Rorate Caeli

A last chance for the SSPX?
"Now is a unique opportunity that will not be repeated"
Plus: the SSPX in the heart of the Pope's frustration

Rorate can independently confirm the report --hinted at just now in Le Forum Catholique -- that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sent a letter with a final offer to the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX): resume the dialogue with the Holy See by February 22, or else the Holy See will make an offer of reconciliation and full communion to individual SSPX priests. (What kind of offer or structural basis will be offered is unclear.)

We can only wonder how things would be like if dissenting liberal theological faculties and the individual heretics teaching in them were approached by the CDF with the same diligence and focus.

In other news: Mons. George Ratzinger highlights two events that deeply pained the Pope in his pontificate. These events may not have directly caused the resignation, but they certainly inflicted great bitterness on the heart of His Holiness, in his brother's opinion. They were the Vatican leaks scandal and relations with the Society of Saint Pius X (the failure of an agreement, possibly - the report speaks of "Pius Brotherhood", but that is only the literal translation of the name by which the SSPX is known in German):

Ratzinger said the pope’s time in office had “created great challenges for him,” highlighting two particular issues that concerned his brother.

"Within the church a lot of things happened, which brought up troubles, for example the relationship to the Pius Brotherhood or the irregularities within the Vatican, where the butler had let known indiscretions,” he said.

“These were emotional years, but with God's help and his own commitment, I think he mastered it rather well,” he added.

Ratzinger did not specify the pope’s issues with the Pius Brotherhood, or Society of St. Pius X as the group is formally known.

(NBC news report - tip: Sancte Pater)


81 comments:

Peter A said...

This is great news! Really. The wolves are scared. The devil is scared. They know their time is almost up. To resort to such tactics at this late hour, although on the surface seeming to be charitable, is a last ditch effort to kill the SSPX. There is no way Pope Benedict is behind this latest offer!!! No way.

Rejoice my friends. This is the best news we've had for a couple of days now. My guess is that the SSPX will be regularized with the next Pontiff. The devil knows it.

I am not affiliated with the SSPX in any way; but the fact that the enemy is SO SCARED of them is illuminating. This latest stunt is, IMHO, a sure sign that something good is on the horizon! Be of good cheer!

Ferraiuolo said...

Oremus! Offer your intentions to the Blessed Virgin Mary! May Heaven's will be done above all else!

Francis said...

Let's hope and pray that Muller will be out as head of the CDF in another month and replaced with a traditional prelate by the next Pope. Which would make the dialogue with the SSPX more substantial and productive while slowly bringing the orthodox Catholic faith back to the universal Church. Fasting and prayers are needed more than ever now during this conclave during Lent in Anno Domini 2013.

Tom said...

"We can only wonder how things would be like if dissenting liberal theological faculties and the individual heretics teaching in them were approached by the CDF with the same diligence and focus."

Numerous examples could be cited of dissenters and "individual heretics" who, in recent times, have received the attention that you have desired.

That said, I don't recall that many dissenters within the Church have received the level of positive attention — presented with favorable protocols, theological discussions and a tremendous canonical structure that a certain bishop likened to a "Rolls Royce."

Offer upon offer and a "Rolls Royce" canonical structure courtesy of the Apostolic See have been rejected by a certain society.

Tom

Matt said...

Peter A said, "This is great news! ...This latest stunt is, IMHO, a sure sign that something good is on the horizon! Be of good cheer!

I pray you're correct, Peter, because this spin on the matter never would have occurred to me as being positive.

What does gripe me though, if this sound bite is true regarding the SSPX, it's rather disingenuous. Why would the Holy Father complain it's the Society's fault when he was the one who threw the wrench into the works just when the SSPX was on verge of signing the agreement? They were that close, closer than ever in the nearly forty years of their existence. What a loss. Many around the world thought it was Levada or those in Rome involved with the committee, only to be revealed later it was the Holy Father himself who caused the whole thing. Now it's being spun the Holy Father is blaming the SSPX? If he is disappointed at the whole thing for what it is, fine, okay, but to play the blame-game is rather a sad development.

Athelstane said...

"Numerous examples could be cited of dissenters and "individual heretics" who, in recent times, have received the attention that you have desired."

And yet Roger Haight and Elizabeth Johnson are still teaching theology at Catholic institutions in good standing, and still members in good standing of religious orders.

Just to name two - of "numerous examples."

Athelstane said...

Hello Augustinus,

Some of the commentary at Le Forum Catholique seems to suggest that the Society must not merely resume the dialogue by Feb. 22, but actually sign a modified version of the doctrinal preamble by that date.

Which is it?

ScoobusCatholicus said...

Yes, the Society has repeatedly spit in Peter's face. I think it's time to focus on more practical efforts that are more likely to yield fruit, such as healing the 1000 year schism with the Eastern Orthodox.

Dave K said...

Peter A,
Dream on! The next Pope will deliver the same message to the SSPX that Paul VI and all his successors have. That is, accept Vat2 as official Church teaching and its laws and discipline or remain outside the Church. How long will it take the SSPX to recognize the error of their way? Do they need a reincarnation of Pius X or St. Peter himself to convince them they must submit to the authority of the Pope in these matters?

skladach said...

I think that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger was referring not to the Society itself but to the attacks on his brother, Pope Benedict, by German bishops and other "liberal" Catholics when he lifted the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops.

Anil Wang said...

Peter A,

I think it is legitimate and final given that the Pope has no other opportunities to make an offer. The issue of the SSPX is very dear to the Holy Father and it is unlikely that the next Pope will pursue reunion with the SSPX with nearly as much vigor.... especially since talks have stalled even after such strenuous efforts of the current Pope.

This is not to say that the next Pope will give up on TLM....only that there are much bigger fish to fry WRT the liturgy and exorcising the (Demonic) Spirit of Vatican II, and bringing the level of catechises and devotion up to their rightful levels and expunging dissent and dealing with an increasingly hostile secular world.

Tony from Oz said...

Tom,

It would be nice of the CDF to indicate to SSPX which matters in Vatican II they consider immutably dogmatic (if at all). It refuses to do this, to provide this clarification. Talk about a muddy process. How can any honest dialogue be conducted against a backdrop of such obfuscation. It's all apiece of the diabolic disorientation within the Church these past 50 years.

As for the relative trickle of CDF inquiries against dissenters of a protestant ilk - these involve straightforward rebellion against existing Church dogma defined way before Vatican II by Councils in which precise theological language defined dogmas, as opposed to the endless parliamentary green paper, kite-flying vagueness of the 'pastoral' language employed within the documents of Vatican II.

Let the miasma be dispelled by CDF, by all means - but don't come the raw prawn about SSPX for not wanting to let up its critique when the CDF itself refuses to define VII teachings with the clarity required by all the Faithful.

And I am not, as it happens, a layman who attends an SSPX Chapel; but I do see the injustice in the accusation you hurl here against them.

James C. said...

Tom, you're missing one thing: the SSPX remains in canonical outer darkness, cast out now for almost 40 years. Most of those other heretics remain "in good standing", from Küng to McBrien to Chittister to Gramick to Curran to Beattie to Farley, etc etc etc.

Gratias said...

It seems to me that it is a scandal that the SSPX teasers have seen fit to not even answer the offer this Holy Pope. To incorporate individual priests is not an ultimatum.

Their famous new canonical structure should be given to FSSP, and individual SSPX priests that want to stay in the Church can then join them. Benedict XVI is trying to reach out to the laborers in the vineyard of The Lord that would like to start even at the eleventh hour.

The silence of the FSSP in all this is admirable.

Francis said...

SSPX is a pack of venemous wolves. They never wanted any agreement. All they wanted was to see the pope on his knees begging them for forgiveness. That is not going to happen. Their time has ended. They will soon get what they deserve. As St. Augustine wrote: "They can pray, sing Allelluia, etc.", they can say masses and rosaries, they can do everything except being saved, as there is no salvation outside the church. And they are outside the church, have been all the time. Individual priests will be offered reconciliation, the rest will be excomunicated en masse. High time. Another sect of "old catholics". Nothing really new.

Augustinus said...

"Numerous examples could be cited of dissenters and "individual heretics" who, in recent times, have received the attention that you have desired."

