Rorate Caeli

Rome-SSPX: Declaration of the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X sent to the Holy See

As announced in the press communiqué of the Society of St. Pius X’s General House on July 14, 2012, the members of the General Chapter sent a common statement to Rome. It has been published today.

During the interview published at DICI on July 16, Bishop Bernard Fellay stated that this document was “the occasion to specify the (SSPX’s) road map insisting upon the conservation of the Society’s identity, the only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom”. “For,” he said, “doctrinal mutism is not the answer to this “silent apostasy”, which even John Paul II denounced already in 2003.”

At the conclusion of the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X, gathered at the tomb of its revered founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and united with its Superior General, we, the participants, bishops, superiors and elders of this Society, wish to send up to heaven our most fervent thanks for the forty-two years of such marvelous divine protection of our work in the midst of a Church in crisis and of a world that strays farther each day from God and His law.  

We express our profound gratitude to all the members of this Society, priests, brothers, sisters, tertiaries, the affiliated religious communities as well as the dear faithful for their daily devotion and their fervent prayers on the occasion of this Chapter, which was a time of frank exchanges and very productive work.  All the sacrifices, all the troubles generously accepted have certainly contributed toward overcoming the difficulties that the Society has met with in recent months.  We have regained our profound union in its essential mission:  to keep and defend the Catholic faith, to form good priests and to work for the restoration of Christendom.  We have defined and approved the conditions necessary for a possible canonical normalization.  It has been established that, in that case, an extraordinary deliberative chapter would be convoked beforehand.  But let us never forget that the sanctification of souls always starts with ourselves.  It is the work of a faith enlivened and working by charity, as Saint Paul says:  “For we can do nothing against the truth, but [only] for the truth” (2 Cor 13:8), and again, “Christ loved the Church and delivered Himself up for it … that it should be holy and without blemish” (cf. Eph 5:25 f.).  

The Chapter deems that the Society’s first duty in the service that it means to render to the Church is to continue, with God’s help, to profess the Catholic faith in all its purity and integrity, with a determination proportionate to the attacks which this same faith unceasingly undergoes today.  

This is why its seems to us opportune to reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the only Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation and no possibility of finding the means that lead to it;  in its monarchical constitution, willed by Our Lord, which means that the supreme power of governance over the whole Church belongs to the pope alone, the Vicar of Christ on earth;  in the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of the natural and supernatural order, to whom every human being and all society must submit.  

As for all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council that remain tainted with errors, and as for the reforms that have resulted from them, the Society can only continue to abide by the statements and teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church;  it finds its guide in this uninterrupted Magisterium which, by its act of teaching, transmits the revealed deposit in perfect harmony with all that the whole Church has always believed, in every place.  

Likewise the Society finds it guide in the constant Tradition of the Church which transmits and will transmit until the end of time the totality of the teachings necessary for the preservation of the faith and for salvation, while expecting that an open, serious debate aimed at a return of the ecclesiastical authorities to Tradition might become possible.  

We join with the persecuted Christians in the various countries of the world who are suffering for the Catholic faith, very often to the point of martyrdom.  Their blood spilled in union with the Victim on our altars is the pledge of the renewal of the Church in capite et membris, according to the old maxim, “sanguis martyrum semen christianorum”.  

“Finally we turn to the Virgin Mary:  she too is filled with zeal for the privileges of her Divine Son, zeal for His glory, for His Reign on earth as in Heaven.  How many times she has intervened for the defense, even armed defense, of Christendom against the enemies of Our Lord’s reign!  We beg her to intervene today to drive away the internal enemies who are trying to destroy the Church more radically than the external enemies.  May she deign to keep in integrity of the faith, in their love of the Church, in their devotion to the successor of Peter, all the members of the Society of Saint Pius X and all the priests and faithful who work with these same sentiments, so that she may guard and preserve us both from schism and from heresy.  

“May Saint Michael the Archangel impart to us his zeal for the glory of God and his strength to fight the devil.  

“May Saint Pius X give us a share of his wisdom, his knowledge, and his sanctity to distinguish truth from falsehood and good from evil, in these times of confusion and lies.”  (Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, Albano, October 19, 1983).

Ecône, July 14, 2012
[Declaration of the Holy See Press Office] 
__________________________________________
[Version originale en langue française:]

Comme l’annonçait le communiqué de la Maison générale de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X, du 14 juillet 2012, les membres du Chapitre général ont adressé à Rome une déclaration commune. Elle est rendue publique aujourd’hui. Lors de l’entretien paru dans DICI, le 16 juillet, Mgr Bernard Fellay, indiquait que ce document était «l’occasion de préciser la feuille de route (de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X) en insistant sur la conservation de (son) identité, seul moyen efficace pour aider l’Eglise à restaurer la Chrétienté ». « Car, ajoutait-il, le mutisme doctrinal n’est pas la réponse à cette ‘apostasie silencieuse’ que même Jean-Paul II constatait, en 2003.»

A la fin du Chapitre général de la Fraternité Sacerdotale Saint-Pie X, réunis auprès du tombeau de son fondateur vénéré Mgr Marcel Lefebvre, et unis à son Supérieur général, nous les participants, évêques, supérieurs et anciens de cette Fraternité, tenons à faire monter vers le ciel nos actions de grâce les plus vives pour les quarante-deux ans de protection divine si merveilleuse sur notre œuvre au milieu d’une Eglise en pleine crise et d’un monde qui s’éloigne de jour en jour de Dieu et de sa loi.

Nous exprimons notre profonde gratitude à tous les membres de cette Fraternité, prêtres, frères, sœurs, tertiaires, aux communautés religieuses amies ainsi qu’aux chers fidèles pour leur dévouement quotidien et leurs ferventes prières à l’occasion de ce Chapitre qui a connu des échanges francs et un travail très fructueux. Tous les sacrifices, toutes les peines acceptées avec générosité ont certainement contribué à surmonter les difficultés que la Fraternité a rencontrées ces derniers temps. Nous avons retrouvé notre union profonde en sa mission essentielle : garder et défendre la foi catholique, former de bons prêtres et œuvrer à la restauration de la chrétienté. Nous avons défini et approuvé des conditions nécessaires pour une éventuelle normalisation canonique. Il a été établi que, dans ce cas, un chapitre extraordinaire délibératif serait convoqué auparavant. Mais n’oublions jamais que la sanctification des âmes commence toujours en nous-mêmes. Elle est l’œuvre d’une foi vivifiée et opérante par la charité selon la parole de Saint Paul : «Car nous n’avons pas de puissance contre la vérité ; nous n’en avons que pour la vérité» (II Cor., XIII, 8) et encore : «Le Christ a aimé l’Eglise et s’est livré lui-même pour elle… afin qu’elle soit sainte et immaculée» (cf. Eph. V, 25 s.).

Le Chapitre estime que le premier devoir de la Fraternité dans le service qu’elle entend rendre à l’Eglise est celui de continuer, avec l’aide de Dieu, à professer la foi catholique dans toute sa pureté et intégrité, avec une détermination proportionnée aux attaques que cette même foi ne cesse de subir aujourd’hui.

C’est pourquoi il nous semble opportun de réaffirmer notre foi dans l’Eglise catholique et romaine, seule Eglise fondée par Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, en dehors de laquelle il n’y a pas de salut ni de possibilité de trouver les moyens qui y mènent ; dans sa constitution monarchique, voulue par Notre Seigneur, qui fait que le pouvoir suprême de gouvernement sur toute l’Eglise revient au pape seul, vicaire du Christ sur terre ; dans la royauté universelle de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, créateur de l’ordre naturel et surnaturel, auquel tout homme et toute société doit se soumettre.

Pour toutes les nouveautés du Concile Vatican II qui restent entachées d’erreurs et pour les réformes qui en sont issues, la Fraternité ne peut que continuer à s’en tenir aux affirmations et enseignements du Magistère constant de l’Eglise; elle trouve son guide dans ce Magistère ininterrompu qui, par son acte d’enseignement, transmet le dépôt révélé en parfaite harmonie avec tout ce que l’Eglise entière a toujours cru, en tout lieu.

Egalement la Fraternité trouve son guide dans la Tradition constante de l’Eglise qui transmet et transmettra jusqu’à la fin des temps l’ensemble des enseignements nécessaires au maintien de la foi et au salut, en attendant qu’un débat ouvert et sérieux, visant à un retour des autorités ecclésiastiques à la Tradition, soit rendu possible.

