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Press Release regarding the Priestly Ordinations

The Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, regarding the Ordinations to the priesthood planned for 27 June, 2009, declares the following:

1. These ordinations are bestowed with the intention of serving the Catholic Church. We bestow these priestly ordinations because we wish to express our unity with the Church of Rome. This unity consists of the same doctrine, the same sacraments, and the holy sacrifice of the Mass of all times. The newly ordained priests, as well as all of the members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, recognize the office of the Pope and the authority of the Church. Just as all other clergy of the Fraternity, the candidates for ordination will pray by name for the reigning Pope as well as the local Ordinary - an expression of solidarity, which theFraternity has practiced since its founding more than 30 years ago. We do not want a parallel Church, but instead wish to preserve the incalculable treasure of Catholic Tradition within the one true Catholic Church.

2. When Rome, on January 21, 2009, repealed the decree of excommunication that had been declared against the 4 bishops of the fraternity, the Holy Father surely intended it as a provision of life, and not of death. The generous gesture was primarily intended to be a confidence-building measure for the coming theological discussions with representatives of the Holy See, in which, through difficult negotiations, the difficulties which still remain will presumably be eliminated.

3. An emergency requires and justifies corresponding emergency measures. Is there an emergency in the Church today? We refer to an appendix attached to this declaration, in which representative statements from popes, cardinals, bishops, and theologians are documented. Pope Paul VI, for example, speaks of the "self-destruction of the Church", Pope John Paul II speaks of "silent apostasy". Additionally we give two numerical examples: In 1950 in Germany, 13 million Catholics regularly attended Sunday Mass. Today it is less than 2 million - a reduction of more than 85 percent. The number of priestly ordinations in German dioceses in 2008 reached a record low of less than 100.

It is a question of the existence or the dissolution of Christianity in Europe. Should the ordination of these new priests, who have been formed on the solid foundations of Catholic tradition and who are so necessary for the survival of the Church, be postponed? Instead, as true vocations become more and more uncommon, should we not with great devotion thank God for the grace of such vocations? There can be no talk of an insult to the unity of the Church and most certainly not of a rebuff of the outstretched hand of the Holy Father, for whom we pray daily.

4. The bishops, in their fury, continuously invoke canon law. But consider an analogy: a valuable building is burning down, a group of courageous young men rushes to the blaze to extinguish the fire, or at least to contain it and then afterwards to begin with the rebuilding. But they are detained by law enforcement for having exceeded the speed limit. Isn't the last canon of the 1983 code of canon law still valid today, according to which the highest law of the Church is the salvation of souls?

5. Since the current problems are not of a disciplinary nature, the discussion has to be conducted at an entirely different level; in particular, at the level of faith. When Pope Benedict XVI, in his letter to the bishops of March 10, 2009, made the dramatic declaration that the faith is in danger of being extinguished in many parts of the world, is it not urgent that we together make every effort to ascertain the causes of this crisis of faith and to utilize the means at our disposal to remedy this crisis? In this spirit we renew our readiness to engage in dialogue with the German bishops in an atmosphere of peace and intellectual honesty, far removed from all polemics and unhelpful accusations.

Zaitzkofen, June 13, 2009
Father Stefan Frey, Rector of the Seminary