Rorate Caeli

Another priest expelled from the SSPX

After a series of extremely confrontational public letters to Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Father Basilio Méramo was finally informed of the decision of the Superior General to expel him from the ranks of the Fraternity.

Father Méramo was asked several times to restrain from public comments on the current negotiations between the SSPX and Holy See. Instead, from the moment of the first reports of the papal decision on the removal of the excommunications, Father Méramo, a very respected priest within the Fraternity and whose last assignment had been in Orizaba (Veracruz), Mexico, insisted on making public his harsh opinions on the matter. 

The news was made public last week (April 7), and Father Méramo's response was made known today.


  1. Anonymous1:03 AM

    This is a sad story but I understand that Fr. Basilio Méramo and another priest had recently supported a proposal to replace Bsp. Fellay. I suppose that Fellay could not tolerate that for long because to do so would undermine his authority.

    It looks very much as if Bishop Fellay is cleaning out the hardliners in preparation for some sort of an arrangement with the Holy See. But I rather suspect, again, that the Holy See will have to act unilaterally in order to grant faculties or else regularise or 'recognise' the Society in some way. Fellay cannot budge from the position he has taken. If he does, he'll lose more than Frs. Abrahamowicz, Méramo and, perhaps, Cériani.

    I've seen a "Time" Report by someone named Jeffrey Israely. It interviews Archbishop Levada (soon to be in overall command of the P.C.E.D., at least until his own retirement) who appears to take a fairly hard line against the Society. This might be smoke and mirrors though. Levada said that Williamson cannot participate in negotiations over doctrine until he properly recants his earlier remarks. But what is more important, I think, is what Levada did not say. He did not say that Williamson's membership in the S.S.P.X makes the situation untenable for Rome. Rome's position seems to be not that W. must be expelled (unless he recant, which he clearly will not do) but that he may not "exercise ministry" or perform any official functions. There seems to be a compromise there.


  2. Gerard2:48 AM

    If Bishop Fellay had not decided to forego clear cut language and instead tried his hand at "romanita" this would have never happened.

    Card. Levada is now trying to dictate who from the SSPX will and will not be present at the "negotiations." Where did THAT word come from? I thought they were "doctrinal discussions."

    Fellay should properly accuse Levada of extortion by his demand of political capitulations.

    The first question of any discussion should be whether all are in agreement that the Church has enemies both within and without Her walls.

    Judging from his statements, Bp. Fellay has chosen the "romanita" way and pretends that "confusion" is what the problem is and not an attack on the faith and faithful.

    If Bp Fellay would stand up for the priests under his charge instead of hobbling them at the request of people with questionable orthodoxy and moralit like Card. Levada, he would have little or no resistance.

  3. Anonymous3:04 AM

    I would ask, since when has a political test be the litmus test for being a Catholic.

    -since "Mit Brennender Sorge"?

  4. Johnny Domer4:28 AM

    First of all, why do you people post anonymously? I do find that rather can just give yourself any old name you want right over on the side.

  5. Anonymous4:50 AM

    Anon. 3 wrote:

    "Thus Msgr. Fellay is not cleaning house of political rivals, but maintaining a Catholic order."

    Well, these are contraries but not contradictories: he's doing both. Clearly, the main reason for the expulsion is that Fr. Méramo challenged his leadership of the Society. No leader can tolerate that because the result would be disorder.

    However, it is also the case that hardliners are falling afoul of Bishop Fellay: Bishop Williamson has no appointments or positions; Fr. Abrahamowicz is out; Fr. Méramo is out; and Fr. Cériani, I suspect, is next on the list. I imagine that these emigrants might take a small group of supporters with them as well.

    Still, I don't think that this signals any change of direction in the Society of St. Pius X. Bishop Fellay has made his position crystal clear and he has never wavered from it, and I don't think that will change. That's why any further juridical arrangements will need to come as unilateral acts of the Pope. When they come, if they come, Bsp. Fellay will not be able to do more than issue a thank-you note, and I'm not sure that he would want to do more.

    But Rome will be more disposed to grant something if various hardliners are gone. Yes, a certain priest in Kansas does come to mind. I wonder if a few of these chaps will simply join the emigrants of their own accord? Somehow, I don't think that everyone in the S.S.P.X will weep over their disappearance.


  6. Anonymous5:20 AM

    Anon. 2, in an attempt to divert this blog back to a discussion of the Jews yet again, mentions Nazis and so forth. He's got Nazis on the brain. I'd just like to point out that Fr. Méramo's exist had NOTHING to do with Nazis and Jews. Believe it or not, the Jews are not at the centre of the universe. They are on the periphery of importance, less important than the Jains, the Zoroastrians, or the Belgians.

    Fr. Méramo objected to Bishop Fellay's public letter of acceptance of the Pope's remission of the censures of excommunication. Fr. M. felt that any expression of thanks for that was tantamount to an admission that the excommunications were valid. Why thank someone for something which had no force in the first place--unless it had? The simple answer is that the declaration of the censure in 1988 had a negative effect on Society growth owing to the fact that not all faithful are canonists (thank God for that). Hence removal of the declaration helps the Society practically.

