Rorate Caeli

Relevant / For the record: SSPX Superior General explains what happened and where Rome-SSPX relations stand

From a sermon pronounced on November 1, 2012, in Écône, Switzerland - with his view of all details of what happened in the August 2011-October 2012 period between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), and of how matters stand today. A very important document for the future record of events.



[Title and subtitles by the editors of DICI. Also at sspx.org]


…  Why is there a Society of Saint Pius X?  Why do we become priests?  It is not just for the pleasure of celebrating the old Mass.  It is in order to go to Heaven;  it is in order to save souls!  Certainly, while preserving the treasures of the Church, but with the purpose of saving souls, of sanctifying them by snatching them away from sin, by leading them to Heaven, by leading them to Our Lord.
Where do we stand with Rome?  Allow me to explain two points.  First, a look at what has happened.  Then, a look at the present and perhaps at the future.
First: at what has happened.  One trial, perhaps the greatest that we have ever had, was due to a conjunction of several factors that occurred at the same time and created a state of confusion, of rather profound doubt that leaves injuries—and of the more serious wounds, indeed, the one that causes us enormous pain:  the loss of one of our bishops.  This is not a trifle!  This is not due solely to the current crisis.  This is a long story, but it finds its conclusion here.
Two contrary messages from Rome
Well, what happened?  I think that the first factor is a problem that has been around for several years and that I have mentioned at least since 2009.  I said that we find ourselves confronting the contradiction in Rome.  And there has been a manifestation of this contradiction in our relations with the Holy See for about a year, since September, inasmuch as I received through official channels some documents that clearly expressed the willingness on the part of Rome to recognize the Society, but it was necessary to sign a document that we could not sign.  And at the same time there was another line of information that I received, and it was impossible for me to doubt its authenticity.  This line of information really said something different.
This started in mid-August, whereas I did not receive the official document until September 14, 2011.  Since mid-August, a person at the Vatican has been telling us:  “The Pope will recognize the Society and it will be as it was with the excommunications, in other words, without anything [required] in return.”  So it was in this frame of mind that I got ready for the September 14 meeting by preparing arguments, by saying:  “But have you carefully reflected on what you are doing?  What are you trying to do?  That won’t work.”  And in fact, the document that was presented to us was completely different from what was announced to us.
But I didn’t have just one source, I had several notifications that said the same thing.  One cardinal declared:  “Yes, it is true, there are differences, but it is the pope who wants it.”  This same person who had given us this information told us, after we received the official document:  “This is not what the pope wants.”  Contradiction!
What were we to do?  Given the seriousness of the information indicating to us that the pope wanted to do something—but to what extent?—I was obliged to verify it.  But it was impossible to communicate that to the faithful.  This came through channels that were informal but very close to the Pope.  I will quote to you some of the statements that were conveyed to me.  First this one:  “I know very well that it would be easier both for me and for the Society for things to remain as they are.”  Which clearly shows that he knows that he himself will have problems, and we will too.  But how far does he want to go?
Other statements by the Pope:  “Let the Society know that resolving the problem of the Society is at the heart of the priorities of my pontificate.”  Or this:  “There are men at the Vatican who are doing everything they can to put down the Pope’s projects.”  And this one:  “Do not fear;  afterward you will be able to continue to attack as much as you want, just like now.”  And this other statement:  “The Pope is above the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;  even if the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith makes an unfavorable decision in your regard, the Pope will overturn it.”
This is the sort of information that reached me.  Obviously it is not clear, when on the one hand you have official documents to which you have to say no, because they are asking us to accept the Council and that is not possible, and when on the other hand such reports are communicated to you.  Nevertheless I made an initial response in which I said no.  Someone telephoned me to tell me:  “Could you not be a little more precise?”  I wrote a second time.  They were no more content than the first time.  And so we come to March 16, when they presented to me a letter, saying, “This letter comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but it is approved by the Pope.”  If I had in my hands nothing but this letter, our relations with Rome would be finished, because this letter said that no one has the right to set the past Magisterium against the Magisterium of today.  Therefore no one has the right to say that today the Roman authorities are in contradiction with those of yesterday.  It also said that rejecting the September 14 document which was explicitly approved by the Pope was tantamount in fact to rejecting the authority of the Pope.  There was even a reference to the canons that talk about schism and about excommunication for schism.  The letter continued:  “The Pope, in his kindness, is allowing you another month to reflect;  if you wish to change your decision, tell the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about it.”  Then it’s clear!  There is nothing left to do.  This letter that came to me by the official channel concludes the debate.  It is over.  But at the same time, I received informal advice that told me:  “Yes, you will receive a harsh letter, but remain calm,” or actually:  “don’t panic.”
The letter to the pope and his reply

Because there were interventions of this sort, I made so bold as to bypass the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and to write directly to the Pope.  And also because I realized that the most delicate point in our relations was the following:  the Roman authorities were persuaded that we were saying in theory that we recognized the pope but in practice we were rejecting everything.  They are persuaded that for us, since 1962, there is nothing left:  no more Pope, no more Magisterium.  I thought that I should correct that, because it is not true.  We reject many things, we are not in agreement with many things, but when we say that we recognize him as pope, that is the truth, we truly recognize him as pope.  We recognize that he is quite capable of performing papal acts.
And so I made so bold as to write.  It was obviously a delicate matter, because it was necessary to say at the same time that we are in agreement and that we are not in agreement.  This extremely delicate letter seems to have been approved by the pope and even to have been approved afterwards by the cardinals.  But in the text that was presented to me in June, everything that I had removed because it could not be accepted had been put back.
When this document was delivered to me, I said:  “No, I am not signing this;  the Society is not going to sign.”  I wrote to the Pope:  “We cannot sign that,” explaining:  “Until now—since we are not in agreement about the Council and since you wish, it seems, to recognize us—I had thought that you were ready to set aside the Council.”  I gave an historical example, the one of the union with the Greeks at the Council of Florence, where they did not reach an agreement on the question of marriage annulment by reason of infidelity.  The Orthodox think that this is a reason that can annul a marriage, the Catholic Church does not.  They reached no agreement.  What did they do?  They left the problem to one side.  One can see very clearly the difference between the Decree to the Armenians, where the question of marriage is mentioned, and the case of the Greek, where it is omitted.  I made this reference while saying:  “Perhaps you may do the same thing;  perhaps you think it is more important to recognize us as Catholics than to insist on the Council.  But now with the text that you are delivering to us, I think that I was mistaken.  Tell us, then, really what you want.  For among us these questions sow confusion.”
The Pope replied to me in a letter dated June 30 in which he sets three conditions:
  • The first is that we must recognize that the Magisterium is the authentic judge of Apostolic Tradition—this means that the Magisterium is the one to tell us what belongs to Tradition.  That is true.  But obviously the Roman authorities want to utilize that to say:  you recognize that, and therefore now we decide that the Council is traditional, and you have to accept it.  And that, incidentally, is the second condition.
  • It is necessary for us to accept the fact that the Council is an integral part of Tradition, of Apostolic Tradition.  But here we say that everyday observation proves to us the contrary.  How could one say all at once that this Council is traditional?  To be able to say such a thing, it is necessary to have completely changed the meaning of the term “Tradition”.  And in fact we realize clearly that they have changed the meaning of the word “Tradition”;  for it is not insignificant that at the Second Vatican Council they rejected the definition by Saint Vincent of Lérins, which is the altogether traditional definition:  “That which was believed by all, everywhere, and always.”
“That which was believed” is an object.  Now, for them, Tradition is something living, it is no longer an object, it is what they call the “subject Church”, it is the Church which grows.  That is Tradition, which from age to age makes new things and accumulates;  and this accumulation is a Tradition that develops, that increases.  This sense is true also but it is secondary.
  • As a third point, it is necessary to accept the validity and the liceity of the New Mass.
I had sent to Rome the documents of the General Chapter, our final Declaration which is clear, and our conditions for eventually, when the time comes, reaching an agreement about a possible canonical recognition.  These are conditions without which it is impossible [for the Society] to live;  that would quite simply be self-destruction.  For to accept everything that is being done today in the Church is to destroy ourselves.  It is to abandon all the treasures of Tradition.
Why are there these contradictions in Rome?
The proposed reconciliation, in fact, amounts to to reconciling us with Vatican II.  Not with the Church, not with the Church of all ages.  Besides, we do not need to be reconciled with the Church of all ages;  we’re there.  And Rome says:  “We have not yet received your official response.”  But three times I replied that we could not, that we were not going down that path.
Not long ago, we had a position statement from the President of Ecclesia Dei, who is at the same time the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asserting that the discussions with the Society were over.  And last Saturday, a new declaration from the Ecclesia Dei says:  “No, we must allow them some time;  it is understandable that after thirty years of debate they should need a certain amount of time;  we do see that they have an ardent desire to be reconciled.”  I have the impression that they have it more than we do.  And we wonder:  what is happening?
Obviously this is once again sowing confusion, but we must not allow ourselves to be troubled.  We continue on our path.  Quite simply.  You have here, once again, a manifestation of the contradiction that is found in Rome.  Why is there contradiction?  Of course, because there are people who want to continue along the modern way, down the path of destruction, of demolition, and then you have others who are beginning to realize that that is not working and who wish us well.  But can we put our trust in them?  That depends on the circumstances;  it is not enough to wish us well.
In all these discussions, I have arrived at the conclusion—and I think that this explains what is happening now—that the pope really, very seriously would like to recognize the Society.  However the conditions that he sets are impossible for us.  The conditions that are found in his letter are for us quite simply impossible.
To say that the Council is traditional!  Whereas everything tells us the contrary!  Fifty years of Church history say the contrary!  To say that the new Mass is good!  Here too one only has to open one’s eyes to see the disaster.  The experience that we have had in recent years with priests who come to see us is instructive.  I again had one of these encounters, quite recently.  I was in Argentina, where I made the acquaintance of a relatively young priest who knew absolutely nothing about Tradition, who was discovering the Mass.  This was the first time that he saw a Traditional Mass:  until a short time ago he did not even know that it existed.  What was his reaction?  He said that he was terribly frustrated, angry at those who had hidden this treasure from him!  Here is his reaction:  “This is the Mass?  And they never told us that!”
Tradition is a treasure, not an anachronism

