Rorate Caeli

Abbé Georges de Nantes, R.I.P.

In the early morning of February 15, the abbé Georges de Nantes fell asleep in the Lord, fortified by the rites of the Church.

He was one of the earliest, fiercest public critics of the Second Vatican Council, which he held to be a legitimate ecumenical council of the true Church, endowed with the authority to teach dogmatically and infallibly. The Council, he held, and with reason, finally declined to teach with that level of authority. Therefore its teachings were not definitively binding, and dissent from those teachings did not exclude a member of the Faithful from communion with the Church. (A separate question from that of whether such dissent be wrong)

The Abbé de Nantes, faced with the malaise of the Church, with the "diabolical disorientation" afflicting her, appealed from the Pope to the Pope. He challenged the Successor of Peter to make an infallible judgment in these matters.

He was vehemently opposed to the schismatic "solution" to the current situation, and urged his followers to remain in their parishes.

Very devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he initiated the most scholarly and important study of Fatima in French (and in English, which translation the present writer helped to edit), and many other scientific, apologetical works.

He was declared "disqualified" by the CDF but, if I am not mistaken, no theological error was said to be found in his writings, but, they said, rather a serious lack of respect for the Holy Father.

I had the privilege of meeting this remarkable priest during the summer of 2000.

I remember his gentle self deprecating humour and his kindness and affability.

He told me spontaneously that Vatican II was "the most legal of all the Councils," explaining how Pope John XXIII had put every canonical preparation and safeguard in place.

I remember the very great devotion and reverence with which he offered the Holy Sacrifice, with which he made each sign of the Cross, like St. Bernadette, on whose feast day his funeral mass took place.
Written and sent by a grateful Priest

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought that Abbe de Nantes raised doubts about whether Paul VI and John Paul II were valid Popes. Am I mistaken?

~Bonifacius

New Catholic said...

I know he was very critical of both, but he was never a ----vacantist, as far as I am aware.

NC

Anonymous said...

Thank you, for posting this news about the Abbé and for your respect for him. I red with great interest the volumes published under his guidance:
"The Whole Truth about Fatima."

Let us pray for the Church and Pope Benedict XVI.
May the Abbé rest in peace.
Thank you again.
- Father Stephen, O.F.M.

M. A. said...

The Abbe never doubted the validity of the post conciliar popes.

My condolences to his community; they must feel his absence deeply.

Rome has been silent about his passing. I hope some consciences are pricked.

Anonymous said...

I will remember to pray for the repose of the soul of Abbe de Nantes. I remember reading his works back in the 1990s on the Internet. Perhaps my memories of his Libri Accusationum are skewed, but it seems he did accuse Popes Paul VI and John Paul II of both heresy and schism (as well as scandal). You need look no further than here: http://www.crc-internet.org/lib1.htm


http://www.crc-internet.org/lib2.htm

Now, if I remember correctly, the Abbe did not presume the authority to judge the Pope himself. That is why he was not a s#&@vacantist. But he did make pretty extreme accusations. I am not even venturing to criticize the Abbe for thinking that the Popes in question had committed acts that were materially heretical or schismatic. I am just presenting what his position was. It is interesting that he did not, apparently, tell his followers to leave their parishes; that is what I take away from the main post on this website.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

I shall quote Abbe de Nantes' "Book of Accusation" against Pope John Paul II, published in 1983 (http://www.crc-internet.org/lib2.htm):

"WE AWAIT THE CHURCH'S INFALLIBLE JUDGEMENT

Today, Modernism has become pope. The successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Jesus Christ is reiterating the perfidy of Caiaphas, with a view to perpetrating the new deicide foretold by the Scriptures, that of man dethroning Jesus Christ in his own temple to enthrone himself there instead and so receive the world's adoration of himself as God and Saviour. And for this he requires the consent of the princes of the Church and of the whole People of God.

Such being the Abomination of Desolation, we cannot but legitimately suspect your authority, Most Holy Father, and maintain a watchful and resolute withdrawal of obedience until such time as the Infallible Truth and Holy Justice be made manifest. In this we shall follow the example of that poor bishop of Poitiers, Hilary, with regard to the magnificent Auxentius, Bishop of the imperial city of Milan, whom the bishops, clergy and faithful of the entire West seemed to follow devoutly. Here then is what Hilary of Poitiers declared in his letter against Auxentius in the year of grace 364. We are entitled to make this appeal and this denunciation our own. All that needs changing is Your name, Most Holy Father, for that of Auxentius and the terms humanist and Modernism in place of Arian and Arianism. For to make Christ the Son of God a creature and to make a god of man is basically the same apostasy, is it not?"

End quotation.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

Now, from a later section of the same document:

"THE ULTIMATE RECOURSE TO THE EMPEROR, BUT TODAY TO THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF

As for us, Most Holy Father, we shall not desert our churches nor abandon our parishes; we shall never separate ourselves from the Great Church, so much abused by her lying pastors, but who herself remains ever faithful. We shall not take refuge in dense forests nor shall we hide in caves. On the contrary, we summon You, before your face, to tell us whether you are the Vicar of Christ, the Son of God, only Saviour, King of kings and Lord of lords, or whether you are the prince of antichrists, the Servant of man who makes himself god, an abomination of Satan.

For, there is only communion with those who, together with the holy Popes Pius IX and Pius X, cast an anathema on all atheistic humanism and on all Modernist perversity, and who preach "Jesus Christ alone, and Him crucified" for the divine object of our faith, our service and our worship, and, if it please Him, of our martyrdom.

In the meanwhile, may it please You to promulgate those infallible definitions and anathemas which alone can wash the Roman See and the Catholic episcopate clean of all heresy and ignominy, with which they are now sullied. We ask of no emperor, no prince, archbishop or bishop, but of You Yourself, and, failing that, of Christ Himself, the Creator, Sovereign Lord and Judge of the living and the dead, the freedom of the Catholic faith and worship, which is not only necessary for our souls but due to God, to the Blessed Virgin and to the Saints.

"May those who fear the Lord God and His divine judgement, those who have no wish to be sullied nor even contaminated by such execrable blasphemies have the real possibility of having for priests and bishops only those who jealously and inviolably guard the bonds of Charity and who desire to maintain a peace that is lasting, because free from all error.

"For an alliance of opposites, a concord of antitheses is impossible and against reason. The true and the false cannot be mixed; light and darkness are not to be confounded; night and day will never reach a final agreement." (Ibid.)

AMEN!"

End quotation.

So he does not seem to be a s@#$vacantist, but he does "suspect" the Pope's authority and he does "withdraw obedience" until the Pope should meet criteria X, Y, and Z. Note, he does not say, "We shall disobey unlawful commands that exceed this or any Pope's authority." Rather, he raises suspicions over whether the Pope possesses actual papal authority and does not clarify whether he withdraws obedience only in things sinful or even in legitimate spheres. Maybe he clarifies this point elsewhere. If he does, please correct me! Thank you for reading.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

Didn't he found an Order of priests (which wear a very attractive habit with a red heart on the left breast), as well as contemplative community of friars/monks and also a few Orders of nuns....all according to Catholic tradition.

A very holy and devout priest. May he rest in peace.

beng said...

He was declared "disqualified" by the CDF

What in the world is this disqualified declaration? Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

My sources say that the Abbe was suspended a divinis and that the CDF confirmed this sentence. For whatever that's worth. The Abbe complained that these penalties were un-merited.

http://www.crc-internet.org/abbe.htm

~Bonifacius

Woody said...

