Rorate Caeli

20 years on: Reliving the Events of 1988
Part III: The Archbishop rejects the Protocol
May 5, 1988 - June 29, 1988


Part I: July 1987 - February 1988
Part II: March 1988 - May 5, 1988

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), received in the Fraternity House at Albano Laziale (near Castel Gandolfo) the final text of the Protocol which was sent to him by Cardinal Ratzinger. It was 4:30 PM as the old bishop signed the text. His most extensive biographer, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais (one of the chief negotiators in that afternoon and who would be consecrated on June 30), described the scene:

His face perfectly expresse[d] the mixed feelings which gripped him: "real satisfaction," as he would write to Ratzinger, and silent mistrust which he spoke of to the sisters in the Cenacolo convent [of the Discepole del Cenacolo, in Velletri, near Albano] at 3 PM: "If Don Putti [Fr. Francesco-Maria Putti, a Traditional Roman priest and spiritual son of Padre Pio, who guided and formed the sisters until his death in 1984] were here, what would he say? 'Your Grace, where are you going? What are you doing?' "
The Archbishop did not sleep during what must have felt like one of the longest nights of his life. The following morning, after Mass and Prime, he sent a letter to Cardinal with an ultimatum of his own: the deadline of June 30, 1988, mentioned in one of his previous letters exchanged in the negotiations was still valid. The text of that letter was:

Yesterday it was with real satisfaction that I put my signature on the Protocol drafted during the preceding days. However, you yourself have witnessed my deep disappointment upon the reading of the letter, which you gave me, bringing the Holy Father's answer concerning the episcopal consecrations.

Practically, to postpone the episcopal consecrations to a later undetermined date would be the fourth time that it would have been postponed. The date of June 30 was clearly indicated in my previous letters as the latest possible.

I have already given you a file concerning the candidates. There are still two months to make the mandate.

Given the particular circumstances of this proposal, the Holy Father can very well shorten the procedure so that the mandate be communicated to us around mid-June.

In case the answer will be negative, I would find myself in conscience obliged to proceed with the consecrations, relying upon the agreement given by the Holy See in the Protocol for the consecration of one bishop, member of the Society.

The reticence expressed on the subject of the episcopal consecration of a member of the Society, either by writing or by word of mouth, gives me reason to fear delays. Everything is now prepared for the ceremony of June 30: hotel reservations, transportation, rental of a huge tent to house the ceremony.

The disappointment of our priests and faithful would be extreme. All of them hope that this consecration will be realized with the agreement of the Holy See; but being already disappointed by previous delays they will not understand that I would accept a further delay. They are aware and desirous above all of having truly Catholic bishops transmitting the true Faith to them, and communicating to them in a way that is certain the graces of salvation to which they aspire for themselves and for their children.

In the hope that this request shall not be an insurmountable obstacle to the reconciliation in process, please, Eminence, accept my respectful and fraternal sentiments in Christo et Maria.

+Marcel Lefebvre
Upon receiving the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger immediately canceled the publication of the communiqué which had been prepared - which explains the scarce report by the secular media of what was taking place. Ratzinger first wrote a note to Lefebvre, asking him to "reconsider his position".

I have attentively read the letter, which you just addressed, to me, in which you tell me your intentions concerning the episcopal consecration of a member of the Society on June 30th next.

Since these intentions are in sharp contrast with what has been accepted during our dialogue on May 4th, and which has been signed in the Protocol yesterday, I wish to inform you that the release of the press communiqué has to be deferred.

I earnestly wish that you reconsider your position in conformity with the results of the dialogue, so that the communiqué may be released.

In this hope, please, Excellency

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
In the evening of May 6, he took Lefebvre's letter to Pope John Paul in the Apostolic Palace.

