Rorate Caeli

Editorial Note:
The buck stops here!

"I am Peter. God gave me, and nobody else, the responsibility to govern His Church and foster her unity. I have vowed to do so, and I will fulfill it to the best of my ability." That is the main thrust of the Papal letter to the bishops, an "encyclical" in the etymological sense of the word, that is, a circular personal letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. 

"I believe that I set forth clearly the priorities of my pontificate in the addresses which I gave at its beginning. Everything that I said then continues unchanged as my plan of action." 

In that plan of action, the "first priority for the Successor of Peter was laid down by the Lord in the Upper Room in the clearest of terms: 'You… strengthen your brothers' (Lk 22:32)". Strengthen, certainly, but for what? To fulfill the mission of the Church, salus animarum, which includes struggling against the real problem of our time.

"The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects." And he clarifies it: "Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses 'to the end' (cf. Jn 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen." 

To the end, to the end... "Whoever proclaims that God is Love 'to the end' has to bear witness to love: in loving devotion to the suffering, in the rejection of hatred and enmity..." And Peter is willing to suffer, to suffer abuse even from Catholics: "even Catholics who... thought they had to attack me with open hostility". He does not have to add explicitly, but it should be clear: "even from many of you, brother Bishops, to whom I adress this letter". The Catholics who offend him have lost track of what the priority of the Church is.

Their hostility, their hatred, is the same hatred that the world has always reserved for Christ and His followers. Yes, you world leaders, as well as you pseudo-Progressive Catholics, ambassadors of the world in the Church, whom do you serve when you hate? The Church? Why do you feel the need to hate? The world, following its prince, 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." 

The Pope's message is clear: "this 'biting and devouring' also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom". Freedom in the Church must be a freedom subjected to the "supreme priority, which is love". Liberty not for its own sake (Liberalism), but always obedient to Christ through His Church, and though the only true "great defender" of all its Councils, the Pope: "Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life."



  1. Anonymous11:22 PM

    Any so called "traditionalist" who think that the Pope's words are not strong enough are deluding. What do you expect this Pope would say to the like of Austrian Bishops, German Bishops, rench Bishops etc? "You brood of vipers?"

    The language of subtleness has been employed by the Church long before Vatican II, long before Trent, long before Florence (Firenze). In the language of diplomacy, subtleness, face-saving (for lack of a better word), this letter provides the harshest rebuke.

    Shame on you who can't see that.

  2. Anonymous11:25 PM

    God bless and long live Pope Benedict XVI! May his enemies perish and Truth prevail!

  3. "Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life."

    Now how does that differ from what the SSPX holds? I see no difference but maybe I'm just dense.

  4. Anonymous11:45 PM

    Alright but, besides the good words stressing continuity in the papal's orientation (for ex. a clear commitment to foster reconciliation with SSPX), the decisions included in this letter are showing a bending toward the more vocal opponents, those who -especially within the Church and we can think of the Austrian-German mitred shameless people, grossly unfaithful to the very oath they took when consecrated.

    The Hoyos PCED is probably doomed : to become a Levada supervised sub-commission within CDF will probably reduced to zero its capacity to move toward Bp Fellay. Will Levada become the next president of this shrinking PCED ?

    The canonical statute Mr. P.T.K.P. was expecting as a Blessed Virgin Mary apparition is clearly rejected. There is still a possibility of a "modus vivendi" on some specific matters but the context sets by the Letter is not in favor of this in a short delay.

    The E. D. institutes are promised to be released into the "general population", without any more special treatment under PCED. It's hardly good news for them to be under ... trad-hating cardinal Hummes.

    Moreover, the pope is stressing the complex collegial procedure under CDF, which guaranties that the episcopate will have an eye on every possible agreement in the doctrinal matters. We can guess what their opinions will be ... ask cardinal Lehmann or the Brazilian bishops about the spirit of Küngian Vatican II ...

    In other words, besides the sugary expressions aimed at trads and those who have supported the pope in this horrible trial, Benedict XVI is on one hand asserting a goal (legitimate reconciliation with SSPX through doctrinal clarifications) and on the other hand, setting a procedure that will make it very ... unlikely to happen.
    It is called trying to save face, and a cautious step back due to the strength of the neo-modernists and neo-liberals' grip on the Church today.
    And if the pope is calling the red hat of Vienna to preside at CDF, we can be sure that the doctrinal talks won't reach a conclusion ever, even if the pope lives until 150 years.
    Bp Tissier de Mallerais was speaking in July 2008 of a 30year long process minimum. He may be right, not because of the SSPX standing on the brake - some inside will rejoice - but because a Roman procedure that will slow down everything.

