Rorate Caeli

Benedict XVI: the last stage

A guest-post by Côme de Prévigny

If there is a matter that seems to be an obsession in this pontificate begun seven years ago, it is the one related to the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX). Shortly following its outset, Benedict XVI met their Superior, Bp. Bernard Fellay, in his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. That was on August 29, 2005. At that time, two communiqués, one by Rome, the other by Menzingen, indicated in unison that it had been agreed to "proceed by stages" in the resolution of problems. And the most lengthily prepared, most keenly discussed, and most vigorously contested texts of this reign were those that constituted these famous stags: the motu proprio that freed the Traditional Mass, then the removal of the excommunications of the bishops consecrated by Abp. Lefebvre.


The 264th Successor of Peter has a rendez-vous with history, come what may. He wants to fix a legacy, half-century-old, one which undoubtedly led him to give up on the Johns and the Pauls to revive the Piuses and the Leos, the Gregories and the Clements, the Innocents, and the Benedicts.Several journalists have remarked on this.


This obsession is first based on a matter of personal conscience. On May 5, 1988, following numerous meetings with Abp. Lefebvre, which had until then led the founder of the SSPX to Paul VI's office, and then to that of John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger reached a historic agreement. The prelate from Écône signed a protocol regularizing the work that he had founded eighteen years earlier. The confidence remained feeble because he was in guard before a Curia that continued to tirelessly celebrate interreligious meetings and to forbid, throughout the world, the celebration of the Traditional Mass. Just a few words from a Cardinal would suffice to make all fall apart. That Cardinal was... Joseph Ratzinger. On the previous day, he had whispered to the Archbishop the terrible idea of having some Masses celebrated in French in Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet, the historic Paris church of the SSPX. Then, lacking support for it, he had been unable to obtain a specific and definite date for the consecration of the bishop that had been granted. First foreseen for late June, the ceremony was postponed to the Assumption, then following summer, then to Christmas. Confidence eroded. Just before departure, the Cardinal handed to Abp. Lefebvre a model of a letter asking the Pope for forgiveness. It was the last straw. On the following day, May 6, 1988, as the Curia rushed to call journalists to announce the long-expected news, a young priest coming from Albano presented to Monsignor Joseph Clemens, secretary to the Prefect, a letter that he immediately folded again, since his emotion was so intense. The Bavarian monsignor was undoubtedly the only one to witness the distress of his countryman, the Cardinal, as he delivered to him the note by which Abp. Lefebvre reneged upon his signature. For years, the Cardinal lived with this burden, a burden which he still mentioned to a Central-European bishop shortly before ascending to the chair of Peter.


Twenty-four years later, the Cardinal reaches the helm of the Church. Things are going badly, quite badly. All that might have indicated, a quarter-century earlier, that the Traditionalist restoration would never take place has failed. Wojtylian Neo-Conservatism has run out of steam. Charismatism has not managed to revert the trend. In the old Christian nations, the churches are empty, the belltowers fall in disrepair, seminaries close down and the so-called Catholic journals barely survive. What remains is the Pope's case of conscience, with which he busies himself shortly after his election, as one of his collaborators, who had become a Cardinal himself, affirms that the Society has become "a thorn for the Church". But, with the years gone by, the evils of the post-Conciliar period are to be rooted out, as so many bad fruits that the Roman Pontiff can only remove out of fear that they will infect the whole flock. In Austria, and in some European regions, the priests revolt. In the United States, religious women join forces against Rome, all in the name of the Council. Hostile media does not hold back in order to magnify the errors of a clergy that have embraced the world so much that, in some cases, they have taken on its moral vices. The very authority of the Church is mishandled. At the sound of noses that announce every month the end of the pontificate, some dicasteries seem to act individually. Not to mention those dioceses that do not profess the Roman faith anymore. And yet a shock weapon remains for Benedict XVI, this famous affair that worries him, that of the Fraternity. Each step that had brought him closer to it has indicated, at the same time, the growth of the hatred of the adversaries and of victory over them. Pope Ratzinger mentioned it to the Bishops on March 10, 2009: "And should someone dare to approach [the Fraternity] – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint." Isn't there in these words of the Pope, pitted against the world, a distant echo of that appeal he launched in the beginning of his pontificate asking for prayers so that he may not flee for fear of the wolves?


Truthfully, there remains no other choice. In the spring of 2012, the determination of Benedict XVI seems to be such that the SSPX may not even have the possibility of choosing. The statute will fall upon it from above, by mutual agreement or by force. The Pope wants its regularization with a resolute will, whether or not it accepts the Council, whether or not it accepts the new mass. He undoubtedly does not share the thinking of Marcel Lefebvre and of his disciples, according to whom religious liberty lands a fatal blow on the missionary spirit. Nevertheless, he has taken the chance of opening up doctrinal discussions which, all through the Church, have opened the gates of the questioning of the contested principles of Vatican II. Is the pope truly this sure of himself? By regularizing the Society, even though the doctrinal discussions have failed, he makes it understood, in some way, that one can be of the Church and not espouse the ideas of the last Council, leaving it as an option, as the new mass has been for the past five years. What is certain, and this personal dilemma recalls it, is that the Supreme Pontiff beloieves, before God, that the title of "Catholic" cannot be refused to the work of Abp. Lefebvre. This is the only concern that inspires him.


The road is not finished. Let us recall that, in 1988, regularization had failed for problems of a canonical nature that affect mutual confidence. And everything seems to point to the fact that Bp. Fellay is more than ever decided to keep the principles claimed by Abp. Lefebvre. Only the context is different. A quarter-century ago, papal determination was not this resolute. Besides, mercy has ceded room to persistence. And now the Roman Pontiff seems to establish, more than ever, a barrier against the fruits of the marriage between the Church and the world - a union that we cannot but identify as conciliar.

89 comments:

HSE said...

Fear not! As the wolves continue to circle, I pray that it will truly be the 'Year of THE Faith'.

Laus Deo said...

Very good synopsis of where all of this is at. God bless and give strength, wisdom, endurance, length of years, and above all, His divine grace, to our Holy Father the Pope!!!

Good Shepherd Sunday said...

I have a mustard seed; and I am not afraid to use it - Pope Benedict XVI

Gregorian Mass said...

It makes one think of their love for the Pope and his eternal committment to the good of the Church. May God Bless him with many more years and may the SSPX return fully to the fold during his Pontificate. It would be quite fitting to see this Pope reconcile the Society and then celebrate a Tridentine Mass, in Rome together with Bishop Fellay. I imagine a great amount of peace would come over them both no matter what the opponents would have to say.

NIANTIC said...

Thank you for this excellent piece. It is clear that there is a real personal and sadly failed history between the Pope and the Society going way back. Actually Pope Benedict knows, probably better than most, exactly what the principles are which Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society he founded stand and fight for. He may not agree with all of it but in his heart he must know that the Society is totally Catholic pure and simple. And for that reason alone he, the Pope as Vicar of Christ, ought to declare as soon as possible that the Society is "regularized" and all her Sacraments have been, and are, valid. This is only just and proper. And the Pope too knows that Bishop Fellay, and the Society, cannot ever agree on principle to ambiguity and confusion in Vll documents, nor in the NewMass and other Liturgical Rites, which are based upon a new, man centered, theology totally in contradiction to the past many centuries. I pray and hope that Our Lord will grant the courage to our Pope Benedict to take that final step and embrace the Society for the future well being and exaltation of Holy Church.

Stephen said...

You may have to deal with other scenarios, ones different than those for which you hope.

Brian said...

If our Holy Father wants a successful outcome, I pray that he proclaims that the SSPX is fully Catholic, with valid and licit sacraments, and leaves it at that.