Nous nous unissons aux autres chrétiens persécutés dans les différents pays du monde qui souffrent pour la foi catholique, et très souvent jusqu’au martyre. Leur sang versé en union avec la Victime de nos autels est le gage du renouveau de l’Eglise in capite et membris, selon ce vieil adage «sanguis martyrum semen christianorum».

«Enfin nous nous tournons vers la Vierge Marie, elle aussi jalouse des privilèges de son divin Fils, jalouse de sa gloire, de son Règne sur la terre comme au Ciel. Combien de fois elle est intervenue pour la défense, même armée, de la Chrétienté contre les ennemis du règne de Notre Seigneur! Nous la supplions d’intervenir aujourd’hui pour chasser les ennemis de l’intérieur qui tentent de détruire l’Eglise plus radicalement que les ennemis de l’extérieur. Qu’elle daigne garder dans l’intégrité de la foi, dans l’amour de l’Eglise, dans la dévotion au successeur de Pierre, tous les membres de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X et tous les prêtres et fidèles qui œuvrent dans les mêmes sentiments, afin qu’elle nous garde et nous préserve tant du schisme que de l’hérésie.

«Que saint Michel archange nous communique son zèle pour la gloire de Dieu et sa force pour combattre le démon.

«Que saint Pie X nous fasse part de sa sagesse, de sa science et de sa sainteté pour discerner le vrai du faux et le bien du mal, dans ces temps de confusion et de mensonge.» (Mgr Marcel Lefebvre, Albano, 19 octobre 1983).

Ecône, le 14 juillet 2012
[Source: English / French]

100 comments:

Big Daddy said...

Well written. Probably not going to sit well with the Modernists in the Church, though.

David Joyce said...

Big Daddy,

I don't think it has any intention to sit well with the modernists!

This appears to be the key point:

"We have decided that, in that case, an extraordinary Chapter with deliberative vote will be convened beforehand."

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Whatever one may think of the traditionalist movement in the Church, it is an eye-opening experience to compare the clarity and forthrightness of this declaration with the "mission statement" of almost any American Catholic university. With no exaggeration, it is obvious that we are now talking about two wholly different religions.

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

Excuse me but, ahem, where is the 'roadmap' Bishop Fellay mentioned recently? Is that coming in a separate document?

P.K.T.P.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

P.K.T.P., I think the "road map" is simply the clarification that any agreement will be voted on by the entire Society. That does constitute a new direction, though it is not the "slap-down" of Bishop Fellay that many will declare it to be.

OutsideObserver said...

"The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of times the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities"

Does this now mean that the SSPX will await first the 'conversion' of the ecclesiastical authorities to Tradition?

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Outside Observer, given that the Motu Proprio has had so little effect, and has not even been enforced by the Pope who issued it, the quoted paragraph is just a frank realization of the lack of sincerity in the negotiation process.

Matt said...

"The Society finds its guide as well in the constant Tradition of the Church, which transmits and will transmit until the end of times the teachings required to preserve the Faith and the salvation of souls, while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities."

Was this sentence the reply to Rome, a very polite "No Thanks?" Granted this release was a summary of the Chapter, but wasn't there supposed to be an answer to Rome regarding the reunion, perhaps coming in another form?

It was a very beautiful and heart-felt letter, one which we all can appreciate, at the same time, where do we go from here?

(Totally OT, but the capcha for proving we're not a robot was... vacante. I have the screen cap of it. A hidden meaning? Weird.)

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Matt, I too was wondering about a direct response to the Holy Father. I think there must be some sort of letter forthcoming from Bishop Fellay.

Andrew said...

"The only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom”.

The ONLY means...give me a break! With this type of thinking the SSPX is doomed to become a small sect that will decrease in both influence and relevance. Sad. They have really painted themselves into a corner.

Matt said...

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said, "Outside Observer, given that the Motu Proprio has had so little effect, and has not even been enforced by the Pope who issued it, the quoted paragraph is just a frank realization of the lack of sincerity in the negotiation process."

This is very true and completely disheartening, and yet you will find people who will just be scandalized by that statement.

Barbara said...

No, I don't think so Outside Observer.

"When an open serious debate will be possible." Bishop Fellay is too smart to think that ALL will convert to Traditional Catholicisn at this stage.

It is indeed refreshing to read such "Catholic" clarity!

Bernonensis said...

It is not true that outside the Church there is no possibility of finding the means to salvation. If it were, it would be impossible for anyone to convert to Catholicism.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

The declaration is opaque enough to allow the SSPX/Rome negotiations to continue and in the meantime to provide some cover against charges of a sellout.

The statements on the monarchical constitution of the Church take up the theme Bp. Fellay sounded in his letter of response to the three bishops, while the declaration's statements on Vatican II seem to have been formulated to allow eventually for a "positive" (pro-accord) spin.

So, the opera will continue, even though it may be awhile before the fat lady finally sings.

Big Daddy said...

David Joyce, you wrote:
"I don't think it has any intention to sit well with the modernists!"

Oh, I get that.

You know, one thing that these talks between the Society and the Vatican have done is given the Society a platform to publically announce traditional Catholic doctrine. For example, when is the last time the Church has said something, clearly and unambiguously, like this:

"...the Roman Catholic Church, the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to find the means leading to salvation..."

Or this:

"... the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth..."

Or this:

"... the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both the natural and the supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit..."

Statements like that do a few things:

(1) Re-state traditional Catholic doctrine; and

(2) Kick religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality squarely in the crotch.

And, this statement is, implicitly, a declaration of allegiance to the Pope. (At least, that's how I see it.)

Not to mention the fact that, now that these things have been stated again on the world's stage, the Vatican might very well consider itself forced to address them.

Long-Skirts said...

The "road map" is very clear. They are laying out what they have been and always always will be, Roman Catholics preserving the Whole Faith and hopefully our Pope will accept that and regularize.

We are no longer used to such a clear statement of Faith and are looking for what they "really" mean as we have to when we read the statements by so many of our Clergy today.

Wait & pray that our Holy Father will accept clear, humble and very Catholic Truths. "I believe in God..."

John Kearney said...

What is all this talk about the MOto Proprio having little effect? If I wanted to go to a Latin Mass thee is one available not so far away from me. And many young priests are learning the Latin Mass but can only say it on the approval of their bishops, which is rare. The Moto Proprio was to help those who could not reconcile 50 - 58 of Sacrosanctum Concilium with the Mass introduced by Pope Paul VI. If any reader car reconcile this do let me know. The truth is that there are people who are not `stuck in the past`, but who lovely beautiful music and Gregorian Chant and who attend a Mass they love. The opposition to them is simply religious bigotry. The people of my generation were cowed into silence and obedience but a debate will take place when we have people who care, like SSPX back in the Church.

Albus said...

"The only efficacious means to help the Church to restore Christendom”

Andrew...I didn't interpret it as you have.

I think it implies, rather: "The only efficacious means for the SSPX to help the Church to restore Christendom". In other words, in order to help the Church restore Christendom, the SSPX must conserve its own identity.

It's not to say that the SSPX alone can save the Church. In fact, has not the SSPX emphatically insisted that the SSPX will not save the Church?

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

Dear Fr. Cekada:

What surprises me is that there is no attempt here to stake a position on the true nature of Tradition as a interpretative tool. I refer to Modernists' 'discovery' that Tradition is a 'living Tradition' so made that it includes Vatican II teachings implicit in previous teachings, and so applied that the circumstances of an age affect the nature of divine doctrines.

So the Society bounces this back to Rome as this ageing Pope declines.

P.K.T.P.

Steve said...

Andrew said...

"The ONLY means...give me a break! With this type of thinking the SSPX is doomed to become a small sect that will decrease in both influence and relevance. Sad. They have really painted themselves into a corner."

Andrew, check out the numbers of the Church since VCII and the numbers of Traditionalists. Which
is doomed to become a small sect that will decrease in relevance and influence?

Does the Novus Ordo have any relevance or influence left at all?

Traditionalists, through birth rates and attachment to sound doctrine, are destined to comprise the majority of the few Catholics standing after the current deluge.

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

Bernonensis:

He means that anyone outside communion who does find the means of salvation finds them owing to the prayers and mortifications of the faithful, and not by his own unassisted efforts. The reference here, obliquely, is to the elementa of the Faith embraced in heretical ecclesial bodies--and even beyond them.

