Rorate Caeli

For the record: a decision before summer?

For the record of events, an excerpt of the dispatch published by French Rome-based religious news agency I.Media on Feb. 20:

A decision on the Fraternity of Saint Pius X taken before summer?

Antoine Marie Izoard, I.MEDIA Agency

Rome, February 20, (Apic). The matter of a return to full communion with the Catholic Church of the Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX [SSPX]) is "in the Pope's hands", sources close to the dossier revealed to I.Media on February 20, 2012. Now that the phase of discussions with the Lefebvrists is over, Benedict XVI should shortly pronounce a final judgment to put an end, "before summer", to the discussions held since 2009 with the Society separated from Rome.

After having studied the response of the Society of Saint Pius X to the "doctrinal preamble", that had been handed to them at mid-September 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith now awaits the decision of Benedict XVI. "The stage of study and discussion is over, and we have reached the moment for decisions," it is indicated in the Vatican, underlining that, "all is currently in the hands of the Pope, who should deliver a final opinion."


  1. Ceolfrid of Dealganburg12:15 PM

    Let us pray that the Holy Ghost will inspire the Holy Father to take the right decision for the right reason.

  2. A re-integration of the SSPX into the lifeblood of the Church would be an adrenaline shot and medicine to her deformed praxis. Our Pope realizes that.

  3. A canonical agreement without a doctrinal resolution could spell a weakening of the resistance against Modernism.

  4. This is a very personal opinion, but I believe we should avoid rediscussing the same matters over and over. Let us pray and do penance: I trust the Lord will do what is best for His Church. His Mother expects our love through the Roses we send up to her asking her for her protection over the Mystical Body.


  5. A canonical recongnition must happen and it must happen now for the sake of the Society and the Church.

    The fact that it is now in the Holy Father's hands is profound. It is not his decision.

    No more delay and no more debate.

    The house is on fire and some of the children want to stay outside and not help their father put it out. This is no longer acceptable.

    Let His will be done.

  6. Brian1:09 PM

    Let us pray that the Holy Ghost will inspire the Holy Father to take the right decision for the right reason.

    And that the SSPX will be inspired to do the same.

  7. Andrew1:19 PM

    I hope that there will be an ordinariate formed for traditional Catholics. That would solve so many problems and give traditional Catholics their cannonical rights.

    I do wonder what will become of Bishop Williamson. He has been laying low lately, but I think he is a liablility to the traditionalist cause.

  8. Be serious. Three-quarters of the Society is perfectly content with things as they are; they answer to no one, serve a tiny flock, and look like a cross between the Old Believers in Russia and the Reformed Presbyterians in the States.

  9. Tradical1:42 PM

    Hi Tom,

    Was the 'n' of your survey of SSPX adherents high enough to support statistical significance.

    I doubt it.

    Perhaps you should have a look through your Johari window again, you might be surprised as what you see.

  10. Tradical1:43 PM

    New Catholic,

    Well written and taken to heart!

  11. Is the fox guarding the hen-house? We shall see. The remarks of Cardinal Ricard on this matter are not encouraging. He says the Pope is through making accommodations for the FSSPX. Only prayers and sacrifices will turn the tide.

  12. The re-integration of SSPX to the Papacy could not come at a more important time in history.
    The spin from the radical feminist machine on Washington Journal by Eleanor Schmiel this morning was evident. It becomes obvious that the White House planning is to twist the debate from religious liberty to 'women's rights.' There could not be a more poignant moment to tell the world that we demand our rights to believe in our Pope in union with our bishops. The believing Catholic has become a dismissive element in Western society. A 'Thomas Moore' time-frame is upon us. There will be no avoiding the cross-road.

    Michael F Brennan
    St Petersburg, Fl

    St Petersburg, Florida

  13. Gregorian Mass2:27 PM

    I will continue tosay prayers that the SSPX will re-enter the Church in full communion and that this sad chapter in the history of the Church can be concluded to some degree. The SSPX can do more from within the Vatican walls than on the outside..They have gone as far as they can in their current structure. Not accepting whatever the Holy Father proposes could set them back and cause tremendous harm to the Faithful. Pray for a fair, balanced agreement to be reached that benefits the Faithful, the SSPX, the Holy Father and the whole Church. This is surely one of the defining moments in the Pope's Pontificate. Pray to give him strength.

  14. New Catholic,

    Thank you. I could not agree more.

