Rorate Caeli

The Pope defends himself;
cries against moral lynching of Traditionalists

The letter will announce that the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" will be placed under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (though, as of this moment, it is not clear if only regarding doctrinal matters). The Pope makes clear for Traditionalists that it is not possible to "freeze" the Magisterial authority of the Church in 1962 - but he also chides those who proclaim themselves to be "great defenders of the Council" but who do not wish to understand that Vatican II carries with it "the entire doctrinal history of the Church".

The Pope is frank with those who proclaim ecumenism, but who do not wish to follow through with it with the Fraternity: "May we consign to utter indifference a community in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, ... 117 brothers, 164 sisters, and thousands of faithful? Should we truly let them drift away from the Church? Are we allowed to simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical and marginal group, from the search for unity and reconciliation?"...

"A mishap unpredictable to me was the fact that the Williamson affair was placed above the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards the four Bishops, ordained validly but not licitly, appeared unexpectedly as a completely different matter: as a denial of the reconciliation of Christians and Jews, and thus as a repeal of that which the Council had clarified for the path of the Church regarding this matter."
"I am saddened by the fact that even Catholics, who in the end should have known better how things stand, considered having to assail me with a hostility ready for attack. For this, I thank even more the Jewish friends who have helped to promptly remove the misunderstanding and to reestablish an atmosphere of friendship and trust."

Some of the concluding words are strong: "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."


UPDATE (1300 GMT): Complete German text (Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). Since the Holy See Press Office has announced that official versions of the letter in Italian, German, French,  English, Spanish, and Portuguese will be made available tomorrow, and since some of the most relevant excerpts were already translated above, we will wait for the official release this Thursday.

Note: We have kept the above link to the version made public by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, but have decided to remove the text from the blog while the official text remains embargoed by the Holy See (until Thursday, 1100 GMT) .


  1. Anonymous10:20 AM

    Bravo! I think it's courageous and wise of the pope to speak out and to "advance the dialogue" a bit (which at the moment is a monologue of attacks on by his opponents).

    The only sad thing is that the media and the pope's/Church's enemies will very likely find various ways to create a new scandal out of this or otherwise attack the pope. They're depressingly predictable. Still, let's pray that this letter receives a good reception.

  2. WOW! This looks like it's going to be one of the more strongly worded rebukes from Rome in a while.

  3. Anonymous10:32 AM


    Now, please God, may the Holy Father put a period to it by celebrating the Extraordinary Form publicly, and soon.

    ~ Belloc

  4. Anonymous10:49 AM

    What a great and brave Holy Father we have. Long live Pope Benedict XVI

  5. How is it that many cry for the "moral lynching" of traditional Roman Catholics and yet de facto schismatics such as Mahony continue to publicly and privately flout & ridicule Roman Catholicism?

  6. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Bishop Williamson was always considered odd by traditionalist. Many an ex-seminarian, seminarian and priest who had known him or heard him thought him odd and not at all normal. Why use his stupid opinions to attack conservative traditional Catholics when even stranger and more perverse opnions that are more fashionable abound within the Church? Thank you Pope Benedict for bringing some sanity to the hype.

  7. Anonymous11:10 AM

    Some of these "great defenders of the council" that the Holy Father defends himself (and the Church) against openly keep mistresses in their homes, with a community of "faithful" who back this decision. You guess which diocese!

  8. March 12: Feast of St. Gregory the Great.

  9. "I am saddened by the fact that even Catholics, who in the end should have known better how things stand, considered having to assail me with a hostility ready for attack..."

    Wiegel, Likoudis, The Wanderer, etc - are you listening?!

  10. Anonymous12:16 PM



  11. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Look to see the Holy Father give the FSSPX faculties to hear confessions and validate marriages very soon now.

    Long Live Pope Benedict XVI!!!

  12. "May we consign to utter indifference a community in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, ... 117 brothers, 164 sisters, and thousands of faithful? Should we truly let them drift away from the Church? Are we allowed to simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical and marginal group, from the search for unity and reconciliation?"

    If this is true, my response would be: With all due respect, Holy Father, can we withhold from them the faculties they should be granted for the salvation of souls while we engage in bureaucratic manipulations and possibly interminable discussions?

    At the same time, it appears the Holy Father is once again extending his hand to the Fraternity and one wonders what the response will be from Bishop Fellay? I had hoped this letter would be the granting of temporary faculties but that does not appear to be the case.

  13. Anonymous12:39 PM

    God Bless our Holy Father! This is what we have been praying for! Praise be to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary!

  14. Anonymous12:43 PM

    The full document is already available in German, BUT the very paragraph is NOT included:

    "May we consign to utter indifference a community in which there are 491 priests, 215 seminarians, ... 117 brothers, 164 sisters, and thousands of faithful? Should we truly let them drift away from the Church? Are we allowed to simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical and marginal group, from the search for unity and reconciliation?"

  15. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Sorry, made a mistake. It announced that their translation was the fully letter, but that was not true. They cut it. You can delete my comment concerning the missing paragraph.

  16. Anonymous12:50 PM has posted an incomplete version.
    The complete letter is online at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: !

  17. This is simply wonderful! Thank you, Holy Father!

  18. Anonymous1:14 PM

    According to the just-released bolletino, this letter is not due to be released until tomorrow, and will be under embargo until midday...!

  19. Anonymous1:18 PM

    The opposition to reunion of hundreds of thousands of

    people who fled to the Traditionalist camp in justly

    scandalized horror at liberal doctrinal and disciplinary


    From where I sit, BOTH Liberal and Traditionalist

    camps have used the same immoral tactic common to

    communism, nazism, fascism, and liberalism called

    "TOTALISM" in psychiatry, to intimidate, humiliate, and

    browbeat their adherents into warring "all or nothing"

    FACTIONS who blindly hated each other. Love,

    forebearance, charity was replaced with "I have a right to

    hate them". Only their version of "right thinking" was

    allowable; punishment of exclusion applied to anyone

    who dared to question this. Both liberal and traditionalist

    camps played this game. The charismatics played it too in

    the form of embracing the cult claim that only they had

    the Holy Spirit (out of 2,000 years in the Church) and

    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's convert from

    Communism Mrs. Bella Dodd swore in an affadavit she

    had personally recruited between 800 and 1300 men

    without faith to become Catholic Priests in order to throw

    the Church into confusion. Do we believe that only one

    faction or another got ALL of these 5th column deceivers?

    I don't think the sex scandals developed accidently.
    Communism plays a THESIS - ANTITHESIS -

    SYNTHESIS GAME. Traditional Catholic beliefs were

    the thesis, the extreme liberal and tradiitonalist factions

    were the antitheseses (along with charismatic cult). The

    attempt was to shatter the hated Catholic Church and

    destroy it.
    Do we act "morally" by opposing a real reunion with

    those who largely have remained faithful in spite of being

    manipulated by an extremist faction? The liberal faction

    of the Church opposes this because they fear exposure of

    their errors.

  20. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Here are some words of encouragement given by U.S. District Superior, Fr. Arnaud Rostrand, talking about current events & the mission of the Society.