The SSPX already has a structure. Although the canonical issues will need to be addressed someday, I pray that the pope just leaves that alone for now. Addressing that now will only generate more problems.

“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !

From the poem " Outwitted”
― Edwin Markham

Hugh Embriaco said...

Will the Holy Father do the same with the CMRI, the sedevacantists, the Old Catholics, and the Orthodox? Unilaterally declare them Catholic?

After all, the Orthodox are probably closer to the Faith of Peter than the Jesuits, or the women of the LCWR.

Mike said...

Let us pray to the Holy Father's ministerial Archangel: for him, for courage, for clarity, for heroic patience, for Apostolic daring that dashes to pieces the counsels of cowardice...

Sue said...

The Popes have a solemn commission directly from Jesus Christ, "Confirm thy brethren".

All of the modern Popes have failed miserably.

Athelstane said...

He undoubtedly does not share the thinking of Marcel Lefebvre and of his disciples, according to whom religious liberty lands a fatal blow on the missionary spirit. . . By regularizing the Society, even though the doctrinal discussions have failed, he makes it understood, in some way, that one can be of the Church and not espouse the ideas of the last Council, leaving it as an option, as the new mass has been for the past five years.

I have seen no characterization of this Pope's posture on this question better or more succinct than this one.

Joseph Ratzinger is not a traditionalist. We all know this. But like Michael Davies, we have come to learn that he is sympathetic to the aesthetics and principles of Tradition in a way that so few others of the Conciliar generation are.

Of course, as Côme de Prévigny rightly notes, the empirical evidence now is pretty hard to deny - which admittedly has not stopped so many from continuing to ignore it.

Brian said...

Hugh Embriaco,

Are you unable to recognize the crucial difference between the SSPX and the CMRI, the sedevacantists, the Old Catholics, and the Orthodox?

The groups you list are schismatic groups. The SSPX, though (perhaps unjustly) considered by Rome to be illicit, is, and always has been, fully Catholic.

Joseph said...

Sedevacantists are schismatics and heretics as opposed to mere heretics or mere schismatics. Their delusional ideas have no place in the Catholic Church.

Fajardo said...

Athelstane says,

"Of course, as Côme de Prévigny rightly notes, the empirical evidence now is pretty hard to deny - which admittedly has not stopped so many from continuing to ignore it."

I answer:

Perhaps because this Pope's own teaching is strongly and consistently pro-Vatican II, and far from denying the Magisterium of John Paul II and Paul VI he fully embraces these.

I want to ask YOU this question: why do you and so many others want to ignore the obvious fact that Pope Benedict XVI fully embraces Vatican II?

poeta said...

Thank you for this. The posts from Côme de Prévigny are always excellent.

A Society Man said...

Poeta,

The posts from Côme de Prévigny are always excellent. Alas they also have much wishful thinking

Adfero said...

Skeptico, you may be skeptical all you want, but don't think for a second we will allow a comment that insults our blog or our readers. Have some respect.

A. M. D. G. said...

Joseph said...
Sedevacantists are schismatics and heretics as opposed to mere heretics or mere schismatics. Their delusional ideas have no place in the Catholic Church.

Thank you for clearing that up Pope Joseph!

Hugh Embriaco said...

Brian,

You're absolutely right with respect to many priests of the SSPX and many of the laity associated with them. They are fully Catholic.

But I'm familiar enough with the SSPX to know that there is a strong schismatic tendency in SOME of them, as well as some heretical tendencies.

When you arrogate to yourself the power to judge the Church as to how or whether it is holding fast to Tradition, and you don't have sufficient theological training, it's easy to fall into error.

That's why these issues of concern to the SSPX (and to all of us) should be resolved by men of the stature of Msgr Gherardini.

It's entirely against Tradition to have so many untrained "theologians" going about spreading their opinions.

Knight of Malta said...

Benedict wants it, so said Michael Davies.

Mike B. said...

For reasons I am not ready to face, I did not know till April 19,2012; how deep the chasm created by 'the spirit of Vatican II'. A Monsignor gave a presentation on the HHS Mandate issues. He noted that Sister Carol Keehan disagreed with the bishop's findings. I noted that the bishops in union with the Pope are the only authority on 'faith and morals'. He responded that her "informed conscience" had to be respected.

I have since written a letter to him noting CC1783 and CC1792, WHICH POINTS TO THE "MISTAKEN NOTION OF AUTONOMY OF CONSCIENCE." The Monsignor has been teaching Catholics at University level for 50 years. I stupidly had never really known the depth of Pope Benedict's nightmare.

Athelstane said...

Hello Fajardo,

I want to ask YOU this question: why do you and so many others want to ignore the obvious fact that Pope Benedict XVI fully embraces Vatican II?

How can I ignore it? He has said as much in his own words. Over and over again.

But that's a starting point in understanding Joseph Ratzinger, not an end point. And it's not just that his understanding of Vatican II is quite different from that of, say, Hans Kung or Maria Martini. What I said was that he is, in certain respects, unusually sympathetic to Tradition, even to some of its critiques of the conciliar project. That is not the same as being a Traditionalist. That is not the same as rejecting the Council. Clearly his sympathies don't extend to much of the traditionalist criticism of the Council's discussion of ecumenism or religious liberty, for example.

And at the end of the day, he has been able and willing to take concrete steps to rebuild tradition that his conciliar predecessors were unwilling to do, and which virtually every curial office and episcopal conference has opposed, often vehemently. That does not make him a Traditionalist, or against the Council. Just something that we can, in some real way, be grateful for - as Michael Davies predicted we might be.

William said...

"I stupidly had never really known the depth of Pope Benedict's nightmare."

The nightmare in question is traced to recent Popes who permitted novelties to replace Traditional practices, according to Traditionalists.

Traditionalists usually assign the lion's share of the blame to Pope Paul, who had cast aside the Traditional Roman Mass in favor of the Novus Ordo.

However, Traditional Catholics also criticize Pope Venerable Pius XII for having tinkered during the 1950s with Holy Week Rites.

On April 3, 2010, Rorate Caeli posted the following:

On the Reform of Holy Week under Pope Pius XII

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-reform-of-holy-week-under-pope-pius.html

Gratias said...

Thank you Holy Father for your well planned efforts to unify the Church. Many here pray for your health daily.

Miles Dei said...

The Pope has take it personally. That is for sure. It can be good, it can be bad. But for sure too it will not result in an let it be.

Marty Jude said...

Sadly, it seems there is a lot of wishful thinking going on!

Gregorian Mass commented..."It would be quite fitting to see this Pope reconcile the Society and then celebrate a Tridentine Mass, in Rome together with Bishop Fellay." I'm sorry, but are you aware that concelebration is not allowed in the Traditional Rite? Save on Maundy Thursday, I think? Unless, you mean for a full [Papal] Pontifical High Mass, with
Bishop Fellay acting as Deacon? Now there's an idea! Bishop Galaretta or Tissier could be Sub-Deacon and Williamson as Boat or torch bearer...that'd be fitting 'penance' for him!!!

Seriously though, the Holy Father is clearly pro-Vat II, and pro-Vat II Popes - he 'beatified' JPII...what more needs to be said???!!!

For the first time in my life so far, I feel confidence in, and have respect for a Pope. However, I'm not convinced this Pope will restore The Faith in its entirety.

I must admit I pray for him regularly though, whereas, rightly or wrongly, I gave up on JPII - I had no respect for him whatsoever.

God bless, guide and protect our Holy Father

Ma Tucker said...

I don't think you can sit in judgment of a situation without being fully aware of the facts.