  15. SSPX Supporter2:46 PM

    I have heard several SSPX priests say that things are certainly improving under Benedict, but very slowly, and that there are not enough good bishops in the world to allow them to operate as part of the mainstream. As a result, it would be better to wait until quite a few more good bishops are appointed before doing the deal. I understand the argument. Even with a super-duper personal prelature it will in effect be very difficult for the SSPX in the present climate.

    HOWEVER, against that is the fact that Benedict will not be with us for ever, and they are very unlikely to get as good a deal from any successor. It is clear that Benedict really desires to bring this to a happy conclusion. Therefore, rather than waiting until things improve, maybe the SSPX should jump in and help things to improve.

    EITHER WAY there are risks for the SSPX. I'm for the second option. Trust in God, not man.

  16. Niantic2:50 PM

    I agree with Gregorian Mass' sentiments. We must pray, and pray for our Holy Father. May God's Will be done. Pray too for Bishop Fellay and the Society. The Church desperately needs them.

  17. GQ Rep3:17 PM

    A priest friend of mine who is the same age as myself (31) and he works in Rome in a seminary run by a new religious Order stated that many young priests (under 50), believe that the Pope knows that much that came from Vatican II is a disaster, and has been a disaster for the Church. They believe that he is very sympathetic to the SSPX, and would welcome them back into the Church regardless of Vatican II. But he has to appease the die-hard radicals who are dying off fast, but they represent the Vatican II generation. These include some Cardinals in the Vatican, many bishops, and elderly priests.
    He hesitates because he is afraid of them. Though they are all very aged, they are still very vocal, and could unleash alot of trouble.
    Principle among them in the Vatican are Cardinals Sodano,84, Re,78, Martino,80, Bertone,77, Kasper,79, and Arinze,79, Sandri,69, and Tauran,69, and last but not least, Piero Marini,70.
    Most bishops and priests who oppose the Pope are likewise within this age bracket.
    My priest friend says that the liberals in the Curia who flourished under John Paul II are now all old men who know that the direction of the Church is no longer in their favor....and they won't go without a fight.

    Pray for the Pope that he surprises the Church by welcoming back the SSPX without any definitions of loyalty to Vatican II...and also that the Pope cleans house of these people.

    He has tried to do the best for Catholic tradition, but has to accomodate the liberals. It's a dangerous balancing act.

    Pray for the Pope....the SSPX will be the greatest blessing for the "New Evangelization".

  18. Let us pray the Holy Father lives long enough to at least acknowledge or grant faculties to the FSSPX to absolve sins and witness marriages.

  19. Steve3:48 PM

    It would be nice to get a ruling before the Three Days of Darkness!

  20. "But he has to appease the die-hard radicals who are dying off fast"

    The Holy Father has the final word.

    What he says goes no matter what others may say.

  21. "But he has to appease the die-hard radicals who are dying off fast"

    Oh, really? If only things were that simple.

    All the more reason why we need the SSPX in the Church. The battle versus modernism has yet to reach its peak.

  22. Ora et Labora9:05 PM


    V: Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

    R: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

    V: Fiat manus tua super virum dexterae tuae

    R: Et super filium hominis quem confirmasti tibi

    Oremus. Deus, ómnium fidélium pastor et rector, fámulum tuum Benedíctum, quem pastórem Ecclésiæ tuæ præésse voluísti, propítius réspice: da ei, quæesumus, verbo et exémplo, quibus præest, profícere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi crédito, pervéniat sempitérnam. Per Christum, Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

    V: Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.

    R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

    V: May Thy hand be ever upon the man of Thy right hand.

    R: And upon the son of man whom Thou hast confirmed unto thee.

    Let us Pray. O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    This are very difficult times for our Pope Benedict XVI and for those of us who do our best to be faithful to our Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    Mary Help of Christians pray for us!

  23. Thy Will Be Done9:31 PM

    Let us pray the daily Holy Rosary and offer fervent Communions for God's Will to be done and may each of you have a fruitful Lent!

  24. God be with the Holy Pontiff and the holy priests of the SSPX.

  25. Confusius12:14 AM

    Prayers of petition are mightily fortified by fasting, penance and almsgiving. A good outcome to this situation between Rome and the SSPX would be a good intention for all pious Catholics to cultivate this Lent. God bless the Pope and God bless the SSPX

  26. If the final decision should be available on summer then I fear that the doctrinal discussion about Vatican II (clarifying Vatican II decrees) isn't going to happen.

