Rorate Caeli

Terms fixed for Rome-SSPX discussions

In his blog, the now internationally famous Richard Williamson, one of the four Bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), informs that Bernard Tissier de Mallerais (one of his brother Bishops in the Fraternity) confirmed in Paris that "terms have been fixed for the doctrinal discussions due to take place between the Society of St. Pius X and the Church authorities in Rome". 

"The discussions," Williamson adds, "are to be in writing"; they "will not be made public".

Tissier de Mallerais was one of the four members of the informal commission set by the Holy See and the SSPX in the negotiations of 1988 (the others were Father Patrice Laroche, also named for the Fraternity by Archbishop Lefebvre, and Father Tarcisio Bertone among those named for the Holy See by Cardinal Ratzinger).

(photo by Stephen Heiner, Colton, CA, April 2006)


  1. I don't like that they will not be made public.

  2. Brian1:49 AM

    In that same blog, Bishop Williamson makes some strong statements:

    "The problem for these discussions is that, objectively speaking, as on either side there may be some reluctance to admit, we are in the presence of an irreconcilable clash between the religion of God and the religion of man. Vatican II mixed the two together . . . just as it takes a disproportionately small amount of water mixed with a tank full of gasoline (or petrol) to stop a car engine dead, so it takes only a small admixture of idolatry to stop dead the true religion of God.

    I hope that some day the substance of the doctrinal discussions between Rome and the SSPX are published.

  3. Bishop Williamson's statements are strong indeed, warning SSPX adherents to resist the temptation to "worship with the neo-modernists".

    Still, the fact that these discussions are actually going to take place is quite remarkable. Who would have dreamed it possible a year ago?

  4. Peter8:11 AM

    I wonder if they have also fixed the timeline.

  5. Oliver10:05 AM

    Which clearly indicates the bishop's position as one of no compromise. And irreconcilable.

  6. The key word is "irreconcilable;" there is no avoiding that simple truth. "Sí, sí, no, no;" what more needs be said?

  7. Francis12:14 PM

    What more, Gildas?

    Well, so long as there are writings such as this from Williamson to cast doubt on the matter, it would be good to hear a "si" from the side of Williamson and his enthusiasts to the proposition that clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to the Pope's power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.

    A "si" to the indefectibility of the local Church of Rome wouldn't go amiss, either. But perhaps that is too traditional a thesis to expect certain soi-disant traditionalists to maintain.

  8. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais was co-author with Archbishop Lefebvre of the Dubia on religious liberty. I assume that he will be a key participant in the discussions?

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall ...

  9. It seems to me there is already a wealth of information to begin these written discussions which I prefer to call dubias. For example, we could begin with Lamentabili Sane by St. Pius X and to its counter-syllabus, according to Josef Ratzinger, Gaudiem et spes. We could bring up the Oath against Modernism and whether on Pope can call for it to be taken and another disregard it completely. We could proceed to the matters of ecumenism vs evangelism, universal salvation or salvation outside the church, the old vs the new covenant, collegiality, and so on ad infinitem.

    Do you see where this is heading? A rabbit hole with no real end and no possibility of escape except frustration and acrimony is what I perceive to be the end result. Maybe these discussions are necessary - I'll give them that but IMHO faculties are vastly more important and required for the salvation of souls.

  10. It is only Bishop Williamson who describes the differences as 'irreconcilable', and as we well know from recent public pronouncements on other matters, he makes mistakes - serious mistakes. Less attention should be paid to his comments and questionable views, and more to asking Almighty God and Our Blessed Lady that the virtues of humility, charity, and prudence prevail in all future discussions, and that the SSPX will soon be fully reconciled with Rome to the glory of God and the good of His Church.

  11. Anonymous2:05 PM

    I thought Bishop Williamson was to keep his mouth shut by order of his superior, Bishop Fellay. Oh, well!

  12. The SSPX needs to reconcile with Rome in order to maintain its catholicity. There are already dangerous trends towards extremism - and sedevacantism - among not a few of the Society's members. These trends are exacerbated by the "bunker mentality" irregular canonical status has wrought.

  13. Anonymous3:26 PM

    If the SSPX is honest, there can't be reconciliation with Rome.

  14. Anonymous3:27 PM


    You take a very negative view.

    The discussions can proceed with great profit, if those one both sides take some practical advice.

    First, discuss the nature of the infallible magisterium of the Church vis a vis the merely authentic magisterium of the same.

    Then, identify which documenst pertain to one and which to the other.

    Having placed Vatican II squarely in the second category, even the SSPX will admit that discussing the content of such documents must be founded upon accepting the documents in the first category.

    Regarding those matters in Vatican II which are novel, the right appreciation of the Magisterium indicates freedome not constraint...

    I doubt very much this Holy Father is going to insist on uniformism in liturgical matters, nor on uniformism in theological matters which are not yet infallible defined or taught as obligatory with some lesser, but biding status.

    Hence, I do not see real obstacles, and that it will be in writing and not in public, bodes well for those who want to talk about the Truth.

    Br. Alexis Bugnolo

  15. Adeodatus3:54 PM

    The Roman Catholic Church is the one, true, holy and apostolic Church. Pope Benedict XVI is the Successor of Peter.

    Until those who place themselves outside of Catholic Church through disobedience recognize the legitimacy of the Church's (and the Pope's) authority *and* submit to it, they are renegades and cannot have faculties. How can they ask for faculties from an authority they reject?