    My wish is that this soft "retreat of Russia" of the pope won't turn into a Waterloo (on the Napoleon's side) ; praying that he will be able to fight again and find serious committed bishops and Curia officials to support his goals : it's hardly the case with a cardinal Re for example.
    Oremus pro Pontifice.


    nb. The media have not stopped at all to demise the pope and the BrazChurch is slapping the Abp of Recife in his face and the Curia right now. I see this as a consequence of the Austrian surrender and this Letter. Each sign of weakness, how wisely phrased it could be, is immediately used by the neo-mods to destroy the Church further on. Some absurd episcopal appointments, like in Brazil, may also explain why in the end the pope is feeling lonely and betrayed - he was - by so many bishops, his "brethren in the episcopate".

  5. Anonymous12:13 AM

    All of this is a blessing in diguise. The Holy Father knows what is at stake and will not abandon traditional Catholics or drop his program for true reform. Expect to see another masterstoke arising from this.


  6. Anonymous12:13 AM

    I still have not been able to find out.
    Is this new Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil good or bad?

    Is he open to Catholic tradition, or another nutjob liberal.

    Cardinal Sales was the last "CATHOLIC" Archbishop of Rio.

    If this Tempesta, S.O.Cist. is a good man and a real Catholic, then may God grant him many years of fruitful reign.
    If not, then God might work to alter the situation.

  7. Anonymous12:21 AM

    Was it really necessary to kick SSPX in the face? They pray for the Holy Father mightily. They would certainly shed blood for him if he needed them to. Bishop Fellay is being heroically patient in the face of these insulting public statements. And these doctrinal concerns aren't just SSPX's, they are the concerns of many trads. I would estimate the majority of trads accept VC II as a "legitimate council", but assess the documents in their confusing wording to be at least dangerous and misleading. No? Well then, explain them. It's been forty years and we still don't have a single book or encyclical answering our very well-published concerns. This letter doesn't just bash SSPX (and the modernist bishops, but they don't have to change at all because he won't do anything to them), it bashes everybody who has concerns about the VC II documents, all the way back to Cardinal Ottinger.

    I have to conclude that this Holy Father is simply incapable of expressing the Catholic intentions of those controversial documents in a manner that can hold up to a simple smell test. And so I see no reason for optimism. The Holy Father's words imply there will be no mercy until doctrinal concerns are worked out, and he has no answers, so expect to wait until SSPX just quits.

    Ain't gonna happen. Nothing has changed. SSPX still operates under the canonical mantle of charity to trads, and that seems to be more and more justified every year.

  8. Anonymous12:59 AM

    On the last comments of Alsaticus:

    I think that you raise a very important matter. If we return for a moment to the motu proprio of 1988, we see that the P.C.E.D. was founded to reconcile the S.S.P.X. Period. Since this process is now to be doctrinal, the P.C.E.D. will be absorbed in the C.D.F., but possibily under a new Prefect, since Levada is said to be ill. Cardinal Pell has been mentioned but I think that he's too troublesome a man.

    But what about "Summorum Pontificum" then? Who will see to its implementation? Is the Pope abandoning his own motu proprio, under which there have been almost no new Masses since last June?

    I cannot see this. Could it be that the Pope is preparing to create a universal jurisidiction for tradition, as we have been praying for? He could erect an international particular church under Canon 372.2: a diocese or apostolic administration and NOT a personal prelature which has no lay subjects.

    First, let me clarify some terms. We have called the Campos structure a 'personal' apostolic administration. This is confusing because it is not how the term 'personal' is used in the Code, and we don't want a parallel here with that horrible personal prelature structure, which would spell the end for us under Canon 297: that Canon makes its new apostolates subject to approval by the local Mahonys. Useless, that.

    Section 2 of Canon 372 allows for a particular church "in a given territory" for those of a liturgical "rite or some other similar quality". Even if the 1962 Mass is not a separate Rite in the restricted sense, it is clearly a rite in the broad sense given here. Therefore, let us use the term 'rite' to differentiate the structures mentioned in Section Two of this Canon. We need a ritual particualar church which is international, exempt (not part of an ecclesiastical province but directly subject to the Holy See). It would cover most of the world but not Rome or the Vatican City State (for obvious symbolic reaons). The territory can be international without being continuous.

    Now an aposolic administration is a 'junior diocese' not "yet" erected as a diocese "for special and particularly serious reasons" (Canon 371.2). And, under Section 2 of Canon 372, it need not "have a defined territory, so that it comprises all the faithful who live in that territory". That is only the case for territorial structures under Section One of this Canon.

    What is needed, then, is an international Campos structure. Campos is the precedent. Imagine a Campos ritual apostolic administration covering the whole world save the City of Rome and perhaps a few countries where this would be impolitic. It would even cover Antarctica, where Bishop Williamson could be sent to watch for the alien spaceships he apparently believes in.

