Rorate Caeli


OK, this must be said because it seems some people have read a different kind of interview than the one granted by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, to the Fraternity's own news agency (DICI) and to the website of the Fraternity's United States District: there has been no "collapse" of "the doctrinal discussions between the Vatican and the SSPX", as this Catholic Herald columnist (and others) seem to imply. Fellay simply stated that the round of doctrinal discussions that had been agreed by both parties is "coming to a conclusion". That is it. No "collapse", but a simple matter already foreseen in the calendar of discussions. 

If and when there is a "collapse", we will surely know it... 


  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I got that the Bishop said very clearly that the talks have come to a conclution.

    What is the fuzz?

  2. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Just another example of media bias instead of reporter integrity. He seems to be trolling as well: it sells papers.

  3. Agreed, no collapse.

    But -

    Potential negative: it would seem that all of these talks (totality, not just this round) are coming to a close (e.g. "we would do them again", Fellay - inference being that they are indeed all over, or at least will be soon; with the Beatification and Assisi the stumbling blocks).

    But -

    Potential positive: the syllabus of errors; Bishop Schneider has not been and surely will not be censured for calling for this action; he must surely have gleaned from an authoritative Roman source that it was safe to posit the quite remarkable viewpoint that it was "scarcely possible" to call another Council (even for 500 years); similarly, he must also have gleaned, perhaps from the same source, that it would be safe to posit the (verbatim) "request for a new Syllabus which would juxtapose the condemned errors and their orthodox interpretation".

    The talks haven't been wasted. And whilst it is depressing that they haven't borne such obvious fruit, it is not true, as some have suggested, to say there was no endgame.

    The endgame was surely to establish the extent to which Vatican II was the stumbling block. Moreover, the endgame was also to: determine the potential (if any) for its circumvention by those who would wish to do so; determine once and for all the lasting status of the Council "dogmatic v pastoral" (clearly the latter); and finally to determine whether there is any opportunity for a clarification instrument.

    The syllabus call is clearly that. His Holiness hasn't rebuked Bishop Schneider. At the same time His Holiness has again re-iterated the precise light of tradition in which the Council should be viewed. Yet he's also nodded implicitly towards key texts like Iota Unum (not insignificant). There's room to move within all that.

    Things are moving slowly and surely.

    It surely all rests on the call for a debate about a syllabus. The SSPX will undoubtedly be invited to participate in such a debate. Unthinkable that it wouldn't be.

    But will there be a "debate"?

    Yes. And it will be signal.

  4. Has Bishop Fellay not made it clear that the talks have not come to fruition, that is, the conversion of the Roman authorities to the Catholic Faith?

  5. No, he hasn't. And he did not use the word "conversion" at any moment of the interview.


  6. Similarly, he did not say that the talks have resulted in the conversion of the SSPX authorities to the Catholic Faith. (Two can play that game, Fra Anthony.)

  7. The Catholic Herald's Mr. Oddie, by the way, seems singularly ignorant of and ill-prepared to talk about matters pertaining to the SSPX.

  8. Kathleen1:57 PM

    On a very good day the Catholic Herald should be read with a handful of salt ready.

    There is a certain affection for smells and bells and disdain for tackiness and overt liberalism among their writers that can at times lead one to assume that there is more common ground than is in fact the case.

    At the same time an extreme hostility towards the SSPX and others that staunchly defend a restoration of full orthodoxy in the Church is at a constant simmer and bursts through regularily.

  9. The article by William Oddie is appalling and full of half truths. Such shoddy journalism to say the least.

    And Fr. Zed would have us belive that the Catholic Herald is Britain's "best" weekly Catholic newspaper!

  10. I think the recent horrific acts of Pope Benedict XVI (e.g., calling of Assisi III, beatification of Pope John Paul II) should make it abundantly clear that the current Pontiff is still a man of Vatican II. Therefore, he has not accepted the Catholic understanding of the errors of Vatican II.

  11. The article by William Oddie is appalling and full of half truths. Such shoddy journalism to say the least.

    In his defense, Oddie did not write an "article" in the sense of a straight news report -- he wrote an opinion column. Still, opinions need to be grounded in facts and understanding, and his column is not.

  12. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Br. Anthony, I think it might best be said that he has not accepted the "understanding of some Catholics" rather than the "Catholic understanding."