  16. In my previous post "whether on pope can" should read "whether one pope can"... Sorry. mea culps.

  17. Anonymous4:25 PM

    The discussions will not be made public for a very simple reason. It doesn't take much logic to figure it out.

    Who needs another tidal wave of objections and abuse hurled at the Pope and Vatican by liberals like the French Bishops, Germans, Swizz, and the Austrians.

    If there could have been so much torrent of condemnations and abusive language over the appointment of an excellent traditional bishop for Austria...stirred up by the notorious Hans Kung and his accomplices such as Cardinal Shoenborn, can you imagine how much more it would be if these worthless liberals feel that the negotiations are a "sell out" of Vatican II and a repudiation of much of Vatican II (which I hope is what does happen)?

    The more private and quiet, the better.
    But in the end, I hope it's the Pope who sees the value of what the SSPX has always stood for, and the errors of much of Vatican II, and that corrective steps begin to be implemented. Not the other way around. Aside for an occasional combative mindset, the SSPX has very little to answer for, explain, or seemingly appologize for.
    Were it not for them, we would not have had the Motu Proprio.

  18. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Francis, I agree with your comments about Bishop Williamson needing to be more prudent in his comments, however I can not agree or rather I have not come to terms yet myself, with your comments on obedience to the current Church discipline and government.

    In my opinion, the current Pope and the V2 crop would have done away with tradition altogether a long time ago if it wasn't for the burr in their backside - namely the SSPX. Sure we now have the MP but we have to have a fight to get it accepted.

    I have tremendous respect for the FSSP and agree with Paul H., namely that Pope Benedict XVI would do well by granting faculties to Society as fast as humanly possible.

    Happy Easter

  19. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I do have tremendous respect for the FSSP but I meant to say FSSPX.


  20. There will be a deal, and the SSPX will be "inside the tent" at last. If not, then the SSPX or elements there of will drift into "Protest..anti...ism". The Pope is where the Church is, there is just no getting away from that fact, if the SSPX don't get a solution with this Pope, they may not get another chance.

  21. "In my opinion, the current Pope and the V2 crop would have done away with tradition altogether a long time ago if it wasn't for the burr in their backside - namely the SSPX."

    Rubbish. When he was at the CDF, Ratzinger tried with all his might to reconcile the FSSPX and was devastated when it didn't happen. He understood their predicament better than most.

    As for your use of the word 'tradition' with small t - I assume you are talking about liturgical tradition, more specifically the tradition of the Latin liturgy (forgive me if that is not the case - I will use it to prove a point anyway). Can we please stop obsessing about this please?? It is so absolutely NOT important if there are one or two Confiteors, if water is sprinkled on the palms before or after incensation, or if the whole Pater is sung by Priest + congregation or not. What matters is the Tradition of the Church - its moral teaching, and also of course its teaching on the liturgy, such as the liturgy being participation in the divine life, that it be sober and dignified etc. It is emphasising this that is going to bring authentic Christian liturgy back to all Catholic parishes, not bickering about what is authentically Latin elements of it and what are not (indeed, the 1570 rite incorporates a considerable number of 'imported', non-roman accretions).

    And don't get me wrong and think I'm a 'reform of the reform' type or anything. I am speaking as someone who will sing seven times seventy Te Deums when the pre-1955 rituals are again the norm for the Western Church.

  22. Francis11:27 PM


    Happy Easter to you too. My remarks on the obedience which is due to the Pope were taken directly from Vatican I's decree on the power and character of the Roman Pontiff's primacy.

  23. I believe there's something in the Rule of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer recognizing the principle that "no important work ever gets done except in secret." (Not a direct quote by any means.)

  24. Anonymous2:49 AM

    Thank goodness these talks are not to be made public. The last thing we need is every journalist buffoon on the planet commenting on every aside. Let the experts talk until the heresy is talked out. If it takes thirty years or a hundred, so be it.

    But I don't think that this Pope will leave the matter of legality of the Society for some future age. I pray that he unilaterally at least declare in a public and legal document what the Vatican already admits privately in letters to the faithful: that their Masses do indeed fulfil the obligation.

    I think that the Pope will strive for even more, for some way to make their Masses licit in the eyes of Rome. That would be even better. We can pray for this. I get the feeling that Cardinal C.H. will want to achieve one of these two things before he exits.

    Before that exit, he will also want to see published the clarification of S.P. which has been on the Pope's bureau for over a year, and a canonical form for the Sons of the Holy Redeemer:

    Dates to watch for:

    Tuesday, 5th May: Feast of St. Pius V.

    Monday, 29th June: Feast of SS. Peter & Paul and the day before the 21st anniversary of the unapproved consecrations of 1988.


  25. Anonymous2:56 AM


    You write:

    "As for your use of the word 'tradition' with small t - I assume you are talking about liturgical tradition, more specifically the tradition of the Latin liturgy (forgive me if that is not the case - I will use it to prove a point anyway). Can we please stop obsessing about this please?? It is so absolutely NOT important if there are one or two Confiteors, if water is sprinkled on the palms before or after incensation, or if the whole Pater is sung by Priest + congregation or not. What matters is the Tradition of the Church - its moral teaching, and also of course its teaching on the liturgy, such as the liturgy being participation in the divine life, that it be sober and dignified etc. It is emphasising this that is going to bring authentic Christian liturgy back to all Catholic parishes, not bickering about what is authentically Latin elements of it and what are not (indeed, the 1570 rite incorporates a considerable number of 'imported', non-roman accretions)."


