Rorate Caeli

Ricard speaks: on talks between Rome and the SSPX

Cardinal Ricard, the Archbishop of Bordeaux and President of the French Episcopal Conference (CEF) is in Naples for the interreligious meeting promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio. He spoke to Italian papal news website Petrus on future prospects regarding the dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX):

Are there contacts between French Bishops or the Vatican with the followers of Lefebvre?

"In France, there are not official 'negotiations'," Ricard explains, "even if there may be contacts. There is something with Rome, but it is, in any case, discreet."

"I believe that Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and, certainly, also the Pope desired to advance as far as possible in an eventual reconciliation with the Fraternity of Saint Pius X. But the Pope - Ricard details - knows that there are non-negotiable points. He is certainly in favor of dialogue and exchange [of ideas], but he wishes, despite the disagreement on specific points, to erase the caricatures and distortions and to discern the true difficulties, if any exist."


Anonymous said...

Reconciliation is impossible. Some kind of modus vivendi is advisible, but NO reconciliation. To fall under the foot of the modernist Vatican: NO WAY JOSE!

john mastai said...

Do these French bishops do ANYTHING? No negotiations with the SSPX, nothing stop the infiltration of Islam, nothing to fight modernism (they wouldn't even acknowledge that as a problem). What a waste.

Anonymous said...

Ricard is an honor student of Bugnini School of Modern Theology so he prays like all his brother Bugninians (read: despicable modernists) hate to admit that the Pope really wanted an honest dialogue with SSPX. Anyways France is the birth place of revolution thank God there still French who believe in Revelation and Ricard is not one of them!

Anonymous said...

Ricard: "There is something with Rome, but it is, in any case, discreet."

Fellay: "(Paraphrasing) There is no dialogue going on with Rome."

Hmmm...who to believe, Ricard or Fellay?

In this one single solitary case, I believe Ricard. Which proves that the internal struggles within the SSPX at present are so great that Fellay cannot publicly admit to an ongoing, discreet dialogue.

Are there threats of schism inside the SSPX (i.e., Williamson) over this discrete dialogue?

poeta said...

As I recall, what Fellay denied was that there were theological discussions taking place. That's not the same as denying any discussions about withdrawing the decree of excommunication.

Anonymous said...

You are right Poeta.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It would be foolish to think that there are no discreet talks between the SSPX and Rome. Not only would it be foolish but it would not be Christlike and the perilous times in which we live demand such talks. Emphasis is on the word discreet because of the need to keep the flames of rhetoric under guard.

alsaticus said...

Cardinal Ricard is a member of PCED, this is to be reminded.
He will quit in a few weeks and a new chairman of the French episcopate will be elected. Probably LESS diplomatic than cardinal Ricard who has been very moderate in the TLM question in France.

I notice he is expressing himself very, very smoothly, avoiding any frontal opposition with the pope and cardinal Hoyos.
It is interesting that he confirms there are "very discreet" talks with Rome but he also underlines, discreetly, that the French bishops do not want to be a positive partner in this. They merely stay aside and are ready to scream if they feel the "non-negotiable points" are at stake, at any moment.

It is striking that he keeps a distance with all positive stances of the pope (erase the caricatures, discern the true difficulties). The Cardinal says : "he is certainly in favor" i.e. the pope but he is careful not to be looked as a supporter of this papal policy.
More like a neutral observer.

If his successor is cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris, as the rumor tells, the new president will be certainly an actor, but in trying to derail the process, under the cover. If it is the present vice-president Abp Pontier, a well-known trad-hater promoted archbishop by pope Benedict (ô cruel irony !), FrenChurch will be in an overt opposition with Rome. Like GermChurch is already.

LeonG said...

Anyone who is hoping for the French episcopate to fight modernism would be expecting it to commit philosophical suicide. France is the birthplace of much of the house of modernism towards which Pope St Pius X, among other Holy Fathers, aimed his anti-modernist measures. Liturgically and doctrinally, France has been in the vanguard of revolutionary disobedience in the pre-conciliar ecclesiastical epoch: standing for communion in the hand; 'ad hominem' liturgies; evolutionary perspectives on origins; de-divinisation of The Christ; "Pierre Vivantes" style catechetics; attacks on the historicity of The Sacred Scriptures; the "burning" of clerical dress and so on.

Ricard is like his colleagues - they ignore the ultimate reality of a modernist presbyterate which will be further devastated 300% over the next 10 years from death and retirement from 12,925 (2004) to about 4,250 by 2015. Out of 92 diocese, there are 72 which produce no vocations to the priesthood. They are installing married permanent deacons to their newly created "pastoral units" since there are not enough priests left for the former parishes to have their own. Some of the empty parish churches left standing could become mosques according to the new president Sarkoczy unless the same bishops can fill them but Sunday congregations have dwindled to 4.5% of NO attendees.