The path leading out of this crisis is quite simple.  If we want to talk about a new evangelization—the terms we use are unimportant—the only way to get out of the crisis is to return to what the Church has always done.  That is very simple, that is not complicated.  And it is not being anachronistic or archaic.  I know very well that we are living in today’s world.  We are not experiencing yesterday or the day before yesterday;  there is—it is true—new problems, but the Good Lord’s solutions are there!  These solutions are eternal.  We know that at no moment is there a situation in our life when we would be deprived of grace.  Every time there is a choice, every time there is a temptation, the Good Lord gives us the grace proportioned to the situation so as to overcome it.  God’s commandments are valid today as yesterday.  God remains God, you see!
Therefore when they tell us that it is necessary to adapt to the world, to adopt its language… or whatever, it is necessary to try to explain things.  Yes, that is true, but we don’t need to change the Truth.  The road to Heaven still remains a road of renouncing sin, Satan and the world.  This is the first condition that we find in the baptismal promises:  “Do you renounce Satan?  Do you renounce his works?”  This is still the way;  there is no other.  People make speeches today about the divorced and remarried.  Last year the German bishops said that one of their goals was to arrive at communion for the divorced and remarried.  Well!  The Church, and not only the Church but the good Lord tells us:  no, it is necessary first to regularize this situation.  The good Lord gives grace to those who are in a difficult situation.  No one says that it is easy!  When a marriage is broken, it is a tragedy, but the good Lord gives grace.  Those who are in that state must be strong, and the Cross of Our Lord helps them, but we will not ratify [second marriages] or do as they do here in the Diocese of Sion, where they have a ritual to bless these unions.  People don’t say it too loud, but it is a reality.  Now to do that is to bless sin;  and that cannot come from the good Lord!  The priests or the bishops who do that are leading souls into hell.  They are doing exactly the opposite of what they were called to do when they became priests or bishops.
This is the reality of the Church that we are facing!  And how could anyone say yes to all that?  This is the tragedy of the Church that we are confronting.
Now, to speak about the future, what we will try to do with the Roman authorities is to tell them that it does no good to pretend, for the sake of the faith, that the Church cannot be mistaken.  Because, at the level of faith, we are entirely in agreement about the assistance of the Holy Ghost, but you have to open your eyes to what is happening in the Church!  It is necessary to stop saying:  the Church can do nothing bad, therefore the new Mass is good.  It is necessary to stop saying:  the Church cannot err, and therefore there is no error in the Council.  But look at reality then!  There can be no contradiction between the reality that we apprehend and the faith.  It is the same good God who made both.  Therefore if there is an apparent contradiction, there is certainly a solution.  Perhaps we don’t have it yet, but we are not going to deny reality for the sake of the faith!  Now this is truly the impression that one has with regard to what Rome is trying to impose on us today.  And here we reply:  we cannot.  That is all.
And therefore we continue, come what may!  We know very well that one day this trial—a trial that affects the whole Church—will end, but we do not know how.  We try to do everything that we can.  Don’t be afraid.  The good Lord is above all that;  He is still the boss.  That is the extraordinary thing.  And the Church, even in this state, is still holy, is still capable of sanctifying.  If today, my very dear brothers, we receive the sacraments, grace, the faith, it is through this Roman Catholic Church, not through her faults but certainly through this real, concrete Church.  It is not an image, it is not an idea, it is a reality, the most beautiful aspect of which we are celebrating today:  Heaven.  Well!  Heaven is prepared here below.  That is the beauty of the Church, this terrifying, extraordinary combat with the forces of evil in which the Church finds herself, and even in this state of terrible suffering in which she is today, she is still capable of transmitting the faith, of transmitting grace, the sacraments.  And if we give them—these sacraments and this faith—it is through this Church, it is in the name of this Church, it is as instruments and members of the Catholic Church that we do so.
May the saints in Heaven, may the angels come to our aid and support us!  Obviously it is not easy, obviously we are fearful.  This is what today’s Gradual says.  It is necessary to have fear of God.  To those who fear Him, the good Lord gives everything.  Let us not be afraid of having fear of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  May it lead us through the labyrinths of life here below toward Heaven, where the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all saints, Queen of angels, is really our protectress, truly our Mother.  If we say about Our Lord that He wants to be all in all, we must say almost the same thing about the Blessed Virgin.  We have a mother in Heaven who has received from God an extraordinary power, the power to crush Satan’s head, to crush all heresies.  Therefore we can also say that she is the mother of faith, the mother of grace.  Let us go to her.  Let us consecrate to her our lives, our families, our joys, our sufferings, our plans, our desires.  May she lead us to that eternal haven so that we might always enjoy eternal happiness with all the saints, that vision of God which is the beatific vision.  So be it.  Amen.

81 comments:

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

My take is that +Fellay had a near impossible brief to discern the authentic among the contradictory messages from Rome. He seems to be surprised, yet this technique was used before with ++Lefebvre, when the then Cardinal Ratzinger was very closely involved.

Yes, it was a very difficult task for him, but “informal channels” are inherently unreliable and the only trustworthy evidence is that which is written. A verbal promise is not worth the paper it’s written on.


CredoUtIntelligam said...

These statements get to the heart of the matter:

The first is that we must recognize that the Magisterium is the authentic judge of Apostolic Tradition—this means that the Magisterium is the one to tell us what belongs to Tradition. That is true. But obviously the Roman authorities want to utilize that to say: you recognize that, and therefore now we decide that the Council is traditional, and you have to accept it. And that, incidentally, is the second condition.

It is necessary for us to accept the fact that the Council is an integral part of Tradition, of Apostolic Tradition. But here we say that everyday observation proves to us the contrary. How could one say all at once that this Council is traditional? To be able to say such a thing, it is necessary to have completely changed the meaning of the term “Tradition”. And in fact we realize clearly that they have changed the meaning of the word “Tradition”; for it is not insignificant that at the Second Vatican Council they rejected the definition by Saint Vincent of Lérins, which is the altogether traditional definition: “That which was believed by all, everywhere, and always.”


Because, at the level of faith, we are entirely in agreement about the assistance of the Holy Ghost, but you have to open your eyes to what is happening in the Church! It is necessary to stop saying: the Church can do nothing bad, therefore the new Mass is good. It is necessary to stop saying: the Church cannot err, and therefore there is no error in the Council. But look at reality then!

The Vatican's response is the same as that of Ecclesia Dei in 1988:

"The root of this schismatic act can be discerned in an incomplete and contradictory notion of Tradition. Incomplete, because it does not take sufficiently into account the living character of Tradition . . . But especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishop of Rome and the Body of Bishops."

Woody said...

Bishop Fellay's call to adhere to Tradition has never resonated more strongly, I think with many of us than today, following the US elections in which 50% of Catholics voted for the adherent of intrinsic evil. One supposes, to be charitable, that they were ill informed as to what their consciences should have demanded of them, but it is this very fact that shouts that the wishy-washy compromising stance taken by our hierarchs (with a few exceptions) has only led the flock into gravely serious error. And yes, I know that there plenty of reasons not to like the losing candidate either (most of which I shared), but they were not proportionate reasons.

It is very instructed that Taylor Marshall posted the message linked to below, in response to this situation. He seems to have come farther toward Tradition, one might say, than where he was a few years ago.

http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-we-can-build-new-culture-and-new.html

Albertus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas E. Gullickson said...

I'd be grateful if anyone on either side of the aisle could explain how this type of discourse squares with the infallibility controversy at and after Vatican I. What ended up happening to the infallibility dissenters with time? Florence was perhaps an honest enough effort but...

New Catholic said...

Thank you once again for your visit, Most Rev. Archbishop.

Stephen said...

Albertus, nice Kipling comment. You are, may one infer, alluding to the fact these same arguments roughly the same that have been used by Rome for a thousand years in dialogue with the Christian East regarding the filioque?

poeta said...

"If this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it."

The council of Pope John or the work of Archbishop Lefebvre. Will one of these come to nought? We shall see.

Hilltop said...

May the SSPX maintain in its Fortitude! May the SSPX continue to attract and ordain soldier-Priests. And may its many chapels grow and spread. The Church needs the SSPX and needs more and more of its Priests!

NIANTIC said...

Obviously when dealing with Rome one gets different messages and signals. The reason is that there is NO UNITY amongst the Holy Father's collaborators(or in the rest of the Church). No unity in faith, liturgical practise, etc.
Neither does there seem to be a strong, authoritative papal voice at the top. So when all is in disarray how is it ever possible to have serious discussions and a real common goal to seek?

To this layman observer, now is not the time for these discussions. A new future crop of prelates, unburdened by the chains of Vll, may be more reliable partners. I council patience on the part of the SSPX. Hopefully healthy growth of new priests will continue and strenght in numbers may force Rome to take the matter more seriously.
God's Will shall be done one way or the other.

Matt said...

NIANTIC said, "A new future crop of prelates, unburdened by the chains of VII, may be more reliable partners."

As we see today the post-Conciliar Church carrying on unabated, who knows when that could possibly happen.

Ninantic, you did bring up a very cogent point, lack of unity in the Church, from the bottom to the top. The Heirarchy of the Church either is oblivious to this ongoing mess, or this is the result they desire. It's an either-or proposition. After fifty years of this, there is no other variable involved. Personally, I assert the latter from what I see.

Yes, I too, pray for a healthy growth of new SSPX priests who will continue and strengthen in numbers. From what the SSPX said itself in deciding to build a new seminary in Virginia, they are continuing in numbers and quality.

Ma Tucker said...

I think Bishop Fellay should be more discrete.

Templar said...

"Because, at the level of faith, we are entirely in agreement about the assistance of the Holy Ghost..."

If you think that the Holy Ghost plays any part in the modernist decisions of the Catholic Hierarchy post 1960, then you are missing the apocalypse entirely.

Jason C. said...

I think Bishop Fellay should be more discrete.

It might be imprudent but, as far as a strategy, I disagree--when faced with conflicting stories, and when you have nothing to lose from doing so, airing out what everyone's told you is the best way to clear the air.

McCallum said...