The Archbishop returned promptly to Ecône and, on May 10, assembled most of his priests in Europe at Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet (Paris), and explained the situation as it stood then:

Fr. [Emmanuel] du Chalard brought [Cardinal Ratzinger's] letter to me at Ecône on Sunday morning. I said to him, "Tell the Secretary of the Cardinal that for me the whole thing is finished. I am not changing the date of June 30th. It is the final date. I feel my strength diminishing. I even have a difficulty in traveling by car. I think it would be to put in danger the continuation of the Society and the seminaries if I do not perform these consecrations." I think they will agree to that date. They are too anxious for this reconciliation.
Tissier de Mallerais describes the frantic events of late May 1988:

On May 17, Ratzinger wrote to Lefebvre: a letter to the Holy Father "humbly requesting" reconciliation and forgiveness would be welcome: the request for a bishop from the Fraternity could be raised "without demanding any date". ... Not only did [Lefebvre] underline that June 30 was for him the deadline to assure "his succession", but he also considered it necessary to have several bishops. On May 23, he left for Rome. ...

In Rome, on May 24, the Archbishop gave the Cardinal his final request: "Before June 1, let me know the Holy See's intentions as regards the consecration of three bishops planned for June 30 ... . As I wrote to the Pope, one bishop alone will not be enough for the apostolate." ... John Paul II replied through the Cardinal on May 30: ... as for the bishops, "the Holy Father is ready to appoint a bishop from the Fraternity ... such that the consecration could take place before August 15."
Contacted, the Superior General of the Fraternity, Father Franz Schmidberger, who was in America, came to Rome. At the same day, May 30, at the Fraternity priory of Notre Dame du Pointet (at Broût-Vernet, near Vichy), Lefebvre assembled representatives of the Fraternity and of all friendly communities which would be affected by his decision, including Dom Gérard Calvet of Le Barroux and several sisters. Many of those present favored the agreement, but there seemed to be a majority against it. On the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 2, Lefebvre wrote his final letter to the Pope:

June 2, 1988

Most Holy Father,

The conversations and meetings with Cardinal Ratzinger and his collaborators, although they took place in an atmosphere of courtesy and charity, persuaded us that the moment for a frank and efficacious collaboration between us has not yet arrived.

For indeed, if the ordinary Christian is authorized to ask the competent Church authorities to preserve for him the Faith of his Baptism, how much more true is that for priests, religious, and nuns?

It is to keep the Faith of our Baptism intact that we have had to resist the spirit of Vatican II and the reforms inspired by it.

The false ecumenism, which is at the origin of all the Council's innovations in the liturgy, in the new relationship between the Church and the world, in the conception of the Church itself, is leading the Church to its ruin and Catholics to apostasy.

Being radically opposed to this destruction of our Faith and determined to remain within the traditional doctrine and discipline of the Church, especially as far as the formation of priests and the religious life is concerned, we find ourselves in the absolute necessity of having ecclesiastical authorities who embrace our concerns and will help us to protect ourselves against the spirit of Vatican II and the spirit of Assisi.

That is why we are asking for several bishops chosen from within Catholic Tradition, and for a majority of the members on the projected Roman Commission for Tradition, in order to protect ourselves against all compromise.

Given the refusal to consider our requests, and it being evident that the purpose of this reconciliation is not at all the same in the eyes of the Holy See as it is in our eyes, we believe it preferable to wait for times more propitious for the return of Rome to Tradition. That is why we shall give ourselves the means to carry on the work which Providence has entrusted to us, being assured by His Eminence Cardinal Ratzinger's letter of May 30th that the episcopal consecration is not contrary to the will of the Holy See, since it was granted for August 15th.

We shall continue to pray for modern Rome, infested with Modernism, to become once more Catholic Rome and to rediscover its two-thousand-year-old tradition. Then the problem of our reconciliation will have no further reason to exist and the Church will experience a new youth.

Be so good, Most Holy Father, as to accept the expression of my most respectful and filially devoted sentiments in Jesus and Mary.

+ Marcel Lefebvre
On June 9, John Paul wrote to him and called his plan "a schismatic act". The Cardinal's secretary met with the Archbishop in Ecône the next day: the long meeting was fruitless. On June 13, Lefebvre had settled on the names of the four priests he would consecrate on June 30: Bernard Fellay (General Bursar of the Fraternity), Alfonso de Galarreta (Superior of the South American District), Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (Secretary General of the Fraternity and who had favored the agreement at the Notre-Dame du Pointet meeting), and Richard Williamson (Rector of the North American Seminary).