    Excuse me, but where have you been all these years? Have you ever read a theological critique of the Novus Ordo or the liturigcal reforms? Do you know what kind of dissent and error and rank heresy motivated those who pushed them through, crafted them in the Concilium and foisted them upon the Church?

    Gosh, you speak as if we were discussing the pros and cons of sourdough and rye!

    Excuse the sharpness of my reply, but these things a way more important than you realize.

    I am not a SSPX member, but for me I get sick in the stomach at the thought that there is a liturgy widly used in the Church that for all circumstantial and historical evidence is rankly offensive in its origins to Almighty God, because it was born in the hearts of sinners who want to spread sin by means of it. Whereas the Ancient Rites of the Church were composed by the Apostles, Martyrs and Saints and Doctors, all very good and pleasing friends of the Most Holy Trinity. I cannot imagine, because it is illogical to do so, that God would be pleased with the liturgy of sinners sinning just as much as with His good friends who sacrificed everything and every part of their being for Him.

    Do you?

  26. Oliver10:23 AM

    The Society as a whole is not eager to enter what it calls the conciliar church; one would have to leave the Church to do that. The current leadership may exhibit some positive feelings towards the Rome of today in the belief that the Rome of tomorrow may once again be a hostile place but Bishop Williamson clearly states the impossibility of the situation and is resigned to the status quo long-term. He will not allow prudence to silence truth, nor should he.

  27. Mr. Perkins,

    There is no chance that faculties will be granted before resolution of the doctrinal issues. We have the word of the Pope himself in his letter to the world's bishops:

    ... until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church ...

  28. Oliver, for men it is impossible. For God, all things are possible. Let us hope that Bishop Fellay announces soon the Rosary Crusades for the triumph of Truth over error and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  29. " not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church ...'

    While many an NO cleric or bishop behaves like a de facto schismatic rebelling against orthodox Catholic teaching; supporting sodomites, abortionists and any form of liturgical abomination and behaving as though it is they are the ultimate ecclesiastical authority and not a pope whom they inherently dislike for making concessions to traditionalists.

    One way or the other there is a stealthy move afoot to silence the SSPX. However, if they keep to the parameters set out by their worthy founder and by the sacred traditions of The Roman Catholic Church then there remains hope.

    Following on from Bertone's crass handling of some issues such as the Fatima secret then one can immediately comprehend why he would not want an open, public debate. He would be totally incapable of holding his own against SSPX's representatives who know and comprehend The Faith in its entirety and its integrity. Nothing is for sale. It is unimaginable that those such as Bernard Tissier de Mallerais would be intimidated or outwitted by such opposition. It is entirely evident why Rome fears.

  30. Anonymous2:30 PM

    "... until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church ...

    This statement, by the Holy Father, does not preclude a unilateral move, on his part, to grant the Society temporary faculties for them to validly hear confessions and convalidate marriages until that time when doctrinal matters are straightened out.

    This would be the right thing for His Holiness to do since souls hang in the balance, who are recieving invalid absolution and being married invalidly.

  31. Let's all take notice of what I said in my post about the "discussions". to wit: Maybe these discussions are necessary - I'll give them that but IMHO faculties are vastly more important and required for the salvation of souls.

    I didn't say there shouldn't be discussions but IMHO it would take years for these discussions to bear fruit, if then. In the meantime, the FSSPX, according to the Holy Father, possesses no canonical status or, in my phraseology, is in canonical limbo. Now, don't you think the NO bishops are going to make hay of this and continue to ostracize and alienate the SSPX clergy and the faithful attached to them?

    So, it is my opinion that validly ordained priests should have the faculties provided by the institutional church for the salvation of souls which is the greatest "necessity" envisioned by canon law - especially when these priest profess and teach what the Church has always held to be true from apostolic times. And, conversely, to be placed in canonical limbo is a great and enduring injustice. That is my belief and I will stick to it.

  32. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Any theological discussions will be very limited indeed and not only by the fact of great differences that exist but because most of these Lefevre bishops have not formerly studied theology at an approved course (except for Williamson and Tisser ) the others such as Felley never studied theology at an approved Seminary course of formation - indeed at Econe, if that can be called a seminary course , people like Williamson were teaching Canon Law and such like not having proper experise or qualifications in the field.


  33. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Prodinoscopus says that there is no chance that the Pope will grant faculties to the S.S.P.X and quotes the Pope himself on this. Here is the quotation:

    "... until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church ..."

    Now the Pope does not say that they cannot have faculties until the doctrinal questions are resolved; he says that they cannot have a canonical status. Then he merely points out the effect of their current situation.

    But there are three ways to gain faculties. One is by having a canonical status. The second is by having them granted by the Universal Pastor ex cathedra. And the third, the one the Society now claims and will continue to rely on regardless of what the Pope does, is by supplied jurisdiction.

    Now, Pastor Æternus makes it clear that the Pope's own jurisdiction is supreme (superior to that of all others), plenary (completely adequate to fulfil his divine mission), universal (exists everywhere) and immediate (can be exercised directly anywhere). It follows logically that the Pope could grant them faculties directly pending resolution of the discussions, and acting through his papal nuncios or legates in cases in which this was needed to fulfil the terms of concordats with some countries.

