Rorate Caeli

Head of SSPX US District interview on Doctrinal Talks

The head of the District of the United States of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) shares what he can say of the history and current status of the discussions between the Holy See and the FSSPX.
J Vennari: Our readers are most interested in the Doctrinal Discussions now going on between the Society of St. Pius X and Rome. I understand these discussions are taking place in a kind of secrecy. Why is this?

Father Rostand: From the beginning of the Doctrinal Discussions between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X, it was clearly stated that these discussions would remain private. It was the wish of Rome and of the Society. Firstly, it is important to remember the circumstances in which these discussions started – At the same time that the Pope lifted the invalid excommunications of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a media campaign attacked the Pope himself and the Society of Saint Pius X, putting heavy pressure on all concerned.

It is not always easy to understand the power that the media has on people’s minds, especially here in the United States; but as a matter of fact, the pressure was intense. Rome wants to avoid this type of strain and tension, particularly during these crucial discussions.

More decisively, it is a normal and common practice of the Church to maintain privacy, even secrecy, over these types of questions or affairs. An example would be the election of the Pope, which is done in absolute secrecy with no contact with the world in order to avoid any outside influence. Many questions are discussed by the Pope and cardinals in a similar manner. There is nothing disturbing or alarming about this custom; it is actually normal procedure. I would even add that it is also a question of respect for the Pope, because there we are talking with the Bishop of Rome, the highest authority in the world, the successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The pressure, however, is not solely from the world, from outside the Church; it comes also from within. There is an implacable fight going on within the Church. Most “modernists” do not want any discussions with the Society of Saint Pius X, they do not want any discussions about Vatican II, for no one may question Vatican II. They have long since switched from the “pastoral council” they originally pushed for in order to obtain their objectives, to a “doctrinal” one, a council that must be accepted as doctrinal, one which in fact has become even more important that all the former councils.

Nonetheless, today Rome has agreed to listen to our objections and protestations regarding Vatican II and what has happened to the Church over the past several decades; this in itself is a miracle. Bishop Fellay, in a conference he gave in Paris on January 9th, 2011, expressed how astonishing these discussions are! It is remarkable that Rome, the Supreme Magisterium of the Catholic Church, accepts to discuss Her own doctrine. Still, that is exactly what is going on in Rome with these discussions. It is very unusual.

On this question, it might be necessary to point out that although privacy is kept while these discussions are going on, it most likely will not be the case when they are over. Everything that is said is recorded, both audio and video, and everything is transcribed, with these documents being given to the Pope and to Bishop Fellay.
(Interview granted to John Vennari; tip: reader). Full text of the interview

Below, an open comment thread on the interview.


  1. Very encouraging words!
    Deo Gratias!

  2. Anonymous9:23 PM

    Who finally determines what is truth and what is error, Rome or the FSSPX? Let us imagine, at the end of these discussions, that Rome issues a syllabus of errors pertaining to the interpretation of Vatican II, insisting, quite rightly, that there are no doctrinal errors intrinsic to the Council documents. Rome has spoken, the matter is settled, right? Will the FSSPX submit to the verdict of Rome and be reconciled?

  3. "At the same time that the Pope lifted the invalid excommunications of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre . . . ."

    Properly speaking, popes cannot lift invalid excommunications. They can lift valid excommunications, or they can declare that an excommunication is invalid and thus never existed, but if an excommunication is invalid there is nothing to be lifted. (And of course the pope does not agree with the opinion that the excommunications were invalid, or else he wouldn't have remitted them.)

  4. "On this question, it might be necessary to point out that although privacy is kept while these discussions are going on, it most likely will not be the case when they are over."

    I, and I'm sure a lot of other people, hope so. I expect these talks to bear abundant good fruit for the Church.

  5. Anonymous9:45 PM

    in my humble opinion, I don't foresee a final doc any time soon... it might be a (temporary?) canonical solution of some sort though...
    We are so unsure to the point that even inside the laity attending a SSPX chapel there are doubts if these talks could even continue under the next pope.

