Rorate Caeli

For the record: SSPX-Rome - where matters currently stand, as viewed by the SSPX

From the sermon delivered by the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bp. Bernard Fellay, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. These are the latest words of that Fraternity on the ongoing discussions with the Apostolic See.
You have all heard that there was a proposal from Rome, a proposal that said, “We are ready to recognize you [canonically].” The problem is that there is always a condition. This condition may have varied a bit in its formulation, but basically it is always the same. This condition is: you must accept the Council. One could sum up the current situation by saying: “Yes, you can criticize the Council, but on one condition: it is necessary to accept it first.” Which leaves us saying, “What can we criticize afterwards?”

I think that this is an honest summary of the present situation. And it is not difficult to describe for you our response.

Obviously, the formulas are more and more interesting, closer and closer to what we say. We have arrived by now at a point that clearly shows the depth of the problem. In that famous proposal this is what they tell us: “You commit yourselves to acknowledging that with regard to points from the Council that cause difficulties, the only way to understand those points is to understand them in light of the continuous, perpetual Tradition, in light of the preceding Magisterium.” The light of Tradition is the only way by which one can understand the dubious points. They even go further: “Any proposition and any interpretation of the dubious texts that was opposed to that perpetual Magisterium, that continual Magisterium of the Church must be rejected.” That is what we have always said. But there is a tiny little incidental clause that adds, “as the New Catechism says”. Now the New Catechism adopts the Council.

In other words, concerning the principle we can only agree. As for the application, it is completely the opposite. They claim that they are applying the principle by saying: everything that was done at the Council is faithful to Tradition, is consistent with Tradition, whether it be ecumenism or religious liberty. That shows you the seriousness of the problem. There is a problem somewhere. It is not possible otherwise. The problem is based on the understanding of certain words. And these words are of course “Tradition” and “Magisterium”. Their way of understanding these words is subjective. Certainly there are cases in which one can understand “tradition” in the sense of “transmit”: the act of transmitting is a transmission. But the usual way of understanding this word has bearing on its content. What is transmitted? What is transmitted from generation to generation? The classical definition of Tradition is “that which has always been believed by all, everywhere and at all times” (Commonitorium by St. Vincent of Lerins). Here the expression “That which” designates the object. But nowadays, it is as though we went from the object to the subject, so as to consider only the one who transmits.

That is why they talk to you about “living tradition”, because the one who transmits, when he transmits, is alive. Now life moves, it changes. The popes change… and therefore tradition changes, but it remains tradition. It is the same tradition, but one that changes. The Church has also taken this sense into consideration, but in an altogether secondary way. That is not what she is talking about when she talks about Tradition; what we call the deposit of the faith, the set of truths that the Good Lord has entrusted to the Church so that she might transmit it from generation to generation, so that souls might be saved. This content is what she means. And this is the reason why, with the definition of infallibility at the First Vatican Council, the Church teaches that the Holy Ghost has effectively been promised to St. Peter and to his successors, therefore to the popes. But He was not promised in such a way that the popes might teach something new by a new revelation. He was promised so that, with the help of the Holy Ghost, Saint Peter and the popes might preserve holily and transmit faithfully that which does not change, the revealed deposit.

That is where we are. That is what we are trying to do, since there is in fact a gesture made by Rome toward us, we must recognize it, a surprising gesture after these doctrinal discussions in which we determined that we were not in agreement. In effect it is a situation similar to that of two persons who meet, discuss something and arrive at the conclusion that they do not agree. What do you do then? Rome tells us: “You accept nevertheless!” And we reply: “It is not possible.” And so what we decide to do, besides answering that it is not possible, is to tell them: Wouldn’t you like to look at things a bit differently? Wouldn’t you like to try to understand that the Society is not the one that is a problem. There is indeed a problem in the Church, but it is not the Society; we are not a problem because we are saying that there is a problem. Then we ask them to deal with the real problem. We are ready; we want only one thing and it is precisely to attack the real problem.

You understand very well that humanly speaking there is no great hope that they will agree to change such a position. Maybe the disappointments that the Church has experienced will move them? The fact that currently the disaster, the sterility is more clearly evident: there are no more vocations. It is frightening. I saw, a few moments ago, the statistics for the Sisters of Charity, the nuns who used to be everywhere in France: between thirty and forty years of age I think that there are still three left in all of France. Between the ages of 40 and 50, likewise three. The majority, in other words almost 200, are between 70 and 80 or between 80 and 90. Some of them are more than 100 years old, and they are more numerous than those who are 20, 30, 40 or 50 years old. If you take the ones from 20 to 50 years of age, you have one more than the group of those who are 100 years old or more: 9 as opposed to 8. Those nuns who used to do all sorts of charitable works in all the rural areas!

And it is over. That is one example among thousands. Take the priests. Take instances from whatever area you want: it is a Church that is dying, disappearing. Nevertheless that ought to make people reflect. We think, we hope that some are beginning to reflect. People do get the impression that that is just not enough. Of course, grace is needed. It is necessary to pray.

Pray! Pray that the Good Lord will truly deliver the Church, that the Blessed Virgin will do something. She is the one who promised that her Immaculate Heart would triumph at the end to get the Church out of this disaster. For us who are involved in this great battle for the Church, it is an extraordinary honor to be able to be members of this Society today. And so let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary that we might be worthy members of this Society. Let us live faithfully according to its statutes. Follow the seminary rules, as it is expected of you, with all your heart, while practicing the great charity that the Statutes of the Society require of us. Let us request it from the Most Blessed Virgin Mary so that really, every day, we might please God, that we might sanctify ourselves and thereby might be able to win souls for the Good Lord, those souls that are entrusted to us, for the greater glory of God, for the honor of the Most Blessed Virgin and that of the Church. Amen.

[Source & translation: DICI, Dec. 15, 2011]

84 comments:

Kevin said...

What are the statistics for the SSPX? Are they going from strength to strength or "dying" with the rest of the Church, as the Superior General put it? I am genuinely interested to know. Also, dying in Europe is not the same as dying in the World. European civilization (i.e. including its more "advanced" former colonies: the US most prominently) has fallen into decadence and nothing short of a miracle can turn the rising, suffocating tide of secularism. However, is this also the case for Latin America, South East Asia, and Africa? If I understand correctly, the threats to Catholicism in those regions are posed by the growth of evangelical Protestantism and aggressively missionary Islam, rather than by a secular hostility to religion altogether. It is true that Catholicism needs to reassert itself in these receptive parts of the world, but the situation does not appear as desperate as in Europe.

GQ Rep said...

The Sisters of Charity Bishop Fellay is speaking about, or more correctly known as the "Daughters of Charit of St. Vincent de Paul", the nuns known by the thousands throughout France, Italy and the rest of Europe for their magnificent works of charity in all it's forms (schools, academies, boarding schools for girls, hospitals, homes for the aged, orphanages) and remembered very fondly and proudly by millions as the nus who wore the blue-gray habits with the huge starched white bonnets had before Vatican II 48,000 members world wide with a median age of 37.
Their Motherhouse on the Rue du Bac in Paris is world famous, for it was here that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in the 1840's, and it was from here that devotion to the Miraculous Medal-worn by so many millions of Catholics began.
In France and elsewhere, this Motherhouse and other regional convents built to train recruits had hundreds of vocations each year. Before Vatican II of course!

Today, after discarding their famous and traditional habit in favor of a very short blue dress and in some places, layclothes, the Order has declined from 48,000 in 1960, to about 17,000 today with a median age of about 74.

This sad scenario as Bishop Fellay says, can be applied to virtually every religious Order in the Church...nearly all of them with very few exception.

GQ Rep said...

To Kevin:

The SSPX is basically going from " strength to strength" compared to the dying Vatican Ii Catholic Church.
In France,about 25% of priests ordained each year are for the SSPX, or for traditionalist Orders of priests/friars/monks affiliated to them. Or fpr Vatican approved traditionalist groups.
There are about 560 SSPX priests, 250 seminarians, 125 Brothers, and about 225 Sisters of the SSPX.
In addition, there are traditionalist communities of Dominicans (of Avrille,France) which have about 50 friars, an equal number of friars of the traditionalist Capuchins of Morgeon,France, 5 Benedictine monasteries of men (2 France, 1 Germany, 1 Brazil, 1 USA), 1 traditionalist Carthusian monastery (France, 22 monks), 6 Discalced Carmelite convents (2 France, 2 Belgium, 1 Germany, 1 USA), 2 congregations of teaching Dominican nuns each with over 150 members , 2 cloisters of both Poor Clares and Dominican nuns, 5 congregations of nuns in Europe affiliated to the SSPX, including 1 this year which switched from being a Vatican II commmunity to tradition and affiliation with the SSPX in the Czech Rep.(30 members), and 3 Orders/congregations of nuns and 1 of priests in the Ukraine and Lithuania. There are also 1-2 new Orders of nuns in India, 1 in the Phillipines (Sisters of Bethany), and several of both men and women in Brazil, inclusing a Redemptoristine cloister of nuns.

