Rorate Caeli

Interview with Fr. Alain Lorans SSPX

(Originally published Sept. 21, 2011):

Famille Chrétienne has published an interview with Fr. Alain Lorans SSPX, the director of the Society's press bureau, on the prospects of a reconciliation between the Vatican and the SSPX.

No time for a translation now, but Mr. Google Translate's version is quite clear.

Nothing here that is new, or unknown to those who follow these matters closely.

UPDATE: DICI has just published an English translation of the interview:

Fr. Lorans, spokesman of the SSPX, speaks of the Roman press release

Second Sunday of September 2011:
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Are we moving towards the end of a schism, the reconciliation between the heirs of Archbishop Lefebvre and Rome? Today it seems as if the ball in the Society of St. Pius X’s court.

Is this a historical moment or is it a mere rebound?

Fr. Alains Lorans: This is a step. After the preliminaries which Bishop Fellay asked from the Holy Father on the traditional Mass, the canonical sanctions against the bishops of the Society, the doctrinal meetings on the Second Vatican Council, one could foresee future perspectives. This was done on September 14. It is worth noting the great candor of the theologians of the Society during these meetings in which they made very clear the doctrinal difficulties presented by some conciliar texts. This frankness did not prevent the new step. Obviously, Rome knows exactly our positions, and it is with this clear knowledge that Cardinal Levada presented this doctrinal preamble to Bishop Fellay.

Will the Society follow Bishop Fellay if he gives his agreement to this preamble?

An agreement with Rome would solve the canonical situation of the Society of St. Pius X. But this is not as important as to give back to Tradition—often scorned, or persecuted for the last forty years—its right of existence within the Church. This process already began with the motu proprio Summorum pontificum which declared that the traditional Mass had never been abrogated. If, after the thorough reading which Rome wants him to have, Bishop Fellay may give his agreement, the Society will certainly be favorable to it.

What is the legitimate margin of debate around the texts of Vatican II?

This is the question! The doctrinal preamble being confidential, I can add nothing to the official press release: “leaving open to a legitimate discussion the theological study and explanation of expressions or particular formulations present in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and of the magisterium which followed.

Some explain this to mean that the points of contention in the Council could be open to discussion without putting into question the adherence to the Church: this would be to recognize that these litigious texts do not require the adhesion demanded for dogmas.

Others insist on the fact that this doctrinal preamble—which is not public, mind you—would demand the respect of the entire Council, of its authenticity and of the legitimacy of its teaching. For them… the mere possibility of a discussion of Vatican II would appear a little much…

What we can see is a clear difference between the press release of Sept 14, 2011 and the note dictated by the Secretary of State of February 4, 2009 which was saying: “The indispensible condition for a future recognition of the Society of St. Pius X is the full acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and of the magisterium of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself.”

Between these declarations, there are two years of theological discussion which allowed to “dig out and clarify the doctrinal problems” in the words of Bishop Fellay. Has there been an evolution of Rome between 2009 and 2011? Has the exposition of the theologians of the Society contributed to it? I leave it to you to reply.


  1. Gratias5:22 AM

    Are the SSPX teasers?

  2. After having been cast out of the Church into the desert and after have been continually castigated that they loved a Mass that was not permitted, the Church, after forty years, told the SSPX,"We were just kidding. The Mass you love is permitted" and so I see no reason why The SSPX would not trust the Church which will order them not to publicly criticise a Pastoral Council that taught no new binding Doctrine.

    I mean, it is all perfectly rational.

  3. Joe B3:11 PM

    It's hard for me to measure the importance of the documents of VII to this matter. Much seems to be made of this on both sides, but is this really critical?

    SSPX was formed not because of VII matters, but immediately because priests could no longer find an acceptably traditional seminary, and additionally shortly thereafter because the new anti-traditional mass was going to be forced upon them. But the new mass was not the product of VII documents (it was coming anyway), and the falling away of the seminaries was already a fact. SSPX's new seminary doesn't appear to have been an issue to Rome, nor was the establishment of the order nor even the appointment of a new bishop. The critical issue seems to have been SSPX objections to the Novus Ordo mass, so Rome used the issue of the consecration of bishops as a bargaining chip to undermine that resistance, and when SSPX failed to conform, Rome pulled the trigger. Therefore, I would think the critical issue is the strength of the wall of separation between SSPX and the Novus Ordo in particular, SSPX's seminary apparently always having been "safe". VII is like Assisi and several other issues - essential for resolution, but not the key issues concerning Rome's recent overture. Yet the discussion seems fixated on the documents of VII. But even if VII had never occurred or if the controversial documents had never been written or promulgated, SSPX would still be here and still be ostracized because of the Novus Ordo.