  6. Tom the Milkman10:21 PM

    God answers prayer!

    Let's hope that as the discussions continue through to the end, that Rome indeed issues a syllabus of errors correcting those points found in the documents of VCII that are at odds with immutable Catholic doctrine. Rome will have spoken, and the Church will begin to right itself, finally, after fifty years of tragedy.

    We must pray as never before!

  7. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Also from the interview (all the way at the bottom) a short question and answer that might be of interest:

    JV: In a speech you gave in Ridgefield CT this past July, you mentioned that the Society’s Bishop de Galarreta has said he thinks these Doctrinal Discussions should not go on too long. Would you care to comment on this?

    FR: Bishop de Galarreta expressed, indeed, that he does not think that these discussions should go on too long. The Society of Saint Pius X wants to expose the discrepancy of Vatican II, reaffirm the Traditional teaching of the Church, document everything we state, and respond to the objections. We want to “be a witness to the Faith”. The Society does not want, however, to discuss for the sake of discussing. That, I believe, is what Bishop de Galarreta meant.


    All the interview is very worthwhile reading btw!


  8. I want WikiLeak on Roma-SSPX dialogue.

  9. Anil Wang11:36 PM

    wheat4paradise, Pope Benedict has already stated what is truth in VII, namely the hermeneutic of continuity.

    If there is an apparent rupture, it is either the interpretation of VII due to ambiguity in the text or a poor choice of words. For instance, in the example given about "assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides", the solution is pretty straightforward, specify in which way the priest presides, namely in place of Christ over the sacrifice of the mass.

    It's not at all difficult to correctly interpret VII. Archbishop Lefebvre had this interpretation in mind when he signed Vatican II. All that's needed is the humility on FSSPX to admit that VII is legitimate, and humility on the part of Rome to admit that VII's documents were very poor quality in places that could be misinterpreted if someone did not constantly keep the hermeneutic of continuity in mind.

  10. Yes, it will take much prayer for this all to work out. But what is happening is also the fruit of much prayer.

    SSPX needs a heck of a lot of prayers, the virtue of humility especially.

    I pray they are in full communion soon, with full faculties.

    Invalid excommunications? That smacks of pride. Maybe they shouldn't have been excommunicated, but the Bishop of Rome did do that in '88.

    Let's move forward, however, respecting very much the Holy Father...and his wishes for UNITY in truth.

  11. Anonymous12:17 AM


    For the first time I can honestly say: I agree with you.


  12. "Who finally determines what is truth and what is error, Rome or the FSSPX?"
    Dear wheat4paradise, the position of the SSPX is precisely that of adhering to what the Church has always taught. The Modernists who hijacked the Church are condemned by such documents as Pius IX's Syllabus, the encyclicals of St Pius X and Pius XI. The SSPX is not determining truth. That has already been done magnificently for some two thousand years by the Church. The SSPX is merely defending it and their defence is not made up by them. It is the Church's own doctrine. St Athanasius and others did have trouble with heresy in the highest levels of the Church. Pope Liberius ... remember him? The Church recovered from the threat of Arianism and has done so against every heresy. We must be patient. Modernism will not triumph.
    There are many books available which explain our recent history (Michael Davies writings for example). One very good one is "Peter Lovest Thou Me?" by Abbe Daniel Le Roux which highlights Pope John Paul II's revolution against traditional belief and practice.

  13. Anonymous2:30 AM

    "new definition of the Mass"? Read the CCC and the Intro to the GIRM.

  14. Let us pray for all participating in the discussions, that they discern, and follow, the will of God in this matter.

  15. Anonymous2:05 PM

    @Anil Wang 5 Feb '11, 23:36
    "It's not at all difficult to correctly interpret VII." - Not if you are well educated. Modern spirit in the world does not prepare you to see the Truth true some of the ambiguis wordings of Vat II. That is, not to talk about a few teachings of Vat II which are blatently against what the Church has always taught, and thus simply WRONG.

    Sure, you could write ambiguous documents and then provide large texts on how to interpret them correctly. It would be much clearer to write clear texts in the first place, though. Eiter way will work. Bp Athanasius Schneider proposed a syllabus, condemning (new) errors.