    This is why I suspect that Fr. Méramo's real objection is deeper. He worries, I think, that Fellay is trying to suck the Society into a trap set by the Pope. He's not the only Society priest who thinks this. These people have developed a 'siege mentality'--and for good reason. For many decades, the authorities sitting in the Chair of Moses have tried to trick and cajole and strong-arm them into the Brave New Church of the New World Order. So they are not very trusting of such manœuvres. But, again, there is a way forward here which would not harm the Society or Rome but only the liberals. This would be a recognition of the Society from Rome, a grant or recognition (or both) of faculties but without a loss of Society independence. Such an arrangement, of course, cannot be permanent, but it can be temporary while they talk doctrine, and it would help the Society. This is the way forward. The Pope must do something to 'fix' the juridical situation because, from his own point of view, they are currently outlaws. If you negotiate with supposed outlaws, you lose respect of your subjects and undermine your own authority.


  7. Anonymous 2, you are being disingenuous. If I were to hold views that, for example, a particular germanic "race" was superior to all the rest of humankind, that the slav "race" was to be brutalised and used for slave labour, that political prisoners could be used against their will for scientific experimentation, that certain categories of people could be legally exterminated, and if I professed and taught those views publicly from a position of civil or clerical authority, I would - if simultaneously professing myself a Catholic - expect to be denied Holy Communion or even excommunicated formally.

  8. Poor Father Meramo... An excellent priest of great erudition, but quite impulsive in this particular matter. I think, he should expect by the end of the negotiations between Rome and the Fraternity, in order to confirm or not his fears.
    I will pray for him, hoping that he can reconsider and return to the Fraternity.

  9. Anonymous11:16 AM

    They ordain them then expell them !

  10. I don't consider myself an SSPX-hardliner. In fact I'm not even Catholic. But I find myself agreeing with this Fr Méramo fellow.

    Firstly, the SSPX has always insisted that the 1988 excommunications were invalid therefore to request that they be lifted was odd. Surely they should have requested that they be recognised as null.

    Clearly Rome sees its action as a lifting in the proper sense rather than any kind of recognitio since it only applies to the four bishops who asked for it (and not to Lefebvre and Castro Mayer).

    Secondly, the present occupiers of Rome are responsible for the destruction of Catholic doctrine and praxis. Indeed the present pope himself was a progressive who to this day remains firm in his convictions about religious liberty, liturgy, ecumenism, modern christological, escatalogical, soteriological, exegetical ideas etc..

    Therefore the SSPX cannot fight along side him since he is fighting for an altogether different cause. One in many ways diametrically opposed to that of the SSPX.

    Indeed, the very fact that Rome maintains its distance from the Society confirms that it is opposed to authentic Catholicism.

  11. Apologies, my post should have been addressed to "Anonymous 3".

  12. Anonymous1:47 PM

    Fr. Meramo may be too extreme, but the naiveté of those who have faith in Pope Benedict's supposed sincere desire for rehabilitation of the SSPX is hard to accept in light of the clear message sent by putting Levada in charge of the Commission that oversees doctrine, and now the Tridentine Mass. Levada, it is said, would not allow the Fraternity of St. Peter into his diocese of San Francisco. In the Bay Area one must attend Tridentine Mass in Oakland in a decaying neighborhood that is difficult to reach. It is like Queen Mary telling Catholics in Tudor England to relax, I have put Cranmer in charge of restoring to you the Mass.

    I am sorry, but the symbolic hand-writing is on the wall. Priests like Fr. Meramo go perhaps slightly mad witnessing Pope Benedict's Machiavellian chess game. They hope for a new Lefebvre to arise and have only the game-player Fellay, who already has sacrificed a bishop in order to obtain better position on the board. This is of Christ?

    -Sam C.

  13. Interesting site with "Opera Omnia" Father Basilio Méramo in Spanish and French can be found in

  14. For what it's worth here is my take on this. The Pope is either the pope or not. If he is and the Society has always taken the position in the affirmative, then he is the Vicar of Christ and has the authority as Supreme Legislator to judge these issues of Faith and Morals that are before us today. Remember Christ's words:
    "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."Now, it is not Josef Ratzinger anymore that occupies the Chair of Peter but His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, upon whom this power and special grace resides. Bishop Fellay wants to have discussions with him in an aura of respect and admiration for the awesome power and position that he holds and he wants no member of the Society to indicate otherwise. It is one thing to hold opinions privately about the Pope and quite another to rail about him publicly. You know the old saying: the boss (to me) may not always be right but he's still the boss. No one of us individually can stand in judgment of the Pope and that is, I believe, behind Bishop Fellay's actions. Let us hope that cooler heads will prevail.

  15. Anonymous4:00 PM


    Why havn't you swum the Tiber yet and become what Christ asked all men to be, Catholic.

    I ask because, maybe with the help of the Holy Ghost, I can help you understand that Christ established one visible Church that He wants every man to enjoin himself to for eternal salvation.
    We can speak off this blog if you want.
    My e-mail address is:

    God bless you.

  16. Anonymous5:18 PM

    One of the anons. wrote this:

    "Levada, it is said, would not allow the Fraternity of St. Peter into his diocese of San Francisco. In the Bay Area one must attend Tridentine Mass in Oakland in a decaying neighborhood that is difficult to reach. It is like Queen Mary telling Catholics in Tudor England to relax, I have put Cranmer in charge of restoring to you the Mass."

    Quite so. In fact, when Cardinal Levada was Archbishop of S.F., he would not allow one single Traditional Latin Mass on any basis whatsoever. As a result of his and his predecessor's policies, S.F. was the last of the twelve sees in California to get the old Mass every Sunday, falling even behind Monterey and Santa Rosa.

