Rorate Caeli

COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION "ECCLESIA DEI"

On Monday 26 October 2009 in the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio, headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", the study commission made up of experts from "Ecclesia Dei" and from the Society of St. Pius X held its first meeting, with the aim of examining the doctrinal differences still outstanding between the Society and the Apostolic See.

In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a every other month [Edited by the Holy See Press Office]. In particular, the questions due to be examined concern the concept of Tradition, the Missal of Paul VI, the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal Tradition, the themes of the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom. The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of the work.

Source: Holy See Press Office

52 comments:

Joao said...

It is not the last chance.

We will always have Cd. Kasper and its Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity...

Ryan said...

I have followed the comments of the various Society of St Pius X bishops over the past year or so.As a result I see a very small chance of a full reconciliation with Rome.The current actions of the Vatican toward traditional Anglicans (which I support) make it seems even less likely.What I see coming in the next year is a generous offer from the Vatican of some sort to the Society which may take the form of a Personla Prelature.I also see the Pope clarifying church doctrine on some important issues such as the interpretation of Vatican II.But I am quite sure such an offer will be rejected and the Society will break into factions with perhaps one or 2 bishops returning to Rome.As a teenager in the 80's I served mass for some of the priest of the SSPV that broke away from the SSPX in 1983.I also had interactions with the laity.And even as a teenager I realized how wacky these folks were.They wanted the world and Church frozen in 1950.Those days are never coming back in full and people with such reactionary views whether priests or religious will never again submit to the authority of the Pope.However God works in mysterious ways.May his will be done and may Our Lady Of Fatima intercede for the success of these talks!

Peter said...

"In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate"

Let's take a leaf out of their book.

Jordanes said...

Oh, you're hilarious, Joao.

K Gurries said...

Most of these topics for study were anticipated, however, I am a little surprised to see that the question of "collegiality" has fallen off the list.

Peter said...

"But I am quite sure such an offer will be rejected and the Society will break into factions with perhaps one or 2 bishops returning to Rome."

If all four bishops will not agree there will be no reconciliation. This was the demand of archbishop Lefebvre, this is the position of the General Chapter of the SSPX, and I doubt that the Vatican would accept such dangerous situation with the risk of creating a (this time real) schism.

Bishop Williamson agreed to be thrown into the sea not to be an obstacle, so 3 bishops remain. Fellay is for reconciliation. De Galarreta speaks rarely. De Mallerais doesn't like being quiet, but so far both didn't show any signs of unwillingness to follow bishop Fellay.

"They wanted the world and Church frozen in 1950"

They want to stick to tradition, which is living but doesn't change in essence. In that sense it would be return to the "past". But it's archibishop Lefebvre who introduced electricity to his mission in Gabon. He was in favor of the liturgical reform until it has come out what it really is. He was rather progressive in terms of everything but doctrine.

"will never again submit to the authority of the Pope"
"In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate"
Let's follow their example.

Tributa said...

"I am a little surprised to see that the question of "collegiality" has fallen off the list."

I'm not. I think the SSPX has realized that the way they are dealing with the Pope is a supreme example of collegiality in practice, and so have been silenced on that front. They dont REALLY want a papal monarchy, they like bishops having an independent voice. Namely, their own bishops.

As for whether the talks will succeed, I agree with Ryan that hoping they'll ALL come over is a bit naive. But I think they might get all the bishops (yes, even a silenced and obscured Williamson) and most of the priests and people...and the ones who dont come over will be left without much of a future except to seek out episcopi vaganti with even strangers lines of succession.

Anonymous said...

in french...

http://www.radiovm.com/Nouvelles/Details.aspx?/=A&n=19256

Dan Hunter said...

I have a question if any one can help.
People keep talking about the SSPX coming over either piecemeal or as a body.
What implications would this have for example, in a small SSPX country parish?
Say most of the faithful there want to be loyal to the Holy Father and accept a deal, but what happens if the pastor who ministers to that chapel doesn't.
In other words I wonder what provisions will the Holy Father make for the loyal faithful of a split SSPX congregation?
Will confessions be valid only for those that side with The Holy Father and vice versa for those holdouts?
Keeping in mind that there are no other TLM options for these SSPX congregants.
These are people who only want to worship God and recieve the sacraments in a reverent Traditional Latin Mass setting but do not have the option of an Ecclesia Dei chapel or indult Mass at their disposal.
Thank you.

John McFarland said...

Ryan,

Your prognosis is certainly the way to bet.