    Apb Lefebvre indeed had in mind that most of the texts could be interpreted the right way, hence he signed them. More so, out of fidelity to the Sucessor of Peter, he signed them, as the pope had done so (read the excellent biography on Abp Lefebvre by Bp Tissier de Mallerais).
    But let's not forget: he had even more in mind how dangerous the texts were. He tried to have them changed whenever and whereever he could, hoping to get error and abiguity out.

    "All that's needed is the humility on FSSPX to admit that VII is legitimate ..." - The SSPX never denied that, nor does it now! The FSSPX just won't accept false teachings, the same way a child shouldn't obey wrong orders/teachings from his parents - despite the fourth commandmend. (see i.e. the excellent article by Card. Newman on the Papal Infalibility -

    Now sure, also the SSPX needs humility. We all do. Those with big responsibilities even more, as they have a public function (look at Our Mother in Heaven, who was the most humble human being!). But please don't say things about the FSSPX (or anyone else, for that matter) that are not true.

    On the hermeneutics, allow me to mention an article by the same Bp Tissier de Mallerais, which you can find i.a. here:

    @ Mr. Ortiz 5 Feb '11, 23:50
    "Invalid excommunications? That smacks of pride." - The excommunications were not valid, as they were against the CIC; against the complete CIC together, not just the one paragraph that was invoked ( which was done in a way against the "spirit" of the CIC, if you wish). In law, one could call what happened there a quasi-"détournement de pouvoir". And what about the blocking of the Abp's way to appeal?

    Yes, we all need humility. Not only THEM, but also WE!

    And we need truth, not opinions.


  16. The SSPX is imploding.

    What the regime of Bishop Fellay is doing in the dark eventually will be brought to the light.

    Before a final agreement with Rome, the SSPX will be ordered to jettison His Excellency Bishop Williamson. To the cheers of the SSPX Pharisees.

    The Priests that are cast out after the demise of Bishop Williamson will form a further remnant and join Bishop Williamson.

    The SSPX wishes to purge itself of what its hierarchy calls ‘parasites’; those people that Christ called “the poor”.


  17. Anonymous4:57 PM

    You don't have to publish this but there was nowhere on your folk music article to leave a response. Look out for Cherish the Ladies, (an American group)The Poozies, and the Barnsley nightingale otherwise known as Kate Rusby. The notable, and most influential group missing from the list is Steeleye Span and their singer Maddy Prior, a lady with a penchant for medieval hymns. Check this out.

  18. I am sorry, I could not let that quote from Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5, and the comments mentioning it stand by themselves, as if those words gave "the" Vatican II "definition" of the Mass, when they are a mere conclusion of the fact, which is true and doctrinally quite sound, that the "Eucharistic Action" is indeed the center of the life of the Priest in his congregation; an action that is indeed "an action of the whole community" (Mediator Dei, 29). That same portion of the document is clear when it mentions that "by the celebration of Mass [Priests] offer sacramentally the Sacrifice of Christ,", as the text leads to that conclusion.

    Vatican II is already complicated enough as it is, we should not cut and paste excerpts to prove points that the documents themselves, as problematic as they may seem, did not seem to portend.

    By the way, Abp. Lefebrvre seemed to have Presbyterorum Ordinis as a document he cherished, especially regarding these very, very, very relevant words: "Present norms of incardination and excardination should be so revised that, while this ancient institution still remains intact, they will better correspond to today's pastoral needs. Where a real apostolic spirit requires it, not only should a better distribution of priests be brought about but there should also be favored such particular pastoral works as are necessary in any region or nation anywhere on earth. To accomplish this purpose there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, according to their particular statutes and always saving the right of bishops, priests may be trained and incardinated for the good of the whole Church." (Presb. Ord., 10)

    Thank you.


  19. Anonymous5:49 PM

    RobertK, the question remains, what if Rome does not bow to the wishes of the FSSPX and condemn the alleged "errors" that the FSSPX theologians contend are intrinsic to the documents of Vatican II? Will the FSSPX submit to the verdict of Rome and be reconciled?

