Rorate Caeli

Cardinal Pell on the SSPX and on the post-conciliar era

Cardinal Pell's forthright response to the heretic Eric Hodgens has been circulating among the blogs since its publication on the website "The Swag" a few days ago. Amidst all the praise that the Cardinal has received for his frank response to this heretic, few in the Traditionalist world seem to have noticed the Cardinal's remarks regarding the SSPX:
The charges against the Holy Father do not amount to too much e.g. instituting a special year to honour priests (which was well received by priests and people), continuing with a new translation of the Roman Missal, and encouraging the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated. He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication. They are still in schism.

Cardinal Pell also speaks about the unexpected aftermath of the post-conciliar era:

Pope Paul VI appointed no bishops who were opposed to the ethos of Vatican II, and for various reasons the good bishops appointed in Holland were overwhelmed, tossed aside by the liberal gales. This brings me to another contemporary fact, which I never anticipated as a young seminarian in Rome during the Council or as a young priest. The now aged liberal wing of the Church, which dominated discussion after the Council and often the bishops and the emerging Church bureaucracies, has no following among young practising Catholics, priests or religious. This is not only true in Australia, but everywhere in the Western world. In these different countries dominated by a secular media and intelligentsia, liberalism has no young Catholic progeny.

On reflection we should not find this surprising, as growth is tied to Gospel fidelity, to faith, love and sacrifice. After Vatican II many of us overestimated our cultural strengths and underestimated the virulence of anti-Christian forces. You need strong Christian foundations to participate productively in “open dialogue”. Without these roots the end of the road is agnosticism.

60 comments:

Gratias said...

Cardinal Pell is a great friend of traditional Catholics. Liberal priests appointed by Paul VI made the work of the secular forces opposing our Church so much easier.

As for the SSPX, the optimal time to rejoin the Church is now, while we have Benedict XVI. That means accepting that Vatican II did take place, as it indeed did. The SSPX has done so much, especially through missions in faraway countries (look up the locations of their TLMs in Wikimissa). But they could achieve so much more good if they were inside the One Holy and Apostolic Church. I pray the Holy Spirt will inspire the SSPX this Easter to join forces. A house divided....

Sean said...

"He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication. They are still in schism."

The word "schism" gets bandied around a lot in discussions of the SSPX, but is that the best word? If you are in schism aren't you ipso facto under excommunication latae sententiae? Wouldn't a papal decree lifting lifting excommunication imply that they are not outside of the Church, and therefore not in schism?

Perhaps what the Cardinal meant, is that the SSPX is at present in an irregular juridical status?

--Vinitor

New Catholic said...

Very unfortunate comment, which is imprudent, untimely, and does not take into consideration the canonical (and theological) details involved in the matter, of which he is more than certainly aware.

NC

rodrigo said...

Cardinal Pell gave an interview to the Catholic Herald shortly after the excommunications were lifted, insisting that the SSPX accept that "the State can't coerce belief". This is a caricature of the SSPX's objections to the conciliar line on religious liberty. I have no doubt that the priests of the Society accept Leo XIII's teaching that "no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will".

More generally, I do wonder whether Cardinal Pell would say that the Eastern Orthodox are "in schism". Perhaps someone could ask him. Those competent in canon law who have acted for Rome in dealings with the SSPX have described the situation as "internal" and one of "canonical irregularity", with Cardinal Castrillon explicitly rejecting talk of schism:

The Bishops, Priests, and Faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics. It is Archbishop Lefebvre who has undertaken an illicit Episcopal consecration and therefore performed a schismatic act. It is for this reason that the Bishops consecrated by him have been suspended and excommunicated. The priests and faithful of the Society have not been excommunicated.

Thanks to Pope Benedict, we can now omit the penultimate sentence.

John L said...

Of course it makes no sense to say in the same sentence that the SSPX bishops have had their excommunications lifted and that they are in schism, which is an offence that bring with it excommunication; but Cardinal Pell would not have thought deeply about this contradiction - this is not his wont.
There is a far more important problem with his statements coupled with his policy in his own diocese (a policy that I have a good knowledge of). He rightly states that 'liberal' (i.e. modernist) clergy have no successors. But he fails to admit that this means that if the 'liberal' clergy are allowed to dominate parishes, schools, seminaries and other forms of catechesis, that means that the current members of the Church will have no successors. But this is the case in Australia and in his own diocese; both the 'liberal' domination and the evaporation of the Church. It is not enough as a bishop to write newspaper articles against the likes of Hodgens and to say or permit the occasional traditional mass; you have to act against this 'liberal' dominance - which he has never done.

Crouchback said...

A hardball shot across the SSPX bows...I hope and believe Bishop Fellay will manage to steer the SSPX in the right direction....

The SSPX certainly know how to attract a younger "demographic" than the queasy liberals ever could.

