Rorate Caeli

Di Noia's letter - full text in English

Jean-Marie Guénois, religious correspondent for French daily Le Figaro, made public today the full text of the letter sent by the Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Abp. Di Noia, to the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, Bp. Fellay, and all the priests of the Society. (Our previous post on the letter here.)

There is no sign that there was any intent of confidentiality in the letter, called by Fr. Lombardi (Holy See spokesman) a "personal appeal" by Abp. Di Noia.

__________________________________

[Update: From Il Sismografo, we have the original English text of the letter]

Advent 2012

Your Excellency and dear Priestly Brothers of the Fraternity of St. Pius X,

Our recent declaration (28 October 2012) affirmed in a public and authoritative manner that the Holy See’s relations with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X remain open and hopeful. Until now, apart from its official pronouncements, the Holy See has for various reasons refrained from correcting certain inaccurate assertions regarding its conduct and competence in these interactions. A time is rapidly approaching, however, when in the interest of truth the Holy See will be compelled to address some of these inaccuracies. Particularly dolorous are statements that impugn the office, and person, of the Holy Father and that, at some point, would demand some response.

Recent assertions by persons holding significant positions of authority within the Fraternity cannot but cause concern about the realistic prospects for reconciliation. One thinks in particular of interviews given by the District Superior for Germany, formerly General Superior of the Fraternity (18 September 2012) and by the First Assistant General of the Fraternity (16 October 2012), and a recent sermon of the General Superior (1 November 2012). The tone and content of these interventions have given rise to a certain perplexity about the seriousness and, indeed, the very possibility of straightforward conversation between us. While the Holy See patiently awaits an official response from the Fraternity, some of its superiors employ language, in unofficial communications, that to all the world appears to reject the very provisions, assumed to be still under study, that are required for the reconciliation and for the canonical regularization of the Fraternity within the Catholic Church.

What is more, a review of the history of our relations since the 1970s leads to the sobering realization that the terms of our disagreement concerning Vatican Council II have remained, in effect, unchanged. With magisterial authority, the Holy See has consistently maintained that the documents of the Council must be interpreted in the light of Tradition and the Magisterium and not vice versa, while the Fraternity has insisted that certain teachings of the Council are erroneous and are thus not susceptible to an interpretation in line with the Tradition and the Magisterium. Over the years, this stalemate has remained more or less in place. The three years of doctrinal dialogues just concluded, though permitting a fruitful airing of views on specific issues, did not fundamentally alter this situation.
In these circumstances, while hope remains strong, it is clear that something new must be injected into our conversations if we are not to appear to the Church, to the general public, and indeed to ourselves, to be engaged in a well-meaning but unending and fruitless exchange. Some new considerations of a more spiritual and theological nature are needed, considerations that transcend the important but seemingly intractable disagreements over the authority and interpretation of Vatican Council II that now divide us, considerations that focus rather on our duty to preserve and cherish the divinely willed unity and peace of the Church.
It seems opportune that I should introduce these new considerations in the form of a personal Advent letter addressed to you as well as to the members of the Priestly Fraternity. Nothing less than the unity of the Church is at stake.

The Preservation of the Unity of the Church

In this context, the words of St. Paul spring to mind: “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:1-6).

With these words, the Apostle Paul admonishes us to maintain the unity of the Church, the unity that is given by the Spirit and which unites us to the one God “who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:6). True unity is a gift of the Spirit, not something of our own making.

Nevertheless, through our actions and decisions we are able to cooperate in the unity of the Spirit, or to act against the Spirit’s promptings. Therefore, St. Paul exhorts us to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received” (Eph 4:1) to live so that we may preserve this precious gift of unity.

In order to persevere in the unity of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas notes that, according to St. Paul, “four virtues must be cultivated, and their four opposite vices shunned” (Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians §191). What gets in the way of unity? Pride, anger, impatience, and inordinate zeal. According to Aquinas, “the first vice which he [St. Paul] rejects is pride. When one arrogant person decides to rule others, while the other proud individuals do not want to submit, dissension arises in the society and peace disappears. ... Anger is the second vice. For an angry person is inclined to inflict injury, whether verbal or physical, from which disturbances occur. ... The third is impatience. Occasionally, someone who himself is humble and mild, refraining from causing trouble, nevertheless will not endure patiently the real or attempted wrongs done to himself. ... An inordinate zeal is the fourth vice. Inordinately zealous about everything, men will pass judgment on whatever they see, not waiting for the proper time and place; and a turmoil arises in society” (ibid).

How are we to overcome these vices? St. Paul says: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love” (Eph 4:2).
According to Aquinas, humility, by recognizing the goodness in others and accurately acknowledging our own strengths and weaknesses, helps us to avoid contention in our interactions with others. Mildness “softens arguments and preserves peace” (Commentary on the Letter to the Ephesians, §191). It helps us to avoid inordinate displays of anger by giving us the serenity to do what we are called to do in a spirit of equanimity and peace. Patience enables us to endure suffering when it is necessary for the sake of the good we seek, especially in the case of a difficult or arduous good or when external circumstances militate against the achievement of the goal. Charity casts out inordinate zeal by allowing us to support one another in charity, “mutually bearing with the defects of others out of charity” (ibid.). St. Thomas counsels: “When someone falls he should not be immediately corrected—unless it is the time and the place for it. With mercy these should be awaited since charity bears all things (1 Cor 13:7). Not that these things are tolerated out of negligence or consent, nor from familiarity or carnal friendship, but from charity. ... Now, we that are stronger ought to bear the infirmities of the weak (Rom 15:1)” (ibid.).

The prudent counsel of St. Thomas may be of assistance to us if we can allow ourselves to be formed by his wisdom. In the past forty years, has there at times been a lack of humility, mildness, patience, and charity in our mutual relations?

Consider these words Pope Benedict wrote to his brother bishops to explain why he promulgated the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew” (Letter of 7 July 2007).

How might the virtues of humility, mildness, patience, and charity shape our thoughts and actions? First, by humbly striving to recognize the goodness that exists in others with whom we may disagree, even on seemingly fundamental issues, we are able to approach contested issues in a spirit of openness and good faith. Secondly, by practicing true mildness we may maintain a spirit of serenity, avoiding the introduction of a divisive tone or imprudent statements that will offend rather than promote peace and mutual understanding. Thirdly, by true patience we will recognize that in our striving after the arduous good we seek, we must be willing, when necessary, to accept suffering while waiting. Finally, even when we still feel the need to correct our brothers it must be with charity, in the proper time and place.

In the life of the Church, all of these virtues are aimed at preserving “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). If our interactions are marked by pride, anger, impatience, and inordinate zeal, our intemperate striving for the good of the Church will lead to nothing but bitterness. If, on the other hand, through the grace of God we grow in true humility, mildness, patience, and charity, our unity in the Spirit will be maintained and we will grow deeper in our love of God and of our neighbors, fulfilling the whole of God’s law for us.

We place such emphasis on the unity of the Church because it reflects and is constituted by the communion of the Holy Trinity. As we read in a sermon of St. Augustine: “Both the Father and the Son wished us to have communion both with them and among ourselves; by this gift which they both possess as one, they wished to gather us together and make us one, that is to say, by the Holy Spirit who is God and the gift of God” (Sermon 71.18).

The unity of the Church is not something that we grasp for ourselves by our own power, but is a gift of divine grace. It is in recognition of this gift that Augustine is able to say: “But one who is an enemy of unity has no share in the love of God. 

Those, therefore, who are outside the Church do not have the Holy Spirit” (Epistle 185 §50). These are chilling words: one who is an enemy of unity becomes an enemy of God, for he rejects the gift that God has bestowed on us. “What proof is there that we love the brotherhood?” St. Augustine asks. “That we don’t sever its unity, because we maintain charity” (Homilies on the First Letter of John, 2.3). Hear what Augustine has to say to those who divide the Church: “You don’t have charity because, for the sake of your honor, you cause divisions in unity. Understand from this, then, that the spirit is from God. ... You are removing yourself from the world’s unity, you are dividing the Church with schisms, you are tearing to pieces the body of Christ. He came in the flesh so as to bring it together; you are crying out so as to scatter it” (ibid. 6.13). How can we avoid becoming enemies of God? “Let each one question his heart. If a person loves his brother, the Spirit of God is abiding in him. Let him look, let him probe himself before God’s eyes. Let him see if there is in him a love of peace and unity, a love of the Church spread throughout the earth” (ibid. 6.10).

What about those with whom fellowship is difficult? Listen to St. Augustine: “Love your enemies in such a way that you wish them to be brothers; love your enemies in such a way that they are brought into your fellowship” (ibid. 1.9). For Augustine, this authentic form of love can only come as God’s gift: “Ask God that you may love one another. You should love all people, even your enemies, not because they are your brothers but so that they may become your brothers, so that you may always be aflame with brotherly love, whether towards one who has become your brother or towards your enemy, so that by loving him he may become your brother” (ibid.10.7).

The example for loving our enemies so that they might become our friends ultimately comes from Christ himself: “Let us love, because he loved us first (4:19). For how would we love if he had not loved us first? By his love we were made his friends, but he loved us as enemies so that we would become his friends. He loved us first and bestowed on us the means of loving him” (ibid. 9.9).

For St. Augustine, then, the unity of the Church flows from the communion of the Blessed Trinity and must be maintained if we are to remain in communion with God himself. Through God’s grace, we must preserve this unity with great determination, even if it involves suffering and patient endurance: “Let us endure the world, let us endure tribulations, let us endure the scandals of trials. Let us not turn aside from the way. Let us hold onto the unity of the Church, let us hold onto Christ, let us hold onto charity. Let us not be torn away from the members of his bride, let us not be torn away from the faith, so that we may glory in his presence, and we shall remain secure in him, now through faith and then through sight, the pledge of which we have as the gift of the Holy Spirit” (ibid. 9.11).

The Place for the Priestly Fraternity in the Church

What, then, is being asked of the Priestly Fraternity in the present situation? Not to abandon the zeal of your founder, Archbishop Lefebvre. Far from it! Rather you are being asked to renew the flame of his ardent zeal to form men in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Surely, the time has come to abandon the harsh and counterproductive rhetoric that has emerged over the past years.

That original charism entrusted to Archbishop Lefebvre must be recaptured, the charism of the formation of priests in the fullness of Catholic Tradition for the sake of undertaking an apostolate to the faithful that flows from this priestly formation. This was the charism the Church discerned when the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X was first approved in 1970. We recall Cardinal Gagnon’s favorable judgment of your seminary at Ecône in 1987.

The authentic charism of the Fraternity is to form priests for the service of the people of God, not the usurpation of the office of judging and correcting the theology or discipline of others within the Church. Your focus should be on the inculcation of sound philosophical, theological, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation for your candidates so that they may preach the word of Christ and act as instruments of God’s grace in the world, especially through the solemn celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Attention should certainly be paid to the passages of the Magisterium that seem difficult to reconcile with magisterial teaching, but these theological questions should not be the focus of your preaching or of your formation.

With respect to the competence to correct, we might well consider the example of St. Pius X and his interventions on the question of sacred music. In 1903, St. Pius promulgated the famous motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini, promoting throughout the Church a reform of ecclesiastical music. This document, however, was in a sense the culmination of two earlier initiatives of the then Giuseppe Sarto: a votum on sacred music written at the request of the Congregation of Sacred Rites in 1893, and a pastoral letter on the reform of sacred music to the Church of Venice published in 1895.

These three documents essentially contained the same message, and yet the first was a suggestion for the Roman Curia, the next was an instruction for the faithful under his jurisdiction as Patriarch of Venice, and the third was a command for the universal Church. As Pope, St. Pius X had the authority to address abuses in ecclesiastical music throughout the world, whereas as bishop he could only intervene within his diocese. St. Pius X was able to address problems in the church on a universal level in his disciplinary and doctrinal prescriptions, precisely because of his universal authority.

Even if we are convinced that our perspective on a particular disputed question is the true one, we cannot usurp the office of the universal pontiff by presuming publicly to correct others within the Church. We may propose and seek to exert influence, but we must not disrespect or act against legitimate local authorities. We need to respect the proper fora of different types of issues: it is the faith that should be preached from our pulpits, not the latest interpretation of what we take to be problematic about a magisterial document.

It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy, trying to sway those who are not theologically sophisticated into adopting one’s own point of view regarding subtle theological matters.

The Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1990) states that a theologian “may raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions” (§24), although “the willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule.” But a theologian should “not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33). For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them” (§27).

If, after intense reflection on the part of a theologian, difficulties persist, he “has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth” (§30).

This part of the task of a theologian, acting with a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, can at times be a difficult trial. “It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail” (§31).

Nevertheless, critical engagement with the acts of the Magisterium must never become a sort of “parallel magisterium” of theologians (cf. §34), for it must be submitted to the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff, who has “the duty to safeguard the unity of the Church with concern to offer help to all in order to respond appropriately to this vocation and divine grace” (Apostolic Letter, Ecclesiae Unitatem, §1).

Thus we can see that for those within the Church who have the canonical mandate or mission to teach, there is room for a truly theological and non-polemical engagement with the Magisterium. Intellectually speaking, however, we cannot be satisfied merely with generating and sustaining controversy. Difficult theological problems can only be adequately dealt with through the analogy of faith, that is, the synthesis of all that the Lord has revealed to us. We must see each doctrine and article of faith as supporting the others, and learn to understand the inner connections between each element of our faith.

