Rorate Caeli

A Filipino Archdiocese to the SSPX: "You remain excommunicated in conscience because of doctrinal error"

The Archdiocese of Davao, one of the largest dioceses of the Philippines, has been involved in an acrimonious public debate with the Society of St. Pius X in the past several weeks -- a story that will be told in full in the next few days here on Rorate. For now, we present to our readers the latest open letter of the Archbishop of Davao to the SSPX. (Click on the images to be able to read them. A transcription of the letter has been added to this post, below the images.)







The following is a transcription of the letter:


OPEN LETTER

P.N. 569/2011
08 November 2011

FR. FRANCOIS LAISNEY
Priests of the Society of Saint Pius X
# 9 Carpio Subdivision
Buhangin Road, Davao

Dear Father Laisney:

As the Archbishop of Davao and duly appointed shepherd of the Catholic faith of this local church I would like to remind you again of a basic and fundamental principle from the Code of Canon Law . This principle must regulate and guide our priestly ministry.

I am writing this reminder as from a friend and gentleman to another. This reminder is also directed to your Society here in Davao City and through you to some of our people who have innocently sought your ministerial services.

This fundamental principle is the authentic right and authority to minister here. If you then are validly ordained as priest you have this right undoubtedly. But without genuine authorization or approval from me as Archbishop and Local Ordinary, you cannot, and are not allowed, to exercise that right within my jurisdiction and territory. You do not have the canonical faculty or permit which can only be given in writing by me.

I assume that you know very well that priests not canonically incardinated in our Diocese must have required written faculty to minister here. You also very well know that even transient priests, who are not irregular, need to present a celebret or certification from their own bishop or superior when they come here to preside in liturgical celebration or administer the Sacraments. This you do not have. And even if you ask I cannot grant it because you do not have the canonical status.

The reason for this has already been given and explained by our Holy Father, pope Benedict XVI in his Papal Letter on the Society of Saint Pius X dated 12 March 2009. In reference to this point he clearly stated:

“The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status inside the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church.”

It is very clear that you cannot exercise legitimately your priestly right to minister our Church territory or Diocese. And the reason - which perhaps you failed to explain to our people -- is the grave error in doctrine committed by your Society against the authority of the Pope and the Vatican Council, a serious offense and crime against the unity of the Church, our unfortunate schism.

On this point I wonder why you did not explain to others that there are two types of excommunication: ipso facto or automatic (latae sententiae) and sub judice or under investigation (ferendae sententiae). Of course I can understand why you could not and did not explain that because of automatic excommunication which does not need official Church declaration you still remain excommunicated in conscience because of doctrinal error. This is the reason why you and your Society do not have canonical Status.

To push argument further, especially for the benefit of the lay people, this point means that you and your Society are not in the approved list of recognized ministers and society within the Church. No amount of reasoning, like the perceived necessity, the appeal to the people, the “salvation of souls”, the Good Samaritan Metaphor can confer ordinary jurisdiction or grant authorization to you except the local bishop. And you cannot apply one canonical provision and violate another in your argumentation.

Please, pardon me for saying that the logical consequence of the above points I presented is that as illegitimate minister you are intruding without permission into our communities and misleading our people. As official shepherd of the flock I cannot help saying that you are trespassing our private domain, sneaking into our fold and snatching away like wolves in sheep’s clothing our innocent sheep. (Mt 7:15)

As chief shepherd of the local flock I am aware of my own shortcomings and limitation and those of my clergy, religious and lay faithful. Yes, there are lapses and questionable practices and behavior in the liturgical, pastoral and moral lives in our communities. We are not ignoring them. They make us humble and conscious of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and encourage us to struggle for authenticity and credibility. Our Archdiocesan Liturgical Center under Fr. Joel Caasi will in due time prepare our people to celebrate the Missa Extraordiaria in Latin with propriety and dignity when needed.

I have to say this as spiritual leader and ultimately responsible to God and the Pope for the welfare of the flock entrusted to me. I am sorry I don’t enjoy and relish this public exchange of open letters which you provoked. But I am sure our people- priests, religious, laity especially the Latin Mass Society- will respond to your misleading statements in due time and in the appropriate manner.