    Then there is the case of Fr. Eugene Heidt. But that's another story. Let's just say that he has shown zero tolerance to tradition.

    I know a priest who knew Cardinal Levada in his days as Archbishop of Portland-in-Oregon. He says that the Cardinal is a good man but tended towards pusillanimity: he dared not stand up to the liberal cabals that run dioceses these days.

    At any rate, I think that Levada's and Re's times are coming to a close. I've heard that Levada's health is not good and that he doesn't get along with the bureaucrats in the C.D.F. He will turn 75 in 2011. Re turned 75 in January. I don't think that the doctrinal talks will get far until both of them are history.


  17. Joe B9:20 PM

    I think Bishop Fellay is governing his order the way he believes the Holy Father should govern the church, and to do less than cast out the cancerous elements once they identify themselves would be hypocritical. Haven't we all (OK, most of us) said to ourselves, "Why doesn't he just can the worst of the libs and send a strong message against liberalism?" Well, to expect the Holy Father to rule with strength in a crisis, but not to be able to do it yourself in a smaller charge, wouldn't exactly be the trad way, now would it? We want a strong Peter that knows he can do anything that needs to be done, regardless of the strength of opposition, and so we look for strength from SSPX.

    Again, very well done, Bishop Fellay.

  18. Anonymous9:36 PM

    I find this a great pity; the last thing we need is for the Society to be watered down, even if Fr. Méramo has extreme views. I'm sure he was still a blessing to his flock.

    (To anyone) Where do you expect these expelled but legitimate priests will turn now? How will they carry out their ministries?

  19. Anonymous10:50 PM

    "At any rate, I think that Levada's and Re's times are coming to a close. I've heard that Levada's health is not good and that he doesn't get along with the bureaucrats in the C.D.F. He will turn 75 in 2011. Re turned 75 in January. I don't think that the doctrinal talks will get far until both of them are history.


    It seems rather obvious.
    So the question : why did the pope decide to put PCED under ... Levada to start the talks with SSPX ?

    The other quite obvious response seems to be : because he is in no rush to begin these talks ...
    The pope's letter dated March 10 was clearly a pontifical foot on the brakes.
    Unfortunately when at last, Bp Fellay was giving signs of being ready to talk.
    Over a month after the pope's letter, the actual canonical decision of putting PCED under CDF is still awaited.
    Cardinal Hoyos is turning 80yo in July so maybe the decision will be issued at that time. So nothing before July and in Summer it's too hot in Rome to do anything, so probably nothing before Fall 2009 ...
    The Corbinian bear is going to become a Galapagos turtle.


  20. Anonymous1:39 AM

    On Alsaticus's comments:

    Yes, the Pope has put his foot on the brake because he remains determined to put the juridical structure before doctrinal discussions. But Bishop Fellay couldn't agree to a structure even if he wanted to. Therefore, the Pope must grant something, in some form, unilaterally.

    Everyone was gibbering about C.H. going "by Easter". Well, it hasn't happened. Today is Easter Tuesday, the end of the Paschal Triduum (frequently confused with the Sacred Triduum by the idiots in NewChurch).

    Unless C.H. is gone by Friday, I don't think that he'll be gone until the autumn, just as Alsaticus says (or at least not before July). He has the Pope's backing and he still has three little jobs to complete, as follows:

    1. Granting a canonical form to the Papa Stronsay Sons of the Holy Redeemer;

    2. Issuing the clarification of S.P., which the P.C.E.D. is clearly using as a guide even before it's made official;

    3. bringing the S.S.P.X under the Pope in some way, at least officially.

    The last item is the tough one, and Re will try to have C.H. retired over it. One way forward might be an ex cathedra granting of faculties, doing it through papal nuncios where concordats require this. However, I think that this Pope wants more. I think he actually wants to regularise them completely. But I can't see that happening. It would be suicide for Fellay to try it, even if he removes some hardliners first. Not a chance. No, it has to be a recognition granted by the Pope which enables the Society to continue operating independently, without any change.

    Nonetheless, I think that this Pope and this Cardinal of the P.C.E.D. will try for the humanly impossible.


  21. Anonymous10:55 AM

    I would support Fr. Meramo, before I would ever support the likes of Levada.
    He (Levada) should never have been in the position he is in, or should be removed.

  22. Anonymous2:02 PM

    « Nous sommes excommuniés par des modernistes, par des gens qui ont été condamnés par les Papes précédents.
    « Alors, qu’est-ce-que ça peut bien nous faire ! nous sommes condamnés par des gens qui sont condamnés ! par des gens qui devraient être excommuniés publiquement ! » Mgr Lefebvre, Écône, juin 1988

  23. Anonymous2:08 PM

    The Archbishop speaks:

    If there is no agreement with Rome, we shall just have to continue our work. But supposing that there is an agreement with Rome, we would find ourselves in a different atmosphere. This would be a new period in the Society, a new period for Tradition that will require infinite precautions.

    Why do I say, "if" there is an agreement? It is not difficult; I shall explain it to you in a few words. Thus I have signed the Protocol; I have it here. It contains five pages. The first is on doctrinal questions (see p.4), and the others on disciplinary questions.

    On the doctrinal questions the discussion was a little difficult. They prepared this text; we did not; they put it on the table. We corrected some omissions. It is always the same question: a few sentences on the Pope saying that we recognize the Pope, that we submit ourselves to the Sovereign Pontiff, that we acknowledge his primacy.