To engage in the study of theology, we must have adequate cultural, biblical, and philosophical training. I think for instance of a passage from the 1917 Code of Canon Law that is printed in the introduction to the 1947 Benziger English edition of the Summa Theologiae: “Religious who have already studied their humanities should devote themselves for two years at least to philosophy, and four years to theology, following the teaching of St. Thomas in accordance with the instructions of the Holy See” (CIC 1917, can. 589). Consider the wisdom embodied in this directive: theology is to be undertaken only by those who have been adequately formed both in the humanities and philosophy. Recently, the Congregation for Catholic Education has required that the study of philosophy continue for three years during priestly formation. Without this breadth of learning, our theological inquiry will not have the rich soil of culture in which the faith took root and which is indispensable for fully understanding both the philosophical concepts and terms that underlie the doctrinal formulations of the Church.

If we concentrate only on the most difficult and most controversial questions—which, by all means, need to receive careful attention—we might over time lose a sense of the analogy of faith and begin to see theology mainly as a sort of intellectual dialectic of competing claims, rather than as a sapiential engagement with the living God who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ and who inspires our study, our preaching, our pastoral care through the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Pope Benedict XVI, in his magnanimous exercise of the munus Petrinum, is striving to overcome the tensions that have existed between the Church and your Fraternity. Would a full ecclesial reconciliation bring about an immediate end to the suspicion and bad feeling we have experienced? Perhaps not so readily.
But what we are seeking is not a human work: we are seeking reconciliation and healing by God’s grace under the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us recall the effects of grace articulated by St. Thomas: to heal the soul, to desire good, to carry into effect the good proposed, to persevere in good, and finally, to reach glory (cf. Summa theologiae 1a.2ae, 111, 3).

Our souls need first to be healed, to be cleansed of the bitterness and resentment that comes from thirty years of suspicion and anguish on both sides. We need to pray that the Lord may heal us of any imperfections that have come about precisely because of the difficulties, especially the desire for an autonomy that is in fact outside the traditional forms of governance of the Church. The Lord gives us the grace to desire certain goods, in this case the good of full ecclesial unity and communion. This is a desire that many of us share humanly speaking, but what we need from the Lord is for him to let this desire suffuse our souls, so that we may desire with the same desire of Christ ut unum sint.

Only then does God’s grace allow us to carry into effect the good proposed. It is He who prompts us to seek reconciliation and brings it to completion.
This is a moment of tremendous grace: let us embrace it with our whole heart and mind. As we prepare for the coming of the Savior of the world during this Advent season of the Year of Faith, let us pray and hope boldly: may we not also anticipate the longed for reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X with the See of Peter?

The only imaginable future for the Priestly Fraternity lies along the path of full communion with the Holy See, with the acceptance of an unqualified profession of the faith in its fullness, and thus with a properly ordered ecclesial, sacramental and pastoral life.

Having received from the Successor of Peter this charge to be an instrument in the reconciliation of the Priestly Fraternity, I dare to make my own the words of the Apostle Paul in urging us “to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.

112 comments:

John McFarland said...

The SV site Novus Ordo Watch has linked to what appears to be the English original of the letter from a site called Il Sismografo.

Does anyone know what's going on here?

Since the answer is probably no, let me fill up the vacuum with a few conjectures and observations.

The letter must have originally been sent at least a month ago, but it has only been made public now.

It seems unlikely that it was sent to the entire Society membership, or it would have been made public long before now. After all, the Society has about 550 members.

For the Society leadership, confidentiality would not have been the issue. The issue would have been whether to respond to an unofficial document from an official.

The answer, to note the obvious, was not to respond or circulate. Figuring out the reason is easy. The Society suffered a great deal of trouble, and +Fellay a tremendous amount of suspicion and even vilification, from going along with getting two different stories from the CDF and the Pope's intimates from sometime in late 2011 through the end of June 2012. I doubt that it is interested in getting whipsawed again.

Furthermore, it really has the same thing to say about ++Di Noia's letter as about the June 13 redaction (repetition) of the famed Doctrinal Preamble: it has been answered in the Society's July 14 Declaration and the six conditions.

Fr. Anthony Cekada noted that the letter was a very shrewd piece of work when he just had the summary to work from. Now that we have the whole letter, it is clearly a lapidary piece of shrewdness, even to recognizing that at bottom, what ++Lefebvre set out to do was to form priests.

But when all is said and done, it is just the conservative Dominican version of Communio theology, giving unity (really authority) over truth (that is, faith). The quotes from the Fathers and St. Thomas, since they do not deal with the relation between faith and truth, are at best irrelevant. The greatest of these is charity; but without faith, it is impossible to please God.

From the Society's perspective, this is just another exhortation to servile obedience.

In a recent conference, +Fellay gave yet again the Society's reponse: Vatican II contains errors, and there's no pretending otherwise.

James C. said...

I am skeptical that the English version linked there is the original. There are telltale signs of translation from French, such as the use of the archaic English word "dolorous" for the commonplace French word "douloureux". DiNoia may be learned, but he is living in the 21st century, and an American as well.

Bill said...

John McFarland said . . .

From the Society's perspective, this is just another exhortation to servile obedience.

So much so that the earlier-posted summary seems inconsistent with it. Is there any daylight between the position staked out in the English document and the position staked out by Bp Mueller? Not that we should expect such daylight between a churchman and his superior, of course.

Il sismografo said...

You can find the english version on "Il sismografo" at the following link http://ilsismografo.blogspot.it/2013/01/vaticano-full-text-of-advent-letter.html

Both french and english versions were published last saturday.
For the french version here's the link http://ilsismografo.blogspot.it/2013/01/vaticano-texte-integral-de-la-lettre-de.html

Anonymous said...

Michigander said,

John McFarland, I agree with your assessment.

James C: if using dolorous means one is not an inhabitant in the 21st century, you better go around to all those Catholics devoted to the sorrows of Our Blessed Mother and invite them into the third millenium...!

Considering the quality of the English text, it seems original to me, as it is very fluid. I would assume that Di Noia can write a letter in both languages...and perhaps did...

JabbaPapa said...

What an astonishingly beautiful letter !!

Malta said...

It's me Malta. I'm back! Can someone tell me more about the letter?

JabbaPapa said...

One comment about French versus English -- as the letter appears to be diplomatic in nature, I would assume that the diplomatic language of the Holy See has been used -- French.

The extreme elegance of the French text would also suggest it as being the original.

Disgusted at this Letter said...

Now that the English text has been published, I have the following observations.

1) The letter is amazing... amazingly patronizing. Many priests are ordained in the "usual seminaries" without real philosophical formation, let alone scholastic formation, but Abp. Di Noia finds time to lecture the SSPX about the need for philosophical formation for their priests -- as if SSPX seminaries are not some of the very few places where seminarians are still taught Thomistic philosophy! Furthermore, Abp. Di Noia implies that SSPX seminarians spend all their time studying controversial questions, and not the entirety of Catholic doctrine.

2) Abp Di Noia says: "Even if we are convinced that our perspective on a particular disputed question is the true one, we cannot usurp the office of the universal pontiff by presuming publicly to correct others within the Church. We may propose and seek to exert influence, but we must not disrespect or act against legitimate local authorities." If we are to take this statement of principle seriously, is Archbishop Di Noia saying that the Catholic faithful may never speak out against the errors and heresies that are so frequently preached by many bishops and priests today? Where does that leave, not just the SSPX, but the numerous "conservative" faithful who have courageously spoken out over the past five decades against the heresies of so many clerics? If they speak out, could it be because they already know from experience that Rome does very little, if anything, except under open pressure?

Last but not the least, Abp. Di Noia reminds the SSPX that "Those, therefore, who are outside the Church do not have the Holy Spirit”. I would like to ask if in recent years any representative of the Holy See has seen fit to say these words to the representatives, for example, of the Orthodox and Anglican communions. Why tell this to the SSPX but not to non-Catholic churches and 'ecclesial communities'?

John L said...

The interesting point about this letter is its acknowledgement of the charism of Abp. Lefebvre in founding the SSPX. A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and Abp. Lefebvre's explicit goal in founding his priestly fraternity was to uphold Catholic tradition - by rejecting the mass of Paul VI and the novelties of the Second Vatican Council. To describe his act of founding the SSPX as being possessed of a charism is this to acknowledge that his aforementioned goals were approved by the Holy Spirit. This stunning admission is more or less a capitulation by the Holy See, and the lecturing in the rest of the letter can be seen as a diplomatic cover.

Not disgusted at the letter said...

I want to eat the letter!

skladach said...

An SSPX priest-editor says that:
The letter was originally written in English and sent to Menzingen in December in English and French, to be sent to all SSPX priests (if the Society's authorities decided to distribute it). They did have it translated into other languages and sent to all their priests.

Anonymous said...

A very sensible, wise and theologically well considered letter from Rome. The appeal from Rome will no doubt fall on deaf ears i fear and the breakaway group
Will continue to place itself outside the communion of true faith handed down from the apostles. Accepting the magisterium of the Church and the petrine successor
Will not be easy for a group that sees itself as the truth. The Councils of the Church and their teachings must be accepted in full. The Catholic Church is not
a smorgsabord to pick and choose what suits a fashion of any time. This is not a la carte religious practice. Can one accept the Resurrection and not the Cross?
No. Time for Econe to choose truth or schism. The latter seems the course they wish to take in error and defiance of the successor of Peter and indeed the
Vicar of Christ on earth. Pax

Reig said...

Did Di Noia send his considerations on virtues of pride, anger, impatience an inordinate zeal to the arrogants Muller, Koch and Kasper?


"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."(Jesus Christ)

RogerThat said...

And now comes a lot more comments and blogposts everywhere else giving the correct interpretation and the real intentions of the... DiNoia's letter. They will find all the modernist errors in the letter and conclude with a big "they're trying too fool us again".

Barbara said...

I am inclined to agree with the points made by "Digusted with the letter" except I am not disgusted but more amazed at the using of Catholic religious truths in such a manipulative manner. By contrast I have read Archbishop Lefebvres's letters and some of his writings and I am struck by their straightforwardness and simplicity. I have never come across any reference in his writings ( or Bishop Fellay's for that matter) that the Fraternity is the Church's Magisterium - and neither have I read offenses and insults from either of them directed at the person of the Holy Father. Maybe someone could enlighten me?

I fear this is using the beauty of our Catholic truths in a kind of blackmail - it's one long upbraiding - oh, without question written in a soft tender way - but nonetheless - it's like "you must accept all the responsibility of the rupture - or else!" Sorry,I found it cloying - but I am just an ordinary lay - what I think won't make any difference - the ping pong continues.

John McFarland said...

Skladach,

Thanks for the information. It's always a shame to see a nice hypothesis torpedoed by the facts -- especially when it's one's own hypothesis.

So my revised hypothesis is that given the lack of anything new, no one in the Society paid the letter any attention. I'm a little surprised that no one leaked it, if only by accident; but if my new and improved hypothesis is not the answer, I'm out of hypotheses.

++Di Noia's arrogance, like the arrogance of all who have nothing to be arrogant about, is more grounds for amusement than annoyance. In his famed CNS interview after his appointment, he seemed entirely clueless (except as regards the importance of noting that he was a great fan of the Jews). He's now a lot more knowledgeable about the Society; but as regards that important things, he's still pretty clueless -- or perhaps finds it best not to indicate his familiarity with uncomfortable truths.

P.S. I'd still be interested in knowing why it's been released, and by whom.

P.P.S. I would have bet serious money that the English was the original. "Dolorous" was about the only un-American thing about its style. If the French was elegant, it was no fault of the original. We Americans don't do elegance.

Supertradmum said...

Thanks for posting this...your link and the letter are now on my blog. I do not mind the translation as such...

Let us see what happens...

NIANTIC said...

The letter is well written but while reading it the thought came to me after practically each paragraph; this should be sent to all of the Bishops and Bishop's Conferences world wide.It mainly is their uncharitable behaviour towards the Holy Father and Traditional priests and laity that needs a major overhaul and change in modus operandi. And that includes the complete overhaul of the modernist seminaries they run.

Regarding it's effect on the thinking of the SSPX is not my competence. I think it is just one more step in the long process. The thinking and praxis of Rome and the SSPX are still far apart and will take a long time to resolve. It needs a lot of prayer, patience, courage and wisdom. God will provide,if not now then later.

JimBob said...

The ball is clearly in the SSPX's court. Clearly the Abp. has numerous valid points which need to be heeded. Time to come to a reconciliation!

Joseph said...

RogerThat,

You are correct. Death, taxes, and SSPX supporters taking anything said or done by the Magisterium and interpreting it in the most obtuse and malign way possible are the only certainties in life.

Whats Up! said...

Absolutely stunning and magnificent words of Charity and Humility that we all need to live by.

God bless Archbishop Di Noia and may his message, directly from the Holy Ghost, touch and melt all hearts that need to hear this message of sapientia.

Father John Naugle said...

I'm always amazed at how some of the comments here sound so much like the comments on the National Catholic Reporter regarding holy obedience. Padre Pio was mistreated by a treacherous hierarchy, yet permitted no one to speak ill of it.

Pete A. said...

++Do Noia: "In the life of the Church, all of these virtues are aimed at preserving “the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).