Ogard said...

I am aware that to assert what I am going to assert is a heresy from the viewpoint of the RC blog, but I am not going to be silenced without administrative ban.

Schism is not a theoretical concept but material fact of break of communion of worship and government (L. Ott: Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 303. I hope that nobody would claim that this classic manual is “conciliar”: I obtained it in the SSPX Mass Centre). Quote:

2. Unity of Communion
This consists, on one hand, in the subjection of the members of the Church to the authority of the bishops and of the Pope (unity of government or the hierarchical unity); on the other hand, in the binding of the members among themselves to a social unity by participation in the same cult and in the same means of grace (unity of cult or the liturgical unity).

The unity of…. communion is guaranteed by the Primacy of …the Pope…One is cut off….from the unity of communion by schism.

There can be no question of their refusal to submit to the Pope. Even worse, they have invented the some kind of DIY jurisdiction, by which they claim a mandate of the “church” for consecration of bishops (the case of one bishop in Brazil), selecting candidates for priesthood, administering absolutions, dealing with annulment of marriages etc.

And with regard to the worship, it is not the matter of a mere preference for the Tridentine Mass, but of the refusal to have anything to do with the New Mass. They advise people not to attend the latter even if they have no other chance to attend Sunday Obligation, allegedly because it is “dangerous to Faith”.

Excommunication is a penalty for the schism, which can be lifted for various reasons. The purpose of penalty is medicinal, but if the medicine doesn’t work a doctor can decide to stop giving it because of side effect. There are unruly children who remain unruly however much are beaten by parents, and the reasonable parents may consider ceasing the punishment, which is of no use and can even be harmful. But the child remains what it is – unruly.

Marie said...

"He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication. They are still in schism".

Who is "received back" in this days of appostasy? Even the Orthodox who are in fact heretics (deny several dogmas)and deny the very primacy of the Pope and are in formal Schism, are sent back to their bishops and even reprimanded when they come to Rome to be "received back", because there is not longer need.

So? Big deal!

Anonymous said...

I do not support the idea that the SSPX is schismatic, but the line of reasoning that many here are taking is flawed. Pell can assert that the excommunications were lifted AND that the SSPX are still in schism. This is, in fact, the current situation with the Orthodox, as Paul VI lifted their excommunications in 1965 and I don't think anyone here would argue they are not still in schism.

As I said, I don't think the SSPX are in schism, but that has nothing to do with the lifting of the excommunications.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, in his new book, "Light of the World," Pope Benedict compares the situation of the SSPX bishops to certain Chinese National Patriotic ones. (pp 21-2.)

David Joyce said...

Excommunication is a penalty for the schism, which can be lifted for various reasons. The purpose of penalty is medicinal, but if the medicine doesn’t work a doctor can decide to stop giving it because of side effect. There are unruly children who remain unruly however much are beaten by parents, and the reasonable parents may consider ceasing the punishment, which is of no use and can even be harmful. But the child remains what it is – unruly.

Ogard, I would normally agree with you, but the situation with the SSPX is different.

It is more like a home where the father suddenly falls into a problem of alcoholism (the "Spirit of Vatican II"). Most of his children do not object, some even participate in this problem. However, there is one son that not only objects but even writes books on the issue. Eventually, he is disciplined, and is finally thrown out when he brings forth sons of his own without his father's permission. The son said he had no choice.

Now, some time later, the new father of the house is still suffering from alcoholism, but in a more restrained manner. He reaches out to the sons of his former critic, but they respond with caution. He lifts the punishment put upon them, but they want him to recognise the source of his problem, and then they will gladly take up residence back in the house. Friends of the father point at these sons as ungrateful and unruly.

This story is full of little holes, I know, but it does go some way of presenting the other side. Without these "unruly" sons of the Church, there almost certainly would be no Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which benefits so many priests around the world.

William said...

If Rome has said quite a while ago, specifically Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, (former head of Ecclesia Dei), as well as other high ranking prelates, that the SSPX is NOT in schism, where does Cardinal Pell get the hubris to contradict Rome? Has he done any reading or listening over the last decade? Cardinal Pell should keep his mouth shut regarding issues about which he is ignorant and misleading!

William

New Catholic said...

Tavuzzi, if you wish to mention that, you must add more details. Otherwise, the rumors will never end.

NC

John McFarland said...

Schism is the rejection in principle the authority of the hierarchy, and in particular of the Holy Father.

The SSPX does not deny in principle that authority. It has disobeyed that authority and given its reasons for so doing.

Most of those associated with this site understand all of this, even if they do not agree that the SSPX is right is disobeying.

It appears that Cardinal Pell does not understand this.

It is therefore difficult to understand how anyone can give him any credit on these matters, and leads one to wonder whether one can give him credit on much of anyone else.

Pachomius said...