I doubt that the Anglican initiative will have much effect one way or the other. The Society already knows what the Vatican is like.

The Pope clarifying doctrine? That will not happen. Ambiguity and equivocation are essential to the post-1962 Vatican. If they wanted to be clear, they would have been clear before this.

The SSPX split? No. There is practically no one (indeed, perhaps literally no one) whose continuing presence in the Society is based on the expectation that there will be a structural deal before (God willing) there is a lifting of the modernist occupation of Rome.

My own parish has a few whacky folks. But I've played in a lot of leagues in my time, and its goofball quotient is about the lowest I've ever seen. My wife has played in a lot of leagues, too, and on her account she's never had a more edifying experience than attending the ordinations at Winona.

Anonymous said...

No, Ryan, it will NOT be a personal prelature. Has nobody read anything I have posted on this? I bang the drum daily on it. It will not be a personal prelature. Under Canon 294, that would exclude its nuns and most of its monks and friars--and all its non-ecclesiastics. Under Canon 297, it would mean that the S.S.P.X would need the permission of its enemies among the local Roman ordinaries to establish new apostolates

The problem with a personal prelature is that it is not flexible enough. The Society will be offered either a personal ordinariate (like those being offered to the Anglicans) or a 'ritual' apostolic administration (like that of the Campos) with greater territory.

On this asinine media push for personal prelatures, last night, while looking for something else regarding past negotiations for the TAC, guess what I found? Endless moron media references to a "personal prelature" for the Anglicans! It was literally everywhere. In one case, even AFTER the Pope offered the personal ordinariates, the media morons proclaimed, "Pope offers Anglicans personal prelature!" Whopee! Look as us! We are so obtuse we can't even read!

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Dear NC or moderator,

any insight into the "organization" or "workflow" of the discussions? Apparently this is already established.

One would hope that the most logical approach would be:

1st to establish the import of the Nota Praevia of Pope Paul VI in the Vatican 2 documents.

2nd to re-establish an agreement on what an Oecumenical council is infallible on, and on what matters (notably prudential) it is not. This second question would be a tad challenging as it touches on the ordinary and extraordinary magesterium of the Church. However, it would be a crucial step in these discussions that would quickly establish the form of discussion on all the side topics noted in the posting.

I did find it interesting that in one of the more recent interviews of Bp Fellay, he did not speak disparagingly of Vatican 2, but rather emphasized the interpretation of that Council in harmony with Sacred and Ecclesial Tradition. Which bodes well for a spirit of mutual respect and respect for Truth itself. I therefore would not share Ryan's misgivings, although I do concur that the sad likelihood is that any agreement that may eventuially be established, will likely end up being rejected by a small rumpish faction of quasi-sedevacantists who may be lingering in SSPX.

However, if Truth is served well, and the definition of the Extraordinary magesterium in relation to the infallibility of dogmatic declarations in an Ecumenical council and the affirmation that no prudential decision, even by an Ecumenical council, is infallible (and historical examples abound to prove that), I see no reason why these discussions would be anything but simple and clear.

The Feast Of Sanctus Albertus Magnus, theological father of St Thomas Aquinas, comes up on Nov 15. May he illuminate the Bishops engaged in this discussion that they will serve Truth and that unity which exists only in the Truth.

Anonymous said...

Again, on Ryan's comments:

I would hope that the personal prelature structure would be rejected by Bishop Fellay. As far as I am aware, Bishop Fellay is not suicidal, and you'd have to be to accept that structure, especially given what the Pope has given the Campos and has offered the incoming Anglicans.

But I do agree with Ryan that Fellay is likely to reject ANY structure right now, if only because the other Society bishops will not accept a structure.

Once again, the best solution is for the Pope simply to declare unilaterally that Rome recognises the Society's claim to supplied jurisdiction on the grounds of its honest belief that there is an emergency. Faculties would then be recognised publicly and the problem would be solved--and the Society would not have to surrender or admit one thing. The Pope may have to do this becasue he does not want this legal matter to remain unresolved into the next pontificate (which could be more liberal than this one) and he does not have forever to solve it.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On Tributa's and others' comments here:

This is high thinking but where is the evidence that Bishop Fellay and company are getting ready to accept a structure? They might very well be but I see no EVIDENCE for this.

It might be that a successful Rosary Crusade could 'set the stage' for a temporary and provisional structure, but this is only speculation. From what we know at present, the Pope will have to recognise their faculties unilaterally in exchange for their 'cordial' and Catholic spirit at the C.D.F. Should he not do so, this dispute might extend unresolved into the next two or three pontificates.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

"It is not the last chance.

