Rorate Caeli

Schmidberger: some "people in the Vatican" have attempted to derail reconciliation

From Thursday's edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung:


The district superior of Germany [of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX)], [Father Franz] Schmidberger, says to this newspaper that he knows that there are "people in the Vatican" that, against the will of the Pope, have thrown a wrench in the works. 

Yet, Schmidberger described the nomination of the American Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia last Tuesday as vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission as a "good sign". This commission operates under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is responsible for the dialogue with the SSPX. Schmidberger assumes that Di Noia will advance the case according to the will of the Pope. 

The Vatican spokesman Lombardi, however, told this newspaper that the Pope is indeed "in favour of reunion, but only under clear theological conditions". These conditions had not changed. The Dominican Di Noia was until recently secretary of the Congregation for the Sacraments. Thouvenot claims in his letter that circulates the internet that the pope approves of the version of the doctrinal preamble as presented by Bp. Fellay in April. 

(...) While the Pope had approved of Fellay's version, Cardinal Levada would have proposed a version to Bp. Fellay mid-June that was "rolled back a couple of months". Accepting this version is "clearly unacceptable", according to Thouvenot [in the leaked internal correspondence]. Fellay would have reported this to Levada immediately. 

(...) The Vatican demands from the Society the recognition of the doctrinal positions of the bishops and the Pope since Vatican II. This requirement retained in the (unpublished) "doctrinal preamble", which was formulated by the CDF last September as a fundament for a possible reconciliation. The Vatican has rejected the first two responses of the Traditionalists for being "insufficient". The Society does not want to profess religious freedom or ecumenism.

38 comments:

beng said...

Disobedience within the Curia.

Who's really in charge?

Floreat said...

The Vatican demands from the Society the recognition of the doctrinal positions of the bishops and the Pope since Vatican II.

Since Vatican II....presumably not including Vatican II, as (a) Vatican II was a pastoral council and (b) the use of the word "since" doesn't necessary imply inclusion?

Equally, one may recognise that a particular bishop, or group of bishops, holds a certain interpretation of individual doctrines, without necessarily agreeing with that interpretation.

Romanita.....I've given up hope of ever understanding it.

McCall1981 said...

Someone please correrct me if I'm wrong, but the problem was that Cardinal Levada presented a version of the preamble that was "rolled back a few months". Now, Di Noia is in to present the newer version that both sides have (essentially) agreed on. So it seems like there is a very reasonable path to an agreement now.

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

Now would be a good time for prayer, rather than blogging. I have no idea--none whatever--if the Pope will do something this week-end. but Bishop Fellay's recent words at least suggest this as a possibility.

If recognition that they are Catholics be not given over this week-end and published next week, there will follow a new round of talks even for this status, this time with ++Di Noia; otherwise, talks with Di Noia on theological principles and criteria will follow immediately.

We are permitted to hope; we are allowed to pray. Today is the Feastday of SS. Peter and Paul. Let's put this matter the hands of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, and SS. Peter & Paul.

P.K.T.P.

Martyjo said...

When the Pope brought Archbishop Di Noia in at such a late stage in proceedings, he did so because he knew that cerain high Curial members had thrown a spanner in the works to halt this reconciliation. My fear is that the appointment of Archbishop Di Noia is too little too late.

I am reminded here of the words of Professor Georg May of Guttenburg University, a renowned Canonist and priest of good standing in the Church these past 45 years, who stated quite clearly: "It is not the SSPX that refuses communion with the Bishops, but rather the Bishops who refuse communion with the SSPX." I think the failure of yet another round of negotiations with the CDF proves that to be absolutely true. My one hope now is that the Pope will intervene directly. If he doesn't, then it will be business as usual for the SSPX and the Vatican will return to issuing the usual nonsense about "schism" and "schismatics" while the institutions of the Church continue to go down the toilet!!

John McFarland said...