Was Cardinal Ratzinger acting under obedience or on his own behalf.
Was this truely the right time for the SSPX to be regularised.

Was Cardinal Ratzinger relieved that the signature was withdrawn at this time. Maybe it was desired the SSPX stay in the woods until a more favourable time. Maybe this was God's will and Cardinal Ratzinger facilitated it as best he could.

We can be certain of this :
God permitted or willed this situation with the SSPX.
We need to accept this without relating stories which give impressions of imprudence and remorse.

ben ingledew said...

from the article:

"The road is not finished."

For some reason it reminds me of a poem from the Lord of the Rings.

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

- The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 1


I hope Benedict XVI's epitaph will be something like the latter version of the poem.

"The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet."

The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 6

GQ Rep said...

"The Popes have a solemn commission directly from Jesus Christ, "Confirm thy brethren".

All of the modern Popes have failed miserably."

This broad statement could be interpreted to mean all Popes either from the last 50 years...which would be a true statement, or from modern times-which some people interpret as from the last 100 years till now.

I think we should zero in on the one particular moment when the Popes basically did start to "fail miserably".

That's the Vatican II Popes, stretching back from John XXIII (1958-63), Paul VI (1963-78), John Paul II (1978-2005), and Benedict XVI (2005---). I didn't include John Paul I because he was in only one month. Though his choice of a Pontifical name is suspect of being an innovator..he didn't have the opportunity to prove it...so I gave him a break : )

Victor said...

To undestand the current Pope Benedict is EXTREMELY important to understand how Cardinal Ratzinger thinks. That is the KEY!!!

--Cardinal Ratzinger (Letter to Lefebvre, 1982): “In the third paragraph you speak of "statements or expressions of the Council that are contrary to the Magisterium of the Church." Then you list three texts of the Council incompatible, according to you, with the Magisterium, adding even an "etc." Here your position even more radical… But you cannot assert the incompatibility of the conciliar texts - which are magisterial texts - with the Magisterium and Tradition. You can say that personally, you do not see this compatibility, and to ask explanations of the Apostolic See. But if, on the contrary, you assert the impossibility of such an explanation, you are DEEPLY DEPARTING FROM THE FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH; the of faith of the Church which you are claiming to defend at the end of your letter, the faith you were taught during your childhood and in the Eternal City.”

--Cardinal Ratzinger (todays Pope Benedict XVI) (letter to Lefebvre , July 28, 1987): Divinely instituted, the Church has the promises of the assistance of Christ until the end of time. The breaking of its unity by an act of GRIVEOUS disobedience on your part would cause INCALCULABLE DAMAGE and would DESTROY the future of your work itself, since outside of unity with Peter it would have no future except the RUIN of all that you have desired and un­dertaken. History has oftentimes witnessed the uselessness of an apostolate accomplished outside of the submission to the Church and to its head. By giving a personal interpretation of the texts of the magisterium, you would paradoxically GIVE AN EXAMPLE of this LIBERALISM which you fight so strongly, and would act contrarily to the goal you pursue. Indeed, it is to Peter that the Lord has entrusted the government of His Church; the Pope is therefore the principal artisan of her unity. Assured of the promises of Christ, he will NEVER BE ABLE TO OPPOSE in the Church the au­thentic magisterium and HOLY TRADITION. Excellency, do you find my words severe? I would have liked to express myself in another way, but the GRAVITY of the matter at stake does not give me any other choice.


--Cardinal Ratizinger (July 13, 1988): Aside from the liturgical question, the central points of conflict at present are Lefebvre’s attacks on the decree which deals with Religious Liberty, and on the so-called spirit of Assisi. Here is where Lefebvre fixes the boundaries between his position and that of the Catholic Church today. I need hardly say in so many words that what he is saying on these points is UNACCEPTABLE. Here we do not wish to consider his ERRORS, rather we want to ask where there is a lack of clarity in ourselves. For Lefebvre, what is at stake is the warfare against ideological liberalism, against the relativization of truth. Obviously we are not in agreement with him that— understood according to the Pope’s intentions—the text of the Council or the prayer of Assisi were relativizing. It is a NECESSARY task to DEFEND the Second Vatican Council AGAINST Archbishop Lefebvre, as VALID, and as BINDING upon the Church.”

Fred E. said...

" He undoubtedly does not share the thinking of Marcel Lefebvre and of his disciples, according to whom religious liberty lands a fatal blow on the missionary spirit. . . By regularizing the Society, even though the doctrinal discussions have failed, he makes it understood, in some way, that one can be of the Church and not espouse the ideas of the last Council, leaving it as an option, as the new mass has been for the past five years."

I really think that this is wishful thinking and does not accurately represent the mind of the Pope or even the current state of affairs as known to the public. The doctrinal talks did not "fail" but rather established where the points of difference lay. The preamble has as its goal a resolution of those points of difference. The idea that Vatican II becomes "optional" seems a simplistic misreading of what is happening.

tridentinist said...

OK, Here goes: If there is no agreement then eveyone will know that there has been a falling out between Rome and SSPX on doctrine. As no-one has ever accused SSPX of heresy the natural conclusion is that Rome is doctrinally in trouble. In this case I know where my loyalties lie!

Trento said...

SSPX being recognised by the Vatican as fully Catholic will have the same effect as the Vatican undergoing an exorcism!

Judy said...

Thank you for that Victor.
I hope everyone fully understands what that says. It really needs to be said here.

Franco733 said...

Well said NIANTIC

Long-Skirts said...

"...may the Holy Ghost make of him a great restorer of the devastated vineyard of the Church."

HABEMUS PAPAM

Pope Benedict
Please restrict
Enemies and foes.

Pope Benedict
I pray constrict,
Heretics who pose.

Pope Benedict
I do predict
Tradition if you shield...

Pope Benedict
Of Rome's district
The Vineyard will be healed!

Tom said...

Victor said...

"To undestand the current Pope Benedict is EXTREMELY important to understand how Cardinal Ratzinger thinks. That is the KEY!!!"

Victor, the key to understanding "Cardinal Ratzinger"/Pope Benedict XVI is to simply pay attention to the words and actions of Josef Cardinal Ratzinger's reign as Pope Benedict XVI.

Therefore, despite Côme de Prévigny and his speculation (his wishful thinking) or anybody's speculation in regard to Pope Benedict XVI, we know precisely His Holiness' thinking in regard, for example, to the Society of Saint Pius X.

In regard to the Society, on March 10, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared the following:

"...the Fraternity does not possess a canonical position in the Church, its officials do not exercise legitimate offices in the Churchthe Fraternity has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers, even if they are free from ecclesiastical censure, do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry in the Church."

"But now the question remains: Was this necessary? Was this really a priority? Are there not much more important things?

"Of course, there are more important and urgent things. I think that I have made clear the priorities of the pontificate in my speeches at the beginning of it."

"Was and is it really wrong, also in this case, to go to meet the brother, who "hath any thing against thee" and to try for reconciliation.

"Does not civil society, too, have to try to prevent radicalizations, to bind their possible supporters - if possible - back into the major creative forces of social life to avoid isolation and all its consequences?"

"Can a community leave us totally indifferent in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 seminaries, 88 schools, 2 university institutes, 117 brothers, 164 sisters?

"Should we really calmly leave them to drift away from the Church?"

"The plaited fabric of their motivations we cannot know.

"But I think that they would not have made their decision for the priesthood, if next to some askew or sick elements there had not been there the love of Christ and the will to proclaim Him and with Him the living God"

"Certainly, we have long and have again on this occasion heard many dissonances from representatives of this community - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into one-sidedness etc.