I join with others here in praying for the repose of the soul of Abbe Georges de Nantes. The CRC website has some very interesting articles on it, quite apart from the liberi accusationis, which I choose not to delve into. Their treatment of the whole Algerie Francaise issue was very interesting, for instance. I also note that the noted Catholic writer Dianne Moczar seems to have been favorably influenced by Abbe de Nantes.

RIP

K Gurries said...

This is a very interesting article from the referenced website:

http://www.crc-internet.org/HIR05/August36_1.htm
=============================

It appears that Abbé Georges de Nantes was highly critical of the CCC (1992) -- identifying in it a number of "heresies". This article explains how the CCC Compendium (2005) promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI has removed any trace of the so-called "heresies". The "new" Catechism is highly praised! It is possible that the more direct Q&A format of the Compendium contributed to clarifying some aspects that may have been wrongly interpreted.

andyjourn said...

I think I read years ago that he regarded Archbishop Lefebvre as a Freemason!

I also agree that a "schismatic" solution was not the best response to the problems we faced following the Council, but I find that statement a little bit hard to take.

LeonG said...

"He told me spontaneously that Vatican II was "the most legal of all the Councils," explaining how Pope John XXIII had put every canonical preparation and safeguard in place."

He was correct. Abbe Georges also went on to explain in many very learned well-referenced works how & why The Vatican Councils were hijacked and by whom. We can corroborate this rebellion against legitimate authority at The Councils elsewhere: Fr Wiltgen, for example among others.

When you read his books of accusation against the post-conciliar papacies of Paul VI (RIP) & Pope John Paul II (RIP) he objectively illustrates and exemplifies how the Roman Catholic Faith has been and is being systematically subverted by liberal modernism and its disorientating axioms.

He was certainly no sedevacantist & all his works address the post-conciliar papacies as such.

He will always have my prayers; his community too and many of his evaluations and criticisms are currently being vindicated as we witness with our own eyes the cancer of systemic hierarchical subdivision & general apostasy which is eating away at the very heart of The Church as it attempts to accommodate itself with the secular world & the numerous false religions.

And for those who doubt that there is apostasy explain why it is that the church in which there is a significant absence of discipline, is in such chaos with near liturgical anarchy; explain why fewer & fewer young men want to be presbyters of the NO; explain why once staunch Catholic countries now vote in the UN for the rights of sodomite families & the right of women to abortion, among other salient indicative factors.

Abbe Georges de Nantes - Requiescat in Pace

Paul Haley said...

The Abbé de Nantes stood up for Tradition and for this was villified by the modernists. May he rest in peace and be an intercessor before the throne of Almighty God for us.

M. A. said...

Bonifacius,

The dear Abbe was obedient, so obedient that he abided by his suspension, although any fair-minded person could judge that his suspension was unjust. He was said to be "disqualified", but no one would explain to him what that meant. His appeals to justice were ignored. No authority - no bishop, no tribunal, no pope ever did convict him of any crime against his vows, God or His Church.

He was obedient, but not blindly so. When he was told to leave his community and go into seclusion, he obeyed; but he realized that the purpose of the separation was to dissolve his foundation while he was away, so he returned.

He didn't pussy-foot around heresy or heretics, or schismatics, no matter who the apparent perpetrator, be it pope or theologian. For that, I admired him. There was no doubt whatsoever, that he intensely loved the Faith!

The Abbe de Nantes, Defender of the Faith, may he rest in peace.

I know he hears my prayers. He was a truly great man and priest.

Anonymous said...

M.A.,

I'm just pointing out his own words in the Liber Accusationis -- he said he was withdrawing his obedience. You say he abided by the suspension, yet the priest who wrote the original post says that the Abbe was saying Mass.

~Bonifacius

dcs said...

You say he abided by the suspension, yet the priest who wrote the original post says that the Abbe was saying Mass.

Is a suspended priest not permitted to celebrate Mass privately? And would the faithful not be permitted to attend under Can. 1335?

M. A. said...

Bonifacius said: "You say he abided by the suspension, yet the priest who wrote the original post says that the Abbe was saying Mass."

dcs: "Is a suspended priest not permitted to celebrate Mass privately? And would the faithful not be permitted to attend under Can. 1335?"
_________________________________
The Abbe celebrated his private Masses, which privilege, yes, a suspended priest retains. Being in Community, his religious were able to attend. He did not administer any other sacraments.

Anonymous said...

DCS,

Are you asking the question in earnest or rhetorically? I have been trying to find sources on the Internet about "suspensio a divinis." The closest I can come to a definitive source is the Catholic Encyclopedia, which says that suspension a divinis means suspension from all faculties obtained either by privilege for by ordination. If that *doesn't* include saying Mass, I don't know what it could mean. If someone knows definitively, please let him speak.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

From what I have been able to find, suspension a divinis covers all exercise of priestly functions, either public or private. If suspension a divinis does not forbid the private celebration of Mass, would someone please cite the relevant text saying so? If one is obedient to a suspension a divinis, I imagine that he would cease saying Mass even in private.

This point has less to do with the late Abbe (R.I.P.). Rather, it has to do with clarifying what precisely we are talking about. Some are saying that the Abbe was obedient to the suspension while he still said Mass. I don't care so much whether he said Mass in accordance with the suspension or not, just whether we're using our terms "obedience" and "suspension" correctly. Likewise, some are saying that the Abbe did not doubt the validity of the post-conciliar Popes. His own writings indicate that he "suspected" their authority and asked them to prove/demonstrate it so as to put those suspicions to rest. Only after we clarify terms can we grapple with the realities at hand.

Thank you.

~Bonifacius

John McFarland said...

Let me make the Libri accusationis easy for you.

What the Abbe was saying to Popes Paul and JP2 is as follows: based upon the information set forth in these books, I call upon you to convict yourselves of heresy and schism, and act accordingly.

His denunciation of the Catechism of V2 (and PJP2 said in as many words that that's what it was) can be viewed as an appendix to the Liber accusationis against that Pope.

His reading of Vatican II and the magisterium of the conciliar popes is pretty much identical to that of the SSPX -- and indeed, of anyone who understands what he is looking at, and how the doctrine of the Church stood before the Council.

His untranslated writings in French are voluminous; and when I say voluminous, I mean VOLUMINOUS. Probably somewhere in there he explains why he considers Abp Lefebvre and the SSPX schismatic, and why his followers attend the new Mass; but based on the materials available on his site, I haven't been able to figure out either.

If you also want to understand more about the relation between traditional Catholicism and French political rightism, the Abbe is your boy. As a young priest he contributed to Action Francaise under a pseudonym, and his rightist politics never changed. His political and cultural views will give most American traditional Catholics a new perspective on such matters, to say the least of it.

He also had his own metaphysics, which he considered a great improvement over scholasticism.

He was also a devotee of critical scripture studies, although he insisted that it brought you to orthodox results.

His answer to all our problems was Vatican Council III.

He was a great fan of Pope John Paul I.

And the foregoing is by no means the whole of it.

How to describe him? In my view, a melange of wisdom, eccentricity, and weirdness -- although I'm not sure what piece of his thinking goes into what bucket, and may never be.

Beyond that, words fail me.

But the Son of Man has already taken his measure. Requiescat in pace.