    And they had added that we acknowledge him as "the head of the college of bishops." I said, "I don't like that. It is an ambiguous notion. The best proof of this is that an explanatory note had to be included in the Council, to explain what "college" meant in this sense, saying that it was not a true college." So I said, "You should not put that. It will give the impression that we accept collegiality." So they said, "Let's put the body of bishops."' The Pope is the head of the episcopal body.

    Then they said we had to accept the paragraph in Lumen Gentium, which deals with the Magisterium of the Church, no.25. When you read this paragraph, you understand it condemns them, not us; they would have to sign it because it is not so badly written and it contains a whole paragraph stressing the immutability of the doctrine, the immutability of the Faith, the immutability of the formulas. We agree with that. There are those who need to sign this. Thus there is no difficulty in accepting this paragraph, which expresses traditional doctrine.

    Then they added a number three which made us swallow the pill that followed. It was not easy to accept but with this number three, we were "saved from the waters." In this number three they recognized that there were some points in the Council and in the reform of the liturgy and of the canon law, which we considered irreconcilable with Tradition. They agreed to speak of this, which they had always refused before. Every time that we had said something was not reconcilable with Tradition, such as religious liberty, they used to say, "You can't say that; there is nothing in the Council opposed to Tradition. Let us change the expression. We cannot say that there is anything irreconcilable with Tradition."

    Then came the question of the liturgy. We recognized "the validity of the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments celebrated with the intention of doing what the Church does, and according to the rites indicated in the typical editions of the Roman Missal." It was maybe too much, but since they had put that there were some points in the liturgy that were eventually against Tradition... I wanted to add, "taking into account what was stated in no. 3..." but they did not accept it.

    Number five was on canon law. We promised, "to respect the common discipline of the Church and the ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II." They wanted to say "all ecclesiastical law." I objected, it would have been to recognize all the new canon law. [I.e., including canon 844 on Eucharistic sharing with non-Catholics.] So they took away the word "all." As you see, it was a constant fight.

    At the conclusion of number three they put "we pledge that we will have a positive attitude of study and communication with the Apostolic See, avoiding all polemics," as we had done on religious liberty (with the Dubia). "Without polemics," I said, "we never made any polemics!" "Oh, no. See what you did to the Pope." They were referring to the little drawings (see below-Ed.) which the Pope looked at attentively...and maybe they were looking at them with a little smile ....So I said, "This was not polemics; it was a catechism lesson! Indeed, who is responsible for these actions? It is not us, it is the Pope. If the Pope would not do reprehensible things, we would say nothing. But since he does things, which are absolutely unbelievable, unacceptable, therefore, we react; it is absolutely natural. Let the Pope stop doing these reprehensible things, incomprehensible, unthinkable, and we will stop reacting." They said nothing; they did not answer. Then we spoke of the juridical questions.

    The first was on the Roman Commission. There we lost some points. We wanted all the members of the Roman Commission to be members of Tradition. It did not matter whether they would belong to the Society or not, but they should be members of Tradition in order to be able to judge of the things of Tradition. They said, "No, this is not an embassy. We must be present, too." Thus the President would be Card. Ratzinger. There would be a Vice-President, too; but they did not want to release his name, but he probably would not be from Tradition. Then there would be other members from Rome and only two from Tradition. I said, "Well! That's very few."

    Please note that; you shall see that throughout the discussions, and already you found that on the doctrinal discussions, their intentions have clearly appeared. I suspected they had such intentions but I did not expect them to manifest them so clearly. Their intention is clear: they want to put their hands on the Roman Commission. For the Society of Saint Pius X, its recognition would not raise any difficulty, but all the other foundations, which surround the Society, would have to deal directly with the Roman Commission. They would have no more relations with the Society. They put "the members of the community living according to the rules of various religious institutes ...are to be given case by case a particular statute regulating their relations with their respective order." One can see their intentions, separating these traditional communities from the Society and putting them under their (modernist) superiors general, making them defend themselves.

    Then they agreed to recognize the Society as of pontifical right with some exemptions in the pastoral domain for the administration of the sacraments. This would be good only for the existing houses.

    Then came the question of the bishops. They said very clearly, "You do not need a bishop. As soon as the Society is recognized with a canonical status with the Holy See, you can ask any bishop to perform your ordinations and confirmations. There are 3,000 bishops in the world ready to give you ordinations and confirmations... even Card. Gagnon and Card. Oddi are ready to give you confirmations and perform your ordinations!" I said, "This is impossible. This is a condition sine qua non. The faithful will never accept this. Indeed, what would these bishops preach?" With the intentions that we can see among them, their preaching will always be, "you must accept the Council, you must accept what the Pope does, you must accept the novelties. We respect your Tradition; you must respect our new rights. No difference."

    So, we have been very severe. So, they have put a little paragraph, "for psychological reasons, the consecration of a member of the Society appears useful."

    What procedure to follow? After signing the Protocol, they wanted me to write a letter to the Pope, asking for the re-establishment of a normal situation for the Society, for the pontifical right, the suppression of the canonical penalties, exemptions, and privileges - so-called privileges - on the liturgy. Thus, I have signed, I have written that letter.

    I signed it on Thursday; Feast of St. Pius V They did not know it was the Feast of St. Pius V because they have relocated his feast to another date...