    What about the principle of responsibility in such cases? Well, what the Pope can grant in general, he can remove both in general and in a particular cases, and in groups of cases.

    Of course, some bishops would want to begin proceedings against various Society priests, to have their newly-proclaimed faculties rescinded. But the Pope could make it clear that he will not remove such temporary faculties on the grounds of disputes arising from contested matters of doctrine, until those matters were settled.

    On disciplinary matters and other polemical problems, the Pope could simply ask Bishop Fellay to serve as a moderating influence to keep his more troublesome priests in line (those who aren't removed along the way fro rebellion, like Frs. Méramo and Abrahamowicz). Of course, Bishop Fellay, in return, might ask the Pope to keep some of *his* more troublesome priests in line, but that's between them. It's none of my business.

    I think that the Pope will take this route or one like it, and soon. Why? Simply because he does not want this matter to linger into the next pontificate and the one after. If they are only talking and the next Pope is more liberal, such talks could be suspended for years. I think that the Pope wants this matter to have at least *some* stability because he secretly realises that he was dead wrong on some things (all things?) in the 1960s and he *needs* the influence of the Society as Faith in the West dies.

    If the liberals in the curia block this, the less-preferred back-up solution would simply be to make clear in a public legal document what Rome already admits in private letters: that the Society Masses do fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation.

    Dates to watch for? Two to four days after each of the following:

    Low Sunday (Divine Mercy Sunday to the Pope): yesterday;

    5th May: Feast of St. Pius V;

    29th June: Feast of SS. Peter & Paul.

    These are also dates for a clarification of S.P. and the canonical structure for the newly-named Sons of the Holy Redeemer.

    Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos is not finished yet. This is a man who disguised himself as a milkman to convert a drug lord in his native Colombia. He won't back down and won't stop until the Pope retires him.


  34. Anonymous6:08 PM

    On my comment of a few minutes ago. I agree with Messrs. Haley & Hunter that the Pope will not leave the S.S.P.X in a 'legal limbo', even if the Society does not recognise any need for faculties.

    The Pope could make this move on the grounds of unspecified statements made by the Society representatives. But I do think that there will be one restriction. To satisfy the liberal prelates, the Pope would recommend that faithful not repair to Society chapels on the grounds that their status is only temporary and therefore not secure. In fact, he might go further and ask faithful not to attend there regularly as a special favour to him.

    With that in place, should any liberal bishop complain about the Society 'moving in' to his turf, we traditionalists could simply point out that such bishops have the means to discourage this: they can stop obstructing S.P. or shut their bloody mouths.

    Just a thought.


  35. I agree that the granting of temporary faculties is desirable (to say the least) and that the Holy Father can do it if he chooses.

    Nevertheless, his statement to the bishops seems very clear: the "legitimate" exercise of priestly ministry (which logically includes the possibility of temporary faculties to hear confessions) is dependent upon the resolution of the doctrinal issues.

  36. I certainly hope that Professor Perkins is correct and that the Pope realizes the necessity of not leaving the SSPX in canonical limbo with respect to faculties. What could be more merciful and paternal than for him to do such a thing while the "discussions" are underway?

    As for the local bishops, unless I read the tea leaves incorrectly, they do not want to appear disloyal to the Holy Father and will accept his decision on this matter. There have been too many instances lately where the Holy Father has been attacked by his supposed friends, not to mention his enemies. Let's pray for a quick resolution to the faculties problem and due diligence to the doctrinal discussions.

  37. After posting my last comment, I read Mr. Perkin's most recent comments. I suppose that, yes, it is possible that temporary faculties could be granted pending resolution of the doctrinal issues. Let us hope.

  38. Anonymous6:48 PM

    A Congregation Nullius for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer?

    Before proceeding, I should like to point out that I do *NOT* expect Rome to grant the Sons of the Holy Redeemer its own particular church. I expect that they will get what the other 'Ecclesia Dei' societies get: an autonomous society subject in part to the local ordinaries.

    So what follows is a suggestion, not an expectation. I suggest that the Holy Father consider granting the Sons as new kind of beast, parallel to an abbacy nullius (called 'territorial abbacy' since V. II). The Sons are a strange bird. They are both monastic and missionary, and even both Western Rite and Eastern Rite (they include Eastern-Rite clerics and monks). They are 'missionary monks'. It does sound like a contradiction. But they stay in cloister but have contact with others for their missions.

    The Pope could grant them a 'territorial particular church' given their monastic character. But because they strive to found new associated monasteries, it also needs to have a missionary character; there needs to be a mechanism for it to expand its territory in order better to fulfil its divine mission. Since particular churches can have discontinuous territory (cfr. D. Mainz in Germany), the abbacy could include both their house in Papa Stronsay in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, and their house on South Island, New Zealand.

    Should they wish to found more houses, they would need the permission of the local ordinary. However, also with his permission, after a time, such new houses could be *added* to their territory and become exempt from episcopal control. In other cases, where the local bishop lets them in but does not let them add territory, they would be operated autonomously but not independently, like any new house of an order.

    Why do this? Because it would signal to the S.S.P.X a particular church for it in the future. It would be an olive branch.