On June 15, the Archbishop held a press conference in Ecône announcing the June 30 consecrations - and the news, hidden from public eyes since early May, spread fast. All major newspapers included the breathtaking announcement on June 16, including The Washington Post:

Lefebvre to Name Renegade Bishops

Maverick Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre announced yesterday that he will consecrate four of his followers as bishops June 30 without papal authority, threatening the first split in the Roman Catholic Church in 118 years. The 82-year-old traditionalist archbishop said he can "no longer trust Rome."

Bishop Henry Schwery, president of the Swiss Conference of Bishops, has said such a breach of discipline would formalize a schism.
The very next day, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, sent a canonical Monition (French translation):

Since on June 15th, 1988 you stated that you intended to ordain four priests to the episcopate without having obtained the mandate of the Supreme Pontiff as required by canon 1013 of the Code of Canon Law, I myself convey to you this public canonical warning, confirming that if you should carry out your intention as stated above, you yourself and also the bishops ordained by you shall incur ipso facto excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See in accordance with canon 1382.
On June 25, Lefebvre welcomed the Bishop Emeritus of Campos, Brazil, Antonio de Castro Mayer, who had been invited by him to be the co-consecrator. On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, 1988, Lefebvre celebrated the regularly scheduled priestly ordinations; on the preceding afternoon, in Rome, during the secret consistory for the creation of Cardinals, Pope John Paul declared in his address:

We are extremely afflicted by the news, already very much known by all of you, that one of our brothers in the episcopacy, after several such years in which he had denied due obedience to the Holy See and, affected by the penalty of suspension, seemed about to ask for an agreement, will soon move forward with the ordination of Bishops without Apostolic Mandate, and will thus break with the unity of the Church, leading not a few of his followers into a dangerous situation of schism. Because it now seems that neither the will nor the purpose of this our brother may be reversed anymore, we can do no other than invoke the goodness of our Savior, so that he may enlighten those who, while affirming having to defend the true doctrine of the faith against its deformations, abandon communion with the Successor of Peter and are ready to separate from the unity of the flock of Christ, entrusted to the Apostle Peter. We ask him and exhort him with all our heart to remain in the house of the Father and to understand that every truth of faith and every correct mode of life find their place in the Church and that nothing remains standing in it which is contrary to faith.
Meanwhile, in Ecône, all was ready for the event of Thursday, June 30, 1988.


___________________
To be continued.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an excellent and detailed history of the schism.

New Catholic said...

Thank you. Please, let us try to avoid the "s" word.

joe B said...

20 years have produced identifiable fruits on both trees - FSSPX and Rome. FSSPX has increased in priests, albeit slowly, and has attracted large families and even has very Catholic schools. They have a future, as large families and Catholic schools produce more large families and consecrated souls.

Rome, on the other hand, continues to shrink in the face of their duty to reign in the corruption of the priesthood (not just homosexuality, but cults) and the destruction of tradition, and to address the causes seriously. Yes, I know that shrink may well be a charitable term here, but unarguably, Rome's 20-year record is one of mass departure of laymen, priests, nuns, monasteries, convents, schools, parishes, churches, respect, and influence. The future looks bleak.

Of course, something could change all that, some miraculous turn of events after which we could all say there really was no need for such a radical move by the Archbishop. But that miraculous event would be welcomed by the FSSPX and they would surely be recognized as having been on the right side all along, since they would then be required to make no changes in the practice of the faith. That outcome would cause joy in FSSPX circles (we would have to think carefully before saying that about the Novus Ordo crowd, wouldn't we?). Either way, the fruits indicate that the Saintly Archbishop saw clearly when he acted radically to preserve the faith as it was passed down to him. Those who are unable to understand FSSPX's refusal to accept an FSSP-style solution must ask if FSSP would even exist without FSSPX. Would bishops have allowed them to operate in sufficient numbers to make Rome grant FSSP and Motu Proprio style compromises? Clearly not. Would any of the other traditionalist communities have fared as well? No.

