Rorate Caeli

Rome, FSSPX, and the Traditional Roman Rite - What to expect in the near future

So, what should we expect in the next few weeks regarding the ongoing talks between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X?

First: do not expect big news.

There may be all sorts of rumors from Rome and elsewhere up to the meeting of late March. We will publish those which are trustworthy or credible, but as they are rumors they should not be used to raise expectations. In any case, both from the Holy See and from the FSSPX there will not be official news regarding anything, perhaps well into Eastertide.

Rumors are quite necessary to understand the steps of the process (by "process" we mean the discussions and decisions which eventually lead to some kind of stable position for the Traditional rites of the Roman Mass and Sacraments and for the priests and faithful attached to them in the Church at large, which may -- or may not -- include some kind of "reconciliation" of the FSSPX). For instance, in strictly "official" terms, there has been no official note on the topics discussed in the Papal-Curial meeting of February 13, but we know from credible "rumors" what kind of discussion took place. In any case, do not get anxious with any apparent lack of news: it means the machinery is working properly.

Second: do not expect a "magic" date.

Catholics who follow these events know that it is common that rumors regarding a "certain" date for a "certain event" are spread. But readers should be wary of these "magic" dates. For instance, it was wrongly interpreted by some that the news we last published meant that something great will "officially" happen in the next meeting, scheduled for March 23. It is certain that important decisions will be taken then, but the results may take a few weeks or even months to be divulged.

The most important aspect of our recent piece was to present what we consider to be the overwhelming evidence that this process is being led, by the part of the Holy See, by the direct will of His Holiness -- there can be no doubt about it. Petty legalisms and collective threats, which weighed heavily on the mind of his predecessor on this matter, will have no such influence on the lord Pope Benedict, the sixteenth of that name...

Third: do not overinterpret, understand the details.

Many people in all sides wish to overplay their influence and pretend they can determine the outcome; they cannot. As we have warned here before, be careful with interviews and rumors from some sources who are not as knowledgeable on the matter as one would be led to believe from their titles

Regarding those who have a say in the process: in the current stage, even the texts which seem most clear are actually full of interesting details. Do not overinterpret them -- but do not simply take them at face value.


  1. New Catholic, while I truly miss your regular comments over at Pertinacious Papist, I must say that I am even more grateful for all you are doing here. You provide a great resource of information on this issue of the prayed-for reconciliation the FSSPX here, what with your translations and all. Thank you.

  2. I second Philip.

    This is a great post; it's the kind of thing that most bloggers don't have the patience or interest to do. But it's a very helpful reminder.

  3. I believe what you can expect is a minor split in the sspx heirarchy.

    The independent priest where I attend mass use to be an sspx priest and said that Bishop XXXXX leans toward sedevacantism.

    I predict that approximately 25% of the sspx will not want to be absorbed into the vatican ii religion.

    I don't believe that the ones who betray the Catholic faith and go over to the novus ordo religion will keep the "sspx" label.

    In the end of course the sspx are still schismatic because they believe that benedict is the pope but pick and choose what teachings they are to be obedient.

    Those sspx that are absorbed into the vatican ii religion will go from schismatic to heretics since they will have to pledge allegiance to the heresies contained in the vatican ii council, new mass, new catechism, new bible, etc....

    Let us pray that if Christ comes back during our lifetime that He will find the true faith amongst us. Luke 18:8


  4. I'd like to add acouple of thoughts to what JEFF and PHILIP have just said.

    I have been following Catholic blogs (list, etc.) for years now, and I have grown to admire a few people, even though not always agreeing with everything they say.To my complete joy, the top 3 are coming here to talk in a relevant and mature way, namely, Brother Alexis, Mr. Perkins and Jeff. (like here:

    I say loud "thank you!" to all three, and also to New Catholic, who is doing a superb job.

    God bless!

  5. As far as rumors go:
    when I was in college 5 years ago, us rad trad minorities at a big novus ordo charismatic college (i.e. steubenville) were all jubilant with glee as we had official news from Una Voce, secular media, UPI, etc. that by easter of 2001, 2002 at the latest, we would have a reconciliation of the entire SSPX and that there would be an apostolic administration or some business like that. Now we're at 2006. No change!