  21. Anonymous2:40 PM

    "A mishap unpredictable to me was the fact that the Williamson affair was placed above the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards the four Bishops, ordained validly but not licitly, appeared unexpectedly as a completely different matter: as a denial of the reconciliation of Christians and Jews, and thus as a repeal of that which the Council had clarified for the path of the Church regarding this matter."


    I think this was the crux of the matter. Regardless of the bizarre views of Williamson, this was not the issue of concern. While Williamson needs to face the consequences for what he said, this does not mean the entire SSPX must be ostracized for the sins of one person. Only if it were shown that the SSPX as a whole held to these views (something which appears to be untrue) would it be just to do such a thing.

  22. "Why use his stupid opinions...."

    Williamson's opinions are not as "stupid" or as damaging as those of reprobate bishops, priests and laypeople who constantly contradict and defy orthodox Roman Catholic teachings. The weighty question that begs is how so many of these pass relatively undetected with their liberal lifestyles and delinquent spirituality. There is no media hounding; no episcopal condemnations; no accusations of "stupidity" or schism; no disciplinary measures from Rome.

    The one factor that is extraordinary is how so many criminal bishops in USA, for example, spread their diseased brand of neo-catholicism without sanction from what was once the normal source of authority in the same church. However, this is now collegially owned; divisively commandeered and severely compromised by novel philosophies.

    If it were not so then this latest papal note would scarce be necessary.

  23. I don't think anything will change but will get worse if the Pope doesn't obey Our Lady of Fatima and consecrate "correctly"
    (with all the Bishops) Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The fact is the enemies of Christ don't want tradition back in the Catholic Church. It's not Bishop Williamson but Catholic tradition that is really the problem for them. Pray for the Pope! It will get worse because Sister Lucy said there will be a chastisement world wide if the consecration is not done and communism will spread everywhere.

  24. Nothing prohibits the Pope from granting temporary faculties while these talks are in progress, absolutely nothing! And, if one might be even more blunt about it, the salvation of souls is at stake. That is the highest law of the church, the salvation of souls.

    If the Holy Father does not grant temporary faculties along with this letter, then matters will just get worse and "regularization" will be a pipe dream. He has said it is not a matter of discipline but of doctrine but what is it that the SSPX believes in terms of doctrine that is not totally in line with what the church has always taught, professed and held to be true? Sure, there are differences in what ecumenism and religious liberty mean but is that such a doctrinal divide that it cannot be overcome?

    NO bishops will continue to be able to claim ..."but they don't have faculties; they're suspended." And it doesn't mean that faculties cannot be withdrawn at some future date if circumstances dictate such action but that is not going to happen IMHO. Bishop Fellay has not brought the Society to this point to see it all fall apart in acrimonious debate, of that I am quite sure.

    The Holy Father says that they must be more aware of what is said on the Internet. One wishes they would review this forum and others that are devoted to traditional Catholicism to find out what it is that we do not understand. Again, Your Holiness, it's all about faculties for a huge number of priests standing ready to help with the confrontation of Evil in our time. With the greatest respect for your determination to heal the wounds that divide us, I offer my humble prayers everyday for the success of your pontificate.

  25. Anonymous5:00 PM

    George Weigel, are ye listening?

  26. I wonder how Cardinal Mahony will react to this letter...

  27. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Great, they have to release it first in German, which I cannot read. Not Latin, the language of the Church? Not French or English?

    I did say to this entire blog to watch for something for Thursday, which is the Commemoration of St. Gregory the Great. I must confess, however, that this was not what I hoped for or expected, although I am not saying that it is a bad thing either.

    Among those of you who understand German, does this letter include a granting of faculties to the Society? I expect not but please enlighten us.


  28. Anonymous5:25 PM

    I like what Arnobius has written. You know, the remission of the censure was the subject of the day and a call for rejoicing. Instead, the liberals in the Church tried to CHANGE THE SUBJECT to Williamson. Some of us here, including me, also deserve some blame for accommodating those liberals. To some extent, we should have descanted on the implications of the Pope's action and given less emphasis to L'Affaire Williamson.


  29. Anonymous5:28 PM

    On Paul Haley's Remarks:

    You are exactely right. I am wondering, though, if this letter might not be a preparation for something more, which could be a granting of faculties. Let us renew our prayers for this. Unity with Peter is an urgent matter at all times, and when brothers find it impossible to reach up and grasp the Pope's hand, sometimes the Pope must reach down and grasp theirs, at no cost to them.


  30. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Another comment:

    Hmm. I wonder where this letter puts Giovanni Cardinal Re, who openly criticised Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos over the Decree of 21st January and "howled with laughter" when it was presented to him for signing as a "fait accompli"? Then he apparently lambasted his brother cardinal on a bus in Rome.

    Clearly, the President of a Commission could not override the Prefect for Bishops. So Re's attack was indirectly an attack on the Pope himself. And Re turned 75 a fortnight ago. . . .


  31. Anonymous5:39 PM

    I love the pope!! Again our pope shows his godgiven strenght!

  32. Anonymous5:42 PM

    This letter does not yet grant the faculties to the SSPX priests. But the Holy Father's good will is clear, and has always been clear.

    Btw. I do not see a difference between the text on and

    Both are identical. The preliminary release. explicitly says that this is not yet the authorized version. It also explicitly says that this letter is OFFICIALLY to be released tomorrow; today's release is based on an indiscretion happened at
    Tomorrow's version, I am sure, will then be in all the languages....

    This letter is honest, concise, loving yet firm.... truly Pope Benedict! Let us continue to pray and fast for this true shepherd.


  33. Anonymous5:47 PM

    The full translation of the letter is here:

    The Holy Father hints at providing faculties for the FSSPX when he states that he knows of the numbers of FSSPX clerics who are hanging in canonical limbo.

  34. Anonymous5:50 PM

    On Clayton's remarks:

    Cardinal Mahony is, sadly, only approaching his 73rd birthday. That man is too young!

    However, his Archdiocese is also too populous. It is almost twice the population of the second-most-populous see in the U.S.A., New York. If you watch the news on Mr. Cheney's excellent site, as I do every morning, you will see that H.H. has been creating far more dioceses than did his predecessor. It's a hallmark of this pontificate. I believe that he's re-organised about ten or twelve by now. And which is the most attractive one for such action? Yes, it is L.A.

    In a little-reported incident late in the last pontificate, Mahony commented publicly that he was "not against" the subdivision of his Archdiocese. In Sir Humphrey Applebey diplomaticspeak, that means the exact opposite: he was warning the Pope not to dare try subdividing his Archdiocese, which means that the idea was being aired for consideration. Not surprising given that the Archdiocese is not small geographically and includes over four millions faithful.

    In my fantasy world, I can imagine a new Diocese of Ventura and a new Diocese of San Gabriel, both led by brand new *conservative* bishops. Imagine a Mahony cut down to size. Just a thought.


  35. Anonymous5:55 PM

    "Solange die doktrinellen Fragen nicht geklärt sind, hat die Bruderschaft keinen kanonischen Status in der Kirche und solange üben ihre Amtsträger, auch wenn sie von der Kirchenstrafe frei sind, keine Ämter rechtmäßig in der Kirche aus." (As long as the doctrinal questions remain unclarified, the Society has no canonical status within the Church, and its ministers, even if they are free of ecclesiastical censures, exercise no ministry within the Church legitimately.")