With every good wish and prayer, I remain;

Your friend and brother in Christ,

(Sgd.) Fernando R. Capalla
Archbishop of Davao

34 comments:

New Catholic said...

The basic problem with all such words directed at the SSPX in the past 40 years is essentially one of justice. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that all of which the SSPX is accused is true: the fact that only this society (and, in some cases, traditional Catholics in general, even those unrelated to them) is the recipient of these harsh words, while the destroyers and perverters of Catholic faith, practice, morals, and unity in the past 50 years are not even bothered, much less condemned, is profoundly and revoltingly unjust. And justice, as we have repeated in this month of Holy Souls in Purgatory, is something so important to the Divinity that it is one of those few things that are beyond the vicissitudes of this earthly life.

NC

P.K.T.P. said...

There is no such canonical penalty called "excommunication in conscience". The excommunication supposedly incurred by the Society bishops was automatic, not imposed (ferendæ sententiæ), and that penalty has been revoked. This idiot does not know what he is blathering about. Let him show us where, in the Code, there is an "excommunication in conscience" that differs from the one supposely incurred in 1988.

Secondly, the same imbecile refers to the Society being in schism, whereas Rome has said that it is not in schism but that its consecrations were a schismatic act not, however, adequate to result in a formal schism. There may be material schism in indvidual cases of clerics, for which accusation this nitwit must, in justice, provide evidence.

Archbishop Capalla is the oldest of the three remaining Pauline bishops in the Philippines. He is 77 years old. Last week, another Pauline, Archbishop Gordoncillo of Capiz, was retired, at the age of 76. Capalla is also the oldest serving Filippino serving as a diocesan bishop. He is about to get the boot and he knows it. Being an old liberal, he figues that he will get in some last kicks at the Society of St. Pius X. I wonder if there is a special nursing home for retired liberal bishops?

If he wants to find heretics and schismatics among the clergy, there are plenty in the Philippines but he's looking in the wrong place.

P.K.TP.

P.K.T.P. said...

Dear N.C.:

The only claim Archbishop Capalla can make is one of disobedience, from which he can allege that the Society has no faculties and that its Masses, for example, are threfore illicit. He does mention this before he ventures into wild fantasies about schisms and extra excommunications "in conscience", which he has apparently added to the Code from his own authority. As for formal schism, Rome has made this clear: the Society's acts were schismatic but not sufficient to result in schism. They are like the axe-blow which does not fell the tree: it is destructive but not sufficient to kill the tree.

Again:

(1) at 77, he is now the oldest serving diocesan bishop in the Philippines;

(2) he is also the oldest remaining Pauline, having been consecrated bishop in 1975;

(3) just last week, his Pauline colleague, Archbishop Gordoncillo of Capiz, was retired by the Pope at the younger age of 76; and, before that, Cardinal Rosales was retired recently (another superannuated Pauline).

Somebody, sent this man a powered wheelchair. He's just getting in some attacks on the Society before the Pope sends him off to the nursing home for retired has-been liberals.

P.K.T.P.

Sixupman said...

Instead of atacking BXVI, SSPX should direct their aim at the national Bishops' Conferences and Diocesan Curia mafia's and expose their heretical and neo-heretical outpourings and actions.

P.K.T.P. said...

It's all about the Mass, friends. The Traditional Latin Mass contains and implies and proclaims and carries the constant and irreformable teachings of Holy Church. It is the centre of all that is truly Catholic. The teachings remain constant because their divine Author is living and yet never changes. Tradition is living in the sense that the doctrines are embraced and transmitted by God's people, but they never change because they come from God.

In 1975, the cardinals at Rome said to Archbishop Lefebvre, Offer this New Mass just once, Your Grace, just once!, and all will be forgiven, all will be provided, all will be allowed. He refused.

A few years ago, the Brazilian bishops, in effect, said to Bishop Rifan, Concelebrate this New Mass just once, with us, Your Excellency, and your priests are welcome in our dioceses! But afterwards, he was asked again. Eventually, his priests will be asked to offer the New Mass as a condition for keeping Campos apostolates in their sees. It's coming.

And the devil took our Lord into a high place. And he said to Him, bow down and worhsip me just once and I shall give unto you all the kingdoms of the earth to rule. But he said to him: Get behind me, Satan.