    The Pope could erect a ritual Apostolic Administration of St. Gregory the Great and incardinate into it all the clerics of the S.S.P.X and all the clerics of its affilated societies (e.g. Dominicans of Avrillé). The S.S.P.X and its affiliate societies would continue to exist as non-canonical secular societies holding property, and leasing the use of some of that real property to the new structure for a nominal fee. The clerics of the new structure would be members of both it and the S.S.P.X (e.g.), just as they might also be members of a tennis club. The Pope would appoint an apostolic administrator as a formality. The retiring Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos might be a good choice. The Society bishops would be incardinated into the new structure but would be like retired bishops, holding no appointments.

    Under this arrangement, the new structure would provide faculties but the old S.S.P.X would continue as before and would own all the property. De facto, the S.S.P.X would continue to enjoy independence for an interim period which could last months or years or decades.

    Now the Pope could, of course, bring all the Ecclesia Dei groups into this structure under its new apostolic administrator. The F.S.S.P. and I.C.R. and I.B.P., &c., would still negotiate with local bishops for the use of their churches for Mass, but would no longer need to negotiate for permission to be present in their dioceses. In most cases, at least for an initial period, this would only be a technicality, since the F.S.S.P. would not often be able to afford to build its own churches at first. In time, however, it would do so.

    Once the period of discussion over doctrine is complete, the S.S.P.X could ask to make its position in the structure permanent as a society of apostolic life, or, given its size, it could ask for a parallel structure under Bishop Fellay. Given its need for association with affiliates groups, such as the Dominicans of Avrillé, it would no doubt prefer a parallal ritual apostolic administration of its own in which Fellay would be the apostolic administrator, Bishops Tissier de Mallerais and de Galarreta would be auxiliary bishops, Fr. Schmidberger would become a fourth auxiliary, and Bishop Williamson would be appointed as town clown from outer space but still made a titular bishop. (He'd be retired by then anyway.)

    So the new structure would provide faculties for the S.S.P.X for the interim period PLUS it would provide an international particular church for all those loyal traditionalists like me who have not supported the S.S.P.X (although, in my case, I'm blowing a horn here for a possibility which doesn't exist: there is no S.S.P.X in reach of my home).

    Just a thought!


  9. Anonymous1:01 AM

    Schoolman is right! That's my point!

    But when?

    Hmm. Feast of St. Joseph, Easter, whatever: this Pope likes significant dates. Notice that there were no appointments today? It is Friday the Thirteenth!


  10. Anonymous1:17 AM

    This is a strange Pope really. I would call hin enigmatic: sometimes he says something and does otherwise. He speaks of the "hermeneutics of continuity" while at the same time upholding Vatican II documents in this category, when it is well known that there is a rupture with Catholic Tradition up to 1962. I would say that two faces has Juno: one looks East and the other West, like the apparent approach to SSPX by issuing Summorum Pontificum and lifting the excommunication of the four bishops, and then apologizing to the jewish establishment and backtracking on the appointment of Father Wagner. Really a very confusing papacy that does not seem to have what it takes to put the house in order, plus the fact that his age and the wear and tear of the office seem to be taking its toll.
    A final simil would be to label him as Obamian in style in as much as Barak Obama draws advise from every source and does not have a firm understanding of what is going on in the economy and elsewhere. At least McCain knew instinctly that the package that Bush proposed for bailing out the financial mess was wrong, but he failed miserably to raise his voice when he was summoned to the White House, together with Obama, and both voted aye to the proposal.

  11. Anonymous1:18 AM

    This is a strange Pope really. I would call hin enigmatic: sometimes he says something and does otherwise. He speaks of the "hermeneutics of continuity" while at the same time upholding Vatican II documents in this category, when it is well known that there is a rupture with Catholic Tradition up to 1962. I would say that two faces has Juno: one looks East and the other West, like the apparent approach to SSPX by issuing Summorum Pontificum and lifting the excommunication of the four bishops, and then apologizing to the jewish establishment and backtracking on the appointment of Father Wagner. Really a very confusing papacy that does not seem to have what it takes to put the house in order, plus the fact that his age and the wear and tear of the office seem to be taking its toll.
    A final simil would be to label him as Obamian in style in as much as Barak Obama draws advise from every source and does not have a firm understanding of what is going on in the economy and elsewhere. At least McCain knew instinctly that the package that Bush proposed for bailing out the financial mess was wrong, but he failed miserably to raise his voice when he was summoned to the White House, together with Obama, and both voted aye to the proposal.

  12. Anonymous1:23 AM

    That would be Ottaviani, not Ottinger. Sorry, my emotion got in between my Ratzinger and my Ottoviani. Hate it when that happens.

  13. Anonymous2:17 AM

    When the Pope says -
    "The impression is often given that our society feels the need for at least one group to which no tolerance is to be granted; which one may perfectly abuse with hatred. And if anyone - in this case the Pope - dares to approach them, he also loses his right to tolerance and he also may be treated with hatred, with no fears or reservations."
    Is he refering to the SSPX or Trads in general?