  20. Anonymous5:51 PM

    The magisterium does not determine what is truth, it safeguards it and proclaims it.

    It is truth, from God, therefore the magisterium proclaims it.

  21. Dan Hunter6:24 PM


    When the Magisterium defines dogma and doctrine not only the FSSPX but the whole Church will accept it.
    As we have all heard a million times Vatican II established no ne doctrine, whatsoever.
    What is at issue here is how that 2000 year old doctrine and dogma is to be interpreted.
    When the Magisterium officialy interprets or clarifies certain points of doctrine and dogma that the Church has taught for 2000 years, then this is infallible and the Society will accept that.

  22. Brian7:22 PM

    What if the Pope proclaims a blatant heresy, will you then become a sedevacantist?

    Please, what is the point of playing "gotcha" with silly hypothetical situations?

    Let's stick with reality. In fact, it has been over forty years and Rome has not issued your imagined syllabus of errors pertaining to the interpretation of Vatican II. Do you have good reason to believe that Rome is about to do so?

  23. Hope Springs Eternal9:11 PM

    NC: Point well taken!

  24. Anonymous9:25 PM

    Agreed, Anon 17:51, the Magisterium proclaims the Truth and determines errors. In the final analysis, only the Magisterium, not the FSSPX, has the authority to determine errors in the light of Truth. The FSSPX can provide input, but must yield when Rome presents its authoritative judgment.

    Fr. Rostand asserts:

    Vatican II has brought into the Church a new teaching, a new “spirit.” The major errors can be listed as the following: errors concerning the Holy Mass and the Sacred Liturgy; errors about Religious Liberty and its consequence – Ecumenism; errors about the relations between Church and State; errors regarding collegiality and the power of the Pope and of bishops – but also, errors about the priesthood, about marriage and so on - the list is long.

    Rome, not Fr. Rostand and the FSSPX, has the final call regarding these errors, which in any case are errors of interpretation. If the FSSPX refuses to budge from their insistence that the errors are intrinsic to the documents of the Council (implying that a sacred Council of the Church has taught grievous doctrinal error), the talks will end in failure, and the failure (and ultimate loss) will be on the part of the FSSPX.

    I know that few expect for Rome to issue a Syllabus of Errors pertaining to false interpretations of Vatican II, yet that is precisely the thing that is needed and for which we must pray.

  25. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Unless and until Rome's view of Vatican II is substantially the same as the SSPX's ...

    There you have it in a nutshell. That is precisely the sort of hubris that will be the downfall of the FSSPX.

  26. Yes, the Vatican must issue an official decree against the deliberate abuses and misinterpretations of VII. But that will mean little if they are not equally prepared and committed to immediately and unequivocally enforcing all corrections. Since that would be totally out of character for the post-conciliar papal hierarchy, such a decree would be nearly worthless.

  27. Anonymous11:49 PM

    Dan Hunter,

    The end game, as Fr. Rostand sees it, is for Rome to denounce the errors that are intrinsic to the Second Vatican Council:

    However, we can see an evolution in the analysis of the situation of the Church. The first step is to accept that there is a crisis in the Church, then to accept discussion about the Council, something impossible not long ago. The next step for them may be an attempt to “save” the Council and the last one, hopefully, will be to recognize that this crisis comes from the Council and therefore to correct the errors of the Council.

    It seems plain from the above that a Syllabus of Errors correcting false interpretations of the Council will not be enough to satisfy the FSSPX. If I have misinterpreted Fr. Rostand, please explain how you understand him.

    I much prefer Bishop Schneider's proposal, which is both more realistic and more humble than the stubborn position staked out by the FSSPX:

    Such a Syllabus would consist of two parts: a part marking errors [of interpretation!] and a positive part with propositions of doctrinal clarification, completion, and precision.

    The benefit of Bishop Schneider's approach, which is completely lacking in the FSSPX demand to "correct the errors of the Council", is a clearer articulation and deeper understanding of the pastoral teachings of the Council.