This doesn't include a traditionalist movement in Mexico which although not officially part of the SSPX and with its own bishops, has connections/cpmmunications to them. There are about 200 priests and friars, 200 nuns, and many small towns and villages affiliated to this other group which respect the SSPX.

Not to mention SSPX missions around the world, especially in India, Brazil, the Phillipines, and Gabon, Zaire, and Nigeria in Africa.
in Gabon the memory of Archbishop Lefebvre is almost that of a Saint for his work there in the 1950's.

So the SSPX, growing slowly but steadilly, is not "dying with the rest of the Church"

AS to the influence of Evangelical Protestantism...it is a fleeting movement. I;ve been to Mexico, and to Brazil where former Catholics have flocked to these dime-a-dozen Protestant groups. Most come froom the USA, and are funded by mega-churches in the Southern states of Texas, Louisiana,Georgia, Tenessee,Alabama, and Arkansas (where these movements are strongest).
The attraction in fleeting, because former Catholics switch from one group to another, and sometimes back to the Catholic Church, or to SSPX chapels, or even (as in Mexico, one whole town was fundamentalist evangelical bible thumping Protestants, and switched to Islam! There are mullahs, a large mosque, and a madrassa (Koranic school) in the town where 15 years ago they were gathered in cheap tin roof Pentecostolist :churches" listening to a "pastor" from the USA and his crew.

Fundamentalist Protestantism will start to die back in Latin America, as it already has started to do in parts of Brazil, much to the consternation of right wingers in the USA who poured millions into the effort!!!

Knight of Malta said...

So it seems the new Catechism is a major stumbling block at this point.

I think to perpetuate eventual reconciliation the Pope should unilaterally lift the suspension of the Society's Priests...

Confused said...

So what does that mean, I can 'criticize' the council, so long as I 'accept' it?

If I cannot accept it, does that mean I need to affiliate with SSPX? Should I consider renouncing the faith altogether, out of intellectual integrity?

And how will these novelties be understood in 'light of Tradition'? Hasn't the current pope already told us his hermenutic of tradition involves discontinuity? So do I have to accept discontinuity in order to have some semblance of continuity? Or, otherwise, won't I have to reject the novelties altogether in order to have continuity?

Seriously.

While I'm no authority on Church history, I cannot conceive that there has been anything like this before.

It seems what we have now is a Church run by pre-1960 dissidents who have been unable to rein in post-1965 dissidents. While those who seeks not to be a dissident in the classic sense are now, in effect, suspect of being the true dissidents.

Seriously.

Ecclesia Militans said...

There is anther way that the matter of the Council can be resolved, other than those recently mentioned by Jordanes - declaring the two popes of the Council incompetent, the sedevacantist way of declaring them not to have been popes, or clarifying/correcting the Council.

It is a possibility that the next pope could declare these two of his predecessors excommunicated (and/or heretics), which would mean that only their sacramental actions would be valid. Convening a Council is not a sacramental action so the Council will have never been legally convoked and would therefore be stricken from the list of ecumenical councils.

This is possible when taking into account that Pope Honorius was excommunicated by three subsequent ecumenical councils (Third Constantinople, Second Nicea and Fourth Constantinople) as a heretic, which was confirmed by the three popes of these councils, the first of which was St. Leo II.

This possibility trumps the other possibilites because:
1) It is neither likely nor possible to affirm the incompetence of John XXIII and Paul VI
2) To declare that they were not popes is to go against the teachings of the Church, as shown in the case with Pope (NOT Antipope) Honorius, who was condemned a heretic
3) How do you clarify/correct certain documents-constitutions that are in their very basis, in their very raison d'etre contrary to previous immemorial Church doctrine and praxis, other than dismissing or voiding them altogether?

Cruise the Groove. said...

So the Society will apparently continue on without being able to absolve sins and being illegally in the diocese that they set up shop?
This is not a holy thing.

Tradical said...

To Cruise,

Either you believe in the state of necessity or not.

The Society goes where faithful ask them to come. With the exception of seminaries, it doesn`t set up shop where it pleases.

If the Bishops were protecting and professing the Faith the SSPX would have no work to do.

El Eremita said...

Both the SSPX and the Holy See are the problem at this point. They refuse to adopt a systematic approach to resolve the doctrinal problems (I don't know what they did at the doctrinal discussions, but it would seem that they were useless).

To say that "The human person has a right to not be coerced by the State in religious matters, within just limits" is a theological proposition; it is found in Dignitatis Humanae and it's contrary to the teaching in Quanta Cura (i.e. The Catholic State has a right to restrict public practice of false religions).

The Holy See has to admit this innovation (as per the words of mons. Ocariz Braña, it would seem that they do). Then, to effectively uphold its position, the SSPX has to demonstrate that this particular teaching in Quanta Cura is non-reformable. They can't argue that this is "perennial teaching" because, as prof. Thomas Pink demonstrated, it isn't, so they have to demonstrate that it's "manifestly evident" that Pius IX proposed this teaching as definitive. IMHO, this will be difficult, as not even the draft prepared by Ottaviani mentions the teaching as definitive.

But then we have the other side of the coin: What is the degree of theological certainty of the doctrine proposed in DH? Not much, I would say. We owe it respect as a declaration of a legitimate ecumenical council, but it is certainly not definitive, and therefore any theologian can study and propose alternative positions, including the one proposed in Quanta Cura.

To me, one thing is clear: This is not a matter "of Faith", it's only a theological problem.

Ecclesia Militans said...

I would recommend everyone to read the short section of His Excellency's sermon that goes before the cited text on Rorate.

It is most informative and to the point.

In short, it says that a non-Catholic spirit entered the Church at the time of the Second Vatican Council, how the hierarchy now invites faithful to do what was always condemned in the past, and tells the Society, which is trying to fight the poison of the modernists: “You must not defend yourselves. You have to swallow everything, accept everything.”

It is under the subtitle
"The spiritual combat of the Society of St. Pius X"

Kevin said...

GQ Rep: Many thanks for your generous and detailed response. That is very interesting and I really should do some further research of my own into the SSPX. As for Evangelical Protestants, I have a friend who describes them as akin to the seeds in Luke 8:6, springing up from rock but withering quickly soon after as they lack the appropriate, nutritious soil (Tradition) in which to grow.

PEH said...

Pray! Pray that the Good Lord will truly deliver the Church, that the Blessed Virgin will do something. She is the one who promised that her Immaculate Heart would triumph at the end to get the Church out of this disaster.

Amen. And to show that Our Blessed Lord can turn things around in a heartbeat if He wished, allow me the following digression.

One thing I believe most firmly - that Jesus Christ can by divine intervention bring His Church to the realization that it must change course and return to Tradition in liturgy, practice and belief. As the Author of so many miracles while he was on earth, He could do so again. Would it be another Fatima type visitation by His Blessed Mother scolding church fathers for not heeding her warnings? Would the Sun once again tumble towards the earth in a ball of fire before stopping, hovering over St. Peter's basilica and then returning to its place in the sky? Would it be at one of the papal masses where He would prevent any priest or bishop, including the pope, from performing any action not in accord with Tradition, rendering them immovable until they did the right thing? Would it be His Blessed Mother appearing at St. Peter's, taking the podium from the usurpers, facing the pope and scolding him directly for not following Tradition and using the Hegelian dialectic to confuse and obfuscate objective truths? The means he could take to "make His point" are endless. IMO what we must do is pray for Him to act and reform our lives so that He is moved to take the necessary steps to defend those who have been and still are his loyal sons and daughters. Lord Jesus, come.

Tradfly said...

SSPX Statistics:

http://www.fsspx.org/en/la-fraternite-en-chiffres/

Roughly linear growth. But could that be a "hockey stick" in the making? Consider also that the first SSPV and FSSP confreres came from SSPX, and subtracted from these numbers in '83 and '88

Mike said...

Ecclesia Militans,

Keep dreaming.

I prefer reality....

Woody said...

Well, now here's a thought for those of us who are bogged down in jurisdictional issues: if a lay confession (e.g. Saint Ignatius before the Battle of Pamplona) is adequate to express perfect contrition and therefore merit God's pardon for sins, could that not also be the case, at a minimum (i.e. prescinding from the ecclesia supplet argument) for confessions with the SSPX, or ,for that matter, an independent priest such as Fr. Ringrose?

Someone will answer, I'm sure, "lack of obedience, no real moral impossibility because you could have found a "regular" [Oh yeah?] priest. But I don't buy it, under the current circumstances.

Enoch said...

"....In the light of the preceding magisterium."

Interesting. Does that mean that a fraternity of priests can insist that a council be defined in the preceding magisterium of, say, any preceding magisterium? How about a magisterium from the middle ages, or from the sixth century? Does the Church teach that councils are to be interpreted by a past magisterium, but not the current magisterium, which is the only magisterium that exists for us now in time?