    Pray for our Pope.

  14. Anonymous2:45 AM

    Great comments & a great post on the Holy Father, but ask yourself this...are these all just words? Where is the action? I pray daily and am thankful to God for Pope Benedict XVI, but if that is all we get are words and no action or consequences then is he really different then the other 'paper tiger' cardinals? Sounds like we need another Rosary Crusade for the Holy Father...

    To Paul Haley, there is no difference except where each party of the dance is coming is coming from one point of view, the other from a modern point of trying to understand this the book "Iota Unum" clearly addresses.


  15. Anonymous5:08 AM

    I do not see the CDF involvement as anything more than formalizing the structure for these doctrinal discussions, and potentially allowing the documents which come out to have a Magisterial level of standing.

    If the discussion remained as part of a theological commission or inside PCED alone, then none of the statements would be magisterial statements. With CDF, promulgation alone on matters of doctrine are nearly equivalent to coming straight from the Pope's hand.

    While the matters will be open to the Cardinals and potentially all bishops, this openness will also possibly make very clear to these bishops what the doctrines are and give them no excuse for continued disunity.

    The Pope does not want to trade SSPX reintegration for a schism on the left, but from this letter, and the general attitude, I get the sense that the Holy Father understands that these discussion are not only necessary, but will serve to perhaps finally clarify Catholic doctrine against the errors of those who have made the Council and their interpretation of it into a super-dogma that trumps and invalidates everything before the 1960s.

    Perhaps the real people the Pope is addressing here is not the SSPX when he says that tradition is not fixed at 1962 is those who wish to fix it at everything after 1962, but forget and denigrate all that came before this.

  16. Anonymous7:22 AM

    "The Holy Father's words imply there will be no mercy [?!] until doctrinal concerns are worked out..."

    Well... Yah.... THAT IS what the SSPX has REPEATEDLY asked for and stressed!

    Bishop Fellay on numerous occasions (browse YouTube) ASSURES SSPX faithful that he and the Society WILL NOT rush into ANY CANONICAL Regularization BEFORE DOCTRINAL Discussions had taken place with Rome - EVEN THOUGH Rome wanted to Regularize the SSPX FIRST and later they may look any doctrinal problems.

    So the Pope is GRANTING the SSPX's THIRD wish (like a Genii) of DOCTRINAL talks... indeed he granted them their first 2 wishes: (1) Liberty of the Traditional Mass for ALL priest and (2)Lifting the 'excommunications' of 1988.

    So if you have a problem with that, you can blame it on the SSPX and their REFUSAL of a canonical solution and regularization of their society BEFORE doctrinal questions are solved or at least explained.

  17. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Here's the problem.

    Holy Father, do you accept as true the formally condemned errors in the Syllabus of Pius IX and Pius X? Based on your own writings, it is clear (as you yourself have stated) that you believe these errors were time stamped and that they have since expired. Based on what you have written, it appears that you believe these errors have ceased to be errors and instead have become a positive good simply because the calendar reads a later date.

    The SSPX and other like-minded Catholics refuse to accept as true error that have been formally condemned by the Church. On the contrary they (we) continue to think as the Popes thought prior to the council. We fully agree with what Pope Leo XIII wrote in Libertas, which you give every appearance of rejecting.

    Holy Father, is your interpretation of Vatican II in accord with the anti-Liberal encyclicals of the 19th and first 1/2 of the 20th century? Or do you interpret Vatican II in a sense contrary to these encyclicals? That is, do you interpret Vatican II as teaches what the exact contrary of these encyclicals?

    Giving lip service to a pretended "hermeneutic of continuity" which is in reality a hermeneutic of discontinuiut, since it is an interpretation that requires the acceptance of errors formally condemned by the Church - will not clear up the doctrinal mess we are in, but will perpetutate it, and lead to more confusion.

    What it comes down to, Holy Father, is this: To be a good Concilia Catholic are we required to accept as true errors that have been formally condemned by the Church under the specious pretext of "doctrinal developement"?

    And, Holy Father, if this truth-become-error is true doctrinal developement, what is the condemned error of "evolution of doctrine" and how dies it differ?

    It is time to stop pretended that what has been taught post Vatican II is no different than what was taught pre-Vatican II. The confused faithful have a right to hear clearly that the hierarchy today has embraced errors that have been formally condemned by the Church, and no longer accepts that which is contained in the anti-Liberal encyclicals in the past.

    We hope the discussions with the SSPX will at least make the lines clear so the faithful can decide for themselvse which path to chose: Do they blindly follow a hierarchy who teaches formally condemned errors under the specious pretext of doctrinal developement (which in reality is evolution of doctrine), or do they hold fast to the faith and let the chips fall where they will? Or, perhaps, was it all a big misunderstanding, and does the Church officiall interpret Vatican II in accord with what the Church has always taught? Let us hope for heaven's sake it is the later.