We will always have Cd. Kasper and its Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity..."

No we won't. Pope Benedict XVI completely bypassed the Council for Christian Unity wiht his initiative for the traditional Anglicans. I have read that Cardinal Kasper and his staff were BEYOND angry that they were bypassed, and indeed, BEYOND angry that the Apostolic constitution came to pass in the first place. They were ALL to a man 100% against it because they thought it flew in the face and was a betrayal of the typical Vatican II and JP II style of ecumenism.


Kasper will be 77 in March. He won't be in office for long after that.
Most of his staff are old men who have been there 20+ years.

Since Benedict XVI did this initiative with the Anglicans without Kasper or constructive input from his team, don't be surprised if Pope Benedict downgrades this little team in the next few months, to the point where it's Prefect doesn't authmatically get to wear a red hat like Kasper, or the infamous Cardinal Willebrands, or the equally infamous Cardinal Bea before him.

Retrofit said...

What implications would this have for example, in a small SSPX country parish?

The SSPX have no jurisdiction so they have no sees or parishes.

Woody said...

http://www.angeluspress.org/oscatalog/item/6710/against-the-heresies

Worth rereading, perhaps.

I too will be interested to know the details of the method of the work.

Dan Hunter said...

Retrofit:

So what happens then, in my scenario in the SSPX missions, nonparish/nonsees/nondioceses/nonbuldings/nonspaces etc?

John McFarland said...

PKTP,

Assuming per impossibile (not literally, but pretty close) that modernist Rome is prepared to grant the SSPX the status you are plumping for, those who understand the issues (who certainly include the SSPX's canonists) will get it the right status. Unless you like watching other people's eyes glaze over, there is really not much purpose in your pounding away at these distinctions.

But while we're on technicalities, may I express my polite skepticism as to whether there is an existing canonical bucket into which the SSPX proper, its faithful, and the various congregations allied with the SSPX can all be put.

Anonymous said...

http://www.radiovm.com/Nouvelles/Details.aspx?/=A&n=19256

The meeting lasted for 3 hours and ended up with a meal founded by Ecclesia Dei. Bon appetit!

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1189902

Vatican prelates say that the talks will last at least a year. So I expect the SSPX to be canonically regular in 3 to 5 years, if nothing goes wrong.

Please post a note when something about the methodology and whether there is some schedule will be known.

Dan Hunter said...

Anon:

Well I hope that the FSSPX is given faculties so we can go to confession while we wait those three to five years.

Its hard to be a saint in the world and it would be kind of nice for the faithful of the FSSPX to go to confession every now and again.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Anon. writes:

"Vatican prelates say that the talks will last at least a year. So I expect the SSPX to be canonically regular in 3 to 5 years, if nothing goes wrong."


Two plus two equals five and that's my considered opinion.

How does your conclusion follow from the premise?

P.K.T.P.

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 18:40,

"So I expect the SSPX to be canonically regular in 3 to 5 years, if nothing goes wrong."

If this remark is to be rescued from tautology, I think you owe us some idea of what going wrong would involv.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. McFarland:

There is such a bucket. The Society could be granted either (a) a 'ritual' apostolic administration under Canon 372.2, but being international in scope. This is what I was advocating all along. Under the same Canon, it could have the higher rank of diocese or even archdiocese but would be under Section 2 of Canon 372: "distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality". The bit about consulting episcopal conferences is customarily waived if the structure is international in scope.

(b) The personal ordinariate structure now being offered to incoming Anglicans, although, again, this one would be international, not local.

Both these structures are equivalent in law to dioceses and would therefore be 100% independent of the local bishops. They can have religious orders attached to them 'of diocesan right', just as any diocese can.

I do not expect the Society to accept such structures, even provisionally, however. I can't see how it can happen unless Bishop Fellay does a volte face. What would be safer at this point is for the Pope simply to recognise Society faculties. This might happen if the Society refused to accept a structure.

The reason I keep hammering away against personal prelatures is because the brain-dead press and the expectations of the public which it now controls are becoming more and more powerful these days. While the Pope has, thank God, ignored them so far in deciding on juridical structure, I believe that pressure from the press has, unfortunately, affected papal policy on other things. One example might be the Good Friday Office change, made after the two chief rabbis of Palestine informed the press of their request so as to exert pressure on the Pope.

The international press, which is controlled by the very worst enemies of the Church, has become an enormous menace. It is largely the instrument used by the devil, along with rock noise, to destroy Western civilisation and Christian culture. Should we ever reach the point at which the Church simply does what the press demands, we shall suffer grievously for it.