I am not sure that all of the virtues are aimed at preserving "unity". As St. Paul continues to say in Ephesians 4:4, there is one Lord, ONE FAITH, etc, when speaking of unity. It is fairly obvious to the SSPX (and to the Pope) that the issues are primarily doctrinal. (That is why the Pope moved Ecclesia Dei into the CDF). The virtues, I think, have as their primary aim the love and adoration of God, not unity among men.

I think there is also a lot of "the Holy Spirit inspired this" in a whole host of areas (in this letter, and in the documents of Vatican II) where this is not at all certain. Be careful: to attribute work (or teachings) to the Holy Spirit that turn out to be wrong is, at a minimum, a blaspheme.

El Eremita said...

Mister McFarland,

There is a fundamental error in your line of thought: you are assuming that the SSPX has the Faith and that the Pope doesn't.

If that were the case, then yes, the letter would be an exhortation to servile obedience.

But an Ecumenical Council ratified by the Pope can not contain heresy... errors of lesser degree are possible (the ubiquitous example: The Council of Florence regarding the form of Holy Orders), but never heresy. If the 2nd Vatican Council contained heresies, then the visible Church would no longer be the Catholic Church (a thesis proposed by Williamson which was rejected and refuted even by a SSPX priest).

So we must assume that both the Pope and the SSPX share the same Faith; that the disagreements are about doctrines which are not de fide, and which can therefore be cataloged as theological disputes.

The thing is that the Holy See has authority to regulate theological disputes. So if the Pope asks the SSPX priests to moderate the tone of their pronouncements or even to refrain altogether from making their theological opinions public, he does it legitimately and authoritatively.

But that's unless you think that the SSPX position is not a set of theological opinions but the Faith itself, which Rome has lost (and with her, the whole visible Church). Of course, that would make you an adherent of sedevacantism (unless you can demonstrate that the Pope can be an heretic and still be the Pope, and that the Church can cease to be visible), which has its own set of theological problems.

So, no, this letter is not an exhortation to servile obedience, but an exhortation to obey the bishop of Rome on an issue over which he has legitimate authority.

Roman Catholic said...

"It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy," seems to me a good starting point. The SSPX should decide whether it wants to negotiate and then what is their objective. Only when their objective is to be reconciled with the Pope there will be progress. Abp. Di Noia has extended an olive branch. The SSPX should accept it. Just say yes to Benedict XVI.

In all these controversies an interesting point is the absolute silence that was maintained by FSSP and other traditionalists orders in this matter. Bravo! I am surprised these orders have not been offered an Ordinariate similar to the that of the Anglicans. It is also remarkable that the FSSP and ICK do not have their own bishops.

GodBlessThe SSPX said...

Oh dear El Eremita,

YOu are of course incorrect - an Ecumenical Council can indeed contain error.

It simply cannot proclaim error to be dogmatic truth. There is historical precedent.

More so, when Pope Paul VI included a Nota Praevia right at the beginning of the Vatican 2 texts emphasizing that the council was intended strictly as pastoral and made no dogmatic pronouncements.

Yes, in so far as the Council reiterates existing dogma, it is infallible. But in its prudential statements, it is certainly fallible since the Lord never promised infallibility to the Church or to St Peter on prudential matters and decisions.

So, take a step back and a deep breath. No one is calling Pope Benedict a heretic. Although, you know it is possible that Peter's successor be a material heretic (as was Pope John 22) - although we know and believe the Lord has promised and prayed that Peter be kept from FORMAL heresy (as He mercifully did with Pope John 22 who years after his material heresy was broadcast, repented, and duly passed away a day later).

So let's go over this again.

Archbp Di Noia late last year went on record to say that he is deliberately trying to strike a deal with the SSPX so that their extreme caution and aversion to the NO Mass can slowly be overturned. Precisely what the SSPX wants assurances they will never have to do. And now, after his public admission, and after Archbp Muller, the most rabidly anti-SSPX cleric in the Church's 4000 bishop hierarchy today, was appointed the guardian of discussions with the SSPX.

And somehow, the SSPX is meant to trust this whole initiative.

I am not an SSPX member. I do assist at some reverent NO Masses. I also am no idiot - it is clear that the Traditional Mass would never have the status it does today without the presence of the SSPX in the world and the Church.

One can not blame the SSPX for viewing Bp Muller and these rapprochements with suspicion. After all, it was only 6 months ago, when after having an agreement with the Holy Father on the terms for the normalization, and after being given assurances that these terms would be met, was completely blindsided in June 2012 - just 6 months ago - with a reversal to a previous revision of the agreement that had been clearly refuted by the SSPX.

That is clearly not the operation of good faith discussions.

And for this reason, I don't blame Bp Fellay for ignoring Bps Di Noia and Muller, until some good faith is shown. All I can surmise from this, is that the Holy Father wants a deal, but for whatever reason will not agree to permitting such a deal with the SSPX's freedom to acknowledge, as do Bishops "in full communion with him" that Vatican 2 contains errors.

Pray and be wise as serpents.

GE said...

I think it is, on the whole, a respectful and conciliatory letter. Yes, I don't understand the point about philosophical formation, which the FSSPX probably does better than most, but in its teaching the Society does tend to focus an awful lot on the perceived errors of Vatican II in a way that is quite disproportional and lacks nuance and perspective - in effect, the FSSPX are making the same mistake as those liberals who want to view everything in the contemporary Church through the lens of Vat II.

I understand Mr. McFarland's concern that the Truth of the Faith should be the primary issue and obedience the second. However, we never arrive at this Truth except through obedience to the Magisterium of the Church. It is the Magisterium that has the competence to determine what is the true Faith, and the theologian can raise concerns that the Truth is not properly taught or is misunderstood but he has no right to demand any particular action of the Magisterium.

It is the prerogative of the Magisterium to determine how it will teach the Faith, and it will be held to account by God for its dispositions in that regard. The theologian who, out of frustration with the Magisterium, is disobedient to even its legitimate orders, will surely also be held to account.

Steve Calovich said...

"Pope Benedict XVI, in his magnanimous exercise of the munus Petrinum..."

Pope Benedict does what he can, but he is not in solitary charge at the Vatican. The I.O.R. or Institute for Works of Religion, started in 1929 by Pius XI, has gained immense and absolute power*. Pope John Paul I confronted the I.O.R. and found out the hard way, there is a line that a Pope dares not cross in 1978.

Pope John Paul II found he could coexist with the I.O.R. when they placed many tens of millions of dollars at his disposal to fund the Solidarity Movement in Poland. JPII's successor, Cardinal Ratzinger, was chosen not by the Holy Spirit, but by the I.O.R.

(*Search "Bernadino Nogara")

Matt said...

GodBlessThe SSPX, you said things succinctly and to the point. These pious platitudes coming out of nowhere are to be considered dubious at best. If those in the Curia really wanted to address the SSPX, then do so formally. Open a formal line of communication to jump-start the talks. Evidently this is not the case nor their intention, so this schmaltzy letter from DiNoia is not (IMO) worth the bandwidth it took to send it.

Joseph said...

Why would the FSSP and ICK need bishops any more than the Dominicans or Franciscans? This is a strawman. While it is unfortunately true that none of the priests of the traditional orders have been made a curial or metropolitan bishop, having a bishop specifically for a religious order or congregation in full communion with Rome serves no purpose.

chaimbeul said...

A truly charitable and reasonable letter from Abp. Di Noia. He still seems to have a bit of hope that the SSPX will reconcile. But there really is no hope. It's just not in the SSPX spiritual DNA to submit to any authority on this earth. They cannot do it.

If by chance the Superior General of the SSPX begins to think for even a brief moment that perhaps reconciliation may not be a bad thing, others in the SSPX will remind him of his duty to never submit. They only ever submitted to Archbishop Lefebvre. No one else is acceptable.

El Eremita said...

GodBlessThe SSPX,

You start with a straw man fallacy. You said: "YOu are of course incorrect - an Ecumenical Council can indeed contain error.". But if you read my comment more carefully you will notice that I said that "errors of lesser degree are possible (the ubiquitous example: The Council of Florence regarding the form of Holy Orders)".

What isn't possible is a Council ratified by the Pope to contain heresy, which is what sedevacantist and some SSPXers (not all of them) believe.

Then you mix up your facts about the "Nota Praevia" (which actually was an addenda to Lumen Gentium intended primirarly to clarify the notion of collegiality present in that document, but which also asserted that "the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding") and about John XXII (which can't be considered a public heretic as the doctrine regarding the "immediateness" of Beatific Vision after death was formally defined as de fide by his successor).

But most importantly, you are completely missing the point of my comment. What I am saying is that the Pope has proper authority to ask the SSPX to moderate the tone of their critics, and even to ask them to refrain from making such critics publicly, because this whole issue is nothing more than a theological dispute, over which the Holy See has full authority.

My reference to sedevacantism was motivated by mister McFarlane's assertion that ++Di Noia's letter proposed "giving unity (really authority) over truth (that is, faith)". I replied that the differences between the Holy See can not about the Faith because if they were, then one would forcefully have to assert that either Rome or the SSPX have the Faith and the other doesn't... and if one were to assert that the SSPX has the Faith and Rome doesn't, then a whole new set of theological problems arise (sedevacantism among them).

LeonG said...

The last paragraph is the usual postmodernist appeal to overlook the fact that the liberal modernists used almost every ruse in the book to force us all the accept the new liturgical and pastoral paradigms after the Councils. Much of this was done lacking charity toward traditional Roman Catholics who would not buy into the new philosophies; lacking respect for tradition nay even mocking it to ridicule, as I have often witnessed; lacking gentleness and meekness - accept or be ostracised, as my parents found out once the decided in favour of what had been handed down to them.
Thank you for warning us your grace but we have known all along that the discussions were a one-way street. Now you have told us publicly this continues to be your intention.

GodBlesstheSSPX said...

Dear GE

What relevance does your concluding remark "The theologian who, out of frustration with the Magisterium, is disobedient to even its legitimate orders, will surely also be held to account" have to this discussion?

The SSPX is not nor has it claimed to be a theologian, or even a group of theologians. It is a priestly society.


What "legitimate orders" have the SSPX "disobeyed"? There are in fact none.

Unless you consider that the discussions held over the past 3 years were not actually discussions but Papal orders to the SSPX bishops. Which, I hate to break it to you, they were not.

The SSPX is fully obedient to the Pope,on every single front: female ordination, abortion, traditional marriage, the desire to promote the traditional worship, promoting the hermenutic of continuity of Catholic belief in every age, and so on and so forth. In short, much more so than the bishops conferences say of Austria, England, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, France, to name but a few.

The only disagreement - it is not disobedience but a dispute in discussion - is that the SSPX factually states that Vatican 2 has errors, whereas the Holy Father, prefers to say that the errors that exist need to be interpreted in the hermeneutic of continuity of Catholic Faith. The two positions are not necessarily mutually exclusive either - but one should be allowed to call an error an error even if we agree that the error should be discarded in favor of a traditional interpretation.

The discussion that seems to have eluded you is this: The SSPX condition, which the Holy Father apparently assured Bp Fellay of in November 2011, but somehow reneged on in June 2012 was that the SSPX would be allowed to say that Vatican 2 was erroneous in places. There are many non-SSPX bishops who make a pious claim to the same argument as well and many NO priests that I know agree that Vatican 2 contains a number of hippie-inspired utopian one world brotherhood of love that make it really lose credibility. Let's call it what it is.

B. said...

Archbishop Di Noia:
"Those, therefore, who are outside the Church do not have the Holy Spirit” (Epistle 185 §50). These are chilling words: one who is an enemy of unity becomes an enemy of God, for he rejects the gift that God has bestowed on us."

Second Vatican Council:
Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. [...]
It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. 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.


Will Archbishop Di Noia have to sign a preamble?

Benedict Carter said...

Not one word of admission that a crisis exists, or the reasons for it.

Same old, same old.

Adfero said...

B.

You certainly earn the comment of the week. Well played.

Inquisitor said...


But an Ecumenical Council ratified by the Pope can not contain heresy... errors of lesser degree are possible (the ubiquitous example: The Council of Florence regarding the form of Holy Orders), but never heresy. If the 2nd Vatican Council contained heresies, then the visible Church would no longer be the Catholic Church (a thesis proposed by Williamson which was rejected and refuted even by a SSPX priest).

Dear El Eremita

First, allow me to clarify a couple of terms I will be using below.

Error--A false doctrine which does not contradict a formally defined dogma.
Heresy--The willful denial/contradiction of a defined dogma after baptism.

So what you are saying is that an ecumenical council can teach false doctrines on important matters of doctrine and faith, such as what constitutes the valid matter and form of the sacrament of Holy Orders, so long as they don't contradict defined dogmas?

The definition of the correct matter and form of Holy Orders is an incredibly important error that could affect Apostolic Succession and the validity of the sacraments themselves.

If I understand you correctly, it seems that you are asserting that conciliar infallibility doesn't protect ecumenical councils from teaching false doctrines, it only protects the Church from contradicting its defined dogmas? Isn't saying that the Church could teach a false doctrine on what constitutes the valid reception of a sacrament itself an implicit denial of the Church's infallibility in matters of faith and morals?

GE said...

GodBlesstheSSPX,

The priests of the FSSPX (many of them at least) are certainly theologians - they have studied theology, they write books on theology, they criticize the theology of others, they have formulated a rather consistent theology that rejects Vatican II as out of step with Tradition. In all of this they are part of what the Pope has called the "Magisterium of theologians". They have Bishops as well, and to some extent these take part in the Magisterium of the Bishops, but the priests of the FSSPX are actually not hierarchically subjected to the Bishops (their Superior is only accidentally a Bishop). Besides, the Magisterium of the Bishops must always in the final analysis subject itself to the Supreme Magisterium. I find that Mgrs. de Gallarreta and de Mallerais especially seem reluctant to subject their own opinions on doctrine to the judgment of the Supreme Authority.