    Either way, let the lines be drawn clearly for all to see; and let the light of clarity shine on those who hide their errors under the shaddow of ambigiuty and double-speak.

    Robert Siscoe

  18. "under which there have been almost no new Masses since last June"

    Dear Mr. Perkins;

    I am under the impression that there is still a slow but steady increase of Masses in North America and Europe. Add to that the FFI. Am I misreading the statistics? Please elucidate.

  19. Anonymous12:42 PM

    To Mr. Palad:

    There has not been even one new diocese gaining an every-Sunday Mass since December in the U.S.A., and in over a year in Canada. The situation is similar for most of Europe. There have been a very small number of new every-Sunday Masses in dioceses which already had them.

    In Ireland, we gained one (Meath) and then lost another (Ferns) for a net change of zero. In France, there has been no update in over two months now--none at all. Only England and Germany have seen real improvements, and these too stopped dead but this time once the Williamson Affair erupted. Traditionalism in any form is now considered by the bishops to be 'toxic waste'.

    I also watch the figures in Latin America and elsewhere. Frankly, our increase was reduced to a trickle in June and has become a flat line since December.

    The Pope has had 'on his bureau' the clarification of S.P. for over a year now. Perhaps a release on St. Joseph Day would be helpful. But it would not make much of a difference. I have realised that the legal obstructions of the bishops are just excuses. The real obstruction simply comes from their power to promote, demote, and transfer their priests. It's simple. If you are a priest who wants to celebrate the old Mass under S.P., that's fine but you have no future in the diocese, and your next assignment will be as a prison chaplain.

    This is what is keeping the priests in line.


  20. I was asked recently what "hermeneutic of continuity" means and I answered Tradition with a capital "T" but then hurriedly added that hermeneutic means "interpretation" and how one interprets Tradition with a capital "T". The questioner then added: then why don't they just say that? Here we have it - the difference between what the modernists believe and what the traditionalists believe - the interpretation.

    We, as those in the SSPX and other traditional orders, believe in an unending interpretation of Catholic doctrine and dogma - tha same always and everywhere. Others, and I include many in the hierarchy, believe that Tradition is a living and breathing thing that must adapt to the times. Thus, we have the suppression of the Syllabus of Errors, for example.

    But the question I posed at the beginning of this thread pertains to what the Pope believes vs what the SSPX believes and that is the only thing that matters. What the CDF believes is irrelevant to me - it's what Pope Benedict XVI believes that is relevant, and what he believes as Supreme Pontiff, Vicar of Christ, Head of the Universal Church, Supreme Legislator and the only one with the Power of the Keys.

    It doesn't matter to me what he may have said in times past because he didn't have the special charisms attached to the office he now holds, and most importantly, I see the intercession of Our Lady at work on his recent actions of benevolence toward the SSPX. That leads me to believe he is not far apart from what the SSPX believes.

  21. I was asked another question this morning on exactly what is the difference between the SSPX, the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institut du Bon Pasteur, the Institute of Christ the King and the other traditional orders? I answered the SSPX operates independent of the authority and control of the local bishops whereas the others do not and the SSPX has long been arguing for a juridical structure which guarantees this autonomy. This is known as an apostolic administration which has been described most eloquently by PKTP on this very same thread. Why does the SSPX hold out for such a jurisdiction? In my view because it is the only way to guarantee the survival of Tradition which is their raison d’etre from the very founding of their order.

    As for the discussions with the CDF, allow me to inject the opinion that the Holy Father will not simply place everything in the hands of the Prefect of the CDF, whoever that turns out to be. There’s little doubt in my mind that His Holiness, as the former head of the CDF will be intimately involved in those discussions and, most importantly, any juridical decisions emanating therefrom. The chance of success? It is very great as long as we continue to implore Our Lady’s intercession for Our Lord would never refuse the requests of His Holy Mother.

  22. Anonymous2:22 PM

    "So if you have a problem with that, you can blame it on the SSPX and their REFUSAL of a canonical solution and regularization of their society BEFORE doctrinal questions are solved or at least explained."

    But, who is it that has the power, the authority, and the obligation to infallibly clarify and define doctrine? Certainly, not the FSSPX!

    The whole matter really falls into the hands of our Holy Father. He is the one who must make the infallible pronouncements in order to clarify ambiguity and contradictions. Until he does that, discussions could go on 'til doomsday with nothing accomplished.

    No. You cannot place the full burden of responsibility on the Society for this stalemate. The big move must come from the Head. He must define what we - and the SSPX - must believe. Haven't we had enough of dialogue? Whether with the Society, or whether with infidels, and schismatics, enough is enough!

  23. Anonymous3:14 PM

    "This is a strange Pope really. I would call hin enigmatic: sometimes he says something and does otherwise. He speaks of the "hermeneutics of continuity" while at the same time upholding Vatican II documents in this category, when it is well known that there is a rupture with Catholic Tradition up to 1962."