P.K.T.P.

Ryan said...

Thanks for all the follow ups folks.First I readily admit that I am not an ardent SSPX follower.I think the Pope had every right to make liturgical reforms at Vatican II.I dont think the liturgy was frozen at Trent.I feel like most here I am sure that that many of the reforms were misguided and the abuses the followed have been disastrous for the Church.If the SSPX thinks that the Pope is just going to give them faculties they are certainly whistlin dixie.Nor is this Pope or any Pope going to abolish the Ordinary Form of the mass.That is why I think once Rome makes a generous offer after a period of these talks many of the laity that go to SSPX chapels will come back to Rome.I wish that all illegal immigrants would be deported,that New York City still had trolley cars, and that they would rebuild old Penn Station but those things are not going to happen lol.The SSPX can do more to reform the Church if they return.For me it boils down to this.The Liturgy needs reform,the Tridentine Mass and sacraments should be made widely available and religious life needs serious reform.But at the end of the day "Where Peter is,there is the Church"

Anonymous said...

"Vatican prelates say that the talks will last at least a year. So I expect the SSPX to be canonically regular in 3 to 5 years, if nothing goes wrong."


Two plus two equals five and that's my considered opinion.

How does your conclusion follow from the premise?

P.K.T.P.

--------------------------

"At least one" year means a year + a few months of delay + a few months of break, I think. That will be around two years. Finding a canonical solution and taming the progresistas will take around a year or two at least - based on the fact how long it took to write statutes for the IBP and that the Transalpine Redemptorists (FSSR) still aren't incardinated anywhere.

"I think the Pope had every right to make liturgical reforms at Vatican II.I dont think the liturgy was frozen at Trent."

Organic development lies between frozing at Trent and calling a committee to create a new liturgy according to their imagination.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ryan:

While you are, of course, completely wrong about a Pope's right to revolutionise the liturgy, I still don't see your logic.

The Holy See is saying that the talks will go on for "at least" one year. So that could mean one hundred years.

In the mean time, I see no EVIDENCE that Bishop Fellay is getting ready to accept a structure, or that the other Society bishops would accept this. Of course, he might do so, but I see no evidence for this. Do you?

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Ryan writes this:
Ryan writes:

"If the SSPX thinks that the Pope is just going to give them faculties they are certainly whistlin [sic] dixie."


I never suggested that the S.S.P.X thinks this or is asking for it. What I am suggesting is that the Pope could do this if the Society continues to refuse a structure. Judging from what Bishop Fellay has actually said until now, I don't expect the Society to accept a structure. It is true that there is some possibility that he might accept it, if we read carefully what he said in the January "Angelus", which is that such offers from Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos were mainly rebuffed because they were made too hastily.

There is a provision in the Code that supplied jurisdiction for faculties is present even if the honest belief that there is an emergency present happens to be a mistaken belief. In other words, if the Society correctly finds that there is an emergency, it has faculties; but if it incorrectly but honestly reaches the same conclusion--it still has faculties.

So the only question is whether the Pope is prepared to make a PUBLIC RECOGNITION of the supplied jurisdiction of the Society. I expect that, since the Society is working in good faith with the Holy See, he might do so but under a certain proviso. He might ask, as a special favour to the faithful, that they not repair to the Society for faculties, while recognising that such faculties are nevertheless present in virtue of supplied jurisdiction.

I think that this will happen if the Society continues to refuse a structure. The Pope does not want the juridical problem to extend beyond this pontificate. Moreover, a 'free ranging' Society would have much less influence now, what with endless S.P. Masses cropping up everywhere in local parishes and now the Anglican Traditionalists joining us.

P.K.T.P.

rams said...

P.K.T.P,

"The international press, which is controlled by the very worst enemies of the Church, has become an enormous menace. It is largely the instrument used by the devil, along with rock noise, to destroy Western civilisation and Christian culture."
Very, very, true.

Btw- "Rock Noise"- Lol... its funny because its true.

John McFarland said...

PKTP,

No one in the press understands the distinctions you're dealing with, or ever will. The press is evil, but it is also stupid, which limits the effectiveness of its evil as regards the subtler issues. Any dustups on this issue will come within the Church, where people understand the stakes.

I suspect that you, as a lay gent. (that is, not a lawyer), underestimate the significance of the fact that what your international personal [whatever] I know you think the words cover your case, and maybe they do. But then again, maybe on closer examination they don't; and maybe, whatever they say, the man ultimately in charge of reading them, won't read them that way. Considerations like this are among the reasons why there is a legal profession.