We need FSSPX to cling to tradition with a disciplinary firewall between them and Rome. They are the strongest thread in what is now, thanks to them, a small rope.

Anonymous said...

Imagine what would have been lost if the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre capitulated to the Vatican.

It makes traditionalist Catholics shudder to think of all we would not have now, had the Archbishop caved in then.

Michael said...

Pope Benedict would have spread the use of the ancient rite via the Extraordinary Rite in any case. To assume less is not to comprehend this Pope who authored The Spirit of the Liturgy.
The Extraordinary Rite was always crucial to his vision.
Now Rome will accept the four bishops and it is still not enough. Eventually my intelligence gets insulted with SSPX false pride playing the savior card. When a Catholic Christian cannot accept the Papal Magisterium, the Holy Spirit does not approve whether it is Luther or Fellay. And by the way, this rejection is not on the Archbishop shoulders.

Jason said...

Dear New Catholic,
Thank you for the best information, bar-none, on an internet website. It is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, New Catholic.
Although you´re clearly not a supporter of the SSPX (as I am), we can notice your effort to present a very precise, well balanced account of the whole situation.
As I still couldn't bring the biography of Msgr. Lefebvre from the US, I found some transcriptions very enlightening.
Keep up with this wonderful job!
Henrique Leite
(a reader from Brazil - sorry for my lousy english)

Anonymous said...

I mean, I AM a supporter of the SSPX - I reread the text and thought it was not clear about that :P

Anonymous said...

New Catholic,

I am not tracking here. Why did Rome not heed the June 30th deadline? Was the Holy Father not happy with the list of candidates presented by Archbishop Lefebvre? Because there is no way that the Archbishop would have accepted a candidate from outside the society. On the other hand, if the Archbishop presented someone like Fr Williamson, I can understand Rome's reticence.

Greg H.

Darkhorse said...

"... nothing remains standing in [the Church] which is contrary to faith."

These words of Pope John Paul II are the nub of the issue. The entire controversy turns on how they are interpreted and understood. Yes, at one extreme, the Church is the unsullied Bride of Christ in whom no spot of impurity shall be found. But, no, the experience of the faithful in their parishes is far from this: in fact, in all-too-many parishes, it is difficult much that is not contrary to the Faith. This is the problem.

Thank you for this synopsis of the history of the SSPX, together with the promise of more.

Lauren said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I can't wait for the next one. Is Bshp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais still living?

Also, I had no idea that the episcopal consecrations had been postponed 3 times before. I am wondering how long did the Pope know of Archbishop Lefebvre's desire (perhaps the better word is request?) to have episcopal consecrations.

ProMarcelLefebvre said...

Please get your copy:

http://www.angeluspress.org
http://www.angeluspress.org/oscatalog/item/8035/marcel-lefebvre

Marcel Lefebvre
$37.00
Bp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
STK# 8035



Click to enlarge
With over 2,000 references and 1,500 names cited, this is the definitive biography of Archbishop Lefebvre, written by one of his closest associates, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais - a scholar in his own right.

Critics have said of the original French edition: "magisterial," "well-researched, serious, and honest," "reveals unsuspected facets. A very complete work," "a rich, important contribution to contemporary religious history," "a literary event," "a landmark." Influential French traditional Catholic publisher Jean Madiran said, "...the fruit of several years of considerable labor. The book is rich in documentation, often unpublished, and in many theological observations."

Marcel Lefebvre's (1905-91) career saw him make a meteoric rise through the ranks. At age 42, this missionary priest was appointed bishop in Senegal by Pope Pius XII. One year later, he was named as the Holy See's Apostolic Delegate for French-speaking Africa. In 1962 he was elected Superior General of the 5,000-member Holy Ghost Fathers. Pope John XXIII made him an Assistant to the Papal Throne and a member of the Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council.

In 1968 he felt obliged to resign from his post as Superior General, and on November 1, 1970, he founded the Society of St. Pius X in Econe, Switzerland with canonical approval. He gradually became well-known throughout the world because of his adherence to the "Latin Mass," his opposition to some of the innovations of Vatican II (1962-65), and his disagreements with Pope Paul VI.