“The word "schism" gets bandied around a lot in discussions of the SSPX, but is that the best word? If you are in schism aren't you ipso facto under excommunication latae sententiae?”
I would say no, on the basis of historical evidence: Cardinal Humbert formally excommunicated Patriarch Cerularius of Constantinople; the excommunication therefore cannot have been a direct result of the state of schism.

“Even worse, they have invented the some kind of DIY jurisdiction, by which they claim a mandate of the “church” for consecration of bishops (the case of one bishop in Brazil), selecting candidates for priesthood, administering absolutions, dealing with annulment of marriages etc.
”
It is indeed bizarre that there is a situation where a group of people in the name of the tradition of the Holy Roman Church set up four bishops without dioceses in order to disobey the Sovereign Pontiff.

“Even the Orthodox who are in fact heretics (deny several dogmas)”
Which dogmas would those be? And how does their theology in these matters differ from that of the Eastern Catholic Churches?

“Eventually, he is disciplined, and is finally thrown out when he brings forth sons of his own without his father's permission. The son said he had no choice.”
This analogy is a nonsense: The SSPX were not thrown out. The five bishops involved in the Econne Consecrations incurred excommunication automatically, through the very action itself. Pope John Paul simply wrote to Lefebvre to make him formally aware that this had happened.

Furthermore, a son does not need his father’s permission to have children: A bishop does need the permission of the Supreme Pontiff to ordain another to the episcopacy.

Joe B said...

Reasonably good analogy on the alcoholic Father. I think many priests now acknowledge a big problem exists, which of course is the key first step in treating alcoholism, but haven't figured out that inventing a new mass won't fix it (switching to Vodka didn't work - maybe if I try rum). Of course, I think all the answers are in our rich traditions somewhere, so return to them starting with the ancient mass, search within them, and re-catechize Catholics to them - the answers are already there.

Giles said...

Cardinal Pell's writings, unfortunately, offer evidence of theological confusion. I quote from a March 2002 editorial in "Christian Order":

"In the 28 June 1998 edition of Kairos, the weekly journal of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Archbishop George Pell wrote: "The Scriptures are certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit; truly the Word of God. But they are human creations, which also contain historical and scientific errors or misunderstandings." Just two days later, on 30 June 1998, the Vatican press office released the Apostolic Letter Ad Tuendam Fidem, which reaffirmed "the absence of error in the inspired sacred texts" as an article of faith demanding "the full and irrevocable character of assent."

"This juxtaposition of contradictory statements is especially powerful because Archbishop Pell, renowned for cleaning up and revitalising Melbourne's formerly dissident and dissolute Corpus Christi seminary, is widely regarded as a 'conservative;' a solidly orthodox prelate. He certainly holds the orthodox line forcefully in many areas, especially those pertaining to moral and ethical issues where he provides genuine and desperately needed leadership. On the other hand, in his public and private writings and utterances he is renowned for expressing heterodox or heretical views on such basic doctrines as the physical Resurrection of Christ, the institution of the priesthood on Holy Thursday and the inerrancy/historicity of the Scriptures. Indeed, in 1988, dismissing protests by orthodox members of his flock with typical acerbity, he unreservedly praised - as "brilliant," "stimulating" and containing "useful lessons for the modern Church" - a thoroughly subversive article expounding arch-Modernist Rudolf Bultmann's radically experiential, anti-intellectual approach to Scripture interpretation."

Giles

P.S. Apologies to New Catholic and Jordanes for the mix-up in this posting.

Anonymous said...

Pachomius wrote:

"“Even the Orthodox who are in fact heretics (deny several dogmas)”
Which dogmas would those be? And how does their theology in these matters differ from that of the Eastern Catholic Churches?"

Here are just three. Talk to any Orthodox priest to find out more differences.

1. Reject Papal Infallibility & Supreme Jurisdiction of the Pope
2. Reject Immaculate Conception due to a different understanding of original sin
3. Reject the existence of purgatory.

-FNC

Dan said...

Pachomius: One rather important dogma the Orthodox have (sadly) rejected is contained in Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctam. The infallible definition is thus: "...no one at all can be saved without submission to the Roman Pontiff."

They would also seem to have some trouble with the authentic Catholic doctrine regarding the Trinity. I say this only in passing because I hope and pray that the schism with the Orthodox, a thousand years old, will one day be healed.

They need us, and we need them.

David said...

Schism is the rejection in principle the authority of the hierarchy, and in particular of the Holy Father.

The SSPX does not deny in principle that authority. It has disobeyed that authority and given its reasons for so doing.

Most of those associated with this site understand all of this, even if they do not agree that the SSPX is right is disobeying.


It is unarguable that the SSPX is not in schism and that they are in communion with the Church, albeit in an irregular canonical situation.