If a council must be judged by a past magisterium, then there is no need for a current magisterium. If all can be judged by the past only, then the current pope and magisterium have no meaning or authority at all.

JFM said...

So the Church will go on instancing themselves form their truly orthodox...?

'THIS isn to a holy thing!

David said...

I wish that Bishop Fellay would explain what he understands the word "accept" to mean. Does he perhaps conflate "accept" with "assent"?

Why cannot the FSSPX say this:

"We accept that the Council is an act of the Magisterium. However, we cannot in good conscience give our assent that certain statements of the Council are in continuity with Tradition. While we accept that the Magisterium has the sole authority to make a final doctrinal determination as to the continuity of the Council with Tradition, we must in conscience withhold our Catholic assent from certain dubious statements of the Council."

Why can't the FSSPX say that?

Sixupman said...

The sheer illogicality of the situation is horrendous.

Surely, we are not to be told that Vatican II is De Fide!

Cruise the Groove. said...

"So what does that mean, I can 'criticize' the council, so long as I 'accept' it?"

Really.
Should I and my family sign a Preamble too and be outside the structures of the Church since there are points in the Council documents that we do not legitimately accept, same as the SSPX?

Am I not in "full communion" with the Church as the SSPX are not in "full communion"?

Are our souls in peril because there are things about the Council I do not accept?

Kathleen said...

I have always had a great deal of respect for Bishop Fellay and I expected him to do well with this very difficult situation.

But I am much more impressed than I expected and I expected to be impressed. This situation is a minefield and his excellency is managing it with such grace that it is a pleasure to behold, despite the stress and disappointments.

I will continue to pray that Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother keep his excellency close and provide him the graces we need him to have during these trying times.

Cruise the Groove. said...

"Why cannot the FSSPX say this:

"We accept that the Council is an act of the Magisterium. However, we cannot in good conscience give our assent that certain statements of the Council are in continuity with Tradition. While we accept that the Magisterium has the sole authority to make a final doctrinal determination as to the continuity of the Council with Tradition, we must in conscience withhold our Catholic assent from certain dubious statements of the Council."

Why can't the FSSPX say that?"

David.
The FSSPX has always said that.

David said...

Cruise,

The FSSPX bishops and priests are outside full communion because they are suspended. Rome could resolve that problem without any reference to doctrine. If Rome lifted the suspensions tomorrow and said, "Let's proceed with regularization", would the FSSPX accept? Think about it. You know that the answer is no. The FSSPX would not accept. They would demand ... wait for it ... a DOCTRINAL PREAMBLE. They would require evidence that Rome has converted.

The FSSPX want this Doctrinal Preamble every bit as much as Rome wants it, perhaps more.

John said...

I find Bp Fellay's discourse on the understanding of "Traditionv very perplexing. I tend to agree with his definition because I always thought that what was handed down is was we want to keep. His explanation that the living-tradition means the hierarchy I have never heard before. Is this really the case?

spero said...

Again we see the claim that the answer for interpretation of the problems is Tradition, but a refusal to say HOW or, perhaps, a claim that the HOW is sufficiently explained in the Catechism. The Catechism, as good as it is, quotes the same ambiguous passages. Therefore the interpretive key of Tradition must be applied to all magisterial texts absolutely.

We run into a difficulty here. If the key of Tradition must be applied to all Magisterial texts, and if it is to the Magisterium that Christ has entrusted the task of authoritative interpretation, then it seems that everyone must be willing to give submission (even if only the practical one of obsequium; even if one continues to tell the Holy See that there appear to be problems) to the interpretation of the Holy See. It think this is where we run into the problem of "Living Tradition" LOOKING a lot like "Tradition is whatever we are saying at any given time."

Can this really be the definition of Tradition proposed by the Holy See? Tradition is an objective thing...it is the Deposit. However, it is the role of the Church to guard the Deposit. It is the role of the Church to pass it on and to unpack it. The judgment of whether something is contained in, or derived from the Deposit, is a judgment which belongs to the Magisterium. The judgment regarding whether a new formula is a full novelty and in contradiction to the deposit, or whether it is derived therefrom, or at least not in contradiction to the deposit, is a judgment belonging to the Magisterium.

I am not trying to defend the ambiguity of the Council or the ambiguity of the notion of "living Tradition." However, consider that Christ gave us LIVING teachers precisely because without them we tend to get confused and make mistakes regarding the Deposit. This is what we see with the Eastern Orthodox. They have received the Deposit (before their schism), but have made mistakes regarding it, because they do not adhere to the authoritative interpretation of the Living Magisterium.

So here is my question: If a dispute arises about an apparently new doctrine, who gets to decide???


Doesn't it have to be the pope?

Isn't this precisely why the pope is the grounding of unity in the Church? Isn't this precisely why he is able to make infallible statements? But is he ONLY able to interpret and pass judgment by means of infallible statements? And remember the judgments are regarding the Deposit. So is the pope able to interpret infallible statements without resorting to the extraordinary Magisterium?

Isn't this precisely what we see with the Eastern Orthodox? They claim that the Deposit only gives St. Peter a primacy of honor and not jurisdiction. They claim that the Scripture conceded the keys to all the apostles, while giving them in a particular way to St. Peter as their representative. They claim that the Roman teaching of the universal JURISDICTIONAL primacy of St. Peter and his successors and their ability to truly BIND other bishops and patriarchs is a NOVELTY and therefor unacceptable. They appeal to the Deposit. They appeal to the previous Magisterium. Who gets to decide?

Both sides can cite texts and historical events. Both sides can cite Scripture. WHO DECIDES?

(In this matter infallible statements were eventually made, but there have also been lesser disputes such as the one regarding efficacious grace, where the pope simply ordered the parties to stop accusing each other of heresy.)

This is why we cannot say that Tradition itself interprets without respect to the living Teachers. It is not because the Deposit evolves or changes. It is not because the Deposit is whatever we say it is (b/c we said it). It is because Christ gave us living Teachers precisely to guard the Deposit. Thus Tradition is under a living guardianship.

David said...

Are our souls in peril because there are things about the Council I do not accept?

NO!!!

Neither are souls of the FSSPX bishops and priests in peril because of their reservations about the Council. In truth, their souls are in peril because of their canonical irregularity. Jurisdiction is a reality that is willed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's part and parcel of the incarnational nature of Catholicism. It's not optional. It's not a small thing.

Enoch said...

It seems obvious that the SSPX has no intention of reconciling with Rome. They have done very well, instead, by putting themselves under the authority of past dead popes. The SSPX points out all of the bad things in the Church nowadays, as if there were no problems in the Church of the past. The SSPX will continue on as it always has after they end the discussions with Rome. They will grow and flourish (for awhile), and become the Lefevrian denomination. Or the Pius X denomination. They want little to do with the Catholic Church, and they distance themslves from the problems by retiring to their comfortable chapels, all the while hurling verbal stones in the direction of Rome, a place which they consider a dangerous contagion to be avoided if possible, since the Catholic Church is infected with the disease of the Second Vatican Council. A hundred years from now, who will remember the SSPX? A few historians, perhaps. They will go the way of the Old Catholics.

And certain liberals who are affiliated with and support the Rorate Caeli blog will be very happy indeed.

Mike B. said...

In the fifties, priests and brothers who studied in Europe told us that Vaticano clergy disdained the American system of governance. This was related to the meaning of the 1st Amendment. Vaticano preferred state sponsored religion [i.e. Italy of that time].

For years I have (partly my limitations) been unable to unearth the understanding and effects of the SSPX opposition to Freedom of Religion. Apart from siting Papal Bulls (without quotes), there appears to be a continuous ambiguity to their style and format. What is their comprehension and effects to the statement: 'No Salvation outside the Church'?

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Florida

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

does anyone know if there is an up to date list of the communities associated with the sspx e.g benedictines, dominicans etc..? The only list I know of is on the sspx Asia website and that's definitely out of date as it still lists the transalpine redemptorists.

Peter said...

Would the Vatican insist that the Orthodox churches - both eastern and oriental - accept and adhere to Vatican II (or for that matter a previous ecumenical Council which they did not participate at) if they accept the Creed, Sacraments, and Papal jurisdiction and are willing to reestablish communion? I THINK NOT!

So why is it different for the SSPX regarding a Pastoral Council which does not affect doctrine or dogma in any significant way?!

David said...

Cruise, I know. I thought about that when I posted my comment. That is what the FSSPX has been saying -- albeit sometimes in a way that is over the top.

We need clarity on "accept" versus "assent". Is Rome conflating these terms? Is Rome asking the FSSPX to give their Catholic assent to Dignitatis Humanae? Is Bishop Fellay telling us the whole story?

Cruise the Groove. said...

"The FSSPX bishops and priests are outside full communion because they are suspended. Rome could resolve that problem without any reference to doctrine"

David,
Respectfully I ask you, The Holy Father said that the problem with the FSSPX is a doctrinal matter, not a disciplinary one, so doctrine would have to be referenced.
How could the situation with the FSSPX be resolved [lifting of suspensions] then without resolving doctrinal problems?