    Thus I have said, "We must know where to stand concerning June 30th, it's coming soon." So, with these thoughts, I did not sleep the whole night. I told myself, "They are going to get us." Indeed, the Cardinal had made a few frightening reflections. "Well! There is only one Church we respect your feelings, you must also respect religious liberty, the New Mass, the sacraments. It is inconceivable that you turn the faithful away from these new sacraments, from the New Mass.... For example, if there is an agreement, it is evident that in churches such as St. Nicolas du Chardonnet, Card. Lustiger shall ask that a New Mass be said there. This is the one Church, in it there is the Tradition that we shall grant you, but there are also the new rites that you must accept for the faithful of your parish who do not want Tradition." I said, "Well! Go and tell that to our parishioners and see how they receive you!"

    They call all this a "reconciliation." This means that we accept what they do and they accept what we do. Thus, we have to align ourselves on Dom Augustin [Dom Augustin founded a traditional Benedictine monastery in the early 70's. In 1985, after the Indult, he had secret meetings with the Vatican to make a special arrangement. The Vatican required: 1) the New Mass as the Community Mass, 2) the new Breviary, 3) new rites of Ordination, 4) unconditional submission to the local bishop, who even for a while forbade them to preach the Exercises of St. Ignatius, which had been the main apostolic work of his monastery - Ed.] and Fongombault [a conservative Benedictine monastery in France which took the New Mass in the mid-70's under pressure from the local bishop - Ed.].

    This is not possible. All this makes me hesitate. We asked the Cardinal when we would be able to consecrate a bishop. On the 30th of June? He said, "No, this is much too early. It takes time to make a bishop. In Germany it takes nine months to make a bishop." When I told that to Card. Oddi, he said, "That must be a beautiful baby then!" I said, "Well, give us a date. Let's be precise. The 15th of August?" "No, on August 15th there is no one in Rome. It is the holidays from July 15th to September 15th." "What about November 1st?" "I can't tell you." "What about Christmas?" "I don't know."

    I said to myself, "Finished. I have understood. They do not want to give us a bishop." They put it on the paper because we were ready to quit the negotiations without it, but they will maneuver. They are convinced that when the Society is acknowledged we don't need a bishop.

    So, I took my pen on Friday morning and wrote to the Cardinal: "It was with real satisfaction that I put my signature on the Protocol drafted during the preceding days. However, you yourself have witnessed my deep disappointment upon the reading of the letter which you gave me, bringing the Holy Father's answer concerning the episcopal consecrations." Indeed, in that letter - I do not have it here - which he brought me from the Holy Father, there is an astonishing sentence. It goes, "It is possible that we consider one day granting you a consecration," as if it was something very vague, a mere possibility, an eventuality. I cannot accept that. [Here, the Archbishop reads the rest of the letter dated May 6, 1988. (See below)]

    Letter of Archbishop Lefebvre to Card. Ratzinger (May 6, 1988)
    Yesterday it was with real satisfaction that I put my signature on the Protocol drafted during the preceding days. However, you yourself have witnessed my deep disappointment upon the reading of the letter, which you gave me, bringing the Holy Father's answer concerning the episcopal consecrations.

    Practically, to postpone the episcopal consecrations to a later undetermined date would be the fourth time that it would have been postponed. The date of the 30th of June was clearly indicated in my previous letters as the latest possible.

    I have already given you a file concerning the candidates. There are still two months to make the mandate.

    Given the particular circumstances of this proposal, the Holy Father can very well shorten the procedure so that the mandate be communicated to us around mid-June.

    In case the answer will be negative, I would find myself in conscience obliged to proceed with the consecrations, relying upon the agreement given by the Holy See in the Protocol for the consecration of one bishop, member of the Society.

    The reticence expressed on the subject of the episcopal consecration of a member of the Society, either by writing or by word of mouth, gives me reason to fear delays. Everything is now prepared for the ceremony of June 30th: hotel reservations, transportation, rental of a huge tent to house the ceremony.

    The disappointment of our priests and faithful would be extreme. All of them hope that this consecration will be realized with the agreement of the Holy See; but being already disappointed by previous delays they will not understand that I would accept a further delay. They are aware and desirous above all of having truly Catholic bishops transmitting the true Faith to them, and communicating to them in a way that is certain the graces of salvation to which they aspire for themselves and for their children.

    In the hope that this request shall not be an insurmountable obstacle to the reconciliation in process, please, Eminence, accept my respectful and fraternal sentiments in Christo et Maria.

    +Marcel Lefebvre
    Former Archbishop-Bishop of Tulle

  24. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Archbishop Lefebvre speaks in 1979, in 1987 and in 1989:

    June 29, 1976: ‘We are suspended a divinis by the Conciliar Church and for the Conciliar Church, to which we have no wish to belong. That Conciliar Church is a schismatic Church, because it breaks with the Catholic Church that has always been. It has its new dogmas, its new priesthood, its new institutions, its new worship, all already condemned by the Church in many a document, official and definitive .... This Conciliar Church is, therefore, not Catholic. To whatever extent pope, bishops, priests, or faithful adhere to this new Church, they separate themselves from the Catholic Church. (At first glance this makes one want to cheer for the Archbishop but read carefully.. Note he says de facto that the Conciliar Church, i.e. the Pope (Paul VI), suspended him. Therefore he is saying that the ‘Pope’ is head of the Conciliar Church, which he calls schismatic. As we know from hindsight, he always considered Paul VI as head of the Catholic Church. So the ‘Pope’ is head of two churches at the same time, one Catholic and one schismatic. Of course if the ‘Pope’ were head of a non-Catholic church he would not be a Pope. You cannot get more double think than this. His successors today think and speak exactly the same way and sadly also do their followers. This should make us all ‘re-think’ (no pun) the entire SSPX society from its very foundation.)

