Rorate Caeli

French diocesan Bishop confirms in SSPX chapel
Local SSPX priest in dispute with superiors

The following is reported by French blog Summorum Pontificum observatus:

"A gesture that shakes things up and elicits admiration. Yesterday, Sunday, March 11, in the morning, Bishop [Jean] Bonfils [Emeritus of Nice], the Administrator of the Diocese of Ajaccio [Corsica] up until the installment of Bishop-Elect de Germay, went to the church served by the SSPX in Ajaccio. It was not simply a visit of courtesy or of pure diplomacy: Bp. Fellay being unable to come to Ajaccio for a very long period, his fellow bishop, Bp. Bonfils, proposed to him, by his own will, to carry on the confirmation of 19 candidates to this sacrament. The representative of the SSPX could not refuse the sacrament proposed by the Bishop in charge of the Diocese, even more so when he, naturally, conferred it according to the Traditional Rite. Bp. Bonfils celebrated the Mass of Saint Pius V afterwards.

"This act accomplished by a French Bishop, in the current context of the proposition made by the Pope to Bp. Fellay of a canonical statute of a universal personal prelature is not without meaning. [Rorate note: that is not the exact state of things; as we last reported, the whole matter is still under the consideration of the Holy See.That he [Bp. Bonfils] was simply and normally received by the faithful of the SSPX is also very gladdening."


Addendum: Unfortunately, things do not look as rosy as reported above. We hear the following from trusted sources: (1) that the local SSPX priest, Fr. Hervé Mercury, was already involved in personal divergences with his superiors; (2) that, differently from what was mentioned above, the celebration was not conducted out of any sort of agreement with the SSPX General House; (3) that the same Fr. Mercury was already involved in discussions with Bp. Bonfils [updated information]. These things are not particularly bad in themselves, but they completely change the tone of what took place: not a disinterested pastoral visit, but a complex dispute between a priest who wishes to leave a society, his superiors, and a local diocesan bishop. 

Rorate stresses once again the fact that Summorum Pontificum observatus is not correct when stating that the SSPX-Holy See matter is anywhere else than in the Holy See's own hands at the moment.

23 comments:

mic said...

Certamente il gesto del vescovo acquista un significato diverso.
Ma resta il fatto che in una diocesi francese la confermazione è stata amministrata con il rito usus antiquior, compresa la celebrazione del Santo Sacrificio.

Ce ne vorrebbero!

Knight of Malta said...

Mic, good point! Leaving aside the motives of the Bishop (giving the benefit of the doubt to him), the fact remains that a French Bishop confirmed in the usus antiquitor; let's pray for more such confirmations and for more Bishops to pray the Traditional Latin Mass!

Presumably, Fr. Mercury was not forced to sign some agreement with the novelties of Vatican II (or, was he?); if not, this might serve as a model for the SSPX as a whole: just let them fully regularize and continue with their disagreements with non-dogmatic aspects of Vatican II.

Just as one can be a good Catholic (perhaps a better Catholic) for believing strictly in the dogma extra ecclesiam non salus; so, too, the argument can be made that members of the SSPX are perhaps in many aspects better Catholics for rejecting portions of Vatican II.

beng said...

Me think French bishops is trying to play divide et impera.

PEH said...

In light of the confusion surrounding this matter I would like to include my remarks as to why there cannot be any meeting of the minds without help from above.

What we have to remember IMO is the absolute incongruity of the traditional Faith and its sacraments co-existing with the Novus Ordo establishment. Two different modes of thinking are involved and these modes of thinking enter into catechetics, especially the teaching of the young and potential converts to the Faith, as well as the liturgy itself but even more so into the practice of daily life. There is also the matter of church tribunals on divorce, remarriage, etc. Can we reasonably expect the SSPX, or an independent traditional group, to accept the results of these tribunals run by, and consisting mostly of, modernist neo-catholics led by a bishop who has an animus against Tradition?