    So I think theological disagreements could be worked on from the inside, so to say, as long as priestly formation and the wall of separation between tradition and modernism can be trusted. In fact, that's what makes Rome's offer so astounding to me - they must know SSPX will function to nullify virtually all the effects of VII, yet they are being invited "in" to do it!

    But much water has passed under the bridge since the beginnings of SSPX, and as has been said elsewhere, the Devil is in the details, so I cast my trust towards Bishop Fellay's judgement concerning the strength of that wall of separation. I just don't think the documents of VII should be the centerpiece of the matter.

  4. Anonymous6:20 AM

    All I know is that I love the Mass, and if you would love it too, what a wonderful world it would be!

    Sometimes we have to jump in both feet forward. We must all help Benedict XVI save the Church and Western civilization fom the evil that surrounds us. Please join us in the trenches.

  5. Anonymous11:30 PM


    We need you FSSPX there is 1.1 BILLION of us Catholics, but we need you INSIDE the Church NOT OUT ON YOU OWN DOING YOUR OWN THING.

  6. Anonymous5:46 AM

    Anonymous 23:30:

    1.When did the SSPX get out of the Church?

    2.Do you mean by upholding Tradition they are doing their own thing?

    A.M. LaPietra

  7. Anonymous8:42 AM

    A.M. LaPietra,

    Let's not get into this.

    The reality is that yes, they are outside the Church, that is why the Pope has given them a Doctrinal Preamble for them to study and decide if they want to come back into full communion with the Church.

    Until then, the priests of the FSSPX and it's members are still excommunicated and yes, sadly thier four bishops even though their excommunication was lift it, allow me to quote Pope Benedict XVI": "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 if this is not a division of some sort then why are we having this discussion???

    I don't attack the FSSPX I don't want the members of the FSSPX attacking me or questioning what to me is clear as daylight, the FSSPX is not in full communion with Rome.

    I pray it all works out like I have said before this situation needs to be clarified for the good of HOLY MOTHER CHURCH.

    I have also said before if the FSSPX is concern with the work of saving souls for Our Lord Jesus Christ, well there is 1.1 BILLION of us in the Church, with this many people I think they've got work to do, but it would be more productive if they come back to Church.

  8. Anonymous11:29 AM

    A.M. LaPietra,

    Let's not get into this.

    The FSSPX might not think they left the Church but the reality is that their bishops were excommnunicated since 1988 and it was until 2009 that Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications.

    The priests of the Society of FSSPX even though are validly ordained, they are suspended a divinis.

    Tell me if there is not a division then why has the Pope handed down the FSSPX a Doctrinal Preamble???

    If the FSSPX want to work for the salvation of souls for Our Lord Jesus Christ, then I believe they should do it INSIDE the Church.

    The vineyard of 1.1 Billion Catholics who are faithful to Rome, and who would appreciate attending their Masses without the guilt or the sense of insecurity that they are committing a sin.

    I hope I explain myself and yes, when I say doing their own thing it is true, or are you going to tell me that Rome has a say in the fraternity chapels or in how the Society runs itself??

    It is only honest to admit that yes, the FSSPX has been divided from the Church, and as Pope Benedict XVI put it:

    "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."

  9. Anonymous1:03 PM

    I don't remember the Anglicans being formed in their new ordinariates ever being given a doctrinal preamble to sign.

  10. Wasn't there a formal acceptance of the Catechism when these former Anglicans approached the Church requesting admission?

  11. Tradical12:38 PM

    Dear Anonymous 23:30,



    "The reality is that yes, they are outside the Church"

    Constitutes an attack the FSSPX since you are implicitly accusing them, and by extension the laity who seek the sacraments from them, of schism and heresy in very few words.

    1. The Pope's statement does not say they are outside the Church.
    2. You are contradicting statements made by Cardinal Hoyos when he was in charge of the PCED.

    If you didn't want to 'get into this' - then why did you bring it up?

  12. Tradical12:43 PM

    Dear Anon 08:42
    Until then, the priests of the FSSPX and it's members are still excommunicated and yes, sadly thier four bishops even though their excommunication was lift it,

    How can the four bishops be 'excommunicated' when their 'excommunication' was lifted and the entire decree of excommunication declared void?

  13. Anonymous2:26 PM

    To Traditionalist anything one says about the SSPX that is not in agreement with them, is an attack to the SSPX.


  14. Anonymous3:06 PM

    I guess then their priests supended a divinis, means nothing to you.

    “The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but suspended, that is prohibited from exercising their priestly functions because they are not properly incardinated in a diocese of religious institute in full communion with the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 265)

    Now to me personally the SSPX priests are not fully part of the Church until the Church gives the OK to attend their chapels and receive thier sacraments without any kind of warnings or restrictions.

    You go ahead and think whatever you want but the reality is that if they are part of the Church, then why did the Pope handed them a ultimatum to come back to the Church then???


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