    The SSPX would have their canonical structure and their opinion regarding Vatican II would be label as tolerated opinion verses the many liberal interpretation of Vatican II out there.

    I understand that saving SSPX souls is more important than any doctrinal clarification of Vatican II (which itself has cost so many souls). But I was always hoping that we could have both (reconciliation of SSPX and clarification of Vatican II).

  27. Peterman3:25 AM

    I think the Holy Father will grant canonical status soon and obviously the Church sorely needs help.

    I attended Ash Wednesday Mass today at 11am at the only Catholic Church near my work. There were at least 300 people there and an army of old ladies distributing the ashes and Holy Communion and the Precious Blood. I had to line up behind a huge line and wait just to receive from the only priest present. About 80% of the crowd had grey hair. These people knew the TLM as the only mass in their youth.

    I looked at them and thought it was amazing so many just got washed over into what the mass has become now. But I guess they, like my self today had no choice, nowhere else to go. The SSPX gets canonical status and instantly choice becomes available.

    Deo Gratias.

  28. peterman3:29 AM

    "But I was always hoping that we could have both (reconciliation of SSPX and clarification of Vatican II)."

    Just my opinion but forget the clarification for now. Clarification will be had at the next "great council" which comes after the upcoming chastisement per dozens of Catholic saints.

  29. Prof. Basto3:54 AM

    The rumour is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith passed the case to the Holy Father for his final decision, but I wonder about the tenor of the Congregation's recomendation.

    Isn't it the case that when the Congregation has a matter before it, it votes on a decision, and then submits the decree to the Pope for approval?

    Sure, the Pope, in his sovereign authority, can decide as he sees fit, but surely it is easier for the Pope to approve the decree drafted by his advisors (that are men of his own choosing) than to reject their recommendation.

    Anyways, I do hope that the Pope in the end will decide that the Society's reply is satisfactory. But that is just my wish based on the desire of a positive resolution, for the good of the Society and of the Church: the members of the Society and their followers will benefit from regular Communion with the Vicar of Christ, and from a regular canonical situation, averting the posibility of a schism, and the Church will benefit from the army of priests of the Society, and from the devotion of their followers to the sacred cause of Tradition.

    However, since we are not privy to the actual contents of the Holy See's Doctrinal Preamble, and to the SSPX's Corrected Response, it is difficult to try to discern what would be a just decision. But the Pope is our supreme judge on Earth, the supreme ecclesiastical judge, and I do hope that his decision, positive or negative, be accepted and treated with respect.

    (To be continued)

  30. Prof. Basto3:55 AM


    However, I suspect that a definitive answer is unlikely at this point, and that it would be more logical for the Holy See to "return the ball to the SSPX's court", as it were. And for the following reasons.

    We have all read in the past weeks that the SSPX's reply to the CDF was not a fully positive reply; it was even interpreted by some as a negative reply to the Preamble. Later, it emerged that the Society's Reply in reality sought clarifications and modifications, a possibility (that of alterations and improvements to the Preamble), that was admitted by Rome from the start.

    Now, faced with the concrete Reply of the Society, and with the concrete request for clarifications and alterations of specific points of the Doctrinal Preamble, the Holy See may:

    - refuse the SSPX's Reply and its requests altogether;

    - accept the SSPX's reply and its requests in full, thus transforming the current preamble into the preamble desired by the SSPX as its perfect scenario;

    - send to the Society a modified Preamble, wich would then invite a renewed consideration by the SSPX of the changed parts, with the SSPX then being expected to give a final answer on its acceptance or rejection of the modified version of the Preamble.

    - send a generic reply to the Society, addressing the Society's Letter with clarifications and explanations, without altering the actual text of the preamble, but allowing the clarifications to be annexed to it.

    In the last two scenarios, the possibility of the Holy See accepting the SSPX's requests for change only in part needs to be considered. The Holy See may insist on certain points and agree to reformulate the contents of the Preamble in other parts, so that the changes may be only partially agreeable to the SSPX's original request for change.

    In that case, I suspect that the SSPX would be given the opportunity of examinining the reasons put forward by Rome regarding the points of the Preamble that Rome decided to keep unchanged. In the face of the reasons presented by Rome, the SSPX would then have to decide either to reject the Doctrinal Preamble or to accept it, submitting to the reasoning and explanations of Rome.