  28. john Lamont12:24 AM

    On the question of Vatican II; it should not simply be considered in the context of discussions between Roman authorities and the SSPX. These discussions do not in fact have the means to fully discuss the issue of the council. There has been a vast work of historical investigation into Vatican II, that has collected notebooks, records, and other relevant documents of very many of the significant and less significant actors at the council. The fact that most of this work has been done by historians favourable to the modernist cause does not diminish its value. What is needed is some global survey of the upshot of this work. Such a survey would end controversy about how to describe the council, by essentially confirming the thesis of Michael Davies and others which claims that the leaders of the majority worked, usually successfully, to give the documents ambiguous elements that could later be given a heterodox interpretation. This thesis is already fairly well established - look at what is known about the views of Suenens, Bea, Lercaro, Dossetti, Kung, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Congar, Chenu; look at many of the statements made in the debates by council fathers, who questioned teachings of the faith. But a really thorough examination of the historical record wold have the advantage of showing exactly how this mechanism of introducing ambiguities in the documents worked, and put the thesis beyond all doubt - while no doubt also changing our previous understanding of the council in some respects. The SSPX, with its limited resources and the many pastoral demands on them, cannot be expected to undertake this sort of project. Perhaps someone like Prof. Luc Perrin of the University of Strasbourg could get an grant and put together a team of historians and theologians for this purpose?

  29. Anonymous3:54 AM

    John Lamont's suggestion is certainly of great value in the long term from a historical and scholarly perspective. However, there are two pastoral needs to be served in the short term by the present discussions between Rome and the FSSPX:

    1) The reconciliation of the FSSPX with Rome.
    2) The promulgation of a Syllabus errorum circa interpretationem Concilii Vaticani II.


    If a formal decree correcting errors of interpretation and clarifying ambiguous texts (but not denouncing the Council itself) were to emerge as a real fruit of the discussions, would the FSSPX accept it and be reconciled? That is the main issue. Whether such an official decree would have "teeth" is a separate issue. It cannot serve as an excuse for the FSSPX to continue to hold out and keep the Vicar of Christ at arm's length.

  30. Anonymous5:27 AM

    Obviously Fr. Rostand was referring to the fact that he (and the Society) considered the excommunications invalid, not the Pope. How any thinking individual can not see this is beyond me. And the arrogance and condescension it would take for one to actually publicly take the District Superior to task for it, as if he were a 10 year old who needed his grammar corrected, is astounding.

  31. Anonymous7:26 AM

    From what I have seen of Fr. Rostand, he is very well-reasoned and intelligent and not the least bit a rebel or arrogant. The situation is complex, and people can always read into this kind of an interview the kinds of things that they THINK are REALLY going on. I believe we have both "not in line with Rome enough" and "too much in line with Rome" comments here.

  32. Dear wheat4paradise, reading Archbishop Lefebvre's declaration od 21st Nov 1974 it is clear what he was distancing his society from and what he was cleaving to. Consequently they are not inclined to make any reconciliation with error and are probably willing to hold out until the angel sounds the trumpet, if necessary. Rome must and will reconcile with its timeless magisterium.
    As regards VaticanII and whether or not the problem is only a result of "misinterpretation", in a booklet published in 1988, Fr Schmidburger (Sup. Gen. of SSPX)quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger's book,"Theological Principles" (1982). "If one seeks an overall diagnosis of the text [Gaudium et Spes], one could state that, taken in conjunction with the text on Religious Freedom and on Non-Christian Religions, it represents a revision of the Syllabus promulgated by Pope Pius IX, as it were an Anti-Syllabus." Fr. Schmidburger's comment is... "This means nothing less than that the two documents are irreconcilable, indeed, that the errors condemned in the Syllabus are in fact proclaimed in Gaudium et Spes.
    Reality check ...see what this Ukrainian bishop thinks about the present state of affairs.
    Yes, Pope Honorius I was anathematized by the Third Council of Constantinople, along with the Monophysites, more than forty years after his death. Could happen again? Never say never.