    Disagree. If you read his writings carefully, it is clear that he is remarkably consistent and is deeply aware of the teachings of the Magisterium.

    He has very rough waters to navigate. This is not smooth sailing. If he overreaches the limits of his power (which is more limited than a lot of people think), he could provoke a catastrophic backlash. The worst part of such a backlash wouldn't be liberals leaving the Church after hand-to-hand combat. Some might like that. The worst thing would be that his legacy would be one of division, which would provoke the College of Cardinals to find a peacemaker for the next pope. Now that would precipitate a true crisis.

    All in all, his letter dishes more out to liberals than the SSPX, and is rightly focused on the importance of reverent unity. A well written piece.

  24. Anonymous3:15 PM

    True, SSPX priests have largely been given what they need. But there will be no mercy for the faithful until these doctrinal issues are worked out. Meanwhile, trad parents, just keep on sending your children to Cardinal Mahoney's catechism classes so they can be confirmed in Mahoney's faith. We'll get back to you when Hell freezes over.

    See who this hurts? It wouldn't endanger the future of the church for the Holy Father to remove the censures for the comfort of those who prayed over two million rosaries for him.

    If the Orthodox had been offered discussions to unify with Rome and had accepted with great enthusiasm, would it be wise for the Holy Father to then publish a letter on the eve of those discussions rebuking their faithful for their schism? This was an unnecessary twist of the knife.

  25. Anonymous4:55 PM

    "I am under the impression that there is still a slow but steady increase of Masses in North America and Europe."

    I know this is not exactly on topic, but regarding the response to SP: in my diocese we have been assigned one FSSP priest - for the entire diocese. Because of tight accommodations in the N.O. parish, he does not hear confessions. Also, we do not have the Mass for Holy days of obligation.

    Needless to say, things are not much better here since the promulgation of SP.

    We need the regularization of the Society, and soon.

  26. Anonymous4:59 PM

    "Any so called "traditionalist" who think that the Pope's words are not strong enough are deluding. What do you expect this Pope would say to the like of Austrian Bishops, German Bishops, rench Bishops etc? "You brood of vipers?"

    Unfortunatly, considering the state of the Catholic Church, if it came down to it to choose between the traditionalists and the SSPX, OR the Pope, Vatican II and all that has come from it in the last 40 years (including siding with the liberal Austrian bishops etc.), I'd choose the SSPX and the traditionalists over the "brood of vipers" Vatican II bishops anytime.

  27. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Twenty-one years ago I was told by a priest at St. Agnes Church in NYC "As soon as you hear or read something that contradicts what you were taught, immediately reject it." I've been doing that ever since.

    I agree 100% with you Robert Siscoe.

  28. Anonymous8:48 PM

    On M.A.'s comments:

    I don't wish to sound prideful, especially not during Lent. However, I probably know more about the distribution of Traditional Latin Masses in the world than almost anyone. I work helping compile the details for one on-line international list and keep very careful records of everything. I could write a VERY long report on this, as I did about three months ago on a weblist. I don't have the time for that again and bloggers here probably don't want to wade through a sea of details. So people here may either take my word for this or else assume that I am a liar or a crank. I don't mind if many here do the latter. To them, I say: ignore what I have to write hereunder.

    To answer M.A., in my considered view, "Summorum Pontificum" (S.P.) has hit the wall. In July of 2007, I made predictions on its effects for four six month periods. I was exactly right for the first period and almost exactly for the second. I predicted a great decline for the third period but what we got was far less than I could have imagined. For the fourth period, for the U.S.A., for example, I predicted only three or four new dioceses gaining every-Sunday Mases. Instead, over the first ten weeks of this twenty-four week period, we have had an increase of ZERO. Again, in the case of the U.S.A., there is hope for the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, and for Nashville, Tennessee. In Nashville, the Bishop undertook to add an every-Sunday Mass from the very beginning of this pontificate. He adds one Mass per Sunday (for a total of four to five Sundays!) about once a year. It looks to me like a direct insult.

    In the Diocese of Las Vegas, which has a very high Catholic population now, the people at St. Bridget Church, where there is an every-Sunday N.O. in Latin, cobbled togetehr a petition. The parish priest decided that this was way beyond his jurisdictin (why?), so it went to the vicar-general. After months of soul-searching, they get one Friday Mass per month and nothing for Sundays. They are laughing in our faces.

    In the Dioceses of Greensburg and Steubenville, attempts to restore our Mass have resulted in what I can only describe as warfare. On one occasion, in Steubenville, at the University there, a celebrant, to be a smart-ass, celebrated a T.L.M. and then delivered the entire Sermon in Latin, his point being, of course, that if you didn't understand the Sermon, you have no business going to a Latin Mass.