"For the love of truth I must add that I have also received a series of moving testimonials of gratitude, in which was made perceptible an opening of hearts."
-----------------------------------

The Pope stated clearly his attitude toward the Society.

The speculation that abounds in regard to His Holiness and the Society is nonsense.

We know the exact reasons as to why His Holiness is in contact with the Society.

-- While he believes that positive elements are found within the Society, he also finds that "pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into one-sidedness etc." exist within the Society of Saint Pius X.

-- Pope Benedict XVI believes that it's imperative to bring the Society into "full communion" with the Apostolic See to "prevent radicalizations" among SSPX's members as he cannot "calmly leave them to drift away from the Church."

Tom

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

If all this blather is true, why, after four years, has the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer not been regularised? It was promised a canonical form when it left the embrace of the S.S.P.X and came under the Pope. It is still in the wilderness. Actions speak louder than words!

P.K.T.P.

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

One more thing. I know that this Pope insists on doing things 'by the book'. But yet another round in which Levada, the enemy of tradition, gets to 'vet' Bishop Fellay's response and the C.D.F. gets to vote on it? Isn't this a little risky at this point? What if this pontificte should end before the next Feria Quarta meeting in May? He risks losing everything on this.

P.K.T.P.

Tom said...

Also in regard to speculation as to Pope Benedict XVI's attitude toward the Traditional Roman Mass, speculation gives way to His Holiness' actual thoughts.

On September 12, 2008, in regard to his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI declared that "this Motu Proprio is merely an act of tolerance, with a pastoral aim, for those people who were brought up with this liturgy, who love it, are familiar with it and want to live with this liturgy."

On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI declared the following:

"The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.

"Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful."

Sorry, but the wishful thinking as to Pope Benedict XVI's attitudes in regard to the TLM and SSPX is nonsense as his words and actions destroy that which the wishful thinkers have purported.

Tom

Mike B. said...

I find it 'wanting'and illogical to oppose the findings of Holy Mother Church's decisions on the road to sainthood. The special quality that adorns the saints is an unusual ability to love Jesus Christ. For example, the motives of John Paul II in the Asissi outreach were risky but pure in purpose. And yes, he found betrayal in many of his appointments. These 'sufferings' were impetus for his dependence on Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Most young priests today were inspired by John Paul II, and owe their vocation to his example. The entity of the Catholic umbrella requires understanding beyond my own perspectives.
In addition, the Catholic mind of Paul VI is exemplified by Humanae Vitae. Only a rare Catholic visionary could have written that document in the 60's while most of the Church and world demanded he go another way.

Hugh said...

Mike B

What is really "wanting and illogical" is the unnerving fact that the sanctification process based for so long on care, attention and caution was effectively undermined by the changes to it in 1984. It is this which puts some of the subsequent processes on slippery ground. For example, to ignore the 27 years of public pontifical actions, as was admitted by those heading the process, to decide on eventual beatification is not only not objective but by its very rapidity places it in a poor light. The best policy for such an immensely important and significant proclamamtion is a return to that once well known Roman Catholic thoroughness in patience, even if it should take centuries. Our salvation does not depend on them.

By the way, it is known that Paul VI issued Hunanae Vitae not because he wanted to but because he felt he had to. Thankfully, he did respond in this way but to ignore the rest of his pontificate and rush a sanctification, as was the case in the last papacy, demonstrated once again the need to proceed slowly, cautiously and thoroughly.

Knight of Malta said...

This Pope is a dichotomy of contradictions, a master politician and statesman, a brilliant theologian and periti at the council.

I think it naive to take some of his prior comments and apply them to the man he is today. I myself was an atheist, and it took me a decade and a half, after my conversion, to become a Traditional Catholic. So, we shouldn't necessarily judge a man by his past statements. Here I will quote from this very blog:

As Cardinal Ratzinger said in the well-known preface to the French translation of Gamber's most famous book, Die Reform der römischen Liturgie (The Reform of the Roman Rite):

What happened after the Council was altogether different: instead of a liturgy fruit of continuous development, a fabricated liturgy was put in its place. A living growing process was abandoned and the fabrication started. There was no further wish to continue the organic evolution and maturation of the living being throughout the centuries and they were replaced -- as if in a technical production -- by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true visionary and with the fearlessness of a true witness, opposed this falsification and tirelessly taught us the living fullness of a true liturgy, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge of the sources. As a man who knew and who loved history, he showed us the multiple forms of the evolution and of the path of the liturgy; as a man who saw history from the inside, he saw in this development and in the fruit of this development the intangible reflection of the eternal liturgy, which is not the object of our action, but which may marvelously continue to blossom and to ripen, if we join its mystery intimately.


Certainly this Pope was a man of the council, but I am convinced he has softened greatly towards Tradition, the Mass of his youth, especially.

Who with eyes to see can't see the great wreckage after Vatican II. Not all should be ascribed to it, since it was percolating for decades before it. But who can say indifferentism, syncretism and relativism weren't in the fabric of some of the conciliar texts themselves, particularly NA, GS and DH? The eminent Rome-based theologian Gherardinin has gone as far as to say: "...not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism [a heresy]..."

The missionary spirit was killed because of VII, the mass of All Time was killed because of VII. And I would submit that pederasts in the Church were emboldened by VII. Could the Holy Spirit really have been part of this?

ooh!blech! said...

VCII Liturgical formation: I went w/my mom to her VCII church service yesterday where the priest called his flock to repent by reading them a Dr. Seuss book (for background so they would know what the story was about). I'm sure his 4 confessionals and the little room where the 1 priest actually holds confession will be full Saturday from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

New Catholic said...

Some comments - like the anonymous one we just blocked - are unbelievable: dear friend, start your own blog with your own "expertise", OK?... And, please, if you do not like it here, just go, never to return.

Louise said...

P.K.T.P. said...
"If all this blather is true, why, after four years, has the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer not been regularised? It was promised a canonical form when it left the embrace of the S.S.P.X and came under the Pope. It is still in the wilderness. Actions speak louder than words!"

From what I've been told by someone who has a relative on Papa Stronsay the problem lies, not with the NO Church, but with the leadership at the monastery.

Adam Michael said...

Regarding "Humane Vitae" - Fr. John Ford, S.J., who served on the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth Rate (the popular "Birth Control Commission"), maintained that Pope Paul VI was not convinced that "the pill" was contraception until later in his pontificate.

This uncertainty, which resulted in unrealistic expectations in the Catholic world of the 60s, is as much a legacy of Paul VI as is "Humane Vitae."

Adam Michael said...

Correction: *Humanae Vitae

Peterman said...

I don't know Victor, a lot has changed in the world since 1988. I know I don't issue official Church proclamations but I'd sure hate for someone to start holding me to things I said in 1988. The world and the Church has changed radically and probably more than anyone thought. The priest homosexual scandal and other things occurred.

A famous quote goes "as I grow older I pay less attention to what men say and more to what they do."

The Holy Father's actions today, not 25 years ago, tell me what I need to know.

Matt said...

This is a very nice op-ed piece giving us a window into the attitude of heart of the Holy Father. What I disliked was perhaps the unfortunate choice of the word "obsession." That word bespeaks a personality disorder, an irrationality. Not speaking for the author, surely it wasn't his intent to imply that but, again, "obsession" should have been substituted for another word describing the Holy Father's "drive" for an SSPX reunion and its urgent necessity.

The history this editorial illucidates is moving and interesting, a clearly pastoral effort. Not much written about these circumstances explain all of this.

Let's keep praying.

Matt

Matt said...