As Mr McFarland points out, schism is the refusal to acknowledge the lawful authority of the Pope. No-one can assert that this is the position of the SSPX. Certainly, they have withheld obedience to papal authority in a number of cases, but that cannot be described as "schism" - even if we were to judge such disobedience to be either unlawful or imprudent.

In the Bull De Consuetudine, Pope Innocent III said: "It is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed".

FWIW, I do not attend an SSPX parish, but have great sympathy with those who do.

ATW said...

Pachomius, regarding Catholic dogmas that the Orthodox deny, I recall reading several years ago an article written by an Orthodox bishop regarding Catholic converts to Orthodoxy. I've looked for this article on line and can no longer find it. It was on a Western Rite Orthodox site. The bishop mentioned three or four points and the one that sticks with me regards the Council of Trent's teaching on justification. The Orthodox reject it entirely and a Catholic must renounce it in order to be received into Orthodoxy.

Pascal said...

"Who is "received back" in this days of appostasy? Even the Orthodox who are in fact heretics (deny several dogmas)and deny the very primacy of the Pope and are in formal Schism, are sent back to their bishops and even reprimanded when they come to Rome to be "received back", because there is not longer need."

There are stories about this happening, but I have yet to come across solid evidence about the veracity of these stories.

On the other hand, numerous Orthodox laity and priests have been received into the Catholic Church in the last two decades. Just think of the estimated 500 Russian Orthodox priests -- and their flocks -- in Western Ukraine who reasserted their Greek Catholic identity between 1989 and 1991; the tiny band of Russian Orthodox priests who converted to -- and thus revived -- Greek Catholicism in Russia in the 1990's; and in the USA, priests like Frs. Chrsysostom Frank, David Anderson, John Mack and the fathers of the Holy Cross monastery in Washington DC.

rodrigo said...

Pascal,

Here's some solid evidence for you:

At the nunciature there was also a young [Orthodox] seminarian who had stopped studying in order to make some money. I would tell him quite often: “You must not become a Catholic. You have to keep your faith in order to better serve your Church. Now you know us you can dream about going to Rome. You can go to Rome one day in order to study but you should remain a Russian Orthodox.”

The speaker is the same man who will be determining who gets appointed to the English episcopate in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

Are bishops who refuse to comply with Summorum Pontificum "in schism"? If the criterion of schism is refusal to comply a Papal decree, then the answer, surely, is "yes." In that case, the SSPX are no more, and perhaps less, in schism than are many, many mainstream Novus Ordo Bishops.

If the criterion of communion is doctrinal...well, in that case, the SSPX are far, far better of than many Catholics whom the world believes to be in communion.

I, for one, would have no qualms about going to Mass at an SSPX parish. If I had a choice between a typical Novus Ordo parish and an SSPX parish, I would choose the one that is more "in communion" with the Catholic Church and the Holy Father--i.e. the SSPX.

Denis

Giles said...

Excellent, Rodrigo. I was looking for that same comment.

The man who is the Nuncio to Great Britain (recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI) is a material heretic.

State of emergency, anyone?

Giles

Anonymous said...

Same old traddie legalistic jawing about "schism" or not, that we have been hearing for the last 20 plus years and has gotten no one anywhere. Meanwhile the ship is still taking on water badly, despite the well meaning efforts of the captain, but it is beginning to look like they are too little and too late (notwithstanding the happy talk from Father Z and others). Western civilization, the core of the Church, as willed by God, is crumbling, without the institutional Church having Faith strong enough to evangelize the next wave of barbarians who are already on the scene (thus distinguishing between today and the Dark Ages).

As is well known, the Africans, Latin Americans and Asians will not keep the Faith as it has been handed down from the Apostles, so it is no answer to say that even if the Faith recedes from Europe it will be sound and grow elsewhere. What will result there is a hybrid faith that the Pollyannas will say is the same, but will not be so.

So it is beginning to look like we are in the final downward, disintegrating spiral, the length of which is only known to the Good Lord. I am coming to the conclusion that the only real question is: where will the remnant be found?

Johnny Domer said...

This is an honest question: does or should the term "schism" always have to have its strict canonical meaning, or could it have a looser sort of definition relating to a state of formal separation? I agree, it seems that the Vatican isn't using the term "schism" to define the SSPX's state of affairs, but...they have almost zilch contact with/direction from/submission to to the Holy See in disciplinary matters, they set up their own de facto jurisdictional structures (pastors/rectors of chapels, seminaries, tribunals for annulments, regional superiors, a superior general). Whatever the SSPX's state of affairs is, it sure looks like something pretty close to schism...is it that inappropriate to refer to it as such, even if possibly, from a strict de jure standpoint, it isn't technically a schism?

Cruise the Groove. said...

Denis,

But we cannot recieve absolution from SSPX priests, and many commit mortal sins Sat night, so we need the Holy Father to grant faculties to the SSPX.