    Faculties will have to wait.


  36. Anonymous5:57 PM

    If this letter of the Pope does not accompany a decree granting faculties to Society clerics, when might it follow?

    Well, one possibility is the Feast of St. Joseph on 19th March. This feast is especially dear to H.H. because it is his patronal day: He is Joseph Ratzinger.

    St. Joseph is also the Patron of the Universal Church and therefore, above all, a father. Ironically, he is the greatest father of all time, even though he was and is an *adoptive* father. But being even an adoptive father to the Son of Man is much more glorious than being a natural father to any one man.

    Fatherhood is the principle of unity--unity in Truth, the Truth Who is the Divine Child.


    P.S. Still, I'm praying for the whole ball of wax tomorrow! Come on, St. Gregory, clear away these liberals!

  37. Anonymous6:02 PM

    On COR's comments:

    Thank you for that translation. Let's hope, however, that the letter at least clarified publicly that Society Masses do fulfil the obligation. Msgr. Perl's private letters since 2002 already confirm this but we need a public acknowledgement of this from the horse's mouth.

    Is there any mention of this in the text?


  38. The Holy Father's letter doesn't mention the Sunday obligation either. As mentioned above, Gregor Kollmorgen's unofficial English translation of the letter may be read at Just scroll down the screen a little bit.

  39. Anonymous6:44 PM

    PKTB, the short answer is: No. As well as the already mentioned "The Church's teaching authority cannot be frozen at the year 1962 - that much be quite clear to the Society" (Man kann die Lehrautorität der Kirche nicht im Jahr 1962 einfrieren - das muß der Bruderschaft ganz klar sein), there is the remark "Certainly, we have for a long time and again on this specific occasion heard many discordant notes from representatives of this group - arrogance and a know-it-all attitude, fixation on the unilateral etc." (Gewiß, wir haben seit langem und wieder beim gegebenen Anlaß viele Mißtöne von Vertretern dieser Gemeinschaft gehört - Hochmut und Besserwisserei, Fixierung in Einseitigkeiten hinein usw.).


  40. Anonymous6:52 PM

    I should have added that the second quotation is followed by "At the same time I must for the sake of the truth add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude in which could be seen an opening up of hearts" (Dabei muß ich der Wahrheit wegen anfügen, daß ich auch eine Reihe bewegender Zeugnisse der Dankbarkeit empfangen habe, in denen eine Öffnung der Herzen spürbar wurde).


  41. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Hopefully, issues can be resolved
    by the Feast of the Annunciation,
    March 25, which marks the 19th anniversary of Archbishop Lefebvre's death.

  42. Anonymous6:58 PM

    May God through the intercession of our Blessed Mother continue to strengthen and guide our dear Pope!

  43. Anonymous7:03 PM

    A final remark: The Pope laments the Beißen und Zerreißen (biting and devouring - a reference to Gal 5:15 "quod si invicem mordetis et comeditis videte ne ab invicem consumamini") that is going on in the Church, with no suggestion that only one side is doing it - and this page too has not been free of it.


  44. To say it once again: As long as the doctrinal issues are not resolved, the Fraternity has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers, even if they are free from ecclesiastical censure, do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry in the Church.

    Now I have to ask the Holy Father if he presumes to say that of all the cardinals and bishops in communion with him accept the same doctrinal interpretations as, for example, he does? You've got to be kidding. I know that these assembled bishops and cardinals disagree on many facets of church discipline and doctrine. Cardinal Kung is but one example.

    So, Holy Father, again the question is: What is it that the SSPX believes that is NOT in conformity with what the Church has always taught, held and professed to be true? Dear friends, do you see that when the question is framed this way, there is but one answer Nothing!

    The idea that faculties must be withheld until a doctrinal conversion of the SSPX is achieved is patently false on its face and bespeaks of an arrogance and a pride that just simply cannot be tolerated. Surely, the Holy Father is not saying what it appears he is saying. There must be more to this than we know and are aware of.

  45. Anonymous7:04 PM

    From personal experience, I have found that the problem is more with those who think the Church began in 1962 rather than with the SSPX thinking that time is frozen in 1962.

  46. Anonymous7:09 PM

    Is there on line a translation either in English or French (or Latin!), languages I can read and understand. I don't understand one word of this German.


  47. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Many of the comments here seem to suggest that the Holy Father is insisting that there are doctrinal issues and, hence, no unity between the See of Rome and the SSPX. But we should remember that this is also the insistence of the SSPX and, indeed, I suspect they will welcome the Holy Father's acknowledgement that the outstanding issues are, in fact, doctrinal and not disciplinary. The SSPX have long insisted that doctrinal questions around the Council need to be discussed and clarified before they will return to unity. Now the Pope is agreeing with them and saying that this discussion must take place before they can return to unity.

  48. On P.T.K.P.’s question the link is:

    The bottom line, I'm afraid, is: if you do not agree with us on what we say is doctrine (not what the church has always taught, held and professed to be true) we won't excommunicate you, we'll just not offer you faculties - that way we'll effectively marginalize you forever. More and more I am of the opinion that there can be no reconciliation, no meeting of the minds on these issues. I hope I'm wrong but I doubt it very much.

  49. "...and its ministers, even if they are free from ecclesiastical censure, do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry in the Church."

    Legitimacy isn't really the issue anymore, or if it is it is only barely. It's pretty much down to whether they exercize them in a TRUE manner, a VALID if ilicit manner, and whether Rome is going to allow them to do it in union with the Church or not. Legitimacy is becomming a secondary consideration, a nice point of legality.

    The division in the church caused by the "Spirit of the Council", its generation, and its agents, will soon make it ungovernable, which is what they wanted all along. It is possible that we will have to look for the true Peter somewhere other than in an office in Rome, if obedience and "legitimate" authority are denied him by those who are supposed to follow him. Benedict is trying to face down a rebellion. He does so with the legitimacy of his office, but legitimacy isn't what most of the world's Bishopric is interested in. Palin fact. They want convenient ecumenism, and to keep the money rolling in. Legitimate authority has its hands full right now. The Bishops are guerilla warriors fighting out in the open now, boldly and with impugnity. They resist him to his face.

    So it may be that when the splintering comes, we will have to determine in which strand Peter dwells truly. Others have had to make this same choice. St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catharine of Siena made opposite choices (didn't stop 'em from becomming Saints, though). I know where I will look.

    But for now, I look to Benedict XVI. In citing Boniface today he knows that that saint was martyred for Roman Unity. That citation was no coincidence. That Boniface was a missionary to England, France and Germany, was no coincidence. That he was killed by unbelieving pagans (draw your own metaphor here) is no conicidence. Let us see what tomorrow brings.

  50. Sorry, not "Palin fact" but "plain fact".

  51. I can not tell you how excited I am about this!!! Viva La Papa!!

  52. I meant to say on P.K.T.P.'s question earlier. Sorry, Professor.

    In any case the link for the English version is at:

  53. Anonymous7:51 PM

    No, Hebdomadary, you are mistaken. There has NEVER been even the slightest doubt on the matter of validity.