P.K.T.P.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

I think you will find that, in the French, it means the SSPX must keep its own identity [in order] to help the Church restore Christianity. It does not by any means imply the SSPX claims to be the sole means of doing so, it means the character of the SSPX must not be changed. Many will welcome that statement, not all though.

Long-Skirts said...

Fr. Anthony Cekada said:

"So, the opera will continue, even though it may be awhile before the fat lady finally sings."

FATIMA
SINGS

We battle for Mass,
Daily it’s said.
We battle for schools,
Where God is not dead.

We battle for books
Published and read.
We battle for peace
Retreats are priest led.

We battle to shield
Motherhoods plight
To let her nurse child
At home day and night.

We battle for men,
Who quietly fight,
Support them in prayer
To lead us to right.

We battle for truth,
Professed in the Creed,
Say “NO” to the wolves
Who twist it indeed.

We battle for grace
We drink it like mead
It quenches our thirst
Refreshed so to heed…

All that is said
By wolves wearing rings
Corrupting the facts
With traditional slings.

But triumph is coming
Heart Immaculate brings,
‘Cause the war isn’t over…
Till FATIMA sings!!

Our Lady of Fatima help the Pope!!

Prof. Basto said...

Mr. Perkins,

My toughts exactly.

Surely, when the Declaration of the General Chapter states "We have determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization", those conditions are set out somewhere, in some document. Aren't they? If the conditions are set out in a separate document, will this document be made public?

Or is the "roadmap" simply the formal requirement of an extraordinary Chapter with a deliberative vote?

That would be strange. Are the "conditions" just the requirement to follow a fromal procedural mechanism of approval? The Declaration mentions "conditions", a term that implies that more than one condition exists. And one would assume that the conditions are material conditions, and not just procedural.

Also, the Superior General mentioned a document that would be sent to the Holy See. Is this declaration the document that they are sending to the Pope? It seems odd, given that this declaration is not addressed specifically either to the Supreme Pontiff or to any organ of the Apostolic See. Will a separate message be sent to the Holy See?

If however, this declaration is the document that was sent to the Holy See, then the problem is that it is not a clear "yes" or "no" reply. If the Fraternity refused the draft Document of 13 June 2012, it should send back a draft Document of its own, in order to restart the discussions.

Instead, this Declaration does not amount to a "no" to reunion with Rome (in that it mentions "conditions" for a regularization and a formal procedure to be followed before acceptance of canonical normalization), but it fails to restart the talks, and it also does not make plain to its readers the "roadmap" desired by the Society.

Michael BD said...

I find this conversation disheartening.

While there are some bishops not enforcing the Moto Propio, it must be said that most of the traditional Masses are not overflowing with people. I go to one in Norwalk, CT that is doing extremely well under the guidance of dedicated priests.

But an earlier Latin Mass in a bigger nearby city, Stamford, barely has a dozen people hearing it.

I think the Society is miscalculating. They are so concerned with conspiracies against them. The truth is that their reconciliation would do much to legitimate their work in the Church. The bulk of their personnel will remain the same, and personnel is policy.

What are people imagining? That some other pope will come in and crack everyone's skulls. That he will transform their parishes from mediocrity to Tridentine splendor or else beat them to death?

It is the Spirit of God that moves people to holiness, not mere administration.

QJP said...

@Dr. Williams:

"With no exaggeration, it is obvious that we are now talking about two wholly different religions."

"just a frank realization of the lack of sincerity in the negotiation process."

These statements are utter exaggerations. Consult the history of the Church and you will find chapters far worse than this! Ambiguity or PC-speak in a mission statement does not a different religion make.

As for sincerity, the Holy Father has been quite sincere, as have the negotiators. They simply have varied views on what a reunion would look like, which is why the conditions apparently change as time goes on. This is the normal process in negotiation between large bodies; we ought to be thankful for it because, when an agreement is finally reached it will be solid and will weather the storms that follow.

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

Rome's Bulletin is a reference to the undertaking made by Bishop Fellay on 13th June to keep the discussions going. Remember that? Rome's Communiqué of that time noted that Bishop Fellay had agreed to continue discussions. So this is separate from the reference in this Declaration of a frank debate on doctrinal issues. I suspect that the subject Rome wishes to return to is the Preamble, with its attempt to define the "principles and criteria" of doctrinal interpretation. Notice how the new Declaration of the Society does not mention this.

Rome is saying here this: Nice try but we still want a communication from the Society to continue the previous discussions. Since Bishop Fellay said 'non', the amended June Preamble was "unacceptable", the curia will want to know precisely why it is unacceptable.

P.K.T.P.

Parker said...

I do not think there is a single thing "opague" about the statement. As Barbara notes, it is a statement of "Catholic clarity". As Dr. Williams notes, it is a declaration of "clarity and forthrightness". That isn't opinion. That is fact based on what has been written. There is not even enough space for someone to attempt to "read between the lines".

Of course, if all things that leave our lips come from within out hearts, it probably depends upon the eyes of the reader. If "opera" is what you desire, I suppose your eyes will perceive it regardless of the words written.

I do not care for drama nor do I take my entertainment from the tumult or strife endured by others. Therefore I do not find it where it does not exist and often do not see it where it does.

How about we take the word of others, especially others who are quite cautious about a No being No and a Yes being Yes, and abate all our opinions of what was "reaaally meant" by offering a few Aves for the SSPX and therefore The Church and the entire world?

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

One thing not noticed before here is that this Declaration effectively disempowers Bishops Tissier de Mallerais and de Galarreta. At the time of the negotiations with Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, Bishop Fellay said repeatedly and in public that Rome would never succeed in dividing the four bishops: the Society bishops would be completely united in any arrangement with Rome. In effect, each of the four would have a veto, even if this was not required by the Society constitution.

As we know, he has altered that undertaking over the past several months. Then he cast out +Williamson, who would probably reject anything, up to and including salvation. But now unity with the other bishops has been replaced by a vote in Chapter. And since Fellay directly appoints most of the Chapter members, this means that he has appropriated the Society's authority to himself.

Was this a clever trick to remove the other Bishops from the equation? +Fellay may now return to the bargaining table and make an arrangement with Rome. There might be room for manœuvring over "pinciples and criteria". Then Rome could seal the deal by agreeing to withdraw the "clearly unacceptable" personal prelature structure and replace it with an international form of the Campos structure--in effect, a personal archdiocese, the dream structure enabled by Section 2 of Canon 372.

The relief resulting from the withdrawal of the hated and suicidal personal prelature structure would assure that the rank and file in the S.S.P.X would accept whatever Bishop Fellay and the Pope were to agree on.

Yes, I have a devious mind here, eh? Being a Canadian, I am naturally smarter and more perceptive than are the Americans here, not to mention the fact that I speak real English.

P.K.T.P.

New Catholic said...

Presumptuousness in Canadese...

Not getting enough sleep there in Juan-de-Fuca-Land?...

ReasonandRevelation said...

Looks like the reconciliation will not happen.

If the SSPX thinks that the Catholic Church will once again enforce the Syllabus of Errors (how about this error: "in the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship") and abandon the approach of the Second Vatican Council, it will not happen. The Second Vatican Council (whose major documents were signed by Archbishop Lefebvre) was duly convened pursuant to papal authority. There is no basis for excluding it from "T"radition.

There are all sorts of other concerns with how the Faith has been applied in the past also. It has been formally deemed a sin in the past to withhold “marital rights” from one’s spouse. The idea that this application of divine doctrine cannot be revised by papal authority, for instance, is just not Catholic. I am sure one could easily find a dozen or more such major concerns with how divine doctrine should be applied to human affairs in the last three hundred years of Church teaching alone.

The SSPX is also, in its ossified clarity, threatening to lose the war while winning a battle with its approach. If one can be “Catholic” while openly dissenting from papal authority, you can bet that, if this is countenanced, the liberals will take this and run with it like no one’s business. I.e., if the SSPX can do it, why can’t we?

The SSPX does not seem to understand the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, but only a charming and slightly nostalgic miniature of it past. The Vatican appears to have given the SSPX at least as good a deal as Abp. Levebvre was willing to accept in the 1980s. The SSPX has since changed.

Bernonensis said...

P.K.T.P.,

I'm afraid I can't agree with your interpretation . Whatever it was intended to say, this statement denies the possibility of someone outside the Church finding the means; it is not about the nature, source, location or activity of those helps, but the status and ability of the person who needs them.