P.K.T.P. said, "One more thing. I know that this Pope insists on doing things 'by the book'. But yet another round in which Levada, the enemy of tradition, gets to 'vet' Bishop Fellay's response and the C.D.F. gets to vote on it? Isn't this a little risky at this point? What if this pontificte should end before the next Feria Quarta meeting in May? He risks losing everything on this."

Yes, yes. We can only wonder if Lavada actually can be fair in his judgements, something to accomplish because the Holy Father's asks it, and not trying to impose his personality, interjecting his likes and dislikes into the mix.

We also wonder why the Holy Father appointed Lavada to head the most important Curial position, one who is from Los Angeles (not necessarily a bad thing but something to be wary of), who is a classmate of and good friends with Roger Mahony. Then again, as many have said here, it's a V-II thing.

Matt

Ligusticus said...

Both Levada and Bertone had been, in the past, co-workers of Cdl. Ratzinger at the CDF. Also the recent cardinalate to Fr. Becker SJ could be read in that light. It's not a "Vat II thing", but rather a Ratzinger's "obsession" for choosing long personally known and therefore "trusted" people to be his aides in Rome, as a Pope. Period.

Brian said...

Joe,
Too bad you were not around to advise Athanasius and Maximus the Confessor:

"Toughen up soldier, do your job; follow the Pope blindly; go along to get along."

jac said...

..."He (the Pope) makes it understood, in some way, that one can be of the Church and not espouse the ideas of the last Council, leaving it as an option"...
Here we are witnessing the Holy Spirit at work on our Holy Father himself. Knowing his past as an intransigeant and eager promoter of the council, we can assess the long road he has run until now in giving up VATII as an "option".
The Pope pragmatically knows the future: He and the last modernist conciliarist prelates and priests no longer will be within 15 years. A new generation will take the helm, that was formed in the last RCC's trad seminaries and in those of the newly reunited SSPX, of course, the others are empty.
I bet that the Council will not be a reference anymore in 20 years and will be considered like an unexplainable parenthese in the Church's history in 30 years.

Augustinus said...

"A new generation will take the helm, that was formed in the last RCC's trad seminaries and in those of the newly reunited SSPX, of course, the others are empty.
I bet that the Council will not be a reference anymore in 20 years and will be considered like an unexplainable parenthese in the Church's history in 30 years."

If only it were that simple.

I am not Spartacus said...

Archbishop Luigi Maria Carli participated in the bestest council ever as Bishop Carli of Segni. He made 14 interventions and I would love to read them but I have never seen a collection of the interventions.

That desire aside, it is worth noting that the Traditionalist Bishop made one intervention that caught the eye of the Abbe de Nantes; it was Bishop Carli's intervention on behalf of Tradition against Nostra Aetate but his intervention did not carry the day - but - still there were 88, eighty eight, Bishops who voted NO on that Document and yet they were allowed to leave the Council in full union with the Pope without having been constrained to change their vote or face anathemas.

But the SSPX MUST accept the Documents?

Please.

That is a silly idea on the face of it. A significant number of Bishops at the bestest council ever voted NO on several of the Documents and yet left the Council in full union with the Pope and so it is preposterous to ry and bully the SSPX into accepting that which significant numbers of Bishops at the council rejected.

And now to finish with the great Bishop Carli. His Traditional Theology was the same before, during, and after the bestest council ever; in fact, after the Council he gave a public address about the Jews and their guilt of Deicide etc that set on edge the teeth of the Jews who tried heap scorn upon him but he was not censored or scolded for continuing to preach the Traditional truth.

Far from it, AFTER that speech, he was made an Archbishop of Gaeta.

Put that in your ecumenical pipe and smoke it all ye who demand that the SSPX scurry slack-jawed and sack-clothed into the wimpy embrace of the new theological modernists

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

No episcopal appointments over the week-end, none yesterday and none today. That makes three full weeks with no episcopal appointments--none since Spy Wednesday. This is unprecedented. We continue to get messages about how we should drive safely and help little old ladies cross the street. The usual pablum churned out for our daily consumption by some hack in the Vatican. This is worrying. One statistics-watcher whom I know suggests an alternate explanation: he may be implementing the rise in retirement age to 78. That may very well be. Whatever may be the reason, this hiatus allows him to settle the S.S.P.X matter. Let's hope he can settle it before the Grim Reaper puts his name on his appointment book.

P.K.T.P.

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

Louise:

You make a cryptic remark about the leadership on Papa Stronsay. Have you heard the latest? That leadership recently invited the local Scottish Episcopal Bishop and his 'priest' to 'visit' (as in 'visitation'?) the local monastery. What is going on there?

P.K.T.P.

Throckmorton P. said...

"Certainly, we have long . . . heard many dissonances . . . - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into one-sidedness etc."

I am sorry; I misunderstood; I thought this statement was referring to liberals and modernist!

Ted Maysfield said...

Well written and astute commentary and analysis reminiscent of the late Michael Davies.

This pope, for all his shortcomings and serious flaws (those trips to the synagogue), is far beyond John Paul II in wanting a truly just resolution for the work of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Only a schismatic would refuse Pope Benedict in this regard. There is no restoration possible outside the Church.

English Bishop Williamson speaks derisively of “newchurch,” but alas, he appears to never have completely shaken the Anglican inclination to separate from Rome. Where there is Peter, there is the Church. An Anglican mind, wrapped in a Catholic bishop’s garments, cannot accept that fact.

The liberals are terrified that the SSPX will be in the Church, charitably admonishing and instructing; a massive influence for good. The media too are sharpening their poison pens.

Please dear priests and laity of the SSPX, be truly Catholic; have faith in the pontiff and rely on Almighty God as you re-enter the Church in all humility. You will have to lose your pride but you stand to gain heaven.

Prof. Basto said...

" Let's hope he can settle it before the Grim Reaper puts his name on his appointment book".

Mr. Perkins,

I take you for a good and concerned Catholic. But why all this talk about the Pope's demise? That's not your first remark about the possibility of the Holy Father's imminent death.

This is disrespectful, especially given the informal language. Grim Reaper.

Today, of all days, when we celebrate the Anniversary of the Pope's Coronation (ok, installation), the thought on our minds should be "Long live the Pope!".

Ad multos annos, Sancte Pater!

Jonvilas said...

Dear Throckmorton P., alas not one FSSPX member or associate used to demonstrate the similar "little sins". Thus, it would rather healthy to read some passages from Matthew...

Francis said...

Here's an article from a leftwing and secular "news" source. These are the words that she uses to describe the SSPX: "schismatic" and "ultra-conservative" and she uses "dissident" to describe the heretical "priests" in Austria and the heretical American "nuns". These people have no clue. Nor do they want to.

http://news.yahoo.com/pope-stakes-churchs-course-entering-8th-152922218.html

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

Yes, i read about the episcopal bishop visiting them at papa stronsay what on earth was that about?!

Adam Michael said...

I Am Not Spartacus,

You made a good point about how several bishops (not significant numbers, though) voted against certain documents in the Council and yet remained in union with Rome. This proves that the Council was not dogmatic.

However, none of the bishops who voted against conciliar documents accused them of heresy (except at times, Archbishop Lefebvre and possibly Bishop de Castro Mayer). Nor did these bishops teach that the new Mass didn't fulfill one's Sunday obligation. The SSPX tolerates the idea (at the least) that the conciliar documents contain heresy and states that the Novus Ordo doesn't fulfill the Sunday obligation. This places them apart from the bishops you mention.

I don't see how the reconciliation of the SSPX with the Church can occur unless the Society "accepts" the Second Vatican Council as being, technically, free from heresy and that the Novus Ordo fulfills the Sunday obligation.