    There have been some new every-Sunday T.L.M.s in dioceses which already had them but very very few. The expectation is that the per centage of these will rise over time because some dioceses have few faithful scattered over large areas, whereas others have very large numbers concentred in urban centres. So, by now, we should be seeing a large increase in every-Sunday Masses in populous sees which already have one or more. But we are not seeing this. It looks to me as if the local bishops are saying this: You losers have your Mass for this diocese and that's all you're getting! Any priest who tries to provide more will find himself appointed as a chapel for fifteen comatose patients at a hospice and will never have a good parish.

    There are also cases in which local bishops, given the shortage of priests, simply don't have the manpower and resources to provide reasonable access to the old Mass.

    My concern is that the Pope will wait too long before rectifying this situation. What we urge is not instant paradise on earth, with old Masses everywhere: that is unrealistic given where most bishops and priests are 'coming from'. No, but what is needed is an international jurisdiction which can ensure at least a slow and gradual improvement in the sitaution for the long term, during which NewMass and NewChurch continue to decline and the world goes pagan, as it is. This would not 'threaten' the local bishops much because it would not, for a long time in the beginning, have any of its own sacred places; and it would have very few priests at first. But it needs to be there. If this Pope allows the present circumstances to continue while he 'talks doctrine', this pontificate will END with no solution. I agree strongly with Robert Siscoe that a doctrine session cannot possibly end successfully in the near future. Either nothing of importance will be agreed on, or else the talks will go on for decades.

    Please, supporters of the S.S.P.X, do not pipe in that you don't need a jursisdiction. Whether you like it or not, most faithful will not go to Masses which are not 'blessed' by the Pope. Maybe such people are stupid, maybe they're ignorant, maybe they're faithless. It is not for me to say. But one only needs to look at Society growth in Latin America over the last forty years to see that the reach of the Society without a papal blessing is *extremely* small. It is pathetic that, after FORTY years of having a free hand, the S.S.P.X cannot provide even one every-Sunday Mass in Lima, Peru, one of the most populous Catholic cities on the planet earth. The Society finally does have a chapel at Lima but still does not provide Mass there every Sunday. Under S.P., it took less than six months for a regularised Mass to be scheduled for every Sunday. Get bloody real: we need the Pope or we shall end up as a joke sect.

    I respectfully suggest that His Holiness erect an international and 'ritual' (cf. Canon 372.2) exempt apostolic administration for tradition. It would have the pre-conciliar liturgies as normative; it woud be a Campos writ large under a prelate of the Pope's choosing. The regularised traditionalist societies and orders could be attached to it but it would also be able to erect parishes run by its own future secular priests. The Pope could offer the S.S.P.X clerics to be incardinated into it directly while keeping the S.S.P.X and affiliates during a period of 'doc talk'. We can't wait for the doc talk to end before making this sort of provision. If we don't make the provision of a structure soon, the T.L.M. will wither on the vine. Approved T.L.M.s will be marginalised (as they now are) by local liberal bishops while, at the same time, the S.S.P.X willl continue to find its reach to be very limited without any papal approbation. If we really believe that the salvation of souls is the highest law, then it is a priority to reach fellow traditionalists so that, once converted, they can confirm their brethren. Ours can never be a little club. We are Catholic!


  29. Anonymous9:05 PM

    On Paul Haley's comments:

    I have been arguing essentially for the ritual apostolic administration solution since 1997 or 1998. In 2000, it was OFFERED to the S.S.P.X. In an interview in 2003, Bishop Fellay admitted this and called it the 'Rolls Royce' solution but he said that the Society would only take it after doctrinal problems had been resolved. Essentially, Rome offered to give them an international ritual apostolic administration (like an international diocese) into which the S.S.P.X and its affiliates (e.g. Dominicans of Avrillé) would be incorporated. The S.S.P.X itself would be a society of apostolic life but incorporated into this larger structure, with Bishop Fellay as the apostolic administrator. From a juridical point of view, this would be the ultimate solution: it would guarantee 100% indepdendence from the local bishops.

    The liberals in the curia, using the press as their dupes, have been trying to foist on us a personal prelature instead, knowing that this would separate our pastors from their people and put the latter under the local Mahonys; and, under Canon 297, it would mean that our superiors would be unable to begin apostolates in the territory of new dioceses without permission from the local Mahony. A personal prelature would be suicide. We must resist this with everything we have. Fortunately, Bishop Fellay will never be fooled and will never accept a p.p.

    On Christmas Eve of 2001, the Holy Father signed a decree giving us this exact same CORRECT structure for the Campos priests. (I had been urging it for some weeks and then got this e-mail to shut my mouth on line . . . and then we got it.) Originally it was to cover all of Brazil but the Brazilian bishops hit the roof when they found out, so it was confined to a tiny gilded cage in one Diocese out of 262 in Brazil, the one where most Campos priests were, given their history under Bishop Antonio De Castro Mayer. This is important because it is the first precedent ever for use of Section 2 of Canon 272: it is the first 'ritual' apostolic administration (what I used to call a 'personal' apostolic administration).