John McFarland said...

PKTP,

If the MP Masses and the Catholicized TAC sweep all before them, and reduce the SSPX to a subordinate clause in a footnote to the history of the Great Restoration, well, praise be to God, and the Church should be able to find some work for the members of the SSPX.

But I consider this just a happy fantasy. The SSPX and its allies provide most of the brains and most of the guts of traditionalism. The rest of us are mostly mouth musicians, and not very knowledgeable ones at that. If they sell out, those of us who will not bend the knee to Ba'al won't have much on earth to fall back on.

But after all, it's the Lord our God who gives survival as well as increase, and not Cephas or Paul or Apollos or Lefebvre or Fellay.
Father, if thou willst, take this bitter, bitter chalice from us; but not our will, but thine be done.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McFarland writes:

"I suspect that you, as a lay gent. (that is, not a lawyer), underestimate the significance of the fact that what your international personal [whatever] I know you think the words cover your case, and maybe they do. But then again, maybe on closer examination they don't; and maybe, whatever they say, the man ultimately in charge of reading them, won't read them that way. Considerations like this are among the reasons why there is a legal profession."

Yes, the structure does cover the need and I do know it. But the man reading the laws, the one interpreting them, is the Pope himself. As we've already seen in two cases, the Legislator and Interpreter can indeed get it wrong. Paul VI did in "De Missali Romano" when he illegally forbade the old Mass; Benedict XVI did in "Summorum Pontificum" when he incorrectly judged the old and new Masses to be two forms of one Rite. THey are not: they are two separate Rites of Mass.

That, Mr. McFarland, is why I think that the S.S.P.X will not take *any* structure right now. They trust the law but not the lawgiver. Hence the only way forward at this time would be a unilateral declaration on the part of the Pope that Society faculties are valid. Should he choose not to make such a declaration, the legal part of this problem could perdure into the next pontificate--unless Fellay does a volte face. I just don't think that this Pope wants to leave the matter for an uncertain pontificate to follow. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. We needn't lose any sleep over it.

As for your other comment, my purpose is simply to do what I can to limit the influence of a media which is both stupid AND immoral. The more people believe the media's lies and errors, the more influence it is likely to have. It's simple. So I do what I can here. I'm not having much success, however. Most people here just keep saying personal prelature over and over again, like a misdirected incantation. Even after the Pope grants something else to someone, they still say 'personal prelature'. The power of repetition was discovered by Hitler and is used today by our media.

P.K.T.P.

Paul Haley said...

In my opinion we are jumping the gun talking about how the SSPX will be regularized. They have only today started talking to each other and as the Poet says: "They have miles to go before they sleep (my paraphrase)". Doctrinal issues galore are the food on their table and this won't be a quick resolution by any means.

In any case I do believe Mr. Perkins is correct in his assumption that the SSPX will reject any attempt to be placed under the authority of modernist bishops. But, you see, they don't believe they need any "regularization" since the law ecclesia supplet supplies for them the jurisdiction they need. They have believed this all along so why would they think differently now?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Haley:

Your quotation may have been more apt than you think:

"They have miles to go before they sleep."

While American poetry is not by specialty or interest, to my recollection, that poem meant to refer to suicide.

Indeed, it would be suicide for anyone to accept a personal prelature!

The fastest route is simply for the Pope to recognise their claim of supplied jurisdiction. He could do it without admitting that their judgement about an emergency is correct. Problem solved.

So why doesn't he? It's because the Society is 'toxic waste' right now, thanks to Williamson. But it could happen in time.

I would keep my eyes on all the balls right now. I'm betting that Benedict XVI will be reforming the reform as well. He has everyone distracted with these other matters. . . .

P.K.T.P.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Perkins,

It does not matter whether my clients understand all the legal niceties of the work that I do for them, as long as I do it right and get the results that they are seeking.

It's the same point here.

St. Thomas More, pray for us.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Perkins,

The "miles to go" is from Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening":

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

***

As you can see, it is a lovely little poem. But through the good offices of millions of Americans, it is almost as hackneyed as the dozen top quotes from Shakespeare, despite the latters' three-century head start.

As you can also see, it is probably not about suicide.

Amusingly enough, some potted commentary that I found on the internet treats it as if it might be either a man's or a woman's musings.

Athanasius said...

Dan Hunter,

You said:

"Well I hope that the FSSPX is given faculties so we can go to confession while we wait those three to five years.