    Liceity is extremely important. It means a bit more than legality: it adds to positive law a colouring from Moral Law. So an illicit act is one which is not only contra legem but also objectively disordered. Msgr. Perl makes it clear in his letters that Society Sacraments are illicit and that, therefore, the Church cannot recommend any recourse to them. When a Sacrament requires jurisdiction for validity as well as liceity (e.g. Penance), the Sacrament will normally become invalid as well.

    The S.S.P.X deals with his from a claim of supplied jurisdiction. There is no question that their argument is valid. The question, of course, is whether the conditions needed for that situation are present in the case of the Society--and, ultimately, only Rome can be the judge of that.

    I should add that sin is a different matter and pertains to the internal forum. One can obtain the grace and power of a Sacrament without receiving the Sacrament itself and, indeed, honest supporters of the S.S.P.X no doubt do receive the grace and virtue of Penance in their confessions.

    But that is not adequate. We Catholics are not satisfied with just the grace and virtue of the Sacraments because our Lord gifts us the Sacraments themselves. They are His gift to us.

    Souls are at stake here. Consider the faithful who is deeply attached to the traditions of the Church and feels, however mistakenly, that he cannot attend a Society chapel without committing sin. And suppose that only the N.O. is available to him. This could lead him in sadness right out of the Church. This situation must be remedied, Holy Father. There is no reason why facuties could not be extended to the Society from the Chair of Peter as long as the Society seeks canonical unity in good faith.


  54. In addition to Gregor Kollmorgen’s verson at New Liturgical Movement, Anna Arco at The Catholic Herald has her own English translation of the Pope’s letter:

  55. Anonymous8:06 PM

    In fact, the clearest correction in the entire letter is the following:

    Certainly, we have long and have again on this occasion heard many dissonances from representatives of this community - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into onesidedness etc.

    Read it. Read it again. And ask does this sound like me? Does it sound like many of the posts in this thread. You be the judge.

  56. Anonymous8:22 PM

    "As long as the doctrinal issues are not resolved, the Fraternity has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers, even if they are free from ecclesiastical censure, do not exercise in a legitimate way any ministry in the Church."

    We get all these bravos and yipees from people who react first and think later. The fact is that this one sentence is the real reason for this papal letter: it quietens the liberal bishops by supplying them with ammunition straight from the horse's mouth. That ammunition is that the Society clerics administer the Sacraments illictly. The liberal bishops will ignore his long Sermon on love, sweet love, and focus fetishistically on this one sentence. He could have clarified that, despite this contention, their Masses do fulfil the Sunday obligation. Why not say it? Msgr. Perl tells us why: Rome cannot recommend in any way recourse to Sacraments which are celebrated illicitly.

    The fact, dear celebrators, is that monsters in the episcopate such as Mahony, Daneels, Müller and Rivest, can now use these papal words as an authority in order to keep faithful from turning to the S.S.P.X for solace. Meanwhile, will they open up the old Mass under "Summorum Pontificum"? Not on your life! Since June, there have been almost NO additions under S.P. The bishops have discovered how to obstruct it. Any priest may proceed. And any bishop may send him to a gulag in the diocese. You too, Fr. Niceguy, can become a prison chaplain in a maximum security institution.

    If there is any good news here, it is that the programme demanded by Bisop Fellay is being followed:

    1. free the Mass of the Ages;

    2. lift the Excommunications;

    3. resolve the doctrinal difficulties;

    4. grant the canonical structure, which must be an international apostolic administration or diocese and ABSOLUTELY ****NOT**** a personal prelature.

    (I also vote that we lynch any brain-dead journalist who dares to parrot those poisonous words 'personal prelature'. If I hear them again, I'll . . . well, it is Lent.)

    If we compare the two translations of this German text with the words of Bishop Fellay himself in French and English, and then compare these again with leaked statements from Rome this year, we come to a conclusion. I think that the doctrinal "issues" or "clarifications" are not all the doctrinal problems. It looks as if the Society must recognise the Magisterial authority of all the popes and the legitimacy of the Council as œcumenical; and it must agree to continue studying the Vatican II texts in an eirenic spirit. I think that Rome is looking for some document signed by the Society bishops and other leaders, like the one the Cardinal tried to present last year.


    I have for years been in the thick of it on the structure. A few years ago, we heard some news on why there was a difficulty. I am not sure but I believe it was Ralf Siebenbürger, former president of U.V.I, who reported that he mentioned this matter to Msgr. Perl. Perl, apparently, replied that an international particular church (such as an apostolic administration) would be limited because concordats between various countries and the Holy See might prohibit this. He added that Rome was seeking to rectify this situation. I did an investigation on the corcordats and concluded that Perl might be referring to France and/or Austria. Look at the latest news on E.W.T.N. There is just this week a new concordat with Austria. Coincidence?


  57. Anonymous8:25 PM

    What if the Pope were to declare and direct that all diocesan bishops were to grant faculties to any SSPX priest who asked for them?Then every SSPX priest so sedevacantist as to refuse contact with the hierarchy and every bishop so determined to be his own Pope as to disobey would expose themselves.

    Who is referred to as "Cardinal Kung" above?...Hans Kung has never been a Cardinal,and the late Ignatius Cardinal Kung pin-mei was never a dissenter.

    With Cardinal Re in line to preside over the next conclave (as longest serving cardinal bishop under 80),the Pope may not feel it is time to move him aside from his Congregation.

  58. Anonymous8:26 PM

    "Certainly, we have long and have again on this occasion heard many dissonances from representatives of this community - pride and a patronizing know-it-all attitude, fixation into onesidedness"

    Does this sound like us, asks one blogger. Actually, it sounds like an expression crafted by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos. He uses that expression "one sidedness" a lot. I have seen it in his speeches. He wrote this text, I imagine, and the Pope signed it. Of course, I agree that the Pope must agree with what he signed. But the nuances in meaning are from the Cardinal, I think.


  59. Anonymous8:40 PM

    On John Hudson's remarks:

    Yes, I agree with you completely. This is a small victory intellectually for the S.S.P.X. Rome is clearly agreeing now that, at least for prudential reasons, some doctrinal problems must be resolved before a canonical structure can be granted.

    However, it is also possible to extend faculties to the Society before all the necessary doctrinal matters are resolved.

    I am wondering if even more is coming tomorrow. A firm statement from Fellay might be in order. It might affirm the essentials. After all, again, nothing new in Vatican II is infallible and, as Fr. McDonald added, nothing new in Vatican II requires an assent of Faith, since the Council fathers specifically imposed nothing 'more than is necessary'. I just don't see the problem here. All faithful must accept the fact that the Pope has the divine authority to determine the degree of authority of each conciliar formulation as well as its proper meaning. If Fellay would make an adequate response to the Pope's letter, something could follow on, say, the Feast of St. Joseph.


  60. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Here is the translation of the essential text from that British translator:

    "As long as the Society has no canonical status in the church, their holders of office do not hold legal offices in the Church.

    One must also differentiate between the persons as persons disciplinary level and the doctrinal level, with which both office and institution are in question. To repeat: so long as the doctrinal questions are not clarified, the society has no canonical status in the Church and therefore for that time its office holders, even if they are freed from the punishment of the Church, hold/practice no legal offices in the Church."