And what canonical punishments have they received? Try counting the number of theologians criticized or "censured" by the CDF (you can go to doctrinafidei.va to see the complete list of documents) and try to see how many of them were actually punished as opposed to merely getting a "bad book review", to use John Allen's words.

Augustinus said...

"That said, I don't recall that many dissenters within the Church have received the level of positive attention — presented with favorable protocols, theological discussions and a tremendous canonical structure that a certain bishop likened to a "Rolls Royce."

From the letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the world regarding the remission of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20090310_remissione-scomunica_en.html

"At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint."

Common Sense said...

James,

Tom doesn't just miss one thing - he's lost in the fog completely.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

I earnestly pray that even at this eleventh hour the SSPX might seek to be reconciled with the Church. While I abhor the effects of heresy within our ranks, we must recognize that the SSPX is an entirely parallel system with its own bishops, priests, parishes, seminaries, tribunals and religious communities. There can be no comparison, therefore, with individual dissenters within the Church.

Unless the SSPX is prepared to work from within the communion of the Church to see a better mind prevail on so many of the issues they raise, we cannot expect to see these same matters addressed. Like so many of us, they must be prepared to work from within, for the good of souls.

GQ REP said...

Especially with regards to the papal resignation, and the almost certainty that the next Pope will be either a moderate or (God forbid), a liberal, but at the very least someone with no sympathy for the SSPX, the Tridentine Latin Mass or Catholic tradition in general.....I side with the SSPX.

Benedict XVI was the best Pope the Church has had in 50 years....aside frm health issues he was probably driven to this point by the dissidents, radicals, and progressivist bishops etc. around the world who would not obey or even accomodate the Pope and his direction.

Therefore, regardless who the next Pope is....and I am sure we will see the swift disapeparance of the beautiful Papal altars, vestments and music of Benedict XVI and a return to the Protestantization of the Mass...(at least in appearance), I side with the SSPX.

The one good thing is that Muller is not a Cardinal, and I hope he is the first man sacked and given his walking papers by whoever the new Pope is.

RogerThat said...

I miss some good old commenters here...

Ferraiuolo said...

The recognition of the SSPX will be the Church's own Lepanto. Despite all odds and the widespread modernism, that small and humble Fraternity will triumph to the restoration of all things in Christ. Our Lady of Victories, pray for us.

My Brother My Friend said...

Monsignor Wadsworth:

Priests like you can, in conscience, work within the present structure of the Church without qualms of conscience. But suppose, just suppose, that there are hundreds (perhaps more) of priests throughout the world who cannot bring themselves to participate in actions which violate their conscience? I should not need to make a list of liturgical and doctrinal issues which are presented to these priests on a daily basis with which they can no longer endure in silence. Should they simply walk away from their priesthood? Should they seek laicization? I ask this in all sincerity.

My brother is a priest who longs to work again in a "normative" structure. He served in the the post-conciliar pastoral environment for nearly 20 years. He spoke with his bishop several times about his increasing misgivings and plagues of contradictory assaults on his conscience. He was tolerated and treated as a useful idiot and, worst of all, ignored in his pleading for clarity as to how he could reconcile his apprehension and pain as he was forced to participate in the various aspects of his life as a priest that were undermining the foundations which the Lord had used to summon him to his vocation.

Unless, Monsignor, you can answer the question concerning the conscience of priests like my brother, I don't think your finger wagging scoldings of the SSPX will be constructive in the least.

Thank you for listening.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Please understand that I do not 'wag the finger' in any way but only long for a resolution of this wound in the Chruch that would benefit us all. Let me also say that any traditionally minded priest will have serious qualms of conscience at the present time but I would hope that they are better addressed in communion with Peter than without him.

If we really want things to get better in the Church, we have to be prepared to engage in the mess and try and sort things out. There are plenty of structures which allow traditional priests a full ministry in the heart of the Church, there are also an increasing number of bishops who are sympathetic and happy to facilitate such a ministry. I would only encourage any brother priest to pursue such avenues. Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia!

Michael said...

The dissenting liberals in universities aren't ordaining priests and bishops, and so they are not using Apostolic Succession in a way that years at the unity of the Church.

I may wish for them to get the stick and the SSPX to get the olive branch. But I understand the reason why.

J h said...

An appeal to one's individual conscience sounds very Protestant indeed. Christ gave us the Church to give us an objective standard and structure. Individual consciences lead to the splintered Protestant groups. We believe in Christ's promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against her, so with Faith, the Society should move forward in seeking reconciliation with the same energy that the Church has sought it. The fear among many of us is that the Society has become quite comfortable in making her own rules and does not truly want reconciliation.

My Brother My Friend said...

Monsignor Wadsworth said:

"Let me also say that any traditionally minded priest will have serious qualms of conscience at the present time but I would hope that they are better addressed in communion with Peter than without him."

If Peter governed as Peter, you are correct. Appeals to the Holy See find the appeal back on the bishop's desk -- sent there by some bureaucrat who has nested inside the vastly exploding Vatican bureaucracy (and who the local bishop manages to wine and dine during his next visit to Rome). The fact is, Monsignor, Peter has isolated himself within his own Church and permitted the promotion of priests to the episcopate who have cooperated with the very vast array of changes which contradict the conscience of priests like my brother. The revolutionary progressives advance only those who share their point of view and are in charge of the diocesan structures. Priests like my brother lose their assignments, then their means of support, and then even their medical insurance (whether he's approaching his 70s or not).

Monsignor Wadsworth further said:

"If we really want things to get better in the Church, we have to be prepared to engage in the mess and try and sort things out."

This is an exercise in circular reasoning: to engage the issues (which intellectually my brother has -- face to face with his bishop and not behind his back) means to participate in the very things which cause a problem of conscience.

Monsignor, you also said: "There are plenty of structures which allow traditional priests a full ministry in the heart of the Church..."

I suppose you mean traditional communities such as the ICK, IBP, the FSSP, etc. But suppose a priest has no vocation to these communities? Would you ask a secular priest to join the Franciscans or the Dominicans if he had no such vocation? Why would you ask a secular priest to join a community to which has has no affinity or call?

Finally, Monsignor Wadsworth said: "there are also an increasing number of bishops who are sympathetic and happy to facilitate such a ministry..."

My brother's spiritual director has warned him against excardinating to a diocese because of the welcoming of the present bishop. Bishops die and are transferred. It's a poor principle upon which a priest should make decisions. Also, a close priest friend of my brother was actually blocked from excardinating to another diocese out of sheer spite by the bishop. His appeal to Rome led nowhere.

While I sincerely thank you, Monsignor, for addressing my comment, sometimes facile answers look good on paper. But the realities governing the life of many priests simply don't fit into the scenario of a comment box.

Virgil said...

Dear Msgr. Wadsworth,

Your last statement, though full of charity, does seem to me (in my ignorance) to miss the point. It's not that the Society doesn't want to help the fight "on the inside" (a place they insist they remain firmly), it's that the Holy See seems to have made certain requirements for canonical regularity. And it seems that those requirements deal directly with the very positions the Society most opposes: Religious liberty, collegiality, ecumenism. If it were just a matter of their willingness to accept canonical oversight and a normal canonical structure, then there is no problem. Their General Chapter laid out exactly how that could happen, but three of the points are seen as essential to the Society maintaining a fight for the traditional teachings of the Church:
1. 1962 Missal (should be no problem)
2. Ability to oppose modern errors, including the three mentioned above
3. At least one bishop (should be no problem).

So, it's clear that the issue is in #2. Which means it's not a question of whether or not the Society wants to be regularized or not; Rome is saying: This is a question of doctrine, not discipline. Why so many seem insistent upon disagreeing with Rome on this matter is utterly beyond me.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

It is absolutely amazing to me that after all the mutual rebuffs and changes of course by both parties to the negotiations, the Vatican would still want to come up with an eleventh hour offer. You'd think that, with all the other complex issues the Curia has to deal with over the next few weeks, the SSPX opera would at least go to an unscheduled intermission.

It tells me that the principals on both sides are still very serious about cutting a deal, so much so that they're willing to negotiate under enormous pressure.

The Rad Trad said...

I wonder what could be in the latest proposal that makes the CDF hold out some hope for a resolution? Perhaps they're just hoping Bishop Fellay's good will and sentimentality will prevail at this emotional time?