Bishop Fellay wrote:

"It is necessary to stop saying: the Church can do nothing bad, therefore the New Mass is good. It is necessary to stop saying: the Church cannot err; and therefore there is no error in the Council. But look at the reality then!"

So Bishop Fellay wants Rome to say that the Catholic Church (the one founded by Christ Himself) has erred and has done something bad. But wouldn't this be tantamount to saying that the Church has defected? I don't believe that Rome, or any Pope would ever say this. And why would the SSPX want them to? That's the real question.

If the SSPX wants Rome to say that the Church has erred before they consider reconciliation, then they will never reconcile.

j hughes dunphy said...

Sadly, the Council and its hierarchical representatives and operatives failed in the grevious sin of omission to govern, to teach, and to sanctify the faithful with the same virility of Tradition as in the past! Result: millions and millions of apostate Catholics and uninformed lukewarm Catholics today who 'play' church with their uninformed Catholic consciences as we all witnessed in the last election of incarnate evil over good.

j hughes dunphy http//:the orthodox roman catholic.com

Radik said...

"And here we reply: we cannot. That is all."
+Fellay

"Here I stand. I can do no other" Martin Luther

John McFarland said...

Dear Albertus,

You say:

"Isn't it rather ingenuous, to continue for so long a time to believe the rumours of ''some unofficial channels'', whilst the official channels keep stating the opposite? It sounds rather much like a game of wishful thinking. It seems clear to me now, that the Vatican under pope Benedict XVI still expects from the SSPX the exact same submission, that it expected from the beginning of the controversy under Paul VI, that it will keep on expecting in the future; it seems equally clear the the SSPX cannot submit without ipso facto giving up its raison d'etre. And so, as Kipling put it: East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet!"

Please read +Fellay's remarks again. These were not "rumors." These was another line of communication from people close to the Pope, of which HE (who is no tyro in dealing with Rome) says that "it was impossible for me to doubt its authenticity." Recall that at least one of the messengers was a cardinal.

(I would add that if you think that deals don't sometimes get done through the back door, it's you and not +Fellay who are ingenuous.)

The charge of wishful thinking against +Fellay could hardly be more at variance with the facts. In previous remarks, +Fellay has said that it would have been easier for both the Pope and him not to have pursued the possibility of a no doctrinal strings regularization; but that the Pope wanted it, and so he judged himself obliged to pursue it. It was also clear that he never considered success a foregone conclusion -- and now we know better why. The overtures from the Pope began even before the SSPX received the famed September 2011 Doctrinal Preamble, and encouraging words were still coming from the other line of communication even after the CDF's fire-breathing March 16 letter.

As for never the twain shall meet and all that, I'd recall a relevant observation from an authoritative source: "non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum" (Lk 1:37). So let us keep on praying that the Lord will end this unprecedented crisis.

AS said...

I am, like many traditional Catholics, in a difficult spot vis-a-vis the SSPX. On the one hand, I support them as a safe "parking spot" for traditional Catholic devotions, liturgy, practices, theology and (above all) Catholic identity. In their families and priories they are keeping alive very important things that get lost even in one generation (e.g. Processions, proper formation and catechism, etc.). One day, I predict, the Church will "want itself back again" and the Society will be where it will have to go to get it.

On the other hand, having attempted at one point to fit in with the Society, I can tell you that there is a very real spirit of disobedience that is de facto sede (not the clergy so much, but a significant number of the laity and religious). By that I mean that, irrespective of circumstances, many reject the very notion of being placed under ANY authority. I took this to be a natural fruit of the original "disobedience" of the Society. Those who genuinely desire a reconciliation have in very large part already moved on and are now with the FSSP and other ED communities. And the trajectory for those left is...not good (personal opinion only).

For me, the bottom line is this: I want them reconciled, but not if it means the destruction of what they're keeping safe for my children and their children. I want them to build their new seminary and make many, many priests. I have (and will continue) to financially support them. But I will not integrate my family into what I found was a disturbing environment in the pews.

I wish them well, and I want them back.

John McFarland said...

Dear McCallum,

You ask:

"So Bishop Fellay wants Rome to say that the Catholic Church (the one founded by Christ Himself) has erred and has done something bad. But wouldn't this be tantamount to saying that the Church has defected?"

The brief answer is: no.

To say that the Church is indefectible is to say that it will last until the end of time. Error by those entrusted with teaching the truth does not destroy the Church.

Nor were any of the errors of Vatican II pronounced with the intent of teaching infallibly.

John McFarland said...

Dear Radik,

When you can demonstrate that Dignitatis humanae or Redintegratio unitatis or the doctrine of collegiality can be squared with pre-1962 doctrine, then you can wave Martin Luther at us.

As Archbishop Lefebvre used to say: all you have to do is look in the (pre-Vatican II) catechism. This is not rocket science.

Malta said...

Radik:

The difference being of course that Luther claimed to have "farting matches" with the devil, claimed that Angels danced on needles every time a Jew farts; was a drunkard, married a nun, called the Gospel of John a "Gospel of Straw", and otherwise ridiculed Traditional Catholicism. To compare +Fellay with Luther is an insult and an outrage.

Thank you Sir.

Barbara said...

"There are men at the Vatican who are doing everything they can to put down the Pope’s projects.” And this one: “Do not fear; afterward you will be able to continue to attack as much as you want, just like now.”

Quite shocking! If true - this is game-playing with immortal souls....woe betide the game-players! You don't need to be a St. John the Baptist to figure that out!

But then in true Catholic fashion Bishop Fellay says:

"That is the beauty of the Church, this terrifying, extraordinary combat with the forces of evil in which the Church finds herself, and even in this state of terrible suffering in which she is today, she is still capable of transmitting the faith, of transmitting grace, the sacraments. And if we give them—these sacraments and this faith—it is through this Church, it is in the name of this Church, it is as instruments and members of the Catholic Church that we do so."

Yes. I undestand a little better now why the FSSPX are waiting for the right offer that they can't refuse....I say a Memorare every day for this intention - we need more most urgently Traditional Catholic Priests!

Barbara

Catholic Mission said...

According to the Catholic apologist John Martigioni Vatican Council II does not contradict extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors. This is relevant for the SSPX.

Implicit intention, invincible ignorance and a good conscience (LG 16)etc in Vatican Council II do not contradict extra ecclesiam nulla salus says John Martigioni.

John Martigioni the well known Catholic apologist has answered the two important questions cited on Rorate Caaeli and which was answered by priests at a conference in Italy recently.

Martigioni has said that in the year 2012 we cannot know any one saved in invincible ignorance, the baptism of desire, a good conscience, seeds of the word (AG 7), imperfect communion with the Church. Also that these cases annot be considered exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the Syllabus of Errors.

In e-mail messages to me John Martigioni who is also the Director of the Office of the New Evangelisation and Stewardship, Diocese of Birmingham,USA wrote

Even if we could know, in this lifetime, which we can’t, that someone has been saved even though they were invincibly ignorant, or if someone has been saved through the Baptism of Desire, etc., it would not be an exception to extra ecclesiam nulla salus. This is because they would be saved through the Church by some extraordinary means known unto God alone. So, it would still be that outside the Church, there is no salvation.

A member of the Diocesan Staff under Bishop Robert J.Baker he observed ‘How can zero cases of something be considered exceptions?’

I wrote:You would also agree that since implicit intention, invincible ignorance and a good conscience(LG 16) are possibilities mentioned in Vatican Council II and not defacto,known exceptions to the dogma, so Vatican Council II in these cases does not contradict extra ecclesiam nulla salus ?

He replied,'Yes, I agree that none of those things would contradict extra ecclesiam nulla salus.'
-Lionel Andrades




Director of the Office of the New Evangelization and Stewardship,Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama,USA
2121 3rd Ave. N.
P.O. Box 12047
Birmingham, AL 35202-2047
Phone: ( 205) 776-7163
Email: jmartignoni@bhmdiocese.org
http://www.bhmdiocese.org/content.asp?id=312559

Giles said...

Catholic Mission:

The problem with the analysis you have passed on is that it begins to be assumed that every "good" non-Catholic is saved.

Can anyone be termed "good" who dies in mortal sin? Without the Sacrament of Penance, it would be naive to believe that most people die without deliberate mortal sin on their souls. Also, the great spiritual writers were clear about the effects of habitually committed mortal sin. What often passes for the description of a "good" non-Catholic is the quality of "niceness." Nice doesn't cut it.

Nor can Mr. Martigioni know the graces for conversion which were offered and rejected by every person who dies without the Sacrament of Baptism.

Much is presumed by Mr. Martigioni's analysis: FAR too much.

Radik said...

Dear John McFarland,

You ask me to "demonstrate that Dignitatis humanae or Redintegration unitatis or the doctrine of collegiality can be squared with pre-1962 doctrine."

In reply to this I would like to point out that a believing Catholic presumes that the Church is right, and that those, who doubt the Ordinary Magisterium of Holy Mother Church are wrong.

So, I ask you in turn to show me which parts of these documents are in contradiction to infallible Catholic Dogma.

But if you resist the Vicar of Christ, who was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, because you think that there is an inconsistency in the ordinary magisterium, then may the good Lord have mercy on you, brother.


Dear Malta,

You are right: There are huge differences between despicable Luther, a tool of the devil or maybe even a devil in human form, and +Fellay, who, I think, would be a holy man, if his virtue of obedience and humility were more perfect.

But I have never heard of any saint, who attained sainthood by resisting his bishop or the Holy Father.

You know, that we have to deny ourselves in order to reach salvation.

Giles said...

Catholic Mission:

Permit me to add another observation. The Church has always taught that it was POSSIBLE for a soul to be saved who died outside the Catholic Church. But it never presumed it was PROBABLE. Hence the great missionary efforts of the Church.

Since Vatican II, the Church has acted as if MOST are saved. Without putting too fine a point on it (and I use the example only because it is so illustrative) but take the example of Pope John Paul II addressing voodoo priests in Africa -- and telling them to go back and be faithful to the practice of their religious traditions (even though not a few of them worship the demonic). The presumption was that faithful ignorance suffices for salvation.