I realize it is not up to us to say the suspensions were just or unjust, but what exactly, precisely, did the Society do to incur them, other than ordaining priests and offering the TLM, which many priests do to this day with no problem?
What is intrinsically evil about ordaining priests or offering the TLM?

Wise Guy said...

David, according to you, "In truth, their souls are in peril because of their canonical irregularity. Jurisdiction is a reality that is willed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's part and parcel of the incarnational nature of Catholicism. It's not optional. It's not a small thing."

Souls imperilled? You should reread Unitatis Redintegratio, Ut Unum Sint, and Orientale Lumen. I don't see much there about grave matters of jurisdiction, souls imperilled, or non-Catholic schismatics and heretics having to urgently return to the Catholic fold at the risk of their salvation.

You sound like you're creeping awfully close to not exhibiting a proper submission of intellect and will to Second Vatican theology. Let's be careful out there!

Kathleen said...

If the Society had no intention or desire to reconcile with Rome, as some suggest, why would they continue to put themselves through this ordeal which clearly is causing their flock great distress?

I don't attend a Society chapel, but it seems to me that they are determined to see this through. And what it is they are determined to see through is the correction of error that endangers souls first and foremost. Thanks to God for that.

Personally, I had cherished a slim hope for correction of the canonical irregularity (without strings attached) first. I intend to continue to indulge myself with that hope and keep it in my prayers.

But realistically, this situation was not going to go "well." That Bishop Fellay is keeping discussions on the rails at all is by itself a major accomplishment in my book.

jasoncpetty said...

If the "New Catechism" is the sticking point for anyone, then rather than just abiding ad hominem Bp. Fellay's apparent suspicions about it, please read this.

David said...

Cruise, it's all very confusing. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and walk away.

I have enough problems with an atheist son in college. I'm going to keep my opinions to myself from now on. Let Rome and the FSSPX work it out. Wake me up when it's over.

Ora et Labora said...

Responding to Cruise the Grove's comment

"I realize it is not up to us to say the suspensions were just or unjust, but what exactly, precisely, did the Society do to incur them, other than ordaining priests and offering the TLM, which many priests do to this day with no problem?
What is intrinsically evil about ordaining priests or offering the TLM?"

There is nothing intrinsically evil about, and I don't thiik Rome and it's theologians see it that way.

The problem is that they did incur excommunication by disobbeying the Pope at that time JP II, and the reality is that they didn't not only ordained priests and offer the TLM.

Bishop Lefrebvre ordained Bishops, so let's not play innocent on this issue.

The present Pope has been very generous in resolving whatever misunderstanding or rush to judement by then JP II.

Yet the reality is that as Enoch has pointed out is the SSPX wants to continue doing their own thing outside the Church, and on top of that calling themselves the True Church in so many words of course.

I believe Bishop Fellay sees the situation very clearly and I would dare to say that he does want to return to communion with Rome, that is if only he would have the guts to go at it alone and that means standing up to those hardliners in the Society.

I personally think Boshop Fellay should work up the courage to do it, for the greater good of the Church and those members of the Society, and I'm sorry I don't care how intellectual or well read and informed some of the elite in the Society are, but some of them are not all well upstairs.

We better pray and hard because we are approaching the momment of truth, either the Society returns in communion with Rome or we Catholics of the 21th century will be witnetssing another official Schism in the Catholic Church.

Gratias said...

Sadly, a wasted opportunity for the Church.

Delphina said...

Good for Bishop Fellay and the SSPX!

Many years ago, someone wrote this very wise comment on a forum. I hope she doesn't mind me pilfering it:

The Vatican II religion is Catholicism with a "but".

spero said...

David, I have felt similarly, though it is hard to ignore. Perhaps it is not such a bad idea that we make use of the season and direct more time and energy toward silence and meditation upon the mysteries Advent and Christmas. +PAX

Daniel Arseno said...

@Enoch:
"It seems obvious that the SSPX has no intention of reconciling with Rome."

Do you know the meaning of the word "obvious"? Obviously not.

If the SSPX had no intention of reconciliation, what would be the point of these talks?

Even with their doubtful theories advanced to justify their wholesale rejection of the Council, they still see the importance, if not the necessity, of visible unity with the Church.

"The SSPX points out all of the bad things in the Church nowadays, as if there were no problems in the Church of the past."

I agree with your observation. Reform had become every bit as necessary in 1962 when the Council opened as it was necessary in 1545 when Trent opened.

Lopes said...

All this confusion and, in some cases, apostasy, is the result of VII. The current situation is of disarray (Bishops openly denying Christ and bowing to the world). The solution will not come from the SSPX. It is up to the Pope, this one or any future one, to exercise his power and authority.

It is simply impossible to say that there is no rupture between now (since VII) and then (prior to VII). Vide the Mass, the Catechism, and the new 'dogmas' of ecumenism and religious liberty and even, for some hardcore NO conservatives, the dogma of Vatican II.

benjoyce said...

Interesting, Vatican II documents are criticized for "double talk"

Now the SSPX can criticize The documents of Vatican II but they also must accept the documents.

Sounds like more double talk?

Cruise the Groove. said...

"The problem is that they did incur excommunication by disobbeying the Pope at that time JP II, and the reality is that they didn't not only ordained priests and offer the TLM."

Ora et Labora,

But the excommunications and the penalty that goes with them no longer exist since 2009.
They are no longer an issue at all since there is no censure for them anymore.
So what is the problem?

SSPX member said...

We can comment all day long and it will just add to the confusion. I was not at the table during the talks with Rome so my opinion is worth nothing. I am not a theologian nor do I know Church law. I believe Bishop Fellay is a lot smarter than the rest of us all put together. Remember, Archbishop Lefebvre was at the second Vatican Council and if people took the time to read his books on what actually took place at that time, then maybe, just maybe people might hold their tongues regarding the Society.

Knight of Malta said...

Could the Vatican grant to the FSSPX the ability to subscribe only to the Baltimore Catechism? Would doing so make them less Catholic??

Long-Skirts said...

Enoch said:

"A hundred years from now, who will remember the SSPX?"

DAMN
THE
TORPEDOES...

Nowhere to kneel
No Tabernacles
No candles red
Just marbled crackle

A sepulchre
Deathly white
To help good souls
Despair, take flight

That's WHAT they want
That is their plan
Then mock, "You dis -
obedient man!"

But in the depths
Of doctrine deep
Sails the Ship
That will not sleep

Full of disobedient
Sheep
Obeying Christ
In priests that keep

The Barque of Peter
On its course
Though her bowels be bricked
By a sinister source

Then damn the torpedoes
Tridentine-lead
Will blast through the block
Full speed ahead

No sepulchre whites
Disobedience, despairs --
Only seas of gold Masses
By the Archbishop's Peres!

Tom said...

"The solution will not come from the SSPX. It is up to the Pope, this one or any future one, to exercise his power and authority."

Yes.

The confusion and chaos which has marked the Vatican II Era Church is the result of Peter's desire to be Pope Traditional and Pope Novelty.

He is the TLM Pope and Novus Ordo Pope.

He is the TLM "women may not serve at the altar" Pope...and "Novus Ordo altar girls/lectorette" Pope.

He is the "Communion on the tongue" Pope and "Communion in the hand" Pope.

He is the "we are the One True Church" Pope and the "pray and worship with non-Catholics" Pope.

We live during a when we have Churchmen who, while they insist that we shun SSPX bishops and priests who are said not to "exercise legitimate ministries", will share ecumenical and "interfaith" stages with voodoo witch doctors and phony Protestant "Archbishops."

Tom

Ora et Labora said...

Cruise the Grove,

The problem is that the Society's Masses and their priests are still suspended at Divinis and the only thing that can change it is if the Society accepts the Preable.

At the moment Bishop Fellay has sent it back for clarifications, this is my understanding right, now Rome will clarify but the SSPX will have to either accept the Council and the Catechism even after the clarifications are made or they will find more reasons to rejected it.

And if the SSPX rejects it even after the clarifications are done, then Rome better clarify for all of us in communion with Rome the status of the Society in the Church, and that means if they are in or out, as simple as that.

The thing is that this confusion can't go on any longer.

What's it gonna be???


And since we are all wondering and asking I would like to ask the SSPX this:

Can the SSPX accept that the Vatican II Council did happen, with some or all of its disastrous consequences, and yet still come into the Church and help build up the Re-Evangelization inside the Church??
I mean in spite of all those crazy liberals, and hopefully once inside the Church with prayer and perseverance start bringing back Tradition and reverence for the Liturgy again???

Irenaeus of New York said...

Knight of Malta said-
[---
So it seems the new Catechism is a major stumbling block at this point.
---]

The SSPX have a good point on this one.

I share the reservations....