After the Vatican sanctioned him and the Society, he celebrated a "forbidden Mass" in Lille, France (1976), before 10,000 Catholics and 400 journalists, an event that brought him and his convictions international status. In 1988 he made headlines again when he consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II.

All Catholics, particularly those attached to the Tridentine Mass, owe a huge debt of gratitude to this man who was so extraordinarily sure of himself only because he was absolutely sure of God. We ought to know him better.

718 pp. Softcover. 54 photographs, 16 maps and charts.

VivaCristoRey said...

Thanks joe b for a very good, fair and accurate analysis. I hope many will realize that there is more at stake here than just a superficial reconciliation.

It is my belief that unless the Pope consecrates Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops in the world, we will have to wait for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to restore the Church.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed emotions about this topic... first I came to Tradition because of this act by the Archbishop...I didn't know that Catholic Trdaition still existed. 20 years later and I begin to wonder if Tradtion was with one Archbishop who opposed an Ecumenical Council (which according to Catholic theology ought to be infallible) or the rest of the episcopate who followed Vatican II.

New Catholic said...

Greg H.,

Your assumption seems to be correct; it seems that Pope John Paul II was not impressed with the first list of names sent and asked for more names and further documentation regarding each. It should also be remembered that the Pope does not seem to have even considered the possibility of naming more than one Bishop and that both His Holiness and Cardinal Ratzinger considered the whole process too hasty.

Anonymous said...

Michael
I do not believe that Pope Benedict would have spread the use of the Traditional Mass. After all it was much later on that he began to stick up for the Traditional Mass. If you read his earlier work he was completely against it. He was at Vatican II in a shirt and tie. No matter what our opinion is of the current situation of the SSPX we all owe a huge debt to Archbishop Levebvre. May he rest in peace and may Pope Benedict carry on receiving the Graces he needs to fight the modernists in the Vatican.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that JP II was not satisfied with the list of candidates for the episcopacy offered by the late Archibishop, when, as the historical record now shows, the same Holy Father appointed a great number of men as bishops, who were homosexuals and/or protected paedofiles or in a few cases were paedofiles themselves, in the USA.

Chaste, Catholic, traditional men were not good enough for him?

Ma Tucker said...

Sometimes I wish we could return to the past and see the results had the Archbishop been obedient on the matter of the Bishops. I know he was 82 and likely to die however God would not neglect such important work surely. Another and much better way might have emerged. That's what God usually does in these matters of obedience. This is clear throughout our history time and time again.

Anonymous said...

In this historical summary, and the recent events of these days, we see the same opposed duality implicit in the positions of each party.

On the one hand there is a request from Ratzinger/B16 for an acquiescence to obedience to the Roman Pontiff without any prerequesites of the Faith or Sacred Tradition, that is blind obedience; and on the other hand, the offer of obedience within the limits of Scripture, Tradition, and the Infallible Magisterium.

The first side refuses to accept the principles of the second side; the second side, which is that of the True Faith which Christ and the Aposltes and all the popes prior to Vatican II hold, rejects the first side, whose definition of obedience is contrary to reason and justice and the Faith.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo
www.franciscan-archive.org

dcs said...

On the one hand there is a request from Ratzinger/B16 for an acquiescence to obedience to the Roman Pontiff without any prerequesites of the Faith or Sacred Tradition

Given that there is not a single reference to obedience among the five conditions it is hard to see it as a request for obedience. It is a request for charity and respect, nothing more.

Angelo said...