    In 1987:
    ‘I said to him (Cardinal Ratzinger): "Eminence, ….we cannot collaborate. It is impossible, impossible, because we work in two diametrically opposed directions. You, you work for the de-Christianization of society, of the human person, and of the Church, and we, we work for its Christianization. They cannot be in agreement." (One wonders in amazement why he asked permission to consecrate Bishops from the leaders of this, ‘diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church,’ church just one year later?!

    Sermon 60th anniversary of his ordintation. November 19, 1989:

    "... Before the Council - and personally I have indeed this experience - we were sent to missions beyond the seas. I spent thirty years in Africa - the faithful from Gabon here present can testify to it! - Thirty years to do what? To convert souls through Baptism into the Catholic Church! What did St. Peter do after his first sermon at Jerusalem? He baptized four thousand people. He knew that, by Baptism, he was edifying the Church and that henceforth all those who wanted to enter the Church, to enter the way of salvation, to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ and share of the redeeming Blood of the Saving God, ought to be baptized in the Catholic Church. This is what the Church did throughout twenty centuries.

    Suddenly, we were told: No! You ought now to dialogue. You ought not to convert. You ought to respect the opinion of everyone. You must not give them the impression that they are in error..."
    "... A council is always ecumenical. I say, ecumenistic, that is, making a bond between all religions.

    This is not possible. It is contrary to the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why it is impossible for us to get along with Rome as long as this "Secretariat" shall be supported and encouraged by the Sovereign Pontiff. In the present situation, the members of this Secretariat can continue their action of destroying the Church and the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ..."
    "... We must know what we want! It was the Council, which destroyed the Holy Mass, which destroyed the Faith, the Catechisms and the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the civil societies. How then could we accept it?
    We must keep and protect our Catholic Faith!
    Faced with this situation, my dear brethren, what can we do? We must keep the Catholic Faith and protect it by all means!"...
    We must build again the Social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in this Christian world, which is disappearing...
    We shall pray to the most Blessed Virgin to help us in this fight. For this purpose, in a few moments, after the Holy Mass, we, the five Bishops here present, shall get together and renew the consecration of the world and of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

    We are convinced that the most Blessed Virgin, our good Mother who is always in the heart of the fight, encourages us. She came on earth to request that we fight, fearlessly, because she is with us.

    Consecrating our families, our persons, our cities, our countries, our homelands, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we are convinced that she shall come to our help and that she will manage to make us come with her one day in Eternal Life.

    In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

  25. While it is sad to see a priest have to depart a traditional society for whatever reason, one thing is for sure: it has come high time for the Society leadership to send a resolute message that quasi-sedevacantism and entertaining loony-conspiracy theories as articles of the faith, will be tolerated no more! I know of at least two priests of the SSPX who have inadvertently revealed that they omit the Pope's name in the canon. This simply cannot go on and that is why the good Archbishop expelled the sedevacantists in 1983. Having a love for the pre-55 rites is perfectly fine: using it as a symbol of rebellion against the Papacy is quite another.

    Modernists have forever used the fact that the Society attracts its fair share of cranks, to justify why they should be side-lined. Bishop Fellay's wise actions will send a clear message that he is prepared to right any wrongs in the Society (and the SSPX is far from a perfect fraternity), so long as Rome keeps its part of the bargain.

  26. Anonymous4:49 PM

    I have a question on the note of disobedience to the Supreme Pontiff.
    Is it schismatic for an priest to use the pre-1962 Missal prayers for the Jews on Good Friday?
    Or even the pre-2008 prayers for the Jews in the 62 Missal?
    For I have heard this on Good Friday.
    Thank you.

  27. It could be, but isn't necessarily. Not every act of disobedience is schismatic, and sometimes disobedience is justified (I'm not saying it would be in the cases you mention -- it would depend on individual circumstances).

    For reference, the canonical definition of schism, as found in canon 751, is:

    ". . . schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

  28. Anonymous5:30 PM

    On the long post about Archbishop Lefebvre's reaction to Rome's 1988 Proposal. I note that the P.C.E.D. was founded in 1988 with the goal of effecting a reconciliation in the light of that Protocol. However, the suggested solution put forward by Rome in 2000 and never taken off the table would have overcome all the difficulties the Archbishop had with the Roman Commission. There was to be no Roman Commission of this kind at all but, instead, a universal particular church (probably and apostolic administration) into which the Society was to be incorporated as a society of apostolic life. The orders presently associated with the Society (e.g. Dominicans of Avrillé) would have also been incorporated into this de facto universal 'diocese' and would therefore be under the Bishop (Fellay) of this structure.

    As I've said before, juridically, at least, what Rome offered in 2000 overcomes the problems of 1988. Lefebvre signed the Protocol of 1988, which gave the Society much less than the proposal of 2000. He only ripped it up at the last minute because Rome delayed and delayed and delayed on giving the Society its bishop. But the Society now has four bishops and Rome is prepared to accept these (well, three of them anyway).

    But I don't want to revisit this and argue, yet again, that the Society should take the 2000 offer now. Of course it should! My view has not changed. But it clearly will not. So there is no point in arguing over and over again that Fellay is not following his master and founder, which he isn't. But revisiting the 1988 Protocol does show us that a rapprochement is at least conceivable.