    We've talked before, and I'm praying for you. Now we all know its Williamson who leans toward sedevacantism, you can't believe what he believes and think Benedict is the Pope.
    Now, you're totally right about a split in the SSPX. Many who have been terrorized by novus ordo clergy will not be so quick to come back, and I guess I can't blame them. However, Rome est mater, and I'm not so quick to abandon Rome just because the sinkhole of humanity is currently occupying the majority of the hierarchy. To believe that the post-Vatican II popes have apostasized and lost the faith and their office, by Bellarmine and Canisius' theory you need a clear act of apostasy in faith and morals. When have the Post Vatican II Popes, for all of their absurdity and nonsense, ever apostasized while invoking the magisterium? True Ratzinger wrote some stuff in his books which I would agree is heretical. What has he said as Pope? We've had Popes who believed heresy before they got in the office. JPII was horrible, but when did he officially apostasize against the faith when invoking the magisterium? Paul VI presided over the liturgical destruction of the Church, and if he's lucky he'll be a notch above JPII in the list of bad Popes. When did he Apostsize when invoking the magisterium?
    Sorry for the long post, but to convince us to be sedevacantists, you have to demonstrate to us how they have apostasized when using the official magisterium. That is faith and morals teaching, not dumb actions.

  6. Athanasius,

    This maybe painful for you but vatican ii and ALL of its heresies was officially promulgated from the authority of paul vi (if he were true pope).

    Paul VI, “Papal” Brief declaring Council Closed, Dec. 8, 1965:

    “At last all which regards the holy Ecumenical Council has, with the help of God, been accomplished and ALL THE CONSTITUTIONS, DECREES, DECLARATIONS, AND VOTES HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE DELIBERATION OF THE SYNOD AND PROMULGATED BY US. Therefore, we decided to close for all intents and purposes, WITH OUR APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY, this same Ecumenical Council called by our predecessor, Pope John XXIII, which opened October 11, 1962, and which was continued by us after his death. WE DECIDE MOREOVER THAT ALL THAT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED SYNODALLY IS TO BE RELIGIOUSLY OBSERVED BY ALL THE FAITHFUL, for the glory of God and the dignity of the Church… WE HAVE APPROVED AND ESTABLISHED THESE THINGS, DECREEING THAT THE PRESENT LETTERS ARE AND REMAIN STABLE AND VALID, AND ARE TO HAVE LEGAL EFFECTIVENESS, so that they be disseminated and obtain full and complete effect, and so that they may be fully convalidated by those whom they concern or may concern now and in the future; and so that, as it be judged and described, ALL EFFORTS CONTRARY TO THESE THINGS BY WHOEVER OR WHATEVER AUTHORITY, KNOWINGLY OR IN IGNORANCE, BE INVALID AND WORTHLESS FROM NOW ON. Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the [seal of the] ring of the fisherman, December 8… the year 1965, the third year of our Pontificate.”

    Now before I converted from the novus ordo religion I believed in the misconception that vii council was merely a "pastoral" council and was non-dogmatic.

    It doesn't matter what paul vi said after vii council, trying to make people believe that vii was non-dogmatic, he STILL promulgated vii council with all of his "papal" authority (see quote above).

    In addition if the last 5 claimants to the papacy have PUBLICLY held to ANY form of heresy that would have at once, without any declaration, fell from the papacy.

    One of many example is the 1999 agreement with the Lutheran Church on Justification, approved by John Paul II. John Paul II agreed that the Council of Trent no longer applies.

    Vatican-Lutheran Agreement on the Doctrine of Justification, approved by John Paul II: “# 13. IN LIGHT OF THIS CONSENSUS, THE CORRESPONDING DOCTRINAL CONDEMNATIONS OF THE 16TH CENTURY [i.e., the canons of the Council of Trent] DO NOT APPLY TO TODAY’S PARTNER.” (L’Osservatore Romano, Special Insert, Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification, November 24, 1999, #13)

    This act was Public and it is Heretical which proves that john paul was not Catholic let alone a pope.

    St. Robert Bellarmine: “A pope who is a manifest heretic automatically (per se) ceases to be pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.” (De Romano Pontifice, II, 30)

    I don't think you have enough "blog" space for me to list every single PUBLIC and MANIFEST heresy of the last 5 claimants to the papacy.

    It is a painful conclusion one has to draw if one is to maintain his faith whole and inviolate but one that has to be understood.


  7. Thank you all for your comments.

    Athanasius, the rumors in 2001 were true and indicated that a "reconciliation" was at hand. Then, everything fell apart, especially because the pope found almost no support in the Curia. From the time the talks fell apart in 2001 up to April 2006, there were no talks whatsoever, and no sign from Rome.

    "No Change"? A very important change happened in April 2005.

  8. Tradosaure; et alii, Fratres :

    I think the very basic things like where to find the Faith have to be simple enough for idiots. If God left it up to clever, smart people debating about texts and traditions, the simple ones would be unable to find the Truth.