P.K.T.P.

Ferraiuolo said...

I do believe that unfortunately the SSPX do remain canonically irregular because of doctrinal problems. Accepting the council is not an option. And rejecting it is a grave error.

It implies that all the successors of the apostles who signed the Council were acting without the authority of successors of the apostles. This is not simply a canonical error that the society incurs but also a doctrinal one.

Does the society do better things than others in doctrinal error? Certainly, in fact they do more Catholic things than most WITHOUT any doctrinal error. But that is not the point.

One can only pray and hope that the Society normalizes itself and accepts a Catholic interpretation of the Council. I really do admire the work done by Abp. Lefebvre. He had a heroic virtue. The Society, however, needs to accept that which is of the Church.

Brian said...

The basic problem with all such words directed at the SSPX in the past 40 years is essentially one of justice.

That is an excellent point. Associated with it, one must ask, "What motivates this unjust act against Traditional Catholics?"

And finally, "What of the grave injustice perpetrated against the millions of Catholics who have been deprived of the Traditional Liturgy and teaching for decades?"

Strain a gnat and swallow a camel.

GQRep said...

This guy who is the Archbishop of Davao is Capalla, and he's 77 years old this month.

If Benedict XVI was doing his job,he would have been sacked two years ago at retirement age and hopefully replaced with a Catholic.

His statements are totally illogical, and can't be backed up by Canon Law.
Just another case of the old guard liberal Novus Ordo/Vatican II bishops against the tidal wave of support for the Tridentine Latin Mass and return to Catholic tradition.

I just went to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Philadelphia for a High Mass in the Tridentine Rite yesterday....the Church was packed. All young people with families. No one over 40.

I came back later for the Novus Ordo just to compare. Place was less than half full, mostly people 50+. Some families, but mostly the old guard.

Bill Phelan said...

As many of you are aware, fifty Italian religious and lay scholars have written a letter to the Pope asking for a full clarification of the Second Vatican Council. I have read the English translation and they are spot on. Nothing will ever change until all the questions still be being asked about that Council after FIFTY YEARS are addressed and the Fathers of that Council have passed to their rewards or punishments. When the writers of the 16 documents have publicly stated that their task was to attempt to incorporate two irreconcible opinions, this Council will never be trusted until the Magisterium resolves each and every subject.

Daniel Arseno said...

I have yet to read in these comments a rebuttal to the main argument of the Archbishop: The SSPX has no canonical status and no written faculty, and quoting the Holy Father, "its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church."

Please, tell me why he's wrong. I'd like to know how 2+2=5 in the minds of the SSPX.

Bernonensis said...

Thrice blessed are the people of Davao! Their shepherd can read hearts, can divine doctrinal errors that escape the notice of Roman officials, and can impose sanctions unknown to the canonists. Surely the faith thrives there and holy Tradition shines forth in all its solemn beauty, right?

Brian said...

The SSPX has no canonical status and no written faculty, and quoting the Holy Father, "its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church."

But, Mr. Arsenom, why is that with all abuses in the Church, the SSPX was and continues to be singled out the group that has no canonical status and no written faculty?

Accepting the council is not an option. And rejecting it is a grave error

Ferraiuolo, what doctrine, in particular, does the SSPX reject which constitutes their grave error?

Cruise the Groove. said...

Then why does the P.C.E.D allow for the faithful to fulfill their holyday obligation at SSPX Masses without penalty of sin, if this letter is so?

Crouchback said...

D Arseno.....

He is wrong because excommunication is a sanction of Canon Law, it is not a communicable disease....how ever much some people would that it were.

He is also wrong for doing whatever he is doing in his diocese when he doesn't promote the Traditional Mass.

Most Novus Ordo types sniffed and decided Summorum Pontificum wasn't for them.....how wrong could they be....the Philippines might be better of than we are in Britain....they could hardly be worse off..!!!...what we need is a whole sale clean out of anti Catholic bishops....lets start with Glasgow (Scotland)....and most of the English bishops....a useless shower, sitting on their hands as all falls down around them.

Useless, truly useless the lot of them.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"And rejecting it is a grave error"

Ferraiulo,

Precisely what of VII, that must be accepted, do the SSPX reject?