Rome gave Mgr. Lefebvre the perfectly legitimate order not to consecrate Bishops without a papal mandate in 1988. An order Mgr. Lefebvre chose to disobey, for all sorts of reasons, some of which were perhaps understandable, others perhaps not. The fact is that he obeyed an order that Rome was (objectively) competent and within its rights to give. Whether Almighty God judged that this was an instance of acting in good conscience or not we do not know. But in general such an act is a really really bad idea.

Paul said...

Father John Naugle
This is the second time I have seen a reference to St Padre Pio's muzzling as an example of the SSPX issue.
There is a major difference. St Pio's muzzling was disciplinary and his superiors did have the authority to silence him. But they had no authority to command him to go against the Faith, neither did they try. But the Faith is what is at stake in the present situation.

Lynda said...

I agree with Niantic: the letter in itself is quite good, but in the context of nothing being done to discipline the countless heretics, and counter the widespread heresies in the Church which have caused and continue to cause so much damage to so many souls, it seems rather disingenuous.

Scott said...

B.,

Nicely done! Such is the peril of leaving paper trails. I picture someone pointing out the words you cited from VII to Archbishop Di Noia and his reply being "Doh!"

Delores said...

I am surprised no-one has addressed the top of the letter:
"Until now, apart from its official pronouncements, the Holy See has for various reasons refrained from correcting certain inaccurate assertions regarding its conduct and competence in these interactions. A time is rapidly approaching, however, when in the interest of truth the Holy See will be compelled to address some of these inaccuracies. Particularly dolorous are statements that impugn the office, and person, of the Holy Father and that, at some point, would demand some response.

Recent assertions by persons holding significant positions of authority within the Fraternity cannot but cause concern about the realistic prospects for reconciliation. One thinks in particular of interviews given by the District Superior for Germany, formerly General Superior of the Fraternity (18 September 2012) and by the First Assistant General of the Fraternity (16 October 2012), and a recent sermon of the General Superior (1 November 2012). The tone and content of these interventions have given rise to a certain perplexity about the seriousness and, indeed, the very possibility of straightforward conversation between us. While the Holy See patiently awaits an official response from the Fraternity, some of its superiors employ language, in unofficial communications, that to all the world appears to reject the very provisions, assumed to be still under study,"

Two things strike me: (1) particularly dolorous the claims by Fellay and his leadership that the Pope or people very close to him communicated privately w/them (?) [statements that impugn the office, and person, of the Holy Father and that, at some point, would demand some response.]
and (2) Again the Vatican claim which Fellay and his crew appear to find baffling that they have rec'd no official response, but that SSPX are rejecting the agreement in "unofficial" public communications (some of its superiors employ language, in unofficial communications, that to all the world appears to reject the very provisions still under study).

The rest of the letter seems so much blather. I cannot see why the Pope is trying so hard for this agreement (willing to overlook being outed and pretend not to have rec'd "official" refusal). The only thing I can think is that he wants to either go back to the Latin mass or he wants or is going to introduce a hybrid mass. I think Fellay must know something he is not saying, but maybe not. There seems a threat here which might have meaning to Fellay, but in the face of it he seems to have doubled down.

In truth, the Pope does not hold many cards. Like the prodigal son, the post VCII Church has pretty much squandered the inheritance. Why they think the SSPX (or its priests) would help them save face w/a hybrid mass and no recanting I don't know. Both Peter and Paul confessed in full, recanted and publicized their sins. I don't know the history of the church, but apparently there were 42 anti-popes and many heresies, such as the Arian heresy, where practically the whole church went heretical for a time. The heresies were then condemned (maybe after all the adherents died (?)) and the church went on. Since VCII stopped condemning everything, I guess they're searching for a new way.

I wonder if the threat is to use the German and French governments to break up the SSPX - it wouldn't be a very "spirit filled" thing to do - but then a lot of money from a lot of poor widows is at stake.

El Eremita said...

Inquisitor,

It is a fact that the Council of Florence defined the form and matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and that centuries later they were “changed” by Pius XII in his apostolic constitution Sacramentum Ordinis. Some people are of the opinion that this can’t be catalogued as an error, but nonetheless it demonstrates that conciliar pronouncements which are not definitive may be subject to further revision and change.

On the other hand, the ratification of an Ecumenical Council by the bishop of Rome guarantees that there is nothing in the pronouncements of that Council that is contrary to the Faith (formally defined as a dogma or not).

-----

GodBlesstheSSPX,

Regarding obedience, SSPX priests are suspended a divinis so they must refrain from exercising the power of orders. Obviously, they don't recognize this suspension and keep conferring the sacraments, but each time they do so, they incur in an act of disobedience.

If they were actually obedient to the Pope, they would go to Rome and say "We are willing to suspend our pastoral activity until you recognize us, please concede us temporal faculties until the details are sorted out".

SSPXers would consider this as a suicide... but the thing is that the SSPX doesn't have a "right" to exist. The cura animarum of the Universal Church has been entrusted to the Successor of Peter, and to him alone. If the Society wants to take part in that mission, then they must do it "cum Petro et sub Petro", as they don't have an inherent right exercise any kind of ministry among the faithful.

Not even validly ordained bishops have jurisdiction if the Pope doesn't confers it to them, so recognition from the Holy See is not something merely "desirable" which can be rejected if the conditions are not optimal... it is something absolutely necessary. The famous "state of necessity" may still exist in places where there isn't reasonable access to traditional sacraments and people still has problems of conscience towards the Novus Ordo, but other than that, the SSPX doesn't have jurisdiction (i.e., they don't have the right to teach, govern or sanctify anybody) and sacraments requiring it for validity are most probably invalid.

Keeping in mind that slowly but steadily traditional sacraments are becoming available (thus weakening the argument for supplied jurisdiction), and that the Society is having a hard time staying together as an homogeneous body, if I were a SSPXer, I would definitely pay attention to ++Di Noia's letter. It doesn't matter if they "trust" Rome or not: exercising the potestas docendi, regendi or sanctificandi without having received them from the Visible Head of the Church is acting against Divine Law, as the monarchical nature of the Church was something desired by God and which can't be changed... every power exercised over the faithful must be conferred by the Sovereign Pontiff.

Well, at least that is the traditional doctrine if that's worth anything...

Lisa said...

Wrong. There is a difference between causing schism and being born into it.

GE said...

"...the letter in itself is quite good, but in the context of nothing being done to discipline the countless heretics, and counter the widespread heresies in the Church which have caused and continue to cause so much damage to so many souls, it seems rather disingenuous."

But that is not within the competence of the PCED at all. Mgr. di Noia is inviting the FSSPX to be regularized precisely so that the Society may help Rome overcome the crisis. It will be on Rome's terms, yes, and the Society may not feel that is particularly attractive - but "the servant is not greater than the master."

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia said...

El Eremita -- Very well said!

Trent, Sess. 23, Can. 7:
Si quis dixerit episcopos non esse presbyteris superiores vel non habere potestatem confirmandi et ordinandi vel eam quam habent illis esse cum presbyteris communem; vel ordines ab ipsis collatos sine populi vel potestatis saecularis consensu aut vocatione irritos esse; aut eos qui nec ab ecclesiastica et canonica potestate rite ordinati nec missi sunt sed aliunde veniunt legitimos esse verbi et sacramentorum ministros: anathema sit.

Some SSPX attempt to justify what they are doing by appealing to canon law, but even this would not, by itself, entail the -ecclesiastical- authorization required.

Common Sense said...

Dear El Eremita you wrote alot but said nothing.Popes autority is supreme but not absolute.But you are free to obey.I rather choose to do the will of God.

Barbara said...

"Not one word of admission that a crisis exists, or the reasons for it.

Same old, same old."

Well there is an underlying allusion to the crisis in the letter - Mr. Carter - but I agree with you nothing concrete - that is why - beautiful as the words are that Archbishop Di Noia writes-they are empty - because there is a refusal to address the heart of the matter - which is the tremendous loss of faith in the Catholic Church triggered by the innovations of Vatican II.
Undoubtly the FSSPX have made their mistakes too somewhere along the line - but they are crystal clear in the reason for their existence. The demolition of the faith was in act at their beginnings. When Holy Mass was deformed they were the only ones to really resist - if I am wrong -someone please correct me.

I repeat, Archbishop Di Noia with all due respect to his high office, is manipulative in this letter. if I recall correctly he stated last year that the idea was to win the FSSPX over and then gradually convince them of the inherent goodness of the post-conciliar Church.

Truth, clarity . truth clarity from the roof-tops - that's what's needed. And who cares if many are offended ...
I was aided in being brought to the Catholic Faith by being offended... I thank God with all my heart for my "offenders".

Mariana said...

“Love your enemies in such a way that you wish them to be brothers; love your enemies in such a way that they are brought into your fellowship” (ibid. 1.9)."

Wow, what a beautiful letter! Thanks for posting this. I think this letter applies for me too especially when engage in a heated discussion.

Lord, please grant us humility, mildness, patience, and charity.

Mariana

Tom said...

Barbara said..."I repeat, Archbishop Di Noia with all due respect to his high office, is manipulative in this letter. if I recall correctly he stated last year that the idea was to win the FSSPX over and then gradually convince them of the inherent goodness of the post-conciliar Church."

Of course. The Apostolic See has never hidden that which the Holy Father and his representatives have desired to achieve in regard to discussions with the Society.

Rome has never hidden Her agenda from anybody who wishes to join the Catholic Church or return to a regularized status within the Church.

The Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ. He governs the Catholic Church.

You, I, catechumens, lapsed Catholics, Anglicans, the Society of Saint Pius X...anybody...any group...must accept that which is taught by the Roman Pontiff.

It is that simple.

His Holiness will not accept from you, I, the Society or Catechumen X (anybody...any group) such claims as the Novus Ordo is "poison" and "Vatican II contains serious errors".

Who doesn't know that?

Does anybody actually believe that the Apostolic See would permit a priestly society to claim that Church-sponsored ecumenical and interfaith initiatives constitute "grave sins"?

Rome has never "fooled" the Society as certain folks (not you) have claimed.

The Society of Saint Pius X has known always that the Apostolic See teaches X,Y and Z...and that the Society must teach X,Y and Z to obtain Rome's stamp of approval.

Put simply: Rome calls the shots....always has, always will.

Tom

Matt said...

All this letter is is another finger-wagging at the SSPX as well something to play out in the press, the very point mentioned in the letter they didn't want happening. IMO, this is a blatant case of being two-faced. It should be pointed out the *Catholic* press, not the general media. For them this doesn't even show up on their radar, but the Catholic press, they don't even handle this with the delicacy handled here nor do they have the grasp most of us here do. Looking at their headlines even tell you what the tone of the article is. I don't even bother. To this, these Curial people know what they are doing by even mentioning this stuff. They know exactly what is going to happen with the so-called Catholic media and they play it out to the full.

perhaps this is where Mr. Greggy Burke is playing his hand. Funny, nothing much has changed with the Vatican Press Office since he got there but suddenly there's this funny letter being launched against the SSPX which in itself is a PR move... Very curious indeed.

JabbaPapa said...

Benedict Carter :

Not one word of admission that a crisis exists, or the reasons for it.

Not true, dear Benedict.

Attention should certainly be paid to the passages of the Magisterium that seem difficult to reconcile with magisterial teaching.

---

... abuses ... problems in the church ...

---

... every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II

---

The Instruction Donum Veritatis on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1990) states that a theologian “may raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions” (§24)

---

If, after intense reflection on the part of a theologian, difficulties persist, he “has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented.


Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Although this letter reeks of the usual condescension and double-standard when dealing with Tradition, at least it does two important things: 1) it acknowledges, however grudgingly, that the work of Marcel Lefevbre was a gift to the Church; and 2) it reveals once again, as that much as they would like to, characters like Muller and Di Noia cannot come up with any believable formula for maintaining that the SSPX is "outside the Church." Sometimes it is difficult to see, but the SSPX has made considerable progress in past few years. The tide is turning.

RogerThat said...

FSSPX should ask very practical questions, like:
- could we keep preaching what has always been taught by the Church?
- could we teach 'outside the Church, no way?'
- could we teach this and that?

Where this and that are positive statements. I mean, no talk about post CV II errors, but only the perennial truth. The errors can be supplanted by truth in the future (not sure, may be wrong). Do the trojan job.

Clayton Orr said...

The traditionalist movement within the Church, I believe, is, under the influence of young diocesan priests and seminarians and the effect of Summorum Pontificum, becoming more inclusive of people with different theological bents and more exclusively focused on the liturgy as such. I think that the second and third generation of traditionalists who are in communion also tend to be less separated from other Catholics and more willing to work with their local parishes. The fact is that, for many of these young families, the kind of long-distance travel to society or indult apostolates of former days is no longer financially possible or personally desirable. These two things will, over time, reduce the sympathy that currently exists between mainstream traditionalists and the Society. My thought is that either the Society is reconciled very soon, or the prospects for reconciliation will be greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Revoca said...

Some of these comments are horrible. As if the fact that others who are wrong are not censured by the Church somehow invalidates any of the perfectly straightforward and legitimate points brought against the Society by the Archbishop.