Look at how Rome treats priests like Fr. Rodriguez and Fr. Guarnizo who try to enforce Catholic teaching - one is sentenced to the boondocks and the other has his priestly faculties removed for heaven's sake. Instead of the Pope removing the bishops concerned and elevating the two Fathers to the episcopacy to take their places, he does nothing. Is this the future for Tradition in the Church especially for those who have for years struggled to maintain and defend what Holy Mother Church has always held, taught and professed to be true up to the 2nd Vatican Council? I think not! IMO we need a miracle by Divine intervention at the request of the Blessed Mother through our prayers and penances - nothing else will get the job done.

Lopes said...

'Lawful authority.' Hard to understand how some still hold on to this point when 'lawful authorities' across the globe do everything they can do undermine the Church and humiliate Catholics.

According to 'lawful authorities' in Washington a lesbian's sensibilities are more important than a priest's real authority.

Cruise the Groove. said...

This is wonderful news!

I wish our Ordinary would perform Confirmations for the SSPX parish here.

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

One cannot be a good catholic for believing in the baptism of water alone, that people are allowed to believe this is a scandal.

I do agree it is interesting that a french bishop confirmed in an SSPX chapel and confirmed SSPX parishioners.

B. said...

I have heard that when Bishop Manat of Thailand did confirmations for the SSPX in Asia, Bishop Tissier protested until the confirmands were conditionally reconfirmed - obviously because he believes NO bishop's consecrations to be dubious. Obviously Bishop Manat has not officiated at any SSPX event since, despite having pledged his full support to the SSPX's position.

So it'll be interesting how this will play out.

don Camillo said...

Mi domando solo perchè i Vescovi e i Cardinali quando diventano "emeriti" diventano leoni, ma quando sono Ordinari sono ... utilizzando un linguaggio più decente di quel che mi passa per la testa ... completamente soggiogati al potere conciliare...

Comunque la notizia è fuori di dubbio interessante, perchè sì, ci saranno pure inciuci tra questo prete e il Vescovo, ma questo denota comunque buona volontà e reciproco ascolto... e poi la cresima è stata comunque impartita a dei lefebvriani...

Corsica e Sardegna sono poi delle vere e proprie isole felici, dove il tradizionalismo è molto radicato... il clero è ancora molto sano! In Sardegna so di tanti sacerdoti tradizionalisti e di tante parrocchie dove il Vaticano II non sanno manco cosa sia!

Spiace solo che per dissapori interni si creino delle fratture, spero che si ricompongano...

Elizabeth D said...

If I am understanding correctly this sounds like good news to me, a priest coming into full Communion and becoming incardinated, with faculties. And not only are the faithful under his care gaining the ability to receive the Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony validly from their priest, the local ordinary can come normally and Confirm. I don't understand the suspicion about this. It makes me think of the Orthodox being upset about people joining Eastern Catholic Churches that are in full Communion.

Filipino Catholic said...

"I have heard that when Bishop Manat of Thailand did confirmations for the SSPX in Asia, Bishop Tissier protested until the confirmands were conditionally reconfirmed - obviously because he believes NO bishop's consecrations to be dubious."

And yet the Philippine Bishop Salvador Lazo, who was ordained bishop according to the NO Pontifical, conferred confirmations for the SSPX from the time he joined them c. 1996 until his death in 2000.

Pax Domini Vobiscum said...

How does SSPX pick and choose which consecration is valid/invaild? Isn't that rather arbitrary?

New Catholic said...

These things are all interesting in themselves. The problem is: there is an ongoing process, in which neither the local SSPX priest or the Administrator of the Diocese are personally involved, and which depends on the SSPX superiors and the Holy See. So, even if Fr. Mercury and Bp. Bonfils acted with the best of intentions, it still was not appropriate in the current circumstances to move forward when matters had not been cleared with the society superiors. It is as if local circumstances were being used to force the hand of the SSPX superiors in a specific inappropriate moment.

Kelley Sterling said...