    This does not at all carry the same meaning as the translation rendered here by COR. COR has "exercise no ministry within the Church legitimately".

    Perhaps, these translations elucidate each other. I am wondering if the Pope means here simply that, since they have no canonical structure, their clerics hold no official offices; that is, they do not have any proper authority to teach, to govern, or to judge law. But that might not be the same thing as administering the Sacraments illicitly. This would depend on how broad an interpretation to give to the term 'offices'. There is an 'office' to say Mass in a general sense. But now we are parsing the niceties of individual languages. WHERE IS LATIN WITH ITS CLARITY?

    Now, from Perl's past words in private letters(since 2002), it does follow that they do not administer the Sacraments licitly and that is because (a) they are [i.e. were] under excommunicated bishops and (b) they have no canonical structure. However, it may be possible to rectify that situation *without* giving them offices in the Church.

    To put it simply, the Pope could still grant faculties for an interim period pending doctrinal discussions, and yet not impart to them any office to teach, to judge, or to rule.

    So the Pope's words, I think, DO NOT rule out a granting of faculties before doctrinal clarification. But I admit that this matter is unclear right now. Let's see what the official translation says tomorrow--and let's pray for faculties. Souls are at stake.


  61. Anonymous9:40 PM

    If I were a committed Vatican II Pope with a bothersome conscience about the unjust decree against the SSPX (Michael Davies' testimony based on talking with Cardinal Ratzinger), I would defend the illicitness argument also, until I got SSPX on the record on some of my more liberal concerns (as if it weren't SSPX's view, and not the Vatican's, that the church didn't start in 1962). But that would be precisely because I knew that the decree was without force because of it's injustice. Therefore, no harm done to SSPX adherents in the short run.

    Any other view makes this Pope look heartless. He would not be delaying if he thought souls were being lost. In the end, SSPX will be shown to have been right all along, and this Pope will be shown to have known it and to have acted out of truth and charity to rectify the injustice.

  62. Anonymous9:48 PM

    Dear Joe B:

    Souls may certainly be lost by this situation. There are some who may fear to attend Society chapels despite their strong attachment to tradition. After seeing the nonsense going on in the Novus Ordo temples (e.g. the Taj Mahony), they may drift away from the Church herself. I note that far more people LEFT the Church in the late 1960s than those who repaired to the S.S.P.X. The fact that the emigrants from truth were mistaken is beside the point. The point is that they are gone, many of them never to return.


  63. Anonymous10:06 PM


    I'd suggest that you read the SiSiNoNo article on state of necessity that is posted on

    From the SSPX's perspective, nothing has changed. Rome is still under modernist occupation, and until Rome is converted -- yes, converted -- there can be no resolution. That this is the SSPX's conviction, can be denied only by those who will not see.

    The Pope's position is just as clear. In lifting the excommunications, the Pope has not given anything of substance, and has not pretended that he's given anything of substance. He has said in just about as many words that it's a gesture. He has indicated that discussion can begin; but as we all know, talk is cheap.

    The fact that the bad guys are raising hell at what the Pope has done, using Bishop Williamson's statements to good effect, doesn't mean that what the Pope has done is a big deal. I submit that the Pope is unhappy with them precisely that they're giving him a hard time even though he hasn't really given anything they care about.

    So as regards granting of faculties to, much less regularization of the SSPX, we're nowhere; and there's no reason to think that we're going to be anywhere else until either the Vatican converts, or the SSPX betrays the legacy of Archbishop Lefebvre.

    P.S. None of this would have been any different if Bishop Williamson hadn't risen to the bait. His remarks only accelerated the issue of how traditional Catholic theology of the Jews is going to be passed on now that its continued existence is on the radar screen of the organizations that sent those 70 repesentatives to receive the Pope's renewal of his profession of faith in the Holocaust.

  64. Anonymous10:15 PM


    In reaction to this letter of the Pope, I suggest that you affirm the following:

    1. The acceptance of the Magisterium of all the popes, specifically with an acceptance of their right to determine the meaning and the degree of authority borne by every Vatican II document;

    2. the accepatance of the Second Vatican Council as legitimately œcumenical;

    3. Your willingness to work eirenically and in 'good faith' to resolve any difficulties posed by Council texts.

    (Note that this would not amount to an acceptance of any possible non-binding texts as a condition to exercise ministry.)

    4. For the good of souls, you should request that the Pope grant faculties to Society priests as long as doctrinal discussions continue in good faith.

    (Practically speaking, such a provision would also deter bishops--even German bishops!--from declaring penalties against Society clerics, thereby causing confusion among the faithful.)

    (I note that this request in no way implies that the Society needs faculties other than those it already enjoys from supplied jurisdiction. But, then, nor did the Society need a lifting of invalid excommunications either. But you would be requesting this for the practical end of nurturing souls. This confusion is noxious to spiritual life.)

    (There is another reason for this request. If we wait for a resolution of doctrinal issues, we could be waiting several decades, even centuries. I suspect that Rome will declare that Society positions are legitimate and acceptable but will then refuse to impose some Society positions on all faithful: they will only be admitted as one legitimately orthodox interpretation among several possibly orthodox interpretations. At that point, hardliners in the Society will insist that all Catholics must agree with *only* the Society positions on controversial matters. As a consequence, the S.S.P.X may find it necessary to refuse a canonical structure indefinitely. But, in order to keep the door open, even then, Rome would not likely retract any grant of faculties imparted at the beginning of the process.

    In other words, try to get this grant of faculties now, since it might be the only thing more we get for the forseeable future. The Pope, I think, would agree that such a grant would be a good thing, something tending to healing. It is difficult to overcome animosity when one party in a dispute declares that the other party acts illicitly every time it offers our Lord in Sacrifice.)


  65. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Dear Mr. McFarland:

    In regard to your postscript, I strongly advise that you not raise the issue of the Holocaust again on this blog. When I tried to respond to 'Son of Trypho' on the matter, the blog administrators censored me. I am not allowed to express my opinion. Apparently, to consult old almanacs--books of facts--on the matter is branded as 'absurd', even though the writers of those almanacs had no reason at the time to deceive anyone. The world has been turned upside down. Heaven forbid that we should consult almanacs, atlases, dictionaries or encyclopedias. When they don't support the new religion of the Holocaust, they are censored.

    But there is no point in returning to this issue any further here. The Pope himself, I think, is trying to steer discussion BACK to the pastoral importance of the Decree of 21st January and AWAY from discssions of history.

    I think that a closer parsing of the Pope's words in this Letter might yield a different meaning: the granting of faculties might not be ruled out after all. He might (possibly) be saying only that Society priests have no legitmate office to teach, to judge, or to rule under the Society until regularised. We shall see.

    My advice, especially for non-Society members here, is to pray that His Holiness will grant the faculties. Why? Because regularisation could take a very long time. Frankly, I can't see how the doctrinal problems will all be resolved in the next twenty years. There are still far too many liberals in the Church to spoil the truth. This Pope can do something good while he has the chance.


  66. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Some of you keep talking about the "salvation of souls." I think like that too. But our Holy Father does not. He follows the Vatican II theology. He sees the SSPX as being sincere in their beliefs. The Vatican II documents say that there is salvation for those whose beliefs are sincerely held. That's how, I believe, the Pope thinks. So the faculties issue wouldn't be important to him. Error has rights, right?