Hope it works out for the best, whatever may come of this latest offer.

Gregorian Mass said...

I pray for a temporary regularization at a minimum...It would be a great gift to the Pope and the whole Church to be able to put this phase with the SSPX behind us all..I would like to see them formally inside the Church before this Pontificate ends...And think it is possible..All things are possible with Christ's guidance...

Fr Martin Fox said...

I understand the frustration represented in the comparison, offered above, between Rome's approach to the SSPX and to theologians and prelates seemingly in communion whose teachings and behaviors are so offensive. Yes, I understand; but the comparison is badly flawed. It's emotional but not reasonable.

For one, the SSPX situation is about healing an actual breach. That is a worthy thing to do, of a different species from the task of disciplining people for heresy or bad conduct.

After reading about these things for so many years, I fear too many SSPX adherents and sympathizers lack the deep horror of schism that the Fathers of the Church have always stressed.

And if I am right about that, that is a cause for great alarm. It should set off alarm bells among all those SSPX sympathizers who protest they are utterly Catholic; because while I don't doubt your sincerity, becoming desensitized to schism is a dangerous thing.

(And please let's not get distracted by the old, SSPX isn't in schism red herring. I didn't make that assertion. I said something different.)

For another, while we can all only speculate--either generously or not--about the reasons Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict did not issue more smackdowns, it's not too hard to infer a very likely reason: they did not wish to provoke a deeper schism.

And to those who say, well, better the schism be out in the open than not, I say you're entitled to your opinion. But how curious that God hasn't seen fit to make you pope?

In other words, it's not self-evident that forcing the issue is better. Forcing battle lines to be drawn has some merit, but one consequence is that it becomes much harder to cross those battle lines.

And, again, the readiness (it seems to me) on some folks' part to have the pope sally forth, even if it provokes schism, reinforces my earlier point: some folks need to reflect on how the Fathers recoiled from schism.

Third, it strikes me as terribly ungenerous to take that pose. Because one way to understand the pope's attempts to reconcile the SSPX is to say, "I need your help; you can do more to help the Church being inside than out." In other words, if you want to see other heretics and scoundrels dealt with by Rome, returning to the fold would help Rome do that.

But no: the adherents to the SSPX say, no; we see the house is on fire; and we won't help you put it out. Instead, we'll wait till you do it, and get the rooms all repainted and pretty--and then we'll be glad to have you invite us to move back in.

Now, I realize there is a question of whether some in Rome sabotaged the attempt at reconciliation. That's a valid question. I'm curious about that. I wonder what Pope Benedict was thinking and doing in all that. I'll have to wait to find out.

My comments are simply responding to the protest offered several times, in this thread and elsewhere, about how unfair it is that Rome handles the SSPX one way, and she handles other problem children another way.

KSW said...

Athelstane wrote: "And yet Roger Haight and Elizabeth Johnson are still teaching theology at Catholic institutions in good standing, and still members in good standing of religious orders."

Elizabeth Johnson was not disciplined by the Holy See; her book was critiqued by the USCCB doctrinal committee.

Roger Haight, on the other hand, has been dealt with rather completely. Wikipedia, for once, has some details:

"In 2004, the Vatican’s education office barred Haight from teaching at the Jesuit-run Weston School of Theology in response to questions about his book Jesus Symbol of God (Orbis, 1999). The book is the winner of the 1999 top prize in theology from the U.S. Catholic Press Association. In September 2004, Haight began teaching at Union Theological Seminary, a leading multi-denominational seminary as an adjunct professor of theology. In 2005 he wrote The Future of Christology in response to questions and concerns about Jesus Symbol of God. In January 2009 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) publicly barred Haight from writing on theology and forbade him to teach anywhere, including non-Catholic institutions."

He is not a Catholic teacher in good standing; he is not at a Catholic institution. He is not a professor anywhere at the moment. He is a "scholar-in-residence" at Union Theological Seminary (interdenominational) but I don't think that he has any teaching duties -- so at least he's obedient on that score!

KSW said...

@JAmes C: You write: "Most of those other heretics remain "in good standing", from Küng to McBrien to Chittister to Gramick to Curran to Beattie to Farley, etc etc etc."

I'm not sure what you mean about "in good standing." Yes, Curran is permitted to receive the sacraments, but he is forbidden to teach Catholic theology and, last I checked, had found a home at a protestant institution. He is a non-entity in the contemporary Catholic theological sphere. He doesn't write books that anyone reads; he isn't invited to give lectures. Nobody talks about him.

McBrien, meanwhile, was far more adroit than Curran at covering his tracks. However, he was sidelined at Notre Dame and now no longer teaches there.

Please, people, stop *assuming* that you know that these people haven't been disciplined and start checking the histories!

JulieColl said...

My prayers and best wishes are with the leadership of the SSPX at this critical moment. Of course, I don't understand all the doctrinal aspects of their disagreement with the Vatican---all I know is that I have great sympathy and admiration for the enthusiasm, dedication and courage of the priests of the Society. I know and respect many lay members of the Society as well and have naturally found far more in common with them than with my fellow diocesan Catholics and have always lamented the unfortunate wall of separation between us and the Society. For many years my husband has led our family in prayer that "our SSPX friends return to the Church" and that is the key term: FRIENDS. I know this is a huge over-simplification, but I can't help but feel that the barbarian hordes are clamoring at the gates while earnest clerics argue over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We don't know what the next pontificate will bring and that is precisely why we must augment and solidify the ranks of traditional Catholics. It would greatly behoove our cause if we can present ourselves as a solid political bloc before the contest for Peter's chair begins. NOW is the moment for all of us who love the Mass of the ages and perennial Catholic doctrine and tradition to pull together as a family and forge new bonds of solidarity and friendship. Let's not be like ships in the night who are close enough to signal each other over the waves and the storm but who will be swept out of sight when morning arrives.

Dymphna said...

ScoobusCatholicus, the Orthodox seem pretty content on their own.

Virgil said...

Dear Fr. Fox,

I think your comments are well put regarding the need of a horror of schism, and also a horror of heresy. Even us trads, especially the American trads (among which I count myself) don't have that horror. I think the causes are twofold; 1. We've seen declarations of schism against those who are not schismatic, leading to a lack of seriousness about it, and 2. We've become so used to heresy that though we hate it, we don't really recognize it for the true horror that it is. I suppose the same is true of sin in general, even amongst faithful Catholics.

I do, however, respectfully take issue with your statement here:

"But no: the adherents to the SSPX say, no; we see the house is on fire; and we won't help you put it out. Instead, we'll wait till you do it, and get the rooms all repainted and pretty--and then we'll be glad to have you invite us to move back in."

I don't think that's fair. Given that the Society has expressed a willingness to be regularized, so long as they aren't forced to compromise, this isn't true. It's Rome who is saying, "If you want to come in and fight this fire, you have to admit that A, B, and C are true; you can't discuss the real problems that led to the fire being caused."

In that case, it is Rome, not the Society who has created this situation, much as the SSPX has claimed these past years.

Anil Wang said...

Fr Martin Fox said "But no: the adherents to the SSPX say, no; we see the house is on fire; and we won't help you put it out. Instead, we'll wait till you do it, and get the rooms all repainted and pretty--and then we'll be glad to have you invite us to move back in."

I'm not in the SSPX, but I don't think that accurately represents the SSPX position.

It's more complicated. If you ignore the human factors such as pride and unforgiven for past perceived wrongs (which can be resolved with patience), there is a lingering believe that if the house did not have a stove or portable heater there would be no fires. So the SSPX sees any effort to fight fires while the house owner insists on having appliances is pointless since the house will only burn down again.

The key issue is what caused the mess we're in today. The SSPX squarely places the blame solely on Vatican II and believes that even if all priests and bishops were orthodox that we'd be in the same mess now. That's what rejecting the Hermeneutic of Continuity means. So the Council Erred and all Popes afterwards erred, and ultimately Vatican I needs to be re-examined as does our acceptance of any Ecumenical Council.