TRADIDI QUOD ET ACCEPI

Catholic Radio Long Island
Presents an Interview with
John Vennari, Editor
Catholic Family News

"Father Henri LeFloch and His Influence on the
Young Seminarian Marcel Lefebvre"

Led by the Providence of God, the young Marcel
Lefebvre was placed in the hands of Fr Henri LeFloch,
the distinguished Rector of the French Seminary in Rome
(founded by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers in
1854 of which the Archbishop later become its Superior General))
where Marcel pursued his theological studies
in accordance with the luminous teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas (Scholasticism) so often recommended by the Popes and by the Church’s Magisterium, and thereby receiving a solid formation for the priesthood.
It was from Fr LeFloch that the young seminarian learned
the principle - -sentire cum Ecclesia --
think with the Church, a principle that guided Marcel
throughout his priestly and episcopal life. It is thanks to
Fr LeFloch that Marcel recognized the modern errors that
were taking root in the Church and that the antidote to these
modern errors was the teaching of Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors
and the papal encyclicals of his four successors. Hence the moving plea, that was central to his sermon of June 30, 1988, launching Operation Survival:
"It seems to me, my dear brethren, that I am hearing the voices of these Popes - since Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII - telling us: ‘ Please, we beseech you, what are you going to do with our teachings, with our preaching, with the Catholic Faith? Are you going to abandon it? Are you going to let it disappear from this earth? Please, please, continue to keep this treasure which we have given you. Do not abandon the faithful, do not abandon the Church! Continue the Church! Indeed, since the Council, what we condemned in the past the present Roman authorities have embraces and are professing. How is it possible? We condemned them: Liberalism, Communism, Socialism, Modernism, Sillonism."

Read in the refectory, the writings of Godefroid Kurth & Fr Deschamps
also influenced the young Marcel to recognize the necessity of the social order to organized itself around the Social Kingship of Christ.
The truth about Christ the King & Priest was the sacred
deposit that Marcel Lefebvre was determined to pass on in his turn.

http://www.voiceofcatholicradio.com/

Anonymous said...

DCS said:

Given that there is not a single reference to obedience among the five conditions it is hard to see it as a request for obedience. It is a request for charity and respect, nothing more.

Your argument is as specious as it is fallacious:

Let's dissect your rationalizing:

I ask: If the Holy Father is not asking for obedience, then in what sense is any catholic obliged to meet preconditions for negotiations?

Is it not because the Preconditions are a requst for compliance, and such implies obedience to the person or to what is due the person?

Now if only charity and respect is due the Pope, then there is a request for obedience to the moral and evangelical law, that is a request to objective norms taught by Christ, and hence a request to obey Jesus Christ.

On the contrary: But when did Christ instruct Peter to lay down a deadline, as these preconditions do? Did He do that when He said: "You should forgive 7 times 7 times"?

Hence if it is hard for you to see the virtue of obedience involved in these 5 preconditions, then I ask what is your notion of obedience?

And if obedience (which is an act of justice) is not involved, how can the Bishop or the SSPX be faulted for a non-response or a negative response, as so many anonymous writers on this blog have declared so emphatically?

Therefore it seems that your objection is unfounded.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

dcs said...

If the Holy Father is not asking for obedience, then in what sense is any catholic obliged to meet preconditions for negotiations?

In the sense that all Catholics are obliged to charity and to respect the authority of the Holy Father. That's not difficult.

Is it not because the Preconditions are a requst for compliance, and such implies obedience to the person or to what is due the person?

Yes, they imply that the Holy Father is due respect even apart from the obedience he is due. For one can disobey a particular command while still respecting the authority of the Holy Father.

As to why Bp. Fellay should be faulted for a non-response or a negative response, it is because the four conditions contain nothing that is objectionable to any Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Stephen, o.f.m. says:

I recognized that the SSPX position is that of the Church of 1962, i.e. the position without the avalanche of novelties, while, as Pope Benedict said on December 22, 2006, one must accept Vatican II, the position His Eminence Cardinal C. Hoyos holds.
The climate, faith and praxis have been changed over 45 years in the reformed Catholic world.

The SSPX did not move from the Church of 1962. The Church moved from Her own position of 1962. This is critical in understanding not only the SSPX, but the stark difference, and the great distance, now, and for 40 years, blamed on the SSPX, as seen by His Eminence Cardinal C. Hoyos.

Unless the Holy Father makes room for the 1962 "extraordinary" Faith, Praxis, Discipline, Doctrine, Yheology and Ecclesiology of the Church, giving the necessary "extraordinary" breathing space and environment to back up and allow the necesary and fitting pasturing of the flock, within the Fold of the Catholic Church, shepherding those also who are adhering to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, I do not see how the SSPX can move into a compromised "UNION" and remain faithful to Christ, to the faith, is short to its own uncompromised position, it always held and stood for.