M. A. said...

"I have been trying to find sources on the Internet about "suspensio a divinis." The closest I can come to a definitive source is the Catholic Encyclopedia, which says that suspension a divinis means suspension from all faculties obtained either by privilege for by ordination."

______________________________

The reason I stated that a suspended priest still retained the privilege of offering his private Mass, is because that is what the late Dominican Father John O'Connor - himself unjustly suspended - personally told me.

And McFarland, if you think about it, weren't many saints considered "weird" by their contemporaries?

Anonymous said...

M.A.,

Well, every source I can find says that Fr. O'Connor was wrong. When a priest is suspended "a divinis," that means both public and private celebration of the Sacraments. *SURELY* someone who reads this blog knows canon law and can confirm this.

~Bonifacius

pathib said...

I have personally benefited a great deal from the writings of the abbé de Nantes. The studies on the Shroud of Turin were particularly helpful. The abbé was an amazingly gifted writer.

That said, it seems to me that some of his positions regarding the crisis in the Church were self-defeating, e.g. his position on the Novus Ordo. At first, he fought against it then, in order to distance the CRC from other traditionalists who he thought were on "schismatic trajectory", he gave ground. His religious brothers and sisters attend the NOM when outside their monasteries - even communicating in the hand - but keep the old ordo inside. The abbé himself used the VOM for Holy mass. But alas, not being a liturgist, he never seemed to understand the importance of the liturgy as the central focus point in the implementation of the revolution. Yes, our difficulties surely stem from doctrinal issues but the battle is first waged, week in and week out, in the liturgy.

Another example of self-defeatism is the form in which his Liber Accusationis were written. They were more like long pamphlets than closely argued canonical accusations. As written, they were sure to be rejected by Rome and I think he knew that they would be.

His doctrinal eccentricities were also very problematic. Non-french readers are usually unaware of those. He professed the belief, amongst other things, that the soul of the BVM existed before all of creation. His view of the redemption on the cross was also non-traditional, arguing the suffering of the cross did not really merit our salvation. And there are other innovations.

Be that as it may, I thank you Georges de Nantes for the good that you have done. There is plenty of that.

Resquiescant in pace.

Dan Hunter said...

Speaking of Suspension a Divinis, I know of an FSSP priest, his name escapes me at the moment, he writes for Latin Mass magazine, ah I recall...Father Chad Ripperger.
Anyhow, I had an brief email conversation with Father and he informed me that the SSPX, who I believe are suspended a divinis, whether justly or unjustly, may offer private Masses licitly.
In fact Father Ripperger informed me that he in charge of an apostolate of nuns in Post Falls,Idaho, and he allows an SSPX priest to offer Mass for the sisters.

Anonymous said...

Alright, at the risk of sounding brusk, I ask that someone cite a canonical or official statement about suspensio a divinis, *not* what they have heard from this or that priest or what this or that priest allows. People here are saying that suspensio a divinis does not forbid all celebration of the Sacraments, at least not in the case of private offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. On the other hand, every objective, non-anecdotal source I can find says that suspensio a divinis means from *all* "divinis" (divine services), public *and* private. Once again, this can *not* be difficult to prove or disprove. But anecdotal evidence does not count. This is a matter of canon law and really the only official source is canon law. Please help if you can! This is not so much about the late Abbe (R.I.P.) as about how we use terms. If the idea that suspension a divinis does not affect private celebration of the Mass -- a position many here seem to hold -- is just a fallacy, and it does seem to be a fallacy, then that idea should be exposed for what it is and rejected as such.

Thank you. And again, no anecdotal evidence! That would speak to "pastoral solutions" and I'm talking about the letter of the law here.

~Bonifacius

dcs said...

Bonifacius,

The Catholic Encyclopedia surely would not take the differences between the old Code of Canon Law and the new Code into account. In fact the online CE was written even before the 1917 Code was promulgated. So I don't think it is a good reference here.

The canons on suspension in the current Code of Canon Law (can. 1333-1334) are pretty vague. Unless the decree of suspension of the abbe de Nantes specifically prohibited him from offering Mass privately, I think we should, in charity, assume that he observed the suspension imposed on him.

My initial question was earnest, not rhetorical; I took some time later to see if I could find anything on the issue.

Anonymous said...

DCS,

Thanks, but why don't you quote the vague text so I can actually see what it is you're talking about? You seem to have it at hand -- please share.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

DCS,

Thanks again for giving the canon numbers. I was able to find the info. online (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4X.HTM ):

Can. 1333 §1. Suspension, which can affect only clerics, prohibits:

1/ either all or some acts of the power of orders;

2/ either all or some acts of the power of governance;

3/ the exercise of either all or some of the rights or functions attached to an office.

§2. A law or precept can establish that a suspended person cannot place acts of governance validly after a condemnatory or declaratory sentence.

§3. A prohibition never affects:

1/ the offices or the power of governance which are not under the power of the superior who establishes the penalty;

2/ the right of residence which the offender may have by reason of office;

3/ the right to administer goods which may pertain to the office of the person suspended if the penalty is latae sententiae.

§4. A suspension prohibiting a person from receiving benefits, a stipend, pensions, or any other such thing entails the obligation of making restitution for whatever has been received illegitimately, even if in good faith.

Can. 1334 §1. Within the limits established by the preceding canon, either the law or precept itself or the sentence or decree which imposes the penalty defines the extent of a suspension.

§2. A law, but not a precept, can establish a latae sententiae suspension without additional determination or limitation; such a penalty has all the eVects listed in ⇒ can. 1333, §1.

Can. 1335 If a censure prohibits the celebration of sacraments or sacramentals or the placing of an act of governance, the prohibition is suspended whenever it is necessary to care for the faithful in danger of death. If a latae sententiae censure has not been declared, the prohibition is also suspended whenever a member of the faithful requests a sacrament or sacramental or an act of governance; a person is permitted to request this for any just cause.

END QUOTATION

Wow, that is *really* vague. Yes, unless one's sentence explicitly forbids X, it seems that the person in question is free to do X. And as I have not read Abbe de Nantes' sentence and really don't care to, there is no reason to suspect any disobedience because he supposedly said private Masses. Thanks, all!

~Bonifacius

Jordanes said...

On the other hand, every objective, non-anecdotal source I can find says that suspensio a divinis means from *all* "divinis" (divine services), public *and* private.

That is the correct definition of "suspension a divinis." There is nothing that has changed that definition at or following the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law, which does allow for the penalty fo suspensio a divinis.

Therefore if the Abbe de Nantes was really suspended a divinis (I don't know one way or the other), then he should not have been celebrating Mass even privately.

Jordanes said...

On the other hand, every objective, non-anecdotal source I can find says that suspensio a divinis means from *all* "divinis" (divine services), public *and* private.

That is the correct definition of "suspension a divinis." There is nothing that has changed that definition at or following the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law, which does allow for the penalty of suspensio a divinis.

Therefore if the Abbe de Nantes was really suspended a divinis (I don't know one way or the other), then he should not have been celebrating Mass even privately.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jordanes. The CRC website says that the suspension was a divinis, so if that's correct I was right in saying that he could not have been obedient to the suspension so long as he continued saying Mass.

The canons I cited above may be vague because they deal with suspensions of all sorts, not just a divinis. I take Jordanes at his word in saying that suspension a divinis covers all public and private Masses.

Thanks again,
Bonifacius

Jordanes said...