Now, if we take for granted that the SSPX believes that conversion is possible, then we may interpret the statement not as heretical but thoroughly orthodox on the basis of information not contained in the statement itself. But isn't that precisely the ambiguity all of us here -- and the members of the SSPX, too -- decry when we find it in the documents of Vatican II?

Vox Cantoris said...

I greatly desire the SSPX fully integrated and recognised. The boost to all of us fighting for restoration would be tremendous. At the same time, one looks and sees and hears statements made by those in the Vatican–in the CDF for example, and one can understand why it is that they are hesitant. When I ask myself the question, “What good has come from the Second Vatican Council” my brain begins to hurt; I’ve even been called a heretic for asking the question! Frankly, I would like to see the Holy Father declare infallibly what the errors are in the documents and what they are to be amended to say and mean and be done with it. For example, what does “subsist” mean. Does the Church of Christ “subsist” in the Catholic Church or “is” the Catholic Church the Church of Christ. If Church of Christ can subsiste in the Catholic Church can it un-subsist? Can it subsist elsewhere? How do we reconcile our modern concept of religious liberty with the Social Kingship of Christ? These are fundamental questions that must be debated and clarified and the fact that the documents need to be interpreted, that they don’t just interpret themselves is at the heart of the problem.

Whats Up! said...

A beautiful and clear piece by Bishop Fellay.

An unambiguous statement of the Faith and perfctly Catholic.

Unfortunately it seems like we are back to the game of ping pong.

End it already!

Its like a US Open match in 2000 betwixt Agassi and Spampras.

Prof. Basto said...

PKTP,

On the other hand, formally and officially, Bishop Fellay had, before 14 July 2012, full power and authority to sign the agreement with Rome, perhaps just needing the formal concurrence of the General Council.

Now that power is formally gone, and a full General Chapter needs to be convened to ratify any preliminary agreement before it is made final.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

Dear Parker,

I mean "opaque" in comparison with some of the previous language that Abp. Lefebvre, say, has used to describe Vatican II and its reforms: "begins in heresy and ends in heresy," "Conciliar Church," "bastard rites," etc.

Had the General Chapter used such terms, the negotiations would have come to an abrupt halt.

But the language it DID employ, while implying a rejection of V2, etc., allows enough wiggle room for the seemingly endless negotiations to continue — as they have now for what? Forty years.

Tim said...

Please note that the French original of the Declaration does not mention a "deliberative vote", but simply speaks of a "chapitre extraordinaire délibératif". Quite a big difference, I would say...

Red said...

ReasonandRevelation, it seems you must read up a little about the subjects you mention. The Syllabus of errors is generally accepted as being infallible; the encyclical it was attached to fully engaging the authority of the Pope and his duty to teach and authority to bind, fulfilling the criteria of Vatican I for infallibility.

And yes, it still is a sin to refrain from providing the marriage debt with few serious exceptions.

poeta said...

"There are all sorts of other concerns with how the Faith has been applied in the past also. It has been formally deemed a sin in the past to withhold “marital rights” from one’s spouse."


What is supposedly troubling about that?

Tom said...

"Probably not going to sit well with the Modernists in the Church, though."

The declaration won't sit well with conservatives.

Tom

Barbara said...

QJP said to @Dr. Williams:

"With no exaggeration, it is obvious that we are now talking about two wholly different religions."

"just a frank realization of the lack of sincerity in the negotiation process."

These statements are utter exaggerations."

Well you could say they are exaggerations - but perhaps Dr. Williams deliberatedly exaggerated to stress a point. Besides I tend to agree with him. There is a such different mind-set and exterior expression between the New Mass Catholics and the Old Mass Catholics - that an alien might think they are two different religions!
I also tend to agree that there are a lot of mixed messages coming fron the ecclesiastics in charge of this situation with the SSPX ( NOT the Holy Father) which could be interpreted as "lack of sincerity." - on the contrary the SSPX strike me as being sincere. Doesn't mean I go along with their every action regarding the relationship with Rome. But, what do I know? I have very limited background knowledge of the situation.

I pray with all my heart that they will become a "normal" part of Catholic life in the Church and not be branded as fanatics - as some people have called them - I don't think that is correct or fair.

NIANTIC said...

Once again, a clear, plain restatement of the Society's Faith and Principles. Understandable to all. Without hidden meanings and no contradictions. This is the pure, unadulterated Catholic Faith and purpose of the Ages.

Would it not be magnificent if Rome would, before God, proclaim their total agreement with this Declaration? It should be the basis for their "new evangelization" and "year of faith" projects.The world needs to hear the Truth "in season and out of season". The pablum we have been getting leads only to further loss of souls.

Meanwhile, we must continue to pray for God's Will to be done by the negotiating parties. Give them space and peace. God will triumph.

Steve said...

ReasonandRevelation,

You claim there is no basis for excluding VCII from Tradition, yet you exclude the Syllabus of errors and the Church's perrenial teaching on marriage rights from Tradition, by implying they are now "incorrect." Tradition can never err.

You state that one cannot be Catholic and dissent from Papal authority, yet you openly dissent from the clear teaching of Pius IX on Church State relations.

Your post is filled with contradictions.

GMMF said...

Vox Cantoris,

The CDF has already answered your questions regarding "subsistit in." It means the same as "est," except where "est" means a present reality, "subsistit in" means a perduring, and permanent reality. As such, the Church of Christ cannot cease to subsist in the Catholic Church, nor can it subsist any where else.

The recent CDF document on the Church explained this:

"In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth."

And further:

"Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]
[/quote]

This same truth was clarified earlier in the CDF document, Dominus Iesus:

"The interpretation of those who would derive from the formula subsistit in the thesis that the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is therefore contrary to the authentic meaning of Lumen gentium. “The Council instead chose the word subsistit precisely to clarify that there exists only one ‘subsistence' of the true Church, while outside her visible structure there only exist elementa Ecclesiae, which — being elements of that same Church — tend and lead toward the Catholic Church”"

As an aside, this idea that elements belonging to the Church, but possessed by non-Catholic groups, can lead to unity is nothing new. Pius XI explained in pars. 24 and 25 of Ecclesiam Dei how the faith and devotion towards the Eucharist and the Mother of God of the schismatic Easterners kept them from becoming as far separated as other groups and that it has served and will serve as a means of unity.

Here's a couple more in-depth articles on subsistit by priests who participated in the talks with the SSPX:
http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/subsistitin.htm
http://www.ewtn.net/library/Doctrine/subsistit.htm

GMMF said...

Red,

The Syllabus of Errors is NOT generally recognized as being infallible, whereas the specific condemnations of quoted errors in Quanta Cura have been. The Catholic Encylopedia has a good explanation of the history and weight of the Syllabus. You have to go to the cited allocutions, etc. That was the intention of the drafters and the Pope. The Syllabus leaves them at the weight in which they were originally given--it's not a super-dogma. Some of the references are definitive and universal (and therefore infallible), some are not. Bl. John Henry Newman's chapter on the Syllabus in his letter to the Duke of Norfolk also explains this (note, he affirms the definitive and infallible authority of Quanta Cura, Exsurge Domine, and other documents, so he's not trying to tip-toe around "hard teachings.").

Henry Edwards said...

As someone has pointed out, the present declaration is (though made public) an internal SSPX document for private discussion. A separate document will be submitted to Rome (and probably not made public?) as a basis for further discussion. It may read quite differently. However . . .

The SSPX says "For this reason it seems opportune that we reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church . . . by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth"

Enough, already! Why should not the Pope, acting as Supreme Pontiff--like a real pope, one might suggest--without any further "dialogue", simply set up the appropriate juridical structure and command obedience through it, with submission to any doctrinal or administrative conditions he may dictate? Then let the sheep and goats fall where they may.

Of course, one might well ask why he doesn't do this regarding the rampant heresy within the Church itself. The answer is that the Church would not obey, where as the faithful in the SSPX will.

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

What has not helped throughout this process were game-changing actions and statements from the Vatican.

An archbishop (Gerhard Müller) who vocally despises the SSPX was appointed by the pope to head up the CDF in the middle of SSPX-CDF negotiations.

So the consolation prize for that move to the extreme left was supposed to be a new PCED official to work with traditionalists. No sooner does that appointment get made, and he (Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia) says the SSPX must buy into how wonderful the pastoral Vatican II is: “This is a new concept which we know the Traditionalists will not be able to accept immediately. Convincing them will take time, and in this respect we will have to be patient.”