I've had many an argument with those devoted to the position of Father Feeney (who, by the way, stated that he did NOT know whether or not "justification" without water baptism was sufficient for salvation). To their intransigence on the strict necessity of water baptism, I respond that it's best to say, if asked, that one does not know if a good Muslim next door neighbor who died without Baptism was saved. One could say that there was no reason to believe so, but that we must leave the judgment to God.

AS said...

M. MacFarland wrote: "As Archbishop Lefebvre used to say: all you have to do is look in the (pre-Vatican II) catechism. This is not rocket science."

Then why did he sign the V2 documents? Are you suggesting the Abp did not read them? I have often wondered about that. Was the SSPX split truly about V2 or something that happened later? Or was it just the ecclesiastical equivalent of buyer's remorse?

David of Glasgow said...

But if you resist the Vicar of Christ, who was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, because you think that there is an inconsistency in the ordinary magisterium, then may the good Lord have mercy on you, brother.


The term "ordinary magisterium" is equivocal since it can refer to two logically distinct things: (1) the authority of the Pope, and the Bishops in communion with him, to teach and (2) the totality of those inerrant teachings that have been taught "always, everywhere, and by all". So, we have the distinction between authority and infallibility, between the magisterium as the subject that teaches and magisterium as the object that is infallibly taught.

Not all that the magisterium as subject teaches is infallible and assent may without temerity be withheld if a novel teaching is intrinsically unclear or gives every appearance of contradicting prior, more authoritative teaching.

Jon said...

Malta,

It wasn't the Gospel of John.

Luther called the Epistle of St. James an "epistle of straw," because of James' evident contradiction to Luther's theory of sola fide.

Brian said...

Sadly, I say that there are two things about which our Holy Father has deeply grieved me:

1. His failure to simply declare that the SSPX is Catholic with fully licit and valid sacraments.

2. His failure to unambiguously state that it is grievously wrong to vote for a political candidate that openly supports legalized murder of the unborn.

FranzJosf said...

Here's the thing. Anything the SSPX is saying would have been fine in 1905, 1925, or 1945. But suddenly after 1965 you can't say certain things anymore? It's that simple.
And ridiculous on the part of the Holy See. Meanwhile any number of heretics can be found amongst Redemptorists, for example, who enjoy full communion and canonical regularity. The Holy See is unjust to the SSPX. It's that simple.

John McFarland said...

Dear AS,

You say:

'M. MacFarland [sic]wrote: "As Archbishop Lefebvre used to say: all you have to do is look in the (pre-Vatican II) catechism. This is not rocket science."

Then why did he sign the V2 documents? Are you suggesting the Abp did not read them? I have often wondered about that. Was the SSPX split truly about V2 or something that happened later? Or was it just the ecclesiastical equivalent of buyer's remorse?'

Archbishop Lefebvre was the de facto leader of the tooth and nail fight against the major errors of V2: religious liberty, collegiality, and ecumenism; and those continued to be his focus once he started publicly criticizing them in the 1970s.

He signed the documents as an act of loyalty to the Pope. (His own recollection was that he hadn't signed Lumen gentium and Dignitatis humanae. Perhaps there was a mixup, or perhaps his memory was playing him tricks.) The idea that his signing represented a blanket acceptance of whatever documents he intended to sign would have got quite a laugh from his friends and foes at the Council.

You should also bear in mind that his mindset, like that of all loyal Catholics, was of obedience to the Church and above all to the Pope. It took a while for him to sort out the basis on which he should stand up for the faith. Many people, including those who sincerely and accurately call themselves traditionalists, still haven't figured it out.

The Archbishop was an exceptionally wise, brave, talented and holy man. If God had not raised him up, where would we be?

John McFarland said...

Dear David of Glasgow,

The additional term that helps clarify things is "authentic magisterium" -- that is, those teachings of the hierarchy meant to be authoritative.

"Ordinary" is a subset of "authentic." The "ordinary and universal" magisterium is infallible. Unfortunately, I don't have a handle on what "ordinary" by itself means.

McCallum said...

John McFarland wrote:

"To say that the Church is indefectible is to say that it will last until the end of time. Error by those entrusted with teaching the truth does not destry the Church."

Mr McFarland, Bp. Fellay does not refer in the aforementioned quote to "those entrusted with teaching the truth." Rather, he says that the Church has erred. As in the Catholic Church has promulagted error. But as the Church is indefectible, she cannot promulgate error. Why would Bp. Fellay say, in effect, that the Church has erred, and that the Rome won't admit it?

Picard said...

McCallum:

But, as Mr. McFarl. rightly said, if members of the (authentic or "oridnary") magisterium err that does NOT amount to an error of the Church.

Here is your non-sequitur.

So the the members of the magisterium might have erred - but that does not mean the Church has erred.

The Church would only have erred if this members had spoken infallibly. Then we would have ordinary and universal magisterium, that is infallible - and would exclude any error.

But if this members do not speak infallibly (and they did not), they are only acting as fallible authentic magisterium. So the Church did NOT err whilst they erred in their authentic acts and teachings.

That is a clear and very important distinction, many times here presented on Rorate, also with many quotes from Catholic manuals etc. - but that authors like K. Gurries seem to neglect resp. reject, but with no convincing arguments (I have not seen any argument that has more weight than a more or less - I would say very less - probable theological opinion).

Picard said...

McCallum:

And Bf. Fellay never said that the Church can err.

He said quite the opposite:
That some persons (like you or K. Gurries etc.) make the false syllogism:
(1)the Church can not err,
(2) Vat.II is a Church-teaching
so (3) Vat. II did not err.

This it was he rejects, or better: he does not reject the first premise but the conclusion (by rejecting/modifying the second premise) - with the arguments I provided in my last point (resp. he admits that it is some real problem and we perhaps do not have all cogent arguments yet but we will find them by theological reflection upon the principles and facts - because contra factum not valet argumentum!)

Jean-Francois said...

But suddenly after 1965 you can't say certain things anymore? It's that simple.

What exactly can't the SSPX say anymore that they could have before 1965?

The SSPX has issues with DH particularly the passage regarding one being forced to act contrary to one's conscience as they say it is in contradiction with papal documents prior to it. Can anyone show me a papal document which states specifically that a person can be coerced to act against their conscience?

John McFarland said...

Dear Jean-Francois,

You say:

"The SSPX has issues with DH particularly the passage regarding one being forced to act contrary to one's conscience as they say it is in contradiction with papal documents prior to it. Can anyone show me a papal document which states specifically that a person can be coerced to act against their conscience?"

You misunderstand the issue.

The Church has never approved forced conversions. What is has always argued is that the civil authorities are obliged to prevent the public practice of false religions, subject to considerations of prudence.

By contrast, DH certainly argues that everyone has the right to the public practice of false religions, and to the protection of the civil authorities in that practice. Many have tried argue that that's not what DH says. But that's what it says, all right, and that's how the post-V2 church has always construed it.

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

The Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, has clearly instructed the Superior of the SSPX that he must sign a certain profession of faith in order to be reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church. The Superior, SSPX Bishop Fellay, has responded, "No." That is his right, that is his choice - made freely, without coercion, (this is also clear by Bishop Fellay's long and detailed explanation of why he feels he must continue to oppose the will of the Holy Pontiff). To deny the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass is not only a gravely sinful act, it is unquestionably an act of heresy. Also - the Church does not teach, and has never taught, that a soul can be forced against its will to accept and follow the Roman Catholic Faith. She does teach, however, that in order to be identified as Roman Catholic, a soul must submit to the Holy Pontiff and to the bishops in communion with him. It seems clear to me that the Magisterium and the Holy Pontiff have one idea of what constitutes "Tradition" and the SSPX has another. It is apparent that, after over two years of intense discussions, these two distinct beliefs are irreconcilable. Bishop Fellay and the SSPX cannot reconcile with the Catholic Church without going against their consciences. This is their official position. The ball is now back in Rome's court. We who are traditionalist Roman Catholics, and who have remained within the Church, have a serious obligation to stand firmly against acts of heresy and grave public sin when we observe them being practiced by individual Catholic priests and even bishops. But under no circumstances does their heresy or sin justify our leaving the fold, thus cutting ourselves off from the Sanctifying Grace that flows to us through the valid and legitimate Sacraments of the Church, nor does their heresy justify taking a stand in direct opposition to the Holy Pontiff. We Catholic traditionalists are not blind to the errors and corruption within the Church that Bishop Fellay criticizes so frequently, and we struggle against them - sometimes at great personal sacrifice - but from within the Church. These deeply wrong acts of heresy and corruption within the Church still do not justify creating an official schism. In fact, they do not come close - they pale in comparison, as do most sins. There are few acts that earn a soul more serious consequences than splitting the Mystical Body of Christ.

John McFarland said...

Dear McCallum,

You say:

'Bp. Fellay does not refer in the aforementioned quote to "those entrusted with teaching the truth." Rather, he says that the Church has erred. As in the Catholic Church has promulagted error. But as the Church is indefectible, she cannot promulgate error. Why would Bp. Fellay say, in effect, that the Church has erred, and that the Rome won't admit it?'

I am not sure that it is proper to say that "the Church" has promulgated error.

But I am quite sure that the V2 fathers adopted and Pope Paul ratified documents that contained errors, and they of course held the teaching authority of the Church on earth.

Furthermore, "indefectibility" does not means freedom from all error. Otherwise, what would be the point of the doctrine of infallibility, much less the point of Vatican I's defining it so narrowly? Indefectibility means that the Church will last until the end of time.

Catholic Mission said...

Giles,
The issue is not regarding good or not good non Catholics but that the baptism of desire is no explicit execption to the dogma.

He is not discussing theologically if the baptism of desire results in justification or justification and salvation. He is saying the baptism of desire is not relevant to the dogma.Since 'zero cases of something are not exceptions.'

Jean-Francois said...

@John McFarland
By contrast, DH certainly argues that everyone has the right to the public practice of false religions, and to the protection of the civil authorities in that practice. Many have tried argue that that's not what DH says. But that's what it says, all right, and that's how the post-V2 church has always construed it.


Umm, no it doesn't say that and just because you say it does, doesn't make it so. There is also an important qualifier in that paragraph that says, "within reasonable limits." In its attempt to clarify and develop a point did it instead cloud it and leave open the possible misinterpretation that you state? I believe it does. But I do not think it breaks with traditional teaching in such ways to justify the SSPX refusal to be fully united within the Church.