Simultaneously, tradition grows with its young families and its committed priests who say increasing numbers of Latin Masses every week. It sounds like the Roman Catholic Church before the "nonsensus non-catholicus" began. Cardinal Ricard does not want to negotiate with this traditional Roman Catholic Church. He prefers an obsolete crumbling modernist establishment whose obedience to Rome is more apparent than real.

At the same time, Cardinal Vingt Trois has publicly expressed his hopes for feelings of "mutual admiration" between rapidly increasing mahomatens and existing catholics in France. This comment demonstrates to what extent modernism has pervaded thinking - hope has descended to the level of mere individual consciousness and feelings. There is no longer a real vision about The Catholic Church in France.

LeonG said...


It is worse than that - out of 92 dioceses there are 75 that yield no vocations.deqdkmy

Anonymous said...


I smell rat, LOL

Ottaviani said...

Sadly, many of your correspondents - and one wonders Rorate caeli itself? - seem to presume constant good will on the side of the SSPX, and constant bad will on the side of the Holy See. We are no longer in the age of Paul VI and Cardinal Villot; we have also passed beyond the equivocation and incomprehension of John Paul II. The good will and understanding of Pope Benedict and his collaborators is manifest. The SSPX has no reason to remain aloof, yet that is in fact the case. I fear they do not recognise the "time of visitation". If there was real love of the Church, they would seek immediate reconciliation: all that they could justly desire would be granted them. But in fact, the politician Fellay equivocates, and embraces ambiguity in the manner of the modernists. Heavy irony!

New Catholic said...

"and one wonders Rorate caeli itself?"

Ottaviani: please, read our first editorial here.

Anonymous said...

"New Catholic:
"and one wonders Rorate caeli itself?"

Ottaviani: please, read our first editorial here."

One should really ask where does the SSPX do the most good to the Church, in full communion with Rome or in the present situation? I tend to believe in the latter.

To enter into "negotiations" with Rome is poison. The question is whether Rome can withstand a critical SSPX inside her. I am not convinved. If the Pope really values the communion of the SSPX with Rome, then it should not ask absolutely anything from the SSPX.

We'll see!

poeta said...

I get the impression that if Abp. Lefebvre had been dealing with the Rome of 2007, with Benedict XVI at the helm and the "hermeneutic of continuity" as the polestar, and especially after Summorum Pontificum, he would not have felt such a need to withdraw his signature from the agreement.

John L said...

Once it has been admitted that the old mass was never proscribed, it seems that the way is open to lifting the excommunications of the SSPX bishops; because that admission implicitly concedes that Abp. Lefebvre and the SSPX were treated with great injustice by the Holy See, and hence that the consecration of the SSPX bishops was not simply an act of contumacious rebellion. The question of what canonical structure to be given to the SSPX is something that legitimately requires careful thought and work. They have a legitimate claim to an arrangement where 1) their work could not be destroyed by the local diocesan bishop, and 2) they could not be further oppressed, in the way done to them in the past or to the FSSP more recently. The (quite recent) treatment of the FSSP, by e.g imposing the option of saying the NO mass on them, is not sufficiently taken into account in discussions of the situation of the SSPX. I think some public change of policy on the part of Rome, rather than just the personal favour of the reigning Pope, is needed for the SSPX to have a reasonable prospect of survival in a canonically regular situation. What that change would have to be is the crucial question.

LeonG said...

On the contrary to perspectives stated, traditional organisations have immense good will towards & love for The Holy See. The level of critique lies with the ungraciousness of particular neomodernist episcopates and their malevolent will towards the SP, The Holy See and all traditional organisations within The Church. The SSPX and other organisations know very well that the authority of The Holy See has been reduced to what we objectively behold now: primus inter pares. How can any organisation place full faith in such a reduced authority? To be frank,most bishops today doas they please and often kowtow to the dictates of their diocesan councils.

That we desperately require authentic restoration of The Roman Catholic liturgy is without question. That the neomodernist and liberal wing have propagated liturgical anarchy is without doubt (look at the evidence available). That they do not really want The Latin Mass to be restored is also a fact.

Little wonder, therefore, that SSPX is better off remaining where it is. FSSP has been given a difficult ride also. In SE Asia, before & since the SP the bishops in several places have increased their hostility towards the SSPX and one could rightfully suppose anything traditional since they are imbued with the liberal and curiously indefinable "spirit of the councils". Like the French bishops, for the most part, they dislike orthodox Roman Catholic liturgy and the accompanying norms and values because once restored it will compromise their sense of autonomy: amply demonstrated well before the 1960s in the case of France.