I wonder if Greg Burke from FOX News has started his new job yet. This has been a communications disaster from CDF and the Vatican.

Entirely avoidable.

Unless the strategy is to keep insulting the party that you are supposedly trying to work with.

Woody said...

Ah, Peter, I can certainly agree with the hypothesis that as a Canadian you are smarter than us 'Murricans, after all not only did we see the report yesterday that the average Canadian family is today worth about $40,000 more than the average US family, but I recall the great Canadian philosopher George Grant saying that the US, unlike Canada, was a country born in Liberalism, so you have got a head start on us.

Can you spare a dime (Canadian) for some poor American friends?

Canisius said...

It is always impressive the wisdom of the Holy See.

"This document is for internal discussions within the SSPX, and has no link with the canonical relation between Rome and the SSPX."

Rome is waiting an official and private note from the SSPX superiors regarding the canonical regularization of the SSPX. I think there is a deal there, decided by the Holy Father himself without consent of the Roman Curia.

I think that Rome is aware of the delirious state of some minds within the SSPX, and has taken note of that in order to proceed.

The statement of the Holy See is the best new here. Really is the best new for traditionalism in years!. I thin it means: The Church will resolve the doctrinal problems with the SSXP within the Church.

I pray almighty God -One and Three-for that outcome!

Kind regards,

mwk3 said...

As it relates to questions of the interpretation of the Council, Mgr Gheraridini’s The Ecumenical Council Vatican II: a Debate To Be Opened (2009) is particularly helpful in clarifying many of the theological issues in play, particularly chs. 1-4.

BroHenry said...

"our faith in the universal Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of both the natural and the supernatural orders, to Whom every man and every society must submit."

Agreed. But the SSPX can not separate submission to Our LORD Jesus Christ and submission to His Earthly Vicar. They are one in the same.

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
Pope Boniface VIII "Unam Sanctam"

anabel said...

Regarding the Blessed Mother in the last paragraph is "jealous" the properly translated word?

Whats Up! said...

"Agreed. But the SSPX can not separate submission to Our LORD Jesus Christ and submission to His Earthly Vicar. They are one in the same.

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
Pope Boniface VIII "Unam Sanctam

Bro Henry,
The SSPX are subject to Pope Benedict XVI, and acknowledge that subjugation and stand by it.

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

Prof. Basto:

Good point but, as he largely controls the Chapter, one could say that he there distances himself from any decision. He can say, in effect, Dear Rome, I am so sorry, I wanted to say yea to your last proposal but the hotheads in Chapter will say no. Therefore, I must ask you for more.

P.K.T.P.

El Eremita said...

This declaration and Rome's subsequent communiqué are encouraging. I think that the conditions are set for a reconciliation to be possible within a year of two (if ++Müller acts in good will and obedience to the Pope, and if the anti-roman components of the SSPX can be "controlled").

Nonetheless, there are a few sentences that bother me:

Our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth

Anybody considering himself a traditionalist should adhere to the traditional notion of jurisdiction, held by theologians since Trent and taught by Pius XII in Ad Apostolorum Principis and Mystici Corporis, i.e., that not only the potestas regendi is conferred only through the Pope, but also the potestas docendi and the potestas santificandi. As Pius XII taught, not even a bishop enjoys the power of teaching if it hasn't been conferred on him by the Visible Head of the Church.

In this, the SSPX incurs in something very similar to the modernists practices they denounce: they keep the "title" of the teaching but change its meaning. For them the "monarchical constitution of the Church" applies only to the power of government, and that is contrary to the teaching of the Church.

The Society continues to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it

Again they are being ambiguous on purpose. Are these "errors" against "de fide" teachings or not? If they are, then the Council and virtually the whole magisterium for the last 50 years is guilty of heresy (and due to the fact that the SSPX and many theologians have been denouncing them for decades, I think that one could make a sound case for obstinacy on Rome's part). Now, if these "errors" are not against "de fide" teachings, why should Rome "convert" from them? Those teaching that do not pertain to the deposit of Faith are, ultimately, theological opinions (this is true even for sententiae fidei proximae to which the highest degree of obsequium religiosum is due, like baptism of desire). Is there any reason to reject the divinely mandated submission to the See of Rome, just because of theological divergences on matters which do not belong to the depositum fidei? As the Feeneyite affair has taught us, the answer is: no.

But I'm pretty sure that +Fellay knows this. What I regret is the need to use the term "error" just to appease the crowd... a word that is used only because of its ideological meaning, because as ++Di Noia said, is theologically ambiguous.

Other than that, I am optimistic. If Fellay got the G.C. approval of his "Doctrinal Declaration" (the one he sent to Rome and which got positive feedback even from the Pope) then we are not far from an agreement.

Miles Dei said...

What signifies the communique from the Holy See?

Any one knows?

Hector Barbossa said...

Watch "The Last Samurai". It'll help get you in the mood.

Supertradmum said...

I really beg my brothers and sisters in Christ in the Catholic Church to be charitable. Impatience is a sin. And, gross judgements are as well. I firmly believe that Fellay is trying his best to bring his bishops and people to unity. Once one "side" distrusts the other, there cannot be unity. The entire process of discussion, praying, acceptance must cover 40 years of separation. Can you imagine if anyone of you had a separation with a spouse you still loved for that length of time and you were in negotiations for reconciliation? I would hope that kindness and charity win the day. I do not mind good objective discussions, but name-calling and suspicions of good intent do not belong at the table.

Supertradmum said...

PS If we are asking the SSPX to love the Church, we must love the SSPX

slcath said...

The Declaration asserts rather rigorously that "the Roman Catholic Church [is] the unique Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation...." But it seems to me that even in "liberal" post-Vatican II terms, SSPX is not in "full communion" with the Catholic Church. (Canon 205 of New Code: "Those baptized are fully in communion with the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of profession of faith, of the sacraments and of ecclesiastical governance.") How then do folks in the SSPX hope for salvation? Is being in "partial communion" enough? That sounds rather Vatican II-ish to me. I honestly don't get it.

A Mom said...

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

reader said...

One SSPX response to Rome's brief public statement taken from the German website. No place to post it above.:

An explanation with which something remains unclear above all the place, the principle explanation of the general chapter serves ' with priority for studies and discussion purposes within the members of the brotherhood '? There the press office of Vatican seems to have mistaken something: The brotherhood is no association of modern theologians who divides every text of the authority with the Seziermesser of the personal opinion into pieces to compose him then in absolutely new sense again. With a word: This short statement from Rome does not do justice to the clear statements rich in contents of the principle explanation of the general chapter.

Marsaili said...

The SSPX will never reconcile with Rome, and the reason is a simple one. Rome (the Pope, mainly) is not going to allow them to speak of the "errors of the Council," and the SSPX will never consent to this stipulation. End of story.

Further negotiations are not going to change this problem.

David of Glasgow said...

BroHenry,

Agreed. But the SSPX can not separate submission to Our LORD Jesus Christ and submission to His Earthly Vicar. They are one in the same.

You seem to forget that the Roman Pontiff is the vicar of Christ, not Christ Himself - the language of poetry excepted. The authority of Christ is deputed to the Pope. However, this does not mean that the Pope is impeccable and may perform deeds and say things that are incompatible with this authority.

For this reason the submission to our Lord Jesus Christ is unconditional and that to His Vicar can only ever be conditional. What is the condition? That in submitting to the Roman Pontiff we do not thereby incur the guilt of sin. It is bad theology to rule out a priori that this situation could ever happen.

Matt said...

Henry Edwards said, "Enough, already! Why should not the Pope, acting as Supreme Pontiff--like a real pope, one might suggest--without any further "dialogue," simply set up the appropriate juridical structure and command obedience through it, with submission to any doctrinal or administrative conditions he may dictate? Then let the sheep and goats fall where they may."

Very curious question. Yes, why not so? Fr Z had this smarmy little piece on his site the other day carrying on about how the Holy Father has only so much patience, making it like it's the SSPX's fault rather than one of his underlings (read Lavada) who threw that wrench back in +Fellay's face, a fact which Fr Z so conveniently left out.

I had said before, this is the way it's going to be spun. Poor Holy Father, up against those mean, recalcitrant Traditionalists. Sadly, I didn't think it was going to be Fr Z who'd be the first.