BTW, how about answering my first question posed in my post?

Dismas said...

Dear Bernadette O'Hanlan -

"...to be identified as Roman Catholic, a soul must submit to the Holy Pontiff and to the bishops in communion with him."

"We who are traditionalist Roman Catholics, and who have remained within the Church, have a serious obligation to stand firmly against acts of heresy and grave public sin when we observe them being practiced by individual Catholic priests and even bishops. But under no circumstances does their heresy or sin justify our leaving the fold, thus cutting ourselves off from the Sanctifying Grace that flows to us through the valid and legitimate Sacraments of the Church, nor does their heresy justify taking a stand in direct opposition to the Holy Pontiff."

Well said, very well said indeed. Clearly, within the SSPX the spirit of Luther disguised in a facade of tradition continues very much alive and well to be sure.

I would hope you save your comment, continue to improve upon it and repost as necessary in the future. I find your insight to the problem most succinct and clear.

Dave K said...

The SSPX does not appreciate the fact that Vat2 belongs to the supreme ordinary Magisterium and as such is binding on the faithful. Their refusal to accept its teaching because it avoided issuing any solemn dogmatic definitions which, by themselves, carry the note of infallibility confuses the form a teaching takes with authority on which it rests. Catholics are bound to believe all that the Church puts forward to be believed as revealed truth, either in a solemn judgement or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium. The SSPX needs to understand that they are not the final authority on the rule of Faith. This is the job of the living Magisterium (the Pope and bishops in union with him). The refusal by the SSPX to be governed by the legitimate authorities in the Church proves their schimatic and perhaps heretical tendencies.

Giles said...

Catholic Mission:

I don't understand your last statement. But I've had a tough day (so, perhaps my fault).

However, this statement of mine still stands:

The Church has always taught that it was POSSIBLE for a soul to be saved who died outside the Catholic Church. But it never presumed it was PROBABLE. Hence the great missionary efforts of the Church.

Michael said...

Dave K,

You said: SSPX does not appreciate the fact that Vat2 belongs to the supreme ordinary Magisterium and as such is binding on the faithful...Catholics are bound to believe all that the Church puts forward to be believed as revealed truth

Pope Paul VI disagrees with you (emphasis added in this and the next):

"There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the Church’s infallible teaching authority. The answer is known by those who remember the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964. In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided proclaiming in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility." (12/1/1966)

And Cardinal Ratzinger (now the pope):

"The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of 'superdogma' which takes away the importance of all the rest." (address to bishops of Chile, July 1988)

Not every teaching of Vatican II falls under the ordinary and universal Magisterium. It would be absurd, for instance, to claim that ecumenism, which was condemned by Pius XI (see Mortalium Animos) is something the Church "put forward to be believed as revealed truth." In fact, then-Fr. Ratzinger actually admitted plainly that ecumenism cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament:

"The ecumenical movement grew out of a situation unknown to the New Testament and for which the New Testament can therefore offer no guidelines." ("Theological Highlights of Vatican II," by Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, pg. 72)

I suggest that you retract your calumnious statement about the Society of St. Pius X's "schismatic tendencies," as well as correct your own false understanding of the authority of the Second Vatican Council.

Michael said...

Giles:

You said: The Church has always taught that it was POSSIBLE for a soul to be saved who died outside the Catholic Church.

No, this is not correct at all. The Fourth Lateran Council taught the following, infallibly (my italics): "There is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved."

"No one at all" means just what it says: no one at all.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that if a man is invincibly ignorant of the true Faith but follows the natural law and avoids mortal sin, then God, Whose providence extends to all things, will find a way to enlighten that man and bring him to the true Faith, either by illuminating his mind miraculously, or by sending him a preacher, or even, if necessary, sending him an angel from Heaven. And we know of the two recorded cases of invincible ignorance in Sacred Scripture (the eunuch from Ethiopia, Acts chapter 8, and Cornelius the centurion, Acts chapter 10), in both cases God did not leave those men permanently in ignorance, but, seeing that they desired to follow the truth, He sent them means to bring them to the truth.

So it false to say that anyone at all will ever be saved outside the Church. See Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton's book "The Catholic Church and Salvation" for a fuller explanation. If a man makes it to Heaven, then that means God somehow brought him inside the Church before he died. It may not have happened until the final instants of that man's life, it may not have been observed by any person around him, as happened with the Jewish mother of Ven. Fr. Hermann Cohen, who was converted in the final seconds of her life (see here: http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20070225-Father-Augustine-Marie-of-the-Most-Blessed-Sacrament-part-2.html), but if the man is saved, then he died inside the Church. That's a dogma of the Faith (cf. Mark 16:16).

Jordanes551 said...

Michael, your quotes only show that Vatican II did not proclaim in an extraordinary manner any dogmas carrying the mark of infallibility. They do not show that Vatican II does not belong to the supreme ordinary magisterium (which can be either fallible or infallible).

Long-Skirts said...

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

"and to the bishops in communion with him."

Have you had children in the Catholic Schools? Have you read the outrageous so-called-catechisms they are teaching in the Catholic schools? At least in America? They are heretical.

The last time I dealt with a so-called-religious nun was before I decided to put my children in an SSPX School. I asked the "nun" what their Novus Ordo Parish did for Catechism during the summer months and she told me, "we suggest that the children attend the Lutheran Vacation Bible School classes down the street."

I said, "But Sister, they're heretics."

"Oh, no." She said, "We don't say that anymore."

When I said, "Well, I'm going to put my children in the SSPX School's Sunday Baltimore Catechism Classes." Her response was, "Oh, but they're schismatics."

I replied, "Oh, Sister...we don't say that anymore."

THE
CATHOLIC
KNEELERS

We are St. Joan,
Philomena, Campion
The Faith in its whole
Is what we do champion.

We are St. Margaret,
Pearl of York
Where the bowels of the Faith
They tried to torque.

We are Sir More,
That's Thomas the Saint
Whose reputation
They could not taint.

We are vocations
Catholics kneeling
Adoring His presence
It's not just a feeling.

We are descendents
Of Catholics and beggin'
To stop all the men
Who are turning us pagan!

We are the poor,
Uneducated ones
But in faith well-informed
The heretic shuns.

And when we are told,
"Don't kneel anymore."
Since we don't hold doctorates...
We kneel and IGNORE!!

Michael said...

Jordanes,

I was commenting in reply to Dave K, who stated that Vatican II "belongs to the supreme ordinary Magisterium and as such is binding on the faithful," and that Catholics must believe "all that the Church puts forward to be believed as revealed truth, either in a solemn judgement or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium."

The implication in Dave K's comment is that, without distinction, Vatican II "binds" the faithful, that its teachings are evidently all part of revealed truth (which is manifestly false, as even then-Fr. Ratzinger conceded), and that its teachings without distinction belong to the "supreme ordinary Magisterium" (which his remarks don't seem to distinguish from the "ordinary and universal Magisterium"; at least, I seem to recall people identifying the two. If I have misinterpreted his intention there then I am quite willing to be corrected; if he wishes to distinguish the two, it would be best to do so explicitly, for the rest of his comment does not lend itself to that interpretation).

Dave K went on to accuse the entire Society, apparently on the basis of the above, of having "schismatic and perhaps heretical tendencies." My quotes were to show him that his remarks are simply false. Moreover, he begs the question by doing exactly what Bishop Fellay correctly said ought not to be done in discussions of Vatican II, namely, assuming (not proving) that everything emanating from this Council carries the certain and unquestionable mark of the Church's authority, such that nothing in it can be dissented from or accused of departure from Tradition without "erecting one's own Magisterium." This is the same tired and timeworn accusation that many neo-conservative opponents of the Society trot out when they cannot address the Society's serious and often worthwhile criticisms of the doctrinal aberrations following upon Vatican II. If the Society's arguments against Vatican II were manifestly at variance with traditional Catholic teaching, well-informed conservative critics should and would be able to present simple refutations of those arguments by pointing to the specific misuses or trangressions of teaching of which the Society was guilty. The fact that they effectively never do this, but instead resort to baseless insinuations of schism/Protestantism/being-your-own-Magisterium/(insert substanceless insult of choice), is a clear proof that they aren't offering those rebuttals because they don't exist.

Dave K said...

Micheal,
Here is what Pope PaulVI had to say about the teachings of Vat 2 on Jan 12, 1966, “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statement of dogmas that would be endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary magisterium. This ordinary magisterium , which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents.” So, there you have it. Vat 2 belongs to the ordinary magisterium of the Church and must be accepted as such by the faithful. This has been the position of every Pope who followed Paul VI.

Catholic Mission said...


There is an article on religious liberty written by Padre ANgelo Fiorentino in Il Settimanale di Padre Pio ( Liberta Religiosa equivoca da risolvere Nov.4,2012 p. 19-20). In his catechesis he says that the concept of religious liberty today is frightening, when it is used to challenge the concept of God, Faith and the Catholic Church.We need to find the true significance of this expression he writes, so that we can respect the other religions,without sacrificing the unicity of the Truth in the Catholic Church; the one, true Faith.

Padre Angelo Fiorentino of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate,Italy had written an article in an earlier edition of this magazine in which he did not affirm the literal interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.He assumed that there were known exceptions in the present times to that ancient teaching that comes to us from Jesus,through the Bible.So with this limitation he appoaches the issue of religious liberty.


We respect the dignity of all people and we love them all as Jesus asks of us.We acknowledge their legal freedom in a state with a seclular Constituion, to live their faith freely.However we have the moral right as Catholics, to affirm the Catholic Faith outside of which there is no salvation.(AG 7,LG 14, Vatican Council II).We know that the different religions and sects are not paths to go to Heaven and to avoid Hell(AG7).

So according to Catholic Faith, Truth demands that we say that we oppose religious liberty for non Catholics, in the sense, that they are false paths to salvation.Since these religions though possibly containing good and holy things (Nostra Aetate, Vatican Council II) will not take their members to eternal happiness.If they do not convert into the Catholic Church they will experience eternal pain and suffering in Hell.Truth obliges us Catholics to say this.