Just curious.

Ernesto said...

Hey, hey, do not forget that Benedict XVI is a "pauline" bishop!

dcs said...

But, Mr. Arsenom, why is that with all abuses in the Church, the SSPX was and continues to be singled out the group that has no canonical status and no written faculty?

As the SSPX says, "In order to protect oneself efficaciously, it is therefore necessary to keep one's distances from the Roman authorities" (see: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-sspx-sees-ecclesia-dei-communities.html). That is why they have no canonical status and no faculties. They do not want them.

Daniel Arseno said...

@Brian, @Crouchback: Is the Archbishop right or wrong in the following argument: The SSPX has no canonical status and no written faculty, and quoting the Holy Father, "its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church."? Please explain.

It is disconcerting to see that the very people who claim to cherish orthodoxy are those who throw to the floor and trample on a central doctrine of Catholicism: Obedience to the Pope and to the Ecumenical Councils. Is the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, or is it not? One cannot pick and choose what he considers true or false in the Church's teachings.

Spero said...

It sounds to me like he actually might have this canon in mind:
"Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3."

I think this bishop might be accusing them of heresy rather than schism. Of course this does not hold for several reasons, both canonical and doctrinal. On the count of heresy, the the only way it could hold is if the CDF found that they denied explicitly something that is of Divine Revelation and admonished them to recant, then afterward found them obstinate. I am sure this this will not be the case.
With regard to schism, this bishop would be rash to pass judgment where the Holy See has intentionally remained reserved.

Daniel Arseno said...

@dcs: "That is why they have no canonical status and no faculties. They do not want them."

Then they do not "want" to exercise legitimate ministry in the Catholic Church. No canonical status = no legitimacy. How hard is that to understand?

Ferraiuolo said...

"Cruise the Grove"

I suppose they do reject the council as a whole. Mgr Fellay explicitly stated that he would not accept the Council before he went to Rome on Sept. 14 2011. The problem is doctrinal in rejecting the Council, yet to another extent it is unfair to simply dismiss the SSPX because after all they take the mass of ages to places where priests still refuse to say it.

But the problem still remains doctrinal and from the moment the SSPX is allowed to criticise the council without rejecting it, I will be more than happy to stop criticising their position.

Joe B said...

Without going through this whole line of reason again, SSPX can be ARGUED to be with faculties because of supplied jurisdiction based on (1) injustice of any sanctions against holding to our traditions (2) charity for souls being the highest law of the church, (3) perceived state of crisis in the church, regardless of whether there actually is one, (4) failure to implement sanctions according to Canon Law (fair appeal being impossible, just for one example), (5) all actual acts of Rome indicating Rome does not consider SSPX to be without faculties despite their words, (6) fruits of the Holy Spirit apparent in their works, and (7) visible corruption, disintegration, division, and failure being the most distinguishing characteristics of Rome since VCII, thus screaming to the Sensus Catholicus that it is safer (more Catholic) to be in the care of SSPX than in the care of your local bishop. Enough?

Melchior Cano said...

Ferraiuolo,

To be clear, one does not have to "accept" an ecumenical council, but rather the doctrines of that council. We may commonly say, "He doesn't accept Trent" or "He is a huge proponent of Lateran IV" but what we really mean is that he denies the teachings of Trent or helps promote the teachings of Lateran IV.

In the case of the Society, it is far too easy to claim that they simply, "Reject Vatican II." What you must be asserting is that they reject the teachings of Vatican II. So, back to the question raised by other commenters: What doctrines of Vatican II do they deny?

Brian said...

Mr. Arseno,

You asked me:
Is the Archbishop right or wrong in the following argument: The SSPX has no canonical status and no written faculty, and quoting the Holy Father, "its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministry in the Church."?

My response to you: The Archbishop is correct.
(As you know, the SSPX believes that they are responding to a “state of emergency” in the Church.)

Perhaps now, you will do me the courtesy of responding to the question which I asked you above:

Why is it, that with all abuses in the Church, the SSPX was and continues to be singled out as the group which has no canonical status and no written faculty?

Jeff Culbreath said...

"This idiot does not know what he is blathering about."

"...the same imbecile..."

"...this nitwit..."