Matt said...

"The Holy See has taken note of this Declaration, but awaits the forthcoming official Communication of the Priestly Fraternity as their dialogue with the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" continues."

Continues?! The clock's ticking, people. Let's get a move on. It's my fear (and a lot of others') the Holy Father may pass before a resolution and the SSPX would end up holding the bag.

It's my sentiment overall there should a straightforward statement from both parties saying:
"Thank you for your efforts, Holy Father, BUT..."
"Thank you for your efforts, Excellency, BUT..."

Just lay out what they really think and drop this politician-speak. All of this lofty couching of expressions gets to be really rather saccharin and pedantic.

As an aside, is Greg Burke going to be mouthpiecing anything or is he just behind-the-scenes coordination?

JabbaPapa said...

El Eremita :

Nonetheless, there are a few sentences that bother me:

"Our faith in its monarchical constitution, desired by Our Lord himself, by which the supreme power of government over the universal Church belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth"

... that not only the potestas regendi is conferred only through the Pope, but also the potestas docendi and the potestas santificandi. As Pius XII taught, not even a bishop enjoys the power of teaching if it hasn't been conferred on him by the Visible Head of the Church.

... For them the "monarchical constitution of the Church" applies only to the power of government, and that is contrary to the teaching of the Church.


There is nothing in this declaration to support the truth of your allegations that the word "government" refers to the potestas regendi only, and not to the potestas docendi and sanctificandi also.

Are these "errors" against "de fide" teachings or not?

The SSPX document contains not a single declaration that could be viewed as doctrinally erroneous, and it is licit to denounce errors in Council documents if any such errors should indeed exist. This is not possible when a Council or the Magisterium has declared that doctrine as infallible, of course.

If they are, then the Council and virtually the whole magisterium for the last 50 years is guilty of heresy

This is not true -- an "error" is not a "heresy". Or rather, a heresy is a particular, willful, deliberate type of error, that consciously denies orthodox doctrine and deliberately replaces it with false teaching.

The Vatican II documents do not deny orthodox, traditional doctrine. Ergo, while it is possible that they may contain errors, that it would be licit to denounce, it is very unlikely indeed that they should contain any actual heresies.

Now, if these "errors" are not against "de fide" teachings, why should Rome "convert" from them?

The doctrinal questions are not so black and white -- doctrine is not divided into two neat halves of infallible and fallible.

The Church teaches the whole of the doctrine, including the vast majority of teachings that individual Catholics are permitted to have their own opinions on, without ceasing to be Catholic.

What Catholics MUST believe is not changed at all by Vatican II -- despite some modernists' strange notions otherwise.

Vatican II has made some new declarations of doctrine, or rather has expressed some old doctrines using new words --- and some of those may be a little problematic for reasons of vocabulary and so on -- but the Pope's guidelines on how to approach one of these problems are crystal clear : when in doubt about how to interpret a Vatican II teaching, refer to the Traditional meaning of that particular doctrine for its proper interpretation.

(the only truly problematic teaching in Vatican II, AFAIK, concerns the doctrine of Religious Freedom ; there is some deeper layer of semantic conflict for that doctrine with the Traditional teaching, because this Traditional teaching happens to be an infallible one. (therefore, don't ask me how this difficulty can be resolved, it's one for the CDF, Magisterium, and Pope)

Those teaching that do not pertain to the deposit of Faith are, ultimately, theological opinions

Not necessarily -- some purely disciplinary or pastoral teachings of Vatican II may be of no bearing whatsoever on any meaningfully "theological" questions.

What I regret is the need to use the term "error" just to appease the crowd...

It is licit to use that word when one faithfully believes that errors subsist, provided that nothing to be held either de fide or of Authority is so denounced.

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

GMMF:

No, you are wrong. I read that document and the Society's response. The Roman document only solves *some* of the questions and problems which were asked about, not all of them. The S.S.P.X thanked the C.D.F. for solving *some* of the problems but awaits the solution to the greater part of the problem.

P.K.T.P.

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

El Eremita:

Not all errors, even doctrinal errors, constitute heresy, and not all errors are even doctrinal errors.

P.K.T.P.

BroHenry said...

"Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power;but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: 'The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man' [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven' etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by us heretical,"
Pope Boniface VIII "Unam Sanctam"

The belief that any creature has the right(or duty) to judge St. Peter's successors is heretical. Giving evidence why the Church Fathers teach that schism and heresy go hand in hand.

ReasonandRevelation said...

Henry:

"Of course, one might well ask why he doesn't do this regarding the rampant heresy within the Church itself. The answer is that the Church would not obey, where as the faithful in the SSPX will."

A lot of Catholics would like for more discipline to occur, and it is clear that there has been a slow but steady shift in that direction. The pope prefers this to happen slowly, and that is an eminently prudent course. Dropping bombs everywhere is not necessarily the right idea.

I think it is an open question whether the SSPX would subject itself to papal instructions with which it disagrees. That is the issue that is causing the divide right now -- not that different than the trouble with liberals in the Church who do not abide by papal authority.

Floreat said...

Father Anthony Cekada said...
"The declaration is opaque enough to allow the SSPX/Rome negotiations to continue and in the meantime to provide some cover against charges of a sellout.... seem to have been formulated to allow eventually for a "positive" (pro-accord) spin....so, the opera will continue, even though it may be awhile before the fat lady finally sings.
"

As Mr Parker has already remarked, the declaration seems to me to be a perfect example of Bp Fellay's usual clear-mindedness. Nor does he strike me as the kind of prelate who seeks to provide himself with 'cover' while meditating underhand tactics.

I have always been impressed by Bp Fellay's character: his honesty, charity and endurance in the face of what has often seemed to be positively diabolical opposition is inspirational. A true alter christus.

After Abp Lefebvre, the Society could have no better shepherd, in my opinion. I trust his judgment as if my soul depended on it.....and it does.

Paulo Ghetti Frade said...

BroHenry:

The belief that any creature has the right(or duty) to judge St. Peter's successors is heretical. Giving evidence why the Church Fathers teach that schism and heresy go hand in hand.

When there is an imminent danger for the faith, it is permissible to question your superior even if he is the Pope. If necessary it can and should be done publicly. If you believe that anyone who questions the Pope publicly is a heretic than the same holds true for St. Paul. As Saint Augustine teaches us: "Peter accepted with holy and pious humility the useful observation Saint Paul had made, inspired by the freedom of love, thus leaving for posterity a rare example for them not to despise being corrected by their inferiors whenever they have strayed from the right way."

GMMF said...

The approach mentioned by ReasonandRevelation does have traditional precedence. St. Peter Damian defended St. Leo IX's inaction against simoniacs (at a time when pretty much every bishop was one) by citing St. Innocent I:

"Hence it would be proper that they who are eager to depose all by group action should observe the moderate solution proposed by Innocent, of whom we spoke above. "As often," he said "as a sin is committed by whole peoples or by a large group, since it cannot be avenged on all because of their great number, one usually lets it go unpunished." Letter 40(Innocent I, Epistola 17.6)."

St. Bernard said the same thing to Bl. Eugene III (NB: when he's talking about what is "not customary" for a pope, he is talking about actually cleaning up the Church):

"But what can you do? If you suddenly devote yourself completely to this philosophy, although it is not customary for a pope to do so, you will indeed annoy many people. You will be like a person who abandons the footsteps of his ancestors, and will be seen as an affront to them. You will be censured with the common saying, 'Everyone wonders about a person who behaves differently.' It will seem that you only want attention. You cannot suddenly correct every error at once or reduce excesses to moderation. There will be an opportunity at the proper time for you to pursue this little by little, according to the wisdom given you by God. In the meantime, do what you can to utilize other people's evil for good." On Consideration, Book 1, Ch. IX

Finally, St. Vincent de Paul gave the same advice to a bisho, but it may apply to Popes as well:

"Rules and regulations may be made without end; censures may be inflicted; the right of hearing confession, of preaching and of collecting alms may be withdrawn, but for all that, no amendment will be produced, and the empire of Jesus Christ will never be spread or preserved in souls by those means--never! God, in past times, armed Heaven and earth against man. Alas! to what profit? And was it not necessary for Him to humble and abase Himself before man to induce His creature to accept the sweet yoke of His empire and sway? And what God with all His power could not do, how can a bishop effect with his?" Letter 418

Lady Marchmain said...