Anything short of this essentially compromises the magisterium of the post-conciliar Popes (by making them purveyors of heresy and thus unable to be trusted as teachers of the Faith) and the role of the Pope as the chief enforcer of the laws of the Church (by making the Pope a hindrance to the fulfillment of the Sunday obligation).

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

What Alsaticus has already reported about the I.B.P. is not good, and the news is spreading. One wonders if someone in the curia is trying to prevent a canonical arrangement with the S.S.P.X.

P.K.T.P.

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Mr Michael. Eighty eight Bishops voting no on one Document is a significant number and that number can not be identified as "several," as you collectively described them.

While those Bishops left the Council in opposition to one or more of the documents, most continued to discharge their duties and their opposition to some of the documents was expressed sub rosa, unlike Bishop Carli as I noted.

As to your other assertions, those remain to be seen and I do not know if the SSPX will be required to do what you suggest.

Personally, I am in favor of Bishop Fellay saying something to the effect that the Lil' Licit Liturgy does satisfy the Sunday/Holy Day Obligation but that it falls far short of the Real Mass.

Because the Fathers of the Council promised to preserve,protect and promote the Real Mass (Sacrosanctum Concilium) , I think it is the Pope who ought to apologise to the Laity on behalf of those Church Fathers who did not follow through on their solemn promises and especially ought he apologise for the actions of Pope Paul VI in cramming the crummy lil licit liturgy down our collective throats.

I think by now most well-informed Catholics know that the Bishops voted against accepting the Lil Licit lIturgy the first time the saw it performed and still it was crammed down our throats.

With all due respect, it is Our Holy Father who has the burden of publicly accepting all of Tradition; especially is he burdened, it seems to me, to publicly retract his decision (as Prefect of the CDF) that the teachings of the 19th and 20th century Popes vis a vis Ecumenism and Liberty no longer are binding and that decisions taken by the then authoritative Pontifical Biblical Commission are no longer binding for in taking that decision, he undermined the Magisterium.

It was not the SSPX who has undermined the Magisterium; and I write that as one who is a member of the Confraternity of The FSSP

I know that reads quite radical but during my lifetime I have read plenty of apologies made by the V2 Popes; and those apologies were issued on behalf of long-dead Christian Catholics whose collective guilt has been conceded (not proved) so as to, I guess, placate our enemies.

Well, there are scores of things the V2 generation of Popes ought publicly apologise for - from running The Roman Rite through the abbatoir of reform, to Ecumenism, to Indifferentism, to the collapse of the religious orders, to the collapse of the Priesthood, to the sudden sy-rocketing laicisations, to, the refusal to Rule and Discipline etc etc

stcatherineofsiena said...

I thank that there is a great fear among the Clergy in the Church that many will flock to SSPX Chapels if they come into the Church. On the other hand, it seems better for them to keep the dissenters roaming around, liberals and those who questions Church's teachings than have the SSPX around. This is just my opinion.

Peterman said...

Bishop Fellay: be sensible. Ask for a public recognition of your Society and its Sacraments. Then stop there and let doc talks continue for another thirty years, until the conciliar liberals are all dead.

Another 30 years? It won't last that long. The novus ordo is evaporating into thin air. There are a few crowded parishes in most dioceses and then a bunch that don't take in enough to pay their bills. Young people don't care or attend mass. Even young families could care a less, they show up on Christmas and Easter.

Joliet diocese report said...

From what we see in the Joliet diocese, I have to agree with PKTP's assessment of the Fraternity.

The Fraternity has been in our diocese for over three years, and after that time, I have to ask, "What is there to show for it?" The people have been more than generous with their contributions, but what has become of all that money? We are still sharing a parish; there is still only one priest for the entire diocese; there is no sense of community; there are no activities to bind us together; there were no Triduum liturgies offered at the Joliet Mass site because Father could not be in two places. This is often the case.

Generally, people attend Mass, then disperse. Only a tiny handful stay for refreshments when they are offered.

Now we hear that they might be pulling out by the end of the year!

I smelled trouble way back in the beginning when Father mentioned in his sermon that the Fraternity's founder was - not Msgr. Lefebvre - the pope himself, John Paul II.

I am sure there must be holy, zealous, and militant FSSP priests out there, but our priest just appears to be tired and drained.

We need the energy and zeal of the SSPX around here.

A Sinner said...

Benedict is not a traditionalist, and is indeed quite committed to Vatican II. But he is a man of much nuance and his essential position was seen in the letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum: "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden forbidden".

Neither can positions espoused as recently as Pius IX or Pius X...suddenly become heresy.

Certainly Benedict believes that these would not be the right approach at all for the world today, and that Vatican II's approach is, for the most part, the correct one (though he knows of the excesses that can come from them).

Nevertheless, he is not so mad (like some liberals) as to absolutize these new things as "dogmas" as if they broach no debate. In fact, likely, he would see that as an ironic "repeat" of the very sorts of "rigid" attitudes that led to the Syllabi of Errors, etc.

He certainly believes in adapting the Church's approach to the world in accordance with the modern socio-political situation. But he understands that this situation itself cannot be idealized or absolutized or dogmatized itself, and that we can't act like "we know better now" as if we can sit in judgment on the past when the situation was totally different and hard for us even to imagine probably.

As such, he knows that the SSPX's position, while he may consider it woefully inadequate for the modern situation...cannot in itself be called heresy or "wrong," and may in fact even have been the correct approach for past historical contexts. As such, it must be recognized as orthodoxy and legitimate (and perhaps, even, given great respect as the traditional doctrine, albeit not dogma).

Matt said...

Ligusticus said, "It's not a "Vat II thing", but rather a Ratzinger's "obsession" for choosing long personally known and therefore "trusted" people to be his aides in Rome, as a Pope. Period."

You're entitled to your spin on that.





Joliet Diocese Report said, "Generally, people attend Mass, then disperse... I am sure there must be holy, zealous, and militant FSSP priests out there, but our priest just appears to be tired and drained."

I have heard there are various places the FSSP is obtaining to staff as personal parishes, so it may be there are holy, zealous, and militant FSSP priests out there, and your priest is stired and drained. Sadly. Our prayers for him.

Yes, we all need the energy and zeal of the SSPX. From what I have seen and heard about regarding the activities they sponsor at their various parishes and those who participate, the SSPX is busy and active! Praise God.

Matt

Socorro said...

Socorro said...

Well said. When will the Holy Father celebrate Mass according to the 1962 missal? Let me guess: when the New 1962 Missal is out, later this year? Or perhaps when the whole "reform of the reform" is accomplished?

I'm new at this. My post was addressed to P.K.T.P speaking to Bp. Fellay

Mar said...

To I Am Not Spartacus,

Yes, it is a blessing to the Church and the faithful that there were those like Bishop Segni at the council who did not take things lying down. Here are three anecdotes about him, that show him for the man that he was. They are taken from "The Rhine flows into the Tiber", and you may know them already. If so, I hope you will not mind hearing them again; as for me, I do not tire hearing them again and again because they inspire me with hope and courage.

1. The last speaker that day was Bishop Luigi Carli of Segni, Italy. He maintained that certain Council fathers had carried their ecumenical preoccupations to excess. It was no longer possible, he charged, to speak about Our Lady; no one might use the expression "Church militant"; and it was no longer proper to call attention to the inherent powers of the Catholic Church.

2. Archbishop Sigaud had scarcely returned to his place in the Council hall when he received a message from Bishop Carli, of Segni, congratulating him on his address. This was the beginning of a firm friendship between the two prelates. Archbishop Sigaud subsequently introduced Bishop Carli to French-born Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers. The two archbishops had met in the first week of the first session and had formed a "piccolo comitato" (small
committee) aimed at opposing certain ideas which they considered extreme, and which, they felt, were being forced upon many of the Council Fathers by the strong episcopal conferences, especially those of the European alliance. They now invited Bishop Carli to join their midget alliance; the bishop accepted the invitaion. Cardinal Dopfner [one of the four Moderators and a notorious liberal - Mar] later admitted that there was no bishop at the Council whom he feared more.