I'd be a little careful of taking the FAZ's version of what Fr. Schmidberger said as gospel. Nobody else in the SSPX --including Bishop Fellay earlier today in Econe -- seems to be saying anything remotely like this. Recall the infamous CNA interview with Bishop Fellay. Tarting up the facts is a journalist reflex; half the time they don't even realize they're doing it.

Notice also that the leaked letter to the SSPX chapter members only said that several sources agreed that the Holy Father seemed satisfied with +Fellay's most response.

I continue to think that the notion that Cardinal Levada (if you will) "underruled" the Holy Father implausible; but the conciliar Vatican being the conciliar Vatican, we certainly can't rule it out. But Archbishop Di Noia's now riding to the rescue doesn't fit very well into the Levada coup d'etat hypothesis. If the Pope can't get his way with Cardinal Levada, how can the Archbishop?

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

Martyjo and Mr. McFarland:

What you say seems to me to be plausible and correct. But it is being said that Levada will soon be gone. The question then, is Who will replace him, so as to work with ++Di Noia on this? If Müller gets the job, we must really wonder what on earth is going on in Rome these days. If it's someone else, that's another matter. Cardinal Levada is supposed to retire, according to these brainless talking heads in the press "by the end of June". That's tomorrow.

P.K.T.P.

Ecclesia Militans said...

It's really quite simple.
Either the Pope will grant freedom from the bishops and from accepting the novelties of Vatican II, in which case +Fellay will accept,
or he will not grant it, in which case the SSPX will refuse, as they always have refused to compromise on matters of the Faith.

The path of the SSPX will be decided in the General Chapter. Pray that God's will be done.

Floreat said...

According to Andrea Tornielli, Levada should be on his way back to the US and retired as of the end of June, with his successor not expected to be in place for another couple of months........which would leave Abp di Noia as negotiator, with relative freedom of manoeuvre.

Could the delay simply be to allow Levada to leave the field and for Bp Fellay to take care of some pressing housekeeping issues....allowing a more constructive dialogue to emerge?

The Romish Papist said...

I keep hearing references to the new VP of ED taking charge of the talks/preamble wording but is that in fact official? I hope, of course, it's true, but comments on these blog posts are the only place I've heard it. Where can I read this?

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

I agree with Mr. McFarland that it's implausible that Cardinal Levada somehow overruled the Pope, a Pope who was, by the way, his old mentor in academe. One possibility, suggested by the Vatican communiqué, is that the Pope does indeed to recognise them gratis but then proceed with firm demands on doctrine in exchange for canonical regularisation. I don't know but it's one possibility.

P.K.T.P.

William said...

"I'd be a little careful of taking the FAZ's version of what Fr. Schmidberger said as gospel. Nobody else in the SSPX --including Bishop Fellay earlier today in Econe -- seems to be saying anything remotely like this. Recall the infamous CNA interview with Bishop Fellay."

Things are out of control in Rome. Now, we shouldn't pay attention to a top SSPX official?
Wow!

prop-m said...

Amidst all the speculation, has anyone considered the possibility that this rolling back of the preamble is not a nefarious plot hatched by liberals to derail the reconciliation, but instead a manouevre intended to allow Bishop Fellay to save face with his own, in response to evident rebellion in his ranks?

Fellay gets to go back home and look like the man who refuses to compromise, proving his detractors wrong. Levada, who I doubt is invested enough in all of this to put any effort into trying to derail it, would have no problem playing the "villain" in Rome, preserving the image of the benevolent pope whose will is allegedly being thwarted. Once the rebellion in the SSPX settles down, perhaps with significant figures severely disciplined or ousted, Rome can change the preamble back, Fellay can take the credit, and the reunion may proceed as smoothly as one could hope for.

Hilltop said...