    In any event, barring a total breakdown of the talks or a total acceptance of the Holy See of the requests of change made by the SSPX, I don't see how this could be the final step of this process of doctrinal dialogue, the more probable scenario instead being the presentation of a modified Preamble by the Vatican to the Society for its acceptance or rejection.

  31. Hopefully it all turns out well for the Church and SSPX thus heal the wounds inflicted to the Body of Christ.

    However, the meat of the disagreement falls on the rejection by the SSPX to a validly ratified Ecumenical Council of the Church -Vatican II.

    Question: Where does it say in Tradition a catholic can refuse obedience to an Ecumenical (General) Council of the Church? NOWHERE!

    Catholic Encylopedia:

    "Ecumenical Councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, **and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians.**"

    Infallibility of General (Ecumenical)Councils:

    "All the arguments which go to prove the infallibility of the Church apply with their fullest force to the infallible authority of general councils in union with the pope."

    The problem is when we try to put interpretative authority on our ability to discern of what Tradition truly says outside the Magisterium of the Church (Tradition Alone). Similarly, the protestants put their interpretative authority on themselves of what the Bible truly says outside the Authority of the Church (Bible Alone).

    The past and present teachings of all the Councils of the Church doesn't contradict each other, the real culprit is our mistaken interpretation of the past Tradition of what it truly says that fit our presuppositions.

    "Where Peter is, there is the Church", St. Ambrose 300 A.D.

  32. Wow, so soon? I thought The Society asked for a clarification to the Preamble, and now suddenly we're waiting for the Holy Father's Yes or No? Did we miss something? Weird.

    Andrew said, "I hope that there will be an ordinariate..."

    Agree. I've always said an Ordinariate would be the best for the SSPX. That way they can continue in the Church unimpeded by the Locals. As far as Williamson is concerned, IMO, what difference does it make? He has the right to think what he wants whether we like it or not. I'm sick of this double-standard always going on in the Church. Why does anyone worry about Williamson yet no one seems to worry one bit about the nonsense a liberal spews. None of that has ever been explained to my satisfaction.

    SSPX Supporter said...

    I agree here also. It's important the SSPX works with Rome in getting their foot back in door. I'm not saying sign away the farm but at the same time it's important to get in first and then work out the details, of course, depending on what is in the "contract" Rome is putting on the table.

    I've always believed the Holy Father is the last best friend in Rome the Society has for the next generation or two. Just look at this last Consistory. Really? I take it most of those appointments were perfunctory, bishops holding Cardinalatial positions thus de facto appointments.

    Once again, can it really be verified the matter is already waiting for a Yea or Nay from the Holy Father? What happened to the clarifications the Society had asked for? One wonders whether it's all smoke and mirrors so that the SSPX and Rome can take care of business without every step being scrutinized.


  33. Gratias8:21 AM

    If this is really the final step I would be optimistic Benedict XVI will go for incorporation of SSPX. The leit-motif of his papacy has been building the bridge to tradition (Pontifex means builder of Bridges), which he understands is the way to strengthen our Church. The Angican Ordinariates were done on the fly yet have been a great success. The SSPX will be a much greater one, and this reunion has been systematically planned by B16. First Summorum Pontificum, then lifting the excomunictions to the FSSP Bishops (at great cost because of Bp. Williamson), years of discussions, and the Universae Ecclesiae instruction. The Quicos' rites acceptance and the VC2 anniversary celebrations provide a recompense to the liberal wing for the bitter SSPX medicine they will have to swallow.

    If the reunification does not happen now, modernist VC2 forces will gather strength and block tradition in the forseeable future. They understand the Latin Liturgy is their worst enemy. Benedict is on our side, so pray he has a very long life, as I do almost every day.

  34. Matt said: 'Wow, so soon? I thought The Society asked for a clarification to the Preamble, and now suddenly we're waiting for the Holy Father's Yes or No? Did we miss something? Weird.'

    I too had a similar thought. I was expecting the preamble and the varying comments on it to be passed back and forth at least two or three more times. But then again, what do I know? Any knowledge or insight on this matter would be much appreciated!

  35. P.K.T.P.9:26 AM

    Everyone seems so certain here that it will be a canonical regularisation or nothing at all. That is now what can be inferred from Fr. Schmidberger's interview with Die Welt. There may apparently be a 'recognition' of a current status for the Society, together with a canonical offer. Fr. S. thinks that the canonical resolution would follow quickly but that is only his opinion.