Its hard to be a saint in the world and it would be kind of nice for the faithful of the FSSPX to go to confession every now and again. Just a thought."


I think the following quotes, copied from Rorati Caeli, may help to resolve your doubts.

"LETTER OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
Under signature of Edward I. Cardinal Cassidy, President (May 3,1994)

"The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the
Society are valid. The bishops are validly ... consecrated."


LETTER OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION "ECCLESIA DEI"
Under Signature of Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretary
May 28, 1996; repeated in Protocol N. 236/98 of March 6, 1998

"It is true that participation in the Mass and sacraments at the
chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute
'formal adherence to the schism.'"


September 27, 2002

1. In the strict sense you may fulfill your Sunday obligation by
attending a Mass celebrated by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X.

2. ...If your intention is simply to participate in Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.

3. It would seem that a modest contribution to the collection at Mass could be justified.


INTERVIEW OF DARIO CARDINAL CASTRILLON HOYOS
PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION "ECCLESIA DEI"
Interview with Gianni Cardinale, of 30 Giorni

November 2005

"Unfortunately Monsignor Lefebvre went ahead with the consecration and hence the situation of separation came about, even if it was not a formal schism."


Clearly, the Vatican would never have spoken of the legitimacy of attending SSPX Masses if the sacrament of confession was unavailable to the faithful. It is reasonable to conclude that the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist are too closely linked to permit one and deny the other.

Besides this, the Church is mindful of the spiritual needs of so many souls who attend SSPX Masses. At no time has the Church ever declared SSPX confessions to be invalid.

If a genuine obstacle had existed, then we would most certainly have had a clarification from the Church when it upheld the validity of SSPX Masses. As it stands, the Church has not contradicted the statements of Roman prelates who claim validity for SSPX confessions. If the Pope disagreed with them in so important a matter, then we would certainly have heard about it. So worry not about going to confession to an SSPX priest.

Anonymous said...

Athanasius:

The opinions of Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and Msgr. Camille Perl have no effect in law, except that those of the latter do deal effectively with matters of Moral Law.

The validity of Society orders and Masses is not doubt. As to confessions and marriages, which normally require jurisdiction, the Church has not made a public statemnt on the matter.

Through the P.C.E.D., the Church has spoken privately about the ability of Society Masses to fulfil the Sunday obligation. This is not, however, a legally-binding public statement.

Quite apart from matters of strict law, what is more important here is public perception. Until the Church speaks publicly and definitively on such matters, bishops can continue to deny what they will re the Society.

P.K.T.P.

Dan Hunter said...

"Clearly, the Vatican would never have spoken of the legitimacy of attending SSPX Masses if the sacrament of confession was unavailable to the faithful. It is reasonable to conclude that the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist are too closely linked to permit one and deny the other."

Athanasius,

I never thought about that.
It does make perfect sense.
Why would the Church state that Society Masses fulfill the Sunday obligation, but then turn around and say that the very sacrament one needs to participate and recieve God in the Mass was invalid.
Thank you very much.

JM said...

SSPX "Wacky." Right, and the RCC at the parish level is not. I'd prefer "wacky" to "pagan." Any day. Any year. Ungracious comment, based on the comments of someone's recollections as a teenager. Wonderful.

Sanuel Ferraro said...

To Ryan,

Actually the Church in 1950 was in very good shape! If it had continued in that manner it would not be in the unfortunate shape that it is in today! I'm sorry but there is simply no way around this fact! Dissent existed then just as it does now, but at that time the Church had a very efficient "immune system" which did not allow dissent and heresy to seed and take hold. Pius XII knew very well who they all were and he did a very good job of keeping them at bay. After his death, everything began to change. The decisions made by various members of the hierarchy over the last 50 years have been extremely misguided.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hunter writes:

"I never thought about that.
It does make perfect sense.
Why would the Church state that Society Masses fulfill the Sunday obligation, but then turn around and say that the very sacrament one needs to participate and recieve God in the Mass was invalid.
Thank you very much."

Um, Mr. Hunter, the Sacrament of Penance and that of Matrimony require jurisdiction for validity as well as liceity. That is how it is. I'm not saying that the Society Sacraments are invalid here. I am just pointing out that a valid Society Eucharist does not, in itself, mean a valid Confession. That's just how it is.

P.K.T.P.

P.S. Oh, and about the poem. I've heard somewhere (from a colleague, I think) that it was about suicide. I honestly have no idea. I don't know Frost's poetry very well at all.

Anonymous said...