  39. Anonymous6:51 PM

    Since I love timetables and symbolic dates, I have a revision here

    Low Sunday: Pope grants canonical status to the Sons of the Holy Redeemer (two to four days before we find out about it). 'Tis an act of mercy on this Mercy Sunday thingy.

    5th May: Feast of St. Pius V: Clarification of "Summorum Pontificum", since this m.p. has a universal effect, much like the Bull Q.P.T. Also, the Pope can't give a goody to the S.S.P.X. until after a diplomatic interval following his trip to Palestine.

    29th June: Granting of faculties for the S.S.P.X or at least public admission that its Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation.


  40. Anonymous7:16 PM

    "...Nevertheless, his statement to the bishops seems very clear: the "legitimate" exercise of priestly ministry (which logically includes the possibility of temporary faculties to hear confessions) is dependent upon the resolution of the doctrinal issues."


    No, that statement does not make it clear, neither would it be at all pastoral, to read that statement in the way you do.

    This Holy Father is extremely sensitive to the souls of all Catholics,[as well as all men] and he would not leave 600,000 of his Catholic brothers and sisters without valid sacraments, for what could take many years of doctrinal discussion.
    Pope Benedict XVI knows the mortal peril this would put thousands of men in, every day of their lives.

    No, His Holiness will, at the very least grant temporary faculties to the FSSPX, for the mere fact that if he does not they might be damned.
    At least those who have full knowledge of the present lack of jurisdiction could be.

  41. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Bro. Bugnolo is right. But . . . .

    I should like to add here that I agree with Bro. Bugnolo's recent remarks. In fact, I wrote the same sort of thing here recently, but only on his first point. Yes, logically, the first step in the talks is to determine the doctrinal status of each document.

    However, the problem here is only partly doctrinal and also partly pschological--and even political. Too many faces would be lost on both sides (but esp. on the liberal bishops' side) if a quick arrangement were made. Therefore, I expect that we shall have to wait some years until many of the leading liberal prelates are off the scene. Of course, for the good of the Church, the Pope should not wait but should re-affirm the perennial truth which the Society preaches consistently. On the other side, a long wait for truth is better than no truth never


  42. schoolman7:48 PM

    What now seems clear is the intention of the Holy Father to grant faculties to the SSPX when they are given a canonical mission. But this can't be done until the SSPX clearly and unambiguously professes to adhere to the Magisterium of all the Popes -- pre and post Vatican II.


  43. Anonymous (why?) at 02:56:

    Well, you evidently didn't read the last part of my comment.

    I'm sorry if I didn't make myself more clear. My point is that restoring the TLM to its rightful place tomorrow is going to do very little towards restoring Catholic faith and saving souls. It will be riddled with every possible abuse, because there is now an abusive attitude towards the liturgy. We must get people to understand what Christian liturgy is all about in the first place. And yes, we need the TLM. But at the moment, most people will just have to make do with less.

    Two tracks: catechesis and increased exposure to the TLM. When the faithful realize what Christian liturgy is and is not, they will begin to ask what the heck they need the Novus Ordo for.

    Oh and, lastly: Pius XII was clearly a Saint (Deo volente, his canonization is imminent) but that didn't stop him from screwing up the liturgy.

  44. Schoolman said:
    What now seems clear is the intention of the Holy Father to grant faculties to the SSPX when they are given a canonical mission. But this can't be done until the SSPX clearly and unambiguously professes to adhere to the Magisterium of all the Popes -- pre and post Vatican II.The implication here is that there is a difference between the Magisterium of all the Popes -- pre and post Vatican II. I reject this implication. The indefectibility of the Church prevents this from occurring. The SSPX professes all that the Church has held to be true from apostolic times, that is, all true doctrine and dogma.

    This does not mean the preposterous assertions in the post Vatican II landscape to the effect that "outside the church there is salvation", that the old covenant is still in effect, that the spirit of Christ only "subsists in" the Catholic Church, that the Jews need not be converted, that the Holy Father only shares his authority due to collegiality, that the power of the keys and the binding and loosing exists not in the Chair of Peter but in the body of bishops, that those who have held to what the Church has always held to be true from apostolic times are somehow outside of the mainstream and not in full communion, that the Mass is more a communal meal at which the laity co-consecrate with the president of the assembly, that the words of the liturgy have to be made palatable to protestants and non catholics, that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum can be "interpreted" by the local bishops, and so on ad infinitem.

    These assertions or propositions have all occurred since Vatican II and they have not been soundly denounced as they should have been, except, I might add, by the FSSPX and other groups like them. To take them to the woodshed for standing up for their belief is IMHO a non starter for the so-called "discussions".

    My understanding is if we take the Holy Father at his word that what previous generations held as sacred remains sacred for us as well, then the aforementioned assertions are entirely without foundation and to ask the FSSPX to adhere to such nonsense is ridiculous to the extreme. Again, let us start with Lamentabili Sane by St. Pius X and proceed from there. Now, there is a basis for discussion and hopefully some common ground.

  45. What now seems clear is the intention of the Holy Father to grant faculties to the SSPX when they are given a canonical mission. But this can't be done until the SSPX clearly and unambiguously professes to adhere to the Magisterium of all the Popes -- pre and post Vatican II.Schoolman, see Dan Hunter's last reply to me.