"The belief that any creature has the right(or duty) to judge St. Peter's successors is heretical. Giving evidence why the Church Fathers teach that schism and heresy go hand in hand."

Please, let us be very careful and very accurate and make proper distinctions.

NO one is "judging" St. Peter's successor.

In this particular document, no one is even asserting the existence of "errors"--just "novelties tainted with errors."

To point out that there is a blending in of modernist ideas that has confused matters in the Church is hardly schismatic or heretical.

Matthew M said...

It is obvious to me that the SSPX decision is not part of this declaration, per se. I think by declaring and affirming who they are and what they believe they are in effect saying a polite "NO' to Rome. I will be surprised if it is anything other than that. I would love to see reconciliation but I don't see it happening. Good pope Benedict seems more intent on pacifying the liberals than in restoring Truth and Beauty to the Church. He acts defeated. Just my opinion.

El Eremita said...

Dear JabbaPapa,

"There is nothing in this declaration to support the truth of your allegations that the word "government" refers to the potestas regendi only, and not to the potestas docendi and sanctificandi also"

I see the omission of these other aspects of the monarchical nature of the Church as suspicious at least, especially for the fact that the SSPX ordinarily performs actions which require the power to teach or sanctify. If they hold that these powers can only come from the Visible Head of the Church, then they must admit that they are in a gravely irregular situation (not regarding canon law, but regarding the divine constitution of the Church).

The SSPX document contains not a single declaration that could be viewed as doctrinally erroneous, and it is licit to denounce errors in Council documents if any such errors should indeed exist.

Donum Veritatis establishes clear guidelines on how to proceed in cases of theological dissent. Yes, by definition, non-definitive teaching such as the documents of VII may contain errors, but there are adequate contexts to treat such situations (theological works, academic debate, dubias presented to the Holy See, etc.). To publicly denounce that the Magisterium has fallen into error, imho, does not fall under the "respectful dissent" category.

doctrine is not divided into two neat halves of infallible and fallible.

I disagree. Doctrinal propositions either belong to (or are necessarily connected with) the Deposit of Faith or not. Deliberate and obstinate denial of a "de fide" doctrine puts yourself outside the Church, while this doesn't happen with other kinds of doctrines.

"'Those teaching that do not pertain to the deposit of Faith are, ultimately, theological opinions'

Not necessarily -- some purely disciplinary or pastoral teachings of Vatican II may be of no bearing whatsoever on any meaningfully "theological" questions."


Yes, I was referring to doctrinal teachings.

"It is licit to use that word ['error'] when one faithfully believes that errors subsist"

Yes, but in other contexts... for example, in a text were you can provide evidence for your assertions. Here, the expression "we have reservations towards the Second Vatian Council and subsequent reforms and pronouncements" would have sufficed... but they had to use "errors" just to appease the "hard-liners".

-----

P.K.T.P.,

That's what I am saying about the ambiguousness of the term. But if the SSPX is willing to reject submission to the Pope because of these errors, then I can't think of other kind of error which would justify such position but heresy.

I put feeneyites again as an example: even the denial of a sententia fidei proxima doesn't break communion with the rest of the Church. The traditional condemnation for denying a doctrine of this degree of theological certitude is "sententia haeresi proxima" (close to heresy sentence). Are the errors that the SSPX denounce more grave than this?

BroHenry said...

Debate is mute. The SSPX has
not "subjected itself to Papal
instructions" for decades.
They have been "doing their own thing" and will not have it any other way.

Mike B. said...

Does this 'box in' the Will of God to conform with the Pope? Did the Apostles or first three centuries of Popes believe this?

"This is why its seems to us opportune to reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the only Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation and no possibility of finding the means that lead to it; in its monarchical constitution, willed by Our Lord, which means that the supreme power of governance over the whole Church belongs to the pope alone, the Vicar of Christ on earth; in the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of the natural and supernatural order, to whom every human being and all society must submit."

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Fl

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

Reason and Revelation:

Here we go again: 'round and 'round the mulberry bush. The signature of Archbishop Lefebvre on those documents did NOT register his agreement with them. Signing them is a customary act and only indicated that fathers had read and signed them or had attended sessions. There was absolutely NO formula preceding the signature line saying, I, the undersigned, agree that I accept and assent to this document. Suppose the document were a will or a contract, and the signature line was not preceded by such a formula. Would it have any force in law? No, it would not. That's why people go to lawyers: to ensure that the form of contracts obliges the contracting parties.

The fathers registered assent to or dissent from or abstention from voting by a show of hands and by vote counts. That is all. Nobody every collected the signatures and added them up to determine the outcome of votes. The signatures only indicated presence on the day a document was approved. When will these neo-conservative clowns get this simple idea into their tiny minds (present company excluded)?

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P.

Jae said...

To all SSPXs here, We are not against you, infact we are hoping that the group move to full reconciliation with the See of Peter and the Church to help us fix the ills mostly done by liberal elements within her. However, when you start to pick and blame a valid Council of the Church as the cause of these willful sins of men, then we have to say stop this nonsense. We have to clearly distinguish between the Teachings of a valid Council to acts of willful wrongdoing by men. No relation whatsoever.


WHAT WAS THE CAUSE OF MASSIVE APOSTASY that followed the Councils of Constance and Lateran? Luther, Calvin and Henry VIII did not precede those Councils. Are the Councils too blame for her “novelties” of Purgatory, Indulgences etc that the protesters accused of as such that ushered in exploitation and abuse of the clergy (bad fruits) to the people of God at that time? Are the Councils to blame? WHY NOT? What was the CAUSE of massive apostasy that rocked Christendom in the Reformation era? The Catholic Faith lost more than 60% of Europe to Luther, which I considered the "baddest friut" of all time. Now fast forward, is Vatican 2 to blame for her "novelties" of Human dignity, Religious freedom etc that ushered in bad fruits?


Let me ask you also this, since Vatican2 is under the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church, no dispute here, right people? As stated by the Pope and the Council Fathers, "In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the **Authority of the Ordinary Magisterium** which must be accepted with docility (obedience)"


Compared that to what Vatican I (which I think SSPX accepted as orthodox, right?) have to say about Ordinary Magisterium in chapter 3, Section 3: "And which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as Divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ***Ordinary and Universal Magisterium**.

So you see guys, even Vatican I (ONE) doesn’t agree with the SSPX's position! I suggest we stop pointing a finger to a valid Council because we are just offending the Holy Ghost who is only ONE that can convoked a valid Council of the Church....according to Scripture and Tradition!

The "contradiction" doesn't exist, it is just due to our flawed interpretation of the past and present magisterial documents of the Church. The condemnations of the past Pontiffs on modernism, Ecumenism etc. are NOT the same "Modernism, Ecumenism" the present Magisterium is teaching.

They are not the same entities, as there is false Ecumenism and an Authentic Ecumenism, likewise a false conversion and a genuine conversion of heart.

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

Bro. Henry:

You leave out one tiny little point. The authority of any given document issued by the Supreme Apostolic power is determined by that power and not by you, by Bro. Henry. By what power do you arrogate to yourself a right to invest a document or doctrine with more binding authority than did the Supreme Pontiff himself?

We are not dealing with infallible teachings here. They are authentic non-infallible teachings but the Church has made it crystal clear (cf. Note of the Theological Commssion in L.G.) that the new teachings vary in authority depending on the rank of the document in which they appear and the manifest will of the fathers, in union with the Pope, taking into account standard theological criteria of interpretation. In any case, therefore, there will be a relative and limited duty to submit mind and will to the teaching, not a duty to assent. This is no way limits our duty to submit to non-conciliar authentic teachings of equal rank and our GREATER, our absolute, duty to submit to infallible teachings. When there is an apparent contradiction in teachings, the infallible is to be assumed to be correct while we ask Rome to resolve the appparent contradiction. When two non-infallible teachings appear to conflict, we have a right to ask for a clarification. The Supreme Pontiff also has duties, and not only rights. His chief duty is to explain the faith truly and also clearly that souls may not be led astray.

Sheep do not sin by being honestly confused or by protecting what they have always believed.

P.K.T.P.

Mike B. said...

Does this 'box in' the Will of God to conform with the Pope? Did the Apostles or first three centuries of Popes believe this?