Is it possible that Laveda was brought to Rome for the dual purposes of emptying the San Francisco chair and of keeping him under closer observation / shorter leash?
I do not imagine it impossible that Laveda disobeyed / did not completely obey the Pope in mid June.. If so, and +Fellay's ready response to him was "thanks but no thanks", then the ball is no longer in +Fellay's court, but in Rome's. So His Holiness switches players, enter ++DiNoia, exit Laveda.
If Laveda is to depart for the US soon, ++ DiNoia, in the not-recently-filled position of VP, trumps Secretery Pozzo. In an interview the Dominican indicated he was stunned by the move and took very encouraging tones vis-a-vis the new assignment and the SSPX.
It may very well be that prompt action is to be expected. It would be well to have things fully resolved with Rme prior to June 14 so that the SSPX may use their time in Econe to address looming internal challenges....

John McFarland said...

Dear PKTP,

That the Holy Father still (or again) wants some sort of acceptance of V2 seems far and away the most likely answer. The discussions and their aftermath have been going on for quite a while now. +Fellay says that the Vatican now knows where the Society stands. He also has in effect said that what was presented to him in his chat with Cardinal Levada is not acceptable. So whatever hope there was of no-strings regularization would seem to be dead and gone. When +F sends them the official bad news, either they will use it as grounds for breaking off discussion, or call for a further round of talk and/or draft-swapping. My chips are on the latter. The SSPX will neither surrender nor break off, and the Vatican will look bad if it breaks off. So, I prophesy, the jawboning will go on.

I would also note that ++Di Noia certainly didn't act like a new broom in his CNS interview. It was the same "conservative" sure-you-can-take-issue-with-some-of-Vatican II bromides. Since ++Di N is not dumb, he knows quite well that the Society is not impressed by that line of chatter. So it would seem that he, too, is standing pat.

Lamentably Sane said...

Prop-m,
I have been thinking the same thing. It would be incredibly clever to have hatched such a plan. You mean that the new dossier Bishop Fellay took back with him on 14 June was deliberately prepared by both sides in advance as a deal-breaker. Fellay then neuters any opposition at the General Council meeting, but after that things get back on track again. It's truly ingenious, but but the only thing holding me back from believing it is that it would require an extraordinary level of mutual trust and coordination between the Vatican and the SSPX to pull it off.... a level of trust and coordination that is really difficult to imagine.

OutsideObserver said...

"You mean that the new dossier Bishop Fellay took back with him on 14 June was deliberately prepared by both sides in advance as a deal-breaker. Fellay then neuters any opposition at the General Council meeting, but after that things get back on track again. It's truly ingenious, but but the only thing holding me back from believing it is that it would require an extraordinary level of mutual trust and coordination between the Vatican and the SSPX to pull it off."

Not only would it require an extraordinary level of mutual trust between the Vatican and the SSPX, it would also require from both of them an extraordinary appetite for deceiving the world at large.

johnny said...

What a circus in Rome...:(

OutsideObserver said...

"Is it possible that Laveda was brought to Rome for the dual purposes of emptying the San Francisco chair and of keeping him under closer observation / shorter leash?"

And then SF got Levada's best friend, Niederauer.

No, this story doesn't have a shred of credibility to it.

Peterman said...

"Some people in the Vatican" have been attempting to derail the Church for about the last 60 plus years. Their party is rapidly drawing to close and I wonder how many of them realize that fact.

Matt said...

beng said, "Who's really in charge?"

Well, despite everyone's polyana, evidently it's not the Holy Father. At the same time, this is what is perplexing. If this upset was initiated by Levada, hasn't the Holy Father heard about it by now, and wouldn't he have done something about it already? The next question, is it Levada, or is he the fall-guy?



McCall1981 said, "Di Noia is in to present the newer version that both sides have (essentially) agreed on. So it seems like there is a very reasonable path to an agreement now."

We don't know for sure. We can only hope, but as this nonsense has played it self out over the past couple of months, we can't be sure of anything. Everything which has transpired over the years is so counter-intuitive and against any semblance of reality.

P.K.T.P. said, "Now would be a good time for prayer, rather than blogging."

Do as you say, not as you do?