As I understand it (and real canonists will have to correct me if this armchair canonist is wrong), I think there are two circumstances that would excuse a priest who is suspended a divinis from celebrating private Masses: if the suspension is manifestly contrary to or outside of law and therefore invalid, or if the priest has formally lodged an appeal to have the penalty overturned -- during the appeals process, the sentence is suspended. Otherwise such a priest should only celebrate sacraments or exercise rights and privileges that are his by ordination on an emergency basis.

M. A. said...

"if the suspension is manifestly contrary to or outside of law and therefore invalid, or if the priest has formally lodged an appeal to have the penalty overturned -- during the appeals process, the sentence is suspended."
_____________________________

Yes, the Abbe most definitely did appeal, but his appeal was for one reason or another ignored. The Abbe was as wise as a serpent, and certainly more knowledgeable than some of you give him credit for.

Paul Haley said...

Here's something to consider for the would-be canonists in this forum? With regards to the suspension a divinis the suspension does not apply for someone in danger of death who requests sacraments from a suspended priest, correct? Also, "danger of death" could be interpreted as "danger of spiritual death" or the loss of one's soul (a violation of the supreme law of the Church), could it not?

We don't know how Our Lord would view such matters, do we? Lastly, we don't know which, if any, of the "suspended" priests, either implicitly or explicitly, has asked for the "suspension" to be removed via the canonical process, do we? We only know how Rome has spoken publicly and what actions may have been taken privately are left in the realm of private matters between the priest and his superiors.

So, what's my point? We are not qualified to judge these matters and we should leave judgment up to Almighty God. One thing we do know and can be absolutely confident of and that is the supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls and Our Lord would not countenance any action, licit or otherwise, that would abridge that law. Something to think about isn't it? Does that mean that decrees of suspension can be summarily disregarded without any recourse to canonical processes? Obviously not, for that would make a mockery of the process itself and the power of the keys.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes writes: "if the suspension is manifestly contrary to or outside of law and therefore invalid, or if the priest has formally lodged an appeal to have the penalty overturned -- during the appeals process, the sentence is suspended. Otherwise such a priest should only celebrate sacraments or exercise rights and privileges that are his by ordination on an emergency basis."

Well then, I stand corrected again. Because every traditionalist (and probably every liberal, for that matter) is going to claim that he was suspended in a manner that flagrantly violates the law, and/or he's going to appeal. So once again, there's no reason for eyebrows to be raised by the Abbe saying Mass.

Really, though, just in general, how does law even exist if the individual retains the right to judge that his own sentence was manifestly wrong? This is like making jail voluntary for convicts.

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

M.A., Paul Haley,

Fine, but there has been confusion here about what suspensio a divinis even means in the first place. Secondly, someone *did* say that the Abbe had abided by his sentence, which it seems he did not if the basis of his saying Mass is that he appealed that sentence. This conversation has clarified terms. Thanks for being patient with me.

~Bonifacius

Dan Hunter said...

"..lodged an appeal to have the penalty overturned -- during the appeals process, the sentence is suspended."

Jordanes,

I have been told by my uncle, who was ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, that the Archbishop most certainly lodged an appeal with Rome to overturn the suspensions, back in 1976.
Also the Archbishop asked every priest he ordained to lodge a personal appeal to overturn the suspensions.
So if the appeal process has not reached a conclusion, in these cases, then all these priests are still offering Mass licitly, according to canon law.

Jordanes said...

So if the appeal process has not reached a conclusion, in these cases, then all these priests are still offering Mass licitly, according to canon law.

I think I read somewhere that Rome summarily rejected Archbishop Lefebvre's appeal. I couldn't know anything about the status of appeals of priests of the Fraternity, but if they have pending appeals, then their suspensions are "suspended."

Really, though, just in general, how does law even exist if the individual retains the right to judge that his own sentence was manifestly wrong? This is like making jail voluntary for convicts.

My read on things (and again it would be helpful to have a qualified canonist to weigh in) is that one cannot merely pronounce one's sentence unjust. It seems to me that, as a rule, the "manifestly unjust and therefore invalid" case would still have to be appealed for suspension to go into abeyance, because otherwise it would be as you say: any offender could judge his own case and pronounce himself free to disregard his sentence. There could be cases, however, when it would be impossible to lodge a formal appeal -- say, a secular government hostile to the Church could empanel a kangaroo ecclesiastical court that pronounces a bogus judgment and then prevents the victim from formally appealing to the Holy See for relief. In circumstances like that, I think we'd all agree that a priest would not be in violation to continue to celebrate the sacraments despite the alleged sentence against him.

Dan Hunter said...

Canon 1335 reads as follows:

"Can. 1335 If a censure prohibits the celebration of the sacraments or sacramentals or the exercise of a power of governance, the prohibition is suspended whenever this is necessary to provide for the faithful who are in danger of death.'

I ask, when are we not in danger of death, either physical or as Mr Haley accurately put it, spiritual, if not in a state of sanctifying grace?
I could walk outside today and get killed by a car or drop dead of any number of surprising maladies,in a moment.

Paul Haley said...

There is also the fact that the Holy Father is the Supreme Legislator in terms of "canonical process", not simply a curial office.

So, it appears to be manifestly unjust to say that Rome has upheld the suspensions of the Fraternity when the last step in the appeal process, as I understand it, is to appeal directly to the Holy Father himself. There has been an exchange of letters between ABL and the Pope but so far as I know, no definitive sentence has been issued by the Holy Father. Indeed it seems totally out of character for the Holy Father to issue such a sentence, considering the number of souls at stake. What is there to be gained by such an edict with the doctrinal discussions finally underway?

As to individual priests of the Fraternity, it seems that the option of appealing to the Holy Father himself has been and remains an option for them should they desire to pursue it. My take is that they believe their superiors, the Fraternity bishops, are acting for them in good faith.

Anonymous said...

Dan Hunter,

You have to assume that the canon law means that someone is literally and manifestly in danger of physical death. Otherwise, no canonical penalty would ever apply to anyone anywhere. If a liberal priest was suspended, he could use the same excuse you did to perform as if he were not suspended at all. It is one thing if someone is dying of a heart attack, another if people are coming to a suspended priest for Mass and Confession when they could go somewhere else.

~Bonifacius

Jordanes said...

I ask, when are we not in danger of death, either physical or as Mr Haley accurately put it, spiritual, if not in a state of sanctifying grace?

The canon refers to danger of death, which is the separation of soul and body, not to danger of loss of the state of grace.

Danger of death means a danger that is immediate or impending. Merely being mortal, or merely being capable of committing a sin, or laboring against concupiscence, is not enough to trigger the conditions of that canon. If it were, suspension could never be a penalty.

Indeed it seems totally out of character for the Holy Father to issue such a sentence, considering the number of souls at stake.

In the specific case of Archbishop Lefebvre, the only soul that was at stake was his own. His automatic excommunication was announced by the Holy See and subsequently confirmed by the dicastery that interprets legislative texts, this despite other souls that may have been at stake. The offense of consecrating bishop's without papal mandate (indeed contrary to the Pope's request) also puts souls at stake -- in sentencing for a crime, the Church has to consider not only the harm to souls that could come if a sentence is issued, but also the harm if a sentence is not issued.

What is there to be gained by such an edict with the doctrinal discussions finally underway?