    I imagine that Fellay will want a few concessions on doctrine before he accepts any juridical structure. The problem is that some Society superiors, including some of its bishops, will want far far more, and Fellay is determined not to split the Society over this.

    Therefore, again, Rome can only act unilaterally on the juridical matter so that the Society can maintain its de facto independence for the foreseeable future. Fellay could thank the Pope for a unilateral act of regularisation but he would need to add (as he did on the remission of the censure of excommunication) that the Society has never accepted the idea that it acts illicitly.


  29. Anonymous5:38 PM

    On Jordanes's comments about schism:

    Although I can't cite the texts right now, I am certain that Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos has said that the Society members are not assumed to be in a state of schism. He finally clarified that the consecrations of 1988 were a "schismatic act" (this has confused many), but that not all schismatic acts were sufficient to create a schism. In other words, the 1988 consecrations tended to schism but failed, in themselves, to achieve it. Normally, for schism to be completed, the separating group must claim a parallel hierarchy.

    Rome nevertheless warns that support for any group which separates itself from legitimate authority incurs on one at least the risk of falling into schism by imbibing a schismatic mentality. However, the Church does not assume that any faithful has incurred any penality unless this is manifestly the case (I'm not looking up the Canon right now and nobody can make me). We are obliged as a matter of justice to assume the best of one another until and unless we see reasons for thinking otherwise. Anyway, a charge of schism can much more easily be evidenced for some regularised clown-priests than for Society priests. In other cases, some of the wilder Society priests might be assumed to be in schism if their statements point in that direction, but I accuse nobody. I merely point to the possibility.


  30. Anonymous5:48 PM

    On Dan Hunter's question:

    No, it is not "schismatic" to use the older Good Friday Prayers. It is disobedient to do so in the case of some priests but not all. I dare not say more on this blog. Contact me privately to know more at


  31. Of course the SSPX use the pre-2008 Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews ... or do they?

    I wonder which version Bishop Fellay used in the Good Friday liturgy last week? Hmmm ...

  32. Anonymous7:50 PM

    On Prodinoscopus's comments:

    Bishop Fellay made it clear that the S.S.P.X will continue to use the pre-1955 prayers. He did so at the time of the 2008 change. Whether or not he's doing so himself is an interesting question. Comments, anyone?


  33. ". . . schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

    Yes, that definition would fit some NO lay and clerics who behave as though they invented The Roman Catholic Faith after 1965. The church in UK, for example, is for the large part de facto schismatic. Speaking recently with neo-catholics from UK it would appear we have a church that is scarcely recognisable as the one Cardinal Heenan (RIP) left behind at his death. Anti-Rome rebellion is rife there which would suggest why SSPX are not popular with neos as there is more obedience and absence of schism with traditionalists than they would ever be able to imitate in the current climate of apostasy.

  34. Thanks for good and sober comment, Ottaviani @14:58

  35. Anonymous5:02 PM

    Doesn't anyone else find it ironic that the SSPX, a religious community begun in disobedience, demands obedience from its' followers?


  36. That's a cheap shot, Delphina, as well as inaccurate. The Society of St. Pius X was founded with the full approval of Rome, so it is manifestly false to say that they were begun in disobedience.

    Your uncharitable attempt at irony misses the mark by a mile.

  37. Anonymous8:17 PM

    Prodinoscopus, your answer to Delphina, although true, is also a cheap shot. What is needed is to point out to her what is meant by proper obedience in the Catholic sense. Proper obedience does not mean an adherence to every command as from a tyrant; it means adhering to commands which are in conformity to the higher Moral Law. The popes themselves have said it: our power of jurisdiction is not absolute. It is plenary and supreme and universal and immediate, but it is not absolute. Crucial here is an understanding of plenary authority. This means that authority which is sufficient to ensure its end, which is the salvation of souls. The Pope can never have authority to violate this end. For instance, we do not have an obligation to obey him when he injuries the Church but quite the opposite. Hence there is such a thing as rightful disobedience.


  38. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Prod: It wasn't a "cheap shot." The SSPX has been disobeying since the 1970s. For its' Superior General to ask for obedience from its priests and laity when they have done their own thing since Paul VI is, well, ironic.

    The recent letter from the U.S. District Superior is another case in point. We're all supposed to blindly follow Bishop Fellay. "As the superior of the SSPX, God gives him the grace of state to make such decisions, however painful they might be. It is not for us to second-guess him in these prudential matters, but to support him by our charity and especially by our prayers."

    The SSPX didn't think like that about the Popes and yet they expect it for themselves. Those days have been over for decades. That's how we got into this mess to begin with.


  39. Anonymous2:33 AM


    Whatever the FSSPX did after 1976 can be argued pro or con, but the fact remains that Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society in complete licity and obedience with Rome, following all structural rules of canon law,
    From Wikipedia:

    "In 1970, urged by the Abbot of Abbey of Hauterive and the Dominican theologian Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe to teach the seminarians personally, Lefebvre approached François Charrière, Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, with a request to set up a religious society. Charrière granted Lefebvre's request, and, with a document predated by six days to 1 November 1970, he established the Society of St. Pius X as a "pia unio" on a provisional (ad experimentum) basis for 6 years. Pia unio status was the first stage through which a Catholic organisation passed prior to gaining official recognition as a religious institute or society of apostolic life. (Since 1983, the term "association of the faithful" has replaced "pia unio".) Some Swiss laymen offered the seminary at Ecône to the newly formed group, and in 1971 the first 24 candidates entered, followed by a further 32 in October 1972."