Unless the Holy Father understands the nature and position of the SSPX and gives it space in the fold, the SSPX remains the challenge it always was since the its beginning, which reality, I believe always presented the discomfort for and generated the resistant regard shown by the popes in the last 40 years. His Holiness Pope Benedict may change that. The Faith will triumph. But your and my prayers are needed.

Anonymous said...

Dear DCS,

Let's examine your faulty reasoning:

You write: In the sense that all Catholics are obliged to charity and to respect the authority of the Holy Father. That's not difficult.

You imagine that the Holy Father can be the Holy Father, be respected as the Holy Father and be loved as the Holy Father, without him being a superior or the Vicar of Christ. In your world, he can then be shown love and respect apart from the obligation of obedience. But such a world does not exist, since the reason for loving and respecting him is the same dignity as that which obliges obedience in all things under God, in matters of the Faith.

Indeed, you seem to suppose that charity and respect are not obligatory in virute of obedience. But the virtue of obedience comprises all that is due a superior, even charity and respect. Otherwise we would have to supppose that the Holy Father in negotiating with the SSPX is approaching the matter as an equal or merely human person, who is due charity and respect in virute of the evangelical or natural law, as a human person.

But that is not the case, nor could anyone reasonably hold such regarding the nature of these negotiations. Therefore your argument is specious, contrary to the facts and dignity of the Apostolic See, and absurd.

It is further incorrect to say there is no obedience, since the 5 conditions are imposed, compliance is demanded as a prerequisite for continuance. Hence there is an obligation and this, as a matter of fact, is made by a superior to an inferior. Hence there is obedience due it.

Then you write in respose to my question: Q: "Is it not because the Preconditions are a requst for compliance, and such implies obedience to the person or to what is due the person?"

Yes, they imply that the Holy Father is due respect even apart from the obedience he is due. For one can disobey a particular command while still respecting the authority of the Holy Father.


In this you ignore that no compliance can be asked or demanded, unless there is a title to justice. It is established that the Holy Father is negotiation as the Holy Father, not merely a human equal. Ergo, the title of justice which is the basis of the obligation is that of a superior and thus we are talking about obedience and all that is inextricalbe to it.

Then you write: As to why Bp. Fellay should be faulted for a non-response or a negative response, it is because the four conditions contain nothing that is objectionable to any Catholic.

Here you err greatly: To ask another person to admit to sins or faults explicity, is to ask him to make a public confession. If he has not committed such faults, then you ask him to perjure or bear false witness against himself. If you make such a condition for speaking with him you greatly injure charity and/or justice, depending upon whether he is your equal or superior/inferior.

Now no Catholic is obliged to perjure or bear false witness against himself.

If you say there is nothing objectionable in these 5 conditions, then you are obviously not aware of the history of the past 40 years. But inculpable ignorance is not a sin, though it does lead to error. Therefore we must in charity suppose that you are so ignorant of this history as to not be able to reason well about it. Otherwise we would have to suppose that you are so malicious as to deny the obvious.

Ergo, it is obvious that your argument is worth nothing, false, contrary to the facts, insulting to the Holy Father and to Bishop Fellay, even if you did not intend this.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

dcs said...

Here you err greatly: To ask another person to admit to sins or faults explicity, is to ask him to make a public confession.

Reminding one of his obligations is not the same thing as accusing him of sin.

For example, I often remind my children of their obligation to assist at Mass on Sundays. Yet there has never been a time when they haven't met that obligation, so I am not accusing them of sin.

Similarly, a secular priest's promise of obedience upon his ordination does not imply prior disobedience.

So reminding Bp. Fellay of his obligations to the Holy Father is not the same thing as accusing him of failing to observe those obligations.

The Holy Father is Bp. Fellay's lawful superior and his spiritual father, and is reminding His Excellency of his obligations.