    There may very well be a mixed response from the Holy See: yes, they have faculties but we solemnly warn faithful that it is spiritually dangerous to go them until a complete resolution has been effected.

    Such a compromise would, in fact, be a victory for tradition, but it would be a disguised victory, one not likely to cause a revolt on the left. That is why such an outcome is not improbable.


  36. P.K.T.P.9:33 AM


    It does not follow from your quotation that all œcumenical councils propound infallible teaching. Attend more carefully to your wording. It merely means that infallible meaning MAY be propounded there.

    The special note of the theological commission, attached to L.G., proves that no teaching of Vatican II is infallible except when it repeats already-declared infallible teaching. The reason is that the fathers convoked there did not invoke infallibility. The note says that they must clearly assert it in any instance, and they nowhere do so.

    In regard to the duty to submit mind and will to the authentic teachings in Vatican II, this submission comes in established degrees. It often only means a willingness not to reject a teaching out of hand, plus an agreement not to assert opposite or contradictory teachings. So this can get quite complex, and it is not for you to say where the lines must be drawn.


  37. P.K.T.P.9:39 AM

    As others have suggested, let us just pray for a just solution, delivered by the hand of the Holy Father. Lent is the perfect time to pray for this. I suggest that people select one weekday of Lent to concentrate on this in the Holy Rosary.


  38. Ceolfrid of Dealganburg12:19 PM

    Long live Pope Benedict XVI and success to the Society of St. Pius X!

  39. Rapprochement might take the approach of the Holy Father lifting the a divinis suspensions, first, and later ironing out a more comprehensive canonical solution. Rome is, after all, a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies work very slowly.

    I envision a personal prelature or personal ordinariate for SSPX--probably the latter.

    If the former, the irony would be that Vatican II established personal prelatures!

  40. There is a claim now being presented on the net that the German Court has reversed the conviction of Bishop Williamson for denying the holocaust but that the Prosecutor may refile the charges in a few weeks time. This is being done at a time that is crucial for the FSSPX and for Tradition and those who hate the FSSPX and everything it stands for know full well the impact of another show-trial on this sensitive topic. We must pray that the Holy Father will resist any effort to put Bishop Williamson's personal views in the hopper, so to speak, with Tradition.

  41. If SSPX became regularized, it would mean an additional TLM to attend in my diocese, Madison, WI, where the ordinary, Bp. Robert Morlino, is already Tradition-friendly and has been a firm defender of the traditional priests already in his diocese. One priest, Fr Isaac Mary Relyea, featured on this site recently, celebrates the TLM very regularly at the Cathedral Parish (and I believe that is the only form he celebrates). There is no doubt in my mind Bp Morlino would be welcoming of regularized FSSPX in his diocese. Come on, FSSPX, you are welcome to be part of our diocese.

  42. "Come on, FSSPX, you are welcome to be part of our diocese."

    The Society is ready and willing.

    The ball is in the Holy Fathers court to please regularize these good men yesterday.

  43. "The house is on fire and some of the children want to stay outside and not help their father put it out. This is no longer acceptable."

    We are helping out; we are putting the fire out from the outside.

  44. "We are helping out; we are putting the fire out from the outside."

    First of all, Brother, the SSPX is in the inside of the Church [they are in the Church].

    Secondly, no one can help the Church except from the inside.

    Martin Luther found that out the hard way.

  45. Peterman1:55 AM

    "Come on, FSSPX, you are welcome to be part of our diocese."

    Wait a second Elizabeth D, we've got a diocese here in west central Florida that desperately needs the FSSPX first. Sunny weather and lots of sheep to bring back into the fold here!

  46. Let us pray that the Holy Ghost will inspire the Holy Father to take the right decision for the right reason.

  47. Hidden One3:59 PM

    Let us look a little deeper.

    It is not so much that the Church desperately needs the SSPX, as that the SSPX needs the Church. Personally, I think that that is the angle that is of most concern to Pope Benedict. I recall, among other things, Cardinal Ratzinger's personal response to the death of Abp. Lefebvre. Pope Benedict will do what what he thinks is best for the souls of the members of the SSPX and of its adherents.

    Oremus pro pontifice.

  48. To keep on top of this, it's odd the SSPX and DICI websites don't say anything this is pending before the Holy Father. As I said above, maybe it was done under the wolves' noses so they could get things done without the snarling and growling against a big dose of Tradition coming back into the Church. Let's keep praying anyway.



Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!