  40. Bishop Williamson doesn't need to recant anything. His views on history are not matters of faith or morals. Slapping that condition on him is unfair.

  41. Delphina, you are comparing apples to oranges. Since the 1970s the SSPX have resisted what they perceive as doctrinal aberrations emanating from Rome. These are no mere "prudential" matters, but are rather issues that cut to the heart of the Faith.

  42. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Prodinoscope: So does obedience to the Holy Father cut right to the "heart of the faith". You, Dan Hunter, and anyone else can rationalize all you want. What I write is true.

    I am not a neo-con nor am I new to the battle. I've been in it since the beginning. I've anguished over this ever since I was told about nine years ago by an SSPX priest that it was a mortal sin to attend the novus ordo mass (could be a venial depending on one's intentions). I asked myself what right he had to bind my conscience. Who gave him the authority?

    No one has to tell me their history. I'm more than well aware of it. I've heard all of the reasons for what they did and/or didn't do over and over.

    We live in unprecedented times. Personally, I don't think anyone has the answer; not the novus ordo church, not the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, independents, no one. I've never seen such a mess.

    I still find it ironic that they would expect to be obeyed without question.

  43. Anonymous5:25 PM


    I would like to point out to you that Paul VI invalidly suppressed the Traditional Latin Mass by "De Missali Romano" of 1971 (not to be confused with the Apostolic Constitution "Missale Romanum" of 1970). D.M.R., an Instruction which claimed to become part of the law when it was published in the A.A.S. later that year, was an invalid ordinance which falsely claimed to have ended a general right of priests to celebrate the old Mass, falsely because Paul VI had failed to abrogate the old Mass first and, arguably, would lack the authority to do so in any event (according to the findings of the papal Commission of 1986). Even a Pope must obey the law of non-contradiction and D.M.R., 1971, directly contradicts S.P. of 2007. It resulted in a fundamental violation of natural justice. This alone was sufficient to allow a rightful disobedience on the part of the S.S.P.X. Arguably, the Society did so on other legitimate grounds as well.

    In my view, the Society's position was correct from 1976 until 2000, when Rome offered the Society a universal jurisdiction which would have afforded it apparent de facto protection from Rome and 100% protection from the local episcopal heretics. I admit that it is at least arguable that the Society's position has been correct even after 2000, although its not my view.

    The Traditional Latin Mass is distinct from the New Mass as an item at law, and it is a gift of God the Holy Ghost. No Pope has the right to remove or abrogate such a gift, let alone suppress it by a mere Instruction not even signed by a pope. The Holy Ghost is the superior of the Pope, not the reverse.


  44. Anonymous6:08 PM

    Mr. Perkins, let me ask you this.

    The only thing that matters to me is the salvation of my soul. It has been said that outside the Church there is no salvation. Being a member of this Church (and, just to clarify terms, when I say "Church" I mean Church as it was always understood before VII, meanijng the ONLY one, true Roman Catholic Church) requires submission to the Holy Father. As I understand it, this submission requires us to submit our judgment and "opinions" to his. It used to be just in faith and morals but seems to have broadened in the past forty-five years or so to include everything he writes, says and does.

    Now, we all know there is no more unity of faith left in the Church. We know that the pontiffs, from JXXIII up to and including BXVI, have all made, what should we call them, mistakes?

    In light of the above, do you believe, that if you leave the Church you can save your soul?


  45. Delphina, if there is really no more unity of faith left in the Church, then the Church has defected and Christ’s promises and teaching are false. And if that is true, then there is no point in anyone paying the slightest attention to Christianity, because if the Church has entirely lost unity of faith then salvation could not be obtained through Jesus Christ – and without a Savior, how do you propose to save your soul?

    Your understanding is also seriously faulty when you talk of a supposed obligation to submit our judgment to everything that a Pope writes, says or does. That is not and has never been the Catholic faith, thanks be to God. You don’t think we are bound to buy the same brand of toilet paper as the Pope, do you?

  46. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Please define what A.A.S stands for.
    An anonymous Catholic searching for the truth in this mess.

  47. A.A.S. stands for Acta Apostolicae Sedis. It's the official publication of the Holy See that records the Pope's magisterial and administrative acts -- an act of the Pope that is never recorded in the A.A.S. is an act that the Pope has never taken or approved.

  48. I've anguished over this ever since I was told about nine years ago by an SSPX priest that it was a mortal sin to attend the novus ordo mass (could be a venial depending on one's intentions). I asked myself what right he had to bind my conscience. Who gave him the authority?Actually, Delphina, you have a valid point here. Confession time: I attend the Novus Ordo due to the unavoidable circumstances of my own situation, yet I consider myself a strong supporter of the SSPX. (It seems that I'm a bit like Groucho Marx: I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would accept someone like me as a member.) I don't think that SSPX priests have authority to bind the consciences of their faithful concerning attendance at the Novus Ordo, although I respect their right to strongly discourage it. After all, I would be the first to discourage it. If you can avoid the NOM, please do! Pray for me, Delphina, and I will pray for you.

  49. "Bishop Fellay made it clear that the S.S.P.X will continue to use the pre-1955 prayers"

    pre-1956/1962 or 1962 / pre-2008? I think the SSPX uses the 1962 version.


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