So while religious liberty in a secular state is legal, morally a Catholic cannot approve a mosque , synagogue or temple. Since these are signs of eternal death according to the Catholic Faith, which says Jesus died for all but to receive this salvation all need to respond by entering the Catholic Church (Dominus Iesus 20). The Church is necessary for salvation and is the ordinary means of salvation. (Redemptoris Missio 55).

We do not force anyone not to follow his conscience or freely not to express his religion(CCC 2106). However we have the right to proclaim our faith with religious liberty.

Even though their religions may put them in contact with God (Dignitatis Humanae 2) we respect there religions according to the legal norms (CCC 2109) and we know they are false paths to salvation.

Padre Angelo says all are called to find the truth, specially in things regarding God and His Chruch, and whenever they know it, accept it and hold on to it.

While we discover and affirm the love and truth and good in every person we need to affirm he writes, that the unique and true religion exists in the apostolic Catholic Church-Lionel Andrades

Giles said...

Michael,

Thank you for your correction.

I'm afraid I was speaking in a rather pedestrian manner (not making the proper distinctions). I accept everything you said in "12 November, 2012 04:02."

Giles

David of Glasgow said...

The SSPX does not appreciate the fact that Vat2 belongs to the supreme ordinary Magisterium and as such is binding on the faithful. Their refusal to accept its teaching because it avoided issuing any solemn dogmatic definitions which, by themselves, carry the note of infallibility confuses the form a teaching takes with authority on which it rests. Catholics are bound to believe all that the Church puts forward to be believed as revealed truth, either in a solemn judgement or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium. The SSPX needs to understand that they are not the final authority on the rule of Faith. This is the job of the living Magisterium (the Pope and bishops in union with him). The refusal by the SSPX to be governed by the legitimate authorities in the Church proves their schimatic and perhaps heretical tendencies.

Sigh. I don't know why DaveK repeatedly promotes this a-theological, a-historical (and un-Catholic) ideology that would make of any Catholic a "schismatic" or "heretic" who respectfully withholds assent from teaching that is intrinsically unclear or gives every appearance of contradicting prior, more authoritative teaching. See this thread.

Dave K said...

David of Glasgow,
Sigh. What is a-theological or a-historical about repeating what every Pope since PaulVI has said about the necessity of accepting the teachings of Vat2 as part of the doctrinal patrimony of the Church? The SSPX now says they are back to square one with Rome. Yes, the problem all along has been their refusal to accept the teaching of a legitimate ecumenical council and their refusal to obey the Pope in matters involving the faith, government and discipline of the Church.
As I tried to point out in my previous posts, Catholics must accept the teachings of the Church to the extent the Church demands their assent. Not all teaching is on the same theological level. Never the less, teaching proposed for belief through the ordinary Magisterium (the Pope and bishops in union with him) requires assent even though it might be that of a lower level of theological certitude. This is because they are the authentic teachers of the Faith and the opinions of others don’t matter.
Rome is well aware of the objections of the SSPX to Vat2. They have received the same answer from the Pope every time they have had negotiations. They must accept the teachings of the council and respect the authority of the Pope by submitting their will to his will or they will be considered outside the visible structure of the Church. Rome is simply asking for the bare minimum required of any Catholic who really desires membership in the Church.

Michael said...

Dave K,

You seemingly accuse the SSPX of refusing to accept Catholic teaching. Can you identify by name a single Catholic doctrine which the SSPX deny? I don't think you can, because there isn't one. There aren't any "teachings" of the council which are real teachings which the SSPX doesn't already accept. Does the Council teach the divinity of Christ? Excellent; the SSPX believes that.

Does the Council teach that the Bible is inerrant? Good: the Society believes that.

Does the Council teach that the Holy Spirit uses false religions as means of salvation (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio)? Well the Society can't be blamed for rejecting that, since it seems to run counter to what the Church has already declared (cf. Florence on the fact that false religions cannot be means of salvation).


It's simply not credible to accuse someone of unjustifiable "disobedience" for refusing assent to something which manifestly contradicts past teaching. To take just one example, Vatican II's Nostra Aetate states that the Church "regards with sincere reverence" false religions which reject her own teaching. But the Church has repeatedly denied this very fact constantly over the centuries, from the early Church with the apostle St. Peter, the first pope, denouncing false religions as "sects of perdition" (2 Peter 2:1), to Bl. Pius IX's Syllabus, to St. Pius X's condemnation of Modernism, to Leo XIII's teaching the Catholic religion alone is true (cf. Sapientiae Christianae, n. 34), to Pius XI's explicit identification of non-Catholic religions as false religions (cf. Quas Primas), etc, etc.

To see the sort of contradiction the SSPX is referring to, compare:

"Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial...”—Pope Leo XIII (Custodi di quella fede)

vs.

"We have a single goal and a shared intention, but we will pray in different ways, respecting one another’s religious traditions.”—Pope John Paul II (Assisi, Jan. 24, 2002).

(to be cont'd)

Michael said...

(cont'd)



And I could go on and on and on with similar examples of manifest, undeniable, unavoidable contradiction between what the preconciliar popes said and did and what some of the postconciliar popes have done. Do you want me to multiply examples? Because I certainly could, and so could Bishop Fellay.

Thus Bishop Fellay is absolutely right, and you still haven't refuted him, when he points out that reality is what it is, that if a clear contradiction exists--and it does--it won't do to make blind and vacuous appeals to the Church's authority, that the very fact of contradiction means that you can't invoke the Church's authority, since to invoke it here would mean that the Church had contradicted her own teaching.

So you are left with these options: the Church was wrong for 2,000 years, in teaching the things which the postconciliar zeitgeist has rejected (which means the Church has defected). Or else the SSPX is right: the Church's 2,000 year-long infallible teaching was right, which means that today's authorities (including popes) who fallibly teach certain contrary errors are just that: fallible. And that takes nothing from the Church's indefectibility, but rather protects it, by pointing out that once the Church has taught something definitively, no one, including a pope, can ever change it. This simply means accepting the fact that not everything which comes forth from a pope's mouth, or from an ecumenical council, is incapable of being wrong. Why you would accuse the Society of St. Pius X for "schismatic tendencies" for recognizing such an obvious fact is beyond me, but I repeat what I said before in identifying your spurious accusations as false.

Bridgette O'Hanlan said...

I am very familiar with the heresies that we are up against today, that have infiltrated so many of our parishes and many of our Catholic schools. I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end. But I have stood my ground. And I have taught my children to stand their ground. When I identify a heresy that is being taught, I move against it, using all the skills, talents and determination that Our Good Lord has given me in order that I do just that. I keep my eye on the true Enemy, the one that is NOT of the human variety. Our Adversary will stop at nothing to separate souls from Grace. As parents we will be called to account for placing the souls in our charge outside of the Roman Catholic Church. There is a supernatural dimension to this it has to do with the flow of Sanctifying Grace. Although the SSPX priests have valid orders, and the power to validly confect most Sacraments, they are strictly forbidden from doing so, under penalty of grave (mortal) sin, just as they are forbidden from offering public Masses, again under the penalty of grave sin. The Sacraments of Penance and Holy Matrimony, when attempted by SSPX priests, are not only illicit, they are invalid. This means that the SSPX priests do not have the power to validly confect these Holy Sacraments, unless, in the case of Penance, there is a real danger of death. There are beautiful, traditionalist communities all across the United States, and they are flourishing. If you don't live near one - MOVE. That is what our forefathers did. God provides! Almost two decades ago, when my little Goddaughter was only 8, she was preparing to make her First Holy Communion in a Novus Ordo parish outside of their SSPX community. The priest they had chosen was very holy and his Catholic Faith was beyond reproach. Before the Mass, I prayed with her, and then I asked her if she had any questions. Tearfully she looked up at me and told me that she would not be receiving Our Lord that day. Astonished, I asked her why she would say such a thing. She responded "Father Scott (SSPX) told us that the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid." These were the exact words used by an eight year old child. I looked her straight in the eyes and told her that I was her Godmother, and that the Holy Father himself had said that the Novus Ordo Mass was valid - that she was not to worry. Without missing a beat, as if she had heard this argument a thousand times before, she countered - "Well, Father Scott told us that the Holy Father can make mistakes, and he made a mistake when he said that." Today, she will not receive Holy Communion at a non-SSPX Mass, because she still believes it is invalid and a sacrilege to do so. So, yes, I am watching with rapt attention what SSPX Bishop Fellay will say in writing, publicly, to the Vicar of Christ on Earth, regarding the "legitimacy" or validity of the Roman Catholic Mass. Yes, we are living in difficult times, and the situation is not going to change over night. But, trust that it WILL change. I never dreamed I would see Summorum Pontificum in my lifetime. God will never abandon His own - N E V E R. Trust in Him, and stay with the Church that He founded.

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

PS I wear long skirts, too...

Dismas said...

Dear Bridgette O'Hanlan - may God increase the power and beauty of your witness to the true faith of our Church one thousand fold.

Please be confident of my prayers for both you and your Goddaughter. Clearly, as evidenced in the following video, the prudence and modesty represented in the wearing of Long-Skirts can be usurped:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK0gYi1YEZ8

David of Glasgow said...

Dave K

Since the novel teachings of the Second Vatican Council and after neither possess the notes that identify a teaching as belonging to the Extraordinary Magisterium nor were an iteration of that which was taught "always, everywhere, and by all" that identify a teaching as belonging to the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium we must accord them the status of teachings of the authentic magisterium. This means that that they have no claim to infallibility and a Catholic may, without temerity, withhold assent to them if (1) they are intrinsically unclear or (2) give every appearance of contradicting prior, more authoritative teaching.

One such case in hand is that of Ad totam ecclesiam (AAS 1967) which explicitly contradicts the perennial teaching of the Church that a Catholic may never actively participate in non-Catholic worship since to do so is against Natural and Divine Law. In this article the author demonstrates that for centuries the Holy Office, then an organ of the
magisterium, taught

...that participation in schismatic and heretic worship is "universally prohibited by natural and divine law...[from which] no one has the power to dispense ...
[and with respect to this articipation] nothing excuses."Those who so participate must seek absolution in the sacrament of penance.


However, in 1967 we see a magisterial document, promulgated with the explicit approval of Pope Paul VI, recommend Catholics "take part in the common responses, hymns and actions" of non-Catholics.