Perhaps the Pope and his helps are reproving the Society, as opposed to modernists, because they think that the Society is at least in earnest about such things as orthodoxy and holy obedience, and stands a chance of being corrected, reconciled, and exercising real, fruitful, legitimate ministry in the Church.

This "what the Church has always taught" nonsense has got to stop. That is the line of the Eastern Orthodox, and if you talk to them, you will find that there is a real problem of judgment. Who determines what the Church has always taught, without some authority to make definitive pronouncements upon the matter? The answer: every man for himself.

This addiction to private judgment is the reason that, in its forty years of existence, the FSSPX has fragmented again and again and again, SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, SGG, SSPX-SO, Williamsonians, Fellayists. Oh, sure, all of these people are convinced that their solution to the problems of the Church is the right one, but the fact is, not one of these warring camps will be talked out of its unique positions by any of the others; this is destined to compound schism upon schism, ad infinitum.

The Pope has thought about your positions and your objections, considered them, appreciated them, and he has stated them and endorsed them in the strongest possible terms, given you the hermeneutic of continuity to work with, but exhorted you to charity towards your Brothers and Sisters who accepted the liturgical reform without scruple and without loss of orthodoxy, reminding you that the moment you equate the New Mass necessarily with heresy is the moment you fall off the cliff into Sedevacantism, Protestantism, or Neo-Eastern-Orthodoxy.

Hmmm.... said...

The timeline is interesting. This letter is dated "Advent 2012" and yet Bishop Fellay did not mention having received this letter during the now imfamous conference he gave in Canada on December 28, 2012 where he gives his assessment of where things stand with Rome. Bishop Fellay gave the impression that there has been no communication between the SSPX and Rome for quite some time. Clearly that is not the case. I wonder why Bishop Fellay failed to mention this letter?

Jean-Francois said...

"...the letter in itself is quite good, but in the context of nothing being done to discipline the countless heretics, and counter the widespread heresies in the Church which have caused and continue to cause so much damage to so many souls, it seems rather disingenuous."

Not quite true. While the Vatican may not have done enough on this score it is certainly moving in the right direction. More and more dissident priests and some Bishops are being punished.

Despite the mention of hope that things can be resolved between Rome and the SSPX, the first paragraph of this letter is a clear warning shot that the patience of the Vatican is running thin. And if the comments here which show are real hardening of hearts are reflective of the sentiment within the SSPX itself then I don't think this is gonna turn out well.

Gregorian Mass said...

If only the rest of the Church and it's theologians followed these requests and guides we would not have the level of disarray in the Church as we do now. With every statement from Rome though, I just don't see any admission that what came from Vatican II was wrong, nothing, zilch, nada. Only an allusion to wrongdoing in its' implementation. But again even on that point that will not go into specifically what they think was concretely wrong in implementation because that should oblige them to fix it immediately. For example, ad orientem was abandoned immediately following the Council, this was wrong, the Council said nothing about this, now please turn back around within 2 years and with proper Catechesis. So maybe actually fixing some of the implementation errors instead of talking about them ad nauseum would go along way into believing Rome is serious about things. Which would give rise to the idea on both sides that something tangible is being done.

Rick DeLano said...

@ Revoca:

"This 'what the Church has always taught' nonsense has got to stop."

>> Oh my. So what the Church has always taught is nonsense. And this is purported to be Catholic??



"That is the line of the Eastern Orthodox"

>> It is the line of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church from the beginning, believed always and everywhere, and by everyone.

@B:

Surely that third year of philosophy would straighten us all up.

After all, the Spirit both is, and is not, in the separated ecclesial communities, at the very same time and in the very same way.

Once this is grasped, it all makes perfect sense.

KnightofChrist said...

Who does determine what the Church has always taught? What Tradition is and is not? The "Living Magisterium"? This seems to be what the Vacitan currently believes, and wants the SSPX to agree.

The problem with having the Living Magisterium say what is and is not Tradition is that it is dangerously close to relativistism. The Living Magisterium in one age may contradict the previous Living Magisterium of another age, or the Unverisal Magisterium.

What happens when the Church is suffering under great heresies which nearly envelop the whole Church? Like the Arian heresy? Could the Living Magisterium of the time declared that Arianism was Tradition? If Tradition is subject to the Living Magisterium, if the Living Magisterium says what is and is not Tradition then the answer is, yes. The Living Magisterium could say that what ever they want to be Tradition to be Tradition.

Tom said...

Revoca said..."This "what the Church has always taught" nonsense has got to stop. That is the line of the Eastern Orthodox, and if you talk to them, you will find that there is a real problem of judgment. Who determines what the Church has always taught, without some authority to make definitive pronouncements upon the matter? The answer: every man for himself."

Interestingly, time and again Rome has confirmed that Traditionalists have been correct when having identified this and that teaching as having been taught "always and everywhere."

Examples:

-- Traditionalists have insisted that Mass facing the East (ad orientem) is an "always and everywhere" teaching.

In 1996, the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches released the document APPLYING THE LITURGICAL PRESCRIPTIONS OF THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES.

Said document acknowledged that Liturgy ad orientem is ancient Catholic Tradition.

Rome then exhorted Eastern Catholics to maintain the ancient teaching in question via the following:

"Such practice, threatened in numerous Eastern Catholic Churches by a new and recent Latin influence, is thus of profound value and should be safeguarded as truly coherent with the Eastern liturgical spirituality."

Incredibly, Rome acknowledged the great spiritual importance of maintaining the Church's ancient and universal teaching in question...

...acknowledged that anything else is a "new and recent" — a novelty...a liturgical deformation...

...but has failed to promote said universal teaching within the Latin Church.

-- Holy Communion on the tongue vs. in the hand:

On May 29, 1969 A.D., via the document MEMORIALE DOMINI, Pope Paul VI acknolwedged that the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue constituted Holy Tradition.

Pope Paul VI acknowledged that the reception of Holy Communion in the hand constituted a dangerous practice, which presented "a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine."

The Traditionalists are correct on that score.

Traditionalists have maintained that "no worship with non-Catholics" is an "always and everywhere" teaching.

They are correct.

Traditionalists have maintained that altar girls and female EMs violate the "always and everywhere" Tradition that excluded women from the Sanctuary...service at the altar.

They are correct.

Time and again, Traditionalists have been correct when having identified this or that as an "always and everywhere" teaching.

Rome doesn't necessarily disagree with the above.

The problem that Traditionalists have is that Rome has claimed that novel practices designed to overthrow "always and everywhere" practices are in "continuity with Holy Tradition."

How a new and revolutionary practice is in "continuity" with Holy Tradition defies logic.

Therefore, we are left with the following:

Rome says that "Novelty X" has become a legitimate practice.

Traditionalists say that "Novelty X" defies Holy Tradition and refuse to accept "Novelty X."

Rome replies: If you wish to maintain "full communion" with the Apostolic See, then you must accept "Novelty X."

Rome and the Traditionalists, at least those who constitute the SSPX and additional "irregular" groups, go around and around.

But the bottom line is that Rome calls the shots...and to obtain regularized status from Rome, one must accept "Novelty X."

Tom

Tom said...

Gregorian Mass said..."For example, ad orientem was abandoned immediately following the Council, this was wrong, the Council said nothing about this, now please turn back around within 2 years and with proper Catechesis."

I am interested in your statement as I have just posted a message that mentioned Mass ad orientem.

You are correct that if the Apostolic See were determined, His Holiness could address said "implemention error" with ease.

For that matter, Rome could address any "implemention error" with ease...if desired.

As I had just noted in a different post, in 1996 Rome addressed, at least among Eastern Catholics, the ancient Tradition of liturgical worship facing the east.

Rome exhorted Eastern Catholics to discard the novelty of offering the Divine Liturgy facing the people.

Pope Benedict XVI couldn't exhort Latin Catholics to do the same?

It is very easy.

Tom

Issued by Rome in 1996 A.D.

APPLYING THE LITURGICAL PRESCRIPTIONS OF THE CODE OF CANONS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES

107. Prayer facing the east

"Ever since ancient times, it has been customary in the prayer of the Eastern Churches to prostrate oneself to the ground, turning toward the east; the buildings themselves were constructed such that the altar would face the east.

"Saint John of Damascus explains the meaning of this tradition: "It is not for simplicity nor by chance that we pray turned toward the regions of the east (...). Since God is intelligible light (1 Jn. 1:5), and in the Scripture, Christ is called the Sun of justice (Mal. 3:20) and the East (Zech. 3:8 of the LXX), it is necessary to dedicate the east to him in order to render him worship.

"The Scripture says: 'Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed' (Gen. 2:8). (...)

"In search of the ancient homeland and tending toward it, we worship God. Even the tent of Moses had its curtain veil and propitiatory facing the east.

"And the tribe of Judah, in as much as it was the most notable, encamped on the east side (cf. Nm. 2:3).

"In the temple of Solomon, the Lord's gate was facing the east (cf. Ez. 44:1). Finally, the Lord placed on the cross looked toward the west, and so we prostrate ourselves in his direction, facing him.

"When he ascended to heaven, he was raised toward the east, and thus his disciples adored him, and thus he will return, in the same way as they saw him go to heaven (cf. Acts 1:11), as the Lord himself said: 'For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be' (Mt. 24:27).

"Waiting for him, we prostrate ourselves toward the east. It is an unwritten tradition, deriving from the Apostles."

This rich and fascinating interpretation also explains the reason for which the celebrant who presides in the liturgical celebration prays facing the east, just as the people who participate.

"It is not a question, as is often claimed, of presiding the celebration with the back turned to the people, but rather of guiding the people in pilgrimage toward the Kingdom, invoked in prayer until the return of the Lord.

"Such practice, threatened in numerous Eastern Catholic Churches by a new and recent Latin influence, is thus of profound value and should be safeguarded as truly coherent with the Eastern liturgical spirituality."

Tom said...

"But again even on that point that will not go into specifically what they think was concretely wrong in implementation because that should oblige them to fix it immediately."

In fairness to Rome, the translation of the Novus Ordo in English has been addressed.

Pope Benedict XVI, via his example, has at least pushed along the discussion in regard to the manner in which Holy Communion is distribution within the Latin Church.

Tom

Common Sense said...

Wy we trads even bother responding to this post coniliar NO junk. We have 19 centuries of giving fitting glory to His Devine Majesty plus the teaching.Once this crisis is over, the filthy scum of Revolution will be flushed out together with all those wolves.No amount of sound reason can convince some of the folk.It is a constant walk in circle leading to deadly end, because once the fair dinkum persecution has started and blood is poured, than the apparatchiks will offer us splendid advice to follow pope in order to save our lives.Even blind Fred sees it coming.NO is not a threat to them. Even abp. Noia concedes that after debate solution has tobe found.For all catholics of good will there is an rgent need to put aside differences and to unite through the glorious past into the future.As in Tolkien Lord of the rings, we must respond to our common threat, which is the satanic Revolution in the church and in the world or else.God bless us all.

Brian said...

Abp Di Noia lectures the SSPX:

“It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy, trying to sway those who are not theologically sophisticated into adopting one’s own point of view regarding subtle theological matters.”

That would be fine if the “difficult points in the theological interpretation of Vatican II” lingered in some arcane journals on that back shelves of a few scattered, distant seminaries.

For the past 50 years, however, these “difficult points” have been shoved down the throats of every Catholic in every Novus Ordo church in the world. Should the SSPX remain silent on these "subtle theological matters" patiently awaiting a word from on high? Does not this Archbishop from the Order of Preachers recognize the responsibility of the priest to preach the truth?

Abp. Di Noia also provides some lovely quotes about Church unity from the letters of St. Paul, and argues that preserving the unity of the Spirit in a manner worthy of the call we have received, requires submission to the Pope in all matters, with any disagreements over “subtle theological matters” being spoken gently, mildly, humbly, and above all privately, never publically, behind closed doors, patiently awaiting whatever response the Pope might give.

The good Archbishop, however, somehow overlooked this passage from Galatians 2:11-14

But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that some came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision. And to his dissimulation the rest of the Jews consented, so that Barnabas also was led by them into that dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as the Jews do, how dost thou compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Because of the public nature of Cephas’ error and because “he was to be blamed” and his error led others astray, Paul’s bold correction of our first Pope, such that he “withstood him to his face,” was made publically “before them all,” and was then openly and widely proclaimed in his letter to the churches in Galatia.

Clearly, there is no necessary opposition between devotion to the unity of the Church and bold, public correction of error by Church authorities.

Hilltop said...

I am with those who draw attention to the final sentence of ++Di Noia's first paragraph:
"A time is rapidly approaching, however, when in the interest of truth the Holy See will be compelled to address some of these inaccuracies. Particularly dolorous are statements that impugn the office, and person, of the Holy Father and that, at some point, would demand some response."
Others above have addressed the threatening language of these sentences. I offer that there is something off-color in them. It is not the strategically best preamble to a letter that, afterward, purports to be a guileless personal appeal to brother Priests across the aisle as it were.
After some reflection upon the apparent disparities of the letter's internal emotives, it appears to be a letter written for the record.
That he writes personally rather than with the authority of the CDF supports this hypothesis - Msgr. Mueller presumably had not the authority to stop a personal letter but could stop a CDF letter authored by his immediate inferior. Thus ++Di Noia writes personally so as to be on record as distinct from ++Mueller all the while knowing that his letter would carry no effective authority - a "no-lose" situation for the author.
Also, the language of the body of ++Di Noia's letter is the language of instruction rather than personal appeal. I observe this not to suggest that ++Di Noia lacks the authority and expertise to instruct - he does; but rather to suggest that he must have known in composing his personal letter that had he adopted the langauage of appeal the letter would be more effective to his expressed desires. That he chose an instructive posture also means that he chose to be seen to be instructing. This choice perhaps also supports the hypothesis that the letter is for the record and therefore for Roman consumption if not for Menzigan indigestion.