    If you think that the SSPX are going to give their full and unambiguous assent to the post-Vatican II magisterium's promotion of religious liberty, false ecumenism, dual covenant theology, and the like, you're dreaming. In the meantime, souls are in danger of eternal damnation due to receiving the Sacrament of Penance from priests without faculties. It's an untenable situation. Pray with us that the Holy Father will grant temporary faculties to SSPX priests while the doctrinal discussions are underway.

  46. Joe B9:04 PM

    Can a local bishop on his own initiative grant jurisdiction and faculties to SSPX within his own diocese?

  47. Joe B, since SSPX faculties were suspended by Rome, I suspect that only Rome can grant them.

  48. Well said, Paul Haley.

  49. How about if Pope Benedict XVI simply condemns the heresies that have been proposed in the name of Vatican II, rather than making elliptical references to "abuses" and ambiguous statements about the "hermeneutic of continuity"?

    That would solve a lot of our problems, now wouldn't it?

  50. 'Secret Talks' should be kept secret from Bishop Williamson, who will torpedo those meetings by any and all means.

  51. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Dear Joe B,
    I think that a local Bishop can grant faculties. I asked this same question to an elderly traditional priest a couple of days ago and he said yes and also made a suggestion.

    He suggested that I ask my local Bishop to grant faculties to a specific SSPX priest or the Society for the sake of my spiritual life and direction.

    If permission is denied (most likely) I can then forward the response to Rome.

    Perhaps if we all do something similar Rome would make sure the MP is looked upon more kindly and the FSSPX would granted faculties.

    "Rubbish" says Gideon. Please look at the history of Priest Ratzinger the V2 novelist and you can easily discern his intent. Suggested reading, Tiber Flows Into the Rhine and Iota Unum.

    I am very glad that Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope BXVI has seemingly had a change of heart. I can appreciate why the FSSPX did not trust him.

    I pray a rosary daily for the Pope as asked for at Fatima.

    As to obedience, I won't obey unjust laws at the peril of my soul. More discernment required. Thank you for the V1 link Francis.

    In Christ,

  52. Anonymous9:46 PM

    It is hoped that the forthcoming meeting between tradition and the implementation of the Latin Liturgy by the universal Church in Vatican City will confront the problem raised by GAUDIUM ET SPES [41, par 3] which says: "the Church proclaims the rights of man- she acknowledges and holds in high esteem the dynamic approach of today which is fostering these rights all over the world. BUT this approach neeeds to be animated by the spirit of the Gospel and preserved from all traces of FALSE AUTONOMY. For there is a temptation to feel that our personal rights are fully maintained only when we are exempt from every restriction of divine law. But this is the way leading to the extinction of human dignity, not its preservation."

  53. Anonymous11:55 PM

    First, yes, a local bishop could grant faculties, also ex cathedra, because Rome recognises that Society priests are Catholic. However, this is not very relevant. If it happens at all, it won't happen often.

    On the matter of accepting the Magisterium of the last popes, there is a huge difference between accepting their Magisterium and accepting particular teachings which do not require holy and Catholic assent. I don't think that Bsp. Fellay would have any problem accepting the Magisterium of Paul VI or that of J.P. II.


  54. 'Secret Talks' should be kept secret from Bishop Williamson, who will torpedo those meetings by any and all means.How, precisely, do you foresee that he would do that, Michael?

  55. Louis E.12:10 AM

    I have suggested before that the Pope should direct all bishops,on their oath of obedience,to grant faculties to all SSPX priests who ask for them.
    Those priests too schismatic/sedevacantist to make the request and those bishops too convinced of their personal prerogative to ignore Rome to grant the request would thereby be identified.

  56. Anonymous12:41 AM

    What of Bishop Williamson?

    Let us suppose that the Pope does grant faculties ex cathedra to the Society priests. Would he include Bsp. Williamson in their number? He might do so but, given what we know, likely not.

    So there might have to be an exception clause in regard to Bishop W. Is this a problem? Au contraire! Think about it. If the Pope grants the faculties, Bishop Fellay can send a letter of thanks but not renounce any right to rely on supplied jurisdiction. In fact, he might mention this, as he did in like manner when thanking the Pope for the decree of 21st January.

    But there's more. Should Bishop W. continue to offer Mass publicly as a Society cleric, it would *prove* that Bishop Fellay had not surrendered a right from supplied jurisdiction. As for Bishop Williamson himself, for him, supplied jurisdiction is a badge of honour!

    But what happens when the two parties finally reconcile? Problem? By no means. All regularised priests and bishops have to submit a letter of resignation when they turn 75, and Bishop W. is already 69. Clerics typically even take early retirement at the age of 70.

    There may be additional cases in which the Pope withdraws faculties to some extreme Society priests at the behest of the local bishop. But the Pope will bend over backwards to avoid this, and he will mostly rely on voluntary co-operation through Bishop Fellay. After all, the Pope would look rather silly if he withdrew faculties from a Society priest while he continues to employ the likes of 'Fr.' Raymond Gravel, who, in my view, is the single greatest priestly scandal in the 2,000 year history of the Church--and still serves as incumbent in a parish.

    The real problem will be replacing Society bishops. They are not under obedience and therefore likely won't retire at the age of 75. But nobody lives forever, not even Cardinal Arns. If the Society needed a new bishop, would its bishops get excommunicated all over again? They will try to avoid that problem. The clock is ticking. Bishop Tissier de Mallerais is 63 years old but the other two are only 50 and 51 years old. So they have perhaps thirty years at the most.