When I was going through RCIA, about to be confirmed last Pentecost, I even ran into a blatant mistake/misrepresentation on the apostolicity of private confession to a priest CCC-1447. Appealing to false history it stated that private confessions were a development in the 7th century, yet earlier church fathers talk about its apostolicity and enforcement. No doubt there existed other kinds of practices... but private confession to a priest came from the apostles. To make matters worse my RCIA instructors made us watch a movie that claimed private confession to a priest was invented by Lateran III.


“I have recently heard that some have unlawfully presumed to act contrary to a rule of Apostolic origin... All that is necessary, however, is for the sinner to manifest his conscience in a secret confession to the priests alone…It is sufficient, therefore, to have first offered one’s confession to God, and then also to the priest, who acts as an intercessor for the transgressions of the penitents”
Pope St Leo the Great, Magna indignation (459 AD)

Ken said...

We live during a when we have Churchmen who, while they insist that we shun SSPX bishops and priests who are said not to "exercise legitimate ministries", will share ecumenical and "interfaith" stages with voodoo witch doctors and phony Protestant "Archbishops."
<>

Sad. Very sad. But very much the truth of the situation.

Carl said...

"He is the TLM Pope and Novus Ordo Pope. He is the TLM "women may not serve at the altar" Pope...and "Novus Ordo altar girls/lectorette" Pope.

He is the "Communion on the tongue" Pope and "Communion in the hand" Pope.

He is the "we are the One True Church" Pope and the "pray and worship with non-Catholics" Pope."

Another way to look at it, very much the way Rome sees it, is that while Catholics attached to old liturgical forms are more than welcome to the TLM, the Church has moved forward with reforms in liturgy, ecumenism and other areas that are now just as legitimate as older liturgies and traditions.

We have the old Mass and new Mass. We once forbade worship with "non-Catholics", but that has changed.

We have an older form of the Rosary and a newer form of praying the Rosary.

Times have changed. And while we're welcome to the TLM, what Rome is saying we're not welcome to denounce reforms that came from the Council or developed after the Council.

The SSPX could look to the FSSP. The FSSP has the old Mass, does not denounce Vatican reforms, and lives in perfect communion with the Pope and local bishops.

Does Bishop Fellay expect Rome to make the SSPX a special case?

Jordanes551 said...

When I was going through RCIA, about to be confirmed last Pentecost, I even ran into a blatant mistake/misrepresentation on the apostolicity of private confession to a priest CCC-1447. Appealing to false history it stated that private confessions were a development in the 7th century, yet earlier church fathers talk about its apostolicity and enforcement. No doubt there existed other kinds of practices... but private confession to a priest came from the apostles.

You have misunderstood what CCC 1447 says about the "private" practice of penance:

"Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this "order of penitents" (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the "private" practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. . . ."

It does not say that private auricular confession to a priest was a development of the 7th century, but rather says Irish missionaries at that time spread the ancient Eastern monastic tradition of private auricular confession and private penance throughout Western Europe. The paragraph is a brief survey of the history penitential discipline, not of absolution or confession, and therefore stresses the difference between the early penances, which were strict, lengthy, and public, and later developments of the discipline in which there was less emphasis on public penances and more imposition of private penances. Of course that was a very gradual change that took place over several centuries, and public penance has never entirely been abandoned (and frankly we should have more of it).

Steve said...

"Either you believe in the state of necessity or not."

The Church cannot be saved from heresy by schism. It applies even more to the case of Father Ricossa and the members of his Institute who broke away from the Fraternity, not to join the Catholic Counter-Reformation, but to aggravate the schism by placing themselves under the usurped authority of Father Guérard des Lauriers. The latter claimed that the New Mass was invalid and that therefore it followed, without inference, that the Church had fallen under the control of her enemies and that her hierarchy, from top to bottom, had been stripped of all jurisdiction!

In consideration of which, he had himself consecrated a bishop by Mgr Ngo-Din-Tuc, and subsequently “supplied” the pontifical jurisdiction that was lacking when he consecrated an American Dominican named McKenna in 1986. The latter now comes all the way over from the United States to ordain priests in Father Ricossa’s Institute, as if he possessed jurisdiction over the whole earth. For he writes, after Pius XII, the popes, although legally elected and occupying the See physically, were not popes morally speaking and therefore they did not possess the Pontifical See. So it is down to him then to “supply”! (McKenna, in Sodalitium no 24, March-April 1991, p. 3)

So there we have it. What a mess! He renews the schism of James Baradai, ordained Bishop of Edessa in 543 for the dissidents of the Monophysite confession. This man subsequently began to voyage through Syria, disguised as a mendicant, whence his nickname of Baradai, which means rag, ordaining priests and deacons wherever he went and then consecrating bishops, thereby creating a deplorable schism which has lasted in the Middle East right down to our own day.

http://www.crc-internet.org/apr1a.htm

Louis said...

Everyone sure seems to be confused - not excepting me. The ENEMY has sown dissent by confusing the language - starting well over 50 years ago when the tradition of disciplined Scholasticism was tossed by the ENEMY's agents in the Church. You can't do theology without philosophy and you can't do philosophy (or much of anything) without words - remember Babel? So since V2 the Conciliar Church (Cardinal Benelli's term, not mine) has subjected us to a barrage of ill-defined terms that (I suspect - I wasn't there) pre-V2 pew-sitters didn't hear very often and didn't have to think about - but really sound cool. Terms like liturgist, sending and receiving space, ecumenism, worship space, charism, ministry, and yes, even magisterium.

There is certainly no shortage of confusion regarding magisterium. SSPX priests are not immune. It would help, it seems to me, if everyone would use its traditional meaning of "teaching authority", as opposed to "doctrine". So, I offer a definition of terms:

magisterium = teaching authority

doctrine = what the magisterium teaches

Bruno said...

@ GQ Rep: Where did you get that information about the traditional Carthusians? I want to find out more about them, but I have not been able to. Any help would be appreciated.

Tradical said...

Hi All,

Since there's been quite a bit of talk about why the SSPX shouldn't just trust the Vatican ... this article in the Remnant may be of interest.

http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-1225-zurbeck-bishop-taylor-father-demets.htm

Jordanes551 said...

It is a possibility that the next pope could declare these two of his predecessors excommunicated (and/or heretics), which would mean that only their sacramental actions would be valid. Convening a Council is not a sacramental action so the Council will have never been legally convoked and would therefore be stricken from the list of ecumenical councils.

No, that is not a possibility at all. It has been centuries since anyone has been posthumously "excommunicated." It's one thing to condemn a dead person's actions, but another thing to say that a dead person, who is incapable of receiving Holy Communion since he is, well, dead, is not permitted to receive Holy Communion. Apart from the pointlessness of forbidding someone from receiving Communion who can't received Communion, a dead person has gone to the Heavenly Tribunal -- since his case has been remanded to a higher court, the Church no longer has jurisdiction. If a dead person is damned, a posthumous "excommunication" won't make him even more damned, and if he is saved, a posthumous "excommunication" would not cause God to change His verdict. It's for very good reason that the Church has let that grand symbolic gesture to lapse with the passage of centuries.

Posthumous "excommunication" would have no effect on the validity of a pope's juridical or legislative acts, however, since he wasn't excommunicated during the time he performed those acts. Only if a posthumously "excommunicated" pope attempted to confirm a church council from beyond the grave would that act be rendered invalid.

A posthumous determination that someone was a heretic is slightly more possible that a posthumous "excommunication," but even that is extremely unlikely. In the Church's history there was the Three Chapters Controversy, in which Theodore of Mopsuestia (author of one of the ancient Oriental liturgies) was posthumously anathematised for semi-Nestorian theological errors in some of his writings. This caused a lot of problems for a number of reasons, one of them being it was unprecedented to thus condemn someone who had died in visible communion with the Church. And like posthumous "excommunication," posthumous anathematisation for heresy is something the Church hasn't done for a long, long, long, long time. It's unlikely the Church will ever do that again -- condemnation or warning against a deceased person's writings is still a possibility, but the Church isn't likely to issue a judgment that said person was a heretic.

Even if that were to happen, however, it would require a formal investigation to determine that the deceased person was not merely materially a heretic but formally and culpably so. That is extremely difficult to do in the case of someone who is dead, and especially in the case of someone who is long dead. So, perhaps a future church tribunal could investigate the writings of Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI and issue judgments against some things they wrote, but we should not expect any formal declaration that they were heretics during their lifetimes and thus incapable of convening or confirming a valid oecumenical council.

There's just no getting around it: the Church has never invalidated a council after it has been papally confirmed, and there is no precedent for invalidating a council by posthumous condemnation of the pope who confirmed it (the validity of a council did not depend on Honorius, one of the only popes ever to be posthumously "excommunicated" -- there was another, I think, whose corpse was exhumed and put on "trial," but that was during a very dark time for the papacy). It's sheer fantasy to think that will happen to the Second Vatican Council

Long-Skirts said...

Bruno said...