Archbishop Lefebvre is dead. That brought an end to any canonical process or penalty involving him. His case has been remanded to a higher court. If the Holy See rejected his appeal, then the sentence against him stood and was never remitted -- there won't be any further action against him (long gone, thankfully, are the days of exhuming deceased clerics and putting their corpses on "trial"). There may in the future be a posthumous reversal of the prior judgments against him, however.

Dan Hunter said...

Is there any Church Teaching about one who dies in a state of excommunication?
I realize that only Almighty God can judge a mans disposition of will and his soul.
But can someone who is excommunicated recieve Extreme Unction?
Could Canon 1335 be applied in his case?

Knight of Malta said...

Never heard of of this Abbe, but found this: crc-internet.org

It is amazing to think before the Council missionaries converted--SAVED--millions of souls with the TLM (whether it was said in field forest or glen) armed, as they were, with steely resolve. Now, it's ALL about rapproachement with the world (and her manifest errors); Vatican II almost reads like a Valentine's note to false religions! So, perhaps this Abbe was on to something?

dcs said...

I do wonder if the category of suspension a divinis actually exists in the new Code and, if not, whether a priest who was suspended a divinis under the old Code would continue to be so suspended once the new Code took effect.

Jordanes said...

If it doesn't exist under the 1983 Code, then Ecclesia Dei couldn't refer to SSPX members as suspended a divinis, and the Holy See couldn't have issued this announcement in 1996: "The Congregation for the Clergy, upon the mandate from a higher authority, wishes to state that Rev. Nicholas Gruner is under a divinis suspension, which has been confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura." The highest, most severe form of priestly suspension certainly does still exist.

Dan Hunter said...

What specific reason was given for Rev Gruners suspension?

Did he repudiate some aspect of the Deposit of the Faith?

I have never gotten a solid straight answer on this.

Knight of Malta said...

I wonder if Saint Athanasius was suspended a divinis when he was excommunicated by the Pope for upholding Tradition?

Anonymous said...

Dan Hunter:

Fr. Gruner was told to go back to the diocese where he was incardinated. He did not. So he was punished accordingly.

http://sspx.agenda.tripod.com/id26.html

If he repudiated a doctrine of the Faith, excommunication would be the appropriate response.

~Bonifacius

Jordanes said...

I made a mistake in my previous comment. The quote from the Holy See's communique is from 2001, not 1996. It was in 1996 that Father Gruner's bishop suspended him a divinis for refusing to return to his diocese after being repeatedly ordered to do so. As I recall, Father Gruner objected that he wouldn't be able to continue his unauthorised Fatimist activities if he returned to his diocese, but then it seems that was the whole point of his being ordered to leave Canada and return to his diocese in Italy. So, Father Gruner was suspended for diosobedience and going "vagus."

Anyway, my only point in mentioning his case was to show that suspensio a divinis is still a valid penalty under the new Code of Canon Law.

Anonymous said...

"I have never gotten a solid straight answer on this."

Neither was Abbe.

Knight of Malta said...

On a similar note, there are those who think that only those who are meek and mild are worthy of Sainhood, and so accentuate this quality of JPII:

http://www.romereports.com/palio/modules.php?t=Wanda-Poltawska--John-Paul-II%92s-best-friend&name=News&file=article&newlang=english&sid=1679

But there are many, many souls in this world who have a similar meekness to their fellow-man, to be commended. But Jesus wasn't meek or mild when He overturned the money-changers' tables, or called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers."

My only point is that PVI and JPII were, at times, a bit too "meek and mild" at a time when the world (because this world IS the kingdom of Christ the King) needed a little less meekness.

Vatican II happened at the EXACT apotheosis when the Church and world needed a strong anti-modernist stance, but, instead, the Church went along with the world, and we are living the repercussions....

Paulus Romanus said...

"His untranslated writings in French are voluminous; and when I say voluminous, I mean VOLUMINOUS. Probably somewhere in there he explains why he considers Abp Lefebvre and the SSPX schismatic, and why his followers attend the new Mass; but based on the materials available on his site, I haven't been able to figure out either."

"Against the Schismatic Drift" is posted on the CRC site. Chapter 9 has the title: "The schism of Mgr Lefebvre".
http://www.crc-internet.org/ftc3.htm

Paul Haley said...

I am well aware that the drafters of the Code intended that physical death would be the cause for a suspended priest being able to provide sacraments to one in danger of such death. But, personally, I am not convinced that the death of one's soul is not a far more important measure. Such is, I submit, the danger of tinkering with the Code itself.

As to the rejoinder that any suspended priest could use this "danger of death" scenario to justify his repeated disobedience therefore nullifying the effect of the suspension, I say that a definitive sentence by the Holy Father himself, the Supreme Legislator, would render such action by the priest to be without any foundation canonically. Again, as far as I know no definitive declaratory judgments have been rendered by any of the Popes in question. Does that not seem in the least bit unusual to anyone considering the stakes involved, the salvation of souls, whether it's one soul or a thousand?

Finally, I am disheartened to see Fr. Gruner's case used demonstratively because of the fact that Fr. Gruner has not, as far as I know, appealed his "sentence" to the Holy Father directly or, if he has, a definitive sentence has not been issued by the Holy Father himself. It's like the final step in the appeals process has not yet been accomplished. Once the Holy Father has issued a definitive sentence the matter is closed IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Re: Paul Haley.

I'll play devi . . . er, curial advocate here.

"But, personally, I am not convinced that the death of one's soul is not a far more important measure."

But when is it imperative that a person in such a state go to the suspended priest for Confession? Why can't he go to an un-suspended priest? The suspension means that the priest should direct the penitent to go to another priest.

"Again, as far as I know no definitive declaratory judgments have been rendered by any of the Popes in question."

We cannot expect the Pope to personally deal with every case. That would be preposterous. In such a scenario, no canonical ruling ever by anyone could ever stand because the person would appeal to the Pope, personally. When someone appeals to the Pope, the ruling usually goes to the Apostolic Signatura, which certainly *DID* rule in the case of Fr. Gruner. See here: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4086&CFID=30049851&CFTOKEN=22077560 . And the CDF dismissed the Abbe Georges de Nantes' appeal of his suspension: http://www.crc-internet.org/april98.htm In these cases, the Apostolic Signatura and the CDF speak for the Pope. There is no more cause for you to be intrigued by the lack of personal papal response to Fr. Gruner or the Abbe than for the lack of personal papal response to any number of other affairs handled by the Apostolic Signatura and the CDF.

"As to the rejoinder that any suspended priest could use this "danger of death" scenario to justify his repeated disobedience therefore nullifying the effect of the suspension, I say that a definitive sentence by the Holy Father himself, the Supreme Legislator, would render such action by the priest to be without any foundation canonically."

First, we cannot expect the Pope to handle each and every case of suspension. Secondly, in actual fact a suspension from the local ordinary should be sufficient to show that a priest should not be accepting penitents under a lax interpretation of the "proximity of death" rule. If you're suspended, you shouldn't be ministering except in accordance with canon law. Except in the canonically delineated exception where the priest appeals. And both Fr. Gruner and the Abbe had their appeals rejected.

"Does that not seem in the least bit unusual to anyone considering the stakes involved, the salvation of souls, whether it's one soul or a thousand?"

No, it doesn't seem all *that* unusual given the fact that the Pope is responsible for one billion people and the established curial offices dealt with the people in question. Unless the Pope personally looks into for some reason, as with the SSPX, the Curia handles these things. The SSPX was much more high-profile and significant a case than the much less high-profile cases of Fr. Gruner and the Abbe, individual priests.