Traditional Catholics don't buy that story. While Vatican II provided the excuse, we'd be in the same mess now even without Vatican II (although TLM would be messed up not the NO). Most of the abuses of the NO already existed in TLM by the time the NO was released, although they were localized. That localization would disappear as the world grew more global. The Humanae Vitae rebellion clearly galvanized the dissent movement and provided the excuses "If the Pope is wrong about contraception, what he must be wrong about other things" and "The Pope didn't mean it as an infallible statement, the theologians are the best people to interpret what he really meant and how much if it is binding" and "There are no doctrines only *policies*, and *policies* can be changed". In short, it's a virulent form for the old modernism heresy.

ConcernedCatholic said...

quote:

"We can only wonder how things would be like if dissenting liberal theological faculties and individual heretics teaching in them were approached by the CDF with the same diligence and focus."

It's not the same situation at all. If dissenters happen to be suspended priests and bishops who are offering the sacraments iliicitly, then you can bet that the CDF is going to be approaching them. And the CDF does try to deal with dissenters. It's those on the far right and the far left who take up much of the time of the CDF, so that they can't focus on other things so much. And it's childish to always compare the SSPX to liberal dissenters, as if two wrongs make a right. But then, as we know, Rorate Caeli is all about causing anxiety among the faithful - it's why they exist, after all. You know how to use the correct buzzwords in order to illicit a certain reaction, as in mind control techniques.

David Joyce said...

Father Fox - if I may pick up on a couple of your points:

For another, while we can all only speculate--either generously or not--about the reasons Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict did not issue more smackdowns, it's not too hard to infer a very likely reason: they did not wish to provoke a deeper schism.

The problem with this view is that their appointments of Bishops and Cardinals, and their own example (dare I mention Assisi x 3?), does not back this up. I'm all for a gentle softly-softly approach, but only if it is consistent, and Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict were not. For one reason or another, they seemed to play to both sides at different times, and this has sewn the seeds of confusion deeper.

But no: the adherents to the SSPX say, no; we see the house is on fire; and we won't help you put it out. Instead, we'll wait till you do it, and get the rooms all repainted and pretty--and then we'll be glad to have you invite us to move back in.

This is a unfortunate caricature of the SSPX position. They would love to help extinguish the fire in the house, but the crux of the problem is that the caretaker of the house refuses to admit the causes of the fire. It is like being allowed to help out, but told not to mention the smell of gas. The SSPX are welcome, so long as they do not question the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo, or raise the notion of errors in the Council. The problem is that the SSPX believes these are at the root of many of the problems in the Church, and if they are told to ignore or accept them, then how can they tackle the fire in the house without destroying their own mission in the process?

Joseph said...

The SSPX wants to wait for a situation to arise in the Church that has never existed in its entire history. The Church Militant has never been spotless and its leaders never free from sin or poor judgement. There have been and always will be abuses, sin, and error among Catholics. Everyone has grown tired of the SSPX's obfuscations and contorted logic. Pick a side - Peter or Luther.

Ora et Labora said...

Virgil,

I can empathize with the SSPX and its defence for Tradition, Doctrine, etc. but we should agree the SSPX is not the Church.

The Church was founded on the Rock of Peter remember?

Yes I know, we have a mess and the Popes since the Council, along with a long list of liberal clergy have contributed to this unfortunate estate of chaos.

But the Catholic Church is the Church Our Lord founded on the Rock of Peter, with the aid of the apostles, and their successors, AND THE POWER TO BIND OR LOOSE WAS GIVEN TO HER ALONE.

Here is Our Lord founding HIS CHURCH:

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
(Mt 16:18-19)"


OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST is the Supreme Pastor of HIS CHURCH and the gates of hell shall not pravail against her.

I think the SSPX or at least some of its members should STOP AND RECOGNIZE THAT THE SSPX IS NOT the "Official" Church Christ founded on earth.


"The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers these explanations:
During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God’s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God. (CCC 1443)
In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins, the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head. (CCC 1444)
The words bind and loose mean: Whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God. (CCC 1445)."


Today as it stands the FSSPX is outside of the Church even though the Fraternity, and many of its supporters claim otherwise.

We need to be realistic the SSPX right now it's only aiding spiritually their small flock and a few Catholics who dare to attend their Masses etc.(it's not my intention to offend or undermind the Fraternity's efforts to protect Tradition).... but the SSPX is SMALL compared to the number of Catholics in the world.

And please don't tell me they are better off being a small number, worse yet, don't tell me they are the REMANNAT or the Pusillux Grex as some wrongly want to believe.

The SSPX is missing the opportunity to spiritually guide and aid in larger numbers people who belong to the vineyard of the Lord, but they can only do that within the Church.

Outside of the Catholic Church the Saint Pius X is nothing more than a rebel group.

The danger is that depending on who will get elected as Pope the SSPX might soon end up being excommunicated and officially label an schismatic group.

This would be a tragedy.


Mary Help of Christians pray for us!!!

Tom said...

Tony from Oz said..."Tom, And I am not, as it happens, a layman who attends an SSPX Chapel; but I do see the injustice in the accusation you hurl here against them."

You have me confused with somebody else. I go back to the founding of the Society and have a great deal of appreciation for their work.

I have defended them, for example, for decades against the false charge that they are not Catholic.

I did not "hurl" any "injustices" against the Society. The only thing that I have "hurled" against the Society is that which the Holy See has taught in regard to the Society.

1. The Society's priests are Catholic.

2. They are suspended a divinis and do not exercise legitimate ministries within Holy Mother Church.

3. There is much that is good — all of which flows from the Catholic Church and belongs by right to the Catholic Church — within the Society.

4. Alongside the good are "sick" and "arrogant" (Pope Benedict XVI's words) elements within in the Society.

5. The Society, unfortunately, possesses an incomplete understanding of Holy Tradition.

6. The Society teaches such errors as Vatican II contains errors and the Novus Ordo is "evil".

If you consider such as "injustices" that have been "hurled" against the SSPX, then your problem is with the True Church.

I have simnply adhered to and repeated that which Holy Mother Church has said in regard to the Society of Saint Pius X.

Tom

Tom said...

Tony from Oz said..."Tom, And I am not, as it happens, a layman who attends an SSPX Chapel; but I do see the injustice in the accusation you hurl here against them."

You have me confused with somebody else. I go back to the founding of the Society and have a great deal of appreciation for their work.

I have defended them for decades against the false charge that they are not Catholic.

I don't "hurl" anything against the Society except that which the Holy See has taught in regard to the Society.

1. The Society's priests are Catholic.

2. They are suspended a divinis and do not exercise legitimate ministries within Holy Mother Church.

3. There is much that is good — all of which flows from the Catholic Church and belongs by right to the Catholic Church — within the Society.

4. Alongside the good are "sick" and "arrogant" (Pope Benedict XVI's teaching) elements within in the Society.

5. The Society, unfortunately, possesses an incomplete understanding of Holy Tradition.

6. The Society teaches such errors as Vatican II contains errors and the Novus Ordo is "evil".

I simply have repeated the True Church's stance in regard to the Society of Saint Pius X.

If you consider such as "injustices" that have been "hurled" against the SSPX, then your problem is with the True Church.

I have simnply adhered to and repeated that which Holy Mother Church has said in regard to the Society of Saint Pius X.

Tom

Texana said...

NC
Thank you for posting comments from Francis--the intensity of so much venom for "Another sect of 'old catholics' " is truly chilling. I thank God every day for the graces He grants to us because we have found the Mass of All Ages, the true precious jewel of His Church, the Tridentine Mass. Yes I am blessed to pray the same prayers of all those "old catholics" who are now Saints!

TOM said...

Ora et Labora said..."

"I think the SSPX or at least some of its members should STOP AND RECOGNIZE THAT THE SSPX IS NOT the "Official" Church Christ founded on earth."

The Society does not teach that.
---------------------------

"Today as it stands the FSSPX is outside of the Church even though the Fraternity, and many of its supporters claim otherwise."

That is incorrect. The Catholics Church teaches that the Society of Saint Pius X is a society of Catholic priests who are within Holy Mother Church.

The Society's priests are suspended a divinis. They do not exercise legitimate ministries within the Church.

There are many faults with the Society. The Holy See teaches that the Society does not possess a complete understanding of Holy Tradition.

The Holy See teaches that Society teaches errors. But the Holy See teaches that the Society's priests, although suspended a divinis and do not exercise legitimate ministries within the Church, are Catholic.

Let us tell the truth, the good and bad, in regard to the Society.