    If Fellay won't take a Rolls Royce today, the Pope can still erect one for the rest of us and then offer to incardinate Fellay's priests into it but without putting them into a society of apostolic life. That way, the S.S.P.X would continue to operate de facto independently but its priests would have acknowledged jurisdiction. How could that possibly hurt the Society? How could it not enormously help tradition? It is time that the Society consider its allies under the local bishops. We need to work together, Society and non-Society traditionalists. Today, we are divided and so the local Mahonys conquer us both.


  30. Anonymous12:27 AM


    I believe you meant to direct your reply to Carlos Palad, no? and not to me. I was merely quoting a part of what Carlos said in his question to you.

  31. Anonymous7:50 AM

    I think Bishop Fellay is doing a great job. I remain skeptical that Roman authorities will do the right thing when it comes to the SSPX. Let them first do something positive for the FSSP or the Order of Christ the King like appointing bishops for them. After all it has been only 21 years now. Bishop Rifan is not an example of what I am suggesting here. He is pretty much marginalized anyway.

    A.M. LaPietra

  32. Anonymous11:18 PM

    Dear Mr. LaPietra:

    I'm not sure why it is urgent that the Pope appoint bishops for the F.S.S.P. Bishops without a particular church are like ducks out of water, ducks who can't quack orders to anyone.

    Bishop Rifan's structure is the precedent needed. I refer to his structure, not to his person. The reason he has been participating in N.O. Masses is that he is trying to get his structure to embrace all of Brazil, as originally planned in Rome, instead of one little tiny diocese out of 266.


  33. Anonymous1:13 AM

    Great 20:48 comments, P.K.T.P. Thanks.

    And we shouldn't forget about the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter and how they have been kept down all these years by denying them a bishop and some degree of independence. They still are being stunted, and it flies of the Holy Father being a trad at heart. He has done nothing for them on his watch, and there's nothing stopping him there.

    Michael Davies thought FSSP would eventually be the bridge between SSPX and the Holy Father. If the Holy Father wanted to immediately rebuke our dissident bishops, he could at least give FSSP a bishop and render them 'ritual and local bishop' independent and build that bridging mechanism while dealing with SSPX. Not the whole answer, for sure, but talk about starving one child while demanding the other come to the table!

  34. Anonymous4:41 AM

    How much more Holy can this Pope be...In the future he may be regarded as one of the best Popes ever for having steered the ship back on course..I pray him a long Pontificate so he can effecuate his ideas and correct the abuses and ravages that occured in the life of the Church and liturgy. He is wise and worthy of our respect and support for what he has done so far. I must admit as the JP II Pontificate was in full swing I felt alothough a Great Pope, Pastor, and man....he lost sight of where his kindness and openness was leading the Church...Many of his appointments turned disaterous and liturgical services led many astray. Not everyone can be the best CEO but Pope Benedict XVI seems to be the best in a while. Bless you Holy Father and please continue on your journey without much delay..For corrections may outlive us all into the future centuries and I think that is and will be the hallmark of your Pontificate...Not many will have your courage in the future...

  35. Anonymous6:10 PM

    P.K.T.P. Comments on my own:

    I don't think waiting 21 years is being in a hurry.
    Joe B's comments on FSSP:

    I am in agreement with you.

    A.M. LaPietra

  36. Anonymous8:32 PM

    @ Mr.PKTP

    Polish Concordat with the Holy See says the following:

    "Bishop who is not Polish citizen, cannot have any jurisdiction in Poland excluding Pope's legate or Pope's emmissary"

    So international administration for the old rite is not for Poland.

    BTW, In Poland SP hasn't hit the wall yet. I gather statistics every quarter. And every quarter the number of churches with the Old Mas is growing. The number of places with regular Sunday masses is increasing very slowly - about one place per quarter. Currently there are 25 places where the Mas is celebrated at least once per month (2-daily, 9-weekly).

  37. Anonymous3:37 AM

    Thanks for the last comments regarding the concordat with Poland. I had not noticed that. Presumably, Perl plans to amend that provision or Poland. In the mean time, some countries might have to be excluded and continue shorter term under S.P. alone. I know that we did have problems with some Polish bishops in the past.


  38. Anonymous10:14 PM

    thank-you very much for posting this. you have an excellent informative and enlightening bog!

  39. Anonymous7:10 PM

    On Poland, I wonder, though, if an international apostolic administrator could not be appointed Legate or emissary for all the countries concerned. A papal nuntius, after all, can be appointed for several countries, even many. That might be the solution in this case. Remember that the structure contemplated would be 'exempt', meaning that it would no be part of any ecclesiastical province but would be directly subject to he Holy See. This is something for further consideration.



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