  67. Anonymous10:45 PM

    On Anon.'s words just before this post:

    Perhaps the Pope does think that one can quit the Church altogether and, as long as one is sincere in this, one can be saved, although any Catholic would have to admit that this would ensure some form of spiritual loss (lesser bliss in Heaven, more pains in Purgatory).

    But even assuming that the Pope thinks as you say, he clearly does not want fewer and fewer people calling themselves Catholics and attending church. The loss of souls to Heaven may or may not concern him. The loss of their cash presumably does concern him!

    But I think that both factors must concern him: he wants salvation for all and he also wants to build up the Mystical Body. Granting faculties helps both processes.


  68. Anonymous10:46 PM

    I've already read some reports.

    The dissidents and liberals not only are angry at this letter, but now feel exposed and labeled.

    They are panicking because the Pope has labeled their actions exactly what it has been.

    Let's pray for a huge backlash from traditional Catholics against these dissidents, radicals, and neo-Cons who have robbed us of our Faith for 40 years.

    God Bless the Pope!!!!

  69. Hans Kung is not a cardinal and that was my mistake but he is a theologian who has not been excommunicated and enjoys what I would call "protected status" in the church due to his friendship with the Holy Father. But there are many other Cardinals who have views that I would call outside of the mainstream, Shoenborn, Tettamanzi, Mahony, etc. So, I believe that my point is still valid.

  70. Mr. Perkins, your comment was not approved because you had already responded adequately to Son of Trypho, and because of the reason you yourself provide in your second paragraph. It is very good advice.

  71. Anonymous11:19 PM

    To Jordanes:

    Not to revisit this at length, but I find it really offensive when someone calls recourse to a book of facts "absurd". Even the Jewish Encyclopedia supports what those almanacs indicate: that there was no substantial decline in numbers of Jews throughout the world after the War, only evidence of a massive emigration from Europe. What strikes me as beng crucial in this is that statisticians working in 1922 or 1937--or even 1948--before the Holocaust mythos became a part of popular culture, had no vested interest in concocting figures. To question such figures as being unreliable--that is what is patently absurd.

    But I do agree that we should not open this up any further right now. I urge everyone to pray assiduously that the Pope will grant the Society faculties. I have this very bad feeling that the talks over doctrine will take decades. Why? Because there is just no way that the Society hardliners--including Bishop Tissier de Mallerais--will back down one iota. To quote Bishop Tissier de Mallerais from a recent interview: The only resolution in this crisis is for Rome "to convert" to the Catholic Faith. Just imagine how that will be received!


  72. To PTKP and Jordanes:

    PTKP, I am so relieved to see that I was not the only one censored for my insistence on pointing out the absurdity of subjecting Catholics to a test of "Holocaust denial" before they can be said to be a member of the Catholic Church.

    I had attempted to respond to YOU on this question when I, also, was censored.


    It is beyond belief that this abominable, evil, unCatholic, and heretical notion of "Holocaust denial" should be employed against any Catholic.

    Let anyone who wishes to examine the injustice of this typically vague, undefined, fuzzy "Dogma", consider that in all of the reams of calumny spewed out against Bishop Williamson and those who question the "official" Shoah Dogma, NO ONE has bothered to refute the questions raised.

    It is as if, I say again, one can deny the Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, or the Incarnation itself, with impunity, especially WITHIN the Catholic Church.

    But so much as question the numbers and methods of execution of the Jews at the death camps, and VOILA!

    We finally see a doctrine which the Catholic Church is prepared to enforce lickety split, SANS "dialogue".

    This is wrong, and it ought to be stopped.

  73. Anonymous11:53 PM

    I wish I could be as optimistic as a good many other bloggers over this new Papal letter. The fact is that I read from it a continued insistence that the SSPX bishops, ie., bishops for tradition, had been justly excommunicated and that ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and Jewish/Catholic relations, whatever that means, are still very much on the agenda. In other words, the very root of the crisis in the faith remains in vogue, which comprises the errors of religious liberty and religious freedom condemned by the Magisterium of the Church.

    There is absolutely no point in the SSPX participating in reconciliation talks with Rome if it is insisted, as appears to be the case, that Vatican II must be accepted in its entirety and without question. That Council's documents require serious clarification in the light of sacred tradition and the whole Church has to be prepared to accept those clarifications and review various practices accordingly. If the SSPX is to be just another ingredient in a Church of 'unity in diversity' then where is the hope of a restoration of the Traditional Catholic Faith? Indeed, where is the honesty? One only has to consider what goes on today in the average parish church to see that modern Catholicism and that of sacred tradition are completely incompatible.

    And what about a little stronger language from His Holiness for those truly schismatic bishops in the Church, some right under his nose, who try by every foul means to undermine him both publically and privately? I take it they won't be getting "excommunicated?"

  74. I will add that the letter of His Holiness is a very great disappointment to me also, but the handwriting was on the wall with the climbdown and surrender at Linz.

    The Pope is presently more concerned about relations with the Jews, than he is relations with Traditional Catholics.

    At least that is how it seems to me.

  75. Anonymous12:08 AM

    Son of Typhus should be coming along momentarily.

  76. Anonymous12:15 AM

    Sorry. Son of Trypho.

  77. Anonymous12:16 AM

    Mr. Perkins,

    My postscript was raising a different issue than the accuracy of the H narrative. Whatever you make of the H, it will be used to attack the traditional theology of the Jews. That theology is anti-semitic as defined by those who get to define anti-semitic and impose that definition on public opinion. The SSPX knows that, as witnessed by the purging of the articles on the issue from very early in l'affaire Williamson.

  78. "Not to revisit this at length . . ."

    And yet you revisit it any way.

    Sigh. . . .

    Mr. DeLano, all I'll say is that's an, interesting, opinion about what is Catholic and what is heresy.

    Now then, let's please follow Mr. Perkins advice.

  79. There has to be more to this than meets the eye. The Holy Father is not an idiot and he knows that the SSPX will never accept the novelties emanating from Vatican II. That it was a valid council - yes, that it was primarily pastoral in nature - yes, that it spoke infallibly when it proclaimed truths previously proclaimed as such by earlier councils - yes but that it was preaching new doctrine that was not in accord with Tradition and yet had to be believed - No, sorry, no way Jose.

    So, there must be more to this letter than we are led to believe. I wonder what the SSPX response will be, if any.

  80. Anonymous1:07 AM

    I was going to write something, but Athanasius said it all, and better than I could.

  81. One other point on faculties - the Holy Father knows well the rule ecclesia supplet (the church supplies faculties when necessary) and I am convinced that is why he does not consider it necessary to issue them - because they already have them and he knows it. I always thought I had a dense mind and now I've proved it!

    We can wait until doomsday and we will not see the faculties granted by this Pope outside of an agreed-upon structure between the SSXP and the Holy See. That is my opinion for what it's worth.

  82. Last comment SSPX not SSXP. Egads it's tough to get old.

  83. "There has NEVER been even the slightest doubt on the matter of validity."

    Anon, you missed my point: I know THEY (the SSPX) are valid...(sigh) but what's going to happen will happen whether I explain it to you or not. Good luck.