Tom

Virgil said...

Joseph, you stated that, "The SSPX wants to wait for a situation to arise in the Church that has never existed in its entire history. The Church Militant has never been spotless and its leaders never free from sin or poor judgement. There have been and always will be abuses, sin, and error among Catholics. Everyone has grown tired of the SSPX's obfuscations and contorted logic. Pick a side - Peter or Luther. "

If that is your reading from reading the actual documents of the General Chapter, or from Bishop Fellay, and not the color commentary from other Catholic blogs, then I am truly at a loss to know if we are reading the same document.

Ora et Labora said...

Tom is SSPX is not part of the Church at least not fully and therefore Catholics cannot attend their Chapels or receive their Sacraments, yet MANY within the SSPX continue with the mentallity "we are the keepers of Tradition" blah blah blah.

Answer me this,... if FSSPX is part of the Church why did we have a Preamble???

When I said "Today as it stands the FSSPX is outside of the Church even though the Fraternity, and many of its supporters claim otherwise" I made a correct statement.

I have a perfect example.... you and your ridiculous statement just now accusing me of not telling the truth.

What good is it for the Society to be so called part of the Church but be suspended at Divinis??? or allow me to quote you "They do not exercise legitimate ministries within the Church." OR better yet let's quote what Pope Benedict says: "Pope Benedict declared that, for doctrinal reasons, the Society had no canonical status in the Church and that the ministries exercised by its ministers were not legitimate in the Church."

Tell me what good does being suspended at Divinis do all it does is create more problems and divisions.

Play with words all you want, but don't waste my time. Playing with words and fancy rhetoric is whan many supporters of the SSPX do, and by doing this they think they can cover the sun with one finger.

I don't know if you are the same Tom but someone said in an arlier comment: "Tom doesn't just miss one thing - he's lost in the fog completely."


Mary Help of Christians pray for us!!!

Kathleen said...

Holy Mother Church needs the regularization of the Society to aid in driving the wolves out.

We need a miracle to see it happen.

But this looks like an opening.

It's time to flood heaven with our prayers, penance, and sacrifice.

Lydia63 said...

I believe the SSPX should NOT capitulate to the Vatican neither as a group or individuals. And trying to speak to individual priests is an act of desperation because the negotiations that ended up dividing the SSPX this past summer, when Mueller shut the door in their faces, did not end in either group accepting Vatican II.

Athelstane said...

Hello KSW,

He is not a Catholic teacher in good standing; he is not at a Catholic institution. He is not a professor anywhere at the moment. He is a "scholar-in-residence" at Union Theological Seminary (interdenominational) but I don't think that he has any teaching duties -- so at least he's obedient on that score!

I stand corrected on Roger Haight; I had overlooked all that. This is a fair point. He was "Curranized," it seems. That is laudable. We should recognize that.

You are correct to advise us that sometimes, of late, Rome really *does* hand out some discipline, more than it did in, say, the 70's.

And yet, too often the most that gets dealt out is the equivalent of a bad book review, as John Allen put it. I chose Haight as a poor example; but there is still Johnson, and there is still Richard McBrien; there is still Tina Beattie; there is still Richard Gaillardetz. I could go on with names; or you could sit in on a CTSA convention. There are shoots of green in the tundra, but so much of the Catholic academy is in really awful shape.

We all know that they would have been dealt with much more harshly in the pre-conciliar days. Now, Rome may have prudential reasons for being so restrained, as Fr. Fox points out in his thoughtful(I think) post. But it is not unreasonable for people in the Society to look at all this and feel some disproportion in all this.

All that said, I do pray for a reconciliation of the Society, and I deplore some of the hardened attitudes (and lack of charity, not least for traditionalists operating in "licit" bounds) that seem to permeate it now.

LeonG said...

Please remain where you are Bishop Fellay - The Church of "eternal" Rome needs The Society as it is just for the moment. This is ceratinly not the ideal time for inopportune "agreements".

Athelstane said...

Hello David Joyce,

The problem with this view is that their appointments of Bishops and Cardinals, and their own example (dare I mention Assisi x 3?), does not back this up. I'm all for a gentle softly-softly approach, but only if it is consistent, and Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict were not. For one reason or another, they seemed to play to both sides at different times, and this has sewn the seeds of confusion deeper.

I don't quite agree with this. I think this charge can be laid to John Paul II for the most part, but much less to Benedict XVI.

Many of us are familiar with the fear that existed in the Vatican in the 80's that a harder hand would create an open schism on the Left - one potentially much, much larger in scope than anything on the traditionalist right; it is not for me to say whether it was legitimate or not, but I do not doubt that this is part of what Fr. Fox is alluding to here.

I *do* think that this informed both popes, however, over this time period, in how they acted. That there was a clear strategy to hold back the disciplinary hammer and try instead to encourage the healthy wherever possible. The problem was that John Paul II never gave really sustained effort in that direction, especially when it came to appointment of bishops or curial heads. He prioritized being out on stage, going over the heads of bad prelates and theologians to the people with visits and books and whatnot, engaging outsiders so eagerly that he sometimes failed to give thought to scandal. He spent little time on appointments, save in flinches - a daring appointment of an O'Connor here, a Lustiger there, but not much else (I am not necessarily endorsing those men, merely pointing to them as rare instances of JPII making a personal intervention in an appointment to break up the liberal monotony in the episcopates).

Benedict clearly spends much more time on these things, even if his track record remains mixed. The quality of bishops has clearly gone up, as has the quality of curial heads and secretaries, even if there are appointments we all find very disappointing (Levada, Muller, Ravasi, etc.). I think he has made a much more sustained effort to actually put men on the ground to put his vision into force.

Of course, part of the problem, too, is that Joseph Ratzinger is not a traditionalist. He sympathizes with us, yes, he shares many of our concerns. But he is still operating from some different premises than we are. And yes, we must acknowledge that he has to work with the material he has, and face the enormous opposition out there in the episcopates and the curia, with all the enormous inertia they possess, and the friendly secular and even Catholic media they can muster up in support.

Francis said...

To Texana:

Please check Wikipedia for "Old Catholic Church".

arwiv said...

fr fox

two quick points from me:

first you assert that maybe Benedict and JP II didn't offer more smack-downs for fear of larger schism within the church?

that's nice...so basically allowing the craziness to continue was better? heretics are, or will be if they don't reconcile, lost. you don't save souls by placating people who are already doing wrong. when you do that you encourage wrong and invite others to partake of it because "the Church has no problem with it" so why should I?

secondly you assert that maybe if the society CAVED IN to Rome, then Rome, with the help of the society, would be better able to weed out heretics.

sorry Father.....but I think you are truly not seeing the powers which are at play here.

our popes have had NO desire to lay "smack-downs" on anyone...just look at their pathetic appointments. if you want to tell me that they were afraid to do so, or not powerful enough (???) to do so, than they should never have assumed the position (but that's only assuming that their intentions were truly Catholic, which they obviously never were).

as for the society capitulating to Rome under the conditions which are currently in place....they'd be INSANE.

Common Sense said...

Dear Fr. Fox,
No need to dramatise, because there is no schism mentality within the SSPX. The real concern is the Revolution within the Church and all those who walk to various degrees within its footsteps. We appreciate all that good work which you faithful Catholics try to accomplish within the so called official Church. There is a danger, however, for you that you can be snatched by insidious currents of the Revolution itself. You basically are forced to pay lip service to the Novus Ordo to carry our your ministry since you know full well that you can't go along with everything which comes from Vatican II. You entertain the hope that eventually you will be able to change the Church from within. While it is expedient, there is no guarantee of success; and ultimately you do compromise your principles (even if it is for a good cause) - please be honest. One way or another, it also carries certain stigma. That is why the SSPX cannot and will not seek a mere practical solution no matter how attractive it appears. The society must be seen by others as the champion of the tradition and cannot afford to ascribe to a cheap and easy solution. It is a difficult burden to carry and I hope you understand it. Our leadership is bound to CONSISTENTLY carry the banner to such time when the regularisation has taken place on the basis of principle and not on the basis of expediency, undue pressure and wishful thinking.
Yours in Christ.

Fr Martin Fox said...