Mar said...

(This anecdote concerns Article 30, Section 2, of the Council's Rules of Procedure, which provided that schemas "must be distributed in such a way that Council Fathers
have a suitable period of time to take counsel, to come to a mature judgment and to determine how they will vote." - Mar)

3. The group [International Group - Mar] therefore decided to draw up a letter to the Council Presidency, calling attention to Article 30, Section 2, of the Rules of Procedure, and asking for a delay in the vote. Over a hundred signatures were collected. The letter was dated Wednesday, November 18, and was delivered to the Council Presidency early in the morning. Similar petitions were submitted by other groups. Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Cardinal Presidents, took up the matter with the Cardinal Moderators, who requested the Secretary General to read out one of the appeals and to announce that the matter would be settled by a vote of the general assembly. The Secretary General said that a preliminary vote would be taken the following day to decide whether to proceed to a vote on the schema. "This has been decided by the Dean of the Cardinal Presidents and by the Cardinal Moderators," he explained.

Bishop Carli, of Segni, Italy, one of those who had signed the International Group's letter requesting more time for study of the schema, appealed to Francesco Cardinal Roberti, Chairman of the Administrative Tribunal, against the decision of Cardinal Tisserant and the four Moderators. That decision, he wrote, "appears illegal to the undersigned because of lack of form and lack of substance. 1. It is lacking in form because the decision was not taken collegialy by the Council Presidency, but only by the Cardinal President together with the Moderators. 2. It is lacking in substance, because the assembly cannot be asked to decide whether or not specific articles in the Rules of Procedure issued by the Supreme Pontiff should or should not be observed. Either the petition of the more than 100 Fathers is unfounded, in which case the Council Presidency should declare it unacceptable, giving its reasons; or it was well founded, in which case no one, except the Supreme Pontiff, is entitled to ignore it."

Ligusticus said...

I'm entitled also to report that in North-Eastern Italy the FSSP is slowly but steadily expanding: from Venice to other Venetian locations, plus that quite liberal stronghold which is the Catholic University of Milan. As for Poland, I know personally the situation of the FSSP in Krakow (nota bene!) and must say their community is objectively thriving and doesn't show any signs of
tiredness but, on the contrary, continous expansion.

(Then, anyone is free to apply to -global- reality his/her own interpreration grid, also according to personal experiences, which may differ considerably from place to place. And writing from Italy, and especially that tiny part of Italy that witnessed the great work of Cardinal Siri, I may have a "popist" bias, for which I humbly beg forgiveness.)

St. George said...

Matt said: Yes, we all need the energy and zeal of the SSPX. From what I have seen and heard about regarding the activities they sponsor at their various parishes and those who participate, the SSPX is busy and active! Praise God.

While this may be true of the SSPX worldwide, sadly it is not the case here in England. Apart from Sunday Mass parish life in noon existent. In the past American and Canadian priests have tried to create a parish life but have always had stiff opposition from English priests who appear to have a "ghetto mentality." The present District Superior isn't liked very much and has dome a lot of damage to the SSPX in England. Before he took over the London church had two Masses every Sunday but because of him many of the "old timers" who had been there since the church opened left and there is only one Mass now.

VirgoPotens said...

Joliet Diocese Report, a few thoughts:

-The FSSP can't always negotiate getting its own parish--and your change of bishops may have delayed whatever plans were in place. It could be that your previous bishop and/or your new bishop aren't inclined to permit that sort of thing, and that it will take several more years of "good behavior" by the FSSP before this will even be considered by the chancery.

-From what I understand, the FSSP has been torn between wanting to expand quickly (read: send individual priests to start new apostolates wherever possible) and wanting to send second and third priests to reinforce existing apostolates. There are merits to both approaches, but at any rate, the demand for traditional priests still outstrips supply.

-As for the lack of sense of community, I know of one smallish FSSP apostolate where a large new family moved to town and the place was transformed into a vibrant group seemingly overnight. Maybe the laity in Joliet should step up and plan some potlucks, picnics, and other social events, but also ask Father for a Bible class, a Latin class, or whatever?

-I don't know your priest, but it is quite possible he's tired and needs a change of scenery. And perhaps he'll get one this summer when new assignments are announced.

-You do realize Msgr. Lefebvre didn't found the FSSP, right? You can make the argument that without the SSPX there would be no FSSP, but it's a historical fact that Pope John Paul II established the FSSP, and that if any priest were to be called its founder, it would be Fr. Bisig. The saintly Msgr. Lefebvre had nothing to do with it.

I do hope things begin to go better for the FSSP's Joliet apostolate and that they don't pull out. You should see how much life there is in, say, the FSSP's Sacramento apostolate! (Not that things are perfect in *any* trad chapel....)

Ravelston said...

Joliet diocese report, I can relate to what you say. Here in the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh the FSSP has worked since 2004 with Mass every Sunday but attendances remain low. There has never been a wedding or a baptism and only one First Communion (there is only one family with children) and there is no sense of community. On the other hand, the SSPX have a large city centre church with a flourishing congregation full of young people and families. There have been three baptism in the past two months. A non Catholic friend who lives near the church says the street is packed with cars during Sunday Mass. There are some in the FSSP congregation who, every so often, attend the SSPX church just to take in the "parish feel."

Joliet diocese report said...

I keep praying. God will hear our prayers eventually. There are other problems which I can not mention.

But God is good. Regardless of our different situations, let us remain strong in the faith by having recourse to our Lady through her rosary.

I just pray the SSPX will not compromise.

Peterman said...

Speaking of baptism. I recently emailed the closest SSPX chapel about the possibility of having my child baptised and I never got a response. That was disappointing because the local NO Church only does these very showy baptisms on the alter with all the inventiveness of the times.

At the NO Church they have a very old baptismal font in the Church which somehow escaped Vatican 2 architectual "reform" and when I asked about using that for the baptism they looked at me like I was from another planet. The church admin official said they only do baptisms on the alter in front of the mass and it was diocese policy.

Jae said...

What do the SSPX and protestants have in common? Private judgment, though I'm not saying the SSPX is a protestant group anyways, the protestants apply it to Scripture, the SSPX to Tradition. In both cases the interpretation of an individual or of a group is preferred to the interpretation of the Magisterium, because one is so sure of being right that the Magisterium just has to be wrong. The Magisterium is not above Scripture, nor is it above Tradition, but its authority to interpret both is superior and guided to that of any individual or group, no matter how erudite and devout they may be.

In fairness, I'll pick SSPX anytime of the day over the ultra liberals.

Jae said...

In a nutshell let's look at the two biggies SSPX (including the Sedes, Conclavists, old catholics etc) have accused the validly ratified Council of the Church -VII (present Magisterium) that has "contradicted" the past Magisterium:

1.) Religious Liberty - Dignitatis Humanae "vs" Quanta Cura by Pope Pius IX. Look at the objection SSPX made that they say are "contradictory" (as if Indefectibility of the Church has cease) : They say that "error has no rights" in open public forum and not an issue over toleration of non-Catholics in society.

But SSPX's understanding of “Rights”, with respect, would expect an inquisition – Man has no right at all to impose beliefs on someone – Impose meaning pressure people into believing or worse “convert by the sword” – Do we not remember the command by the Holy Savior to "Shake the dust off from our sandals” ? That implies plant the seed, if it isnt effective, MOVE ON, and let the Holy spirit do the work.