Further, we see, from that point on, numerous instances of Catholics - right up to John Paul II in Togoville in 1985 and Benedict XVI in Westminster Abbey in 2010 - doing precisely what the Church had always taught was "universally prohibited by natural and divine law".

Thus, we find ourselves on the horns of dilemma - unless we believe that the principle of non-contradiction has somehow been repealed. Was the magisterium prior to 1967 in error in teaching that such active participation was
intrinsically wrong? Or has the magisterium after 1967 been in error in teaching that it is not intrinsically wrong?

As you see, no amount of fudging and word-play will remove us from choosing one of these two horns. But, then, according to you, Catholics are somehow obliged to
say "amen" to both "yea" and "nay".

Jean-Francois said...

@Michael said, "Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial...”—Pope Leo XIII (Custodi di quella fede)

Once again we have a defender of the SSPX taking quotes from papal documents out of context of their original and using them in an attempt to contradict other papal statements. The above referenced encyclical was specifically addressing errors of freemasonry. A key sentence omitted from Michael's citation is, Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups.While the statement made by Pope John Paul II respecting one another's . . . is similar to that condemned by Pope Leo XIII the context is entirely different.

Giles said...

David of Glasgow:

Bravissimo!

Jean-Francois said...

@Michael said, Does the Council teach that the Holy Spirit uses false religions as means of salvation (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio)? Well the Society can't be blamed for rejecting that, since it seems to run counter to what the Church has already declared (cf. Florence on the fact that false religions cannot be means of salvation).

Again we are talking apples and oranges. The Council of Florence deals with people who remain outside the Church and die, they cannot be saved. The Vatican II document says, For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.
It does not say these other religions are the means of salvation by themselves nor that one can belong to them and be saved. Is the document confusing and lend itself to corrupt interpretation? I think it can and does but that does not mean it is in error or contradictory to past teaching. It certainly is not something I would gamble my eternal salvation on by taking the position of the SSPX and remaining outside the fullnes of the Church.

Dave K said...

Michael,
Can I name a doctrine of the Church which the SSPX denies? How about this from the first Vatican Council; “Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman Church possesses a sovereignty of ordinary power over all other Churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatsoever rite and dignity, both pastors and faithful, both individually and collectively, are bound, by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, to submit, not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that appertain to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world; so that the Church of Christ may be one flock under one supreme pastor, through the preservation of unity, both of the communion and of profession of the same faith, with the Roman pontiff….
… We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes the decision of which belongs to the Church recourse may be had to his tribunal, but that none may reopen the judgment of the Apostolic See, than whose authority there is no greater, nor can any lawfully review its judgment”. It is pretty plain to all observers that the SSPX denies these teachings at least in practice by refusing to submit to Papal authority.
One could also add that the SSPX denies the visibility and indefectibility of the Church. One wonders what Church they think they belong to?

Michael said...

Dave K,

I am not aware that the SSPX has ever denied the doctrine which you cite. If ever the pope issues a true and infallible teaching, the SSPX is prompt to obey. For instance, when John Paul II infallibly condemned women's ordination in 1994, what did the SSPX have to say about this exercise of the supreme papal authority? They fully assented to that teaching. Likewise with the pope's condemnations of abortion and euthanasia in Evangelium Vitae. Likewise if the pope ever commanded something like an international day of prayer and fasting in reparation for abortion. I'm sure the SSPX would be first in line for that. Whenever the pope actually does Catholic things, the Society obeys. So your argument doesn't seem sustainable.

What you appear to be suggesting is that anyone who ever disobeys the pope in practice is guilty of denying the pope's right to command. But this is not true. As one SSPX priest put it, "A child who says to his mother 'I will not,' does not deny that she's his mother." And thus the SSPX and all good Catholics wishing to save their souls are obliged to refrain from approving of or participating in such scandals as the Assisi disgraces, kissing the Koran, praising Luther's spirituality as "Christocentric," or similar things which were perpetrated by postconciliar popes.

Put differently, the pope implicitly commands everyone not to sin. If you have ever sinned, then, you have disobeyed the pope. But if disobedience to the popes puts you outside the Church or makes you schismatic, then every time you sin, you become a schismatic. Does that sound like a reasonable argument? It's not, and yet that's the level of criticism which some seem to direct against the Society.

So to conclude, I think your accusation is simple rhetoric without real substance to back it up. You insinuate that the Society denies Catholic teachings, then fail to produce any teaching which they deny. But you're not the first to do that; most everyone who wants to indict the Society must in the end resort to vague and unspecific accusations of "disobedience" or like rhetoric because, if really pinned down on their charges, they would find themselves unable to come up with anything truly heretical. Or to quote Cardinal Raymond Burke, speaking of the SSPX: "They have Catholic faith." Exactly, Your Eminence. Would that others realized the same.

Michael said...

Jean-Francois,

Were the photographs showing John Paul II kissing the Koran taken "out of context"? How about the photos of Buddhists putting a Buddha statue on top of the tabernacle at Assisi 1986? Or what about the quote from Benedict XVI's book stating that the Church "should not concern herself with the conversion of the Jews," contrary to the 2000-year-long concern of the Church for their conversion. Was all of that also a "lack of context"?

In reality, context has nothing to do with my example. The fact that Pope Leo XIII's quote came from an encyclical on Freemasonry is completely irrelevant to my point. The point is that Catholics may not "respect" religions which blaspheme and deny their Savior. Pope Leo XIII could have included that statement in a letter about the Italian opera, for all it matters. What's important is that John Paul II is not correct to imply that Catholics may esteem false religions.

"Context" is the great cure-all which some apologists for the postconciliar mess appear to wheel out whenever they need to cover over some papal problem. But in reality you're tacitly conceding my point, admitting that John Paul II's statement so clearly contradicts Leo XIII's teaching that the only chance you have to reconcile them is to charge a "lack of context." Anyone can go back and read the original document, which I cited, to see that no amount of context would salvage the idea promoted by postconciliar popes that false, Christ-blaspheming, divine-revelation-rejecting religions deserve "respect."

As for your note on Unitatis Redintegratio, here's what the Council of Florence infallibly teaches (emphasis added):

"[The Holy Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock...the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (from Catholicism.org)

So in other words, the Church teaches infallibly not only that no one can be saved if they die outside the Church, but that those outside the Church don't benefit from Sacraments and other helps. I don't see how you will defend the claim that God uses false religions as means of salvation, since this appears explicitly to deny Florence's teaching that false religions cannot be means of salvation. You say it's apples and oranges; I say it's truth and falsehood.

You're also repeating the misleading terminology of Vatican II that the Church has "degrees" of membership. You say "fullness" of the Church, but Pius XII taught that to be a member of the Church, you must be baptized and profess the true Faith. Those elements do not admit of degrees. You can't be "partially" baptized or "sort of" profess the faith. One heresy destroys the virtue of faith entirely. Unless you can come up with a formal heresy professed by SSPX members, it's not correct to say they are "outside" the "fullness" of the Church. One is either inside the Church or not, and you've not provided anything which puts them outside.

Dave K said...

Michael,
If you are saying the SSPX accepts and submits to Papal authority when they agree with it then how are they different from Protestants? I would suggest you reread the teaching of Vat 1 on the necessity of submitting to the Pope on matters of the faith, government and discipline of the Church. This is not optional for Catholics. When the SSPX admits that it does not share the same faith with the Pope, refuses to comply with the laws of the Church, and rejects its sacramental rites, one can hardly consider them Catholics. They are admitting to schism and perhaps heresy.
I understand their difficulty in reconciling past and present day Church teaching in the same way I understand Protestant difficulties in reconciling the Church of the New Testament with that of Middle Ages or today. This does not mean their objections cannot be overcome. They have to realize they are not the ultimate arbiters of the faith and that maybe their views are in need of correction. I see little willingness on their part for reconciliation since they seem to think the Holy Spirit has been promised to them rather than the Holy See.

Jim Paton said...

@David K

“I understand their difficulty in reconciling past and present day Church teaching in the same way I understand Protestant difficulties in reconciling the Church of the New Testament with that of Middle Ages or today.”

This is absolutely breathtaking. I hope no one suffering from asthma reads this as it will probably kill them.

You are suggesting that teachings that explicitly contradict the perennial teaching of the Church are now to be seen as developments?
I think you need to stop. But before you do, I think everyone would like to see your response to David of Glasgow.

Dave K said...

Jim Patton,
If you and David of Glasgow believe the teachings of Vatican 2 explicitly contradict the perennial teaching of the Church can you explain how that happened? How did the Pope and all the bishops of the world (including Marcel Lefebvre) all the theologians, church historians and scholars who were called to this ecumenical council fumble the faith so badly? If this could really happen isn’t the purpose of an ecumenical council convened under the direction of the Pope really just a waste of time, or a joke?
David of Glasgow doesn’t seem to understand that the teachings of Vat 2 do meet the standard of belonging to the supreme ordinary Magisterium of the Church. Why? Because the Pope and bishops united with him (the authentic teachers of the faith) agreed that these teachings reflect the faith of the Church. These same authorities also inform us that this teaching is in accord with past teaching even though new developments were made. His statement that an individual can withhold assent to magisterial documents because he finds them unclear or novel inverts the teaching authority of the Church putting private judgment above divine authority. It is a prescription for the chaos of Protestantism. Every Pope since Vat 2 has ratified its teaching and demanded assent to it. Rome has spoken, the case is closed.

Michael said...

Dave K,

I think this debate has run its course. We're 70 posts in and you still haven't produced a single Catholic teaching denied by the SSPX. Instead you rely on a go-to tactic of neo-Catholics, namely, making vague and generalized accusations of "disobedience." And of course no neo-Catholic sniping at the SSPX would be complete without another classic stand-by: insinuate that the Society is "Protestant." Actually, maybe you should get on board with Benedict XVI, who seems to have warm words for Protestantism, what with his bizarre and inexplicable comment that Luther's thinking and spirituality were "Christocentric" (cf. papal address 9/23/2011; Leo X, Benedict's predecessor, disagrees, having condemned Luther's thinking as heretical). Given that papal thumbs up, your criticism that the SSPX is "Protestant" might actually be taken as dissenting from the papal praise of an (in)famous Protestant. You should stop clashing with the pope on this point, Dave K, lest someone accuse you of "Protestantism" ;)

Anyway, I'll conclude by pointing out the central error of your critique, stated in these words: "...the SSPX accepts and submits to Papal authority when they agree with it then how are they different from Protestants?...They have to realize they are not the ultimate arbiters of the faith and that maybe their views are in need of correction."