Clayton Orr said...

Brian: That was a dispute over behavior, not doctrine. And St. Paul was a bishop and apostle, a colleague of St. Peter, not a layman. There is a difference.

Judith said...



"The authentic charism of the Fraternity is to form priests for the service of the people of God, not the usurpation of the office of judging and correcting the theology or discipline of others within the Church. Your focus should be on the inculcation of sound philosophical, theological, pastoral, spiritual, and human formation for your candidates so that they may preach the word of Christ and act as instruments of God’s grace in the world, especially through the solemn celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."

This is the most ironic paragraph considering that this is probably the first time that Abp. Di Noia has strung the words "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" together in more than 30 years. It could be the first time he has done it, ever.

And, the passage about priestly formation in the modern Church is laughable.

I went to the website of our local seminary. There are two pseudo-philosophy classes offered. Neither would qualify as a philosophy class. Neither are required. They are electives.

And, when Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X recommended philosophy as an antidote to modenism, he was referring to Thomism. Modern philosophy, is responsible for deviation from traditional Church teaching. But, it doesn't matter, because most seminaries do not require any philosphy classes, despite the Archbishop's claim for three years.

The assertion that only those with the most esoteric knowledge of theology could possibly understand what is going on between the Pius X Society and the modern Church is ludicrous.

Jean-Francois said...

Because of the public nature of Cephas’ error and because “he was to be blamed” and his error led others astray, Paul’s bold correction of our first Pope, such that he “withstood him to his face,”

It's good to see so many "St. Paul's" out there.

John said...

This whole affair should come to an end. It does not matter anymore who is more in the right. Both sides are losers, and the enemies of truth will rejoice, unless the Church finds a way to unity.

The SSPX has achieved much over the past 40 years. The authorization of the TLM by the Pope is one of their achievements. But now, I fear further intransigence will not accomplish anything more of significance.

Many would join the traditional movement now, stand shoulder to shoulder with the SSPX but hesitate to leave Peter's bark. In another generation the number of SSPX supporters in the Church will significantly diminish. Liberals do not make good Catholics.

The SSPX will keep growing but also likely to become significantly isolated not just from the broader culture but also from Catholicism/Vatican as well. And that would be a tragedy. Who knows how farsighted and wise the next Holy Father is likely to be?

Pope Benedict's prophecy about a much smaller future Church may be headed by an underground SSPX bishop while the Catholic Pope in the Vatican will be some one approved/employed by the EU.

The signs of the times counsel each side to give a little for the sake of the Kingdom.

Alan Aversa said...

Abp. Di Noia says: "Nothing less than the unity of the Church is at stake." But the Church already is one.

El Eremita said...

Clearly, there is no necessary opposition between devotion to the unity of the Church and bold, public correction of error by Church authorities.

Again, this assumes that the Church is in error and the SSPX holds "the truth". But unless the Society can demonstrate that their "corrections" are actually "de fide" doctrines and that the errors to be corrected are therefore heresies (which would imply the loss of the mark of visibility and sedevacantism), then the SSPX position falls in the category of a theological opinion. And, again, the hierarchy has authority over theological debates so it can lawfully request the SSPX to abstain from making their "corrections" in the public sphere.

An example:

If my parish priest were to say in a sermon that Christ didn't resurrect, I could lawfully interrupt him and denounce him publicly as a heretic, even in the middle of the Mass.

On the other hand, if he said that Christ didn't possess infused knowledge since the beginning of his earthly life, as heterodox and untraditional as this view is, it is still a valid theological position so I would commit a sin if I interrupted him.

In the case of denial of sententiae certae or sententiae fidei proximae (Church teaching not belonging to the Deposit of Faith), prudence and justice (presumption in favor of one's superior) dictate that one must try to resolve the problem privately in first place or only involving the proper authority.

But it can be possible for the proper authority (and even the supreme authority) to allow the preaching of heterodoxy in favor of unity: That’s the case of feeneyites. Pius XII himself allowed them to hold the non-existence of baptism of desire (and you can’t get more heterodox than that without falling into heresy, as it is a sententia fidei proxima) to preserve unity. You will say, “But unity can’t be put above Truth!1!!”… Well, the case is that not even sententiae fidei proximae can be catalogued as “Truth” in the same sense that we apply this word to the Fidei Depositum. The degree of certainty we have regarding the truths contained in the Deposit of Faith is absolute, while for other kind of propositions it is not. That’s why propositions belonging to Revelation demand an unconditional Assent of Faith, while other kind of doctrines demand only a “religious assent of mind and will”, which is conditional and prudential. The difference between something revealed by God himself and something which is the conclusion of human reasoning (even if it is aided by the Holy Spirit over the course of centuries) is significant.

Truth is indeed more important than unity, but unity is more important than any theological proposition outside the deposit of Faith, no matter if it has the highest theological qualification among non-dogmatic doctrines.

So, in short: SSPXers should stop acting like their opinions were dogmas.

Roman Catholic said...

Wake up SSPX or you will be replaced by the FSSP Ordinariate that you rejected.

JabbaPapa said...

El Eremita :

If my parish priest were to say in a sermon that Christ didn't resurrect, I could lawfully interrupt him and denounce him publicly as a heretic, even in the middle of the Mass.

On the other hand, if he said that Christ didn't possess infused knowledge since the beginning of his earthly life, as heterodox and untraditional as this view is, it is still a valid theological position so I would commit a sin if I interrupted him.

In the case of denial of sententiae certae or sententiae fidei proximae (Church teaching not belonging to the Deposit of Faith), prudence and justice (presumption in favor of one's superior) dictate that one must try to resolve the problem privately in first place or only involving the proper authority.


Thank you for your delightfully well conceived illustration of the sorts of errors in approach and in substance that far FAR too many lay supporters and non-theologian clergy attached to SSPX (and to traditionalism generally) seem to routinely engage in.

KnightofChrist said...

El Eremita said...

this assumes that the Church is in error and the SSPX holds "the truth".

---

Correction, you assume. "Brian" did not state that the Church is in error and that the SSPX holds the truth. Strawmen are easy to defeat. The user clearly distinguished between the Church and the current Church authorities. Correcting the errors of authorities in the Church is not the same as saying the Church is in error. And error must be corrected, challenged, or answered. How that should be done is at times debatable. Your two examples, for example. This imagery Priest should be corrected in both examples, though interrupting him during his 'sermon' may not or should not be the first option. Lastly both examples are not at all valid, both are examples of heresy.

IPA said...

I see in this letter the mentioning of the three directives of Pope St. Pius X as an invitation to the SSPX to moderate their tone, receive full recognition, and enter into the ranks of the Hierarchy where they can ultimately effect real change from even the throne of Peter himself.

To those criticizing the letter with references to planks in eyeballs and wonderings about whether this letter was sent to other curia members for their instruction - let me just remind you that the authors duties lies within the traditional movement and no other and that is what he's focusing on.

Picard said...

El Eremita:

Some good arguments and helpful&clear distinctions, thanks, but you overlook some further possibilities and also draw some not totally convincing conclusions.

The most important possiblities (resp. distinction) that you did not consider (not make) are the de fide cathoica seu eccl - truths.
They are as sure as the de fide divina truths and as infallible as them.

But their rejection is not a heresy but only an error - an error in fide eccl. seu cathol.

And the duty of the state re wrong religions and their promoters resp. the "rel. liberty" falls - if you won't see it as falling into the category of de fide divina / heresy - at least in this category: these are truths de fide eccl. and so Vat. II and the following Popes teach real error.
But no heresy.

This errors in an infallible Church-teaching is to be corrected in the same way as errors in de fide divina truths.
And so correctly the sspx criticizes theses errors publicly and strongly.

And there are other things you overlook as well, but enough for this post.

Bill said...

Gregorian Mass said...

So maybe actually fixing some of the implementation errors instead of talking about them ad nauseum would go along way

Does Rome have the power to do this (not theoretically, I mean practically)? Between 1970 and 1994, Rome tried several times to stop the use of girl altar boys. Rome failed. The bishops just ignored the Holy See. A somewhat similar thing is true of communion in the hand.

Brian said...

Clayton said: That was a dispute over behavior, not doctrine. And St. Paul was a bishop and apostle, a colleague of St. Peter, not a layman. There is a difference

Kissing the Koran, gathering at Assisi, changing the Mass, giving Communion in the hand, allowing women to distribute Communion, discourgaging Catholic governments are all behaviors, as well. As with the behavior of Cephas, these behaviors have theological significance.

Paul did not call Cephas a heretic; neither does the SSPX call the Pope a heretic.

Paul was a Bishop; so is Bishop Fellay.

David Werling said...

The comments from El Eremita demonstrates quite aptly that the fire that Di Noia intended to spark is indeed blazing. Di Noia casts the SSPX as a “parallel magisterium” that is pontificating and rendering judgments and corrections on the rest of the Church. While this may be the case in regards to some individuals, it does not even come close to accurately portraying the historical record of the SSPX in general.

To the contrary, the SSPX in the spirit of its founder has always sought to cling to the teachings of the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council in regards to the Mass, religious liberty and ecumenism. There are tangential issues that stem from these primary contested areas. It was not the Society that placed censure on the rest of the Church. Rather it was the Church authorities that censured the Society for stubbornly holding to those things that the Church taught prior to VCII, that seemed to be contrary to what VCII and the post-conciliar Magisterium was teaching. The main point of contention, is that if the Church had taught something previous, but now was teaching something different, there is a lack of clarity, no abrogation of previous teachings, and, what’s more, an equally stubborn refusal to provide that clarification or abrogation of prior teachings or repudiation of present teachings that seem contrary.

To accuse traditionalists or the Society of confusing sententiæ fidei proxima and sententiæ fidei certæ completely misses the mark. No one is doing that. However, Di Noia cleverly injects into the conversation that traditionalists don’t have the proper background in the humanities, or a proper understanding of theology, to clearly understand what the elite Vatican theologians are proposing and discussing. This is hogwash. Even I, the lowliest of traditionalists, has Di Noia’s proposed level of philosophical and theological training. Thus, El Eremitia, taking Di Noia’s lead accuses the SSPX’s“non-theologian priests” and unqualified “laymen” of positing their opinions as though they were dogmas. Can’t those poor, stupid traditionalists see that they are too poor and stupid to really understand what’s going on here?

HOGWASH!

Quite to the contrary, the traditionalist critique has proven over the years to be too acute, logical and reasonable to be effectively countered by the present members of the Magisterium who defend the contrarieties and equivocations of the post-conciliar authorities. Time after time, when asked to explain the equivocal nature of the present Magisterium, we are presented with nothing more than an argument from authority. We are left to believe the perennial Magisterium can and does teach two different things at the same time, by refusing to clarify, abrogate or repudiate the contrarieties pointed out, over and over and over again.

The onus does not lie with the SSPX, but rather with the present members of the Magisterium to do their job and teach the truth regarding at the very least the contested points of the traditionalist critique. They refuse. Thus, I would politely submit that Archbishop Di Noia and his colleagues focus on their own mission and charism instead of the SSPX’s, and get their own house in order. “Remove the beam from your own eye first, that way you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

JabbaPapa said...

Picard :

errors in an infallible Church-teaching is to be corrected in the same way as errors in de fide divina truths.

Wrong.

In fact, you are contradicting infallible doctrine yourself by making such a claim.

Errors in infallible doctrine are to be corrected by the Magisterium -- errors in doctrines to be held de fide by all Catholics may be corrected ad hoc by any Catholic.

You are denying the infallible teaching that the Magisterium is the source of proper doctrinal interpretation by claiming otherwise.

Inquisitor said...

It is a fact that the Council of Florence defined the form and matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and that centuries later they were “changed” by Pius XII in his apostolic constitution Sacramentum Ordinis.


Dear El Eremita,

Thank you for your previous response. Please allow me to express a few thoughts concerning your reply. This reply that you posted sounds like a contradiction, though it is possible that I am simply misunderstanding your meaning. Above, it sounds like you are saying that the Council of Florence taught and defined doctrine concerning Holy Orders but then totally contradicted that doctrine when Ven Pius XII changing the matter and form of Holy Orders to contradict the definition established at Florence. This suggestion would imply that a council can teach error that contradict the the Deposit of Faith. (For surely doctrines concerning Holy Order are part of the Deposit Faith.) This can be construed as a form of Modernism. However, as Vatican I infallibly taught dogmatic DEFINITIONS CANNOT changed or revised in the sense that they can have a contradicting or different meaning than the Church has always taught. In other words dogmatic Definitions can only be Clarified or refined but must retain the original sense of the dogma.

Some people are of the opinion that this can’t be catalogued as an error, but nonetheless it demonstrates that conciliar pronouncements which are not definitive may be subject to further revision and change.