  13. Anonymous4:06 PM

    In your opinion, Fra Anthony.

  14. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Br. Anthony, it is the Magesterium of the Catholic Church (ie. The Roman Authority) who teach how the Council is to be understood and applied. Not, SSPX nor any individual for that matter...

    Also, regarding Ven. JPII's Beatification... did not Almighty God cure a french nun through the late Pontiff's intercession? How are we to dare suggest that this beatification could be a mistake when God has confirmed it with a miracle?

    Your stance is rather hard... slow down.

  15. I just pray that the least that will come out of these discussions is that the Holy Father will acknowledge or give, officially, permission for the FSSPX priests to absolve sins and witness marriages.
    After all thousands go to Society confessions weekly and dozens get married by their priests each month.

  16. Anonymous5:00 PM

    New Catholic and Jordanes, thnak you for this: it badly needed saying.

    Perhaps someone will drop the Catholic Herald a line/clue.

    --Benedict Ambrose

  17. Anonymous6:22 PM

    To say the least, the miracle has been "rushed" out to green light his beatification... Unfortunately, many serious and less passionate search should be done before rushing someone's rise to the altars, particularly when there are abundant examples of a not positive behaviour from a candidate.

  18. Dear hearts, what if there is a syllabus of errors, and you are on it? In any case, if there has been no 'movement' in Rome during these talks, are you quite sure you want to see what would come out of Rome in a new syllabus? Do you wish for a new Council, as well? Bishop Fellay said at Kansas City last October that there were three issues most important on the table: religious freedom; ecumenism; and collegiality. The Syllabus would not touch, or would not touch faithfully, on the truth in those topics. So perhaps it would be well to avoid a definitive statement that could potentially reinforce the Council all in the wrong direction and itself have to be undone.

    Rome hasn't censured Schneider? That would prove--what?

  19. Anonymous7:02 PM

    I agree with our moderators here that thre has been no collapse. However, the reason for the misinterpretation on the part of the journalist in question is a lack of knowledge about the context of the discussions. It can be inferred from Bishop Fellay's remarks that no significant progress has been made on doctrine and there is no prospect for doctrinal agreement on anything substantial. But we expected that all along.

    The real question is somewhat different and it is this: after the discussions have ended, what will Rome conclude in regard to the S.S.P.X.? The Pope could find that the Society is Catholic and this might have various juridical effects; also, it might enable the Pope to act in certain juridical ways, now that we also know that the T.L.M. was never abrogated.

    Complete agreement with the curia on everything is not required, necessarily, in order to make one a Catholic. Last year, the Holy See reconciled the last group of Feeneyites, the one in New Hampshire. Most of us here disagree with the Feeneyites but that is not the question. The question is whether or not said Feeneyites hold a position which is possible for Catholics to hold. Clearly, they do.

    I don't mean to put the S.S.P.X in the same category as the Feeneyites. After all, the Society only holds and professes what Holy Church has always held and professed before and, in my view also since, Vatican II. But then the Feeneyites would make the same claim.

    In conclusion, the Pope could indeed fail to agree with the Society on a number of items and yet still find it Catholic and, as a result, lift the suppression of 1975 and the suspensions of 1976; or he might not go quite so far but still recognise its faculties, and so forth.

    Let's not be fooled by the journalists. They are the only class of people on earth who are expert at nothing.


  20. Anonymous7:14 PM

    Anon. 16.23:

    Like others here, you miss the point of beatifications and canonisations. They are not enterprises to seek out and identify all the saints. If they were, the Congregation for their Causes would be the largest office in the curia by far, since all our relatives who died in the state of grace are saints once they reach Heaven.

    The purpose of canonisation is to identify particularly good saints as models of emulation for our behaviour. so the quesion is not whether or not John Paul II is a saint. I think that he probably is, and I have no problem acknowleding that he is, although I would not want to do so openly for fear of suggestion to others that his actions as pope were laudatory.

    The question is whether or not John Paul II was a model as pope or in some other capacity. Given the huge problems he failed to address during his pontificate and major errors, such as World Youth Days and Assisi 1986, I think that any claim for him is seriously mistaken. Canonisation should not become a popularity contest, especially for Polish or any other nationalists. That would be completely wrong. Saints are not pop stars or showmen who are voted into Church recognition by crowds of adoring nincompoops.