    God save Pope Benedict XVI. Our Lady of Victories, intercede for him.

  84. Anonymous1:48 AM

    "One other point on faculties - the Holy Father knows well the rule ecclesia supplet (the church supplies faculties when necessary) and I am convinced that is why he does not consider it necessary to issue them - because they already have them and he knows it."

    But Mr Haley,
    I do not know that, neither do thousands of other Catholics who would gladly take advantage of FSSPX confessions if they saw in writing proof from the Holy See that the Church supplies jurisdiction, even if we know that the Society has not been given faculties.

    This is a guessing game that you are talking about and I am sure that His Holiness cares enough about our souls not to keep us guessing.

  85. Anonymous2:01 AM

    On Athanasius's comments:

    I agree with your assessment. That is why I urge the interim granting of faculties. Frankly, I can't see a reconciliation on doctrine in the foreseeable future. The Pope should not want to risk ending this pontificate (and probably the next one too) without granting a juridical patch to 'patch us through' to an eventual regularisation. There is just no way I can see Society hardliners accepting a doctrinal agreement in the near future. Of course, it may be that Rome will only require a few items, but they won't accept that either. They'll want a conversion away from the theology of the Kaspers and Baloneys and Daneelses--and rightly so.


  86. Anonymous2:09 AM

    On Paul Haley's remarks:

    But your interpretation of Rome's view is fallacious. Rome's official view is that the Church does not supply faculties to the Society and that, therefore, their Sacraments are all illict, and that some of them are also invalid, therefore. Yes, those in the Society who are ignorant of this still get the grace and virtue of the Sacraments, but that is another matter.

    It is clear from Perl's letters that Rome does not think that the Church has supplied faculties to the Society--not at all.

    The situation causes confusion and certainly can lead souls astray.


  87. Anonymous2:16 AM

    When he was elected Pope, Benedict XVI was heard to say: "pray for me that I do not run from the wolves."

    As Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had come to know full well who the wolves were/are and how powerful they were/are to obstruct his Pontificate. The problem for him is that he is pacifist by nature and so not naturally equiped to cut heads (as Fr. Malachi Martin was wont to say).

    The other problem for Pope Benedict XVI is that, while not the collar and tie liberal he was during the Council, he still believes in the liberal/modernist vision for the Church.

    He has certainly been horrified by the more extreme manifestations of this modernism in the Church, but has concluded that the present crisis of faith is due more to an absence of balance between traditionalism and liberalism/modernism than exclusively the incompatibility of the latter with Catholicism.

    He means well, I am sure, but his pre-Conciliar predecessors clearly condemn the very ecumenism, Religious Liberty, Religious Freedom and even Collegiality that he upholds as a theologian.

    Simply put, there cannot exist in the Church of Our Lord two opposing theologies, e.g., traditional and liberal, especially when many aspects of that liberal theology appear prominently in the liturgy, the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law. How is it possible for the Church to contradict Herself. If the aforementioned Conciliar activities were condemned as grave errors by the Popes of yesterday, how can they suddenly be legitimate today?

    Though we accept by faith that the gates of hell will not ultimately prevail against the Holy Roman Catholic Church, isn't there just a hint of Our Lord's warning there for us in this Post-Conciliar crisis "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

    The House of God was certainly shaken by the modernists during the reign of St. Pius X, but he managed to subdue the revolution because he was traditional and was not afraid to cut heads. When Pope John XXIII "opened the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air" (Vatican II), he effectively resurrected the tempest and it entered through those open windows and wrecked the Church.

    Pope Benedict XVI need not believe that closing a window here and there will prevent further carnage. All the windows have to be closed before the wrecked House can be restored to its former beauty.

    Since this present Pontiff has demonstrated his preference for the Novus Ordo Mass, by not once celebrating the old, and since he adheres to this belief that a happy marriage between tradition and modernism is achievable and desireable, I fear a true resolution to this unprecedented crisis in the Church is set to continue a while yet. In this respect I agree with the earlier observation of Dolorosa, which is that we will not see an end to this crisis until the day Our Lady's Fatima request for a joint Papal/Episcopal Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart final takes place.

    The best we can hope for in the meantime is that the present good will of this Pope makes life a little more tolerable for those Catholics who hold fast to sacred tradition.

  88. Anonymous2:23 AM

    To return to my kingly analogy (appropriate, since I am a strict royalist):

    How can the King negotiate with a criminal while the criminal continues to commit crimes? Should he do so, he undermines his own royal laws. This encourages others to disrespect him and to disregard his laws. And that is wrong, morally wrong. A King who does that undermines the very principle of law. That makes him unfit to rule. Dare we say it?

    So, should he wish to negotiate with a criminal, the King must suspend the law which the criminal is breaking, or else he must admit instantly that the criminal has been in the right all along and repeal that law. In fact, if the King continues in the negotiation and says nothing on the matter, he is tacitly admitting the latter.

    Count Martini saith to him: Sire, since you are negotiating with this crinminal even as he commits more crimes every day, we can only conclude that the law which is being broken is itself immoral; otherwise, why would a good King do this? Is the King himself immoral? If so, his laws are unjust and he becometh a tyrant.

    Now the King is the Pope and he calls the S.S.P.X the criminal, one who illicitly celebrates Mass and offers Confessions against the law! And Count Martini is the infamous Cardinal Martini, of course!

    Hence, the very day the Pope begins to consider the first dubium from Count Fellay, while Count Fellay continues to poach deer in his forest, the Pope is tacitly admitting that his own law is unjust.

    There is only one remedy: suspend that law; grant those faculties.


  89. Anonymous2:32 AM

    Concerning the supply of emergency faculties by the Church to the SSPX during the present crisis, Dan Hunter said:

    "I do not know that, neither do thousands of other Catholics who would gladly take advantage of FSSPX confessions if they saw in writing proof from the Holy See that the Church supplies jurisdiction, even if we know that the Society has not been given faculties."

    Mr. Hunter,

    Not for the first time, I recently encountered a priest who wnadered in to hear confessions unshaven, with open-neck shirt and multi-coloured tank top. This priest does not enjoin a penance to penitents and it is questionable whether he even uses the correct form of absolution.

    Needless to say I refused to confess to him, but he is only one example of many priests who either fail in this heretical way to absolve or who similarly fail by turning confession into a meeting over a table or give general absolution without personal confession. So please, let us not deny under such appalling conditions that the orthodox SSPX priests receive emergency faculties from the Church for the good of so many scandalised souls. I, for one, do not have to see anything in writing to know the mercy and justice of God in this matter.

  90. Anonymous2:59 AM

    Dear Athanasius:

    Whether or not a Society supporter needs to see anything in writing is immaterial, really. The fact of the matter is that, whether you or I like it or not, thousands of faithful think that they must shun the Society owing to a false understanding of obedience. That is how it is. Archbishop Lefebvre called it the masterstroke of the liberals: to pervert, nay, invert, true obedience.

    Does this have an effect? You bet it does. Consider especially Latin America. The Society has had a free hand there for thirty years but the results are not encouraging. Why? Because most faithful there think that if the Pope hasn't blessed it, it isn't Catholic. That is how it is.