"Finally, I am disheartened to see Fr. Gruner's case used demonstratively because of the fact that Fr. Gruner has not, as far as I know, appealed his "sentence" to the Holy Father directly or, if he has, a definitive sentence has not been issued by the Holy Father himself."

Can you appeal from the Apostolic Signatura to the Pope? I am asking in earnest. If you can, I am not sure why the Apostolic (as in *Papal*!) Signatura exists. Methinks the Signatura functions in the name of the Pope and he approves or rejects their rulings at certain scheduled meetings. If someone did personally appeal to the Pope, he would probably forward the case to the relevant delegates -- i.e. the Signatura!

"Once the Holy Father has issued a definitive sentence the matter is closed IMHO."

Why? You could always just say that the Pope was wrong and appeal again. That's how the SSPX responded to the excommunications back in 1988. "Oh, the Pope excommunicated us? Well, he's wrong."

~Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

P.S. My thoughts -- it must be that someone can appeal from the Pope's delegates in the Curia to the Pope himself. But could someone who knows canon law please explain when and in what situations the decrees of a curial office are considered acts ratified by the Pope? Clearly the Pope personally authorizes certain curial documents that carry full papal authority. Thanks.


~Bonifacius

Paul Haley said...

Bonifacius,

I'm not debating the fact that certain declarations have been made by curial offices but I am pointing out that the Supreme Legislator is the last recourse for anyone accused of a canonical crime.

Whether this is, in fact, workable or not is another matter entirely. But, those who wrote the Code did so with the knowledge that not only "state of necessity" could exist but also that the Pope himself, as Supreme Legislator, was the final recourse for anyone so convicted. Convicted is not really the proper word here because no canonical trials have been conducted - indighted is probably more the applicable term to be used.

Personally, I don't care if there are over 1 billion Catholics and they all decide to make use of their rights under the Code. Numbers are meaningless to me when one soul is at stake. But I also believe this is a red-herring since that will never happen in real life.

The fact of the matter is this: If a person truly believes that a suspended priest is the only one who can help him to save his soul, in an emergency such as a state of necessity, then that priest may administer the sacraments licitly and validly to that person. That is what I believe the Code allows whether or not the constructors of the Code will admit it. In a word they wrote the Code with these provisions of conscience contained therein and they cannot disavow them now.

FYI Count Neri Capponi, one of the foremost canonists of our time said as much concerning the 1983 code. You may wish to review his remarks at http://www.st-joseph-foundation.org/ci12-3-99.htm but I will only repeat a few sentences here: "The new Code contains all manner of loopholes that have been exploited to accomplish destructive ends; the wholesale rubber-stamping in some countries—yours in particular, I am sorry to say—of petitions for decrees of nullity of marriages and the misapplication of the law to banish Christ in the tabernacle from parish churches are just two examples. But from this Pandora’s box also came hope: explicit recognition of the rights of faithful Catholics. As canon 221 says so concisely: 'The Christian faithful can legitimately vindicate and defend the rights which they enjoy in the Church before a competent ecclesiastical court in accord with the norm of law.'"

OK, so where does that leave us? If a person can legitimately vindicate and defend the rights which he enjoys in the Church before a competent ecclesiastical court in accord with the norm of law, then he can appeal to the highest authority in that court, to His Holiness himself. Unworkable, you say? Perhaps, but that is where the 1983 code places us in our time.

Some time back I asked the St. Joseph's Foundation to query Count Capponi as to whether the SSPX has a legal basis for challenging their suspensions on the basis of the state of necessity provision and the reply came back in the affirmative. He did not say what the outcome would be - just that they had the right to appeal.

Jordanes said...

I am well aware that the drafters of the Code intended that physical death would be the cause for a suspended priest being able to provide sacraments to one in danger of such death.

Then it is settled that the canon refers to physical death, not the death of the soul.

But, personally, I am not convinced that the death of one's soul is not a far more important measure. Such is, I submit, the danger of tinkering with the Code itself.

The solution, then, is not to "tinker" with it by suggesting impossible meanings for the terms used in the Code.

Finally, I am disheartened to see Fr. Gruner's case used demonstratively because of the fact that Fr. Gruner has not, as far as I know, appealed his "sentence" to the Holy Father directly or, if he has, a definitive sentence has not been issued by the Holy Father himself.

He twice appealed his sentence to the Holy See, that is, to the Holy Father directly, and twice his appeal failed and his sentence was upheld by the Holy See. There is no more definitive sentence than one issued or confirmed by the Apostolic Signatura.

All that to the side, however, whether or not he appealed, there is no doubt that as far as the Apostolic See is concerned, the penalty of suspensio a divinis still exists.

Anonymous said...

These tedious comments have left the Abbe de Nantes behind long ago. I had never heard of him but have been looking him up on Google and found his community's website. Clearly he was barking mad and deserved the obscurity in which he led most of his life. No wonder he thought that few would pray for him at the end of his life. Best forgotten, and I include his community in that; it was founded and formed by a diseased mind and has nothing to sustain it beyond sour grapes.

Paul Haley said...

He twice appealed his sentence to the Holy See, that is, to the Holy Father directly, and twice his appeal failed and his sentence was upheld by the Holy See. There is no more definitive sentence than one issued or confirmed by the Apostolic Signatura.

I beg to differ with your interpretation of the sentences issued by the Apostolic Signatura. I was taught that no matter which court issues a sentence on behalf of the Holy Father, the Holy father himself, as the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Legislator, can override such a sentence. Is this not what happened when Pope Benedict XVI remitted the excommunications of the SSPX bishops? But, in any case what does Fr. Gruner's situation have to do with the SSPX and many independents who have not had such "rulings or sentences" made for them? I say it's apples and oranges.

Nevertheless, it appears this discussion is headed towards the rabbit hole since neither one of us is a qualified canonist. Let's just say that appealing to the "Holy See" means one thing to you and quite another to me. To you it means to the Holy Father himself, personally and directly, and to me to a level of the Vatican bureaucracy but not to the highest level juridically. But, no matter, I am quite content to leave it up to those more qualified than I.

Jordanes said...

I beg to differ with your interpretation of the sentences issued by the Apostolic Signatura. I was taught that no matter which court issues a sentence on behalf of the Holy Father, the Holy father himself, as the Vicar of Christ and Supreme Legislator, can override such a sentence.

Even if its the Holy Father's own court? Sure, he can later "override" himself or the ruling of a previous pope, remitting a valid and binding sentence.

Is this not what happened when Pope Benedict XVI remitted the excommunications of the SSPX bishops?

No. He remitted their excommunications. He did not declare that their excommunications were invalid or unjust.

But, in any case what does Fr. Gruner's situation have to do with the SSPX and many independents who have not had such "rulings or sentences" made for them?

Nothing, apart from showing, as I've said, that suspensio a divinis still exists as a penalty under the 1983 Code. But the topic at hand is specifically the Abbe de Nantes' suspension, not that of SSPX priest or of any vagus priest.

Paul Haley said...

I wrote:

But, in any case what does Fr. Gruner's situation have to do with the SSPX and many independents who have not had such "rulings or sentences" made for them?

Jordanes replied:

Nothing, apart from showing, as I've said, that suspensio a divinis still exists as a penalty under the 1983 Code. But the topic at hand is specifically the Abbe de Nantes' suspension, not that of SSPX priest or of any vagus priest.