  33. Sorry, made a mistake in my last post. Should have been Monothelites, who were anahtematized at that Council not Monophysites. Heretics all.
    I probably won't be around for the anathemas due to Modernism after the event but it has been anathematized already by Saint Pius X.

  34. Oliver12:26 PM

    The Society will remain in its state of partial communion with Rome well into the future if not in perpetuity. The balancing effect of those members who want closer engagement and those who don't will preserve its status as a curiosity inside the trad world for its political usefulness and ridicule in equal measure.

  35. I wouldn't see the FSSPX leadership holding out for a papal denunciation of V2 itself; they must know that will not happen. An authoritative "interpretation" that thoroughly condemns all false propositions should be sufficient for them, even if (perhaps only if) the teaching of that document appears irreconcilable with some statements of the Council.

  36. Anonymous4:02 PM

    RobertK, it would be helpful to see the larger context of that quote from Cardinal Ratzinger's early book. I wouldn't want to rely on such a small fragment, given the complex structure that one often finds in the Holy Father's paragraphs.

  37. Anonymous4:05 PM

    Anon 05:27, I think that we understand that Fr. Rostand is expressing the Society's position regarding the excommunications. He didn't need to say it, and it comes across as arrogant and ungrateful.

  38. Anonymous8:18 PM

    RobertK ...

    As regards VaticanII and whether or not the problem is only a result of "misinterpretation", in a booklet published in 1988, Fr Schmidburger (Sup. Gen. of SSPX)quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger's book,"Theological Principles" (1982). "If one seeks an overall diagnosis of the text [Gaudium et Spes], one could state that, taken in conjunction with the text on Religious Freedom and on Non-Christian Religions, it represents a revision of the Syllabus promulgated by Pope Pius IX, as it were an Anti-Syllabus." Fr. Schmidburger's comment is... "This means nothing less than that the two documents are irreconcilable, indeed, that the errors condemned in the Syllabus are in fact proclaimed in Gaudium et Spes."

    Reality check, please. I've taken a look at the broader context of that quote. Cardinal Ratzinger certainly does NOT suggest that "the errors condemned in the Syllabus are in fact proclaimed in Gaudium et Spes". He does not delve into specifics, but merely contrasts the "critical reserve" toward modernity expressed by the 19th century popes with the far more optimistic outlook of the Council Fathers. Before making such wild claims as "the errors condemned in the Syllabus are in fact proclaimed in Gaudium et Spes", one should at least take the trouble to conduct a comparative examination of the two texts. Did Fr. Schmidberger undertake such an examination himself before asserting his claim?

  39. Tradmeister9:26 PM


    I used to think that the Second Vatican documents, however odd or unusual compared to the light of tradition, were reconcilable. When I kept hearing more and more flare ups and debates, I finally started a few years back to sit down and carefully read through line-by-line some of the key documents.

    I'm not trying to cause trouble or look for something to grumble about. Honest. The fact remains that I am completely convinced that there is a significant break from at least the traditional mind of the Church, if not doctrinally.

    Dignitatis Humanae is a far-reaching break with traditional thinking, and confronts us with the astonishing de facto implicit claim that in the area of church-state relations and religious toleration, the beliefs and values of many popes, and, at a minimum, the disciplinary ecclesial public law of the Church dating back who knows how far - all of which was grounded in the great thinking of Aquinas - is an abhorent affront to the dignity of man. And this holds, even assuming there has been no rupture of doctrinal thought, something that I do not concede.

    As troubling as DH is, that's not as bad as Unitatis Redintegratio, which by any reasonable read likely conflicts with the infallible universal ordinary magisterium on schismatics and heretics, not to mention Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctum, Leo XIII's Satis Congnitum, and Pius XI's Mortalium Animos.

    Even in areas where one can reasonably claim no doctrinal rupture, the mentality at work simply leaves one floored. That Sacrosanctum Concilium would applaud and pave the way for undefined and wide-reaching liturgical change for the alleged needs of our time and to do everything possible to foster unity with - let's be honest - schismatics and heretics - leaves me at a loss for words and my jaw metaphorically slamming unto the floor, and wondering how even an Archbishop Lefebvre could have supported such a thing in its original conciliar form.