David Joyce et al.:

I concede that my image of SSPX and the fire was too broad-brush. The point I intended to make was not so much about the group as whole, but about the mindset I see on display, here and elsewhere, among some who--as far as I can see--argue the SSPX should stand strong and drive a hard bargain vis-a-vis Rome.

As to the question of what causes the fire...

As someone said, it boils down to Vatican II. I think that's true, but not necessarily as some would say.

If the SSPX or any other group takes their stand on the proposition that Vatican II must be renounced...then that clogs the works irretreivably. For anyone to tell the pope he must agree with that, before the SSPX comes back, is outrageous. It won't happen. It's one thing to feel that way; it's quite another to say that such must be the judgment of the Magisterium.

Which raises the question for me--is that, indeed, what folks on the SSPX side are seeking? Certainly people posting here are; I rather suspect there are other voices advocating that, in publications and venues I don't read or visit.

But if so...

Well then, perhaps we understand better why the attempts to reconcile have bogged down?

Now, as to the appointment of bishops and other decisions being inconsistent. You have a good point.

However, I would say about that what I said about avoiding a broader schism--because the point remains the same.

Look, the progressive bunch aren't stupid. When Pope John Paul II became pope, and it became clear he wasn't going to go in the direction they wanted, they had a choice: stay or go.

It seems entirely likely that Pope John Paul II, in making his appointments and making his moves, had to consider at what point he might tip someone like Mahony or Bernadin, and a whole bunch of other likeminded folks, to some sort of schism. So maybe he makes one really good appointment out of every three; or two out of five.

Now, it does seem to be that's how it has worked. By the time Benedict came on the scene, the progressive crowd wasn't so strong, and he's improved the rate of good appointments--by "good" I mean, people who will actually try to fix things that need fixing, even if they are hard.

All I'm saying is that the pope trying to avoid provoking a formal schism can just as easily explain the inconsistency you refer to as the go softly-softly approach.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Arwiv:

You said:

so basically allowing the craziness to continue was better? heretics are, or will be if they don't reconcile, lost. you don't save souls by placating people who are already doing wrong. when you do that you encourage wrong and invite others to partake of it because "the Church has no problem with it" so why should I?

My point is that when you're the pope, you have a lot of angles to consider on that. If a move by the pope--say, repudiating one of the documents of the council (which would be "moderate" compared with repudiating the entire thing, as some advocate)--provokes an open schism, it is very likely it takes out of communion not only those with a bad will toward the pope, but also many others who are not well informed, but are misinformed.

That was my point about how, once battle lines form, it's not easy to cross them.

Imagine a scenario where a father has a child, in his house, who unfortunately has some wrong ideas, and listens to some wrong voices. That father might lay down the law, or else that father might be patient, in hopes that in time, his child will, under good influences in the family home, the child comes to his or her senses.

Tough choice.

The pope is a father with just such dilemmas. And, to be plain, the children I mean here aren't the obstinate heretics so much as the confused folks who are likely to get drawn into schism with them.

Secondly, you seem to say I advocated the SSPX "cave in to Rome." I said nothing of the sort. Those are your words, not mine. I advocate reconciliation, and I don't minimize the difficulties.

But if by "caving in" to Rome, you mean that the SSPX should obey the Holy Father: well, what would Boniface VIII say?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I have it from good authority that Rome has already (and recently) sent letters inviting certain individual priests to leave SSPX. I do not know if this was a CDF or Papal initiative, or both. Has anyone else heard of this? The idea of an ultimatum though is new to me.

Mary Elaine Murray said...

Some of the comments above reflect the ignorance of Catholic doctrine about Church membership that is common among Catholics, thus leading them to conclude from their flawed understanding that traditionalists like S.S.P.X are disobedient to "the Holy Father" and are "outside the Church." Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As Pope Pius XII pointed out in his encyclical Mystici Corporis: "Only those are to be considered members of the Church who profess the true faith and are baptized." (22). Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical Satis Cognitum: "The faith of the Apostles is the true faith. We ought not to believe other than as has been handed down from Apostolic tradition." (32). Everything Vatican II introduced was previously condemned by infallible authority. Therefore that constitutes heresy. Pope Pius XII also said in his above quoted encyclical: "Not every sin. however grave it may be is such as of its own nature as to sever a man from the Church as does schism or apostasy or heresy" (23). St. Thomas Aquinas said: "Whoever is a heretic is also a schismatic." (Summa Theol. Q. 39. A. 1, Of Schism). Catholic dogma teaches that heretics become automatically severed from the Church and that their offices become vacant and that all their enactments and decrees are invalid. For example Ecumenism was condemned by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Mortalium Animos, and the new theology of Vatican II was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi, etc., etc. The S.S.P.X and other traditional priests such as sedevacantists do not teach any heresy against the faith. Therefore they are not like the Old Catholics who teach heresy and refused to submit the a Pope of indisputable authority. Therefore the true Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ, The Mystical Body of Christ, is only to be found in those who profess the traditional faith and reject the heresies of Vatican II, and who possess valid orders by maintaining the pre_Vatican II rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders and Episcopal consecration. Invalid antipopes, non-bishops and non-priests are not the ministers of Jesus Christ and do not possess His authority and are not even in the Church.

Gerard Brady said...

It continually surprises me how so many people (of undoubted good will) can be so wrongheaded when it comes to the position of the SSPX. The link to the following article written by a lawyer with no connection to the aforementioned Fraternity explains the entire issue.
http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2011-0205-ferrara-gnostic-twaddle.htm

David Joyce said...

Fr Fox - thank you for your reply, but I found some of the things you wrote a little confusing, for example:

If the SSPX or any other group takes their stand on the proposition that Vatican II must be renounced...then that clogs the works irretreivably. For anyone to tell the pope he must agree with that, before the SSPX comes back, is outrageous. It won't happen. It's one thing to feel that way; it's quite another to say that such must be the judgment of the Magisterium."

This is not the official position of the Society - if you read what came out of their General Chapter last year, this is their main requirement regarding the Council:

"The freedom to preserve, share and teach the sound doctrine of the constant Magisterium of the Church and the unchanging truth of the divine tradition and the freedom to accuse and even to correct the promoters of the errors or the innovations of modernism, liberalism, and Vatican II and its aftermath."

This is not what you are saying, and doesn't sound particularly demanding to me at all. The problem appears that the Vatican does not want the SSPX to "accuse and even correct" the errors that they see.

Secondly:

"It seems entirely likely that Pope John Paul II, in making his appointments and making his moves, had to consider at what point he might tip someone like Mahony or Bernadin, and a whole bunch of other likeminded folks, to some sort of schism. So maybe he makes one really good appointment out of every three; or two out of five."

So the way to face a problem of 'too many liberals' is to appoint more liberals than conservatives, supposedly replacing some conservatives as you proceed? As an engineer, this doesn't make much sense!

The problem in this argument is the premise that a "liberal schism" is actually the worst possible outcome. It isn't. The worst possible outcome is the Church disobeying our Lord's mandate to "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature". If a liberal schism means prelates like Mahony and the like leaving the Church and bringing a portion of their congregations with them, the alternative (the reality of what we are living in) means that these Bishops are leading their congregations out of the Church without even realising it by their modernism.

As a matter of fact, the reality is that much of the Church, at least in the West, have already stopped believing and attending Mass over the last few decades. Mass attendance in France in less than 5%; views on contraception and abortion in Catholic circles in the west pretty much reflect those of the wider liberal population.

The reality is that there has already been a schism, a silent one, and one where millions have left the Church. This hemorrhage could have been lessened if the causes of the problems had been faced earlier, and one of those was the appointment of modernist shepherds.

Unfortunately, both Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul are like personifications of the Council; sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal. And appart from their appointments, their example has at times been distressing - for example, visiting the places of worship of false religions, and (particularly in the case of Pope John Paul II) terrible liturgies. How did convening the Assisi gathering stop a 'liberal schism', or is that part of another agenda, an agenda that was condemned by earlier Popes?

As Athelstane said, and I think we mainly agree, the appointments have been a mixture, even with Pope Benedict, but as that poster emphasised, Pope Benedict is not a traditionalist. In fact, during the Council, he was a known liberal. Therefore, his agenda and plan is different from ours, so I don't think we can fit their actions onto our ideas with much credibility.

Fr Martin Fox said...