"Pius XII knew very well who they all were and he did a very good job of keeping them at bay."

Unfortunately, the great Pope Pius XII permitted Monsignor Bugnini to initiate the dreadful liturgical revolt that resulted in the shipwrecked status of the Roman Liturgy.

Tim

Peter said...

PKTP: "The international press, which is controlled by the very worst enemies of the Church, has become an enormous menace. It is largely the instrument used by the devil, along with rock noise, to destroy Western civilisation and Christian culture."

1. What kind of music do you prefer? (I guess it's classical music - so which composers?)
2. Are there any news sources you find reliable?

Athanasius said...

P.K.T.P.

You said: "Um, Mr. Hunter, the Sacrament of Penance and that of Matrimony require jurisdiction for validity as well as liceity. That is how it is. I'm not saying that the Society Sacraments are invalid here. I am just pointing out that a valid Society Eucharist does not, in itself, mean a valid Confession. That's just how it is."

You are wrong about this, I'm afraid. There is absolutely no question that the Church would have spoken if the sacraments administered by the SSPX were truly considered to be invalid.

Not only has this never happened, not even when the Pope issued Summorum Pontificum, but she has positively given the opposite impression through the various statements I quoted earlier from senior Vatican prelates.

There are quite a few in the Vatican who accept the "state of necessity" argument put forward by the SSPX, or are at least convinced that the SSPX is genuine in its belief that a state of necessity exists, which does make a huge difference in how the Church treats of the situation.

Here is the statement of Cardinal Cassidy again:

""LETTER OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
Under signature of Edward I. Cardinal Cassidy, President (May 3,1994)

"The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the
Society are valid. The bishops are validly ... consecrated."


These words of His Eminence are by no means rare. Cardinal Castrillion Hoyos said the same thing, as did Mgr. Perl and others. The Holy See has never once moved to counter these statements.

So unless you're saying that you know Church law better than these senior prelates, I think we can safely take it that they speak with the approval of the Pope. Otherwise, we are truly in a muddle if even the Princes of the Church are at odds in the most serious matter of the administration of the sacraments.

Samuel Ferraro said...

To Anonymous,

There was a legitimate liturgical movement in place during the reign of Pius XII and before. Bugnini was involved but remember this. Any liturgical reform must be approved by the Supreme Pontiff. I urge you to read the 1947 encyclical of Pius XII "Mediator Dei". In this encyclical, the Holy Father distinguishes good liturgical development from that which is harmful. If the missal of 1970 had been put on the desk of Pius XII, I believe he would have dismissed it entirely. I believe that once he saw the direction the movement was taking after VC II he would certainly have intervened.

Anonymous said...

Athanasius:

It is you who are dead wrong. These statements you quote have no standing in law, and the absense of an official statement from Rome means precisely nothing.

Again, a valid Eucharist does not, in itself, mean that the one who confects it can absolve sins. Validly to absolve sins or serve as a witness for marriage, the administrator of the Sacrament needs jurisdiction. For those Sacraments alone, jurisdiction is needed for both liceity and validity. If need be, I can quote the Code to prove it. For Penance, take the trouble to read Canon 966.

I happen to agree with you that the Society has supplied jurisdiction. But my opinion on the matter has no standing in law, and nor does the opinions of those whom you have quoted. They might very well be right but their statements are not authoritative interpretations on points of law. Period.

We need findings from a dicastery which has competence in the matter. This presumably means the Pontifical Council for the Intepretation of Legislative Texts, or else the ruling of a tribunal, or any papal act published in the A.A.S.

Statements of the P.C.E.D. which are signed only by the Secretary have force only for the addressee and only authority in Moral Law. In the case of Penance, one can obtain forgiveness from God--the grace and virtue of the Sacrament--apart from a valid absolution, under certain conditions. Indeed, one who honestly believes that he is confessing to a priest who has the power of absolution can obtain the grace and virtue of the Sacrament, and such a belief could result from a letter from Msgr. Perl. But this does not, in itself, confer a power on a priest. It is what Canon 960 calls absolution "by other means".

The mere opinion of various prelates is not able to assure the faithful of the Church's true position in this case. What is needed, therefore, is a legally-binding and public statement from the Holy See.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Athanasius writes:

"So unless you're saying that you know Church law better than these senior prelates, I think we can safely take it that they speak with the approval of the Pope."

This is a non sequitur. It is not a matter of my opinon or of theirs. A number of canonists, for that matter, have argued that the Society has no faculties to absolve sins. The question before us is whether or not the Church herself has ruled on this matter. The opinons of prelates, howsoever lofty they may be, has no standing in law.