"@ GQ Rep: Where did you get that information about the traditional Carthusians? I want to find out more about them,"


THE

CARTHUSIANS


To be "Hanged in their habits"

What a glorious thing,

For their silence screamed,

"Christ is the King!"


And like the Innocents

So Holy, that died,

With sword-cut bodies

Their mothers cried


And wept like mothers

Do today,

Who send their sons

Into the fray


Like Innocent Carthusians

With staff and rod,

Who continue the defence...

The Priest-sons of God!

Sixupman said...

Carl:

The problem is that FSSP and ICKSP can only operate upon the whim of the diocesan bishop and his likely Modernist curia.

Carl said...

Carl: The problem is that FSSP and ICKSP can only operate upon the whim of the diocesan bishop and his likely Modernist curia.<

The full communion FSSP and ICKSP have enjoyed spiritual and statistical success (that is, growth in the establishment of parishes and communities).

Correct?

Sixupman said...

Carl:

Depends entirely where you reside!

I am not Spartacus said...

In 1960, Pope Blessed John XXIII ordered than the Catechism of the Council of Trent be reprinted - it wasn't.

In 1963 BCE (Bestest Council Ever) Pope Blessed John XXIII began to recruit faithful Bishops to kill the Council he convened because he considered it a runaway council.

But, we are all supposed to be faithful to it and consider it part of Tradition.

I have to write that Bishop Fellay does an excellent job in summarising the position of the Society.

A Friend said...

The Society of St. Pius X has been faithful to the Catholic principle: Salus Animarum Suprema Lex. The Society is missionary in its apostalate and, I think I am correct in saying, that it does not go where it is not invited.
The number of the Faithful requesting the Society's presence is growing; the Society is making every effort to meet the needs of these Catholics. Ultimately, it depends on vocations.

Ecclesia Militans said...

Jordanes,

First of all, you seem to differentiate between excommunication and anathema, although since the 1917 Code of Canon Law it means the same. So when I was speaking about excommunication, I was referring to what in the old councils was called anathema (e.g. "To Honorius, the heretic, anathema!" 16th session of the Ecumenical Third Council of Constantinople).

Secondly, what you call 'posthumous excommunication' has occurred many times in the Church, like in the above mentioned council. The reason of anathemizing someone who has already died is not "symbolic", as you claim, but is the most effective way of condemning his teachings and of making it very clear to the faithful that they should not follow him in his teachings.

Here is a bit of what the Third Council of Constantinople says in its 13th session about the 'posthumously anathemized' Pope Honorius (who had died 40 years prior):
"And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to [Patriarch] Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines."

Here is proof to refute your other objections from the Code of Canon Law (1917):

Objection: "Even if that were to happen, however, it would require a formal investigation to determine that the deceased person was not merely materially a heretic but formally and culpably so. That is extremely difficult to do in the case of someone who is dead, and especially in the case of someone who is long dead."

Answer: When an external violation of the law has been committed, malice is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proved.
(Canon 2200, section 2)

So, in fact, here it is presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Objection: "Posthumous "excommunication" would have no effect on the validity of a pope's juridical or legislative acts, however, since he wasn't excommunicated during the time he performed those acts. Only if a posthumously "excommunicated" pope attempted to confirm a church council from beyond the grave would that act be rendered invalid."

Answer: "An act of jurisdiction carried out by an excommunicated person, whether in the internal or the external forum, is illicit; and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been pronounced, it is also invalid, without prejudice to c. 2261, §3; otherwise it is valid"
(canon 2264)

There is nothing anywhere stating that the person has to be alive for the invalidity to apply. I suspect this is your personal opinion. And in fact, it does not make sense that the Church would so limit the possibility of condemning false doctrines.

And finally, the "nail in the coffin" of the sedevacantists (who arrogate to themselves the right to depose a Pontiff) and the reason why the Church would posthumously pronounce an anathema if the teachings of the said popes are heretical:

The excommunication of a heretic latae sententiae must be accompanied by a declaratory sentence.
(interpretative - Canon 2223:4)

All of the canonical references are from the highly recommended article on http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/currenterrors/sede.htm

M. A. said...

"In 1963 BCE (Bestest Council Ever) Pope Blessed John XXIII began to recruit faithful Bishops to kill the Council he convened because he considered it a runaway council."
___________________________________

The Abbe de Nantes exhaustively researched and reported his findings over the chicanery, deceit and maneuvering which took place to promulgate the documents of VII, that he wondered whether on those grounds the documents would be found invalid.

The Council regulations were violated even by Paul VI himself, rules were not observed, procedures were not followed and the promulgation formula which was obligatory was transgressed by the pope.

He said: "...by its first acts of skulduggery it has fallen to the level of a democratic free-for-all, powerless to do any good and all powerful to do harm."

He cites the example of the Dogmatic Constitution which was passed fraudulently after tricking the resistance into acquiescence by promising them that a note would be attached to the document which would allay their fears over "collegiality".

Mgr. De Procenca Siguad was satisfied and he recommended that the conservative faction sign. (Still, 3 hold-outs never did sign.)

What happened is that the note of amendment, the "explanatory note figures nowhere in the official and authentic Acta, neither in the foreword, nor in the conclusion, nor even in the appendix to the Consitution on the Church" decree.

M. A. said...

Continued:

Re: The Decree on Ecumenism

“For months the traditionalist minority had been calling the schema’s orthodoxy into doubt….the schema had encountered as many as 292 refusals concerning its paragraph 8… .(it was already ‘the spirit of Assisi’) and for the text as a whole it met with 32 CATEGORICAL REJECTIONS, but also with 564 acceptances on conditions that certain modifications be made. Its inventor, Cardinal Bea, refused to incorporate most of the modifications asked for.. The defenders of the faith, despairing of their cause, appealed to the Pope. They were demanding forty corrections!”
Paul VI to appease the traditionalists, introduced only 19 modifications. Father Congar assured his friends that the modifications added were insignificant because nothing essential had been changed.
Congar, in an interview of Feb. 26, 1992, boasted that “The Pope hadn’t taken the initiative in these modi. He was presented with forty corrections. He himself suppressed a good part of them, all the main ones, those that touched the essential. He left them with nineteen…”
Added de Nantes: “..there were still 11 courageous refusals at the final vote.” and “The fact remains that this Decree was, despite the lying appearances of its promulgation, no more than a declaration of the Fathers’ general opinion, without any authority of magisterium, either ordinary or solemn, without infallibility or any importance whatsoever.”

Enoch said...

Ora et Labora wrote:

"Bishop Fellay should work up the courage to do it, for the greater good of the Church and those members of the Society, and I'm sorry I don't care how intellectual or well read and informed some of the elite in the Society are, but some of them are not well upstairs."

Ora et Labora, you raise a good point here. I, too, would hope and pray that Bp. Fellay would have the courage to reconcile, but some in the Society want nothing to do with Rome, and they will exert pressure on him to not reconcile.

Though I'm often critical of the SSPX, I do want them to reconcile, even though I've not seen in recent memory that Bp. Fellay is really interested in reconciliation. Here's the scenario that I personally envision for the SSPX: if it were up to me (and it's not, of course), I'd like to see Bp. Fellay go to Rome and meet with the Holy Father himself, and then Bp. Fellay would then say something like this to the pope: ...."Your Holiness, please accept us and our willingness to serve you and the Church with obedience and humility. We want to serve the Church, and we are at your complete disposal and personal service. In whatever capacity that you wish us to serve, we will do so with grace, humility, and patience, even if it means carrying a Cross as our Lord did."

The SSPX has the capability to be like the Jesuits were meant to be - to serve the pope and orthodoxy. Just think of the change that they would help with if they were to submit to the pope, rather than always maintain an adversarial and contentious relationship with the Holy See.

The SSPX maintains that the Church is not any better now than it was in the aftermath of the Council. So what do they have to lose? They have a chance now to serve the Church and the pope, if they would only have trust. Pope Benedict needs orthodox priests and bishops in the Church. He usually appoints orthodox men to positions of authority, especially in those areas hit hardest by scandal.

Irenaeus of New York said...

Hello Jordanes,

Thank you for your words. What I find problematic is the last sentence from the CCC you pasted. Which is the logical conclusion they drew from the preceding statements.

"From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest..."

Note the use of the word sacrament. From that time on would mean the West began in the 7th century the private sacrament of penance (as opposed to public). You claim they were only talking of the discipline of private penance. Is penance without confession/absolution still sacramental? I would guess not, and perhaps that is the source of my confusion because it tells me that they were not trying to make the dilineation between the various disciplines of penance and the sacrament (inclusive of confession/absolution). In either case, Pope St Leo seems to have promulgated it 200 years earlier in the West. I hope this illustrates why I am confused by it, so any further clarification you can give me would be most welcome.

Long-Skirts said...

Carl said:

"The full communion FSSP and ICKSP have enjoyed spiritual and statistical success (that is, growth in the establishment of parishes and communities)."

and Tradical said:

"...this article in the Remnant may be of interest.

http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-1225-zurbeck-bishop-taylor-father-demets.htm "

Read the above link and weep.