You continue to promote the false idea, never stated by the Society, that the SSPX's criticisms, teachings, beliefs, etc. are merely their own "views" or "opinions" about things. But this is the crux of the whole debate: the Society maintains that their "views" are nothing other than the preconciliar Magisterium's constant and perennially infallible teaching! In other words, the Society doesn't have their own "views"; they have the perennial Magisterium's "views" (re: infallible teaching). If you say that the Society's "views" need correction, then you are effectively saying that the Church's own teaching needs "correction," since the Society's "views" are just that. To take just one example, compare:

1. "On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!" (Benedict XVI, 8/19/2005)

2. "So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it." (Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, n. 10)


Benedict XVI rejects the ecumenism of return, while Pius XI affirms it as the only possibility. The SSPX states, not that they sat down one day and dreamt up their own teaching on this point, but that they affirm Pius XI's teaching (and that of his 200+ predecessors). And from that it necessarily follows that because Pius XI and 200+ other popes are right, Benedict XVI, who contradicts him on this point, is wrong. There's nothing Protestant here, there's no question of having "personal views," nor of choosing things they "agree" with, nor of self-arbiters of faith. It's a question of recognizing preconciliar teaching for what it is and seeing that it irreconciliably clashes with some of the recent novelty. I could give you many, many examples of similar contradictions, but the point is obvious.


(to be cont'd)

Michael said...

Here's what Vatican I said:

"For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith delivered through the Ages." (Vatican I, olrl.org)

So Benedict XVI and John Paul II do not have the authority to tamper with or alter Catholic teachings, and the Society has every right, according to an ecumenical council of the Church, to adhere entirely to what the Church has always taught, not to novelty.

The SSPX doesn't only accept what the pope does when he agrees with them; they accept what he does when the pope agrees with the Church's perennial teaching. Thus if a pope praises as "Christocentric" the thinking of a notorious, condemned-by-the-Church heretic, the SSPX and all Catholics are obliged to reject this false statement, not because it doesn't "agree" with their "personal views," but because it doesn't agree with reality. You seem to forget, as the above Vatican I teaching makes clear, that popes themselves are bound to a standard, namely, God's own revelation. Revelation is not subject to the pope, but rather, the pope is subject to divine revelation. No one, including the pope, has the authority to change it. That is the 2,000 year old Catholic teaching, period, full stop.

It's a really, really simple argument: If the Church has ever once pronounced definitively on any point of faith or morals--and on matters like ecumenism, religious liberty, no salvation outside the Church, the status of false religions, etc., the Church has already pronounced definitively, long before Vatican II ever existed--then no one, up to and including a pope, has freedom to alter that doctrine in any way. So the SSPX points to past teaching, not their own "views," to say that such teaching clearly and unmistakably contradicts current ideas, that both cannot be right, and that Catholics must follow the former, already-settled doctrine. This attitude is entirely Catholic, entirely faithful to the Church, and entirely true. Your swipes at them are misleading, inaccurate, and indicative of a refusal to make needed distinctions in apparent favor of promoting uncritical obedience to men certain of whose actions (Assisi I-III, the Koran incident, the papal prayer with animists in Togo, the relentless ecumenical "gestures," etc.) would have been roundly condemned by all of their papal predecessors. Calling your opponents names doesn't change this fact. Any fair-minded observer who has followed this debate can see where the truth lies, and it isn't with the name-callers.

Bernadette O'Hanlan said...

The Church is "the congregation of all baptized persons, united in the same true faith, the same sacraments, the same sacrifice, UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF AND THE BISHOPS IN COMMUNION WITH HIM." A person remains a member of the Church as long as he does not cut himself off from membership by schism (denying or defying the authority of the Pope), or by heresy (denying one or more of the Truths of Faith AS PROCLAIMED BY THE CHURCH), or by excommunication (being ejected from membership because of certain grave and unrepentent sins). Jesus Christ established His Church as a juridical society. It is a visible organization and a living organism from which we can be cut off by schism, or heresy, or excommunication - and so cut ourselves off from the flow of Sanctifying Grace, thus forfeiting our eternal salvation.

Jim Paton said...

@David K

“If you and David of Glasgow believe the teachings of Vatican 2 explicitly contradict the perennial teaching of the Church can you explain how that happened?”

Your premise that an Ecumenical council cannot err is simply nonsense and something which the Church DOESN’T teach.
This has, time and again, been pointed out to you, but you seem to know better than the Church on that matter. And since there cannot be any contradictions (or as you call them “developments” which I might add is simply the most preposterous thing I’ve ever read) then as David of Glasgow asked: was the magisterium prior to 1967 in error in teaching that such active participation was intrinsically wrong? Or has the magisterium after 1967 been in error in teaching that it is not intrinsically wrong?

Answer the question please.

Jean-Francois said...

@Michael,Instead you rely on a go-to tactic of neo-Catholics, namely, making vague and generalized accusations of "disobedience."

Oooh the ugly bugaboo "neo" prefix used in a vain attempt to discredit someone else. Let me give you a simple act of disobedience. Every Mass said by a SSPX priest is illicit, valid but illicit. That means it is unlawful, not approved, not permitted etc. When someone does something that is not permitted they are acting disobediently. One could also add that since they are not allowed to hear confessions (unless the person is in danger of death) each time they hear one they are again acting disobediently. The SSPX have a chapel in my Archdiocese. They are not here with the permission of my Archbishop, another act of disobedience.

Here is what the Vatican has said,

"While the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, they are also suspended a divinis, that is they are forbidden by the Church from celebrating the Mass and the sacraments because of their illicit (or illegal) ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood without proper incardination (cf. canon 265)" Msgr. Perl 1998 Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei

The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church. There needs to be a distinction, then, between the disciplinary level, which deals with individuals as such, and the doctrinal level, at which ministry and institution are involved. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI From the Vatican, 10 March 2009

So they do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church therefore every time they perform any ministry it is an act of disobedience.

Michael said...

Jean-Francois,

"Neo" is not necessarily solely an attempt to discredit, but rather an accurate description of a given school of thought; it's a term used by Chris Ferrara and Thomas Woods in their book "The Great Facade" (see that book for an explanation of the term and why it arose).

Your example of disobedience is quite true and I won't dispute that it is, in fact, an example of disobedience (although of course the SSPX would argue that not all disobedience is sinful disobedience, and whatever you may say about their application of that principle, the principle itself that some disobedience can be justified is perfectly true). Further, Bishop Fellay has noted in one or more conferences that Rome has secretly temporarily recognized the SSPX in the past (see his Angelus Press conference in Oct. 2010, for example). So the situation is probably not as simple as you make it out to be.

But my point in raising disobedience was doctrinal and not disciplinary, and ironically, the very papal text you cite proves my point. Benedict XVI says that the issues with the Society are primarily and fundamentally doctrinal. And yet the same Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, said that although many treat Vatican II like a "superdogma," in reality it defined no new dogmas at all. So according to Benedict XVI, Vatican II defined no new dogmas, and yet the same pope says that the Society is being kept in irregular status for not assenting to the doctrines of Vatican II. Which doctrines of Vatican II? Not any dogmatic ones, since according to the pope, there aren't any new dogmatic ones! This is a great example of the contradiction which obtains in Rome's treatment of the SSPX. Criticize them for not obeying doctrine, then refuse to identify the definitive doctrines from which they dissent (because there aren't any to be identified). Of course they may not wish to come out and say that the SSPX is irregular for refusing new Vatican II doctrines, both because that would implicitly reject their own "continuity" project, and because it would be embarrassing to admit that the Society is accused of being "non-Catholic" for rejecting novelties (ecumenism, respect for false religions, etc.) which were rejected by all preconciliar popes.

So the disobedience which I'm speaking of isn't about saying public Masses, but disobedience towards the doctrinal novelties which can't bind any Catholic. No Catholic can "obey" ecumenical projects like Assisi and the errors which justify them, since to obey such things would be to disobey the constant and perennial teaching of the Church on such matters.

Dave K said...

Michael,
The doctrinal errors the SSPX suffer from are same as those described to Lefebvre personally by Pope PaulVI. He told Lefebvre that he had a warped ecclesiology. In the church of Lefebvre’s mind the Pope does not have to be submitted to in matters of the faith, government and discipline of the Church. In Lefebvre’s church the individual judges magisterial documents past and present, for himself, and picks the interpretation which best suits his personal piety. In Lefebvre’s church the Roman Catholic Church has, contra documents such as Mortalium Animos, corrupted the faith, contaminated its sacramental system and perverted its laws. This is the source of the doctrinal issues.

Jean-Francois said...

@Michael, So the disobedience which I'm speaking of isn't about saying public Masses, but disobedience towards the doctrinal novelties which can't bind any Catholic.

So like the great Don said, "It's not personal it's business." I'd like to be there when someone tries to use that argument before the Supreme Judge. Listen Jesus, my disobedience towards Your designated authority on Earth was doctrinal not personal. You can't send me to Hell for that. Sorry I don't think it will pass muster. I've been going to the Usus Antiquor for 20 some years now. I've been to private Masses, SSPX Masses (even taught in their schools) Indult, etc. I've heard all the arguments and realized that they don't hold up and my soul and that of my family was in danger.

Barbara said...

"In Lefebvre’s church the individual judges magisterial documents past and present, for himself, and picks the interpretation which best suits his personal piety. Simply untrue David K. If it were the FSSPX would be Protestants and they are not.

Try reading "Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre" by Michael Davies - a great Catholic layman. That cleared up a lot of questions re. the Mons. Lefebrve issues for me...

I am not of the FSSPX.


Jan said...

We will keep praying for the SSPX. I don't suppose there is anything more that can be done. SSPX here has now reduced to two Masses a month and some of us had stopped attending until things were resolved, but it seems unlikely now.