Martyjo said, "'It is not the SSPX that refuses communion with the Bishops, but rather the Bishops who refuse communion with the SSPX.'"

That's a great way to put it.

"I think the failure of yet another round of negotiations with the CDF proves this to be absolutely true. My one hope now is that the Pope will intervene directly. If he doesn't, then it will be business as usual for the SSPX and the Vatican will return to issuing the usual nonsense about 'schism' and 'schismatics' while the institutions of the Church continue to go down the toilet!!"


This goes back to my premise above. If the Holy Father really wants this reunion, then friggin' make it happen! Does he, or does he not want this reunion? Why all the beating around the bush, endless outlining of this and that and passing it back and forth? If this reunion fails, above it all, I will blame the Holy Father. Either he has power of Peter or he doesn't. Either he controls the Church or he doesn't. Ultimately even the Pope runs out of excuses why not.


John McFarland said, "I'd be a little careful of taking the FAZ's version of what Fr. Schmidberger said as gospel. "


Don't worry. We're not, but this puts in print what many of us have been asserting all along. We knew there were rats in the Curia.

Notice also that the leaked letter to the SSPX chapter members only said that several sources agreed that the Holy Father seemed satisfied with +Fellay's most response.

"If the Pope can't get his way with Cardinal Levada, how can the Archbishop?"

By DiNoia telling Levada the Holy Father wants X Y Z. We both work for the Holy Father and Pope trumps Cardinal. Job done.

Matt said...

Floreat said, "According to Andrea Tornielli, Levada should be on his way back to the US and retired as of the end of June, with his successor not expected to be in place for another couple of months... which would leave Abp di Noia as negotiator, with relative freedom of manoeuvre.

Could the delay simply be to allow Levada to leave the field and for Bp Fellay to take care of some pressing housekeeping issues... allowing a more constructive dialogue to emerge?
"



Sounds good but it doesn't follow. While what you described could very well have been an administrative chess game on the Holy Father's part, it makes +Fellay the stooge. Why would such a dastardly thing like throwing that old, already rewritten clause in +Fellay's face just for the sake of delay, just so the Holy Father could do a work-around Levada but leaving +Fellay kicked and winded? To that, it was already said by them there was no more to dialogue about.

Andreae said...

Could it be by this time, Cardinal Levada is laughing his heart out on his flight from Rome to LAX?

Perhaps by tomorrow, he will confer with his chums (Cardinal Mahoney and Abp. Niederauer) over dinner and they will be laughing into the night fully knowing how their clique underhanded the will of the Pope for reconciliation with the SSPX.

Archbishop DiNoia, please come to the rescue!

McCall said...

Why is their party rapidly drawing to close? What do you mean?

sam said...

The Catholic Church has gone through three stages with VII:

1) Start of VII Council: try to present Dogma and Tradition in a modernist way that preserves the essentials.
2) After the VII Council: The Spirit of VII (aka Modernism) takes over, and dogmatic pronouncements are forbidden and Tradition is suppressed.
3) Pope JPII and Benedict XVI: try to present the Spirit of VII in a traditional way that preserves the essentials and promotes ecumenism between modernist and traditional Catholics.

So it looks like the SSPX will need to accept Stage (3), if they want to be regularised by the Pope.

Gratias said...

Disobedience within the SSPX and disobedience within the Curia. It does not matter, Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ and is to be obeyed. Those that will not follow the Holy Father's call for help will be left outside of the Apostolic Church. A huge immediate opportunity would be lost but in the longer term the FSSP, ICR, IBP, and especially new Summorum Pontifical masses in the dioceses will fill the void and restore the Traditional Mass from within.

Gratias said...

The Year of Faith will start in October, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of VC2. Our Holy Father was most likely seeking a new interpretation of the documents according to what they actually say, not what the Freemasons discussed with the press at the time or ruled in comittee in the next few years. (VC2 must have been a nest of vipers like ObamaCare is today). Part of that plan was to have critics of the discontinuity with tradition from inside the Church. In the SSPX holds out, they remain on the outside and will not contribute to the discussion.