"Know thine enemy!"

HIS
BREVIARY
BATTERED

In the fifth
Two thousand six
Melts the wax
Of candle sticks.

May moon full
Begins to wane
Shadows race
Across the plain

Reaching gulfs
The ocean tides
Break on beach
Where pride presides.

Cassocked in
The thickest fog
Plodding cross
The marshy bog.

Maddening moons,
Through the fire ---
Near the depths
He wends on higher.

Many years
Breviary tattered
Deep in mists
His strength unshattered.

'Gainst black storms
Wet linen heavy
Soul after soul...
Gives his life for each bevy

And when he is called
Because souls really mattered
He will enter Reward...
With his breviary battered

Merci Marcel!! I pray daily for all the truly good and holy Roman Catholic priests. Never should they lose hope because there are many young men preparing for the Priesthood and they are our boys...hold on, men, the Cavalry is coming!!!

Ivan K said...

@ Carl

I would second Sixupman's point that 'FSSP and ICKSP can only operate upon the whim of the diocesan bishop and his likely Modernist curia.'

The FSSP currenly have as many seminarians as any large American Archdiocese--more than most, in fact. This success in vocations is not having an impact on parishes--in large part, because bishops want nothing to do with them. The fact is that most bishops would prefer to close down a parish than to hand it over to the FSSP, or any other traditionalist group. The events surrounding the cancellation of the Pontifical TLM at the National Shrine are quite indicative of the malice with which most bishops treat 'fully regularized' traditionalists.

'Thank you for submitting yourselves to our authority, now crawl back into your holes and never show your faces again, please.'

John McFarland said...

Enoch,

As things stand, one cannot serve both the Pope and orthodoxy.

John McFarland said...

Dear Steve,

Welcome!

I've been wondering why we don't have a fan of the Abbe de Nantes around here, viewing with alarm The Schismatic Drift.

Perhaps you can explain to us how the SSPX and those of similar views are schismatic when they do not deny the authority of the Church.

Ora et Labora said...

So John according to you only the SSPX is the protector faith and the only one that can interpret orthodoxy???

You believe in the authority of the Church but without a visible Head.

To you the present Holy Father holds no significance.

What about the Pope as the visible head of the Church???

To my understanding union or submission to the Pope is essential for Catholics.

Or do you believe that the Seat of Peter is empty now and the present Pope is not a validly ordained Pope and neither any of the Popes since Vatican II??

That is 40 years without a validly ordained Pope in the Catholic Church???

If there has been no Pope in the seat of Peter then the visibility of the Church has been destroyed making it impossible to elect a future Pope???

The gates of hell have pravail then??

Aren't you messing with the Dogma of Infallibility??? and the Petrine Supremacy???

Jordanes551 said...

First of all, you seem to differentiate between excommunication and anathema, although since the 1917 Code of Canon Law it means the same.

No, excommunication and anathema are not interchangeable. Properly speaking, the anathema was a kind of major excommunication, but not all excommunications are anathemae. Also, not only persons but the writings of persons could be "anathematised," but words were never "excommunicated."

Secondly, what you call 'posthumous excommunication' has occurred many times in the Church, like in the above mentioned council.

No, not "many" times, and also it's not something that has been done for a very, very, very long time. It's so unlikely that it could ever happen again that one would be pretty safe to say that it won't ever happen again.

The reason of anathemizing someone who has already died is not "symbolic", as you claim, but is the most effective way of condemning his teachings and of making it very clear to the faithful that they should not follow him in his teachings.

Nevertheless, it does not expel him from the visible society of Christians on earth, because he is not on earth any more, and in fact might even be in heaven. Thus, posthumous "excommunication" is only a symbolic kind of excommunication, since only members of the Church Militant can be excommunicated. The purpose is to condemn the deceased person's teachings to protect the faithful on earth, not to impose a medicinal penalty on him in hopes that he might repent -- for the dead cannot repent.

Here is proof to refute your other objections from the Code of Canon Law (1917):

The 1917 Code of Canon Law is no longer in force. It can serve as an aid to understanding past canonical discipline, and to discerning application and interpretation of canon law today, but if a 1917 canon is not incorporated into the 1983 code, it no longer has binding force.

Answer: When an external violation of the law has been committed, malice is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proved. (Canon 2200, section 2)

But if the presumption of malice could not withstand the evidence brought forward, it had to be abandoned. Furthermore, to sustain an accusation of heresy against Blessed John XXIII or Paul VI, it would be necessary to find an incident in which they taught contrary to the Faith externally. There are, however, no examples that one could point to. You can't use Paul VI's approval of Vatican II documents as evidence against him, and then use that supposed heresy to invalidate his approval of the documents, because that is circular reasoning and would go nowhere in an ecclesiastical tribunal.

Under current canon law, Canon 2200 is superseded by Canon 1321, which says, "1. No one is punished unless the external violation of a law or a precept committed by the person is seriously imputable to that person by reason of malice or culpability. 2. A person who has deliberately violated a law or a precept is bound by the penalty stated in that law or that precept; unless a law or a precept provides otherwise, a person who has violated that law or that precept through a lack of necessary diligence is not punished. 3. Unless it is otherwise evident, imputability is presumed whenever an external violation has occurred."

Now, even assuming that one could sustain the presumption of imputability against Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI, and that they violated the Faith deliberately, the fact remains that this canon speaks of punishment -- and the Church does not have the ability to punish the dead. In other words, this canon (and its prior equivalent Canon 2200) is not relevant to the issue.

Jordanes551 said...

Answer: "An act of jurisdiction carried out by an excommunicated person, whether in the internal or the external forum, is illicit; and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been pronounced, it is also invalid, without prejudice to c. 2261, §3; otherwise it is valid" (canon 2264)

There is nothing anywhere stating that the person has to be alive for the invalidity to apply. I suspect this is your personal opinion.


The very language of that canon shows that is cannot apply to a dead person, because dead people cannot carry out acts of jurisdiction.

And no, it is not just my personal opinion that the dead cannot be excommunicated -- it is, however, your personal opinion that the dead can be:

"Since excommunication is the forfeiture of the spiritual privileges of ecclesiastical society, all those, but those only, can be excommunicated who, by any right whatsoever, belong to this society. Consequently excommunication can be inflicted only on baptized and living persons. Although the Church recites against the devil exorcisms in which the word anathema occurs, he cannot be excommunicated, for he in no way belongs to the Church. Among living persons, those who have not been baptized have never been members of the Christian society and therefore cannot be deprived of spiritual benefits to which they have never had a right; in this way, infidels, pagans, Mohammedans, and Jews, though outside of the Church, are not excommunicated. As the baptized cease, at death, to belong to the Church Militant, the dead cannot be excommunicated. Of course, strictly speaking, after the demise of a Christian person, it may be officially declared that such person incurred excommunication during his lifetime. Quite in the same sense he may be absolved after his death; indeed, the Roman Ritual contains the rite for absolving an excommunicated person already dead (Tit. III, cap. iv: Ritus absolvendi excommunicatum jam mortuum). However, these sentences or absolutions concern only the effects of excommunication, notably ecclesiastical burial."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05678a.htm

And in fact, it does not make sense that the Church would so limit the possibility of condemning false doctrines.

It makes perfect sense, since the Church never had the ability to literally excommunicate dead persons in the first place.

By the way, your citation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law raises a further difficulty to your fantasy of Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI being posthumously excommunicated. A canonical trial would have to be conducted under the 1983 Code of Canon Law, under which a formal investigation would have to determine that the deceased person was not merely materially a heretic but formally and culpably so. If, however, you want to apply the old canonical discipline, you might try to have Blessed John Paul II posthumously declared a heretic, thereby (in your scenario) rendering the 1983 Code null and void, and then you could carry on trials of Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI under the 1917 Code, and finally, after all of that, finally (again, in your scenario) have Vatican II invalidated ex post facto.

I hope you realise, though, that it is never, ever going to happen.

Jordanes551 said...

Thank you for your words. What I find problematic is the last sentence from the CCC you pasted. Which is the logical conclusion they drew from the preceding statements.

"From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest..."

Note the use of the word sacrament. From that time on would mean the West began in the 7th century the private sacrament of penance (as opposed to public). You claim they were only talking of the discipline of private penance. Is penance without confession/absolution still sacramental?


One can do penance for venial sins, which would not be a part of the Sacrament of Penance/Confession, but those would not be imposed by a priest confessor.

The way I understand this paragraph of the Catechism is that both private confession (with private penances) and public forms of confession/absolution (with public penances) were found in the Church, but starting around the 7th century (and due to Irish missionaries) private confession, which had long been in use in the East (particular in monasteries), began to become more and more the norm throughout Europe.

St. Leo's quote is excellent evidence that private auricular confession was of apostolic origin. It was fostered in the Eastern monastic tradition, which dates to the A.D. 200s, but we need not assume that it originated in the monasteries.