You imagine that the Holy Father can be the Holy Father, be respected as the Holy Father and be loved as the Holy Father, without him being a superior or the Vicar of Christ. In your world, he can then be shown love and respect apart from the obligation of obedience. But such a world does not exist, since the reason for loving and respecting him is the same dignity as that which obliges obedience in all things under God, in matters of the Faith.

I do not think that the Holy Father is not due obedience. I merely said that the conditions given to Bp. Fellay do not mention obedience, much less the "blind obedience" you believe they imply. The conditions are a call for charity and respect, not "apart" from the obedience due to the Holy Father but over and above the obedience, in all lawful things, that Bp. Fellay has already been observing.

prof. basto said...

It seems that the stumbling blocks were two:

FIRST - The Archbishop first asked for the consacration of one bishop, and, after getting the promise of one such consecration to be held in an unspecified date, he changed his mind and started to demand a plurality of bishops.

SECOND - The Archbishop dictated that he would only wait for pontifical mandate until June 30th, and that, if by that date no mandate had arrived, he would consacrate his four chosen ones without papal approval. Thus, the Archbishop effectively presented an ultimatum to the Supreme Pontiff. The Holy See, on the other hand, informed that it could issue pontifical mandate for the consecration of ONE bishop of its choice by August 15th. But the Archbishop chose not to wait for the August 15th promise, and instead went ahead with his June 30th plan. The Archbishop then began to adopt inflamatory language, made his ultimatum public, and even made, still in mid June, a public announcement of the four priests he would consecrate on the 30th of the month.

The Holy See, confronted with such an act of defiance, expressed in rude letters, a public ultimatum to consacrate without pontifical mandate and a public press conference in June to present the candidates not chosen by the Pope, and also confronted with the Archbishop's lack of good faith regarding the execution of the Protocol, could not just bend over and accept his demands; blind acceptance is what the Archbishop expected, because, as he wrote, he percieved that the Holy See was anxious for an agreement. But, in raising the level of his demands after agreeing to a previous agreement, the Archbishop probably lost the Holy See's confidence, and, what is more, the Holy Apostolic See could not simply yeald to a rude letter, a public ultimatum and an unilateral presentation of the future bishops to the press. Were the Church of Rome to give in to such demands, presented in such a way, and it would have lost all authority.

And that's why agreement never came. For me, personnally, the Archbishop did several things wrongly, and one of his principal errors was not trusting, and not waiting for, the John Paul II/Ratzinger promise of one pontifical mandate by mid August.

c said...

The Vatican's position re. the Society of St. Pius X is irrational. Here's why. (1) Recent Vatican documents have lifted the excommunications on Lutherans and the Greek Orthodox - neither of which recognizes the RC Magisterium (which implies that they are in “a new sort of communion” with Rome, since they are not excommunicated from Rome). (2) The Vatican’s 1993 Directive on Ecumenism encourages Catholics to participate in Protestant liturgies - (#s 118, 191, 213). This clearly means that if the Society, which unquestionably accepts the Magisterium in all of its 20 Councils and Papal pronouncements prior to Vat. II, is excommunicated, then all that the Society needs to do is join the Magisterium-denying Lutherans or Greek Orthodox and the Society will no longer be excommunicated. The “spirit of Vatican II” documents allow for this absurd scenario.

It follows with necessity that the position of all Society-bashers is also absurd. If the bashers believe that the Society is Protestant, then, in order not to violate “the spirit of Vat. II” documents (the very thing for which they condemn the Society), they must (1) treat the Society’s members as brothers - and you don’t bash brothers (see the Vat. II document Unitate Redintegratio [1964] #3) and (2) happily attend the Society’s Mass with reverence (since the 1993 Directive encourages “Catholics” to do so).

Benedict XVI, in his Regensburg address, demands that Christianity be logical. Logic and the Sovereign God of logic demands that unless the Society-basher can overcome the absurdity of Society-bashing, he should never say another critical word about the Society. Given the absurdity of the Vatican's position and the basher’s position, he must consider the possibility that the Society may be right from both a logical point of view and from the infallible point of view of the Sovereign God of Logic. Think and pray about it.
The Scholastic-traditionist.