"This is why its seems to us opportune to reaffirm our faith in the Roman Catholic Church, the only Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, outside of which there is no salvation and no possibility of finding the means that lead to it; in its monarchical constitution, willed by Our Lord, which means that the supreme power of governance over the whole Church belongs to the pope alone, the Vicar of Christ on earth; in the universal kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of the natural and supernatural order, to whom every human being and all society must submit."

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Fl

rodrigo said...

I really wish the Society had footnoted their comment about tainted novelties with the observation that the Holy Father himself has said that at least one conciliar document deploys "downright Pelagian" terminology.

BroHenry said...

P.K.T.P., the issue is not VII, it is Authority. This is the root issue of all division in Christendom (and the world). No earthly creature has the right(duty) to resist(unto disobedience) the Vicar of CHRIST (Successor of St. Peter). Period.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Forgive me, BroHenry, but you have no idea what you are talking about. Because of the inaction of the last few popes, and their steadfast refusal to use their authority to discipline the Church (other than traditionalists!) or even to enforce their own decrees and to courageously combat heresies of every sort, the Church, her liturgy, and her religious orders are in a horrific state. I have not only the right, but also the duty to resist this decay, even to the point of disobedience. Pardon me for being so blunt, but as the father of a boy who was molested by a priest, I am fairly well fed up with the Pray, Pay, and Obey mentality.

Paul M said...

Jae
The glaringly obvious problem with your argument is that doctrines on Purgatory, and indulgences were not novel ideas. They were already part of the deposit of the Faith. Take Purgatory... that was a doctrine accepted by the Jews of the Old Testament (see Macabees). V2 on the other hand, proclaimed doctrines that were not part of the previous deposit (Religious Liberty, Collegiality, etc) and which had in fact been previously CONDEMNED by the Church (both in it's ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium)!

The Extraordinary Magisterium has the seal of the Holy Ghost. We can always be sure when a Pope engages it, he speaks the Truth.

The Pope did not engage it at V2.

As far as submission to 'Ordinary Magisterium' goes... it is not above the Faith but is at the service of the faith. I'ts role is to faithfully transmit what it has received, not invent new dogmas. If those in authority in the Church use their authority to promote what the Church has previously condemned as error, then it is a sign as clear as the nose on your face, that they act OUTSIDE the Ordinary Magisterium, though they be bishops, cardinals, or Popes. It is then our duty to resist them as St Paul resisted St Peter.... 'Though an angel from Heaven were to teach a gospel different to that which you have received, let him be anathema'

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Jae says "The Catholic Faith lost more than 60% of Europe to Luther, which I considered the "baddest fruit" of all time." Jae, I wish you were pope, because the conciliar popes do not (apparently) share your disdain for Luther and Protestantism! (This fact somewhat undermines most of your argument.)

Joe said...

Why is anyone surprised? After months of negotiations, within the same two weeks DiNoia and Muller are given key posts and make public statements that seem to undercut the previous tone entirely. If the Pope wants reunion, this was a darned funny way to show it. All the SSPX wants to do is have assurance it can continue to teach Traditional Catholicism. Apparently, that is problematic, whereas the public displays of liberal Catholics are not. Typical double standard. It is OK to dissent to the left, just not to the right. One will get you a letter if disapproval, the other excommunication. As for Vatican II, who the hell even knows what its prolix statements mean? There has been no translation into English of the documents that has been hailed as definitive, all the backing documents remain inaccessible, and Rome refuses to clarify and contested areas. But hey, everybody act like the contemporary Magisterium is a lifesaver!

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Bravo, Joe! Good summary of where things stand. It is OK to have a "beach-ball mass," a "laughter liturgy," the "dog-barking charism," a "puppet mass" or a veritable rock concert mass with 50 Eucharistic "ministers" and a heretical homely. (I have personally witnessed all of the above in the Diocese of Steubenville!) But expressing a desire for the Latin Mass is suspicious! Well, I will continue to seek a Latin Mass wherever I can find one, and Ecclesia supplet. I have too much faith in God to have silly scruples about the "licitness" of such a Mass, when every lunacy imaginable is accepted as "catholic."

sam said...

Joe you've nailed it

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

My "favorite" liturgical moment in the Novus Ordo Church was at what I call the "advert slogan" Mass, during which a Franciscan interjected a running commentary of what sounded like product slogans at key moments in the Mass. Just before the prayers of Consecration, with the host in his hands, he advised the faithful: "This is where the rubber meets the road." I am not sure what we were supposed to glean from this "collect," but that was the moment when I hit the road, and for good!

rodrigo said...

I have too much faith in God to have silly scruples about the "licitness" of such a Mass, when every lunacy imaginable is accepted as "catholic."

Ah yes, the "Mommy didn't punish Bobby when he threw a rock at me, so I'm allowed to throw one at Bertha" school of moral reasoning. Very traditional, that.

Michael BD's comment on this thread bears re-reading.

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

As usual, Rodrigo is dead wrong. The licitness of a Mass has nothing to do with its status to fulfil the Sunday obligation; nor is it illegal for faithful to attend illicit Masses, just as it is not illicit for them these days to attend Protestant services. Liceity refers to the right or not of the Celebrant to offer the Mass; it does not refer to the right or not of faithful to attend it or even to fulfil the Sunday obligation by such attendance.

So we need not even enter into the question of whether or not Society Masses are licit for Dr. Williams to attend them.

If someone doesnn't know his stuff, he can always elect to keep his ignorance to himself.

P.K.T.P.

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

The reason the Church lost so much to what St. Thomas More called that 'repulsive monkey', Luther, is that most of the popes sat on their hands from 1517 to about 1560. It was not an inability to expunge clear heresy but an unwillingness to get up and do something. Pope St. Pius V was cut from a different cloth, thank God.

I favour using More's descrition of Luther in all œcumenical 'dialogues' wtih the Lutherans. As for this 'dialogue' nonsense, I live for the day when the term may return to the art of drama, where it belongs.

P.K.T.P.

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

No, Bro. Henry, the issue is THE FAITH. The liberal periti at Vatican II didn't have it. It fell out of their prideful hearts and out of their pockets and thence into the gutter. These periti, many of whom were under investigation for heresy before 1960, took over the Council, and then the Council took over the Church. The problem is that the new authorities followed Hegel instead of Jesus Christ; they followed de Lubac and Rahner and Congar and other theological sewage instead of St. Thomas.

What the liberals don't want to admit today but what they know to be true is that the partisans of the French Revolution took over the hierarchy and replaced the perennial Truth with their ludicrous subjectivist nonsense. There is a proper place for heretics: it's called the stake. At the very least, they should be cooling their heels in monasteries and doing penance for rebellion. Instead, they took up residence in the theological colleges. Pope St. Pius X worked hard to remove their malign influence but his successor dropped the ball. The present Pope named himself after that successor. We need another Pius, not another Benedict.

P.K.T.P.

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

El Eremita:

The S.S.P.X does not refuse submission to the Pope. It refuses submission to errors not being extirpated by the Pope. It simply adheres to perennial teaching and withholds assent from any novelties which seem to contradict that teaching. Let the Pope explain how their is continuity when this is not obvious. But there can be no continuity between the misprinciples of the French Revolution and the Faith; none between the errors of Protestantism or Freemasonry and the Faith; none between socialism or communism and the Faith; none between subjectivism in any form and the Faith.

P.K.T.P.

rodrigo said...

As usual, Rodrigo is dead wrong. The licitness of a Mass has nothing to do with its status to fulfil the Sunday obligation

I did not dispute that one can fulfill one's obligation at a Mass celebrated by a Society priest; the 1983 Code tells us we can, and I have done so myself. What I disputed was the line of moral reasoning that one needn't have "silly scruples" about such matters, because someone is celebrating a clown Mass down the road. Whether or not I fulfil my obligation at a Society Mass is an entirely separate question to whether or not Fr Pagliaccio's Mass is offensive to God.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Deus caritas est. This summarizes the entirety of the Gospel. It is possible that some of us who cling the ancient form of the Mass love the liturgy more than we love God, as we are often accused of doing. But I submit that it is more plausible that that those who love the constant innovation of today's liturgy are more in love with the expression of self, so glorified by our "culture," than they love anything else. I choose a liturgy that helps me to forget myself for at least an hour or so, and join the anonymous throng of believers praying quietly in a language that reaches back to the age of the first martyrs. To me, it seems absurd to maintain that this desire is prideful or disobedient. But if I am wrong, just pray for me. I could certainly use the help!

New Catholic said...

Thank you all for your comments. Time for a break now.

NC