    St. Cyril of Jerusalem once answered the question, "How can you find the True Church?" His answer was, "when you come into a new town, just ask people where the CATHOLIC church is. That'll be the one." Nine times out of ten--more, in fact--this simple instruction still works.

    Similarly, the answer to the question, "Who was the legitimate Pope during the Western Schism," didn't take any theological smarts. The answer was, "if one guy is in Rome and another one is on an island in Spain, the first guy is Pope of Rome and Successor to Peter and the second one is 'le Pape de la Lune; the Pope of the Moon,' as they called him."

    So, my answer to: "Who is the legitimate Pope?" is, "The guy who everybody knows perfectly well is Pope." If I decided that some guy in Kansas might be the Pope, or that nobody was the Pope, or that no one really knew who the Pope was, I would lose my faith.

    Tradosaurus' argument about Bellarmine and heretical Popes ends up making a good case for the Monophysites who rejected the Council of Chalcedon. To many people at the time, it looked quite legitimately as if Chalcedon was going back on Tradition and cutting a deal with the Nestorians. "Our Father Cyril and Ephesus were enough! The issue was settled already and Christ was One Divine Person! What was all this new talk about a Human Nature? It was Nestorius in disguise! The Pope and the Emperor had lost the Faith." Those who kept the Catholic faith had simply to trust the Pope and the new Council instead of their own judgment of what Tradition was.

    Bellarmine was talking about cases in which a Pope simply and overtly rejects a defined teaching. "Christ didn't rise from the dead; the Bible is a bunch of nonsense!" But Bellarmine spent his life reconciling various teachings in the Church and in Scripture that might have SEEMED to be contradictory, but could be understood in a consistent way if one thought one needed to do so.

    This is the discussion we Catholics need to have about religious freedom, for example. How do we reconcile things that we know MUST be reconcileable? Was the old teaching imperfect and did it develop in some way into a more perfect form? Or is the new form accurate, but more misleading than the old one, so that we have to read it in a very conservative way, or even abandon it in preference of the older formulation? These are good discussions that we need to have and the SSPX can HELP with that, if only they'll consent to jump in with the rest of us and DO IT, instead of preaching from a position of self-appointed Guardians of the Faith.

    It's TRUST that Catholics need, trust even when it's difficult. I don't think I'll have anything to answer for if I go before the Throne of the Judge because I didn't figure out the answer to some controversy about homosexuality in the seminaries or religious freedom. But I do think I might have something to answer for if I prefer my own judgment over that of Peter. If something seems inconsistent or wrong, it's the easiest thing in the world to simply trust God and defer to the guy with the responsibility. I don't know about you guys, but I've had plenty of experience being SURE I was right about stuff and then finding out that I was wrong as wrong can be. There was just something I hadn't thought of or I'd been looking at something in the wrong way. Wisdom consists in learning that lesson and applying it BEFORE the fact.

    So, no thanks, Tradosaurus. I'm not shopping for Popes. And I'm not buying arguments about "True Tradition." I'm simply sticking with the Rock and figuring I'm not any smarter than all the simpletons and naifs who have to do the same thing. Call me "Neo-, neo-, neo-" if you like. Ecclesia semper nova est, the Church is ever new.

  9. Jeff,

    I'm glad you brought up the Monophysite heresy (which argued that Jesus had a single, divine nature and denied the more orthodox view that Jesus had a dual nature, fully human and fully divine.)

    Paul vi and John paul stand condemned by the Council of Chalcedon (451) since they established fraternal relations with heretics. Also realize that during these meetings the monophysites never repented of their heresy nor did paul vi or john paul ii state that the monosphyites are eternally lost until they reject their heresy.

    You see the vatican ii church will pander to all pagans, heretics and infidels but will scorn the traditional Catholic Faith (pre-1962) because they cannot co-exist together.

    From an ewtn article:

    "The same document, Ut Unum Sint, says concerning the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church that it is already possible to speak of a gradual rediscovery of one another as "Sister Churches". The term "sisters" has a profound theological significance. It denotes recognition of the other as having in Apostolic Succession, the same sacramental structure concerning the Eucharist, the priesthood and the Episcopate.24

    Fraternal relations were then re-established between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches of the East which had rejected the dogma formulated by the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. The Orthodox Churches concerned are: the Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, Armenian and Malankara Churches. Their leaders have at last declared "our common faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true Man".

    These declarations took place successively under Paul VI with Patriarch Jacob III, Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in 1971, and with Pope Shenouda III, Head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in 1973. Under Pope John Paul II, in 1984, Pope Mar Ignatius Zakka II, Head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, made a similar declaration. Patriarch Abouna Paulos, Head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, followed suite in 1993."