It is the same in matters of theology. That is why we distinguish between what the Pope says as a 'private doctor' and what he says as the Supreme Pontiff on matters addressed to the Church. Senior prelates can disagree among themselves, and some of them know little about matters of law. That's why we have tribunals and councils to interpret the law of the Church.

P.K.T.P.

John McFarland said...

Athanasius,

Two thoughts.

1. We ARE in a muddle, to say the least of it.

2. Statements of the form,

"X could never possibly do A,"

where X is a man born of woman, and A is something that X is physically and mentally capable of being,

turn out with dismaying regulatity to be false.

Athanasius said...

P.K.T.P.

In answer to your comments regarding SSPX comments, I have taken your advice and read Canon 966. I think you may also wish to re-read that Canon along with an interpretation of Church Law at this link:
http://www.burcom.com.au/~cdnet/baker.htm

As for those prelates who have declared in favour of the validity of SSPX confessions. While you may indeed argue that they don't speak officially for the Church, I think it very frivolous to dismiss their assertions as merely personal opinion.

You should consider the seniority of the prelates in question, particularly Cardinal Hoyos, once the head of the Congregation for the Clergy. If he doesn't know how to intepret Church Law in matters concerning the administration of the sacraments by clergy, then how did he ever hold that senior post?

Just as an aside, did you know that the SSPX was validly erected as a congregation within the Church in 1970, by the Bishop of Geneva, and that it received its "decree of praise" in 1971, by which it was formally recognised by Rome and removed from the jurisdiction of the aformentioned bishop? Indeed, did you know that even after the suspended a divinis of 1975, Rome granted the request of a Dominican religious to leave her order and join the SSPX? Now how could Rome permit such a thing if the authorities truly believed that the 1975 suspension was in any way valid or licit?

Of course it was neither valid nor licit given that the grounds for suspension were merely that the SSPX refused the New Mass and the changes of Vatican II and Archbishop Lefebvre was denied the right to hear the charges against him or to defend himself before the legal authorities of the Church. It was also rendered invalid and illicit by the very fact that the SSPX had not then, nor has it been since, suppressed as an institution by the Holy See, the only authority that could/can declare such a suppression.

I suggest you read the link provided. It gives a full explanation of Church law both as regards the Canon you refer to and the history I have here referred to. I would be interested to have your thoughts afterwards.

Jordanes said...

As for those prelates who have declared in favour of the validity of SSPX confessions. While you may indeed argue that they don't speak officially for the Church, I think it very frivolous to dismiss their assertions as merely personal opinion.

I am aware of the PCED saying in a reply to Brian Mershon that SSPX confessions are not valid, but I'm not aware of any prelates ever saying their confessions are valid. Do you have any quotes from them saying so? Quotes mentioning "valid sacraments" are not enough -- what are needed are quotes specifically addressing the validity of confessions.

the SSPX was validly erected as a congregation within the Church in 1970, by the Bishop of Geneva, and that it received its "decree of praise" in 1971, by which it was formally recognised by Rome and removed from the jurisdiction of the aformentioned bishop?

Nevertheless, Michael Davies in his "Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre" quotes the translation of a letter of 6 May 1975 from the commission of cardinals appointed by Pope Paul VI to investigate Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX. The letter says, "A letter will be dispatched by Msgr. Mamie according him the right to withdraw the approval which his predecessor gave to the Fraternity and to its statutes. This has been done in a letter from His Excellency Cardinal Tabera, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious. Once it is suppressed, the Society ‘no longer having a juridical basis, its foundations, and notably the Seminary at Ecône, lose by the same act the right to existence.’"

Justly or unjustly, it was undoubtedly by authority granted by the Roman Pontiff that the SSPX was suppressed in 1975.

even after the suspended a divinis of 1975, Rome granted the request of a Dominican religious to leave her order and join the SSPX? Now how could Rome permit such a thing if the authorities truly believed that the 1975 suspension was in any way valid or licit?

Granting a Dominican's request to leave her order is not the same thing as giving her permission to join the SSPX.

It was also rendered invalid and illicit by the very fact that the SSPX had not then, nor has it been since, suppressed as an institution by the Holy See, the only authority that could/can declare such a suppression.

It may be invalid for the other reasons you cited, but it is untrue that the Holy See did not suppress the SSPX.

Picard said...

Athanasius (and McF):

I am sympathetic to the SSPX, but Jordanes and PKTP are just right!