Once again, this statement suggests that ecumenical councils can teach dogmatic errors, because if it was necessary for a pope to "change" an official teaching of the Church promulgated by an infallible ecumenical council, then that would imply that the ecumenical Council of Florence taught a false doctrine concerning the nature of the Sacrament of Order that needed to be corrected. This means an that ecumenical council would have been wrong when when proclaiming the matter and form necessary for the validity of a very important sacrament that relates to the very constitution of the Church itself. This idea, of course, would create a lot of theological difficulties.

Inquisitor said...

Dear El Eremita,

Let me ask your opinion on this matter concerning the Council of Florence and Sacramentum Ordinis. What if both Pope Pius XII and Florence were somehow right? Is it possible that the Church somehow has the power to change the Sacramental Matter and Form required for the valid reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders under some circumstances?

If you read Sacramentum ordinum very carefully, you'll see that Pope Pius XII does not say that the Traditio Instrumentorum was not necessary for validity IN THE LATIN RITE. He says that from NOW ON the matter and form shall be considered the preface and laying on of hands alone. However, Ven. Pius XII goes on to say this of the Traditio Instrumentorum:

If it [the traditio instrumentorum] was at one time necessary even for validity by the will and command of the Church, every one knows that the Church has the power to change and abrogate what she herself has established.

This means that Pope Pius XII considered it a possibility that the Traditio Instrumentorum could have been necessary for validity up to some point in time. This statement also suggests a startling possibility. Namely, that it may be possible for the Church to change the matter and form necessary for the valid reception of the sacrament of Holy Order. Thus like the Church has the power to alter her laws for the valid reception of the sacrament of marriage, it also seems that she has the power to do the same with Holy Orders.

This theory would demonstrate that the Council of Florence and Pius XII are not really odds with each other. It would demonstrate that neither the pope nor the ecumenical council taught any error.

However, I would certainly be interested to hear your opinion or anyone else's opinon on this matter. What are everyone's thoughts concerning the idea that the Church could alter and change the matter and/or form of Holy Order required for the valid reception of the sacrament?

Inquisitor said...

@JabbaPapa and Piccard

errors in an infallible Church-teaching is to be corrected in the same way as errors in de fide divina truths.

I think that there is a distinction to be made here. Technically, by definition, there can be no errors in something infallible. Therefore, infallible doctrine cannot have errors to be corrected.

However, erroneous interpretations of such infallible doctrines can and should be corrected.

David Werling said...

To say that Pius XII "changed" the matter of Holy Order requires an extremely selective reading of Sacramentum Ordinis, one that ignores the central observation:

"Besides, every one knows that the Roman Church has always held as valid Ordinations conferred according to the Greek rite without the traditio instrumentorum; so that in the very Council of Florence, in which was effected the union of the Greeks with the Roman Church, the Greeks were not required to change their rite of Ordination or to add to it the traditio instrumentorum: and it was the will of the Church that in Rome itself the Greeks should be ordained according to their own rite. It follows that, even according to the mind of the Council of Florence itself, the traditio instrumentorum is not required for the substance and validity of this Sacrament by the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself."

This is a false dichotomy.

Alan Aversa said...

If the SSPX is a "parallel magisterium," then we must consider St. Athanasius and his followers one, too…

JabbaPapa said...

Inquisitor :

I think that there is a distinction to be made here. Technically, by definition, there can be no errors in something infallible. Therefore, infallible doctrine cannot have errors to be corrected.

Correct -- and I hope that my rhetorical short-cut did not confuse anybody.

You describe the precise intention behind my meanings.

---

Otherwise, concerning Holy Orders : as far as I understand the problem that you mention, but I'm unsure of myself here and would be gratefully corrected if wrong -- is Pope Pius XII not simply pointing out the possibility of an impermanence in any of our Church's strictly disciplinary teachings ?

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is, after all, the highest expression of the very nature of Discipline as such in our Church.

Inquisitor said...

To say that Pius XII "changed" the matter of Holy Order requires an extremely selective reading of Sacramentum Ordinis, one that ignores the central observation

David Werling,

Thank you very much for your comments. They were interesting, but perhaps, I should clarify what I meant by Pope Pius XII "changed" the "matter" of Holy Orders. I did not mean that the Laying on of Hands would not be required for validity. I meant that the Church may be able to add things to the criteria mentioned in Sacramentum Ordinis (S.O.)in such a way that they would then be required for the valid reception of the 3 orders mentioned in S.O.

The point that I am making is that Pope Pius XII is saying that for the diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate, the laying on of hands and preface are required for valid matter and form. Yes, Sacramentum Ordinis says that the laying on of hands is of divine institution and thus presumably it cannot be dispensed with for the valid reception of the 3 orders mentioned above. However Sacramentum Ordnis also says that the Church may have the power to require the traditio instrumentorum and that if the Church by command required this, then the traditio instrumentorum would be REQUIRED for validity in addition to the divinely instituted laying on of hands. Even Pope Pius XII concedes this possibility in S.O. when he says:

"If it [the traditio instrumentorum] was at one time necessary even for validity by the will and command of the Church, every one knows that the Church has the power to change and abrogate what she herself has established."

Presumably as long as the core laying on of hands occurs in the sacrament of HO, the Church has the power to add other ceremonies to the rite of ordination that would then be required for validity.

In fact, theoretically the Church could place different requirements for validity on each liturgical rite. She could command that certain additional ceremonies are only required for validity in a particular rite. Therefore, the Church could require the Laying on of Hands and the Traditio Instrumentorum to be necessary for validity in the Latin Rite, but then she could also declare that only the Laying on of Hands is required in the Eastern Rite. This would be much the same principle, as the Church being able to modify the rules for the valid reception of the Sacrament of Marriage. Not just any marriage is valid, you have to follow the laws of the Church on marriage for a valid sacrament to occur. (Catholics have to follow the form prescribed by the Church, but non-Catholics don't).

The point is that Pope Pius XII says that the Laying on of hands is instituted by the Lord Himself for validity, but Pope Pius XII also says that the Church has the power to institute additional requirements that would also be necessary for validity. I am not sure if you would refer to these additional ceremonies required by the Church as Sacramental 'Matter' since they are only required by ecclesiastical law instead of divine law, but nevertheless, it seems it is within the realm of possibility that the Church can require them for validity if she commands it.

El Eremita said...

Inquisitor,

The use of the word "defined" in my previous post was not accurate. It is evident that the Council did not intend to provide a dogmatic definition about the matter of Holy Orders but something more like a description. In this sense it could be said that the Council of Florence erred in describing (not defining) the matter of Sacrament of Holy Orders.

It's also needed to distinguish between the doctrinal change about the subject (maybe the word clarification is more appropriate?), and an actual change in the matter of the Sacrament (which I understand is impossible, but I'm no expert in sacramental theology). That's why I put the word "change" between quotations in my previous post.

--------------

Mister Werling,

First of all, you should remember that the Holy See initially censured the SSPX not because of adhering to pre-conciliar doctrine but because of its public condemnation of post-conciliar doctrine as if it were heresy. The approbation ad experimentum of the SSPX was removed because of a "manifest" written by Lefebvre in which he accused the 2nd Vatican Council and the See of Rome of neo-modernism and neo-protestantism.

Why is that kind of discourse wrong? Let’s suppose the following situation:

-A priest is of the opinion that (a) "proposition P belongs to the Faith"
-The same priest is of the opinion that (b) "magisterial pronouncement X contradicts P"

Before going to the pulpit and giving a sermon on how the Pope is in error about the Faith because he affirms ¬P, both (a) and (b) have to be demonstrated, and this is what the SSPX fails to do. Your characterization of the SSPX critique as “too acute, logical and reasonable” is an exaggeration. Regarding religious liberty, there are many papers providing different views on the problem posed by DH, like the debate between Thomas Pink and John Lamont which was superb, interesting (although not perfect) interventions defending the continuity of DH by Fr. Brian Harrison, the debate which took place at Sandro Magister's webpage, many essays by Spanish theologians which studied the Conciliar Declaration to analyze its implications regarding Franco’s laws (most notably Victorino Rodriguez O.P. and Eustaquio Guerrero S.J.), etc. The SSPX position is only one more in the debate, and they are far from being irrefutable or having the conclusive arguments.

Besides, you accuse the Holy See of a “stubborn refusal” to provide clarifications, whereas it has actually provided many: the doctrine of collegiality was clarified by Paul VI himself and even msgr. Lefebvre considered the Nota Praevia as sufficient, even calling it "a message truly descended from Heaven". The "subsisit in" received a clarification by the CDF which authoritatively reaffirms a traditional interpretation of the term. The declaration Dominus Iesus corrected most of the heterodox interpretations of Unitatis Redintegratio. The CDF actually answered msgr. Lefebvre's dubia regarding religious liberty; although I found it unsatisfactory, it demonstrates that there was an initial intention to address the problems. The recent doctrinal talks also demonstrate the will to advance in a theological solution.

But in the end the Holy See doesn't have the obligation to engage in theological debates with anybody. Do you want to hold certain theological position? Do it and if there is any problem, the CDF will let you know. Was Romano Amerio silenced for “Iota Unum”? Dietrich von Hildebrand for "The Devastated Vineyard"? Ralph Wiltgen for "The Rhine flows into the Tiber?"? Michael Davies? Gherardini? De Mattei? No.

What the Holy See is asking is perfectly reasonable: The SSPX should resort to theological debate instead of public condemnation. Scandal will be avoided, and the debate about the 2nd Vatican Council will advance.

Picard said...

Inquisitor and Jabba:

Sorry, of course my fault.

It should have been:

"errors in matters of infallible Church-doctrine" or "errors re an infallible Church-teaching"

I apologize for this mistake. You are right: otherwise it would be a contradiction in se.

El Eremita said...

Seems like my last response didn't get through... my bad.

Inquisitor,

Maybe the (mis)use of the word "defined" on my previous post gave rise to the confusion. I was not affirming that the Council of Florence intended to infallibly define the form and matter of the Sacraments, this is evident from the text itself. Nonetheless, it is evident that the Council erred (made a mistake) when teaching about the matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (maybe "describing" is a more suitable word?)

If the text of the Council of Florence was considered to be the Church doctrine on the subject, then Pius XII changed this (If not, then it would be more appropriate to say that Pius XII "clarified" the Church teaching). In any case, in my previous post I used the word "changed" between quotes precisely because there was no actual change in the matter on the sacrament (I am not an expert on sacramental theology, but I understand that such thing is impossible, even for sacraments instituted in genere).

El Eremita said...

Mister Werling,

Let me tell you that I don't share ++Di Noia's opinion regarding the theological qualifications of the SSPX and its adherents, not at all.

My critique consists in what I've been saying in this thread: Before making a public declaration saying that the Pope or an Ecumenical Council is "in Error about the Faith" it must be demonstrated (with a morally relevant degree of certitude) that (a) the contradicted proposition actually belongs to the Faith and that (b) the contradicting proposition is actually posited by the "offending" pronouncement. This is what the SSPX isn't doing right. Just to mention the problem of Dignitatis Humanae and the doctrine of religious liberty, there is a lot of academic debate about the subject and the arguments are far from being conclusive.

I want to refute two more points of your first comment.

You accuse the Holy See of a "stubborn refusal to provide that clarification" while the Holy See provided several clarifications: The doctrine of collegiality was clarified by Paul VI himself and even msgr. Lefebvre considered the Nota Praevia as sufficient, even calling it "a message truly descended from Heaven". The "subsisit in" received a clarification by the CDF which authoritatively reaffirms a traditional interpretation of the term. The declaration Dominus Iesus corrected most of the heterodox interpretations of Unitatis Redintegratio. The CDF actually answered msgr. Lefebvre's dubia regarding religious liberty; although I found it unsatisfactory, it demonstrates that there was an initial intention to address the problems. The recent doctrinal talks also demonstrate the will to advance in a theological solution.

You said: "the Church authorities (...) censured the Society for stubbornly holding to those things that the Church taught prior to VCII" while that is clearly not the case: The Church initially censured the SSPX not because adhering to pre-conciliar doctrine but because of its public condemnation of post-conciliar doctrine as if it were heresy. The approbation ad experimentum of the SSPX was removed because of a "manifest" written by Lefebvre in which he accused the 2nd Vatican Council and the See of Rome of neo-modernism and neo-protestantism.

There are many traditionalist works which haven't received any kind of censure from the Holy See... Was Romano Amerio silenced for "Iota Unum"? Dietrich von Hildebrand for "The Devastated Vineyard"? Ralph Wiltgen for "The Rhine flows into the Tiber?"? Michael Davies? Gherardini or De Mattei for their recent works? No.

It is perfectly possible to offer a critique of the Second Vatican Council and post-conciliar doctrine. What the Holy See does not accept is saying things like "Rome has lost the faith, my dear friends. Rome is in apostasy." (Lefebvre dixit), that the Novus Ordo is "evil" (Fellay dixit), etc. Such affirmations are rash and scandalous. Serious theological studies find problems with many conciliar and post-conciliar pronouncements, with the Novus Ordo, etc., but that is light-years away from affirming that Rome has lost the Faith or that the Novus Ordo is evil. If the SSPX or their adherents think that they have demonstrated these "theories" with a morally relevant degree of theological certitude so as to be justified in teaching them as if they were the true catholic doctrine, they are just deluding themselves.

chaimbeul said...

Alan Aversa, I don't think that the Archbishop actually said that the SSPX is a parallel magisterium. Also, St. Athanasius did not ordain bishops or priests without the persmission of the Pope. That's a big part of the problem here, and it's why SSPX bishops and priests are still suspended.