Marie said...

Here are just three. Talk to any Orthodox priest to find out more differences.

1. Reject Papal Infallibility & Supreme Jurisdiction of the Pope
2. Reject Immaculate Conception due to a different understanding of original sin
3. Reject the existence of purgatory.

-FNC



The Orthodox also deny the Filioque and the indissolubility of Marriage. In fact, they allow 3 marriages (2divorces).
Anyway, denying ONE dogma makes you a heretic, and to go to hell.

Anonymous said...

Just once I'd like to hear a Cardinal speak up about the Jesuits.

Jason

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Pell is dead wrong: the S.S.P.X is not in schism and Rome made that clear in 2008: the consecrations were a schismatic act but not one sufficient to result in schism, since no parallel jurisdictions were established and the local bishop is acknowledged with the Pope in all their Masses.

Ogard is wrong, of course. The Society claims a case of necessity which enables a de facto disobedience that falls short of schism under the current Code of Canons. The current Code is very forgiving (ironically, it saves the very Society that dislikes it). We've been through all this before.

I don't think it's surprising that the s word is still being hurled about. We frequently get mixed signals on this from various prelates.

P.K.T.P.

Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

People around here throw the words "The Orthodox" as if they even agreed with each other on what they teach.

If anything I would call attention at the fact that in reality there is no "they" as a single block of schismatics but rather they as several sees of authority within a fracture Eastern Christian faction.

Though in some ways similar to protestantism they are in fact protected from the poison of complete theological deterioration by the fact of their true apostolic succession.

However the problem with the "Orthodox" is not material heresy in other words denial of a dogma proclaimed by the Church but rather a systematical absence of a way to discern theological truth.

In other words they lack the ability since separating them selves from Rome, to call an ecumenical council as the Church would when faced with theological differences that may threatened theological unity. What you have in their case is simply synods that may or may not agree with each other but again lack the systematic ability to take the next logical step which is a council.

In other words no Rome, no council hence no way to define dogma.

Anonymous said...

"Schism is the rejection in principle the authority of the hierarchy, and in particular of the Holy Father.
The SSPX does not deny in principle that authority. It has disobeyed that authority and given its reasons for so doing." So says David Jojce.

The qualification "in principle" is not applicable to the schism. The latter is the actual state of affairs, not the acceptance of doctrine as of what the schism is.

And there is no dispute that the actual state of affairs of the SSPX is that of a schism, both in matters of discipline and in matters of liturgy, for the reasons I have outlined earlier.

One can "in principle" hold that the murder is a moral evil, and yet he is a murderer if he kills somebody. One can't claim that he is not a murdered on the basis of acceptance "in principle" that the murder is an evil.

LeonG said...

It is large parts of the NO church in schism because they are teaching protestantism and routinely abuse the liturgy sometimes committing sacrilege. There are many bishops who teach un-Catholic ideas & who have done all they can to oppose papal action over re-form of the NO liturgy; another translation of it and in UK, for example, there have been written public criticisms of the papacy of Benedict XVI.

As for The Confraternity, the accusation of schism is absolute nonsense and has even been denied by the hieracrchy concerned with the matter. It is time some of the false accusers here and elsewhere learned some new lines as your old hackneyed ones are based on ignorance, hearsay or sheer antipathy.

M. A. said...

"On the other hand, in his public and private writings and utterances he is renowned for expressing heterodox or heretical views on such basic doctrines as the physical Resurrection of Christ, the institution of the priesthood on Holy Thursday and the inerrancy/historicity of the Scriptures."
_________________________

Shades of Fr. R. Brown!! I know a reform-of-the-reform type, very conservative, who believes that kind of stuff. He takes pride in his CUA "pe-degree" and in the enlightment Fr. Brown has shed upon his soul, unlike the rest of us who still remain in the darkness of medieval infancy.

Were I to be in need of understanding or clarification on Church doctrine,and my only choice was between a conservative N.O. priest and an SSPX priest, I would not hesitate to choose the latter. That they are in schism is laughable. Rather, what one comes to understand, is that they are being faithful to the nearly 2,000 years magisterium of the Church.

Anymore, who can say the same about their N.O. pastors?

Tradi said...

It is easy to say that the SSPX are not in schism but in fact they are not in the Church structure, they are n ot submitted to the Pope. They could be likened Anglo-Catholics before AC except that rather than organised dioceses they have a kind of episcopal Tetrarchy t hat de facto exercises universal jurisdiction that they claim is "supplied". The point is not their unique structure but that they are outside of the Catholic Church structures. A rose by any name... the fact is, they are outside Catholic structures and TRADITIONALLY we have called that, the state of schism.

Beware of accepting the very kind, courteous (missiological) language of the Holy See for more than it is. It is kind to avoid accurate descriptions but short sighted to read more into kind language than its charity and hopes of the expected conversion/reunion of the SSPX with the Church.