Benedict is an intellectual and a teaching Pope. He will never give his own interpretation of the Council that divides us. He seeks to convince people to use their own reason, but will not give strict directives. Benedict has given a lot already: lifting excommunications, SP and UE. Now is the time to dance with the one that brought you to the ball, and for gratitude to the Holy Father.

Allenby said...

"Part of what we're saying is that when you read the documents (of Vatican II), you can't read them from the point of view of some liberal bishops who may have been participants (at the council); you have to read them at face value. Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition." - Archbishop Di Noia.

This is a most profound and perceptive comment, and it is the key.

Martyjo said...

Gratias said...
Disobedience within the SSPX and disobedience within the Curia. It does not matter, Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ and is to be obeyed. Those that will not follow the Holy Father's call for help will be left outside of the Apostolic Church. A huge immediate opportunity would be lost but in the longer term the FSSP, ICR, IBP, and especially new Summorum Pontifical masses in the dioceses will fill the void and restore the Traditional Mass from within.


The one crucial difference between the SSPX and the organisations you mention is that the SSPX fights to defend both Mass and doctrine. It rejects the New Mass as dangerous to souls and it rejects doctrines such as ecumenism, religious liberty, etc., because they contradict Church teaching. The SSPX is not content with just the Mass when the entire Faith is at risk.

The liberals are not threatened by internal institutions that want only the old Mass and are happy to say nothing public about the real cause of the decline of the Catholic Faith. These can easily be neutralised in time by the Bishops, or at least prevented from making too much progress. No, it's the SSPX they fear and that's why they hammer it at every opportunity. A Personal Prelature would take matters out of their hands and allow Sacred Tradition to start spreading unhindered.

If the organisations you speak of were to unite with the SSPX, then that would be some force to be reckoned with. It's a possibility and it terrifies them.

poeta said...

"Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition." - Archbishop Di Noia.

This would be true, if the documents were an exercise of the Extraordinary Magisterium.

MJ said...

While a reunion is necessary for the members of the SSPX themselves, what impact can we really expect it to have on the Church at large? The Tridentine Mass isn't widespread, and even if all requests were granted, the EF still wouldn't be popular enough for the average Catholic to know it even existed. We can't expect a change in the Catholic liturgy until the hierarchy and our churches are made up primarily of traditionalists (as opposed to, "conservative," "reform of the reform" or "JPII Catholics"), and there's no indication that's ever going to happen, even with a reunion. The vast majority of serious Catholics in the modern world are moving towards magisterialism and not traditionalism. They don't see any substantial difference between a fancy Novus Ordo and an EF Mass.

Tom said...

"Amidst all the speculation, has anyone considered the possibility that this rolling back of the preamble is not a nefarious plot hatched by liberals to derail the reconciliation, but instead a manouevre intended to allow Bishop Fellay to save face with his own, in response to evident rebellion in his ranks?"

Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay don't have anything better to do than to toy with the hopes, hearts and emotions of millions of interested and sincere Catholics who pray for peace between Rome and the Society?

Nonsense.

Tom

Allenby said...

The Holy Spirit's guidance should not be narrowed in the way poeta narrows it.

Allenby said...

The documents of Vatican II ARE in continuity with tradition if interpreted correctly, as Di Noia says. The mininterpreters have had their way too long.

The Most Precious Blood's beggar said...

It would be an undeniable asset manifesting prudential discretion if words to newspapers would be preceded by OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASES from such exhalted superiors.

Precedent has shown that not all words are properly quoted. Every communication/quotation has an interpretational aspect/potential to twist by the author compiling and editing an article.

With prayerful silence, let us implore the Holy Spirit to illumine, direct and strengthen the superiors of the SSPX to absolute solidarity with the Will of the Holy Trinity - despite all difficulties!

We yearn now for the specific graces that will be bestowed on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood for St. Paul reminds us: "How much more shall the Blood of Christ, Who by the Holy Ghost offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14

Gregorian Mass said...