The very first line of DH:

"Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation, not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature."

Suggests this – Man, because of free will, has a right to be in error, because God made him that way (or her…) . that has been true since the dawn of time. It is why and what earned us a Savior , as the Exaltet goes "Oh Happy Fall , Oh Necessary sin of Adam, that brought to us such a Redeemer" .

Sin is a choice, just like belief is a choice. When you say a person does not have a right to believe...even if that right is complete heresy and error, you strip that person of the human dignity that God gave him – I think DH understands this better – God made us to choose to freely serve him… To listen or not. That is a something we are born with in our nature, and thus is a right.. Might not be what we want as believers..might not be what we like… but it is a right.

Yes man does not have a right to worship in another religion or live in error ....ONCE their conscience convicts them of the truth of Catholicism, but BEFORE this time they MUST seek and worship God in the ways that they believe he has revealed Himself. This is a simple yet necessary distinction we need to make. God demands that all men seek after Him, yet not all men know the complete truth of the Gospel. As such, on a natural level, He demands that they worship Him as best they can. The Roman officer named Cornelius as shown in the Bible is an excellent example of this...a devout pagan "who can fear the Lord" ouside judeo- christian religion.

We can say that Satan does not have the right to spread his error unless given by God to tempt and neither do humans. That is not the issue here. The issue here is, in the context of ignorance and his search for truth, does man have a right, based on the dignity of his person and not on the error he may profess, to search for that truth? Satan knows the truth but many non-catholics, pagans etc do not.

Continued:

Jae said...

Continuation:

2.) Ecumenism , Salvation Outside the Church etc.

SSPX always accused Vatican II as teaching religious syncretism or relativism but if you ask them to produce an iota of evidence from V2 that say ALL religion is equal, they can't. The Council of Vatican II didn't say that all religion is equal (which is the fuss?) None whatsoever. She did say rather that those who separated away from the Catholic Church did not separate fully, meaning they (Orthodox, protestants etc) retained in them some Truth though only in the Catholic Church where the fullness can be found.... good examples like the Word of God-Bible, Doctrines of Holy Truine God, The Divinity of Jesus Christ, Incarnation, Redemption etc.

In fact the Council of Trent teaches that the Eastern Orthodox Churches which is outside the boundaries of the Catholic Church have valid ordinations, Sacraments, geesh even the Holy Eucharist and they also have Saints that are recognized by Rome of pre-V2.

These are truth found in their religion that God would and could use to make Him known to them thereby "channel" (e.g. the Bronze serpent-Moses) his grace for their salvation even outside the clear boundaries of the Catholic Church. As the Magisterium wisely said, "God has bound salvation to the sacrament s, but he himself is not bound by His Sacraments. "

The God ordained Magisterium of His Church cannot and will not teach error because of His great promise that "the gates of hell shall not prevail" and His Spirit will "guide the Church into ALL Truth until the end of time".

"Where Peter is, there is the Church", St. Ambrose, 350 A.D.

Bartholomew said...

Jae,

Are you a "straw man" salesman? (Just kidding!)

Seriously, the subjects you raise regarding the SSPX have been discussed for 40 years. Let's just say that the ecclesiastical diagnosis is a bit more complex than what you articulate and FAR more nuanced.

At any rate, the post-conciliar interpretation and implementation of the Council by Church authority makes your observations rather beside the point.

Augustinus said...

"Another 30 years? It won't last that long. The novus ordo is evaporating into thin air. There are a few crowded parishes in most dioceses and then a bunch that don't take in enough to pay their bills."

If only it were that simple.

Throckmorton P. said...

Throckmorton P. said... "Certainly, we have long . . . heard many dissonances . . . - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into one-sidedness etc."

I am sorry; I misunderstood; I thought this statement was referring to liberals and modernist!
Jonvilas said...
Dear Throckmorton P., alas not one FSSPX member or associate used to demonstrate the similar "little sins". Thus, it would rather healthy to read some passages from Matthew...
Jonvilas,

Please forgive my slowness for I do not understand the relationship of my post with your comment.

While reading the quotes posted by Tom, from Victor I think, I thought the terms: pride, patronizing, know-it-all, one-sidedness was directed at the modernists. Later I realized my mistake and so sent my post.

From you reaction I gather you believe I was somehow attacking the Society. I was not. I rarely post on traditional forums; this is only my second or third post here, as I find some folks all too ready to attack the messenger.

I copy and paste the prior posts above for ease of review.

Knight of Malta said...

Jae, with all respect, your naiveté is only matched by your bellicosity!

But, also, with respect, you bring up some pertinent points, my fellow pilgrim on this spinning rock, which a lawyer friend of mine said, "no one leaves alive!" (Nice thought, that). But I think some of your points need addressing, vis-a-vis from the Traditionalist side.

You seem in good-faith, unlike the vast majority of FSSPX detractors, which compels me to respond to you.

I'll start by saying, I'm going to ignore your comparison of the SSPX to the old catholics--that's a belly-blow, and not nice. Look up their doctrines vs. the SSPX.

As to religious liberty. You have a complete misunderstanding--nay, miscomprehension--of what the SSPX actually believes on this. The Church has never "imposed" belief--ever!

What the SSPX actually believes is this: people practice whatever religion they will privately (and the state only intercedes where they violate law), but that doesn't give them the divine, state, or natural right to, say, practice WICCA. So, says SSPX, the State shouldn't grant privileges to, say, the Muslim Mosques in Catholic territory. Vice versa, Saudi Arabia believe, contrariwise, the exact same thing. But Popes for centuries have contested against religious liberty in the aforementioned sense. It is such a part of our praxis to believe in "religious liberty" that we can't imagine a 14th century praxis against it, but how is SSPX doctrinally wrong on the matter, if, for centuries the Church taught against it, and it is only in the last half century that liberal churchmen have taught against it?

I attend SSPX Chapels from time-to-time, and would consider myself one of their "benefactors", however I personally believe religious freedom has helped Catholics in Protestant America inasmuch as we were repressed with violence in this Country in the past based on religion.

But, if you are a Catholic to the core, philosophically, and ideally, the SSPX has a good argument if you start with the premise that there is only one True Faith on earth.

DH, and elsewhere in VII, says that one must never "coerce" one to become Catholic. LOL! Isn't that what Christ and His disciples did every day?!

If I say: "don't eat that cookie or it might end up making you fat", that is coercing, and, quite frankly mean. Christ over and over told folks to not do this or that, or it would send them to Gehenna. Now talk about "mean" and "coercive"!

I take my kids to mass every Sunday, and I love it when the Priest is "coercive" by saying Hell is a reality for those who sin; yet Vatican II teaches the opposite!

As to your second point, I will leave out certain arguments I would like to make knowing the blog-moderators knowledge of my opinion of EENS. But, I will ask you a question: why did the Council go out of its way to assert, say, the Muslim faith may offer a path to salvation at the exact time (the 1960's) when the world was on fire with liberal tendencies, to include relativism, syncretism and other isms? Did those documents from VII help Salvation History, or hurt it? If you answer the latter, think hard on that.

Peterman said...

Augustinus said...

"Another 30 years? It won't last that long. The novus ordo is evaporating into thin air. There are a few crowded parishes in most dioceses and then a bunch that don't take in enough to pay their bills."

If only it were that simple.

Well, society has changed and we could get into all sorts of debates about Vat2 as they usually have here and other places. The simple fact is Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Eucharist in the TLM are the answer. I think the Pope knows this which is why he has pushed this issue right past the multi layers of liberal bishops in the Vatican.