Do we know, in fact, that the Abbé de Nantes was suspended and whether he chose to appeal such a ruling? I'm just asking because I really don't know. It's important, I believe, because if he did appeal the ruling, then the penalty is held in abeyance until a final ruling is proclaimed. At least this is how I interpret canon law.

Somewhere I read that Rome had never answered definitively the claims he made in his writings but simply wrote them off as untrue. If this is correct, it would make a mockery of that provision of canon law which gives each individual the right to petition the Holy See for grievances, perceived abuses, etc.

Somewhere lost in the discussion of canon law, it seems to me, is the supreme law of the Church, the salvation of souls. Does that law not take precedence over all other laws and the rulings made with respect to those lesser laws? I have in mind the statement that an unjust law does not oblige and I'm not sure if that applies also to canon law.

If it does, then I submit that this Pope, Benedict XVI, can under the authority granted by that supreme law, remit any and all such penalties rendered to the accused who claim they were acting only in accord with that law. Not that he has done so or even that he would do so by an appeal to him directly, but only that he has that authority.

It is my understanding that the Abbé de Nantes, the SSPX and many other so-called vagus priests including Fr. Gruner, claim they were acting only to save souls from the pernicious errors prevalent in the post Vatican II landscape. If they truly believe this in their own individual consciences, are not rulings and sentences against them held in abeyance pending final adjudication by the current Holy Father himself?

Jordanes, please interpret this only as a plea for understanding and not an attempt to legislate from my own individual perspective. If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it. These questions are important to me and to many others, I believe, in this forum. I do not mean to burden you with endless come-backs. Please take my comments in the spirit with which they are made.

Anonymous said...

Paul Haley,

*YES,* the Abbe was suspended, did appeal, and the appeal was rejected. I cited the evidence for the Abbe's suspension and the rejection of his appeal in one of my preceding posts: http://www.crc-internet.org/april98.htm Catholics have a right of appeal to the Holy See *AND* the Holy See has the right to reject such appeals.

~Bonifacius

Paul Haley said...

Bonifacius,

Re: the suspension of the Abbé de Nantes. I went to the URL you referred to and the last statement from the Abbé was to request adjudication by the Apostolic Signatura via a canonical trial. This request was presented to the Bishop who orignally imposed the suspension. Was the case ever referred to the Apostolic Signatura and, if not, isn't the penalty held in abeyance pending that action? Furthermore, why did you not include this last request of the Abbé in your reply to me?

Anyway, the Abbé is in the hands of the Supreme Judge now and we do not know for sure what the results of that judgment are. But one thing I do know and can be absolutely sure of - the Justice he will receive is ever more perfect than any he would recieve on this earth.

Anonymous said...

Paul Haley,

Once again, I play curial advocate.

He appealed. He was denied his appeal by the Signatura. He appealed again, to the same court that had rejected his appeal. How many times is a court obliged to hear the same appeal from the same person for the same offense? When is there finality? Have you ever heard of nuisance complaints? Are we to imagine that whenever someone thinks a ruling went wrong at the Curia they should appeal it endlessly, appealing the rejection of the last appeal? And thus every punishment can be suspended until the Curia ends the infinite series of appeals? If the appeal is rejected and substantially the same appeal is presented *again,* why should the court hear it this time? Nothing new is added by the new appeal -- the Signatura apparently already knew all about the Abbe Georges de Nantes case. Their word to him was: no. When should a priest simply resign himself to what he believes is persecution and accept his cross? He is now dead. The men and women who relied on him for spiritual guidance will now find someone else. Who knows what good he might have done in way of edification had he accepted the suspension he thought was unjust and told his followers: "You will need to find a new priest when I die. Now, under the suspension, I am dead to you as a priest. God bless you. I will do my best to refer you to another worthy confessor. Pray for that priest. I do not delude myself into thinking that I alone can help you; do not adopt that delusion yourself." Think of the merit of that stance. Think of how many saints accepted similar persecutions. And think of how much better his vindication would look after the fact? But instead there were incessant appeals of rejected appeals that had no real prospect of being heard as they'd already been rejected before. He might even have submitted the appeal for the sake of justice and lived by the punishment in the meantime for the sake of mortification of self and edification of others.

And beyond it all, he'd already been suspended back in the 1960s.

You're right that he will have better justice from God than from men. But also remember: the standard by which he will be judged is that of Christ, Who allowed Himself to be led like a Lamb to the Cross. Who could have saved Himself and didn't. So we should remember the Abbe in our prayers.

~Bonifacius

Paul Haley said...

Bonifacius,

You claim that the Abbe de Nantes has appealed twice to the Signatura and been rejected both times. The letter I saw on the CRC website was signed by an official of the CDF, not the Signatura. Do you have documentation to support your claim? I so, I wish you would produce it.

Anonymous said...

Paul Haley,

Ah, I was mistaken. I confused the Abbe's appeal with Fr. Gruner's. It was Fr. Gruner who got the definitive ruling from the Signatura. Mea culpa.

This will be my last response to you on this matter.

Paul Haley said...

Bonifacius,

Don't feel bad. We all make mistakes; Lord knows I've made my share. We're all friends here and everyone is welcome, I presume, to share their opinion on matters of mutual concern.

I do wish, however, that the moderators would run some of these comments on canon law and church jurisprudence by someone like Count Neri Capponni who may not only describe the workings of the Singatura but possibly present some of the rulings coming from that body in high profile cases such as these. It may not be possible due to the private nature of the rulings themselves but they would know whether that is, in fact, the case. God bless.

M. A. said...

Thank you, Paul H. for your defense of the dear Abbe. I have been away for some days, and thus unable to post further in his defense. But I do possess years of his newsletters, and I had intended to reference them in order to refute his detractors.

In future, his good name will be vindicated, and he will be honored for what he was: a Defender of the Faith. In contrast, popes like Paul VI and JP II whom he vigorously opposed for abetting what he called "MASDU" will be but a sad and regrettable memory in the history of the Church.

Anonymous said...

Would JP II's Personal Secretary repeatedly send letters of warmest regard to Fr. Gruner if he were, in fact, suspended? http://www.fatima.org/apostolate/

Jordanes said...

Yes, he might. The fact that Fr. Gruner is suspended a divinis is indisputable. The documentation is freely available on the internet -- you just have to look elsewhere than Fr. Gruner's website.

Dan Hunter said...

"How many times is a court obliged to hear the same appeal from the same person for the same offense?"

As many times as Christ demanded us to forgive our neighbor.
7 times 70.

Anonymous said...

The Popes of recent years have gone to Assisi I and Assisi II. Pope Benedict XVI has talked with Hans Kung. If the Popes maintain relations with those folks, I perfectly well believe a Papal Secretary -- who knows what he knows or thinks? -- writes letters to a suspended priest. Why should that surprise us?

~Bonifacius

Paul Haley said...

http://www.fatima.org/apostolate/

There is much on this website to digest but one conclusion I reached was that there must be some truth to what is claimed thereon. What it comes down to for me is who do you trust? And I'm not speaking about the old TV program of the same name. I'm referring to Cardinal Sodano and Fr. Gruner. Which of these men do you trust?

Cardinal Sodano, as Secretary of State, was heavily engaged in the Ostpolitik and the ecumenical movement. Fr. Gruner was only concerned with being faithful to Our Lady's message at Fatima. So, my dear friends, who do you trust?

Paul Haley said...