To many people who are not following the situation closely but have "heard" about the SSPX and have a vague idea about the issues surrounding their relationship with Rome, it would appear the Pope is not in control of the Church at all and that it is a democratic process where everyone in the Church hierarchy can take part in this decision. If the Pope wants and desires in regards to the SSPX are indeed being overruled this is terrible for the Papacy and image of the Pope for ordinary Catholics. A very bad omen if the Pope can no longer do as he must or wishes. I will continue to pray the Pope takes control of this once and for all trusting few around him and just does as he feels. No Levada, DiNoia, nobody. Just our Holy Father as leader of a fractured Church in need of healing. If he can not heal this because someone is changing his wording in some Preamble it is very bad. It would come to symbolize that the Pope has lost effective contol of the running of the Church. And for the people who interfere with his will, they are doing so much damage to the office of the Pope and the Church which they are supposed to love and obey. Very serious indeed.

Bill said...

MJ said...
While a reunion is necessary for the members of the SSPX themselves, what impact can we really expect it to have on the Church at large? . . . We can't expect a change in the Catholic liturgy until the hierarchy and our churches are made up primarily of traditionalists (as opposed to, "conservative," "reform of the reform" or "JPII Catholics")

The path back is for traditionalists to take over the priesthood and the episcopacy, just as you say. For this to happen, there have to be traditionalists who respond to a vocation to the priesthood, seminaries for them to go to, and a path upwards from the priesthood to the episcopacy, the cardinalate, and eventually the See of Peter.

The SSPX could help with all three. To get the vocations, it will help to have traditionalist parishes for families to go to, so that their sons can be inspired by the Mass, the priest, and by traditional parish life. The SSPX seminaries can be depended upon not to turn away orthodox prospective priests specifically because those men are orthodox. Finally, a regularized SSPX holds out at least the possibility of traditionalist diocesan and curial bishops.

This will take a long time, but given the depth and breadth of the crisis, how is anything else possible, humanly? And, without a regularized SSPX, it seems likely to take a lot longer.

Matt said...

Hilltop said, "Is it possible that Laveda was brought to Rome for the dual purposes of emptying the San Francisco chair and of keeping him under closer observation/shorter leash?"

Curious, but maybe not really. Regime-change in San Francisco, okay, but the replacement didn't turn out to be any greater shakes than Levada. As far as a shoter leash, why put him in something so critical as the CDF? If the Holy Father wanted to leash him, he could have put him in charge of the Pontifical Council For Righteous Garbage Collection or any one of the myriad necessary committees they just got to have.

See, Rome is liberal. What do liberals do but grow government. What has happened since Vatican II, Rome has grown the Curia.

"I do not imagine it impossible that Laveda disobeyed/did not completely obey the Pope in mid June... If so, and +Fellay's ready response to him was "thanks but no thanks," then the ball is no longer in +Fellay's court, but in Rome's. So His Holiness switches players, enter ++DiNoia, exit Laveda. "

No, Levada was on the short list to go anyway. There are two scenarios to what you decribed above. One, since Levada was on his way out, it was just one last middle finger to the SSPX; or, two, if Levada was so close to the Holy Father, Levada may have taken that as notion of impunity. When one is that close to another, the idea of taking advantage of the circumstances comes easily.

"If Laveda is to depart for the US soon," Ew. Lucky us. "++ DiNoia, in the not-recently-filled position of VP, trumps Secretery Pozzo. In an interview the Dominican indicated he was stunned by the move and took very encouraging tones vis-a-vis the new assignment and the SSPX."

Stunned? Could it also mean, "Gee, what the heck did I do?"

"It may very well be prompt action is to be expected. It would be well to have things fully resolved with Rome prior to [July] 14 so that the SSPX may use their time in Econe to address looming internal challenges..."

We can only hope, but from the melancholy coming from the SSPX, it doesn't seem quite like that's what's happening?