    The only way I can see to truly reconcile all of this will be to distort and contort authoritative traditional teaching and/or the Second Vatican Council documents through masterful acrobatic use of relativism, contextualization, and deconstruction that will make the most post-modernist literature professor blush.

    If we're going to be honest and true, I simply see no way out of this other than to have either traditional teaching or Second Vatican Council teaching significantly damaged in the process. I hope that it's the latter, but I cannot be optimistic.

  40. Anonymous12:43 AM


    Obviously it is impossible to do justice to the issues that you've raised in this limited comment space. However, I believe that we should not despair of finding our way out of this apparent conundrum, nor are we bound to accept the hermeneutic of rupture (which our own intellectual pride wishes to impose upon us). I trust the Pope, I trust the Church, and, above all, I trust Our Lord. I also have a good resource to recommend to you. Ken Gurries' outstanding blog, Opuscula, is a goldmine of Thomistically grounded material in support of the hermeneutic of continuity. The thorny issues of religious freedom, ecumenism, and liturgy are all addressed in a reasonable and compelling manner:

  41. Look, wheat4paradise, I know that you are probably well-meaning but could you lay off the SSPX for a while? You constantly make a huge issue of their 'disobedience' and 'arrogance' and suchlike, but the chronic disobedience and monumental arrogance present in the 'mainstream' Church since Vatican II doesn't seem to bother you all that much.

    Could it be a case of straining gnats and passing camels?

  42. Tradmeister1:28 PM


    Thank you for the response, and the recommended material.

    In addition to reading SVC documents, I have also read through some of the scholarly material in defense of the council, including Kenneth Whitehead, James Likoudis, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Fr. William Most, Fr. Regis Scanlon, and Fr. Brian Harrison.

    While I do not question the piety and sincerity of these men, and they do make some good points along the way of their formulation of thinking, I do not find their central arguments in the key doctrinal areas under debate to be ultimately persuasive.

    While I need to go back and review the Mr. Gurries' material more closely, in taking a skim through the religious liberty material of his that you have recommended, I'm afraid I'm simply seeing more or less the same that I've seen from the others.

    As well as a few red flags. To quote Dr. John Rao, for instance, in making a case for the selective necessity, at times, to have a pluralist system to uphold the demands of God, while it is also known to those of us who try to follow Rao's work that he has condemned the 'pluralist beast' we currently live under in the United States, would seem to greatly undermine the apologetical effort at work here.

    But, again, in fairness, I do need to do a full careful read of the material you have recommended.

    I will read as best as I can. But, I'm not at all optimistic and will probably have to stand by my original post on this thread.

  43. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I will pray for Holy Mother Church to be restored and not compromised, as it has been 'rubber stamped' at VII.
    We can debate all we like; but prayer and fasting is most needed.

  44. Anonymous3:10 PM


    My strong feelings about the liberal demolition of doctrine and liturgy after the Council is on record. The arrogance of certain voices in the FSSPX milieu speaks for itself. I needn't belabor the point any further on the this thread.


    I understand where you're coming from. A year or two ago, no one could have convinced me that any reconciliation is possible between Traditional Catholicism and the Second Vatican Council.

  45. Cosmos4:43 PM

    Coservatives seem to ignore the fact that the problems in VII were often intended by a minority of the Council Fathers. They give the impression that the Fathers were immune to modernism and that the excesses in the application of the Council are solely the product of the subsequent distortions of outsiders. Therefore, they underplay the real problem with the Council text: it is, at best, ambiguous, and at worst, suggestive of heterodox ideas.

    However, so long as the text is open to an interpretation consistent with the Tradition on any level, I am not sure why a Traditionalists would have anything more to gripe if the ambiguities were ever removed through an offical Syllabus. Once the text was promulgated, it spoke for itself and was disconnected from its drafters. It had no "spirit," for good or evil. Rather, it was either good or bad and conveying the Tradition. Once it is celarly reconcilled with Tradition, there simply is no problem.