Anonymous said...

You can't break away from the magisterium and the Church by defending and been faithful to the same. You have to ask yourselves who changed in 1965? It was certainly not the so called traditionalists. Yes, the Council took placed and that is a historic fact, no one is disputing that. But this council explicitly declared itself pastoral in order not to take too long on dogmatic discussions and definitions. So as a not dogmatic council not one is obliged to believe in its declarations especially when those declarations are already condemed by the previous popes (read the encyclicals Pacendi, Sylabus, Mediator Dei, Lamentabili, Vehementer nos, etc). And lastly obedience is subject to this Deposit of Faith to defend it not to destroy it, if someone even a pastoral council tells you to go agains it, you need to obey the first and only Faith that you received not the innovations already condemed. Saint Paul said if I or angel from heaven teach or preach to you a different gospel than that which I just preached to you, let him be anathema. Also read the life of Saint Athanasious who also was unjustly excommunicated for defending the True Faith when the arian heresies were rampant in the Church, he is in the main altar in Saint Peter's basilica today.

David said...

Denis,

But we cannot recieve absolution from SSPX priests, and many commit mortal sins Sat night, so we need the Holy Father to grant faculties to the SSPX.


Yet the SSPX refer reserved sins to the Sacred Penitentiary which then gives them permission to give absolution. So the Vatican is not acting as if SSPX confessions are invalid.

It is easy to say that the SSPX are not in schism but in fact they are not in the Church structure, they are n ot submitted to the Pope. They could be likened Anglo-Catholics before AC except that rather than organised dioceses they have a kind of episcopal Tetrarchy t hat de facto exercises universal jurisdiction that they claim is "supplied". The point is not their unique structure but that they are outside of the Catholic Church structures.

No, they are canonically irregular and in communion with the Church. Was Athanasius in schism?

A rose by any name... the fact is, they are outside Catholic structures and TRADITIONALLY we have called that, the state of schism.

Why don't you point us to some statements of the Magisterium and of Canon Law to prove your point?

John McFarland said...

Tradi,

Sorry to have to tell you, but as regards schism, you are dead wrong.

The things you mention are not schism. They may tend or lead to schism (as the SSPX is well aware), or reflect a schismatic spirit.

But there is only schism when there is rejection in principle of the authority of the hierarchy, and in particular of the pope.

The SSPX's disobedience may or may not be morally wrong; but in and of itself it is not the rejection in principle of authority.

The SSPX's establishment of structures based on supplied jurisdiction may or may not be justified; but in and of itself it is not the rejection in principle of authority.

This is both an important matter in and of itself, and an important test for genuine traditionalism. A traditionalist has to have properly distinguished the things of faith so that he can properly unite them in his own mind. Otherwise, he is bound to be suckered by conciliar squishiness.

Anonymous said...

At least one Cardinal has disagreed with Cardinal Pell in regard to whether the Society is in schism.

Confusion.

We need a definitive statement from Pope Benedict XVI as to whether the Society is in schism.

Tom

Anonymous said...

I am tired of liberalism. I am a religious brother studying for the Priesthood and I will not say where - one cannot speak certain things publicly. It is indeed true that liberals have almost no following among young Catholics. I feel like printing off the quote and leaving it around for liberals to see. However I won't because formation in western countries means jumping through hoops until you eventually are ordained and have a little bit more freedom. (not much)

God Bless

Anonymous said...

Attn. Cardinal Pell:

Your Eminence,

Why did Rome choose to discuss the problems of continuity between Tradition and Vatican II with schismatics? Didn't they know?

Since Fr. Hans Kung & Fr. Charles Curran are both in the Catholic Church, would I be better off to receive Holy Communion from either of them rather than from Bishop Fellay if I am near death?

A.M. La Pietra

Tradster said...

Well put, A.M. La Pietra.

Which raises a very interesting point. If I'm not mistaken, the only official, explicit direct excommunication with clear papal involvement since 1965 was Archbishop Lefebrve and the four SSPX priests ordained to the episcopacy.

Think about that. Think about what has descended upon the Church since 1965. And of all the heterdox characters and garbage that the faithful have had to endure, only SSPX folks were worthy of an official papal statement of condemnation tied to excommunication.

Talk about a diabolical disorientation. If all of these dissenters, schismatics, and heretics mean well and supposedly are all acting in good faith, then SSPX, at a minimum, deserves the same presumption.

Gratias said...

Forty years of aggiornamento since Paul VI forbade the Mass almost destroyed the Catholic Faith. That he chose 1968 to impose his secularized mass just added to the tragedy. We owe a great debt to the SSPX, for thanks to them the Latin Mass survived. With 500 priests they could do so much more if they accepted the olive branch extended by Benedict XVI.

Joe B said...