    "In 1984, in dialogue with His Holiness — Ignatius Zakka I Iwas — the monophysite (out of union with Rome since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451) archbishop of Antioch, his holiness John Paul II oversaw the release of several documents, one each welcoming the other, and one a joint statement. Not only do we have two church leaders recognizing each other as His Holiness, but each recognizes the other as a legitimate heir of St. Peter, one in the Church of Rome, one "called to be his 121st legitimate successor in Antioch."

    Ecumenically, their joint statement refers to the ancient schism as caused by "differences in terminology and culture." Less ecumenically, Pope Pius XII on the 1500th anniversary of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, notes that Chalcedon used "a most exact terminology," and that "separated bodies in Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria Armenia and elsewhere who go wrong mainly in their use of words..."

    So not only is the schism following Chalcedon fully "reparable" if not already repaired, but we have two simultaneously reigning successors of St. Peter.

    You must realize that the Catholic faith does not exist in the vatican ii church.


  10. I want to also voice my appreciation for this blog. The quality of the information and comments are really refreshing.

    Let me add this thought on the topic at hand as well. I may be wrong, but it seems to me the sedevacatiststs appear to be gaining ground. If true, more and more good Catholics, apparently out of desperation and intellectual pride, are giving up the good fight from within (e.g. Una Voce) or without (e.g. SSPX).

    Such momentum would suggest another source of urgency for positive fruit from the current SSPX-Rome dialogue, namely a process, which besides the "freeing up" of the Traditional Mass, would lead to the clarification of certain ambiguities of Vatican II and post-conciliar teachings, and would bring flirtations with modernism at all levels of the hierarachy to an end.

    Like some of your other readers, however, I am not sure that an immediate reconciliation of the SSPX with Rome would be one of the positive outcomes of the dialogue (recognising that ultimately reconciliation is necessary). Whether true or not, one can hear the claims already: "sold-out", "compromised with the heretics", etc.

    I pray for the succcess of the ongoing SSPX-Rome dialogue and the labours of Traditionalists. I also pray for those who in the face of the current storm, have apparently adopted the view that the barque of Peter can sink: "And he said to them: Where is your faith" (Mt 8:25).

  11. New Catholic,

    Don't know whether you take Latin Mass magazine, but Fr. James McLucas has a most interesting editorial in the most recent issue, of which I offered a detailed summary a few days ago entitled, "Fr. McLucas on the MOTIVES for restoring the Mass of Pius V."

  12. "our common faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true Man"

    This is called a GIVE, Tradosaurus. Read the Common Statements; they are confessions of the faith of Ephesus and Chalecedon without admitting that that's what they are. That's a victory for Catholicism.

    "Ecumenically, their joint statement refers to the ancient schism as caused by "differences in terminology and culture." Less ecumenically, Pope Pius XII on the 1500th anniversary of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, notes that Chalcedon used "a most exact terminology," and that "separated bodies in Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria Armenia and elsewhere who go wrong mainly in their use of words..."

    Pius XII says that the non-Chalcedonians go wrong "mainly in the use of words." JPII says it's a matter of "terminology."

    Wow, *THAT*'s a big difference...

    But you missed the point about Chalcedon being a seeming "change" from Ephesus as momentous as any the Traditionalists of today complain about. So, I'm not surprised you missed this issue too.

    I can conclude on the one hand that the Church after Vatican Two abandoned the Faith. Or, on the other hand, I can conclude that some guy called Tradosaurus is a bit confused and doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Hmmm, tough choice. But, I guess I'll stick with Peter....I'm a creature of habit, I suppose!

    Good luck with the Pope of the Moon, whoever he is!

    Incidentally, the Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch calls himself the Successor of Peter, too, you know! And he has ever since there was one, long before Vatican Two! And of course, he IS the Successor of Bishop of Antioch. There's a Feast in the Tridentine Calendar called "The Feast of the Chair of Peter at Antioch," too.

  13. On the interesting topic of the old Christological heresies and John Paul's too little heralded and almost complete work toward healing those old schisms:

    Here's what the old Catholic encyclopedia has to say about the Antiochene School, the well-spring of Nestorius' teaching:

    "they used most unfortunate and misleading language when they spoke of the union of the manhood with the Godhead -- language which is objectively heretical, even were the intention of its authors good."

    On Nestorius himself:

    "Nestorius, as well as Theodore, repeatedly insisted that he did not admit two Christs or two Sons, and he frequently asserted the unity of the prosopon. On arriving at constantinople he came to the conslusion that the very different theology which he found rife there was a form of Arian or Apollinarian error. In this he was not wholly wrong, as the outbreak of Eutychianism twenty years later may be held to prove."

