu says:

    FSSP priests are not forced to say the Novus Ordo. Most know very little about it, they’re not taught it in the seminary and don’t have the new books are not familiar with the (vague) rubrics, such as they are. They usually politely decline attending the chrism Mass for the same reason simply because they don’t know how.

    What’s required is clearly stated in the May 1988 Protocol (that Abp. Lefebvre signed), repeated in Summorum Pontificum, that no Latin Rite priest can make a dogmatic position that the Church has promulgated a sacrilegeous Mass. One can recognize the theological poverty the new Offertory, for example, while recognizing that it still confects a valid Sacrifice.

    Similarly, the Protocol conceded the right to interpret Vatican II in the “light of tradition” and can dispute the modernist interpretations with charity, though cannot claim it’s a masonic document, etc though do so with charity and drop polemics.

  47. TonyO says:

    Fr. Jackson, the SSPX leaders (starting with Archbishop Lefevre, have repeatedly articulated their disagreement with the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty: they claim that it contradicts definitive Church teaching on the rights of the Church and civil society to restrain the public practice of false religion. This is a clear and non-trivial doctrinal dispute. Saying that there is no bona fide disagreement of doctrine inaccurate.

    I happen to disagree with SSPX claims that DH contradicts prior Church doctrine, but I understand the rationale by which they arrive at that conclusion. I just think that they misunderstand DH and the distinction it is asserting on behalf of religious liberty.

  48. robtbrown says:

    fmsb78 says,

    Nobody would see it coming and that’s one of the mysterious ways of the Divine Providence.

    I mentioned here that I thought it a strong possibility. One reason is that the Bergoglio papacy was considered (by Sandro Magister, if memory serves) to be the Martini papacy.

    When Martini was in Milan, he was very generous with the TLM to those who wanted it. Likewise, in BA Bergoglio was generous with the SSPX.

    Like Martini the pope is not a dogmatic liberal–his approach is subjective about everything, including the TLM.

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