In a previous post I suggested that it would be a good idea for the Moderators to run some of this canon law stuff by someone of the stature of eminent Florentine canonist Count Neri Capponni. The ideal situation would be to have the opportunity to question him, or even Archbishop Burke, on the workings of the Apostolic Signatura, how it is set up, does the Supreme Pontiff ever participate in the deliberations, can the Supreme Pontiff be appealed to directly once the Signature has issued a ruling, etc.

Since I made that suggestion I have found in my archives comments made by Count Neri Capponni to the Latin Mass Magazine in 1995 if I remember correctly. The comments are rather shocking when one considers the implications regarding the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre. Knowing that there may be readers interested in what the Count said I repeat them here in italics for all to see:

But I would also argue that the excommunication may not in Fact be valid, because the extenuating circumstances in the new code are such that Archbishop Lefebvre would have
got easily away without being excommunicated. He could have argued state of necessity, he could have argued a hostof extenuating circumstances.


You can’t have your cake and eat it. Rome wanted a lenient code, they filled the code with extenuating circumstances so that practically no penalty applies. They can’t go back to the 1917 code to punish Lefebvre when he committed his crime after 1983.

All I can say about this is...if I am ever convicted or even charged with a crime against the Code of Canon Law, I would sure want Count Capponni to be my advocate before any such Tribunal.

Resident said...

Doesn't his pick-and-chose approach towards the latest Council make him a liberal?

FYI, Vatican II did issue two dogmatic constitutions ... if that is not dogmatically binding, then what is?

M. A. said...

Resident,

The Abbe always believed, taught and defended the faith as it has been believed everywhere, by all, at all times.

Whatever was taught in the documents of VII which concurred with TRADITION, he upheld; novelties, he rejected; ambiguities, he questioned. To think of the Abbe as a liberal in the sense of him picking and choosing what he wished to believe is laughable.

Resident said...

You have just confirmed that he picked and chose (according to his private judgement of what tradition is) and that you applaud it.

He obeyed the magisterium only as long as it agreed with him - just like Luther.

M. A. said...

Resident, I couldn’t help but chuckle. You are not familiar with the formula of St. Lerins?

The Abbe was a trained theologian with degrees in theology, scholastic philosophy and social sciences. In part, this is what he wrote about the hierarchy of the Church: “The Council [VII]…. Has prided itself on placing….the “People of God” before the Hierarchy which is meant to be its “servant”. The truth is quite the opposite: ‘The hierarchy is a cause of the Church before being her effect’ (I, 670). The people of God ‘stems from the hierarchy’ (II,645), not the other way around…..

“The Pope and the Bishops, in their twofold power of order and jurisdiction, are an instrument, joined to the divinity, for the formation, the constitution, and the growth of the Church. The notion that dominated the Council conforms to the Lutheran and modernist theory of an invisible and spiritual Church whose various institutions are supposedly merely free and contingent creations (II, 342-357). On the contrary, the hierarchy is prior to the assembly of the faithful and is its principle. The hierarchy is, thus, virtually and potentially, the whole Church, whereas we have no existence as Church before it, without it, and outside of it.

“As such, the Pope and the Bishops united to [H]im make the Church exist, forming her by the teaching of the faith and the direction of souls, giving life through the grace of the sacraments and the diffusion of her charity. Every divine good comes to us, therefore, through the ministry of the Hierarchy.”

Does this sound like the creed of another Luther? Obviously you know nothing about the Abbe.

We all know that VII did not dogmatically define anything. It’s a matter of record, if you do not believe me.

And as regards the ordinary Magisterium, the Abbe wrote: “…any preaching that runs against the general feeling is suspect; if it presents itself as something novel or original, it becomes certain that it is not an authentic act of the Church’s Magisterium, even though it should take on all the appearances. It would be a statement of private opinion, not the Church preaching her faith. ‘In the Catholic Church herself, one must keep careful watch and stick fast to what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all.’ This maxim of Saint Vincent Lérins (cf. I, 535) condemns in advance as an abuse of trust every novelty, distortion, or modification of our dogmas that a Pope or the bishops would dare to propose as the teaching of their Magisterium. The faithful should prefer to follow their faith, the infallible faith of the Church, to this alien preaching. And the theologian should denounce it as being a matter of doubtful private opinion falsely proposed as the work of the Magisterium.

As a theologian, the Abbe was just doing his job. How in the world could you compare him to Luther? When he was summoned to Rome,unlike Fr. Feeney, he went; his writings were examined; no judgment was ever brought against him.

Yet you dare to pronounce him another Luther? By what authority? Yours? Tell us who you are, so that we might believe you since you seem to know better than Rome.

Resident said...

M.A.,

Luther was a theologian too and thought he was only doing his job.

But both (at least that's what I gather from your and others' comments) posed as judges superior to the magisterium. Luther "knew better" than bishops and popes, the Abbe "knew better" than popes and an ecumenical council.

What you cite about the hierarchy being preexistent to the "people of God" is both logically, theologically and historically nonsensical. Still, Abbe George goes on to disobey and rebel against the very same hierarchy he lifted up.

"Obviously you know nothing about the Abbe."

Obviously, every heretic thinks himself orthodox in contrast to all the other heretics.

"We all know that VII did not dogmatically define anything. It’s a matter of record, if you do not believe me."

So what! That's a pointless statement as any Catholic is required to obey the magisterium even in "non infallible" statements. Furthermore, the Council DID issue two dogmatic constitutions.

"And as regards the ordinary Magisterium"

An Ecumenical Council, properly convoked and whose utterances have been confirmed by the Pope, is not "ordinary" magisterium but extraordinary.

"By what authority? Yours?"

By your authority! When you lift up the Abbe over the Council, it is you who claim such a status for your dear Abbe!

I'd rather stand with the Church and her magisterium, including all Ecumenical councils than to side with a single Abbe who thinks he knows things better.

M. A. said...

Resident,

It doesn't seem that you have understood anything I wrote, therefore there is no point in continuing.

In condemning what I quoted from the Abbe's writings, you also condemn Cardinal Journet because the Abbe was referencing his -Journet's - classical treatise, "The Church of the Incarnate Word".

You also would wish to condemn St. Vincent Lérins? Oh, well.

Resident said...

Last time I looked neither Abbe Georges nor Cardinal Journet nor St. Vincent Lérins (or more properly Saint Vincent of Lérins) constitute the authority that resides in scripture, tradition or the magisterium.

And somehow I doubt that Saint Vincent said what the Abbe claimed above, which is also clearly contrary to any reason! The hierarchy of the priestly office surely is of utmost importance, but its members are taken from the people to a special service. The people are not assembled so that priests may have a flock but so that Christ our Lord may have a flock.

Resident said...

You also misrepresent the Cardinal when you claim that what Abbe Georges wrote was what Cardinal wrote. At least not in regard to what I criticised in your quotes. Neither could I find anything to the like in "Church of the Word incarnate".

In any case, if something is wrong it is wrong, regardless of who said it.

Jordanes said...

Resident, no faithful Catholic would ever cast doubt upon or downplay the Vincentian Canon of "always, everywhere, and by all" as you have done. Criticise the Abbe's contention that "The people of God ‘stems from the hierarchy,' not the other way around" if you will -- but do not reject the Vincentian Canon unless you are intending to adopt a "pick-and-chose approach" towards the Catholic Faith that would make you a liberal, or are intending to "[obey] the magisterium only as long as it [agrees] with you - just like Luther."