David Joyce:

I realize that the official position of the SSPX is not as demanding as what I supposed; but the supposition I offered does reflect the demands of many who ally themselves with the SSPX--including many here. Based on what I've seen reported, I think it's very likely at least some members of the SSPX also take that position.

So I'm not being unreasonable in conjecturing that perhaps the reconciliation got bogged down on this question.

As far as JP and Benedict appointing "liberals."

Please give me some credit. My point was that JP, in particular, wasn't likely to get away with a dramatic shift in appointments. That point wasn't clear? OK.

Do you dispute that over time, JP and Benedict's episcopal appointments have significantly changed the theological center of gravity of the bishops?

Yet the complaint--to which I was responding--was that he appointed too many liberals.

All I was trying to represent in simple terms was that, yes, he did appoint some less appealing bishops; but over time, the effect of his appointments changed things.

If you have a solution that is, say, 80% acidic, and you gradually add a solution that is still acidic, but less so, you'll still make the solution more alkaline.

You'll make a bigger difference, and faster, if you pour in a slightly alkaline solution, or a strongly alkaline one. I think that's the move Benedict was making. Whether JP wanted to do that, I don't know; all I supposed was that he was constrained from doing so, which I think is very likely.

I am not Spartacus said...

And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him. For they said: He is become mad (Mark 3:21)

Uncountable are the numbers of those conservative catholics who are spiritually members of the Brick By Brick Bund who are always counseling caution and always warning of the dangers just waiting to erupt if this, that, or the other, Pope forthrightly repudiates the 1960s revolution within the form of Catholicism and rapidly and radically institutes a restoration of Tradition; they think, in fine, that such an action would be madness.

But isn't Our Sweet Jesus on Earth the Vicar of Christ and isn't he supposed to be the one who most closely imitates Christ as He commanded?

This concretised conservative caution is, to me at least, a sign of spiritual trepidation and, in some cases, a sign of weak faith.

Our Holy Father should act boldly and let the conservative and/or liberal chips fall were they may.

Failure to act with boldness and with zeal for the house of the Lord guarantees that those modernists currently in positions of authority will continue to be allowed to apply the solvent of mephitic modernism to Catholic Tradition and dissolve it to a point where it will be nearly impossible to restore.

Such are the fruits of caution; the revolution lives.

Kill the revolution. NOW !!!

If Our Holy Father did what was right, the Holy Ghost would create a whirlwind of support, and opposition, and Our Lord would nearly drown His Holy Church with the Graces that would be capable of being absorbed because Holy Mother Church would be disposed to receive such an outpouring.

As she is now, cautious about upsetting her many enemies (and we know who they are) and trepidatious that a restoration might result in a schism, she limps along, slowly but surely sloughing-off communicants, ill-disposed to receiving the superabundant storm of Grace that would rain down upon her were a restoration to be effected, while the friends of the Church, those who succor such a cautious approach, urge caution and they would be the first to claim that any Pope who instituted a radical restoration would be mad; you know, they would be like those friends who fled unto Jesus to try and stop Him from acting mad.

arwiv said...

fr fox

thank you for the reply.

I have to assume that pope Boniface himself (and pope Clement VI too for that matter) was speaking under the assumption that the pope would be acting in the best interests, dogmatically speaking, of the Church. in that instance, then of course, we can not waver from the pontiff. Im guessing that these popes were addressing apostates and/or heretics.

we are not obligated to follow wrong, as many Church scholars, including St Thomas Aquinas, have pointed out.

what was the purpose of Vatican II? it put down no heresies, it defined no dogma....what was the point? its pretty simple what its purpose was...to destroy the faith of existing Catholics and to encourage the idea to non-Catholics that it wasn't important to become Catholic in order to gain salvation. When you study the lives of the people who were instrumental in the forming of the "council", and I mean REALLY study, you don't have to be a brain surgeon, or a good Catholic theologian, to see who was the true inspiration behind it.

Dave K said...

Mary Elaine Murray
You left quite a bit out of your description of what qualifies for membership in the Church. Here's the full quote from Pius XII in Mystici Corporis: “ Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. "For in one spirit" says the Apostle, "were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free." [17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. [18] And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered -- so the Lord commands -- as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.” So, this pretty well slams the door on the SSPX which does not share the same faith with the Roman Pontiff, refuses obedience to him,and rejects the laws and discipline of the Church.

arwiv said...

dave k

you conveniently leave out the fact that it could be the pope who leaves the Faith...and when he does we are not obliged to follow him. no door has ever been slammed on the society....there's a link which someone provided in this discussion which may enlighten you.

what part of the extraordinary, or ordinary and universal, magisterium does the SSPX deny? exactly.....so how has the society had any door slammed on it?

paul XI, as bad as he was, was AT LEAST honest enough to admit that Vatican 2 offered NO dogmatic proclamations. it was strictly a "pastoral" council. I ask you again, what "door" has been slammed on the society? we are in no way obligated to follow wrong teaching.

Dave K said...

arwiv,
No, I cannot happen that the Pope , in the exercise of his office, could abandon the faith. That belief is Protestant not Catholic. If you were familiar with what the First Vatican Council teaches you would know that the Pope is the principle of the faith and unity of the Church. That it is necessary to be in union with him at all times and share the same faith with him. By divine promise his faith is guaranteed not to fail and his job is to confirm his brethren in the faith. He is the supreme and final judge of all matters pertaining to the faith, government and discipline of the Church. Those who would elevate their own opinions about such matters above that of the Pope are not faithful Catholics regardless of their rank or education. Those who refuse to submit to the guidance of the Pope should be ignored by the faithful.

Dave K said...

arwiv,
Pope Paul VI did declare that the teachings of Vat2 belong to the supreme ordinary magisterium of the Church and must be accepted with docility and sincerity by all the faithful. This has been the constant teaching of every one of his successors also. This will not change, so the SSPX has some changing to do.

James said...

I actually now hope for a serious smack down on the SSPX. As one involved in that group for many years - and who, thanks to his wife being brainwashed to the point of inability to leave them, is still peripherally involved - I can attest that the sspx is good at presenting a moderate face when it wants to. The reality is that for all intents and purposes they see themselves as the sole faithful remnant, Rome and the Pope as "in error" and total capitulation to them as a condition for union with Rome. They like being independent and answerable to no-one. My wife's family are utterly brainwashed and refuse to attend "legal" TLM's even if necessary to fulfil the Sunday obligation - and are backed by the sspx. They and others like them are mentally in schism. The sspx is their church. A formal, solemn excommunication of the sspx and all their lay adherents may end this ridiculous limbo that allows well-meaning traditional Catholics to frequent sspx chapels and in the process become indoctrinated in their Pope-hating, Rome-hating, self-righteous, neo-Donatist cult.
Outsiders may have a rosy picture of the sspx. If it were all about the TLM, orthodox doctrine and Catholic values, I'd agree. But they don't see the darker side - the self-referential, fanatically cultish, them-and-us, hyper-critical sectarianism which is a *way of life*. Without a radical shift in their narrative and subculture, no corporate reconciliation is possible.

OnEaglesWings said...

JulieColl said...

"It would greatly behoove our cause if we can present ourselves as a solid political bloc before the contest for Peter's chair begins."

Indeed, "politics" will be played, but it is far from just a political process. It really has little to do with numbers and much more so to do with clean souls or lack thereof.

I think, first and foremost, it is about a clean soul in the case of each participating cardinal in conclave. I pray that the cardinals will take care to prepare so as to be in a state of grace and let the Holy Spirit consume them. If in fact the majority of the participating cardinals come to the conclave with an open heart, mind, soul and intent to the will of God and a clean soul (and no, not all will), the Holy Spirit will guide their votes to the man God wants. But if the souls of enough cardinals remain stained with sin, then Heaven help us.

It has always been about souls.

Only God knows the score and we must trust in Christ's promise no matter how much our logic, reason, and common sense may shake our very being in trepidation.

JulieColl, I will say that the sentiment you express I sympathize with.

Let us pray that each cardinal will prepare their soul, heart, mind and body to be in the state of grace while in conclave.

Common Sense said...

Dear James,
what a pitiful experience with SSPX. Perhaps a couple of remedies would help; the first is to examine your conscience and how it relates to the act of calumny and the second is to visit a counsellor. He may advise you against trolling.

James said...