"I wonder if there is a special nursing home for retired liberal bishops?"

"Somebody, sent this man a powered wheelchair."

"...before the Pope sends him off to the nursing home for retired has-been liberals."

P.K.T.P., I share your perspective on the issue here, but this kind of abusive language is truly uncalled for and unworthy of traditional Catholics, who ought to show some formal respect for Archbishop Capalla's age and his office.

Tom McKenna said...

While it's a joke that a new-style bishop criticizes the Society (whilst allowing God knows what to occur in his diocese), I have always struggled with the stridency of the SSPX about the Council. Surely if Abp. Lefebvre, a Council Father, signed the documents (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbishop_lefebvre_signed_every_one_of_vatican_iis_documents/) it is hard to see why the SSPX or anyone else cannot "accept" them in the sense that 99% of what they contain are now tragically dated blather about the "modern" world, or are restatements of traditional doctrine, or are statements not clearly on their face reconcilable with Tradition: as to these last (very) few points, it ought to be a simple enough matter to say "I accept this document insofar as its contents can be reconciled with Sacred Tradition, and to the extent that portions cannot be, I accept the invitation of the Council Fathers to view this portion of the council as non-doctrinal and therefore non-binding."

Sigh... but I guess it's easier to hurl unqualified anathemas on the entire sorry Council, even if Lefebvre did not.

Pope Gregory XVI said...

It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes.[10] Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop."[11] Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

Mirari Vos, 9.

PEH said...

I do believe that unfortunately the SSPX do remain canonically irregular because of doctrinal problems. Accepting the council is not an option. And rejecting it is a grave error.

Depends on what you mean by "accepting the Council." They accept the Council as legitimate in the sense of being properly convened but they refuse the novelties emanating from it.

It implies that all the successors of the apostles who signed the Council were acting without the authority of successors of the apostles. This is not simply a canonical error that the society incurs but also a doctrinal one.

How is it that you can accuse the SSPX of doctrinal error when both Paul VI and Benedict XVI have said the Council avoided doctrinal declarations and was primarily pastoral in nature? Really, the animus shown against the SSPX by some is outrageous to say the least and is clearly evident in the statements by Fernando R. Capalla, Archbishop of Davao.

With all due respect have any of you who agree with the archbishop actually read canon 1423 and its subparagraphs of the Code. Are you at all familiar with the doctrine known as "ecclesia supplet" and the salvation of souls?

I venture to say that if this case were before a legitimate Judge, it would be thrown out of court but the fact is, it has never been through the juridical process. Yet, the SSPX are judged guilty by some without even a chance to defend themselves. And, no, I am not an attendee at the SSPX Masses but would do so in a necessity. Get that word necessity? Look at canon 1423 and you'll see it there.

PEH said...

Forgive the typo in my previous post. The reference should be to canon 1323 and its subparagraphs of the Code.

LeonG said...

It is doubtful if SSPX members take much notice of this since this type of remark has been around for 50 years.

PEH said...

I would just like to add one comment with respect to the authority of a local bishop. It is not unlimited and it must be used in concert with what is right and just. Bishops are not dictators and they must comply with the provisions of canon law like everyone else.

To imply that canonical status means having to accept something other than what Holy Mother Church has through the ages held, taught and professed to be true is a non sequitur, folks. Indeed, it means that 2+2=5 instead of 4. Again, either the doctrine that the Church supplies faculties and jurisdiction in a necessity is true or it is not. It is easy for some to say that there is no state of necessity but I believe the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary.

OutsideObserver said...

"I have always struggled with the stridency of the SSPX about the Council. Surely if Abp. Lefebvre, a Council Father, signed the documents (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/archbishop_lefebvre_signed_every_one_of_vatican_iis_documents/) it is hard to see why the SSPX or anyone else cannot "accept" them..."

Indeed. Is it not possible for the SSPX to accept the documents of Vatican II in the following manner?

"We accept the teachings contained in the documents of Vatican II in the way that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre understood these when he signed them in the course of Vatican Council II. No more and no less."

Sixupman said...

What need would the bishop's flock have need of SSPX if his clergy were providing food for their souls?

Pascal said...

The combox will be shut down until I've finished my second post on this topic.