    Whatever the Church's decision of John Paul II, I definitely will not be asking for his prayers for anything; nor will I acknowledge him with the title Blessed or Saint, while being careful not to deny such titles. His cause should be abandoned right now and that of Ven. Pius XII should be continued in earnest. The same can be urged in the case of Pope John XXIII.


  21. Anonymous7:18 PM

    While New Catholic is correct about the term 'conversion' in regard to Bishop Fellay, I'm willing to bet that certain other Society authorities would not hesitate to use the term, and that includes at least two of its bishops, Williamson not being the one we need consider.


  22. Anonymous7:35 PM


    I would read Fr. Zed with a grain of salt too. He is a very kind and wonderful semi-traditionalist who does not know what the term 'literal' means and does not realise that sacral English and conversational English are equally literal and that the former is in no way archaic except when tranferred to conversational use. But that is another matter. He does have very lovely pictures of little birdies and pasta dishes on his blog, however, and on more serious note, his blog is a very sound source of information about the traditionalist movement throughout the world.


  23. Most of the media reports about The Confraternity are usually rubbish. Even more risible are reports by NO sources which are often worse than the secular.

  24. The SSPX will never return to the Magisterium until the
    Church "admits it was wrong and everything since Vatican II is wrong".

    Well they must have read something I never have. I thought the Church was under the protection of the Holy Spirit which would prevent serious errors from happening? I don't agree with everything from Vatican II however I can't turn my back on it either.

    The SSPX have gotten used to no authority other than their own and I believe they like it like that.
    And by the way I love all things traditional.

  25. Anonymous3:23 AM

    The purpose of canonisation is to identify particularly good saints as models of emulation for our behaviour.

    Hmmm... I think the more primary reason for canonisation is so that we will seek the intercession of this saint with confidence. Isn't it a bit Protestant to treat the saints as "role models" (which of course they are) rather than as powerful intercessors?

  26. John McFarland3:49 AM

    Dear New Catholic,

    Well, it is certainly true that the talks have not "collapsed."

    But the more important point is that they show no signs of bearing fruit.

    The SSPX's position has been clear right along. They have diplomatically avoided saying as much in as many words, but the conversion of the Vatican to the traditional doctrine of the Church -- which is the only doctrine of the Church -- is their aim; and there is not a hint of a hint that anything like that is happening.

    As regards the Vatican, no one seems to have noticed the utter silence regarding its reaction to the discussions. This is truly remarkable, since the Vatican usually is a rumor mill second only to Washington, D.C.

    Not a squeak out of any of the Vaticanologists about the reaction of the pope's representatives to what the SSPX representatives had to say.

    My own guess is that the Vatican is saying nothing because it has nothing to say. The SSPX has 1,930 years of the Church on its side; the Vatican has fewer than fifty, most of it denounced in advance by the Popes from the French Revolution until the Vatican Revolution.

    What the hermeneutic of reform and continuity boils down to is: what the Pope says, goes -- for conservatives and traditionalists, that is.

    The liberals can do as they please, because they are part of the family, and it is their job to lead the Church to the further accommodations to the world that will be demanded of it in the future.

    Those who stand with the first 1930 years of the Church are not part of the family, except for those who think they can have the first 1,930 years and still be on good terms with the Vatican. They are allowed a few crumbs from the table, and it's not surprising that the Vatican sees no reason to give them more: they make up the difference with wishful thinking, and consider themselves well fed.

  27. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Anon. 3.23:

    I never used the ugly term 'role model' but I don't see how your point contradicts the one I made. Why do you think the Church has patrons for countries, provinces, professions, religious institutes (e.g. holy founders and foundresses), trades, for students and for scholars, and for particular causes? They are meant to be models for emulation. Jesus told us to Follow Him. Canonisation marks those who followed Him in striking ways. By following them, we follow Him.

    John Paul II was hardly a model pope; rather, he was the pope of Assisi III, the World Youth Day scandals, the showman pope and the rockstar pope. he was the pope who failed to protect children from sexual predators in the priesthood. A saint he might very well be but his life was not a model for us to follow, and his papacy was a trail of mistakes and blunders, howsoever better it may have been than that of Paul VI. Sorry but he was not even in the same universe as Pope St. Pius X. There is a man whose "intercession" all his successors should seek--as should we all.