    "But did not Nestorius mean better than his words? The Oriental bishops were certainly not all disbelievers in the unity of subject in the Incarnate Christ, and in fact St. Cyril made peace with them in 433. One may point to the fact that Nestorius emphatically declared that there is one Christ and one Son, and St. Cyril himself has preserved for us some passages from his sermons which the saint admits to be perfectly orthodox, and therefore wholly inconsistent with the rest. For example: "Great is the mystery of the gifts! For this visible infant, who seems so young, who needs swaddling clothes for His body, who in the substance which we see is newly born, is the Eternal Son..."We recognize the humanity of the infant, and His Divinity; the unity of His Sonship we guard in the nature of humanity and divinity." It will probably be only just to Nestorius to admit that he fully intended to safeguard the unity of subject in Christ."

    Sounds like normal Catholic encyclopedias in 1910 thought that the disagreement with Nestorius was largely a matter of words! That doesn't mean that so-called Nestorian-ISM wasn't a real heresy.

    But the so-called Nestorian churches have always denied that they were Nestorians in our sense of the word and the Monophysites have always denied that they were what we call Monophysites. We can condemn the doctrines; we can also find a way to declare that we hold a common Christology with those who deny that they hold the doctrines we condemn.

    Too many kooky tracts, Tradosaurus, and not enough broad reading.

  14. Jeff,

    Why do you assume that I believe there is a claimant to the papacy in todays time?

    Yes I understand that there have been many false elections and claimants from the vatican ii church to the guy in Montana.

    However God Himself will have to straighten this mess out. Just as Jesus appointed our first pope so will He have to appoint the next pope.

    As far as kooky goes I'm not the one whose religion has clown "masses", dancing women around the "altar", and all sort of abberations.

    My faith, is the Catholic faith. My mass is the mass of the saints. If it was right then it is right now.

    What are the fruits of your religion?


  15. Trad:

    You're a nice guy, apparently. I wish you all the best. But I think we're not going to communicate on this issue.

    Consider me bested if you wish!

    God bless.

  16. Wow, my comment will be rather spartan compared to what has been written here, but it is a purposely short comment.

    For the latest from the Superior General of the Society, please visit

  17. This is all very interesting; thank you for the link, Mr. Heiner (I had a login problem when I tried to comment in your blog). Is there an audio file of this conference available yet?

    There are a couple of very interesting details in the reported words, which I will comment on Thursday or Friday. The rest of the conference seems pretty much an English-language version of his last conference (in December) and his Candlemas sermon.

  18. Tradsaurus,

    Some thoughts to ponder:

    St. Alphonsus Maria dei Liguori teaches in his work Theologia Moralis, Bk I, Tract II, Dubium II, § 1:

    "The fourth and common opinion, to which we subscribe, is, that though the Roman Pontiff, in so far as he is an individual person or private theologian, can err (just as he is also fallible in questions of mere fact, which depend chiefly on the testimony of men); nevertheless, when as Pope he speaks ex cathedra as a universal teacher, namely out of the supreme power bestowed upon St. Peter for teaching the Church, then we say that he, in controversies of the faith and in the discerning of morals, is entirely infallible."
    And I too furthermore agree with what St. Robert Bellarmine in his work De Romano Pontifice, Bk. 4, ch. 6, says, namely:

    " . . .that it can be piously believed, that the Supreme Pontiff, not only as Pontiff cannot err; but also as an individual person, cannot be a heretic by believing pertinaciously anything false contrary to the Faith."

    since this is what Christ by His prayer for St. Peter's sucessors obtained, as Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: "I have prayed for you Simon that your faith might not fail, and when your are converted, confirm your brethren," [Lk 22:32] according to the teaching of Pope St. Leo the Great (Sermon 2, On Christmas, "At Sts. Peter and Pauls"), St. Cyprian, (Bk. 1, Epistle 1 "To Cornelius"), Pope Lucius I, Pope Felix I, Pope St. Agatho, Pope Nicholas I, Pope Leo XI, Pope Innocent III, and St. Bernard of Clarivaux, as cited in the First Book of of St. Robert Bellarmine's treatise De Romano Pontifice.

    If you want to debate the legitimacy of any Pope, I invite you to do so in the "Theology in General" section of

    "The Scholasticum: Fides quaerens Intellectum" at

    I am sure I can meet all your objections, if you are interested in the truth.

  19. Br. Alexis,

    And I'm sure I can meet all your objections as to why a formal and public heretic is not Catholic if you are willing to embrace the truth.


  20. When you get a chance check out this new Catholic blog site that seems very interesting.

    God Bless!


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