I am curious as to why Knight of Malta consistently uses the formulation "extra ecclesiam non salus." I am more familiar with the formula "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," although I have also heard "salus extra ecclesiam non est."

hosea said...

Pax Domini Vobiscum writes,
"How does SSPX pick and choose which consecration is valid/invaild? Isn't that rather arbitrary?"

They choose the prudent path. They choose their Bishops. If the parishioners have a doubt about a NO confirmation for example, they conditionally re do it to be safe. Nothing arbitrary here.

For example I was confirmed in the mid nineteen seventies before the wording was altered into something less then desired. My FSSPX priest suggests that I not re conditionally confirm but it is up to me.

Pax,
Hosea

Thomas said...

What is wrong about stating that Rorate is inaccurate in stating that Summorum Pontificum Observatus states "that the SSPX-Holy See matter is anywhere else than in the Holy See's own hands at the moment"? If one reads the original on SPO's website, it quickly becomes clear that SPO has been misinterpreted by Rorate.

New Catholic said...

There is no misinterpretation whatsoever. We translated it accurately: "This act accomplished by a French Bishop, in the current context of the proposition made by the Pope to Bp. Fellay of a canonical statute of a universal personal prelature is not without meaning."

At this moment, there is no such thing, the whole matter, including a possible structure, is in the Pope´s hands, so it is a mistake and an incorrection to say that there is a current, present, context of a proposition by the Pope to Bp. Fellay. This is not to say that, along with the preamble presented by the CDF (not by the Pope) last September, and afterwards, canonical offers were not made, but we must be accurate: at this moment, there is no current context of an offer by the Pope to Bp. Fellay. We stand completely by our correct interpretation of the imprecise words of Summorum Pontificum observatus.

New Catholic said...

Folks, let us stop rehashing the same arguments over and over again.

dcs said...

Hosea writes:
If the parishioners have a doubt about a NO confirmation for example, they conditionally re do it to be safe. Nothing arbitrary here.

For example I was confirmed in the mid nineteen seventies before the wording was altered into something less then desired. My FSSPX priest suggests that I not re conditionally confirm but it is up to me.


That is the definition of arbitrary.

New Catholic said...

Thomas: sometimes, for the first one, and it is far from assured, for the second one. Neither should be posted in public, which is why your last comment could not be allowed through. Thanks.

Throckmorton P. said...

"One cannot be a good catholic for believing in the baptism of water alone, . . . ."

With apologies to New Catholic but I am forced to comment: of course one can.

And wasn't the original comment a smidge off topic or was it just meant to be provocative?

Catherine of Siena said...

Of course there is a current proposal to the SSPX by the Holy Pontiff. It remains the same proposal that has been in effect for decades: submit to the authority of the Holy Father, and accept the terms that have been proposed in order to rejoin the Church. Didn't the Holy Father and the Magisterium say that the SSPX clergy are not permitted to administer the Catholic Sacraments or offer public Masses under penalty of grave sin? I thought I read that somewhere...

Catherine of Siena said...

Servo:

Forgive me, but my position is that of the Holy Father, who is the Vicar of Christ on Earth, and the head of the Church to which I belong.

A friend of mine was legally married, in the secular sense, in an SSPX chapel last summer. The local Roman Catholic ordinary maintains that this couple is not married in the eyes of God, and that they committed a mortal sin, because the SSPX priest who attempted the Sacrament was unable to do so since he lacked jurisdiction. Do you know of a Roman Catholic bishop who disagrees with this? According to the Magisterium, and the Law of the Church, SSPX clerics do not have the power to effect the sacraments of Matrimony and Penance, except for Penance when there is a case of a true emergency, such as the danger of death. These sacraments, when attempted by SSPX priests, are not only illicit (and the acts gravely - mortally - sinful) they are invalid. These statements that I have made are not my opinion. They represent the official position and teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. If you don't believe me, call your local ordinary. The members and supporters of the SSPX are free to openly defy the Holy Pontiff, after careful deliberation, and with full consent of the will. Obviously, the penalties for doing so will not be light.