Jean-Francois said...

From the Society's perspective, this is just another exhortation to servile obedience.

Is there something wrong with servile obedience? In fact it was disobedience that caused the fall of the angels, not a lack of faith or charity. Same for the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden. IMHO it has been one of the grave errors begun with Archbishop Lefebvre himself and carried on by his supporters and which is the minimizing of the virtue of obedience. To some people within the SSPX or its followers this disobedience is a badge of honor, earned by their prideful boast, "I resist you to the face."

In a recent conference, +Fellay gave yet again the Society's reponse: Vatican II contains errors, and there's no pretending otherwise.

Sounds to me like he is setting himself up as a "parallel magesterium."

Jean-Francois said...

If the SSPX is a "parallel magisterium," then we must consider St. Athanasius and his followers one, too…

This is a common defense of the SSPX to compare their actions to those of St. Athanasius. But on what basis?

Barbara said...

El Eremita said:

"Was Romano Amerio silenced for "Iota Unum"? Dietrich von Hildebrand for "The Devastated Vineyard"? Ralph Wiltgen for "The Rhine flows into the Tiber?"? Michael Davies? Gherardini or De Mattei for their recent works? No."

True, the official Church did not silence them - but the modernists with their wily ways muzzled them up "real good" until Pope Benedict arrived on the scene and the Traditional Catholic blogsphere began to publish and refer to their works. Sure won't find any of these names in most parish libraries, bookshops and pamphlet racks nowadays - don't you think?

But Cardinal Martini - yes - he is a big favourite where I live...

But the times are changing...

FlyingToHell said...

Many people want to talk about Peter and Paul correcting each other. I am more wanting to point out how both Peter and Paul did not cover up their sins, but freely & publicly confessed them, repented and went forward. Paul said he worked out his salvation w/fear and trembling. Ratzinger and DeNoia want everyone to "interpret" council documents to say something that they don't say rather than admit the truth that these documents contradict previous teaching. They teach that truth changes depending on the times. Meanwhile they show no such delicacy to the feelings of God as they tear sacred scripture apart--substituting maiden for virgin, all for many, taking the animals from the manger (who dines from mangers but animals?), saying there was no physical ascenscion, no physical heaven or hell (or 3 story universe) despite what the Gospels state. How long do they think the Church would have lasted if every previous generation of bishops had torn scripture and church apart like they have been doing (and then decide to put it back together when their constructs collapse (like all for many))? Meanwhile Ratzinger continues to pray in synagogues and teach that people who reject Jesus don't have to convert to be saved. Y'all can waltz along w/them and think they've got the keys to the kingdom, but you better read Acts 4:12, Galatians 1:8, and Matt 10:33.

Long-Skirts said...

"Michael Davies?"

A little anecdote...in 1996 I was honored to have the great Michael Davies to my home for dinner. I told him how much I had enjoyed his book about the Vendee, ALTAR & THRONE. He told me that "...when I was writing that book I was thinking that the Society of St. Pius X Priests are exactly the "non-jurying" Priests of today as in the French Revolution. The whole time I wrote this book I only thought of the SSPX Priests as these great Priests." I will never forget that.

quotquot said...

LeonG, You nailed it! (As usual)

Common Sense said...

What is Archbishop di Noia talking about? Don't the German bishops dissent from Humanae Vitae? What kind of unity is that? We've heard this broken record, 'obey, obey, obey' and now we hear a new one, 'ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia'. How ingenious. But to satisfy the question of some of our friends, as to on what basis we purportedly disobey His Holiness, I'll respond at some opportune time. O great St Pius X, we prostrate ourselves at the thought of the blessed memory. Please protect the SSPX and all traditional-minded Catholics wherever they may be. Please guide us and protect us that we may do our Divine Master's holy will.

David Werling said...

"Ralph Wiltgen for The Rhine flows into the Tiber?"

That doesn't count. Wiltgen was no traditionalist. He merely reported what he observed and the answers he got in his interviews.

I'll prepare a longer, more studied reply in the form of an editorial for The Remnant Newspaper.

Jean-Francois said...

@ commonsense saidDon't the German bishops dissent from Humanae Vitae? What kind of unity is that?

Ahh, one of the classic comments. They're disobedient so why shouldn't we. Such virtue.

Hidden One said...

I'm with Fr. Naugle on this one.

Mar said...

Quoting: "Don't the German bishops dissent from Humanae Vitae? What kind of unity is that?", Jean-Francois comments with some irony: "Ahh, one of the classic comments.
They're disobedient so why shouldn't we. Such virtue."

I don't see it like that at all. It is saying - don't claim unity where there is none (at least not in the traditional sense), or at the very least, please clarify and explain what is meant by unity in this day and age. In other words, how does the living Magisterium define unity?

It may be quite possible that dissent from Humanae Vitae on the part of German bishops is not considered disobedience or a stumbling block to unity by the living Magisterium as they have been in "full communion" all the time they have persisted in their dissent, and persist even now.

If so, that should be clarified for all the faithful to see and understand. To exact assent to "obedience" and "unity" when it appears that there are different kinds of "obedience" and "unity" is a nonsense.

Athanasius said...

While I think DiNoia's letter will do more harm than good, and that he doesn't really seem to understand the Society's position, he is correct about one thing, though I think it applies far more to laymen than it does to the Society, namely that Theological judgments require philosophical and theological formation. The discussion in these forums about the Traditio Instrumentorum is in my view endemic of what DiNoia is talking about. It doesn't matter that the current apparatus of theologians in the Church is equally unqualified to address traditional theology.
Now, the argument that the Church changed her teaching with respect to the Sacrament of Order is Theologically deft, and irrespective of where it comes from, it has taken in a lot of people who simply don't know any better, specifically in this forum.
I was once taken in by this too, I'm not trying to attack anyone except the originator of the opinion. The Church makes the distinction between Sacraments constituted in genere and in specie. The former, are Sacraments that Christ established in their matter, but not in their form, which is free for the Church to alter when necessary. The latter, are Sacraments which Christ established in both form and matter and cannot be altered in their essentials in any respect. Baptism for example, is given in form, that water must touch the head and the words "I baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and the matter water and faith.
The only Sacraments constituted in specie (that is specifically) are Baptism and Eucharist. The others are in genere, thus the Church is free to change their form. Such is the way with the Sacrament of Order. The matter now, does not change, but the form (words, ritual etc.) can change, and has. Thus when the traditio instrumentorum were assigned as the form by the Church in the 9th century, they were valid. The Council of Florence when it affirmed this did not require the Greek Church to do the same, because which form is used is essentially disciplinary. The same is true when Pius XII re-instituted the ancient practice in place of the traditio Instrumentorum. The Church has the right to do that. This is not a change in magisterial teaching, and Pius XII did not say Florence was wrong to do so, only that this was not the ancient practice to which he wished to return. Today, the Aremenian Church practices the Traditio Instrumentorum, and for them it is valid. Whatever the Church assigns as the valid words and ritual for conferring Order is what confers Order.
Most of those using this argument to show that magisterial teaching can be incorrect are unaware of this distinction in theology, but there are numerous books from excellent Theologians making this distinction, notably Cardinal Franzelin. Just go onto google books and type in "Sacramentis in genere" and you will find numerous texts, in Latin of course.
That is the next point. The Traditional movement is not served by poor theological arguments. Don't kid yourself, if you are seriously going to make theological arguments you need to learn Latin, learn Thomistic philosophy well, and be able to read Suarez, Bellarmine, Ligouri, deLugo, Cano, Franzelin, Billot, and numerous others. You need to be able to summarize theological points, make distinctions and apply principles. If you don't, you are going to make phony arguments. It doesn't mean you can't read theology and defend the faith, or inform yourself against modernism, but if you don't know Latin you will not be a Theologian. It is as simple as that. If you don't know Latin and don't do real theological work, you cannot recoup the Tradition. The only thing that has saved us from this is the fact that theologians on the Novus Ordo side are equally inept and can't immediately detect the error in the argument because they don't know the Tradition either.
Let us not do the faith a disservice!

Mar said...

Quoting: "Don't the German bishops dissent from Humanae Vitae? What kind of unity is that?", Jean-Francois comments with some irony: "Ahh, one of the classic comments.
They're disobedient so why shouldn't we. Such virtue."

I don't see it like that at all. It is saying - don't claim unity where there is none (at least not in the traditional sense), or at the very least, please clarify and explain what is meant by unity in this day and age. In other words, how does the living Magisterium define unity?

It may be quite possible that dissent from Humanae Vitae on the part of German bishops is not considered disobedience or a stumbling block to unity by the living Magisterium as they have been in "full communion" all the time they have persisted in their dissent, and persist even now.

If so, that should be clarified for all the faithful to see and understand. To exact assent to "obedience" and "unity" when it appears that there are different kinds of "obedience" and "unity" is a nonsense.

Inquisitor said...

The matter now, does not change, but the form (words, ritual etc.) can change, and has. Thus when the traditio instrumentorum were assigned as the form by the Church in the 9th century, they were valid.

Athanasius,

The problem with this statement is that Florence taught that the Traditio Instrumentorum is the MATTER of Holy Orders not the Form of Holy Orders. (Roughly speaking, the Matter of a sacrament is the action or object which is required to effect the grace of the sacrament, while the form of a sacrament consists of the words that effect the sacrament.) Thus Pope Pius XII's teaching in Sacramentum Ordinis would be changing both the Matter and Form from what was taught at Florence.

Thus if you assert that the Matter of Holy Orders can never change then you must explain why Florence and Pius XII contradict on this matter. Three theories to explain this theological problem are:

1)Florence simply taught a doctrinal error, because the section of the decree concerning the sacraments was not a dogmatic definition, but only a fallible part of the council's decree. Pope Pius XII seeing this error then corrected this problem with a dogmatic definition that overrides the doctrinal mistake of Florence.

2)Possibility number two is that the Church has the power to add ceremonies to the original matter of the sacrament instituted by our Lord, which are then also required for validity in addition to the Laying on of Hands. In this scenario the word "matter" used by Florence would not mean the original sacramental matter imposed by the Lord, but rather an additional action added to the Original Matter by command of the Church. Once imposed by the Church such an action, such as the traditio instrumentorum, would in theory also be required for validity in the Latin Church.

3)Possibility three is that the Church by divine gift has the power to alter the Matter and form that signifies this sacrament.

Which theory is right and which theory is wrong? Or is there another explantion for this altogether? We'll just have to leave that to the Magisterium for now.

JabbaPapa said...

Inquisitor :

The problem with this statement is that Florence taught that the Traditio Instrumentorum is the MATTER of Holy Orders not the Form of Holy Orders. (Roughly speaking, the Matter of a sacrament is the action or object which is required to effect the grace of the sacrament, while the form of a sacrament consists of the words that effect the sacrament.)

OK, but the definition that you give of the word "matter" is disputable -- substance nouns are always notoriously difficult to translate wherever difficulties in interpretation may arise -- which is NOT to claim your definition as being "wrong" or anything, but simply to point out that another very plausible explanation would be that "matter" here simply means "material object"/"thing"/"ritual implement".

Moreover, the text of the bull states the following : "Fifthly, for the easier instruction of the Armenians of today and in the future we reduce the truth about the sacraments of the church to the following brief scheme."

The very TEXT of the Council therefore declares the teachings to the Armenians concerning the Sacraments to be pastoral in nature -- and the phrase "we reduce the truth ... to the following brief scheme" requires that the statements provided in that scheme CANNOT therefore be held as being indefectible nor infallible, because the truth is explicitly described as having been "reduced" ; notwithstanding that we can hold them to be Authoritative.

---

Three theories to explain this theological problem are:

1)Florence simply taught a doctrinal error, because the section of the decree concerning the sacraments was not a dogmatic definition, but only a fallible part of the council's decree.


It is unnecessary that Florence should have taught an "error", or that it's teaching here was fallible -- it was a pastoral teaching, but such "fallible" teachings are in fact Authoritative, and so cannot be called "errors" despite their non-infallibility.

2)Possibility number two is that the Church has the power to add ceremonies to the original matter of the sacrament instituted by our Lord, which are then also required for validity in addition to the Laying on of Hands. In this scenario the word "matter" used by Florence would not mean the original sacramental matter imposed by the Lord, but rather an additional action added to the Original Matter by command of the Church. Once imposed by the Church such an action, such as the traditio instrumentorum, would in theory also be required for validity in the Latin Church.

This assumes that your interpretation of the word "matter" is correct -- using that definition, I would however still point out the pastoral nature of the teaching, as shown above, so that the Church would actually have the power to clarify, for example, if the traditio instrumentorum need take place formally during the Ordination ritual itself or at some other time.

3)Possibility three is that the Church by divine gift has the power to alter the Matter and form that signifies this sacrament.

This was my original opinion --- except that looking at the texts, we can see that these are not in fact infallible statements of Church dogma concerning the Sacraments, but that they are pastoral explanations for the Armenians entering into Full Communion with the Church.

The text of Pius XII contains no such qualifiers -- it is therefore not only reasonable to conclude that it's Authority is superior to that of the Council of Florence in this matter, but also to remember that this sort of doctrinal clarification is of the particular Magisterial Authority of the Holy Father in the first place, and that a text written specifically for the instruction of the Armenians also cannot reasonably be understood as being a dogmatic text to be held true by all Catholics.

In my opinion.

Common Sense said...

Sophistry is more suitable for entertainment than serious theology.