    Finally, some will ask if Bishop Fellay will 'retire' Bishop Williamson at the behest of the Pope. No dice. Really, he musn't. He can decline to offer W. any appointments but he cannot really ask him not to exercise public ministry. To do so would be symbolically to divine the Society and the very will of Archbishop Lefebvre. That is not about to happen. I now realise that W. should not go even if he wants to sacrifice himself for the good of the Society. The reason is that the appearance of division would harm the Society grievously. The four bishops must stand or fall together.


  57. Anonymous12:47 AM

    Louis E. Your suggestion is counter-productive. First of all, many Society priests would refuse to ask for faculties and would do so with glee. This would cause division in the S.S.P.X.

    Secondly, many liberal bishops would refuse to grant faculties. This would cause endless trouble for the Pope.

    The Pope is the principle of unity in the Church. That's why he's called the rock. This is a matter of ensuring unity everywhere, for the Society exists everywhere. L'union fait la force. The last thing we need right now is a patchwork of approvals and refusals.

    The Pope is one single authority who can do this everywhere, directly in most places and through his papal nuncios where conordats with various countries require this.

    It also means that only the Pope could withdraw such faculties in any particular case. Just imagine how much fun our enemies, the liberal bishops, could have granting faculties to some Society applicant priests but not to others--and then withdrawing it from some once granted. And they could try to make them sign trick documents in exchange for grants of faculties. I'd leave these episcopal bastards out of the equation.

    But if the Pope grants faculties, only the Pope can take them away. Only the Pope can counter his own acts.


  58. On the matter of a local bishop granting faculties to a SSPX priest let us remember that the priests are supposedly included in the suspension a divinis proclaimed by the Holy See in 1976 and, therefore, it is reserved to the Holy See to vacate that suspension.

    As a practical matter, if anyone can find a local bishop willing to do this, and a SSPX priest willing to place himself under the local bishop's authority, please let us know.

    I don't see this happening at all unless and until the Holy See has dealt with the matter on its own. What happens when the local bishop instructs the priest to confect the sacraments in the NO form for members of the local diocese used to that form? Oooops! Exit - stage right!unc

  59. Anonymous1:46 AM

    Regarding a comment about danger to souls due to supposedly invalid sacrament of penance in SSPX chapels - that is nonsense. Canon law makes clear that the sacrament is valid in schismatic churches e.g. Russian Orthodox, and Catholics are permitted to receive it. From the Vatican web site: "Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, §2.
    §2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-
    Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid." It logically follows that it is permitted (licit - and it couldn't be licit if it were not valid) with the Catholic ministers in SSPX, even supposing SSPX was ever schismatic. Louis

  60. Anonymous3:23 AM


    Regarding faculties to hear confessions: from The Code of Canon Law 969:

    Can. 969 §1. The local ordinary alone is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any of the faithful. Presbyters who are members of religious institutes, however, are not to use the faculty without at least the presumed permission of their superior.

  61. Louis, SSPX priests are Catholic ministers, not non-Catholic ministers. Therefore Canon 844.2 does not apply to the circumstance of seeking the sacrament of penance from the Catholic minister who does not have faculties to hear confessions.

  62. Anonymous5:14 AM

    "The discussions," Williamson adds, "are to be in writing"; they "will not be made public".

    Yet another confirmation of my decision to become Orthodox.

    Constantinople here I come.

  63. The SSPX will split soon. I know several seminarians in Econe and a number of priests working in France who are already discussing this. Word in the sacristy is that these priests and seminarians will simply refusing to cooperate if a Fellay-Ratzinger agreement of some sort is reached. Many of faithful will happily follow, in fact it is thought that in most cases whole churches will most likely resist, including S. Nicola Du Chardonnet.

    Interestingly it is thought that Williamson will remain with Fellay despite sharing the same views as the above-mentioned men and women and despite expressing their position so clearly in his letters. Why? Because he is the ultimate company boy. He was a Catholic only very shortly prior to his entrance into the SSPX, and, as a result, his religious identity is firmly attached to the SSPX. Archbishop Lefebvre knew this well, hence his decision to select him for the episcopate.

  64. Eric,Don't be ridiculous, there is nowhere for any Catholic to go, except Rome. The leadership will hold firm and stick together, kiss hands with the Pope and start trying to re-convert the Church....from within....not sitting it out like has been happening for the last 40 years. The Vatican II church is dying for want of vocations, just about every seminarian I've met of late would be with the Society right now, if ...IF...they were closer to the inside of the tent rather than outside gibbering the type of eccentricities you tend to hear every now and then. No Church....I do hope the "Eccentrics" are listening

  65. Note to Michael: In your response to Prodinoscopus, please refine your criticisms of Bishop Williamson so as to avoid armchair psychoanalysis and appearing to judge his soul, and focus upon Bishop Williamson’s words and actions rather than his person. Thanks.

  66. Sedevacantism is false solution to a real problem, as Archbishop Lefebvre was fond of saying. Bishop Williamson knows this, despite his often SV-sounding opinions.

    Anon 5:14, do they do nothing behind closed doors in Constantinople? What a silly reason to go into full-blown schism.

    Schismatics will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Please reconsider.