  28. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Mr. Perkins:

    Your analysis and subsequent remarks on this thread reflect your consistent cogency.

    Thank you.


  29. Anonymous1:35 AM


    "The SSPX have gotten used to no authority other than their own and I believe they like it like that."

    Good point and quite true.


  30. Anonymous5:48 PM

    And yet, if you think about it they are more obedient in general than the liberal folks. Just more honest about what they think. Sort of like the parable of the son who refuses to go out to the vineyard but later does. The other say they will but do not go.

  31. Anonymous9:12 PM

    Anon 17:48

    As long as it suits them. And in this, they differ not from their liberal counterparts.


  32. Delphina said:

    "As long as it suits them. And in this, they differ not from their liberal counterparts."

    Oh, my goodness how very mistaken you are. Everything this Order has sacrificed has been for the "good of the WHOLE Church." They could have had permission a long time ago to say the True Mass in their Chapels only and been APPROVED but they prayed that the Holy Father would "free" the True Mass for the WHOLE Church and all her Priests.

    Yes, the Liberals of the Church do what they want and did... under the Papacy of Pope John Paul II (may his soul rest in peace) and committed heinous homosexual acts against many a young boy - but for the good of the WHOLE Church??!!


    For centuries beeswax
    In the sanctuary reigned
    Our sacred purpose
    From the first ordained.

    Producing honeycombs
    All that, we handle --
    Though our sacred purpose
    The Holy Mass candle.

    But at the last council
    Of the great Church bee
    Man turned to man
    Birthed sterility.

    Graces for fruits
    Crops and offspring
    Schools, churches shut --
    Can’t pollinate a thing

    Until man again
    On His altars lets towers --
    Candles of beeswax
    Sacred purpose…
    …all ours!

  33. Anonymous1:42 AM

    Long Skirts

    Sorry, but I do not share your view of the SSPX. If they were so concerned about the good of the whole Church, they would be back in Holy Mother Church where they belong. And if they do not return soon, they will not come back at all.


  34. Anonymous9:59 AM

    I have to say that Delphina does have a point about her comment:

    "And if they do not return soon, they will not come back at all.

    People we are facing difficult times, let's pray harder.

  35. Anonymous12:12 PM

    With all due respect Delphina, the disobedience of the SSPX is qualitatively different from the "liberal" dissenters' protestations.

    The SSPX is simply motivated by a desire to adhere to Tradition. It is more difficult to pin down liberals' motivations unless it is the claim to have the right to be ones own magisterium in matters concerning faith and morals.

    While the SSPX endeavors to seek the good of souls, their opponents seemingly endorse any effort to remake the Church in their own personal image.

    I would offer liturgical practices favored by each side. The SSPX adheres to a well tested, centuries old disciplined style of community worship. The other side favors an eclectic, some would say, chaotic approach which often strays into schismatic and even sacrilegious practices. Many liberal Catholics also reject core Catholic dogmas concerning the Eucharist, support (practice) abortion, same sex marriage etc.,. In most surveys their rate of dissent from Catholic moral teachings is often more extreme than that which prevails even among non-Catholics.

    It is no wonder many of us sympathize with the SSPX. We are not blind. We can see: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

  36. Anonymous1:29 PM


    I have never assisted at Mass at any SSPX chapel, but my viewpoint differs from yours.

    The SSPX has not left the Church. They have refused to suffer 45 years of wide-ranging contradictions proffered by ecclesiastical authority which keeps denying they exist. Theirs in not a matter of denying the authority of the Church, but a matter of conscience based resistance to theological, philosophical and liturgical alterations that interrupt and defy centuries of organic development. Without this stance by the SSPX, the revolution within the Church would have nearly accomplished what Cranmer and Company did in England 500 years ago (and in the same manner it accomplished them: the raw power of unchallenged authority).

    There is such a huge difference between denying the legitimacy of Catholic authority and refusing to follow because of victorious subversives who exercise it.

    You, of course, will reply: "By what authority has any Catholic to make that judgment?" My response: conscience. To which you could reply: "How is that exercise of conscience any different from, say, the dissenters from Humanae Vitae?" A vast difference: the birth control dissenters were trying to overturn 2000 years of Catholic teaching; you would not dispute this.