Common Sense,

Thank you for accusing me of trolling and of the sin of calumny. Perhaps in your part of the world, the sspx is not thus, and indeed demonstrates true Catholicity, charity and humility - and does not presume to forbid its followers from hearing Mass (even when no alternative exists) at non-sspx churches. Perhaps they do not label marriages between sspx and non-sspx as mixed marriages. Perhaps they do not tell people to attempt an act of perfect sorrow and wait weeks for the visit of an sspx priest, rather than confess to TLM-saying, non-sspx diocesan priests. Perhaps they do not regard all non-sspx Catholics, priests and people, as non-Catholics, modernists and beneath contempt. Perhaps they exhibit fierce and unyielding fidelity to the Sovereign Pontiff in all but actual sin, do not act as a parallel magisterium superior to that of the Pope. If so, you are fortunate. If I have disturbed you by not being an echo-chamber participant, I am sorry. May God bless you.

Hugh said...

This is surely not the last chance for the SSPX. As Bp DeNoia has already demonstrated, he will go after the individual priests of the SSPX-- just like they split the priests of the Diocese of Compos, and like they took SSPX priests to start FSSP and the iNstitute. The operative tactic is divide and conquer.
This they have been working quite wll, thank-you . That's how they strung Bp. fellay along for such a long time-- how they induced him to even fabricat tall tales and wild stories of " secret people in thw vatican told me so"; how they got him to expel his own priests "for saying there is a deal, when there is no deal!", even as he knew he thought he had a deal.
Th divide and conquer startegy is very, very effective. Especially since so many inside the SSPX are modernists-- like LeRue, the seminary rector who believes that the SSPX priests get their mission from the local Novus Ordo liberal Bishops. And like father Rostand, who will go to any lengths to make sure the SSPX parishioners don't find out what's happening-- like bringing into the SSPX schools presbyters and unordained men to "say" the latin mass; or like denying that there is a deal, even though he knew Fellay thought he HAD a deal with Rome!
And the gang in Menzingen-- they are so besotten with joining Rome that they can't think straight. They made their deal with the jewish fundraiser for Tel Aviv University, now they are tied to his apron-strings because they need the funding from the Rothschild estate to build the new seminary in Virginia. nver mind that the Rothschilds have been at the core of the destrucyion of Christianity, and the actual murder of catholics and the annihilation of catholic Countries for hundreds of years.
No-- this will not be the last chance for Bp Fllay to commit treason and turn over the Archbishop's society to the wolves in Rome. Those guys are smeling blood, and they are circling the camp, reay to take down the low hanging fruit-- especially all those trained under LeRue , Fellay, Schmidberger, Nelly and Rostand. These priests have been indoctrinated with only obedience, and the latin mass. They have been kept totally in the dark as to WHY the ARchbishop fought so hard, and WHAT he fought so hard for. For Bp. felay to now say he can "accept 95% of the Vatican Council", that he can accept a "limited "religious liberty", that "those who oppose the council haven;t read its documents", alllwithout a huge cry up from the SSPX priests, is indicative of just how little they have learned of their faith, and the rasons for the battle into which the Archbishop engaged.
Asbnedict stated clearly, we are seeing the ecclipse of Christianity. As Archbishop Lfebvre stated loudly "that man ( Ratzinger)--is not Catholic--- he works for the destruction of the Christian faith". And now we have Bp. Fellay and his cohorts, trying to trick the SSPX faithful into re-joining a conciliar religion, a " Church to which I have no desire to belong"
(Archbishop Lefebvre).

arwiv said...

Dave K

Its a good thing St Athanasius didn't think like you did.

Dave K said...

arwiv,
The fathers of the First Vatican Council looked into the history of the Church, including the Arian heresy times of St. Athanasius and concluded as I pointed out above. Catholics must always be in union with the Pope, sharing the same faith with him, and willing to submit to his judgment. This is elementary Catholic doctrine.

arwiv said...

dave k

youre lost. we have no obligation...and are actually prohibited....from agreeing to any error. dogma can not change with the times, as Ratzinger has based a large part of his papacy in telling us it could. we cannot acknowledge the legitimacy of other faiths...as he and his predecessor have continually told us. acceptance of false ecuminism, the changing of dogma to suit how one feels that particular day...nonsense. paul IV said a pope was to be contradicted if he was in error. look at our known deposit of faith before the wolves took over and look at the contradictions to that infallible deposit the wolves deliver to us. believe that nonsense at your own peril. good luck.

John McFarland said...

Dear Dave K.,

You say:

"If you were familiar with what the First Vatican Council teaches you would know that the Pope is the principle of the faith and unity of the Church. That it is necessary to be in union with him at all times and share the same faith with him."

I find no such statement in Denzinger. The pope is not a "principle." He is a man elected the vicar of Christ on earth, and granted certain powers and graces, including the ability to preach infallibly in accordance with the conditions specified by the Council.

On the other hand, I do find the following statement in Denzinger:

"[T]he Holy Spirit was not promised to the successor of Peter that by his revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit, and might faithfully set it forth."

The pope is the servant of the faith delivered once for all to the apostles, not its master. When he teaches infallibly, he cannot teach error. When he doesn't teach infallibly, he can.

The necessity "to be in union with him at all times and share the same faith with him" means to share the faith delivered once for all to the apostles, not doctrine at odds with what the Church has always taught.

Except when the pope engages his power to teach infallibly, it is not the case that what the Pope says, goes.

If and when the pope contradicts what has always been taught, what the pope says cannot go.

arwiv said...

James McFarland,

Well said. When in the world are these people, well intentioned though they may be, going to wake up and see the writing on the wall?

How many of them will perish because they refuse to learn the Faith?

As St John Vianney said:
We shall find out at the day of judgment that the greater number of Christians who are lost were damned because they did not know their own religion. (Sermons of the Cure of Ars, page 99.)

For any doubters out there who subscribe to the heretical teachings of VAT 2:

Study fully who the architects were and then fully study who motivated them and what their stances were prior to the council.

Most people on this particular site will give the benefit of the doubt to these men, thinking at worst that maybe they just "erred"....I will not. They had a specific agenda. They are no good and in no way in communion with the Church.

Mary Elaine Murray said...

Dave K.
I did not leave anything out of my description of what constitutes Church membership. It is you who are using that quote from Mystici Corporis out of context, ignoring the fact that I pointed out that heresy severs a man from the Church as the quote I used from Mystici Corporis said. Therefore if the post 1958 "Popes" are heretics, as Pope Paul IV in Cum ex Apostalatus Officio said is possible, they are what Catholic doctrine calls invalid antipopes and their enactments and decrees are invalid. That would include the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre and his bishops. The Church lists 41 Antipopes in her history. Therefore the S.S.P.X are on terra firma. The ground under them only begins to shake when they posit the ridiculous theory that the consiliar "Popes" are ligitimate occupants and that it is not knowable if they are heretics, when those antipopes have taught what the Church has condemned, and contradicted Sacred Scripture, as they did when they (the consiliar popes) said that the Old Covenant was still valid. St. Thomas Aquinas defined heresy: "a heretic is one who devises or follows false or new opinions." (Summa Theol. Q. 11, A.1, Of Heresy).

Dave K said...

Mr. John McFarland
Here are the relevant passages from the First Vatican Council: “So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world [39] , even as he had been sent by the Father [40], in like manner it was his will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation.”
“That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time [45].”

“Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole church. So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the church which he once received [47]. For this reason it has always been necessary for every church--that is to say the faithful throughout the world--to be in agreement with the Roman church because of its more effective leadership."
“And so, supported by the clear witness of holy scripture, and adhering to the manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors the Roman pontiffs and of general councils, we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical council of Florence[49], which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the apostolic see and the Roman pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all christian people.”
“To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal church. All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.”
“In this way, by unity with the Roman pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the church of Christ becomes one flock under one supreme shepherd [50].
This is the teaching of the catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation.”


These are some of the texts which prove my prior points. It is sad that so many Traditionalists are so ignorant of Catholic doctrine. Your last point concerning the teaching of the pope, that it can only be trusted when he is speaking infallibly, misses the point that he is still the supreme teaching authority in the Church even when he does not use the extraordinary means of defining dogma. Can you tell me when, ever, has a pope said “I am speaking infallibly now!”