Céolfrið æf Dealgancæster said...

Full disclosure: I'm more or less a supporter/follower/aligned with the FSSPX. I have great respect for what the Society stands, and for the hard work that the Society's bishops apparently do in defence of Catholic Tradition.

That said...

...Is it not possible to 'accept' the Council in the sense that one acknowledges it as a done deal, but criticise the parts and derivatives that are obviously problematic if not outright contradictory?

I mean, if the Vatican offers practical autonomy to the FSSPX, then they both win. The Vatican looks like it was magnanimous and avoids the perception that it caused a schism. The FSSPX can keep doing what it was doing and with explicit papal approval.

What, exactly, is the fear? It seems to me, like in most things, it is the loss of control. But, if the Vatican can guarantee that the FSSPX can control its own 'agenda' (so to speak), then I dont see why Bp. Fellay doesnt accept the preamble, holding his nose if he must, get the papal approval and juridiction that he needs for at least the appearance of legitimacy, and then move out smartly.

If the Vatican renigs on the deal after the fact, the Society can (and probably would) just keep on doing what it was doing before these discussions got into full swing.

I'm just not seeing the real stumbling block. The Council (V2) happened. We cannot pretend it didnt.

What we can do is try to figure out how it fits in with Catholic Tradition. And, if parts of it dont, then we just 'remove' them.

End of rant.

Ecclesia Militans said...

Jordanes,

You are nitpicking.

Of course that a dead person cannot be deprived of communion, but they can be anathemized. The proof is Pope Honorius as well as all the others that have been posthumously anathemized.
Now, since the 1917 CCC anathema is not considered specific anymore, and every anathema from then on is equal to an excommunication. That is why I used the words interchangeably.

You also supposedly rebuke me by repeating my words:
"The purpose is to condemn the deceased person's teachings to protect the faithful on earth..."
This is exactly what I said and that is why such a thing is very neccessary.

"An act of jurisdiction carried out by an excommunicated person, whether in the internal or the external forum, is illicit; and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been pronounced, it is also invalid, without prejudice to c. 2261, §3; otherwise it is valid" (canon 2264)

This canon obviously refers to acts of jurisdiction already completed in the past, and after which a condemnatory or declaratory sentence was or was not pronounced. Nowhere does it limit the time in which the sentence can be pronounced after the act has been committed.

Of course the Pope can invalidate almost any act of jurisdiction of his predecessor. In fact, Pope Stephen VI went so far as to invalidate even the ordinations performed by Pope Formosus.

It really does not matter whether you think the modern popes will be condemned in the future.
If they have disregarded their duty to keep the Faith, fallen in heresy and preached heresy, and allowed the Church to be subverted, they will most certainly be condemned.

How do I know this?
Because I know that the Holy Spirit will not allow this current confusion to go on forever, but will show, in good time, where is the Truth and where lie.

Jordanes551 said...

You are nitpicking.

No, I'm making necessary distinctions to make sure we are using words correctly. You are not, which is why you are using words incorrectly.

Of course that a dead person cannot be deprived of communion,

In other words, he cannot be excommunicated, as has already been established.

but they can be anathemized (sic).

Not under current canon law, and in any case almost none of the ancient posthumous anathematisations entailed ex post facto invalidation of jurisdictional acts.

Now, since the 1917 CCC anathema is not considered specific anymore, and every anathema from then on is equal to an excommunication.

Sadly, the anathema is no longer an option under current canon law.

"The purpose is to condemn the deceased person's teachings to protect the faithful on earth..." This is exactly what I said and that is why such a thing is very neccessary.

No, that's not what you said -- you also spoke erroneously about "excommunication," when it is impossible to excommunicate the dead.

"An act of jurisdiction carried out by an excommunicated person, whether in the internal or the external forum, is illicit; and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been pronounced, it is also invalid, without prejudice to c. 2261, §3; otherwise it is valid" (canon 2264) This canon obviously refers to acts of jurisdiction already completed in the past, and after which a condemnatory or declaratory sentence was or was not pronounced. Nowhere does it limit the time in which the sentence can be pronounced after the act has been committed.

You're wrong. It refers to acts of jurisdiction in the internal or external forum that are carried out by an excommunicated person, and it is impossible to excommunicate the dead. This is why it says "IS illicit," not "WAS illicit." Anyway, as I already pointed out, this is from the 1917 Code, which is not binding on anyone. It's Canons 124-144 of the 1983 Code that you need to consult on these kinds of questions, and Canon 124.2 says, "A juridic act correctly placed with respect to its external element is presumed to be valid" (in the 1983 Code, "validity" of a juridic act is the same as the "liceity" of an act of jurisdiction in the 1917 Code). In other words, you'd have to prove that the person who carried out the act was excommunicated at the time he acted in order to conclude that his acts were illicit.

Jordanes551 said...

Of course the Pope can invalidate almost any act of jurisdiction of his predecessor. In fact, Pope Stephen VI went so far as to invalidate even the ordinations performed by Pope Formosus.

Well, he *attempted* and purported to invalidate his ordinations, but the horrid and miserable Stephen VI's criminal and scandalous posthumous attack on Formosus and anti-Christian desecration of the corpse of Formosus was itself invalid.

The truly pathetic thing about Stephen VI's abuse of his office is that by purporting to invalidate the ordinations of Formosus, he thereby invalidated his own ordination, which logically meant Stephen was not pope and therefore his purported invalidation of Formosus' ordinations was itself invalid! Yet if Stephen really was serious about his invalidation, he would have had himself ordained validly and then reinstalled as pope -- something he never did. But so miserable a creature cannot be expected to have acted rationally, and in charity we may hope that Stephen suffered from a mental illness and thus was not culpable for his crimes.

This shameful episode in the Church's history is an excellent illustration of just why your lurid fantasy scenario of posthumous excommunication of Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI will never, ever, ever, ever happen. It would open a few warehouses full of cans of worms and create a far greater scandal than all the disorders associated with Vatican II have created.

It really does not matter whether you think the modern popes will be condemned in the future. If they have disregarded their duty to keep the Faith, fallen in heresy and preached heresy, and allowed the Church to be subverted, they will most certainly be condemned.

Not unless a LOT of things change first, and not necessarily changes for the better. However, there have been a good number of unworthy or disappointing popes who have never been posthumously condemned. There's no reason to expect it will ever happen to Blessed John XXIII or Paul VI, and plenty of reasons not to expect it.

Ecclesia Militans said...

Jordanes,

I must correct myself beacuse I was indeed wrong about this canon:

"An act of jurisdiction carried out by an excommunicated person, whether in the internal or the external forum, is illicit; and if a condemnatory or declaratory sentence has been pronounced, it is also invalid, without prejudice to c. 2261, §3; otherwise it is valid" (canon 2264)

It does refer to acts committed by an already excommunicated person after the sentence has been pronounced (if it has been pronounced).

From this it follows that, should the modern popes be anathemized in the future (or should it be declared that they incurred ipso facto excommunication at a certain point in time) their acts would remain valid but illicit.
Of course, the reigning Pontiff would still have the possibility of declaring some or all of their acts invalid, because "the Pope is superior to Canon Law" (Pope Benedict XIV, Constitution Magnae Nobis. 1748)

However, if the Pope should declare that they fell into heresy at a certain point in time before or during their pontificate, then all of their acts from that point onwards would be both illicit and invalid.

I believe this covers everything.
Thank you for pointing out this mistake.

P.S. Another proof that it is indeed possible for a Pope to invalidate the acts of one of his predecessors is that Pope Sergius III renewed the invalidation of ordinations performed by Pope Formosus and ordered the persons to be re-ordained. Although this act of his was reversed by his successor, that very reversal proved that it had been a valid, though unwanted, act.

servo said...

'The SSPX could look to the FSSP. The FSSP has the old Mass, does not denounce Vatican reforms, and lives in perfect communion with the Pope and local bishops.'

This is not about simply 'having the Mass.' It's not a matter of 'it's all okay what you believe, just a matter of preference.' Why go to the traditional Mass (oh, I'm sorry, the 'extraordinary form') if it's equal in all respects to the New Mass? Why even write an encyclical like Mortalium Animos if it can be tossed in the gutter 30 years later? It's about objective truth, not preference or aesthetics or letting everyone have their nice little corner to sit in. Another example of neo-catholic attitudes invading the traditionalist movement.

Weirdly enough, my local FSSP priest actually said some mean, nasty things about the New Mass yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised. I've criticized them a lot in the past, but I'll give this one credit.

gregger said...

But seriously are there not many "discontinuities", if you are not open to an evolution of sorts?
Take some of the statements of the medieval popes for instance.
Is there not room to be regularized and hold a more conservative view on religious liberty?
Is there not room to be inside the Church and have reservations about ecumenism as practiced on some occasions?
I just don't get the supposed justification for remaining outside the regular Church...
praying...