    The SSPX and those of us who support their stance of resistance do so because of our desire to preserve the graced development of Catholic teaching. We do not deny papal authority; on the contrary, we want papal authority to be exercised in manner which has always marked its mandate: to hand on what has been received. There's the rub.

    But can you enter the dioceses of Albany (Hubbard), or Rochester (Clarke), or Los Angeles (Mahoney) or Saginaw (post-Untener), Milwaukee (post-Weakland) -- the list could go on at depressing length -- and say with a straight face that those dioceses have preserved the Catholic Faith? What did these illustrious bishops use to water down the Faith but Conciliar and post-Conciliar documents emanating from Rome?

    Not only were these bishops appointed by the Holy See, but their litany of crimes against the Faith were and are tolerated without interruption by the same authority. If there's been a hermeneutic of rupture, who's responsible for promoting it, defending it or tolerating it but the Holy See itself?

    There is no such thing as blind obedience in Catholicism (as there is no such thing as blind faith). It is because those who constitute the Magisterium of the Church must respect the intellect and are duty bound to relieve the Catholic soul of the tension of any appearance of contradiction that the SSPX can say with St. John Henry Newman (as he ends the “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk”:

    “I add one remark. Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink—to the Pope, if you please,—still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”


  37. Anonymous1:53 PM

    I do not formally identify with SSPX nor have an affiliation with their local chapel. I do have my share of differences with them.

    Having said that, my estimation of them has risen greatly in the past couple of years. No, I do not believe they are fundamentally in this for themselves. I think they would love, in principle, to return, but will only do so with a fully restored Church to the fullness of Tradition. Can't say that I totally blame them. If they don't come back at all, I have little doubt it will be because of the Vatican.

    I'm glad SSPX exists, and I'm glad they're holding out.

  38. Giles you articulated what the SSPX Roman Catholic (they never left the Church, BTW) Bishops and Priests have been doing for the last 40 years beautifully!

    and as St. John Henry Newman said:

    "...I shall drink—to the Pope, if you please,—still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”

    ...and as Oscar Wilde said after his conversion "I am not a Catholic but a VIOLENT Papist!"

  39. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Gile and Long-Skirts: Excellent!

  40. Anonymous5:47 PM

    Giles et als

    No need to feed me the lines. I've been where you are.

    We will just have to agree to disagree, and we all are entitled to an opinion, aren't we?

    Only in Eternity will we know all the answers.


  41. Anonymous7:47 PM


    I'd say that, given your tone, you're not free of the contradictions either -- regardless of where you've been or where you are now.


  42. Anonymous8:17 PM

    My tone?


  43. Delphina said:

    "...the SSPX. If they were so concerned about the good of the whole Church, they would be back in Holy Mother Church where they belong"

    To say that the SSPX is not in our Holy Mother the Church is a very false statement.


    No hysterics
    For the clerics
    Lives for you

    And lead the way
    At Mass each day
    Like bull-dogs
    Proud the few

    Of course there’s
    Other soldiers
    With orders
    Valid too

    But at the gate
    To separate
    St. Pie
    Stands first in view

    And yes today
    Nice people say,
    “We've ours let
    Others try.”

    But I and mine
    Informed aligned…
    St. Pie is

  44. Anonymous8:58 PM

    Come on people I respect the SSPX but some of you do get very aggressive if anyone dares to say anything against them.

    The SSPX are great and all but not infallable. but think some of you need to get a grip of your emotions when defending the SSPX.

    It is actually some of you who need to watch your tone when attacking or responding to anyone who dares to mention anything against the SSPX.

    Moderators on this blog sometimes allow the passionate defenders of the SSPX bullying of others who express their opinions.

  45. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Anonymous 20:58

    I think any fair observer would say that after I made the effort to articulate a thorough post (whether you agree with it or not), that a remark like Delphina's:

    "No need to feed me the lines."

    conveys a tone of negativity, n'est ce pas? That was the purpose of my comment. He (she) further implied that I somehow suggested that I might think he/she had no right to his/her opinion. Nothing in my long post in any way asserted otherwise. In fact, the purpose of the long post was to engage in a thoughtful discussion, not to be blown off with the comment, "No need to feed me the lines.", as if they were somehow prepackaged.

    And I take the time to make this post in an effort to assure you that I'm here to learn through the exchange of ideas, and for no other reason.

    I realize that we've all been scarred in the battle, but let's attempt to avoid animus.



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