I find SSPX's canonical arguments to be convincing, but the strongest is justice itself. Ultimately, canon law is intended to be just, and will be. That's why it contains overarching principles like charity for souls trumping all, even obedience. Since SSPX is fighting the good fight - saving souls by defending the practice of our faith as it existed before being clearly trashed, and by resisting pastoral decrees that have proven to weaken the faith - any and all censures against SSPX are unjust. They serve God and the Holy Father by their work, even though the Holy Father is not clearly saying it, even though he has pretty consistently come down in their favor on such canards as schism and excommunication.

But if one has faith in justice within the church, then in the long run SSPX will be formally vindicated, and thus are so now.

And in the long run, the VC II popes are flirting with the wrath of future popes. I have no confidence that they will be anything but vilified. So I'll stick with the most traditional order I can find through these maddening times - SSPX. We will win, and the modernist forest will burn down, no matter how big it is now.

Jordanes551 said...

That he chose 1968 to impose his secularized mass just added to the tragedy.

Apart from the silliness of the adjective "secularized," Paul VI first attempted to promulgate the new Roman Missal in 1969, not 1968 -- though due to a serious oversight it wasn't properly promulgated until 1970.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of hearing the SSPX's critics misrepresent it. A schismatic rejects papal authority in itself. The SSPX's bishops have always accepted it, and they pray for the Pope, too.

Has Paul VI ever appointed a liberal bishop? I don't know. But since I think he was one, I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

Anonymous said...

Anon 23:09 wrote: "...because formation in western countries means jumping through hoops until you eventually are ordained and have a little bit more freedom. (not much)"

That is exactly what my priest (ordained two years) told me. It is not easy. God bless you and keep you safe, and may He grant you, through the intercession of Our Lady, the graces necessary to persevere through thick and thin!

Delphina

Jordanes551 said...

A schismatic rejects papal authority in itself. The SSPX's bishops have always accepted it, and they pray for the Pope, too.

In theory they accept the authority of the pope and their brother bishops, but in practice I'm not sure they've actually submitted to or respected their authority since the initial breach in the 1970s.

Alexander said...

"The now aged liberal wing of the Church, which dominated discussion after the Council"

This is where “neo-cons” falls short. Liberals also dominated the voting blocks at Vatican II also and purposely inserted ambiguity into the texts.

He admits to one of the three realities surrounding Vatican II, there will be no recovery unless all three are accpeted and dealt with.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes, right again!!

"In theory they accept the authority of the pope and their brother bishops, but in practice I'm not sure they've actually submitted to or respected their authority since the initial breach in the 1970s."

Delphina

Cruise the Groove. said...

But does assisting at the Mass offered by a Catholic priest who is in schism fulfill the holy day obligation?
I do not think so.

Why would the P.C.E.D. say it fulfills the obligation?


So it would appear 'de facto" that the SSPX are not in schism.

Jordanes551 said...

But does assisting at the Mass offered by a Catholic priest who is in schism fulfill the holy day obligation? I do not think so.

If I remember right, the canon says the obligation is fulfilled by assisting at a Mass or Divine Liturgy celebrated in a Catholic rite. I'm not sure if the standing of the priest celebrant necessarily bears on whether or not one has fulfilled his obligation.

Martin Walker said...

On who is in communion with the Church, the Holy Father said this in the book "Light of the World" -

Communion with the Pope is something of a different sort, as is membership in the Church, of course. Among those 1.2 billion Catholics are many who are not inwardly there. Saint Augustine said even in his day: There are many outside who seem to be inside, and there are many inside who seem to be outside.

For my part, I believe the SSPX to be inside the Catholic Church, not in schism. I think they've also done a good job resisting the apostasy swirling around us in these modern times.

I also believe many people who are considered 'inside the church' are already indeed in schism, and shouldn't be throwing stones at the SSPX.

I wonder, if the Holy Father recognized the SSPX without laying a lot of groundwork first, who else in the Church would break away in protest?

Anonymous said...

"I am tired of liberalism. I am a religious brother studying for the Priesthood and I will not say where - one cannot speak certain things publicly. It is indeed true that liberals have almost no following among young Catholics. I feel like printing off the quote and leaving it around for liberals to see. However I won't because formation in western countries means jumping through hoops until you eventually are ordained and have a little bit more freedom. (not much)"

Brother I will pray for you. I may have posted it once on this blog but I had a meeting with the vocations director of my diocese not long ago about the priesthood. I was very open about my love of tradition. I told them about my reversion years ago and how it was nearly derailed by the new mass.

He couldn't wait to get me out of the building and I never heard from him or anyone else at the diocese since.

There are plenty men out there who are considering a priestly vocation. But if you're not of the right mind in their view, there's no room at the inn.

Jason

Long-Skirts said...

Cardinal Pell said:

"He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication."