    So are some arguing that the text of VII is totally irreconcilable with Tradition, or are people just digging in their heels?

  46. To change the subject a bit, does anyone have any information on when the Holy Father will grant or acknowledge faculties for the FSSPX to absolve sins?

    I have heard all the FSSPX reasonings for Ecclesia Supplet and those against it.
    I have heard that Pope Benedict has privately said to Bishop Fellay that the Society may absolve sins.

    I have written my diocesan Ordinary asking him if I may go to an FSSPX priest for absolution [not heard from H.E.yet]

    I would just like to hear something official from the Holy See.

  47. Anonymous6:20 PM


    The problem is that the structures that have been erected in the Church since the Council would need to be dismantled in order to for a Syllabus to execute the traditional interpretation.

    Also, the more liberal interpretation of the Conciliar texts have been already enshrined into the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

    Take, what I think, is the greatest threat to the traditional Faith (because it endangers the priesthood): "lay collaborative ministry." Comb through the Code and try to disentangle that particular notion from the present life of the Church.

    In other words, the liberal interpretation of the Conciliar texts are already being lived within the everyday life of the Church; a syllabus would confirm this, and only tinker around the margins of the texts in order to provide it with an appearance of "hermeneutic continuity."

    Just my opinion.


  48. Anonymous7:25 PM


    The complexities that you mention serve to remind me how far all of this is above my pay grade. It's very easy for me to second guess the FSSPX, just as it is easy for others to second guess the Pope. It makes for very lively and interesting discussion, but in the end we all need to be reminded of our place -- and that place is on our knees.

  49. Concerning some of the measured controversies going on here (and 'measured' is a good thing) I'll merely defer to a mind greater than mine on such matters:

    "...not a few pages of the conciliar documents reek of the writings and ideas of Modernism--this can be seen above all in GS."

    Msgr. Gherardini

    What makes Gherardini significant (and he was referred to by Fr. Arnaud Rostand) is that he is "a Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas, a leading Roman theological journal." According to Chris Ferrara.

    So, this changes the gambit a bit.

  50. Anonymous11:48 PM


    Agreed. Humanly speaking, things look pretty dim. That's when Heaven, historically, has given hell it's biggest surprises.

    But make no mistake, in cleaning house this time around, Heaven has its work cut out as in no other time in Church history, and the magnitude and depth of the Modernist apostasy should not be minimized.


  51. Msgr. Gherardini argues that GS 22 renders Mk 16:16 "bogus". I disagree. Our Lord's words, taken in full (Mk 16:15-16), make very clear that those are condemned who reject the gospel after having it proclaimed to them. Thus, they cannot be described as "men of good will" according to GS 22 (it is important to note that GS 22 refers not to "all men", but to "all men of good will"). In the case of those men of good will who are invincibly ignorant of the Gospel, the grace of God works in mysterious ways. Archbishop Lefebvre himself admitted as much.

    A liberal reading of GS 22 renders Mk 16:16 bogus. A liberal reading is the wrong reading. Now, I hardly intend by this one example to dismiss the validity of Msgr. Gherardini's analysis of Vatican II. I'm merely engaging in the "much needed discussion" that he has opened.

  52. Anonymous9:17 PM

    I am aware there is now an Open Letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay being prepared.It will be sent to The Remnant newspaper.The letter will be calling for him to resign as Superior General of the Society St. Piua X.

  53. Anonymous12:46 AM


    "I am aware that there is an Open letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay being prepared. It will be sent to the Remnant newspaper. The letter will be calling for him to resign as Superior General of the society of St.(Pius)X."

    Given that the letter is going to be sent to the Remnant, would it be fair to assume that it will be written by the (always) unhappy Revisionists who are attached to the Society? I don't imagine, however, that Bp. Fellay will pay them any heed.

  54. "...The letter will be calling for him to resign as Superior General of the Society St. Piua X."

    and I just recieved a phone call from the chancery asking me to be the new Vicar General.


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