  91. Anonymous3:02 AM

    As far as Benedict XVI is concerned we dont ever have to see the wood for the trees, yes?

  92. Anonymous3:25 AM

    It is juridically impossible to delegate jurisdiction to members of an institution which does not exist juridically.

    Bishop Fellay is the only person who can solve this problem. He has refused the invitation to include the priests under the grace of the decree of January (removing their suspensions) and the temporary measure of recognizing the SSPX as a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, donec aliter provideatur. Do not ask the pope, ask Bishop Fellay.

    As far a a final solution (sorry, it sounds weird in the present turmoil), an Apostolic Administration is certainly not the way to go, since by definition it is a temporary, geographically limited circumscription. A Personal Prelature is a flexible option which can be adapted to the particular case of the SSPX and attached religious communities.

  93. Anonymous4:29 AM

    On Roman's last remarks:

    Totally wrong. An apostolic administration or diocese under Canon 372.2 is EXACTLY the way to go. It exists in a certain territory but this territory can be any size; it can be discontinuous in terms of territory, as any diocese can. The a.a. is provisional only in the sense that the Legislator foresess that it will become a diocese in time.

    A personal prelature would be a total disaster. It does not include laics but only clerics, and, under Canon 297, it requires the permission of the local ordinary in order to create new apostolates. You don't know what you're writing about. What is needed is a particular church in which Society faithful are subject to their own bishop who shares their charism of spirituality.

    On your first comments, the Pope has both universal and immediate authority and can therefore grant faculties directly any time he wishes. The Pope is not limited by Canon 265 because Canon Law is merely an extension of his authority (as proved elsewhere in the Code, as I can demonstrate).

    Bishop Fellay has already, in 2000 and again in 2003, assured us that an apostolic administration and NOT a personal prelature was on the table. He called this the 'Rolls Royce' structure in 2003. It can be international, exempt, and 'personal' in the Campos sense of being erected for a persons attached to a liturgical rite "or some other similar quality" (Canon 372.2). The need to consult episcopal conferences mentioned in that Canon would be waived, since it is to be international, just as a parallel provision for personal prelatures was waived for Opus Dei.

    According to Fellay's 2003 offer, what was to be offered was an international apostolic administration with its own proper rite or use and discipline, under Section 2 of Canon 372.2. The Society itself was to be incorporated into this as a society of apostolic life. Presumably, affiliated societies, such as the Dominicans of Avrillé, would also be so incorporated.

    I note that the Campos structure was originally supposed to embrace all of Brazil but the Brazilian bishops, when consulted, objected strenuously.


  94. Anonymous4:32 AM

    On Roman's first point:

    One does not grant faculties to a Society but to the clerics in it. So the Pope can grant such faculties to any group of clerics. This might be exceptional but it is certainly within his competence.


  95. Anonymous4:33 AM

    Once again His Holiness extends a hand in charity, with wisdom and grace.

    Once again the Bolsheviks revile him, militate against our Jewish allies and obstinately persist in their prideful self-justification.

    The excommunications of the rebel clerics were valid. The post-conciliar Papacy is the true and valid Papacy. To steadfastly maintain the opposite manifestly savors of heresy.

    His Holiness is subtle, longsuffering and charitable. My strategy for such matters would likely be none of those things, and some 500 years out of date. I pray that the Pope's strategy against the rebels wins through. Viva Cristo Rey!

  96. Anonymous4:44 AM

    PKTP, if you only knew... but such is the inconvenient of necessarily anonymous blogging...

  97. Anonymous4:57 AM


    If I only knew WHAT? Who you are? I really do not need to know. You might be that English chap who recently naysaid a similar deal for the TAC. Someone 'on the other side' as we might say.

    Simple question to you:

    Fellay said that the Society was offered an international apostolic administration. He said this on several occasions, particularly in 2003. Are you denying this? Yes or no. Because if you are, I'll dig up the quotes for you. He specifically said that it was the 'Rolls Royce' structure.

    Also, what you say about the structures is untrue. Look at Canon 372. Section 1 says that, normally, particular churches are each to have "a defined territory [which] comprises all the faithful who live in that territory". But then read Section 2, under which the Campos precedent was granted in 2002. It does not have that provision: "If, *however* [emphasis added] in the judgement of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the episcopal conference concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory [which could mean, say, the whole world minus Rome and the Vatican City State] particular churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality." Dioceses and other particular churches, I note, can also have discontinuous territory, as does the Diocese of Mainz in Germany. They can also cover many countries. The Armenian exarchate for Southern America covers some thirty countries and about fifteen colonies in the Caribbean.

    The S.S.P.X needs a liturgical and disciplinary norm proper to it and it needs to include a people with their pastors; they need a Campos writ large. Therefore, a particular church is needed, not some prelature of clerics alone. The lay supporters of the Society are not going to become subjects of Cardinal Baloney if they happen to live in L.A. Fellay won't allow that and shouldn't.


  98. As always, excellent remarks by PKTP.

    It is not logic at all to lift the excommunications and not to grant jurisdiction: in the view of Rome, it represents a way of admitting the illicitness of sacraments.

    For SSPX, in my personal thesis about "state of necessity" of 1988 as the lack of a Bishop in order to pursue Tradition, the situation remains identical until at least one of the Bishops is granted full jurisdiction and the faculties to ordain traditional priests.

  99. Anonymous6:40 AM


  100. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Roman writes:

    "Bishop Fellay is the only person who can solve this problem. He has refused the invitation to include the priests under the grace of the decree of January (removing their suspensions) and the temporary measure of recognizing the SSPX as a society of apostolic life of pontifical right, donec aliter provideatur. Do not ask the pope, ask Bishop Fellay."

    It is very unfortunate to hear of this but, I suppose, not surprising. You may remember that I proposed that very solution. However, I soon stopped mentioning it because it became apparent that Bsp. Fellay won't accept any regularisation, even a temporary and provisional one, until the doctrinal issues have been solved. I imagine that he fears entangling the Society in a structure which some of its members become too fond of and refuse to abandon in case of an impasse with Rome over doctrine.

    It is for that reason that the only recourse would be for the Pope to grant faculties to Society priests. True, I don't see provision for this in the Code but that does not limit his powers to do it. I suppose, though, that he does not want to set a precedent for that.

    There is another way out, one which I have been advocating for many years now. The Pope could tell Fellay that, should he not take a structure now, he will grant an international 'ritual diocese' or apostolic administration (372.2) for approved traditionalist groups and others. It would all be under a prelate of the Pope's choice.

    I raise this because, without a structure, traditionalists become quite vulnerable. Talks with the Society, given some of its hardliners' positions, could drag on for decades. And the next Pope might not be so accommodating.


  101. Anonymous9:16 AM

    "Souls are at stake here. Consider the faithful who is deeply attached to the traditions of the Church and feels, however mistakenly, that he cannot attend a Society chapel without committing sin. And suppose that only the N.O. is available to him. This could lead him in sadness right out of the Church."

    What does the good of souls matter compared to the good of towering egos who worship liberal democracy and the falsely so-called "enlightenment", and wish to make profession of such matters indicia of adherence to the catholic faith?


    The most charitable thing one can say about you is that you require urgen assistance.