SACERDOS

“They have abandoned the Fort, those
who should have defended it.” (St. John Fisher)

Who held the Fort
Till the Calvary came
Fighting for all
In His Holy Name?

Who fed the sheep
As the pastures burned dry
A few Good Shepherds
Heeding their cry?

Who led the charge
‘Gainst heresy’s Huns
Defending the degreed
To His lowliest ones?

Who battened down
The hatch of the barque
To warm cold souls
From shivering-seas dark?

“Who?” mocks Satan
Delighting in doubt
Fills you with questions
Never lets you find out.

“Hoc est enum
Corpus meum…
…and for many…” who kept
The dead words – Te Deum!

MERCI MARCEL!!!
God help our Pope!!!

dcs said...

If I remember right, the canon says the obligation is fulfilled by assisting at a Mass or Divine Liturgy celebrated in a Catholic rite. I'm not sure if the standing of the priest celebrant necessarily bears on whether or not one has fulfilled his obligation.

My guess is that the Holy See does not wish to burden faithful Catholics by making them sift through Masses to figure out which ones are illicit and which ones aren't (it goes without saying that many Masses to which the Faithful are subjected are illicit because of liturgical abuses). So a Mass still fulfills the Sunday obligation even if it is illicit. I could not say whether the same is true of Masses offered by sede vacantists, however.

Joe B said...

"In theory they accept the authority of the pope and their brother bishops, but in practice I'm not sure they've actually submitted to or respected their authority since the initial breach in the 1970s."

If you're not sure, then they aren't guilty. You do realize that this criteria results in virtually all Novus Ordo bishops being in schism, right? Formal schism is much deeper than this, and SSPX isn't even close. No parallel church structure (no, having a head of an order isn't a parallel church structure), no public refutation of papal authority or local bishopric authority, and no heresy to hang on them. That puts them further inside the church than virtually all Novus Ordo bishops, who certainly don't respect papal authority and many of whom certainly hold heretical views, and have said so openly.

And then there's that small matter of the Holy Father's statement that the SSPX is an issue inside the church.

SSPX (Catholic tradition) isn't the enemy, liberalism is. How about firing in the right direction?

Jordanes551 said...

I said, "In theory they accept the authority of the pope and their brother bishops, but in practice I'm not sure they've actually submitted to or respected their authority since the initial breach in the 1970s."

JoeB replied, If you're not sure, then they aren't guilty.

Well, that doesn't necessarily follow. I didn't say that I'm not sure they've ever rejected or ignored the lawful authority of the Pope and their brother bishops. Of that I have no doubt. What I'm not sure of is whether or not they submit to the Pope's lawful authority and respect the lawful authority of their brother bishops.

As for their guilt or innocence, I haven't addressed that matter in my above comment, nor will I address it. What I have done is observed that the SSPX bishops' acceptance in theory of papal authority and their prayers for the Pope aren't necessarily sufficient to establish that they are not schismatics.

You do realize that this criteria results in virtually all Novus Ordo bishops being in schism, right?

Well, not virtually all, but yes, I do think quite a lot of the Church's bishops probably have been or are materially in schism due to their neglect or rejection of this or that matter of importance.

Formal schism is much deeper than this, and SSPX isn't even close.

Well, in my view the SSPX's bishops and priests are closer to formal schism than most of their brother bishops who operate with visible ties of unity with the Catholic Church.

No parallel church structure (no, having a head of an order isn't a parallel church structure)

However, the SSPX operates apart from and with no reference to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Functionally it acts like a parallel church structure even if it is not.

no public refutation of papal authority or local bishopric authority

True, but as I said, that remains on the theoretical level, as distinct from the usual practice of the SSPX.

and no heresy to hang on them.

Which is not to say that they don't sometimes say things that are not true.

virtually all Novus Ordo bishops, who certainly don't respect papal authority

I think "virtually all" is somewhat of an hyperbole.

And then there's that small matter of the Holy Father's statement that the SSPX is an issue inside the church.

The Church clearly does not desire to declare or define that the SSPX is in schism. That would indicate that canonically, formally, it is not.

SSPX (Catholic tradition) isn't the enemy, liberalism is. How about firing in the right direction?

I have not fired at all.

Anyway, not every means of combatting liberalism is licit.

Joe B said...

Jordanes, true, you aren't the one "firing" at SSPX. Others are.

But this issue of a heretical or schismatic level of denying the authority of the office of the Holy Father rankles me in this age of collegiality. Collegiality is the forest. Talk about practice versus words - the modern version of collegiality is itself a widespread, formal, notoriously public, and operational direct shot against papal authority. SSPX stands against it, and as far as I can see, they are unique in defending papal authority against that major assault.

SSPX is not the enemy. The left is. They would do away with us, and they deserve much more non-Jordanian fire than SSPX. Stop firing to the right - the enemy is overwhelming us from the left.