  67. Effes2:50 PM

    You'll be lucky finding a church in Constantinople - modern day Istanbul. There are plenty of Mosques there though. Perhaps Islam would be a more practical option if you feel drawn to the Gate of Turkey.

  68. I think the fact that the talks will be secret is a good thing. No doubt the substance of them will be made public in the event of an agreement. But keeping them out of the public eye can hopefully eliminate grandstanding (on both sides) as well as the court of public opinion. I think the Second Vatican Council might have turned out differently if its sessions had been kept secret and the Fathers and periti had avoided commenting in (and perhaps playing to) the press.

    I can certainly understand the desire to know what's going on, but perhaps we should trust our superiors to do the right thing and not indulge in excessive curiosity.

  69. Prudinoscopus requests clarification of reasons Bishop Williamson should be prevented from knowledge of 'secret talks' meetings.
    Bishop Williamson's long history of publicly thwarting reconciliation includes these current polemics: "The problem....we are in the presence of an irreconcilable clash between the religion of God and the religion of Man..."
    and his warning of 'worship with neo-modernists'
    Bishop Williamson's intentions are made self-evident to this writer. He will find a way to prevent unity. Bishop Williamson's conscience will demand nothing less. BTW, is conscience primary?

    Michael F Brennan
    St Petersburg, FL

  70. Anonymous5:41 PM

    On Dan Hunter's comments re Confessions:

    The term "alone" here is one of general exclusion but can neverthelss be overrided by the Pope, who always has immediate as well as universal power in all matters. Canon 333.1 clearly proves this.


  71. Anonymous5:52 PM

    On Eric's comments:

    Despite discussions among some paranoid people in the S.S.P.X, there is absolutely no reason for any split. All this is being worked over by such groups as 'Traditio'. Look, if the Pope grants faculties or recognises that Society Masses fulfil the Sunday obligation, this will be done unilaterally by the Pope; it will not be done by Bishop Fellay or by agreement with him. At most, he might thank the Pope for it while, at the same time, reiterating that the Society has never abandoned its reliance on supplied jurisdiction.

    These peole are being unfair to Bishop Fellay, claiming that he is moving his chessmen into place in the Society priories and seminaries. We have to take Fellay at his word. He says that there will be ZERO compromise of the Faith in these discussions. If you look at what Bishops Tisserais de Mallerais and Williamson have said, there is no prospect for any 'regularisation' which would put the Society under the control of Rome in the foreseeable future. Realistically, such a thing can not be contemplated until the ageing liberal hierarchs are gone and Rome is disposed to exclude all the popular heretical interpretations of Vatican II--all of them. Frankly, I can't see Benedict XVI doing this, if only because he is not prepared to distance himself from the views held in his foolish youth, perhaps not owing to pride but because he thinks that admissions of error on his part could undermine his ministry of unity (since they might undermine his authority).

    Tissier thinks that the process will take thirty years. Williamson sees no hope for it in the foreseeable future. Those in the Society who plot rebellion now are nothing but troublemakers and contrarians, and the Society would be better off without them. Let them go when there is no need to go; let them flee before shadows. The sooner the better. It will save the Pope from having to remove them for their imprudence in the future.


  72. Anonymous6:12 PM

    On Mr. Brennan's comments about Bishop Williamson's attempts to thwart reconciliation:

    It is true that Bishop Williamson has done this in the past. For example, during Rome's attempts of 2000-2003, Bishop Williamson went to "The Remnant" and issued an indirect threat to split the Society in two should it accept the Pope's offer.

    However, this is entirely irrelevant right now. There is no reason to expect reconciliation in the foreseeable future and there is therefore nothing for Bishop W. to thwart.

    Again, the Pope will probably act unilaterally to grant faculties to the Society, but there is zero reason to suppose that the Society will give up its de facto independence until the discussions are concluded. I see no prospect for that in the foreseeable future.

    The Society will not reconcile with a Rome which tolerates the likes of Fr. Raymond Gravel, a former male prostitute who now argues in favour of legalising abortion and inverted marriage right on television--and gets away with it.

    Those in the clergy, including the prelacy, who tolerate Gravel do not qualify as Catholics.


  73. Michael,

    Bishop Williamson would seek to ensure that unity is based on the FAITH, nothing more or less. The fact that Bishop Williamson is currently excluded from the doctrinal discussions because of historical issues that are EXTRANEOUS to the Faith illustrates precisely the difficulties of which he speaks.

  74. The reason I asked if a bishop could grant jurisdiction in his diocese is not because I expect it to happen, but when a bishop refuses to allow a TLM in his diocese and also refuses to allow the faithful to attend SSPX services because they don't have jurisdiction, then the response might essentially be, "If there's nothing more to it than lack of jurisdiction, then grant that yourself."

    Assuming he can, of course. I'm not convinced he can yet. But if he can, then someone may soon suggest it in a certain particular challenge to Rome. And if the bishop cares about souls, SSPX would have nothing to say about it. It would be for the charity of those souls attached to tradition, not to the SSPX priests.

  75. Louis E.8:52 PM

    How is it "counter-productive" to the cause of reconciliation to find a means by which those who refuse to be reconciled will be forced to openly exclude themselves and those minded to reconciliation can then get on with it?
    How can a united church have room for priests who refuse "with glee" to be under their local bishop or bishops who disobey direct orders to welcome priests wishing to be reconciled?


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